You look into the copper eyes of the puppy trembling in your arms and your decision is made.
Wasting no time, you jump from the last step and sprint in the opposite direction you came from. You dodge tree branch after tree branch and jump over undergrowth with a dexterity you didn’t know you possessed. Adrenaline courses through you and you are unaware of how far you’ve run or for how long.
Suddenly, the trees open up in front of you and as you clear the last bush you find yourself in the middle of a two-lane highway. A horrible screeching sound erupts from behind you and then something slams into the back of you. You have split second to register the excruciating pain in your back and ribs as the breath is forced from your lungs. As you fly forward, the pain subsides and somehow you are aware of the puppy in your arms and your only thought is for his safety. You pull him tighter against your chest, wrapping your arms around his small body to protect him from harm as the road reaches up to greet you. There’s an exploding pain in your head and everything goes black.
You smell the puppy’s breath, then feel it licking your face and you open your eyes.
“Hey, are you okay?” You hear Sharon say. “That was a pretty hard fall.
Your eyes focus on the tree branch above you as you recognize the sound of the lake party not more than two hundred yards from the tree line to your right.
What the hell? Did I just dream all of that?
A moment later Sharon is standing above you, her eyebrows drawn in, “You okay?”
“I, I hit my head.” You manage to mumble as you pull yourself up to the sitting position.
The puppy jumps off you, happily wagging, not only its tail but its entire butt.
You close your eyes and shake your head, trying to clear the confusion.
Opening your eyes you see Sharon kneeling as she pets the excited pup.
“Hey, little guy, where’d you come from?”
You touch the front of your forehead. It’s tender and there’s a lump from where you’d collided with the branch. A fall that, in your mind, happened an entire day ago. Your head swims with confusion as you try to make sense of what’s happening. “I hit my head pretty hard. I think I need to go home.” You finally say.
Was that just a dream or delusion from hitting my head?
Sharon pulls her phone out and turns the flashlight on, the light shooting through your eyes.
“Watch it.” You block your eyes from the painful stream.
“Yikes, you have an egg growing out of your head. Come on.” She reaches out and helps you to your feet. “You can’t go to sleep for a few hours anyway, so let’s just chill by the fire.”
“I’m pretty sure that’s a myth.” You mumble as you reach down picking the puppy up.
He licks your face happily and then settles into your arms.
“He likes you.” She smiles and then gives you a pleading look, “Can we stay one more hour?” She scratches the puppy’s muzzle.
You roll your eyes. You actually feel okay. You, of course, have a slight headache and are still confused.
If it was a dream, where’d the puppy come from?
“Come on. I’m no expert but I think if you’d hit your head hard enough to do any real damage it would have knocked you out cold.” Sharon states as she turns to walk back to the party.
“I think it did.”
Sharon laughs, “Seriously, you just tripped. If it knocked you out it was for like thirty seconds.”
“That was the longest thirty seconds of my life.” You say as you follow her out of the woods and back towards the bonfire.
Two hours later you sneak to your room, telling Mystery, as you’ve named him, to be quiet. You’re not sure how you’re going to explain the little charcoal puppy to your parents but decide it’d be best explained after you’ve slept.
You wake in the morning to the puppy jumping on you obnoxiously. You sit up, slip your flip flops on and open your bedroom door, listening to see if anyone else is awake. To your relief, you hear no one and manage to sneak outside to let Mystery pee. As you come back in the house your Dad stops you by clearing his throat.
He raises an eyebrow at the black puppy in your arms, obviously waiting for an explanation.
You haven’t even thought about what explanation to give them. The most logical one is to tell them you found him in the woods at the lake last night but there’s something else bugging you. When you emptied your pockets before going to sleep you’d found the charm from the mausoleum. The mausoleum that shouldn’t, couldn’t possibly exist.
“I found him in a mausoleum.” Comes flying out of your mouth, “They were going to kill him.” You cover your mouth before more words spill, scared after the incident of hitting the wolf/bear they’d lock you up in a psychiatric hospital.
Your Dad looks from you to the puppy and back again. “That’s what they do.” He states, his voice monotone. He turns his back and walks into the kitchen, his gait strangely stiff.
You stand there for a moment shocked.
Are you dreaming? Maybe you should just go back to bed and try to wake up again.
Of course, you don’t feel like you’re dreaming.
Maybe your Dad was joking, rousing you for coming up with such a ridiculous story.
Do you approach your dad and question his strange statement or do you go back to bed?
Please, if you’ve taken the time to read this then vote for what the character does next. This is my readers’ story, not my own. You can comment here or on any of the social media sites you read this on.
Thanks for reading!