Welcome to Wednesday Briefs, where authors post free fiction of 1000 words or less each week.
Somehow Hope wiggled his way not only under my sweater but under my shirt as well, scratching my skin in his frenzy to get closer to me. I hissed and sputtered while I did my best to allow him to crawl up on my chest without ripping my skin open. When he finally settled, we were both panting.
“It's okay, boy, it's okay,” I repeated over and over again. Hope didn't just tremble, he shook. In a way someone only did when truly terrified. “Did I scare you with my comment about bringing you back to your owner?”
Hope shoved his nose through the head-opening of my sweater, which made breathing a challenge. Gently, I nudged him back under my sweater and he whimpered. Beads of sweat trickled down my spine and I shivered. What the hell was going on? This wasn't a normal stray puppy.
“Do you even have an owner?” I asked.
Hope rubbed his head along my chest and even went so far as to swipe his tongue along a nipple. I gasped and pushed his head away. “Don't do that. It's gross.”
Of course that remark elicited another whimper from Hope. Go me! I was a huge success in hurting a small German Shepherd puppy. I rubbed a hand over my eyes then said, “Come on out of there, please. It's weird to talk to you as if you could understand me, but it's even weirder to do so without looking at you.”
Hope expelled a breath but dove out from under my shirt and sweater. He placed himself between my legs, peering at me expectantly. Grimacing, I lifted my clothes to inspect my chest. Scratches showed on my chest. Some of them had broken the skin and oozed thin rivulets of blood.
“Oh, great,” I muttered.
Hope hunched his shoulders and sniffled. He was the poster boy for misery with his flopped ears and sad eyes. How could I be mad at him? He just didn't want to be separated from me. And neither did I. He simply showed his feelings more openly than I did.
I patted his head, smiling when he pushed it into my palm. “I'll have to wipe the blood off. You want to come with me to the bathroom?”
Hope thumped his tail on the floor before he bounced to his feet and stormed away. Blinking, I rose and followed him. Indeed, I found him in the bathroom, sitting on the dark blue mat, waiting for me.
“It's creepy how much you understand. Really creepy,” I mumbled.
Hope sneezed, then stretched out on his belly with his head resting on his forepaws. His eyes remained trained on me, though.
I did a quick job of cleaning the scratches, but not without much hissing and muttering. I curbed my expletives when Hope tucked his tail between his hind legs, whimpering softly.
“It's not that bad,” I assured him. “I'm just a big baby. Shane hated when I cut myself because sometimes I'd faint.”
Embarrassment brought heat to my cheeks. I threw the cotton ball into a bin and tucked my shirt into my jeans. “I'm honestly not such a delicate flower. It's just that I can't see my own blood. I've never fainted when anyone else got hurt. Not even when Shane got this really deep cut from the hedge trimmer.”
I shuddered. There had been blood everywhere and Shane had been chalky white and lost consciousness. One of the worst things I've ever experienced. Right after losing Shane. My throat closed up and I squeezed my eyes shut for a moment.
I didn't hear when Hope got up but at one point I realized he was licking my hand. I opened my eyes and cleared my throat. My eyes still burned but I forced a smile on my face. “Come on, let's find out who you wanted me to call. It'd be so much easier if you could talk.”
Hope cocked his head to the side, then he barked. He seemed to be laughing as he whizzed out of the bathroom. Seconds later, a loud crash resounded from the living room.
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