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A Small Town Season 1 Chapter 9

Yo! I hope that you’ve had an awesome week so far. I am back with another instalment of the serial. This time around, we are introduced to a character that we heard about previously but are now meeting for the first time.

***

It was morning.
Michael Hecker was in a bit of a pickle. He’d lost some keys several days before and now needed access to the safe. Okay, maybe “need” was a strong word. Perhaps “wanted” was a better one.
He’d started feeling odd at the beginning of the most recent new moon. It was bad enough when the full moon came about, but the new moon was becoming difficult to manage as well. He sensed something evil and the beast was now reacting to its presence. As such, he’d woken up two nights in a row partially changed.
He suspected what might happen if the beast grew out of control and sort to keep it in check. This is where certain contents within the safe under his bed came in handy. A capsule of wolfsbane and silver flakes was usually enough to weaken the beast enough to stop the change. The beast, of course, heavily disliked Michael actively working against it.
He’d never really got along with the beast in the twelve years since he’d been bitten one night during a breakdown on a trip to Singleton in New South Wales. He’d been found heavily injured by a truck driver an hour and a half later. He was told by the doctor at the hospital that the cold winter air had likely saved his life but he now suspected that he would have survived regardless.
Michael had been housesitting for a friend during the next full moon, still recovering from the attack when he’d first changed. Thankfully, the residence was away from a populated area. However, he remembered killing several sheep over the following three nights. On the first night, it had seemed like a nightmare seeing the terrified eyes of the Ewe staring back at him. On the second, it had felt more real as the beast began to share more of its senses with him. Michael had remembered the taste and the smell and the feel of cold wet grass beneath his paws. By the third, he knew what was happening with an unsettling clarity.
Michael had grown scared of what he could do to the people that he cared about. He purchased some books on the subject but they offered nothing but folk tales inspired by individuals with a gene that caused excess body hair. This was not helpful at all, nor were all of the silly horror movies about werewolves that he’d made the mistake of watching. In fact, the latter simply intensified his anxiety until he finally decided to move somewhere with enough distance between inhabitants that he would be a lot less of a risk to other people.
So, now he lived in a small country town along the coast of Central Queensland away from the big city where he’d grown up. He’d always thought of moving to a small coastal town when he retired, but that dream had been dependent on having a wife and family. His dream of finding a good woman was no longer an option because he wouldn’t put another person’s life in jeopardy.
Exasperated by his unsuccessful search for the keys, Michael decided to go into the township to pick up some seasoned chips and a flavoured milk as a means of clearing his head. He was thankful that he hadn’t lost his car keys at least. He pulled some sweat pants over the top of his shorts and threw on a jumper before grabbing the keys and heading out of the door of his home.

*

Maia Dunham was getting milk from the fridge of the service station when a strange man walked past her. He was tall, with shoulder-length brown hair that barely covered the beginning of a wicked scar at the back of his neck. The man looked almost as tired as she felt. He looked at rows of flavoured milk, considering which one to purchase.
“Hi!” she said.
He looked up, dark brown eyes staring back at her. They were almost black. He croaked out a hello in reply. Then his eyes grew large and he stumbled forward, hands upon the glass door. As the strange man looked about to fall backwards, Maia reached out to stop him from hitting the shelf behind him. As soon as her hands made contact with his arm, everything went black.

*

Michael found himself in a white room with the beast nearby chewing on a large meaty bone. It was a bipedal creature with shaggy light grey and brown fur. Its lower legs bent back bizarrely, giving it the appearance like it might lunge forward at any moment. It had a long snout with numerous large teeth peeking out from its mouth every so often as it crunched into the bone. It wasn’t a tall creature, but it was stocky enough to be intimidating even without the fangs and fur.
Michael had often found himself in this same room whenever the change threatened. However, this time was different. This time another person was with them.
The pale and fragile woman that had been getting milk at the service station now stood several yards away looking at the wolf-creature. She didn’t seem phased in any regard, though. Most people would have dropped to the foetal position at the sight of such a monster, but not this woman.
“Where are we?” she asked.
Michael had wondered this many times since he’d been infected. Every single time that he was about to change, he met the wolf in this place. It would usually be gnawing at a bone or grooming itself. It would then stand up on its hind legs and chase after him. Of course, he’d never thought to hold his ground because the flight instinct usually kicked in.
“No idea…” he said, then paused. The lycanthrope looked up from its bone and tilted its head as it considered the woman. “Aren’t you scared of it?” he asked.
She shook her head, “No, actually. I have seen scarier things. As it is, he doesn’t seem to be aggressive. So, why should I be afraid when he is not attacking?”
Michael thought about it for a moment, then answered, “Well… because it is a freaking werewolf!”
Maia wasn’t moved by the argument. Instead, she walked up slowly to the creature. Michael warned her against it, but she continued on until she placed a hand on its head and began to pat it.
Michael couldn’t believe his eyes. The creature wasn’t attacking like he had thought it would. Instead, it was nuzzling into her hand like a child receiving affection from a loved one. Then it stopped and looked at Michael.
“See, I can play nice!” it projected.
“What do you mean by ‘scarier things’?” he asked the woman.
She looked back at him, “I am talking undead and Reapers.”
“Reapers?”
“Yeah. They don’t send people to the afterlife like many people seem to think.”
“And how do you know this?”
She dropped her head and lifted the wolf’s to scratch under its chin. She took a deep breath. The lycanthrope looked deep into her eyes.
“Because I’ve been wounded by one…” she stated.
Michael swallowed.
“Your werewolf friend here is not a threat and I doubt ever will be. Unless somebody is threatening a loved one… that is. But I suppose you couldn’t know that.”
“And how do you know that?”
“Let’s just say that it is a perk of the wound.”
Michael found himself curious. She struck him as a good-natured person and seemed to have some knowledge that he was horribly lacking. She was pretty as well.
“My name is Michael Hecker.”
“Maia Dunham. I recently moved back to Carmila for health reasons… I was hoping to find somebody to help deal with my particular problem.”
“Perhaps we can help each other out… but probably better to go back first.” Michael looked at the wolf, “We need out.”
The wolf nuzzled Maia’s hand one last time before it allowed itself to fall back into Michael’s subconscious. Slowly, the white room faded and the two humans found themselves leaning against the glass doors of the service station fridge. The air felt heavier.
Michael leant to the side as Maia picked out a chocolate milk. She offered a shoulder to Michael who was still feeling light-headed and they made their way to the register where Debbie was waiting.
“What’s up with him?” Debbie asked.
“Probably low blood sugar… Mind bringing this up for me?”
Debbie shrugged and allowed her friend to purchase the drink. With flavoured milk in one hand and woozy man on the opposite shoulder, she walked over to the side room where visitors often ate and drink at the several tables available. She helped him into a chair, feeling weak herself. Maia opened the plastic bottle and plonked a straw into it before offering it to Michael. He took it and drank slowly. Maia sat down.
It would be several hours before he was feeling well enough to drive, but Michael had somehow made an ally because of this chance meeting. He wouldn’t forget it. He was afraid, but he now knew that he wasn’t alone. However, there still remained the mystery of what had occurred during the last few days of the new moon. It would be some time before they discovered the truth.


