It's about how one of my characters, Isaac, meets his future friend and pet dog, Pharaoh.
Pharaoh wasn’t really mine, before or after the time we met. I never bought him or had the dominant role in our friendship. We came upon each other, somehow, to say our “paths had crossed” wouldn’t quite cover it. We moved in separate circles, and then they merged together.
I was walking home one day. Dark clouds milked the sunny sky, and I can still feel it on my skin. The combat of the sky.
I was feeling…better that day. Not good or happy, because that was seldom the case. Next to never, not to sound too whiny. But the day before, I had walked home with a bloody nose that I could taste in the back of my throat somehow, and today I was unmarked, save for the battle scars from previous encounters. The bruises had taken on that pale green color, so I knew they were on the verge of healing. Even better. Maybe that meant shorts tomorrow.
I had the tendency to roll my feet when I walked, in order to prevent noise. That was pretty much my goal for everything. Silence. Stealth.
So I walked, silent, with the trails of indecisive weather and a lack of bloody nose, feeling mighty almost-fine, when a dumpster two blocks away decided to reenact a thunderstorm.
My head snapped up, alert. Intrigued.
My pace halted. Listening.
A whimper, almost like a squeak, then anger, then thunder.
When I got about twenty feet away, dumpster blocking my view, I stopped to pick up a stone. Protection, you know.
Angry shouts were more audible now. Even, to my dismay, recognizable.
I had a choice: One, walk away and let them have their way with this victim, this kid who had taken my place that day, who would come out of this as I had yesterday. Beaten, humiliated, and tasting blood the whole way home.
Or two, I could scare them away. With this mighty rock. And my overall savage demeanor.
Obviously, I chose the latter.
They were huddled around me, but I was pretty incapable of moving at that point, save for my eyes. They were mocking me, throwing out laughs. I caught a few words about being a dead dog or something, to which I shouted, “You haven’t killed me yet, --!” Well, I tried anyway. It kind of came out all slurred and distorted. Anyway, then they left because poor [Name]’s scalp was oozing blood. What a baby.
After they left, I couldn’t really move, and all I could see were those dark clouds. Of course, it would start raining. Just my lucky day.
I struggled to turn my head to look at their other sorry victim. They had better be dead, I thought, because otherwise I’m going to be paralyzed for nothing and he didn’t even team up with me to rise against and fight opposing forces together. Sissy.
Instead, I saw him.
A dead dog.
And everything stopped. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from this small dog, nearly a puppy still, still and on its side, surrounded by a small stream of dark blood.
I felt the world shift. It kneeled down and gave a sigh of discomfort.
I inched my way closer to the adolescent pup, to see exactly how the blows ended its life. To fully examine the atrocity that still lingered on the street.
I crawled closer until I was hovering over his furry black body. Small and innocent.
And I saw myself.
The rain came, accompanied with my tears.
I was completely defeated, and my body hurt like hell, and I could not see any reason for getting to my feet and stumbling home just to be beaten again, inevitably, the next day, so I decided that the best thing for me to do was to die. I rolled over on my chest. Face down on the damp pavement.
(“Was it a pleasant day to die / and did the sunshine touch his face?”
Answer: Hell no. It was freaking frigid.)
And thus, I couldn’t hold my sobs in anymore. My lungs heaved and I cried out into the day. Into the damp afternoon.
Something beside me stirred.
I raised my head. Surely not.
An angry nerve; a last strive for life; a prolonging of the inevitable, perhaps?
But he twitched, he breathed, and his eyes slowly opened.
He was alive, and so was I.