Maya exited the independent bookstore owned by a friend, Dax walking beside her. She had a couple more errands to run and it felt good to have a companion, even a four-legged one, to walk with her. Well-trained and protective, he made her feel safe. She loved living in the city but it wasn’t always safe. Two weeks ago, she’d been attacked when leaving the post office. Some young punks seemed to think it was a game to run up, hit someone and beat them while they were down. Thank goodness she hadn’t been seriously hurt. Although it scared the bejeebers out of her.
After mulling it over for a day or two while recovering from her traumatic experience, she decided she was not going to be a victim again. Ever. She began her search for the perfect dog. One that would be a comforting presence yet capable of ripping an arm off anyone who tried to hit her. Well, maybe not literally take off an arm, but make the perpetrator think it would.
Dax accompanied her everywhere. Everywhere but work. Mostly Maya avoided going places where she couldn’t take Dax, even sitting outside at the coffee shop with Dax at her feet. Tomorrow would be her first day back at work. She wasn’t afraid at work, so that wasn’t a problem. She realized she would miss his steady presence at her side. She wasn’t supposed to get that attached.
Maya finished her usual breakfast of avocado toast and coffee, washed out her cup and placed it on the sink counter. She put on her jacket, picked up her keys, and headed towards the door. Dax was sitting quietly by the door as he did every morning. He tilted his head at her when she said he’d have to stay. For a moment she thought he seemed to understand her when he laid down with his head on his paws and she could have sworn he gave her a look of reproach. He kept looking at her as her hand moved toward the doorknob. Baleful, dark eyes just stared at her.
She couldn’t do it. Guilt swept through her. She just couldn’t leave him here alone like that. Reaching into the bowl she kept on the small table by the entry she pulled out a small remote-control device marked “Canine Companions, Dog v.2.1” and clicked the button marked “off” then headed out the door.
Veda Leggett lives in Tacoma and likes to play around with very short stories. She tries to keep them 500 words or fewer. It’s a challenge, but she loves it.