A Story by Ajay Healey

            She walked with as much grace as she cared to. Her bare feet ignored the layer of ash against the battered road; barely noticed the hard metal of beasts long past. She licked at the snow and shook her head at the bitter taste. It wasn’t the falling water she was used to.

            Once she’d had a family. A little girl that was her friend. A mother. A father and an older boy who’d pluck at strings to make sound. The songs would lull her to sleep but she never understood the music.

            The city was silent. She was used to the roaring beasts that traveled the streets, the bustle of civilization around her. But all that was gone and the normally quaint locale had a pall about it. The silence was oppressive.

            The rats and bugs survived.

            She’d been gone when it happened. Lost in the woods when the cities were destroyed, when the world stopped its constant chatter. She’d just found the scent when she sensed the disturbance. A deeper part took hold and she’d run. To safety and away from the comforting smell.

            An eon passed before she found it again. Through the woods and back toward the city where she knew home would be. Fallen trees littered the path after the shakes. Rocks were cracked, wood split in two.

            The others ran, confused, but she pressed on the invisible road.

            Now she was in the city. Hardened feet pressed on. She’d survived through the rats she’d catch and the puddles of water she’d find.

            White noise reached her ears and she raised her head, alert. A cracked pipe spewed liquid into the air till the street flooded. Mice, their larger cousins, cats and dogs surrounded the street lake. She ran forward nearly tripping over the ruined asphalt.

            Her nose was dry and her mouth cried for the stream ahead. The others ignored her as she began to lap the water. It was many minutes until she stopped, licked her hanging lips of remaining droplets and left to find her family again.

            Sniffing the ground, she trotted across the landscape, glancing past her nose only when a sound reached her. It was difficult tracking through the debris but she did it, knowing her family to be at the end of the trail.

            Her journey lasted a timeless hour. Her tail wagged furiously as she recognized the surrounding area, knowing home to be close by. Her family would be there. They had to be.

            She galloped over the small rise and circled herself in excitement when her pictureque home came into view. The family beast, the one made of metal which roared to fun places with her inside stood wrecked out front. Her mind was too happy, her nose too overwhelmed with familiar scents to notice the broken archway, the differences between home and what stood in front of her.

            She barked with joy and ran to the large door and stabbed her pointed nose into the corner of the door and sneezed at the dust. But the smell was there. She scratched once and the door creaked open. Her tongue lolled out before confusion took over.

            This was home. But it wasn’t. The smells were there but the sights were not. A cracked table where she’d eaten off her mother’s plate; a couch without comfortable plush. The black box with people inside sat shattered and the wood which it once sat on was in shards.

            Her toys were there and she ran to them and grabbed a bear from the basket. She squeaked the doll again and again, finding comfort in the sharp noise.

            Room to room she went and in each she’d sniff and squeak the doll repeatedly. One door was closed and she ignored it after her first failed scratches. Instead she ran to the little girl’s room and jumped onto the bed. She made two full rotations and fell to her sleeping place before jumping to the floor and wandering back outside.

            The collapsed fence smelt the same and her yard was just as she’d left it. Like everything else, the small outside room"the one the father worked in"was as well destroyed. Curtains flapped in the light breeze and she pushed her way through and into the room that was shut to her. Her tail wagged again.

            There was her family! They all lay on the big bed huddled close to one another. Part of the wall was gone, rotted away, but they didn’t mind. She leapt onto the mattress and approached.

            Tail wagging, she touched her little girl. She didn’t move. None of them did.

            Her tail dropped and she howled deeply, pawing at the father’s leg. She pushed a wet nose under the little girl’s arm and slept like she used to.


            When she woke it was light out. The sun was rising and her ears popped at a sound outside. Her hackles rose and she pulled herself from her girl’s embrace to run back over the fence and around the house, eager to protect what was left of her family.

            She crouched in the tall grass, a deeper instinct taken over like when the world shook. Peering between the grasses she saw the noise. It was a family! A man and a woman pushing a rattling cart up the hill.

            The two rubbed gloved hands together and mist came from their mouth.

            She stood from the grass and rushed toward them, tail wagging again. The man saw her first and stepped in front of the woman. She stopped and showed her stomach, tail refusing to stop.

            The woman approached and after a moment’s hesitation so did the man. “Well aren’t you a little wonder!” said the woman, reaching out to rub at her belly.

            “A big wonder,” added the man. “Is that your name? Wonder?”

            She flipped herself, excitedly jumping before remembering her manners and sitting. The word wonder meant nothing to her.

            “I think you’re right,” said the woman, “Do you want to come with us, Wonder?”

            Wonder jumped to the ground and looked back at her old home. She howled once before leaving with her new family.

© 2012 Ajay Healey

Author's Note

Ajay Healey
Constructive criticism is always appreciated. Keyword being "constructive", haha.

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good write. keep up the good work

Posted 8 Years Ago

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Added on June 16, 2012
Last Updated on June 16, 2012
Tags: disaster, family, tragedy, dog


Ajay Healey
Ajay Healey

San Luis Obispo, CA

Been writing for 10 years now, decided to take the plunge and put my stuff (the good stuff, anyway) online. Facebook page is linked, any "like" is much appreciated :) more..

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A Story by Ajay Healey