Sheltered: Chapter One
The days seemed so distant... it is difficult to acknowledge how recent they were.
My owner. She was sleeping before they came in and took her. She was right here, and they took her away from me. Why would they do that?! She needs me, her faithful companion. She has no one else but me. If she wakes up without me, she'll be so confused and afraid.
Yet, even with all four of my paws I cannot do anything. All that's left is the place I once called home, which feels like an empty husk without her.
It is here, on a cold tile floor that I reminisce about a time that wasn't too long ago. The last day that had some semblance of being normal.
Despite her grey hair and aching bones, she is a gentle and energetic old soul. It was hard to imagine that her youth was long gone. For as long as I've known her, she hasn't aged a day.
That particular morning, she was up early and as active as ever.
I had woken up to the aromatic smell of fresh human food created by her own two hands. It was the same as any other day, as a way to lure me out of bed. Of course, I could never eat the delicious masterpieces she made besides occasional scraps, but it was still a pleasant way to wake up every morning.
A large stretch caused my stiff bones to crackle as my long legs supported me. From that moment, my day had begun and I stepped out to greet my loving owner. I can still taste her scent now, mingled among the other more delicious scents.
She was busy cooking, alerted to my presence by my nails clicking against the ground. My beloved owner made small smooching sounds to greet me, but as always she seemed rather pre-occupied.
Patience was a virtue in this household, so I made my way over to a small cushion that had been set out for me.
From there, I could easily observe her. Although at this point all I could see was the gray fur on top of her head, and the colorful fabrics she dawned across her body. Humans were a strange but kind species.
Her intense focus often inspired me to do everything I could to listen to her commands. She moved with a slow grace, knowing exactly what she was doing. In no time at all, the cooked meat was placed high out of my reach. Only then did she take the time to glance at me.
I wagged my tail in a wordless greeting.
"Did you sleep well, Bue?" she asked, prodding the meat with her utensils.
Without much thought, my tail began to hit the tile floor hard enough for it to make a series of soft thud sounds.
She gave her natural warm smile. The sound of the container of my food opening caught my attention, and my ears perked as she brought a cup full of the dry bits of kibble over to my bowl.
My owner poured the contents into the bowl, just as she always did. Every delicate feature on her face is ingrained in my mind. I miss her.
I was never left hungry, so as always I took a few bites before heading to sit at the door. She let me out, just as she would any other day.
The sunlight was warm, and the air smelled fresh. I hurried along with my business, not wanting to keep her waiting long.
Once I was finished, it was time to go for a car car ride and run errands.
Every time she left me behind, she kept the artificial air on with a gentle chorus of music in the background for me.
I sat on my favorite blanket in my seat, right next to hers. She would pat my head every time she returned.
Everything was normal in that moment, and I was happy.
After that long but pleasant day, we returned to our home. The sanctuary that now felt like a stranger.
She cozied up in her favorite armchair, taking out a collection of old tree parts. At least, that's what it smelled like. Every night, she would flip through these old parts and stare at them for hours.
I never understood why, but it never bothered anyone so who was I to judge? It was also the perfect chance to lay down and ask for more pats. She was always happy to oblige. Her touch could always sooth the roughest soul and before I knew it I fell asleep.
The sleep was full of pleasant dreams and happiness. After all, I was living quite a happy life. Although, the moment that a warmth that could only be caused by sunlight hit my eyelids I knew that something was strange.
We never slept here.
She always woke me up when she grew tired, and I would trudge to her bed before collapsing into a fitful rest.
My eyes shot up, but all I found was a peaceful expression on her face. Her eyes were closed. She must have fallen asleep, and was now too tired to wake up. Her hand was frigid, placed in its normal spot on my head.
I began to crawl until her hand fell off me, then pulled the blanket to cover it in hopes that it would warm up.
Then I stood up to pad into the eating room. Thankfully, there was still food left in the bowl from yesterday.
After a few bites, I laid by the back door to wait for her to wake up and let me out.
Time seemed very slow in my boredom. The entire day padded and she continued to sleep.
By the time the moon had risen high into the sky, I really needed to go outside. I was also worried and tired. I returned to her side.
Her scent was oddly stale at that point. She remained fast asleep.
Despite my hopeless attempts, it seemed like nothing would wake her. I tried whining, then tugging on her blankets. I scratched her chair, nibbled her hand gently. I even pulled some of her stuff off the counters to make loud clattering sounds. This attempt hurt my ears, but it ended up futile once I checked on her again.
She slept so well that she looked stiff, and felt cold. With a defeated sigh, I crawled into her lap in an attempt to warm her up.
At one point, I could no longer hold my bladder. I hid the evidence in the guest room.
The next day, I had decided that I needed help to wake her up. I placed myself in the front window, clawing and barking whenever anyone walked by.
Scattered groups of children walked by in the morning, sparing me scattered glances but none of them responded to my desperate please.
After them, the mail woman, the garbage man, and a small child from next door all passed by but none of them bothered to look at me.
Later, as evening passed the scattered groups returned but still refused to answer me.
My plan wasn't working. I needed a new one. Although the first thought on my mind caused me to hesitate. I looked my owner up and down slowly. She didn't look too heavy, but I had no intentions to hurt her.
I took time to dig into deep thought, but I soon realized it was the only plan that I could come up with. By that time, the sun had already set. Even though I was tired, I only had until sunrise.
With haste, I climbed onto her chair. I had never been a great climber though, but with a few slips I finally found my balance on the armrest. My jaws grew gentle as they latched onto the back of her colorful fabrics.
Then, I slid my back paws to the ground. This caused her to bend forward, and I paused. My breath grew quiet as I listened to see if she would wake up.
My heart shattered at her lack of response, but the mission was clear. I continued to drag her off the chair, and as a result she landed on me when she fell. I crawled out from beneath her.
Glancing back, I could feel the panic rise in my throat when I realized that she wasn't in a natural position. Instead, her body had seemed to crumble during the fall.
This kicked me into high drive as I launched forward, giving her body short tugs until she looked normal.
I continued to drag her, but she was heavier than I thought.
Once I reached the window, I began to second guess myself. It was too late to turn back now though.
A short struggle ensued, but I eventually managed to at least pull both her hands to be visible from outside the window.
Exhaustion overtook me before I could manage to drag the rest of her body up though. I was determined to take good care of her, so after dragging her blanket to cover her body I fell asleep next to her.
Screaming woke me up.
When I glanced out the window, I saw the girl continuing to scream in the middle of her friends, pointing straight at me.
No, not me, the hands. They were twisted in unnatural positions now that I took a second look at them. It seemed that the young child had realized that they didn't belong though, and as her friends began to look over I realized my mission had been a success.
After that, the children brought adults with them who then brought people in blue fabric.
What progressed after that went by fast.
The people draped in blue managed to open the front door. Some of them distracted me, while the rest leaned over her. They put her on a platform before rolling her away. They took her. I don't understand why they stole her away from me.
Yet as my mind continues to spin through the events, my denial begins to fade.
They return for me, but by then I realize that those strangers are not bad.
One takes out a leash.
Soon, I am certain as they clip it to my collar.
She isn't coming back, is she?