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A Small Town Season 1 Chapter 8

Sorry for the late post. My day was unexpectedly busy. Anyway, this instalment continues on where the last one left off, in the aftermath of Bernard Haney getting murdered by a big-ass monster.

***

It was around one a.m. when Karen was awoken by the sound of her work phone ringing. She rolled over and groggily picked it up from her bedside table. She yawned as her hands went through the now automatic tasks of unlocking and answering it.
“Karen here. What’s up?”
“Hey, Karen! Taylor here. There’s been an accident down on the highway…”
“Well, shit on a breadstick! Send the job details to my printer and I will fetch it after I get my kit on.”
“No problem, Karen. Have a safe one out there.” With that, Sargent Taylor ended the call.
She took in the pitch black room. She yawned again and got out from under the warm covers. She felt the cold air on her now exposed skin and wanted to crawl back in. However, work was work.
In the dark room, Karen quickly donned her police polo shirt, cargo pants and dark blue police jumper before slipping on some dark blue socks. She began to hear her brother moving about in his room of the house, likely awoken by the sound of her phone. She pocketed her keys and both phones exiting the door adjoining the sleep-out.
She was greeted by the lanky form of Luke as he wandered out of his own dimly-lit room in a pair of flannelette pyjama pants. His arms outstretched as he yawned out a hello. He was exceptionally tall, with dark brown hair falling past his shoulders. She’d been told by several of her female friends that he was attractive but she didn’t get it.
He was now twenty-nine years of age and uncaringly single. He’d had numerous boyfriends and girlfriends in the past, but none of those previous relationships had led to anything meaningful. He’d simply grown disinterested in putting in effort into finding somebody special.
It had long been her observation that men, in general didn’t seem to feel the cold as much as their female counterparts. Luke seemed to feel it even less than other males as well and she had long joked about him being part-Eskimo. He had always smiled and joked about wanting his very own igloo on several occasions. Her brother was serious as well but had never been able to achieve that dream.
He lazily gave her “first dibs” on the toilet with a simple wave of the hand. Whenever she wasn’t going to some job or working, he deemed in necessary to have some sort of toilet dash competition. Most of the time he won, but she’d recently resorted to cheating. Luke had simply found it amusing.
Not long after that, she had some shoes and a belt on. Luke handed her a cold can of coke as she exited the back door of the high-set Queenslander with a flashlight in hand. She offered a quick thank-you before leaving.
It was times such as this that she was especially thankful to have her younger brother around. Melody was too young to be in the house alone at night and there were often times during the day when he helped out. Simply put, Karen couldn’t do it without him around. Melody seemed to like having her uncle around as well. Most of all. Karen liked the company.
Karen picked up the rest of the necessary notebooks and belt paraphernalia from the police station, grabbing the job details from the printer before locking up. She was grateful that fewer people tended to travel during these colder months. In the warmer seasons, she noticed a steady flow of tourists moving about her piece of highway even late at night. That meant extra business for the twenty-four-hour service station and increased work dealing with petrol drive-offs. It was par for the course.
Karen hopped into her truck and plonked the notebooks and tablet in the passenger seat. She placed the can in the door holder, before taking a deep breath. She flicked on the overhead light, then picked up the printout of the job details and began to read. She frowned as she realised where the accident had taken place.
From a mechanical standpoint, the area would likely have restricted room due to a steep ditch nearby. She was thankful that there wasn’t a lot of traffic around at this time of night.
It was also not far from the turnoff to the road where she’d rescued Sue Williamson the previous afternoon. She was thankful that it wasn’t on the side road in question, but she still found it disconcerting.
She put the printout back in the seat next to her and turned on the car.
Ten minutes later, she arrived at the scene.

*

Bernard Haney was now dead. He understood from a physical standpoint what that meant, but he now had to deal with the metaphysical aspects of being deceased first-hand. He’d remembered that feeling of drifting upward momentarily just before the monster had dragged his spirit back down with a deep and ongoing growl that severed his natural passage to the afterlife. It resulted in a jarring pop that sent his senses into a whirl. He felt dizzy and soon dropped to his knees next to his former body.
Bernard was intimately aware of the monster several yards away, but it seemed oblivious to his presence. He macabrely wondered if it was even possible for the creature that had taken his life to do further harm to him. He hoped that he wouldn’t learn the hard way.
His body was so close. Large puncture wounds were present where they shouldn’t be. Saliva dripped from the skull, moistening the pools of blood below. As close as it was, it was no longer a part of him.
Not far away, the B-Double truck rolled to a stop in a parking bay. The driver’s door opened, light emanating from the cabin. Bernard tried to yell a warning to the driver, but his voice didn’t pierce the veil. A large rotund man with a scruffy beard climbed down.
The monster looked up from the body and growled deeply. Seeing the creature in the dim light created by tail-lights, the man hurriedly climbed back up and slammed the door shut behind him. The monster looked back down at the body and nudged it with his snout. The driver’s window was opened soon after and a hand came out with something in it. There were several quick flashes before the hand retreated back and the window was wound up. The monster looked from truck to body several times before it stood up. It was now bored and no longer hungry. Moments later, it started toward the side road from whence it came.
It took several minutes before Bernard’s spiritual body recovered enough to stand up and walk around. He felt different. He wasn’t out of breath or sore anymore. He felt better than he had since his youth running around the neighbourhood getting up to shenanigans with several of his friends. He felt stronger as well.
Not long after that, he saw the yellow, blue and white of the RACQ truck drive towards the scene. It parked several meters from the corpse on the road with the headlights on. Then came the muffled sound of his damaged mobile phone before it abruptly stopped. He heard talking from within the car. He considered walking over to see what we happening, but something compelled him to stay close to his body for the time being.
An indeterminable amount of time later, Karen’s car drove in front of the other vehicle. Bernard saw her get out of the car and look around before cordoning off the scene with high-visibility cones. She headed over to where the truck driver sat nervously, eyes moving back and forth to either side of the road. She headed back to the mechanic in the RACQ truck.
Michael was a tall and stocky man in his mid-forties with light brown hair and perpetual five o’clock shadow. His voice was deep and made her think of several soul singers that her parents had listened to when she was growing up. He also appeared to have a clean record. All in all, she considered him to be one of the more attractive men in the region. If she’d been in the market for a man, then the single father of two might have been a good choice.
She began to question him. She quickly learned that he’d been called to assist with Bernard’s car. He had driven up the road and found the car with the driver’s side door open but no sign of Bernie. He had also mentioned large holes and indentations in the bonnet. After she was done jotting down notes, they arranged to talk again the following afternoon. He soon drove away.
Phone calls were made as she evaluated the scene with a flashlight in hand. She scratched her head at yet another oddity, Bernard following close behind. Finally, she went back to inspect the bloodied and broken body. She recognised the dark grey jacket and the stained blue jeans. She looked sad.
“What the hell happened to you, Bernie?” she asked the air, but no answer seemed forthcoming.
Bernard considered his death. It was not how he’d envisioned that he would pass on. No, he expected to die old. He’d pictured his death to be simple, such as dying in his sleep or in a hospital after reconnecting with his children like some television drama. Now, he looked down at his chewed up body as Senior Constable Karen Johnson stood there unaware that his spirit was beside her.
He wished that he had answers but even if he did how could he convey how screwed up the situation was? He’d been killed by something unnatural. He was certain that the monster had stopped him moving on to his afterlife as well. It was bad enough that it had happened to him. However, he knew that others were also at risk.
The question was: How do you kill the unnatural?


