Mike is a long-time supporter of procrastination and enjoys doing as often as he can.
Note from the author
The following is part one of a three-part story covering the dog army. It will also serve as an end to the Junkyard Dog General stories. I changed my usual structure to hopefully make this easier to read.
- Prelude to the Army of Dogs, a Recap of a Junkyard Dog General
The following is a quick recap covering the events leading up to The Army of Dogs for anyone lucky enough to have not read the earlier stories or just wants the dots connected before the end. Some of the information mentioned here is from My Private
Part One, The Gathering Pack
Rex stood on the hill staring over a sight he thought he would never see knowing he would never see again. In the last four days, the word of the army recruiting became like a snowball rolling downhill until they had more than a thousand dogs. The Fifty Chihuahua Army was more like three hundred. They had dogs of every size and dimension. Julie Smyth came up behind Rex and sat down. She was the only human directly working with the dog army. Julie left her sisters back on their family farm so she could act as a human representative as well as help communicate for the dogs with the human military over the radio. She looked over the dogs as they ran around and played. Despite knowing not to do it, Julie put her hand on Rex and ran it down his back. A shiver ran back up, and it felt right to Rex.
Julie asked, “are we really going to do this?”
Four days ago,
The dogs ran in a mass bumping off one another, going west. The number brothers, Fritz, Hans, Ein, Zwei, and Drie, led the pack on point. They had picked up a few more Doberman in a town they had passed, and somehow these new dogs just melded into a sort of hive mind to the point that they didn’t even need to speak. Near the front of the cacophony of dogs was Julie on her bike. The bike had an electric motor that was charged as she peddled. Julie would go a while on the motor when they would go uphill. She would peddle on the flat roads. Rex ran alongside the girl feeling responsible for her safety and knowing they needed her if their plans were going to work.
The dogs stopped for the night, killing any deer they could find for food. Julie sat by herself, eating a strip of beef jerky she packed when she left the farm. This wasn’t just the longest bike ride she ever went on; it was the longest trip she ever made away from home. The dogs kept their distance from her, all but Rex. As she ate, she played with the radio to see if she could make it work.
After a while, a light came on, and a voice said, “how is this going to work?”
Julie said, “you talk to the dogs, they talk to me, and I tell you what they said."
The voice said nothing in return.
Julie asked, “can you hear me?”
After a few seconds, the voice said, “whoever is trying to talk to us, you have to press the button to talk…… press, talk, let the button go... over.”
Julie turned the radio over and saw the button.
She pushed the button and said, “you talk to them, they talk to me, and I relay what they said…… over.”
The voice asked, “just how old are you?.. over.”
Julie replied, “I’m old enough to press a button…... over.”
Rex stepped closer to the radio as if to signal they needed to get past whatever was happening. Julie nodded.
Rex said, “we are about nine hundred strong and tracking a herd.”
The voice asked, “who is this?”
Rex shook his head and said, “general, we can trade questions back and forth, or we can get to business….. over.”
After she relayed the message, Julie turned to Rex and asked, “general?”
The General gave them directions to an airstrip where they would meet up with a plane filled with dog recruits he and buster had found. Many of them were military and police dogs. At their current pace, they would make it to the airstrip in about two days. The plane would be there in about a day, but it wouldn’t wait. The dogs, along with the supplies, would be left behind for the army. The General asked Julie for her name.
She said, “my name is Julie… Julie Newmar Smyth…. Over.”
The radio went silent for a long time.
The General finally said, “OK, if you don’t want to give me your real name Catwoman, that’s fine…. over and out.”
Julie set up a small tent for the night. She couldn’t remember being as tired with sores in places she didn’t know could get sore. Most of all, she was missing her home and sisters. Most of the dogs wanted nothing to do with people making her the odd girl out. Twenty three, the leader of the fifty Chihuahua army, walked into her tent and sat down next to her. He looked into her eyes but didn’t say a word. Another of the army joined them, and soon Julie wasn’t alone with more than twenty Chihuahuas around and on her. She dreamt of an open, freshly plowed field awash in pools of blood and gore with the bodies of deer and dogs all around her. The field was surrounded in a fog. Out of that fog came another wave of deer, all with red eyes. The army was gone, and the deer had won.
She slipped out of the tent into the night. A storm was coming, and they were all going to get wet. Lightning flashed across the sky, revealing the shapes of dogs and deer in battle in the clouds. Another bolt showed her a deer goring Rex, and another showed her the bodies of the fifty Chihuahua army spread across the sky. A final flash illuminated the shape of a bear looming over her. Julie woke to find she was still in the tent, covered in dogs. Twenty Three was next to her lightly snoring. She looked down and saw Rex at the opening of the tent staring out.
Rex said, “I don’t know how you see the world or sense it, I don’t know if you feel what I’m feeling, but I can feel something is coming our way, and I don’t know if we will make it out alive.”
He looked back at her, then back out.
He said, “you did your part and made your family proud and became one of us, but I think it’s time you went back home.”
Julie said, “I don’t leave a puzzle half done.”
With more luck than anything else, the mass of dogs made their way to an airstrip, the General had noted. The strip was little more than a long stretch of road with a small hanger at one end. Julie thought that a bad pilot could easily take out the small building with it being so close to the runway. A beam of sunlight broke through the clouds illuminating a place where something had struck near the roof. The hanger door was open, and inside they found twenty German Shepherds, thirty dogs of mixed breeds, and a tall, familiar Great Dane.
The deer herd had doubled back and went into the farm again. When they left, the sisters packed their stuff and went west looking for the General. Rosie decided to find Rex.
She said, “I was never one for sitting around and waiting to die.”
Rosie stepped out to find the dog army as it surrounded the building. Together they had nearly nine-hundred dogs. Julie sat down and turned the radio back on.
She said, “this is Catwoman calling old guy, over.”
She repeated it with no response.
Eventually, the General said, “I’m not going by that name……. over.”
Julie asked, “call sign?...... over.”
The General said, “we don’t need that nonsense, Julie…... yes, I know your name. Your sister told me. They are with us and safe as you should be soon…. I am assuming you are not staying with the army…... over.”
Julie said, “ask my sisters, I don’t leave a puzzle half done, I don’t start something without finishing it. I’m here until the end…. Over.”
The General told them about the movements of the deer; he said to them that if they made a straight-line north, the deer would run into them near the Ohio River. Julie thought about the freshly plowed earth from her dream, and she remembered it being near a large river.
The General said, “I can’t make you go, but I can wish you luck and hope that when this is all over, I can meet you in person…... Catgirl…...over and out.”
The trip would take them to the Kentucky side of the river near the village of Rome.
- A Junkyard Dog General, Part Nine: Defended the Farm
The dogs settle in on the Smyth farm and plan their next move. A member of the pack steps away from their quest.
- A Junkyard General, Part Eight: The Fifty Chihuahua ...
Rex and the others meet a mythical pack of feral chihuahuas living in the Appalachian mountains.
- A Junkyard Dog General, Part Seven: The Doberman Bro...
Rex and the others meet a pack of guard dogs in their quest to build an army
© 2019 Michael Collins aka Lakemoron