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American Western Friendship

I almost stumble as I raise my chin to the sky, too busy admiring the looming skyscrapers of the Manhattan skyline. I almost bang into someone, but my reflexes are quick and trustworthy. They sneer at me, immediately catcalling as I walk away. It doesn’t bother me though. I’m more than accustomed to the streets of New York.

I continue strolling, burying my frosted hands in the pockets of my trench coat. My leather pair of Chelsea boots does me well even in the light layer of fresh snow. My gaze traces the buildings until they reach the sky, a mix of cotton candy pink, sea blue, and soft violet. Beams of sunlight shine through the gaps of the buildings, while the half-crescent moon shines over on the opposite side. One by one, the street lamps illuminate the streets for the night.

A joyful grin covers my face as I keep walking. I enjoy this part of my day the most. I don’t take the Metro anymore. Largely because of the many creeps always trying to get their hands on me. Instead, I chose to give my legs the exercise they deserve and walk from my work to my apartment on Washington Street. The chain of the whistle on my neck is cold against my skin, and the portable taser in my purse is as close as the air in my lungs.

I round the corner of 7th Avenue, the streets more than familiar to me. I like taking this route as it gives me a view of James J. Walker Park. The honks and horns of cars fill the calm night, angry cab drivers yelling at pedestrians or other drivers. I find it amusing a little. New York is nothing without these little moments.

A few more blocks from my apartment building, I catch something at the edge of my hearing. As I walk further forward, the sound grows louder. Laughing, I realize, followed by a high-pitched whimper. In a tight, one-way alleyway, filled with bags of garbage and full dumpsters on both sides, I spot two Manhattan boys having their fun with something I can’t see. My curiosity gets the better of me and I inch a little closer.

The boys are barely teenagers, but one of them raises a fist and strikes. A sharp scream follows. I startle at the noise.

“Hey!” I shout, my voice echoing through the alleyway. It makes me sound more menacing. I pull out the small taser from my purse and press the button that activates it. It buzzes with electricity, the hairs on my arm raising at the power.

The two boys look back, their heads jerking in my direction. They dash out of the alleyway in a blitz, running past me and my weapon. Satisfied, I return the taser to the confinements of my purse and dive deeper into the alley. 

I take out a small but powerful flashlight from my bag, another proud purchase and money well spent. I shine it through the narrow path, my eyes scanning the alley and looking for the victim of the two boys. Somewhere to my right, a trash bag rustles. I shine my light towards the source of the sound, taking baby steps towards the pile of trash. I squat down and take out a leftover half-eaten ham sandwich from lunch. I click my tongue, beckoning for the animal to take the food. Slowly, a small snout peeks out of the pile. It sniffs it, its little black nose moving up and down, nostrils flaring. I place the sandwich a few feet away from the pile. Reluctantly, the rest of the animal inches out of its hiding spot.

It’s a dog, I realize. A puppy.

I gasp, placing a hand to my mouth. The puppy is bone-thin, covered in soot, and its tail is pointed downwards. A pang of pity crashes into me for the young animal. I’ve never had a pet before. Not even a fish. My parents were too strict about that. But I can’t help but at least give the puppy some food to eat. It needs it more than I do.

It makes its way towards the sandwich, looking at me all the way, still wary and unwilling to trust me. And it should have every right to. I can’t imagine trusting another human after what the two boys did to it. It sniffs the sandwich and then nibbles on it. I use the flashlight to see if the puppy has an owner. Its neck is bare. I’m not even sure what kind of breed it is too. With all the dirt, it looks like it could be a labrador.

I think about taking it in, but a voice in my head says otherwise. No, you can’t take care of that thing. You’d need to buy it food and a bed. Not to mention cleaning up after it! It brings me back to a similar conversation I had with my parents when I was a girl. But I’m an adult now. I get to make my own choices. But the voice in my head does have a point.

I’ll just take it to the shelter. No harm in doing that, right? I suggest. The voice in my head concedes.

As I prepare to find a temporary leash for the dog still nibbling on my sandwich, the blissful sunsets disappear and are replaced by a black sky. It shrouds the alley and me, leaving us both in darkness. A rough groan echoes through the walls of the aisle. I look behind me and find a man in a dazed state, drunk. He’s dressed in a tank top, his large tattooed arms bare. He approaches me, his footsteps all over the place. But before I could reach in my bag and pull out my taser, the man pins me to the wall. He forces my back to the wall with so much force that it knocks all the air out of my lungs.

My vision spots and my brain begins to panic. My lungs gasp for air, hyperventilating. I struggle against his grasp, but he’s too strong. One of his hands blocks my mouth from screaming while the other holds my hands together. He sniffs my neck, then touches my waist. His hands drag along the valley of my stomach to my upper thighs. My mind swirls as the noise around me begins to fade. I try to focus on something. Anything. I can’t.

I begin to drown.

Then his unforgiving hold on me loosens for just a moment and my hands are free. I hear him yell, followed by a high-pitched cry, and then the clattering of trash bags and glass bottles. But I don’t focus on that. My hands find the inside of my bag and the electric weapon in it.

He gets fifty thousand volts to the chest.

I keep the taser on him for longer than recommended.

I draw back, his body still twitching from the sudden wave of current flowing through his body. I feel my face, wiping the wet river dripping down my cheeks. My eyes find the bite mark on his ankle, a small patch on the cuffs of his pants stained red. My mind drifts to the cause of the bite, and how it somehow saved my life. A faint cry echoes in the far end of the alley.

