Monday, 15 May 2017
RACE TO THE RAINBOW BRIDGE (Flash Fiction)
"I'm sorry. We did all we could."
Here's his lead. In my pocket. I fly that dog like a kite. He weaves in and out the bollards and lampposts like French knitting.
I know it's here somewhere in the wood. Our wood. Mine and my lad's. Between the Horse Chestnut and the beck. Between the dell and the darkness. The Rainbow Bridge.
I'm scuffing leaf litter from my paws. Everything's gathering on my soles as I run. Seeds, dead things, lichen, carapaces. Did I say paws?
If I can make it there before he comes, bounding, baying, I will throw myself in his path, block him and baffle him from crossing. He'll mop my tears with his loppy tongue. He knows me better than my shadow. Better the shadow than the space.
I'm limping, now. Thorns and nettles. It must be here. Has to be! What if he's there already? Now I'm sliding down scarps, colliding with hazel and bramble. Ricochet echo off the wind turbines. Scent of oilseed chasing us across the folded fields. That copse where the cuckoo surprised us.
My feet, finding themselves in my shoes again. The carpet with the corporate logo under me. Worming powders and pet insurance.
"He was lucky to find his forever home with you."
I was the lucky one.
Staggering, now, not haring down all our dreams. Our old walk feels wrong. Tilted, somehow. Leads were never meant to be so slack. Collars so empty.
How can I ever go home without him?