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A Small Town Season 1 Chapter 7

Hello again! It took a while, but I’ve finally reached the beginning of the major story arc for this season of the serial. I’ve known how this chapter was going to play out for several days, and I was growing a bit anxious as the chapter drew closer. However, I needed to lay some groundwork first. The chapter ended up being really enjoyable to write even if the subject matter isn’t what I typically delve into.
One of the main reasons for starting this project in the first place was to get out of my comfort zone and hopefully have something enjoyable for you guys to read. I don’t entirely know what you guys think of what I haven’t written so far but I hope that these rough first drafts are at least easy to visualise and identify with even if the language is unpolished. Whatever the case may be, I welcome your constructive feedback. Even if you don’t have any feedback to leave, I’d love to learn more about the folks that are taking time out to read my blog posts.

Here’s wishing you an awesome weekend!

 

***

 

It was just after half-past three in the afternoon when Bernard Haney drove up to the bridge in his old white utility to see the back of several emergency services vehicles dealing with some unknown task. Unknown to him, they were working to get Sue Williamson out of her odd predicament some distance past the tree line. He’d heard from a neighbour further up from his own property that Martin had been ringing around all morning trying to find out if anybody had seen his wife or her car. Given that Bernard had worked the afternoon shift the previous afternoon, the best that he could offer was witnessing her briefly drop by the service station to pay for fuel.
He slowed down the vehicle as it moved over the bridge, taking note of Karen as she stood faced away supervising the handful of people assisting, with a large dog standing authoritatively beside her. He had spent his share of time checking out her arse from afar and considered asking out the intelligent and thoughtful single mother on several occasions. Alas, he’d always stopped himself from making that mistake. He knew that he would inevitably be shut down and have to deal with the embarrassment of rejection for months to follow.
As much as he liked her, he knew that he wasn’t what most would refer to as a “good catch”. His hair was grey and thinning, skin slightly wrinkled and blotched from years of working out in the sun. He had a good ten years on her as well. He didn’t have any special interests that would make for good conversation either, the best that he could muster was talk about cricket or the state of origin. He didn’t have any hobbies and interests of his own, work taking up most of his time since his divorce five years prior.
Karen turned around briefly, the dog next to her continuing to stare straight ahead. Bernard saw the briefest of waves with the loveliest of smiles upon her lips. His heart briefly began to beat faster and time seemed to stand still as he lifted his right hand up and down in reply. He considered getting out and chatting, but knew that it would be bad form whilst she was working. As it was, he was already running late for his shift at the service station. He increased speed and continued on, his mind delighting in a mildly erotic fantasy.

*

When Bernard got to work, he noticed a new employee at the back. The unfamiliar woman was around the same age as he was, grey disrupting her shoulder-length curls of ginger hair. Debbie introduced the pair, and he caught the name, Evelyn Dixon. She seemed pleasant enough and he intended to chat with her again later.
He went to work restocking the shelves and fridges whilst Evelyn was shown around by two of the other girls that worked there. Debbie spoke to her replacement for the afternoon shift and Carla promptly disappeared into the office where she dealt with paperwork where she made last minute phone calls.
After Bernard had finished the first task, he went around sweeping and wiping over counters and tables. He smiled and whistled as he did, which was contrasted by the dull hum of the numerous appliances in the background. He would move between cleaning, restocking and serving customers throughout the next seven and a half hours of his shift.
At several points during that time, he saw Karen and one of the ambulance workers come in to pay for fuel. His eyes met Karen’s twice. She was friendly enough to him, and he tried to not think about how much he wanted to spend time with her. It was a sad state of affairs, but he sucked it up and continued working like any adult should.
When the shift finally did end, Bernard felt his mood drop slightly. He was about to go home to his empty home to a cat that barely offered him the most remote amount of affection. He’d been stuck with the feline after his divorce. It appeared that not even his wife liked the cranky old tabby that she’d adopted as a kitten seven years prior.
He gave polite farewells and walked out into the cold air, his warm breath He walked over his Ute, got in and secured his seat belt. He briefly stared ahead at the grey Landcruiser that he was parked behind. Pulling his keys out of a pocket, he let out a loud sigh.
He didn’t like being alone, but he knew that he had no other alternative. He resisted the urge to scream and slam fists against the steering wheel. He took a deep breath before turning the ignition.

