I had a dream. I was my dog Roady. I woke up with dirt in my nose because I had dug a hole at the base of the tree where I was tethered. It was a good hole and I chomped on one of the roots, the buried treasure I had found. But, I realized, it was another day, tied to the tree. I wanted to chase the leaves that drifted down with the cool autumn breeze but when I leapt up to snag them from the air, the rope yanked me back. I tried chewing the few at my feet but it wasn’t the same as catching them in the air like toasted biscuits falling from the sky.
Don’t want to be going round this tree so I sit and watch that gravel path, the one that my master comes down when he’s back from an adventure without me. Don’t know why he goes without me. I see the car, that wonderful place where the blankets smell like him or maybe they smell like me or potato chips, the kind with that red, powdery stuff that tastes like meat cooked outside. Haven’t had that meat in a long time. Not since my first master left in a van with red lights flashing. I want some meat right now. I’m hungry, yes, definitely someone forgot to bring me breakfast. I call to the boys but all I get is a rock thrown by that man, not my master, the man who yells and keeps me tied here.
My master left in a van with red flashing lights. Will he never return like the last one? Will I always be tied to the tree? I hear my own soft whistling cry.
I get a fresh bowl of water sloshing. I steal sips as a boy lowers it down. He laughs at me for spilling it. Then he puts down my bowl of food. Love my food. Can’t get enough. I pull it up with my tongue and throw it to the back of my mouth, salty, tasty. I crack it to bits between my teeth. It’s good. It’s good. It’s gone. Wait there must be more. Wait. More please! My barking doesn’t seem to bring more.
Day runs into day. The leaves no longer tease me. They just fall. I just watch. Then one day, I’m on the leash and off the tree. The biggest boy walks me up the street. Am I going to find my master?
We come to a place with grass and more grass and kids and more kids. There’s balls, and balloons that look like big round leaves, bobbing on strings. I can catch one. I leap up and bite. It bites me back and I whimper. But there’s another one. I’ll get this one too, but as soon as I leap, the leash pulls me away.
I spend the day at this place of wild noises and kids petting and poking me. I have a short rope on and can’t leap and catch any more balloons because there’s a cart behind me and kids inside it. It’s almost like the tree. I go round in circles. The kids laugh. There’s one, two, three at a time. I feel a pain when I try to pull forward. Oh yeah, that’s the place that was torn once. The cart tips over and someone says the cart rides are done. Yes, I’m done and the boy walks me back home. I wish he would carry me. I wish…then I see him, my master. He’s there. It’s him. He did not leave me. He came back. I don’t know how I do it but I pull from the boy’s grip and run to my master.
“You’re back. You’re back. You’re back. I’m so happy, happy, happy.”
I lick his face and taste that it is really him. It smells like him. It is him. Life is good.
I woke up from that dream to the feel of Roady’s breath on my face. He is sleeping so close to me, paws over my chest like he’s pinning me down.
“Don’t worry boy,” I whisper. “I’m not leaving you.”
But in the next moment a thought comes to me, I have no place to live. How will I bring him back to Cincinnati? Where will he stay all day? I close my eyes to this dilemma and drift back to sleep.
Choose “Roady Series” in categories to read from Episode 1. “Like” this post to let me know you enjoyed it. EnTylerywords is fiction based on a character by Clare Graith. Check out CG Express for more writing by Clare.