HERO

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium
Short story inspired by the Flash Fiction prompt 'ESCAPE'

Submitted: November 18, 2018

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Submitted: November 18, 2018

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It is so cramped in here, we hardly have room to move. Food is also sparse and when it arrives, we all fight for the meagre portions that are thrown our way. With nothing to do but sleep in the fetid, matted straw, time hangs heavy. Two of our weaker siblings died shortly after they were born, but their lifeless bodies remained in the squalor of the cage in which we exist, until the inhumans finally found the time to remove them.

We know there are others like us, confined to their filthy cages... we can hear their whimpers and howls, but we all know the score. If we're not sold while we're still young and cute, the inhumans will either dispose of us, or use us for breeding.

That brings me to my poor Mother who has had such a terrible life, used as a puppy producing machine for the inhumans to sell. It's bad enough for us, but at least we exist in the hope of being rehomed, that is if we don't fall victim to some life threatening disease first.

When we are grabbed from our cage and hosed down, it usually means it's time for a 'viewing'. With our coats fluffy and sweet smelling, the inhumans take up to the house where we are paraded in front of humans who sometimes pick us up and stroke us gently. Unlike the inhumans, their eyes are always so soft and dewy. However, despite my efforts to be super appealing, they always end up choosing the most handsome or prettiest of my siblings. In my short life, I have learned that no-one wants the runt of the litter.

One by one, my siblings get lucky and so, by a process of elimination, I find myself the only one remaining in the filthy, stinking cage.

This morning I woke up feeling ill... my head hurt so much it felt as if it was about to explode. Now I am so cold I can't stop dithering, and the repeated bouts of sickness have left me feeling completely drained, unable to even lift my head. As I lie in the fetid straw feeling totally wretched, I wait for death to claim me... at least it would be an escape from this unbearable, miserable existence and would spare me the inevitable end of being plunged into water and drowned.

As I drift in and out of consciousness, I become aware of raised, angry voices. Someone is shouting over the commotion... “We are officers from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty Animals and are here to investigate claims of extreme cruelty. Please do not obstruct our investigation.”

Amongst the mayhem all around me, my cage door suddenly opens. I feel myself being gently lifted out then placed onto a warm, dry blanket. The familiar soft, dewy eyes of a human look tenderly into mine. She calls for help, I hear the word 'Parvo'. A light is being shone into my eyes, hands feel around my tummy, my temperature is taken, a needle inserted into the back of my neck. This time, its a different, deeper voice I hear... “I think we might have arrived just in time to save this one.”

I am being transported somewhere, but my instinct tells me I am safe. I fall gratefully into a deep sleep.

I wake up in a cage, but this one is warm, spacious, clean and sweet smelling with lots of soft bedding. I lap fresh water from a bowl in the corner. A human approaches dressed in blue cotton trousers and matching top. She is smiling, I notice how her blue eyes sparkle. She reaches inside and cradles me in her arms, then carries me into a brightly lit room. Another human instructs her to put me down on a table. It's strange, but I feel no fear.

'Hi ya, little fella,” the human says in a friendly voice, fondling my ears. After performing various tests on me, he turns to face the human with the sparkly eyes. “That puppy farm was horrific, we had to euthanaise those who were too ill to be saved. At least this one and a few others somehow survived that hell-hole, and appear to be progressing well. Continue with the medication and regular monitoring. The prognosis is looking positive, so its time think of a name, I'll leave that with you.”

She scoops me up in her arms and cuddles me close to her. I hear the comforting beat of her heart, and feel the warmth of her embrace. “You're my little hero,” I hear her whisper... and that was to become my name.

I can't quite believe my luck, I've never known such luxury. A comfortable bed, food in plentiful supply and, Katy, my favourite human to look after me. I am now strong, my black coat is shiny, and I have grown considerably. I hear the words... 'ready to be rehomed'.

As Katy cuddles me to her I notice the sparkle has gone from her eyes... fat, salty tears slowly slide down her cheeks which I try to lick, making her smile. “Oh, Hero,” I hear her say. “I've just made my mind up, you're coming home with me.”

I have experienced hell on earth and now I am in heaven, and what a glorious place it is too. Plenty of tasty food, long walks in the woods, followed by a snooze in the warm glow of the log burner or cuddled up on the sofa with my Katy. What more could a dog want? I am so, lucky!


© Copyright 2019 Sue Harris. All rights reserved.

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