Lost and Hound by Brue CY., 12-14 category, from the Redmond Library.
How had it gone so wrong? Well, obviously it wasn’t the best idea to eat a baked bean enchilada that had been in the fridge for a week… but besides that, how could everything have gone so horribly wrong? That’s what Fay kept on asking herself while she stumbled on the slippery, damp cement floor, hearing CLICK CLACK CLICKK behind her. Here’s how it happened…
BEEP, BEEEP! BEEP, BEEEP! Already awake, Fay smacked the alarm on her phone with a thud. It grumbled one more rebellious, BEEEP! then silence. Of course, there was always the faint hum of construction and some robins deciding that 6:30 AM was certainly not too early to start their morning songs. Fay rubbed her eyes and looked around the room. The essay that was due today lay scattered on her ivory colored desk along with some spare paperclips, erasers, and even a few multi-colored pens. She had been up all night working on the paper to finish it, and after the six hours of pain-staking work, she could proudly say it was done. Feeling the kinks in her back straighten as she stood up and stretched, she sighed with relief. It was still dark out, and the world looked like it was made of shadows.
Collecting all of the stranded pages, she clipped them together with a stray paperclip, and slipped the work in her backpack. She shuffled down the stairs where her mom was making breakfast: eggs, toast, and five sticks of bacon. To say the least, the aroma was mouth-watering.
“You look exhausted! Did you sleep well last night?” Her mom fussed as she slumped down in a chair. Too tired to talk, Fay just put her head on the cool table and let her mind wander.
“I don’t know why you woke up so early, you know it’s the weekend!” Surprise crashed over Fay as she managed to lift her head.
“What do you mean it’s the weekend? I thought it was Monday, what day is it?” inquired Fay.
Her mother laughed a little, “If it’s about what day of the week it is, I don’t think you’ll get a good grade! It’s Saturday.”
A mix of relief and annoyance crashed over her, “So, what you’re telling me is that I didn’t need to stay up all night to write that paper!”
“Yep,” her mom replied in a sing-song voice.
“Ughhhhhh,” she groaned.
“How about you walk Tri to clear your mind,” her mom suggested.
“I guess that might help,” admitted Fay, still reluctant to go out in the freezing October weather.
With a hungry stomach and tired eyes, she shuffled out the door. Infront of her trotted a tan and black colored German shepherd whose name was Tri. Trying to keep up, she followed the young, energetic dog around the street, halting at the local stop sign. Staring blankly at a frosted stick on the ground, she barely even noticed that there was no longer a relentless tugging on the leash. Is my mind playing tricks on me? she asked herself. Fay shook her head and the haze lifted from her brain, showing that indeed, it wasn’t her mind, just her dog, or the lack of one. Panic crawled along her spine; the leash had slipped out of her hands while she was in the daze, how could she have not noticed?
Darting across the street, her feet were lead as they pounded upon the ground, crushing the vibrant leaves scattered on the road like empty chip bags. She franticly followed the sounds of mischievous howls. Twisting and turning all through the neighborhood, Fay ran until she no longer recognized where she was. She thought, how far could Tri have run? Sometimes I wonder what’s going on in that dog’s head!
“TRI! WHERE ARE YOU?!”
A yip in response told her she was close. Fay skidded across a thin patch of ice towards the echoing bark. Stopping for a breath, she looked around. The air was still chilled from the night before. The early morning fog covered the world like a blanket, hiding any sunlight that tried to break through. She walked to the end of the road and saw a concrete tunnel carved into the ground; she heard a bark echoing from inside.
Letting her fingers feel the cold, smooth stone, she cautiously walked down the stairs. As her eyes adjusted, she saw that the narrow stairs were coming to an end, it seemed that it led her into a sewer system. The scent of the musty tunnel hit her along with something that smelled like decaying meat. Taking a deep breath, she stepped off the staircase and edged forward, her eyes flicking at every sound that bounced off the walls. Fay noticed a dull, hazy blue light in the distance, curiosity made her draw closer. Then she heard a whine. That must be Tri, she told herself. Careful not to scare her dog, she crept closer. Fay noticed a large shape that was hunched over something. Then, Fay heard “CLACK, JINGLE, Jingle.” She had stepped on her dog’s collar. There were gashes etching along its side, as if it was torn off. Glancing back up, the figure that was crouched over shuddered. Then, the creature slowly rolled its pale head over. The faint light was coming from the thing’s wrists almost like how an angler fish uses bioluminescence. The glow revealed its watery scales, scarred and rough. The beast had long, warped claws that curled over themselves as if they were snakes. Its jaw was twisted into a bloodied smirk and its milky, white eyes were unblinking, staring through her instead of at her. She wanted to hide, she wanted to sob, she wanted to leave this place, because whatever happened to her beloved dog mustn’t be good. Fay ran. When she turned around the staircase was gone and all that was behind her was an extension of the sewer. She was surprised but couldn’t stop racing. In the dim light she saw beside her a large flowing channel of green, sticky liquid that made up most of the tunnel. Behind her, Fay heard the monster following, CLICK, CLACK, CLICKK while she stumbled on the slippery surface remembering how she got to this situation.
Looking for an escape route, her eyes darted around and spotted a rusty ladder. She realized with a sudden pit in her stomach that it was across the filthy sewer water. I guess it’s a little better than death Fay thought, and jumped in. She gasped as the murky water splashed around, attempting to suffocate her. But the memory of Tri pushed her to keep on swimming through the dark water. During the chaos, she barely noticed the thing gliding towards her, and then she felt claws skim her leg. She reached the other side and clambered out of the sewer channel, not even stopping to look behind her as she barreled her way up the ladder. The monster panted and drooled, scratching the handles with delight as she climbed to the top of it. Fay pushed herself against what she guessed was a manhole cover with as much effort that she could muster and finally, with a violent crack it busted open. She heaved herself up to the fresh air. The thing’s massive hand reached up and tried to grab onto something, but she slammed the sewer lid hard before it could reach her. She let out a massive exhale and sprawled herself on the ground, soaking in the bright morning sky that broke through the fog.
Fay ended up in the middle of the street around a mile from her house and luckily, she knew how to get back. She picked herself up and started to walk home. The adrenaline buzz that was coursing through her ears was starting to fade and the realization of Tri’s death hit her like a bus. Tri was only a puppy and Fay loved her very much; she couldn't believe how much she already missed the goofy German shepherd. Stopping at the edge of the sidewalk, she wept as all the emotions from earlier flooded her. Suddenly, she heard a rattle from the bush next to the sidewalk and the nose of her dear German shepherd popped out.
“TRI!” She exclaimed, “How did you escape the monster? Oh, that doesn't matter now… come on let's go home!” So, home they went and although Fay’s mother was very concerned, she decided that whatever had happened to them was from Fay’s lack of sleep. That night, Fay hopped in bed early and Tri followed. “What a day. I’m so happy that you’re okay,” Fay whispered. Tri wagged her tail and looked up, her eyes suddenly white and murky. Fay blinked and their earthy brown color was back. “I guess I do need sleep… goodnight sweetie.” Tri wiggled her butt and nuzzled in closer.
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