(5 minute read)
by Archibald Hobbs
I ceased mumbling to myself the moment the large, red dog careened down the side street and hurtled across the busy road. I looked for an owner in fevered pursuit – and listened for feverish voices – but neither came.
Without debate, I resolved to follow the Labrador down an adjacent laneway which meandered along the lip of a steep ravine.
But catching the big fellow wasn’t easy. I almost nabbed him once, maybe twice, when he paused to investigate some intriguing turf, but he was monitoring my movements and evaded my searching hands. But then he lifted his back leg, so I dashed towards him and latched onto the tight collar hanging from his thick neck.
“Well, buddy,” I yelped as the dog tried to shake me off. “I guess it’s just you and me for a while, ain’t it?”
Deciphering the small, etched numbers on his tag proved tricky too, particularly with my ageing eyes, but I finally managed to type them, one-handed, into my fumbling smartphone.
“Hello,” said the frayed voice.
“Ah, hi. I’m, um, holding your dog. He’s a big boy, ain’t he?”
“Oh, thank goodness.”
After providing our location, I massaged my new friend’s scalp and patted his shoulder. Soon enough, he stopped struggling and – with a look of resignation on his youthful face – he settled down.
That’s when I started telling my new friend about Bella.
“Years ago, ol’ boy, I had a lovely girl with a big heart. She adored me with every fibre of her auburn hair. All she wanted from life was to be by my side.”
The Labrador turned to face me as I whispered to him, cocking his head to one side.
“Yeah, we had a lovely little dog named Bella. She was so loyal that one day, when I was at work, she found a way through our front gate and she went looking for me…”
I heard my canine audience grizzle.
“She went this way and that; then she went that way and this, until she suddenly realised she didn’t know her way home. She looked for me hither and yon; and then she looked for me yon and hither. But I was nowhere to be found.”
The large dog cocked his head to the other side and frowned.
“After that, I don’t really know what happened. Maybe somebody found her wandering the streets and adopted her. Maybe another family got to enjoy her celebration when they came home and maybe they let her snuggle against them during the cold night. Maybe they got to laugh when she rolled over and offered them her tummy to rub.”
I saw a shadow cross the Labrador’s eyes.
“Yeah buddy, you’re right. Maybe something worse than that happened.”
Looking up to the pink sky, I blinked thrice.
“Anyway, buddy boy, that was a long time ago. Bella must have passed by now, no matter what happened to her on that horrible day. I just hope she had a good life after I lost her.”
The Labrador and I locked eyes in the uncomfortable silence.
“If only I’d fixed the gate when my wife asked me to.”
I heard the dog whine again.
“Yeah, that’s when things turned bad, pal. That’s when the darkness came and everything changed. But I do miss my lovely girl’s auburn hair.”
Just then, a car horn pipped and, looking up, I saw a white sedan swoosh to the kerb.
“Thank you, so much,” the middle-aged lady chirped from the driver’s seat, as two children disgorged through the back door.
“No worries,” I replied. “You would have done the same for me.”
Now the Lab was wagging his tail, with the ferocity of a wheat thrasher, whilst being manhandled into the backseat of the car.
“By the way, what’s his name?” I enquired through the front window.
“Samson,” the lady smiled.
“Well, I guess this is goodbye, ol’ boy.” I fondled the Labrador’s ears as he turned to face me. “Don’t take the good things for granted, Samson.”
In reply, the large dog craned his neck and licked my right cheek, before turning to play with his teenage owners who were busy slapping his muscular back in two-part harmony.
“Okay, bye,” I smiled weakly and waved to the lady behind the wheel.
“Thanks again,” she called before pulling out from the kerb and scooting away.
“Okay Beautiful,” I whispered to the shadows. “Now that I’ve done my good deed for the day, let’s get on with that walk of ours, shall we?”
Setting off slowly, I looked out across the ravine and revelled in the sun glistened trees standing high above the gathering dusk.
Copyright © 2021 – Archibald Hobbs. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Archibald Hobbs is looking forward to the publication of his debut novel, The Glorious Face of Sorrow (Austin Macauley) later this year. He writes primarily to impress his wife but wouldn’t object to a wider audience.
Hey Pocket Fiction Fans!
We run entirely on your generosity and whilst we will never demand your financial support, we’ll also never reject it. We hope all of our authors and readers alike are enjoying the benefits of the site and the collection of works published.
If you are in a position to make a one-time donation, we appreciate your financial support.
Either way, please take the time to scroll down and leave our authors a comment with your thoughts at the end of their post and SHARE the stories you love with your friends.
Thank you for choosing to support us in whichever way you’re able.
If you live within the U.K you can choose an amount to donate here OR use the PayPal option below:
Or enter a custom amount
Your contribution is appreciated.Donate
If you live outside of the U.K and would like to make a donation:
Please click the button below to donate via PayPal and help keep the site going. We appreciate your financial support.
* U.K residents can also use this option if you’d prefer.