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A Junkyard Dog General, The Army of Dogs: Part Three

Mike is a long-time supporter of procrastination and enjoys doing as often as he can.

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A Note from the Typist

The following is part three of a three-part story covering the dog army. It will also serve as an end to the Junkyard Dog General stories. From here, the story gets graphic and could be troubling for some.


and I'm sorry about this part.

Part Three, A Better Life

Rex woke to find himself in his junkyard. Lying on the hood of a long-dead car was the cat, Spike. Off in the distance, he could hear Steve’s music playing as he dismantled an engine for a customer. The sun was shining, and there was a sweetness in the air. Rex remembered this day and what might have been a better life. The smell of earth and blood replaced the sweet smell. Rex opened his eyes and quickly closed them again. The pain ran from his mouth into his head and down his body so intensely he could barely move. Nearby he saw the head of the alpha deer with its metal antlers still stuck in the ground. The body was about three feet away with smoke coming out. He could hear anguish howling, but he couldn’t tell who it was.


Rex tried to move when a voice said, “no, brother say where you are…. stay.”

The voice and the wording were familiar. Rex thought about the white fur and knew who it was. He slowly turned his head to see Toe, the long-missing false brother of Tac standing nearby. His coat was smeared with blood. Rosie passed Toe and came over to Rex.

Rosie said, “oh my god Rex, we thought you were gone…... we didn’t know what to do.”

Rex asked, “what happened?”

Toe said, “when you killed the alpha, the other deer tried to scatter.”

Rosie looked at Toe.

She said, “many of the deer ran for the water, and more than a few drowned, others smashed into the wagons…. We won.”

Rex asked, “where’s Julie?”

No one would answer him. Rex tried to move again when Rosie sat next to him.

She said, “the bear…. It struck at the deer, killing its way to her…. the last thing anyone saw was the bear walking away, holding what looked like the girl in its arms. She wasn’t moving.”

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Numbers

Rex tried to get up, but his legs gave in as he moved.

He said, “get Twenty-Three and the army ready to go, we need to get her back.”

Rex looked at Rosie, who didn’t move.

She said, “I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it happen. The army dropped waves of deer going from six dogs to just two per deer taking out as many as they could…... when the deer broke the army tried to adjust……. There is no army anymore. Twenty-Three did his best, but when he fell, their discipline broke down. They're all gone.”

Rosie got up and looked over at where Julie was.

She said, “the first to fall were the number brothers. They tried to add to the body count, but the deer targeted Julie, and they said they would defend her to their last breaths, and that’s just what they did. There’s maybe twenty of us left.”

She looked out over a field of dead deer and dogs with a ground soaked in blood.

Rosie said, “the deer were running from some humans in armored vehicles. They pushed them at us, but they didn’t do anything but watch us fight and die.”


Rex turned to Toe.

He asked, “And what’s your role in all this? Why did you help me?”

Toe said, “I heard about your army from another dog, and I came to find Tac. When I saw what was happening, I knew I couldn’t just stand by.”

Rex said, “you probably liked watching all the bait dogs die.”

Toe angrily replied, “no, I have never seen anything like that in my life, and I could live to see fifteen and never see such an act of honor as what I saw happen here. I won’t ever use that word again. I’m ashamed of my past, and I know I have to try and prove I deserved to survive this.”

Toe lowered his head in a bowing motion.

He said, “she can’t bring herself to tell you, but you are worse off then you know. You’re burned on your side with a long gash, most of your front right paw is gone. The blood stopped, but I don’t think that’s good, and I don’t know what we can do.”

Who am I

Rex looked down at where his paw should be. He remembered using it for leverage to pull the wires out. The pain was slowly going away, but in its place was a coldness that was covering him like a blanket. Rex asked for some help getting up. Toe and another dog helped him with a smaller dog acting as a crutch for the wounded leg. With the help of the other dogs, Rex made his way off the field. Near one of the wagons, he saw Ari and Arie. The big dogs lay side-by-side. Arie whined a low mournful whine, and Ari did nothing having died in the battle. Arie saw Rex.

He asked, “what am I to do…... who am I without him, a critic without and artist. Who am I without myself?”

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A good Dog

The others helped Rex down. Off in the distance, he could hear something familiar, a scent in the air of something sweet like the small flowers the grew in the junkyard. Something beautiful among the junk. His thoughts turned to Dot and their puppies. He didn’t know she already had them. He thought about their trip west, the nights hiding from danger but never feeling alone when he was with her. He missed her, but he was happy she was safe. Rex remembered the look on Jimmy’s face when they met again in the farmhouse, and how Julie gave everything up to come with them.


Toe said, “Rosie’s going to take what’s left of the army and go west hoping to find this man with a strange name…… General. I’m going to track that bear and get the girl back. I swear to you here, and now I won’t stop until she’s free.”

People from the nearby village of Rome came over and helped bury the dead. They buried the dogs and burned the deer. None of the humans would go near Rex. After a while, someone Rex knew came up to him.

Steve put his hand down on Rex’s head and said, “it’s time, boy. Time to go home.”

On a marker in a field of the dead, there was a sign, “here lies Rex. Rex was a good dog.”

Another note

This is the conclusion of The Rex Stories. Rosie’s story, Julie and Toe’s stories will be picked up in the main story as well as a few short stories to come.

© 2019 Michael Collins aka Lakemoron

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