*

As Bernard began the journey back home, he decided that he needed to make a major change in his life. He didn’t quite know what it was yet, but he knew that he needed to do something. He doubted that it would be something as life-changing as becoming a priest or an attempt to climb Mount Everest, but it would have to be meaningful.
He would need to start out with small changes in his habits first to break up his current routine. Those changes would also need to be geared to a greater purpose. That greater purpose would need to be something fresh and new.
He tried to think about some major goal to work on for several minutes as the new moon stared down at him blankly from above. He wondered if he should learn something new or work on his health. Both posed their own unique challenges as each encompassed numerous options. That was when it occurred to him – he could finally learn carpentry.
Though he’d always wanted to learn how to make his own furniture out of metal and wood, numerous things had cropped up over the span of his life that had kept him from moving towards that end. He’d learnt a bit of metal and woodworking in high school, but he’d put those interests aside when he’d met Mary.
Mary had become the centre of his world for more than thirty years. They’d had three children during that time. Both of his daughters were now married with their own children, but the frequency of their calls had decreased after Mary had abruptly left one day. As for their son, Jacob still called but his Doctorate now took up the better part of his existence.
Bernard no longer had nagging concerns about children wandering into a workshop and getting injured. He also didn’t need to support a wife and three children. It occurred to him for the first time since Mary had left that he could now spend money on his own interests. He smiled at the liberating thought.
With that, he decided to start working toward that goal by finding some good woodworking books on the next day that the library was open. He would drive to Mackay on the next weekday to visit some hardware and bookstores. The plan seemed perfect. What could possibly go wrong?

*

Bernard had been travelling up the gravel road towards his property for several minutes when his Ute abruptly sputtered to a halt. He tried to turn over the engine a couple times before pushing himself back into his seat and thrusting cold fingers through his hair in annoyance. He tapped the thumb of his other hand on the steering wheel for a moment before testing the lights. They burst to life, lighting up the road ahead. He breathed out a sigh of relief before pulling out a torch from the glove box and getting out.
He moved to the front of the car, shielding his eyes from the headlights. He reached under the bonnet and unlatched it with a satisfying click. He was soon inspecting the engine for any obvious clues to what was causing the problem. It didn’t have fluids leaking or anything else untoward, leaving him at a loss. He did a quick calculation of how far from the property he was and considered whether he should walk.
“Bugger all that walking!” he declared before pulling out his mobile phone and phoning the local RACQ for an assist. He got back into the warmth of the car and switched off the lights.
He’d been waiting in the car for several few minutes when he first heard a growl to the left side of the road. It was deep and loud enough to shake the entire the entire vehicle. He looked out but saw nothing.
“What the hell?”
He turned on the headlights again. It was then that he heard numerous thuds coming from the same side. Moments later, a mass of kangaroos moved in front of and over his car, their tails slapping against the ground as they did. There was a momentary break in the stampede, during which time he heard an animal cry out in pain and the sickening sound of bones breaking. His heart began to race as fear gripped him. He wanted to drive away from whichever monster was lurking about, but he knew that it was impossible.
Not long after the last of the stampede hopped past, Bernard Haney heard the growl again. This time, he knew that the creature was getting closer. It was then that something very large landed on all fours on the front of his car, the bonnet buckling under the impact.
Amber eyes stared back at him, blood dripping from a long canine snout that was big enough to swallow him whole. Pitch black fur met at ridges from the back of its neck, running all the way down its spine. Its body was stocky, more than half the width of his car. Wicked claws dug into the metal. It closed its mouth then cocked its head, mouth twisting into a Joker-like smile.
Bernard looked back in terror at the beast. He knew that it wanted him to run, but his body was unable to move. He disliked the feeling of helplessness, but he knew that he had no chance against it if he ran.
The Black Dog was quickly growing impatient. It wanted to chase a human being, the woman from the previous evening getting away due to a meddling Moon Dog. It was determined to eat human fear tonight.
It lifted its front right paw and extended its claws. Bernard watched as claws cut through the metal of the bonnet like butter. Then it growled again, activating the flight mechanism.
He opened the door and started back down the road towards the highway with his torch in hand. The Black Dog chased the man, devouring emanations of fear as his legs pumped frantically. He was relying on adrenaline now.
They ran for what seemed like an eternity. That was when the man felt the road change from gravel to bitumen. His legs kept pumping. Then, his body flew up in the air. It was in the brief moment as his pulverised body moved upward that he noticed that he’d been hit by a truck.
As he lay on the cold bitumen, the face of the Black Dog wandered up to him. It still had that same wicked expression on its face. This time, though, it decided to drink more than his fear. It dug a claw into his mashed chest and bit into his head.

*

Some distance away, Jaspar White awoke in his bed. He sat bolt upright. He knew that something unnatural had occurred moments before. He watched as the air around him swirled about in sickening green, blood red and pitch black.
Somebody had passed on before their time and their soul had not been able to move on. Rage began to surface at the profane act. He needed to track down what had done this horrific thing and end its existence. However, he knew that he couldn’t do it on his own.
He would need to find the Moon Dog.

 

 

 


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A Small Town Season 1 Chapter 6

I finally got this chapter written. Phew! That was touch and go for a while there but I am glad that it the first draft is finally done because this will allow me to work on another chapter tomorrow, all going well. In any case, I hope that it doesn’t completely suck. And if it does, feel free to leave some constructive criticism in the comments section. Though, please remember that this is a rough first draft.

