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"When I looked after... "
A short story by DW Y11
I've come to really dislike walking the family dog.
He's a Staffy, so of course, that comes with all the stereotypes that come with this hyperactive breed. Firstly, he's...well, hyperactive; when visitors come to the house we have to keep our distance to stop him from hurting someone, with his big, stupid grin and dangerously long claws. Those things are so long I really can't count how many times he's made my arm or leg bleed with the stray, clumsily placed paw. He's a serious potential hazard not only to us but to himself too. He picks fights with dogs he really can't fight and too often comes home from a walk staring innocently at everyone, panicking about the fresh, bloody cuts along his snout.
I love dogs, but this source of relentless energy is sometimes a bit too much.
So, rewind to a couple of years ago, maybe. It's my turn to walk the dog, on a scorchingly hot summer day, after a mentally exhausting day at school and I just really wanted to go to bed. Living next to a field, it was easy work; I could keep him (read: the demon called the dog) under control until we got to the sea of grass and once we got there, I could release him into the unknown and just relax and let myself recuperate from the day.
Simple. Easy. Nothing to it. Until I recognised the faint humming of a tractor the moment I unclasped the lead from his collar.
I'd like to say that the rest was in slow motion and my heroic nature drove me to reach out to stop him from bombing down the field, yelling in despair as he slides just out of my grasp. Honestly, though? Who has the energy to do that on such a terrible day? Within a blink he was gone and yeah, I was panicking pretty badly. At this point, the sweat rolling down in bulbous beads along my forehead wasn't only from the twenty-something summer temperature, I was starting to go faint from thinking of all the ways my parents would scold me when I got home.
So, I tentatively called out to the near endless stretch of yellowed grass and wheat, wishfully thinking that he'd just come back to me, let me re-hook the chain to his collar and be on my way. No response. Other than the constant drone of the tractor hammering into my skull in the background. God, was I in trouble.
And so, with this nihilistic knowledge in my head, I began the trek through the expanse of about to be harvested crops, calling aimlessly every now and again. Occasionally I could see him poking his head up through growth that's about twice his size before he vanished again, leaving me with only the faintest idea of where he could have gone. I didn't know what I was doing and didn't have my phone on me to call someone for help (despite being able to see the house from where I stood). All I could do was panic, call and panic some more, before my breath practically stopped and my knees almost gave way to what I saw.
The absolute spoon, standing on the mound of dirt that separated this side of the field to the one that held the roaming tractor, staring at me with his wide, panting mouth, almost twisted in a taunting smile. Just then, all the panic was almost instantly replaced by anger.
I called his name, I whistled, I clicked my fingers - anything to get him to move. Treats, food, sit. Before I knew it, keywords that didn't even make sense were tumbling out of my mouth and I didn't even feel the tears that were dripping down my cheeks. And all the while, he just stared at me. Smiling.
With one last stretch, I called his name again. My chest swelled, my eyes twitched and I let out a bellowing shout that echoed amongst the surrounding trees. I felt almost proud of myself. Almost. Until I realised the only triggered him to bound further towards the tractor ahead...