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“You’re too much.”
I beam lovingly up at him, my one accomplishment in life, “Is that true, dear?” I want to ask and tease him, but I don’t believe he’ll understand.
He reaches down to trace my face, “Of course, you‘re just so good.” I can focus on nothing but the feel of his cold, calloused hands on my hair, on my neck. I close my eyes to relish the moment as the tips of his fingers tickle my ear….
We are sprawled over lush grass, eyes alight with fireflies and the glow of the bleeding sun. As we lay innocently, shoulder to shoulder, I remember still the commanding force with which he used my name. I am on my stomach and he on his back when he lays his head on my bony shoulder.
“My pretty, pretty girl,” He inhales sharply and looks at his watch, “Sorry, I’ve got to go. I‘ll be back with dinner, though, I promise.” He straightens his collar and pleads with his eyes for me to forgive him.
I don’t even answer, never my master. He changes back and is gone in a moment as he kicks dirt into my damp face and walks coldly away to wherever is more important than our time together. I change, and when I feel comfortable in my own skin, push myself onto the flats of my bare feet. Mud wedges its way between my nails, and I am digging it out when I meet a friend on the road, a posh little show priss who is used to the spotlight and has won countless awards and praise.
She -Bianca- shakes her head at my disheveled, come from the park appearance. She flashes a prize-winning, toothy grin, “Had fun, darling?”
“You bet,” I snap back.
“He left halfway through, didn’t he?”
I look away and blow out through clenched teeth, sullen, “He’s a busy man, I’m afraid.”
“Pity, dearest, join me if you ever decide to find out what a real master’s like.” The question causes an unnecessary pang in my chest. Her response is an obviously practiced pout.
“Leave off and kiss a mirror, since you love yourself so much.”
“Gladly,” She huffs and walks away. All I see is her shaggy derrière from the back of her retreating form.
True to his word, my love is back for dinner, and he has it in his hand. He slaps it-a cold corpse, bleeding still- onto my dish and sits back, exhausted, “Found your dinner as road kill, guess you’ll eat well tonight, won’t you, girl?”
I pant enthusiastically and stick my muzzle in my bowl, lapping up the salted blood and letting it run through my fangs. I throw back my head and howl in reply.
He chuckles and pushes back his chair, a sly glint in his eyes from under greasy hair, “Thatta girl, a little killer. Just what I needed….”
Bianca sneaks inside the door and joins me after I finish my dinner treat, “Wish to meet some singles at the park, dearie?”
“After dog-park hours?”
She glances impishly at her claws, demure, “You know what a rebel I am.”
I shake my head and paw at my muzzle, fighting a migraine, “Oh, why not? My master’s just too much, anyways.” I push open the stiff dog-door with my nose and we run out into the night, cackling at the moon as only house bred hounds can do. I look back to see if master has noticed, but he has changed, as well. He now stares out from the face of the love I first met. His gaze is soft and causes me to almost stumble as he peers out from under those rugged brows and pointed ears. His mane bristles like a burning brush across his spine to the whiplash of his tail and unnaturally large frame. He pleads, again with his eyes, struggling to understand my wild urge to run. He struggles by being different, by being one with both worlds, trying to understand nature-born instinct and pack-mentality. Trying to grasp simple concepts we’d learned since birth.
“He changed,” I informed Bianca, “are you sure I should be sneaking out on my beautiful were-man?”
And then, after seeing the utter despair and hopelessness in his eyes, I knew what direction to choose. I looked to the moon, again for symbolic guidance, firm in my decision…….