***

After chatting to some of the women that were working at Coastal Care the day before, Karen was able to determine when Sue had left the premises. The woman had stuck around to talk over coffee with some of them. They chatted about the usual things: friends, family and random gossip. It hadn’t been out of the ordinary. The two that had been around the longest saw her leave around half-past five. A quick check of the footage from CCTV had confirmed it to be a few minutes after, driving towards the service station a small distance across the road. She requested a copy of the footage and arranged to pick it up the next day before driving over to the service station.
As Karen pulled in, she took note of her fuel gauge. Given that she’d be doing runs along the highway soon after, she decided to fuel up. She pulled gas, pulled out the fuel gauge and passed service tourists talking in what appeared to be Spanish. She exchanged a smile and a hello with them before heading up to the side counter where one of the staff was looking over some mail that had fallen down from a nest of shelves.
“Hey, Debbie!” Karen greeted with a wave of the hand.
The dark-haired woman looked over and grinned.
“Hey there, chickadee! Need to pay for some fuel and collect some mail?”
Karen nodded.
“If you don’t mind, I’d like to get a copy of the footage from yesterday.”
Debbie nodded, “Sure thing. By the way, are coming to that barbeque tomorrow night?”
Karen wracked her brain trying to remember.
“You forgot, didn’t you?”
Karen was embarrassed, “Yeah. Sorry about that. I’ve had a lot on my plate of late. I’ll try to make it, though. That was at Mick’s place, yes?”
Debbie grinned, “Yep, and I hear that he should be amply pickled by the time that we get there.”
Just then, the bell rang. Karen turned to see a dark-haired woman in her late thirties and a youth in his late teens walk in. The store manager called them over with a “hey!” and a gesture of summoning. Sure enough, they wandered over.
Karen took note of the woman’s abnormally pale skin and thin frame. Simply put, the woman did not look well. She wasn’t rude enough to ask about it but filed that away for later.
“This is Maia and her son Thomas. They moved here a few days ago.”
Maia nodded, “Maia Dunham. My sister Peggy and her husband Alan mentioned something about the new cop around town. Made a big deal about you sorting out a problem with Ken Baker’s cattle wandering onto the road over near Fraggy Rock.”
Karen nodded, “Seems that they had some issues with pranksters deliberately leaving the gate open.”
Thomas mosied over to one of the fridges.
Maia nodded thoughtfully, “Probably got that you sorted it quickly. They could have caused a traffic crash.”
“It is the way that things go. Ken was happy at least. As for the parents of the kids doing it… We are still dealing with that one.”
Maia shrugged, “Some parents can be particularly defensive when it comes to their children. If Thomas did something like that, I’d give him a swift kick up the arse.”
Hearing his name, Thomas walked back with two large bottles of milk, “I wouldn’t do it in the first place.”
Maia smiled back at him, “And I appreciate it, babe. I count myself lucky that my kid is level-headed.”
“Don’t tell anyone. It might give people the wrong impression of me,” he said, tapping his nose. “I am the king of all rebels!”
The three women laughed for a moment before Debbie went through some of the mail.
“The name is Karen Johnson by the way.”
“Maia and Thomas Dunham. We moved up here from Brissie.”
“Sounds like quite the trip…”
“Yeah, had to do it, though. I got sick a few months back and I figured that I had some chance of getting better if I came here.”
Karen listened as Maia talked about how the town had changed in the fifteen years that she’d been gone. The town was a lot bigger back then, with many of the locals working in the mines two hours away. The mines weren’t as profitable anymore, leading to layoffs and drastically reduced hours. Eventually, the local government approved fly-in-fly-out rules, leading to more layoffs. For the locals that decided to stay, the bulk of their income came from farming.
“I suppose that we still have Facebook to stay in contact with some of the folks that left, but it isn’t quite the same, is it?” Debbie said as she plonked a large box with a large pile of different sized envelopes on top.
Maia shook her head, “Sure isn’t…”
“The first of the three stooges left three years back,” Debbie offered.
“Three stooges?” Karen asked.
“Yeah. That is what folks used to call three of the guys that we used to go to school with. That was Frank, Eddy and Travis. Eddy used to mow the nature strip each Thursday. Don’t know what happened, but he decided to up and leave one day. Heard that he got married and had a kid. His mum, Doris, said that he was living somewhere in the Wide Bay.”
That is when it occurred to Karen, “So, does that mean that you guys all went to school together?”
Maia and Debbie nodded.
“Sure did!” Debbie declared proudly. “I was even at Thomas’ birth, not that remembers me at all.”
“Class of ninety-five,” Maia offered.
Karen tried to remember her own graduation, but the best that she could muster was the memory of her idiot brother accidentally pouring Fanta over her floral dress just before she was about to walk up to the headmistress to collect her graduation papers. It was an embarrassing moment, but she’d quickly covered the spot with her handbag.
“Class of ninety-eight here. I went to Salisbury High in Brisbane.”
Debbie was about to say something when Karen’s mobile phone began to chime. The police officer nearly swore under her breath at the realisation that she’d been chatting to the girls long enough for the reminder for Martin’s appointment to go off. She reached into her right pocket, unlocked the phone and switched off the alarm.
She looked up at Debbie and Maia, “Looks like I have to go now. I’ll have to pay for that fuel…”
She felt guilty about occupying the spot for so long but didn’t recall more than a couple people head over to the other counter while she was chatting. Debbie nodded and began to bring up the details. Karen used her fuel card before picking up the mail.
“Thanks for the chat. Both of you should feel free to drop by next counter shift.”
“Will do.. and nice to meet you, Karen.”
“Catch you later, Karen!” Debbie said.

*

As Karen drove along the dirt road towards Martin’s place, she noticed a spot on the side of the side. It was a bridge over a shallow river below. She instinctually moved to the shoulder and turned off the car. She got out and began to walk down the embankment off to the side.
When she reached the bottom, she looked under a domed area big enough for a car to drive through. She noticed some soft mud on the ground, with the imprints of thin tires. She shrugged, then started up the embankment.
She couldn’t shake the feeling as she reached the top that something was watching her from the treeline fifty feet away. It was an odd sensation, like one that she’d felt several times before when she’d driven up the same road. Then something darted into view before her and nearly jumped.
She kicked herself when the large dog with coarse brown and white hair bounded up to her. It began to bark and jumped about, turning from her and then back to the treeline repeatedly. It was odd, but she felt compelled to follow.
“Show me, boy!”
The dog gave a loud “arf” of appreciation before it started to jog towards the trees, occasionally stopping and looking back at her. Moving through the knee-high grass, she had an inkling of what she was about to find. However, what she discovered when she reached the treeline was even odder.
Balanced between the branches of two bluegums was a blue Jimny. At the base of the tree were scratch marks.
“Hello?” Karen yelled. “Anybody up there?”
It took a moment before the voice of Sue Williamson sounded from above, “Hello?”
“Sue, is that you?”
“Karen…?”
“Yeah. Don’t move. I’ll call for help to get you down.”
It took an hour to get her down from the car, but members of the local fire brigade managed to get her down safely. All the while, the dog stood to attention next to Karen, his eyes taking in everything. She arranged for somebody to fetch the dog, which appeared to have a collar, some food and water as a thank-you. In her own words, she couldn’t have found Sue without the strange mutt.
As Sue rested at the back of a stretcher being checked on, the dog named Egg saw his chance to leave. In one of his rare moments of clarity, he sniffed the air and ducked behind the firetruck. He ran further into the treelines, found the tree that he needed, before running directly at it. The air in front of the tree wobbled slightly as the transportation node was activated.
In the white space beyond, he sniffed again and picked a direction, then jumped forward. Moments later, he ran out of some cane fields less than a hundred meters from behind Peggy and Alan’s home. He was abundantly aware that he needed to tell the woman before he forgot again. He sniffed, caught her scent and started sprinting in her direction.


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A Small Town Season 1 Chapter 5

I am back with another chapter of the serial. I hope that you’ve enjoyed the story so far. This chapter is the beginning of the main story arc, everything up to now being more of an introduction to the community in which the story takes place.

