SOMETHING NOT RIGHT • by Travis L. Jones

Asleep.

Running.

Chasing bushy-tail-nut-thing.

It runs up leafy-tall-thing.

STAY OUT OF PACK-PLACE!

STAY AWAY!

STAY AWAY!

Much fun to chase bushy-tails.

Wait… Something Not Right.

Must go back to Awake-Place now.

***

Awake.

Something Not Right.

Stand, sniff, listen.

Don’t smell Not Right.

But something still Not Right.

WAKE, ALPHA!

WAKE, PACK!

WAKE!

WAKE!

Alpha barks sounds and Me-sound from Alpha-sleep-place.

Alpha wants Me to be silent.

Alpha-mate makes sounds.

Alpha makes sounds at Alpha-mate.

Hear other pack-protectors wake their packs.

Small female pack-protector in close-den-toward-sun sounds afraid.

There… hear Something Not Right.

Low sound.

Like far off sky-sound during sky-flash-water-fall.

But not same.

Lower sound.

Not-safe sound.

Something Not Right.

Not safe.

Den not safe!

Pack not safe!

WAKE, PACK!

WAKE, PACK!

NOT SAFE!

NOT SAFE!

Something Not Right closer.

Feel Something Not Right deep under-paw.

Dirt under den moving.

Scratch at Me-den door.

Pack must run.

RUN, PACK!

RUN, PACK!

Den moving under-paw.

Hard to stand.

Hear Alpha coming.

Alpha opens Me-den door.

Alpha barks sounds at pack.

Alpha barks Me-sound.

Alpha makes Me-go-Outside moves.

Run to pack-den-door.

Den shaking.

Alpha-mate and Alpha-pup open pack-den-door.

Pack runs out onto den-front-wood-thing.

CHAOS!

SOMETHING NOT RIGHT EVERYWHERE UNDER-PAW!

ALL OUTSIDE THINGS MOVING!

PACK NOT SAFE!

MUST FIND SAFE-PLACE!

WHERE SAFE-PLACE?

Big hole-in-ground in grassy place near pack-den.

No hole-in-ground in before-times.

Ground moving.

Hole opens and closes.

Something Not Right still in ground.

Something Not Right still trapped in dirt.

Pack goes Inside.

Alpha barks Me-sound.

Alpha barks Me-Inside sound.

Run inside.

Pack together in narrow den-way.

Alpha, Alpha-mate, Alpha-pup in huddle-safe-puppy-pile.

Alpha-pup barks Me-sound.

Alpha-pup sounds afraid.

Alpha-pup makes Me-join moves.

Backing away from pack.

Cannot join pack.

Must Protect pack.

Must not fear.

Must not run.

Must chase away Something Not Right.

Must Protect.

STAY, PACK!

STAY, PACK!

ME PROTECT!

Running out den-door.

Where Something Not Right?

Something Not Right still under dirt.

Something Not Right still in hole-in-ground.

Run to edge of hole-in-ground.

Dig at dirt.

Claws tear at Something Not Right.

RUN AWAY!

YOU BAD!

RUN AWAY!

ME BITE!

ME TEAR OUT THROAT!

RUN AWAY!

LEAVE PACK ALONE!

RUN AWAY!

Something Not Right growls at Me.

Ground moves.

Hole widens.

Slipping over edge.

Dig claws in dirt.

Tail-end in hole.

Falling.

Claw, dig, push.

Hole closes.

Something Not Right bites legs and back and belly.

PAIN!

RUN, PACK!

RUN, PACK!

PAIN!

Ground stops moving.

Something Not Right is quiet.

Something Not Right still bites.

PAIN!

Alpha-pup barks Me-sound.

Alpha runs out onto den-front-wood-thing.

Alpha barks Me-sound.

Alpha runs to Me.

NO, ALPHA!

PAIN!

RUN!

SOMETHING NOT RIGHT!

RUN!

PAIN!

Alpha barks to pack.

Pack runs out of den.

Pack runs to Me.

NO, PACK!

RUN!

PAIN!

Pack use paws to dig around Me.

Alpha-pup pulling on forelegs.

Alpha and Alpha-mate digging more.

Something Not Right losing bite.

Almost…

Almost…

Free!

Pack makes happy-sounds.

Pack makes happy-puppy-pile.

Alpha-pup makes choke-Me love-hold.

Lick pack faces, paws.

Make happy-sounds.

Alpha barks Inside sounds.

Something wrong in belly and back.

Cannot run.

Making pain sounds.

Alpha wraps long-paws around body.

Alpha lifts Me.

Alpha carries Me Inside.

Alpha lays Me on comfortable sit-lay-thing.

Pain in belly and back.

Making pain sounds.

Pack is quiet.

Alpha-mate brings pack-things.

Alpha-mate uses pack-things on Me.

More pain in belly.

Hard to breathe.

Can’t feel toes or legs.

Making pain sounds.

Alpha makes quiet Alpha-here calming sounds.

Alpha-pup and Alpha-mate make sad-cry sounds.

Pain.

Pain in belly, in back, in legs.

Can’t feel toes.

Weak.

Tired.

So tired.

Alpha rubs feel-good spots behind ears.

Alpha makes quiet sounds.

Quiet sounds…

***

Asleep.

Lying on sun-warm-grass.

Smell Alpha making pack-food on hot-thing.

Smell bushy-tail in leafy-tall-thing.

Smell small female protector.

Hear Alpha-pup making happy-sounds.

Hear Alpha and Alpha-mate making quiet pack-sounds at each other.

Lift head.

Smell, listen.

No smell or sound of Something Not Right.

Something Not Right has run away.

Lay head on sun-warm-grass.

Pack Protected.

Pack Safe.

Happy.

Content.

Peaceful.

Darkness.


Travis L. Jones lives on the West Plains near Spokane, Washington. He splits his time between work, hiking, camping, writing, chess, retro video games, his wife and two daughters, and his pugs.


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