I ran to its side, its paper-thin body sprawled beside a metal dumpster. I scoop it up, its small size just big enough to carry on one arm. It yelps as I carry it and I feel a little knife dig through my heart. I kick the already unconscious drunk on his side one more time for extra measure as I pass by. I leave the cursed alley as I rush to the nearest vet hospital, never looking back.

————————————————————

I wait in the lobby of the pet hospital, my elbows resting on my knees and my hands on my face. Outside, white specks fall from the sky and I’m glad that I’m inside, the hospital equipped with a heater. A nurse approaches me, her white uniform a little grey.

“She’s going to be alright,” she says through her mask. 

My mind fills with relief. “Thank you,” I replied.

“She’s just drying after her bath. She’s really thin, so you’ll need to feed her a lot more.”

“Oh, no, she’s not mine. I found her in an alley. She’s a stray.”

“Would you like to adopt her? She’s a dalmatian.”

I don’t hesitate. “Yes.”

May 31, 2021 14:04

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30 comments

Awwwww.... A puppy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This was so sweet... I absolutely loved it and once again, you are a MASTER at handling prompts! This was a precious story and since I'm not good at picking up on mistakes, I don't have any constructive criticism on this story! When I looked at the title, it's like "Canine", and I'm like, "Woah, I bet it has something to do with werewolves or a wild dog!", but when I actually read the story, I was not expecting an adorable lost puppy! SO cute! Btw, are you a dog person or a cat person?

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Jay Luuu
04:06 Jun 02, 2021

AHH tyty I wasn't sure whether or not to post it but I was like screw it HAHA. I'm trying to make it in time for one more story but Idk what plot to make it. Brainstorming is the hardest part. Doggss all the wayyy! I have four dogs. Mostly a mix between Maltese and Shih Tzu. They're suuper adorable and probably what inspired me to write this one. What about you? do you have any pets?

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Hahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I write stuff but I usually hesitate to post it at times but it ends up there usually! Same here! I hope I can post again and cure writer's block for eternity although I know it's gonna come back! EXACTLY!!!! SOmetimes I get random ideas in the middle of nowhere and I definitely can't write them down so I end up losing them when I need them! OOOOHHHH!!!!!! OMG! YOU ARE LUCKY!!!! Maltese are my fave breed! Sadly... I don't have any but my grandparents own a farm and my mum was lucky enough to have a dozen pets! Two d...

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Jay Luuu
04:44 Jun 02, 2021

WAHH buffalos! I've seen them in person and they are HUGE. Yusss I am the middle child, sandwiched between an older sister and a younger sister. I'm the only boy in the fam except for my dad and of course my dogs hahaha. Do you play any sports?

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Yeah... THEY ARE HUGE! Lucky!!!! Only BOY!!!! I'm the older sis I just have to have an annoying little sister. UGH. Well, if you are going to consider competitive swimming, dancing and just wanting to try badminton out in the future, then yes! My cousin is a professional badminton player and he''s sooo cocky about it! UGH! Do you?

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Jay Luuu
08:12 Jun 02, 2021

Yeaah little siblings can be soo annoying sometimes. I'm the only one in my fam who's sporty cos my two sisters are like artsy and smort. Yeah, I play some golf with my dad and his friends sometimes. My dad's friend's son is also starting to learn so I'm trying to teach him some stuff since I've been playing for 5+ years. But even now I'm still trying to get better. Golf is really an interesting sport. I had badminton for my school's PE around Grade 8. I'm upcoming G12 in August. But badminton is also one of the sports that I like. Are you i...

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Jay Luuu
09:55 Jun 03, 2021

Unfortunately, yeah. :// Kinda sucks and that's why most of my schoolmates transferred to another school for senior high. Also cos the facilities are kinda bad. Not great but not trashy also. But the cafeteria and the food they serve… It ain't it chief HAHA. The teachers are very kind tho. One upside to the many downsides. What about your school? How is it like?

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I feel so bad for you... over here, 13-year-olds have bf and gf already and the teachers are so cool with it! That's great! Yeah! I've got great teachers and a group of pretty good friends with one best friend! High-School is different, very different! We have a strict uniform code tho, but they haven't banned dying your hair yet which I don't plan on doing to my hair! Are people allowed to dye their hair at your school? Do you have a good group of friends?

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Jay Luuu
11:26 Jun 03, 2021

Nopp, my school has a strict policy about different-colored hair. :(( But some girls sneak a little bit of brown in theirs sometimes and the teachers don't really notice it. I have a good number. Like 3 or 4 LMAO I'm an introvert and my school's a bit small. Only 60 people in one batch. But when it's senior high, it drops down to like 40 or 50.

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Hehe! The girls at my school have hot pink, green, red-orange, blue and blonde! Even boys do it :/ That's the perfect number! I only have 3 good friends and one best friend so yeah! I'm an extrovert and a weird nerd! HAHA! I love debating, public speaking and at times I like to participate in the school chess competition! DO you play chess? That's very little! Our school is getting overcrowded, since when I joined in 2016 to now! LOL!

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Jay Luuu
13:27 Jun 03, 2021

Wahhhh for real?? I tried coloring my hair brown once but that was five or more months ago. It's back to black now. I actually want a school with a bigger environment. I want a bit more 'exposure' if that makes sense cause my school is so sheltered from the outside. Om I wish I had your talent for public speaking. I can't speak in front of a crowd unless I really really know what I'm talking about or I read from a script. Yeaahh I play chess sometimes but I'm not suuuper good at it. I have a friend who's like a prodigy. Have you watched the ...

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John Carpenter
07:20 Jun 06, 2021

Terrific story!

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