***

A woman in a dark blue polo and cargo pants sat in a tiny office, head resting on her hand as she stared at the computer screen in front of her. Her light green eyes were beginning to droop with the monotony of the chore at hand. Periodically, she brushed slightly overgrown strands of strawberry blonde hair away from her vision.
Her work emails were quickly piling up with the usual share of irrelevant messages about upcoming events for officers-in-charge of the stations in the region, most of which would simply distract her from a backlog of tasks. Some the other emails were becoming irritatingly tiring.
Some of the local “clients” had also been calling in the usual conspiracy stuff such as UFO sitings and a monster that appeared to be replacing cows with doppelgangers. That was normal fare. However, this was not a normal week.

Simply put, Senior Constable Karen Johnson was having a bad week. Between the paperwork from a host of jobs piling up, she now had to contend with one of the more unusual jobs of her career. When she was called to help with a car crash in the region south of her own, she had expected something simple. For the better part of the year and a half that she’d been stationed in the area, she’d attended and coordinated a host of crashes.
Sometimes it was a truckie that had fallen asleep and drove into some cane fields. Other times it was tourists passing through that passed out at the wheel and hit either a tree or some other vehicle. Those were standard, normal and explainable. However, the incident in question was neither of these things. It was downright weird.
The crash report was overdue and she was waiting on a toxins screen from the body of the driver. The report was tricky because it was absent of relevant things, such as whatever had hit both the driver side and front of the vehicle in separate impacts rather than a single angled collisions. Whatever it was had done major damage to the skyline before the vehicle finally settled more than two hundred meters down the highway.
She’d found two more oddities at the scene. The first arrived in the form of several large blood-covered feathers that were white in colour and objects that she had not as yet been able to identify the species of. The second was some odd animal prints near the beginning of the impact. They were large and reminded her of some crocodile and alligator tracks that she’d seen during a trip with her ex-husband and daughter years before. Whatever the thing was it had an odd gait and large claws.
As for the lone survivor of the “crash”, he was still in a coma. She doubted that an interview would be useful anyway, her investigation so far leaving her with the sensation that she wasn’t dealing with a simple hit and run. It wasn’t the first odd thing that she’d seen in the township since she’d arrived either and probably wouldn’t be her last. The fact was that she recently been facing an unexpected upsurge in what can be legitimately described as “weird shit”.
She’d seen some odd things over the past six months in particular. It had not reached the point of unmanageable, but it did leave her wondering why she hadn’t been warned by the previous OIC. From a brief conversation that she had and from his record, he didn’t seem incompetent.
She wondered if Senior Constable Darren Michaelsen had simply not been around for oddities such as a rather large spider that she’d seen crossing the road dragging a Joey in two of its arms. A big-ass spider was frightening enough. It was also within the realms of nature and occasionally the stuff of normal conversation. However, some things that she’d seen were decidedly unnatural.
Perhaps he had not been in a similar position one night to see something furry that stood on two legs howling at the moon when she’d been on a callout to a car accident. She’d heard it loud and clear over the sound of her car’s diesel engine. She’d initially dismissed it as some late night delusion, but she’d received calls from locals over the preceding days that suggested that the howl that she’d heard was at least real. She’d tried to put it out of her mind in the preceding months, but other things had happened to make her believe that she was only touching the surface.

The high-pitched sound of the phone ringing next to her dragged her back to consciousness. She picked up the plastic handset and heard an audible click.
“This is the Carmila Police Station. Senior Constable Johnson speaking…”
“Hello, Karen… This is Martin Williamson…”
Recognising the familiar voice of one of the more reliable sources, she breathed a sigh of relief. Martin was a cattle farmer that had recently lost several cattle to dogs belonging to his neighbour. The dogs had been put down, but the neighbour continued to declare innocence in spite of photographic evidence that proved otherwise.
“What can I do for you, Marty?”
“Ah… its about my wife. She’s gone missing…” replied the middle-aged man now on the verge of crying.
Karen took a deep breath. Sue Williamson was a reliable member of several organisations in the district. It seemed out of character given her background. As far as Karen knew, neither Sue nor Martin had any ongoing issues with anyone but their neighbour.
“When did you last see her?”
“Yesterday morning. She went to Coastal Care. The girls said that she left in the afternoon, but she never arrived home. I rang her mobile but it keeps ringing out… I also rang family down south to see if she’s contacted them… but nothing…”
Karen had always been appreciative of Martin’s proactive tendencies. It gave her some necessary starting points. However, Sue’s disappearance was immediately troubling due to what she’d seen during several callouts to other properties along the same dirt road.
“Okay. If you don’t mind, I’d like to chat to you in person.”
Martin was quiet for a moment, “I’ll be home all day… just in case she shows up…”
“Understandable. I’ll drop by around two o’clock. Is that okay?”
“Anything that will help you find her.”
“I’ll see you then.”
With that, Karen ended the conversation.
After jotting down some notes, Karen made a few phone calls, the first was to the landline of the family of her daughter Melody’s friend Jenny McCormick, letting them know that she would likely be later than the arranged pickup time. Jenny’s mother Lyn was more than happy for Melody to stay longer as it meant that her daughter would be occupied. Karen understood the feeling, school holidays were a challenge for any parent with a hyperactive child.
The second call was to the police officer currently acting as relief for the officer in charge of the Saint Lawrence station to the south. She asked if he’d seen Sue Williamson’s navy blue Jimny during his shift so far. As expected, he hadn’t seen anything. Karen promptly ended the call.
She stared at the screen for a moment, dozens of emails still unchecked. She rubbed her forehead before signing out of the computer system and putting her kit on. She picked up some car keys and  notepad then looked around as she considered if she was forgetting something. Satisfied, she closed up the station and got into the car.
As Senior Constable Karen Johnson pulled out of the driveway, she was aware that the week was about to get a lot worse.


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TV Review: Goblin Episode 01

Year: 2016 – 2017
Episode: 1/16 completed KDrama series (English sub)
Other Names: The Lonely, Shining Goblin; Guardian: The Lonely and Great God; Prince Maker; Mr Sunshine
Online: Wikipedia, MyDramaList,  HanCinema, KoreanDrama, AsianWiki, DramaFever
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Drama, Romance

I’ve been holding off watching this series for the last few months for several reasons. The first reason is that I usually read a lot of urban fantasy and wanted to move out of my comfort zone. The second is that I really expected to like based on the synopsis and various reviews that I have been reading ever since the series began. As for the third, I am fully aware that I didn’t exactly know how much time I would be able to put into my blog before I became stir crazy. But here I am, having just finished the first episode. Wow, it far surpassed my expectations.

