Welcome to Wednesday Briefs, where authors post free fiction of 1000 words or less each week. I used: “I'll do my best”.
“I'll do my best,” she replied.
Whatever did she mean? Either she could explain or she couldn't. Shane climbed onto my lap, his paws digging into my thighs. I grunted and shifted him into my arms, so his paws wouldn't press—accidentally or willingly—into important body parts.
Shane rested his head on my shoulder after he'd swiped his tongue over my left cheek. His breath tickled my throat but I refrained from manhandling him into a different position. The steady in- and exhale of his breathing was a comfortable reminder of his being alive.
For a moment, I forgot that Marisa sat next to me and rubbed my nose into Shane's thick fur. He yipped and wagged his tail until I smiled and reluctantly pulled my face away. I locked eyes with Marisa, who wore an expression filled with pity. After clearing my throat, I said, “Go on.”
Marisa took a deep breath, then said, “You probably won't believe me but... Shane comes from a different world.”
“Right,” I drawled. She laughed while Shane nudged my chin with his cold nose. “And I assume you're from the same world.”
She shook her head. “No, I'm not. I'm a human and I’ve lived my whole life here on Earth. Shane's parents—or the ones you've gotten to know as his parents—aren't his biological parents, but we’re the only family he has here. We took him in when he was very little. His real parents wanted him to grow up in a safe environment. They expected him to come back when he turned twenty-five to take the throne from his father but Shane stayed here. Now, there's a civil war in Shane's world and, if I had to guess, the enemy is trying to find Shane, kill him, and bring his dead body back into their world to prove the righteous heir is dead and claim the throne for themselves.”
I blinked, surreptitiously. “Um... that's...”
“Unbelievable?” Marisa supplied.
“Oh, just some of it,” I replied, hoping she was joking because that couldn't be true. I peeled Shane's head off my shoulder, which took considerable force since he whined and wiggled, obviously intent on not looking me in the eyes. Eventually, I won. “Is what she said true?”
Shane showed no other reaction than flopping his ears and tucking his tail between his hind legs.
“Shane,” I said.
He crunched his eyes closed and tried to curl himself up, which was hard since I was holding him and not having any of it. The urge to shake him, to force him to answer me, rolled through me in a tidal wave so harsh I barely managed to withstand the temptation.
Through gritted teeth, I said, “Shane, is it true or not? It's a simple question that requires a simple answer and I think I'm more than entitled to the truth.”
The tip of Shane's tail reached his breast and he looked downright miserable. I set him back on my lap but left my hand fastened on his neck in case he wanted to run away. I shouldn't have feared. He sat there, motionless for a while, before he hesitantly pulled out his tail and thumped his answer.
“Yes?” I repeated. “You're seriously from another world?”
“He is. I told you it would be hard on you,” Marisa said, a great deal of compassion in her voice.
“I still don't understand what all of this has to do with Shane sitting here as a puppy!” I snarled.
“I think their death spell went wrong.”
“Death spell?” I choked out. I grabbed Shane and pressed him against my chest with trembling arms.
“Shane probably managed to throw a protective spell against theirs. But obviously his own spell didn't work as he'd predicted it would, either.”
“Is that true?” I whispered. I swallowed heavily when Shane answered in the affirmative. Moments later, I said, “I'm going to be sick.”
I bolted from the seat, with Shane still clutched in my arms, and dashed toward the bathroom.
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