Lost Dog

Resting his head on the bench, he pretends the cool steel is a downy pillow. Javier’s heart beats in time with the traffic. As dusk veils the city, he strokes her shaggy coat. In her dog-like way, Nita promises to never run away again. Even though he can’t understand her, he does understand. That’s how best friends communicate.

Lost and scared, he dreams of seeing his mother again. If he had a cell phone like his brother, he’d call his mother. He knew her voice would fend off night’s creeping army of shadows. They huddle together for warmth. Her fur is reassurance. Although she can’t tell him, he knows she’ll fight to the last breath for him. Curling up in her, he feels as safe as possible for being forced to sleep at a bus stop overnight.

He whispers to Nita that everything will be okay. She barks an affirmation. Resting on the plexiglass sign, his eyes grow heavy. As Javier drifts away, Nita stands guard against the ghouls. She knows it’s going to be a long night.

Suddenly, a man leans into the bus shelter. Nita growls, ready to give her life for the little boy who searched the city for her. “You can’t sleep here, son. Where do you live?” Seeing the badge, relief swells through Javier. He knows everything will be all right. He tries to speak, but nothing comes out. Fortunately, the cop reads fear almost as well as words.

“It’s okay. I’ll get you home.”


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