Th story revolves around a Kim Shin (Goon Yoo) the Goblin trying to find a wife in order to cease being immortal. However, the task is not that simple. The wife in question has to be able to see the spiritual sword that is the tool for his immortality and promptly removed it from his chest.
He also has to deal with an ongoing feud with a Grim Reaper (Lee Doon Wook), who he is now forced to live with because his idiot servant is a moron that can’t handle money. The Grim Reaper is currently dealing with trying to recover a soul that he wasn’t able to move on many years ago. However, the task is a lot trickier seeing as she is marked as the Goblin’s bride.
As for the wife-to-be, Ji Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun), she just turned eighteen but has been able to see ghosts since she was little… but not the sword. An orphan for the past ten years, she has to deal with her aunt and her shitty family. And all the while, she is considered an outcast by her peers at school for her supernatural ability.
When Kim is accidentally called by Eun Tak when makes three wishes while blowing out candles on her birthday cake, he begrudgingly offers to grant the wishes. Eun Tak quickly learns some tricks for summoning him in future. Kim Shin is astonished when he learns that she can touch him and also hijack his doorway travelling ability.

To start with, this series begins in a rather epic fashion. The large battle sequences play out as chaotically and bloodily as one would expect from a large coordinated battle. The martial arts sections look functional rather than flashy, which works for me. Also, we see some saddening points about feudal hierarchies.
I really like the world-building aspects for this series so far. Though it is barely touched on in the first show, we do see that there are multiple worlds running in parallel. The mortal realm is typically separate from the spiritual realm. However, the spiritual realm is never far away from the mortal realm and regularly interacts with it. We also see a few entities that are subject to those spiritual laws through Eun Tak’s interactions with ghosts as well as the powers of Kim Shin and the Grim Reaper. As for the telekinesis of the two characters, it seems fitting given the prevalence of telekinesis in popular culture and mythology.
As for the cast, it is the first time that I have seen Goon Yoo, Lee Don Wook or Kim Go Eun in anything due to only recently taking an interest in Korean Drama. I am quite impressed with their acting so far. The scenes with Goon Yoo and Kim Go Eun are really fun to watch. Goon Yoo exudes badassery in his action and supernatural scenes, contrasted well with the scenes of kindness. As for Lee Doon Wook, I really dig the determined posture as his character goes about his business, the trademark hat and suit making his presence that much more ominous.
To the story covered in the first episode, I really like the set up so far. We gain some insight into what motivates Kim Shin and Ji Eun Tak, including some background. However, our resident Grim Reaper is deliberately left out. I am sure that this will be explained in some detail in future episodes. All in all, this first episode does a good job of showing not telling.

In conclusion, I really like this series so far. It just moved up to my number one beside Please Love the Useless Me. Yes, I also like Love O2O, but it moved down to number two on the list with the last episode that I watched. In any case, I recommend this series to anyone that enjoys urban fantasy with an ample amount of romantic drama thrown in.


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A Small Town Season 1 Chapter 4

Hello again! We are now up to a second week and the fourth instalment of the serial. It is moving ever closer to the major point of conflict for the cast which will hopefully be introduced later this week. However, today’s instalment focuses on Maia’s situation. Maia is a bit of an enigma because much of her own struggles are internal. She is quite lonely but tends to put on a brave face because of the unusual nature what she can do.
Feel free to post your own theories so far in the comments section. I am curious as to how many people are in the same ballpark of where this story is headed. I also welcome feedback and/or people simply dropping by to say hello.

Until next time, I wish you all an awesome week.

***

Maia lay in her new bed staring at the ceiling. The conversation that she’d had with Daisy the day before still weighed upon her. She felt an odd kinship with the horse, the feeling of loneliness and loss. She understood these feelings personally.
As promised, the woman had given the two dogs a stern talking to. Nacho had been initially dismissive of the assertion that a horse was intelligent, but Egg had insisted that his human knew what she was saying. It had been strange listening to Egg reason with the dogmatic canine, but it made her smile appreciatively. The two had agreed to be more mindful of Daisy in future.
Maia’s mind now turned to her own dilemma. The exhaustion was getting worse and she would need to find the answer that she was looking for sooner rather than later. Hopefully, even a solution. The problem was that the clues had effectively dried up. She wished that the problem had been physical, but there was a spiritual component that made it difficult to deal with.
Real shamans were not easy to come by and many tended to hide away. However, there was one rumoured to live in the hills near her hometown. It was part of the reason why she’d made the difficult decision to move back. Thomas was given the option to stay in Brisbane with the family of one of his friends, but he wanted to be there for her. It made her feel guilty, but she knew that he might feel even worse if she rebuked him.
She loved her son but wondered if there would ever be a time when he would resent her. She was aware of just how many children blame their family for their own situation. In this case, he’d moved away from job prospects and face time with his friends. Would he hate her for it later?
Her mind retreated to a time before he was born.
*

For most of her life, Maia Dunham had been able to understand and speak to animals. She was eight years old when it had first happened, a small crow landing on top of a rotunda not far from where her family were picnicking in a park beside a river on a pleasant spring afternoon. It had been odd, the mix of its cawing and a secondary translation in her head. She looked up and saw it perched on top of the newly repainted building, staring over at a slightly ajar bin.
“Food here. Smells good!” it had yelled to some other crows in several gum trees beyond a second larger rotunda. It swooped down and hopped about the grass rummaging around trash that had fallen onto the ground. She heard some odd throaty noises before it grabbed some scraps of meat from a discarded former meal of KFC.
It momentarily looked over at the girl and her family with fatty chicken skin in its beak. She had looked back, taking in those large dark eyes. She wasn’t entirely aware that the secondary voice had been the hungry corvine and not some of the other people roaming around. She wanted to believe it, though. She liked the idea of chatting away with a bird as awesome and weird as a crow. However, she was fully aware that it was fantasy at best as human beings most definitely cannot speak to animals. Eventually, the bird would be joined by several members of its kin before being run off by some other picnickers wanting access to the bin.
It would be several weeks before a replication of the incident.
Maia had been walking along the somewhat bare main street of the small country town when she heard a dog yapping in a yard. The dog was a terrier of some sort, but its small frame belied a rather aggressive side. It didn’t appreciate a young girl walking near its fence.
“Fuck off! This is my place! You come any closer and I’ll kill you!” it had said, moving back and forth along the fenceline. Its stance would have been misconstrued as simple excitement at seeing another human being, but Maia knew better. She also knew that it wasn’t kidding when it gave the warning.
The girl decided to hurry back to her home where her sister and parents were waiting.
She considered talking to her sister about it, but a part of her knew that Peggy wouldn’t believe her. Maia had been known to tell a tall tale in her time. It wasn’t that Pegg thought that she was a bad person, not in the least. It was just that the idea of a person talking to and understanding animals were both ridiculous notions.

Over the following days, the frequency of the voice increased. The young girl was hearing every single bird, cat and dog in the neighbourhood. It was becoming very noisy and she found it difficult to differentiate between what her family and friends are school said and that of the animals around her.
It was in the fifth week that a chance encounter with an eastern brown snake led to Maia realising that she could understand reptiles as well. It had been warming itself on the back steps of her family’s home several houses up from where the little dog lived. She hadn’t seen the snake until it reared up and hissed at her.
“Bugger off or I’ll strike!” it had said to her.
It was in that moment between fear and curiosity that Maia had spoken to it, “I’m sorry to disturb you.”
It stopped hissing at her and simply stared back at her. It was in a mild state of shock. After all, it is not every day that a snake is apologised to by a human, let alone a tiny female. Then it realised that she’d been speaking the same dialect.
“Okay then. I’ll be off then…” it said, before sliding quickly down the steps. As it reached the bottom, it tasted the air for a moment. Content that its desired route was safe from potential danger, the reptile moved from concrete to grass and then underneath the back fence toward the river.
Maia sat on the top step with morning sun touching her sandaled toes. She tried to make sense of her odd circumstances. She went over numerous possibilities of what to do. It occurred to her that she had no idea was happening and she knew that it was unlikely that anybody that she knew would believe her and therefore be able to help. So, she decided to visit the library on the next day that it was open.

In the preceding weeks, Maia befriended Daniel, the son of the librarian. He was a couple years older than she was and they went to the same school. All of her female friends left on a bus, leaving her to her own devices after each school day. Daniel was a weird boy, but when she saw him talking with a finch sitting upon his finger through a window of the tiny library, she believed that they might have something in common.
So, she walked out and listened to the conversation between the ten-year-old boy with scruffy brown hair and a little brown and grey bird, peaking occasionally from around the corner of the building. The two were absorbed in a discussion about bugs and seeds, with the boy occasionally pulling out a plastic container from his schoolbag and offering his companion a mix of small seeds. The bird took it thoughtfully, thanking him for the simple act of kindness.
“Don’t worry, Zambeaky. You’re my friend…”
The bird chirped back, “You are my friend as well. I will tell my little ones about you.”
It was the first time that Maia realised from the slight differences in the sound of the second voice that the bird was female. The difference had been subtle, but the clue about babies had made her aware of it nonetheless. She’d learnt something new.
Much in all as she wanted to talk to both boy and bird, Maia knew that the bird would likely fly away, spooked at the strange human arriving. She decided to talk to Daniel some other time when he wasn’t otherwise occupied. And with that, she went back into the library and fetched her library tote and umbrella.
Three days later, she returned to the library after school and found Daniel sitting on a bench outside eating a jam sandwich. Dark brown eyes looked up and her as she sat down next him. He was momentarily confused.
“Would you like a sandwich? I have a spare…” he said, pointed to the lunchbox on the other side of him.
Maia smiled and nodded. They sat eating strawberry jam sandwiches whilst some swallows darted between the community centre where the library was located and local ambulance building nearby. The two talked about television shows that they liked and found their taste in cartoons to be quite similar. They discussed some of the toys that recently came out for one of the shows, and which ones they liked more.
Just then, the little finch that Maia had seen Daniel talk to on the Monday prior, landed on a beam overhead and chirped at the boy.
“Hello, boy!” the little avian said. “Who is that with you?” she queried.
Without prompting, Maia offered, “I am Maia. Nice to meet you Zambeaky.”
“Oh, my. It seems that I can understand the girl… and she knows the name that you call me,” the bird chirped in amazement.
“I can. You seem very clever. Are all birds like you?” the girl responded.
Daniel looked at her and she smiled back. He returned the smile with his own, understanding that he was no longer alone. She seemed like a good person as well. He decided that she would make a good friend even if she was a girl. The other boys would laugh at him, but it didn’t matter because she shared something special in common with him.

*

In the years to come, the two became close friends and eventually moved in together after they graduated high school. They eventually grew apart, but not before she fell pregnant with their son. Thomas looked very much like his father, but she’d lost contact with Daniel before she was able to tell him about the child growing within her belly. She’d tried on many occasions to learn what became of him, but Daniel had effectively dropped off of the face of the planet.
No matter how long it had been, Maia still missed him. Regardless of how many times she’d been encouraged to start dating, it just didn’t feel right. She wanted her best friend back, but words had been said that couldn’t be unspoken. She’d deeply hurt him and it was only through the adoption of a puppy that would later go missing that she’d regained any sense of normality to her odd life.
When Maia had gone to the pound all of those years ago, three-year-old Thomas was following behind clutching the back of her slacks. They looked at all of the animals as they moved past the pens, each with their own sad stories. Each animal needed love, but she knew that there was only room at their house for one pet.
When she’d passed by little Egg’s pen, he was crying in the corner. She asked the carer about him, and she was informed that his mother and the rest of the litter had all died. She felt for him but decided to see what her son thought.
“Thomas, would mind if we give this little dog a home?” she asked, pointing into the cage as she stood in front of it.
Thomas poked his head around her slacks and looked inside. He stared at the crying puppy for a moment before looking up at his mother.
“Why is he sad, mummy?”
“He is sad because he lost his family.”
He looked confused, “Where did they go?”
“They died, sweety…”
He lowered his head, understanding what death was. He looked back at the puppy again and let go of his mother’s pants. Walking a few steps toward the pen, he called out to the puppy.
“Here, puppy. Can you be my little brother?” he asked.
The puppy nearly immediately stopped crying and looked back at the little human in front of his cage. The dog that would later be named Egg cried out is sadness, wanting somebody to hold him. Maia couldn’t take it anymore. She called over one of the carers and told them that she wanted to adopt this puppy.
As soon as the pen was opened, Thomas ran in and hugged the puppy. From that moment on, the boy and the dog were inseparable. As for the name, her son named him after what chickens come out of. Maia never dug deeper, accepting that her son had what he believed to be a good reason for the name.
And over time, Egg became her friend as well.