Bark In Time 🐕⏱

Submitted into Contest #137 in response to: Write a story about a scientist.... view prompt

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Science Fiction Adventure Fiction

“Okay this is it, old girl. Ready?”

Mollie licked her nose making sure it was wet enough, shook her shaggy head at her best friend in the whole world, to bravely say in her poochy way that she was ready. This was what she was born to do and had spent years learning to understand her master’s demands and perfect the mission she was about to carry out. What started as sit, talk and stay soon evolved into pick up, open, count and then in recent months she learnt to write. Well, as much as a dog can manage with a pen in her mouth. It was good enough as a back up plan but she wouldn’t be writing an autobi-dog-graphy just yet.

Mollie’s master walked over from the other side of the laboratory holding the harness she knew all too well. Lifting the top of her cage, he ruffled the hair around her collar whilst carefully putting the harness over her head, clicked it underneath her legs so it successfully hung over her back like a high tech saddle. This was no normal harness, it was her equivalent of a superhero utility belt and was essential to her mission. Taking one last check of the items in the harness, her master slowly walked back to the control panel on the other side of the lab, past all the unopened post and half eaten sandwiches and let out a huge sigh.

“Here we go!”

Putting on his blacked out goggles, Mollie’s master typed in the sequence he’d done a thousand times before and turned the activation key. The plastic surround to the big red button flipped open. Closing his eyes and before he changed his mind Mollie’s master slammed his hand down hard on the red button.

The metallic table top Mollie’s cage was sat on began to spin, slowly increasing in speed faster and faster over the next 30 seconds until the centrifugal force was pinning her to the floor. Mollie could feel her stomach flip multiple times with the speed increasing further and further until she heard the fizzing of something surrounding the metal sides of the cage. Opening her scruffy left eye she was immediately greeted with the familiar sight of the blue glow of a wormhole. Mollie felt weightless as she floated around her cage which then also lifted off the top of the shiny table and drifted into the black space within the blue wormhole. With papers and sandwich flying around the lab Mollie’s master screamed “YES!” at the top of his lungs. Floaty Mollie and her cage disappeared into the wormhole which swallowed them whole and then prematurely imploded.

Hurtling through space and time wasn’t the best thing Mollie had done today. She’d put her walk in the woods top, closely followed by her steak and dog food breakfast, a cuddle from her master and then this. Her ears flapped either side of her head feeling the speed of the blue glowing pathway channelling her hopefully towards the correct destination. In the distance Mollie spotted a bright light that was surrounded by the same blue glow, the cage changed direction with a jolt and began to head straight for it. Before she could brace for impact our shaggy traveller shot through the lit up wormhole, hit the ground hard, the cage turned on its side, skidding to a halt a few yards away in a bush.

Her head was spinning but Mollie didn’t feel injured in any way which was a relief after what happened to Flopsy, the last test subject. As a precaution, her master had packed some bandages in her utility harness and it had taken ages to learn how to wrap them around her legs and paws. The alarm beeped in one of her pockets. She had ten minutes precisely. The top of the cage was already open so Mollie was out of her bashed up time machine in seconds, leapt through the bush to freedom and sprinted to the first location. 

Her wet nose turned the corner first out of the alley way into the high street and only a few seconds away from the first stop in her mission. Thankfully the wormhole had dropped her near to the expected location and Mollie had completed a number of test missions in preparation for this scenario. Leaping through the door of the newsagents Mollie galloped up to the cashier and jumped onto the checkout. Coming face to face with a dog was an unexpected experience for cashier Tracey on this Wednesday but she took it in her stride.

“Hello lovely, where have you come from?”

Mollie swung her head round to her utility harness and grabbed a piece of paper in her mouth. Flapping the paper in front of the cashier a guttural woof came from deep inside Mollie’s throat. Tracey took the paper from this strange dog’s mouth and looked at it. Minus the dog phlegm, it was a perfectly filled in lottery ticket for the next two Fridays’ draws. 

“Not sure if I can put this through for a dog? Have you got any money?”

Mollie sniffed around her harness once more and grabbed something else to give to Tracey. Swinging back round to face the cashier, inside her mouth was a crisp five pound note. Taking the cash was a real head scratcher for Tracey but quickly scanning the rules, she couldn’t find anything about not serving dogs. As long as the owner claims it, what’s the problem?

Shrugging her shoulders Tracey put the lottery ticket through the machine, slid the five pounds into the till and gave Mollie her change and ticket by slotting them into an empty pocket in the harness. Barking twice as a doggy equivalent of “Cheers love!” Mollie leapt off the counter and dashed out of the newsagents towards part two of her mission, leaving Tracey to wonder if she had dreamt the last few minutes of her day.

Time was running out so Mollie had to cut a few corners, namely dashing in and out of speeding traffic to get to the right building before it was too late. However, something wasn’t right. She smelt something familiar that wasn’t meant to be outside of the building she was heading towards. Mollie made it across the road in one piece despite being distracted. She stopped in her tracks in the centre of the square in front of her destination. Trotting in a circle she sniffed and then sniffed again until she saw him. Sitting on a bench eating his lunch was Mollie’s desired target – her master. She galloped towards him and then leapt into his arms startling him. Her master’s anger at his lunch falling to the floor, as at this point in the timeline he hadn’t even thought of owning a dog let alone sending it through time, soon evaporated when Mollie licked his face repeatedly with delight.

“Oh okay, calm down! Shouldn’t I buy you a drink first? Hehe” joked her master.

Mollie realised she was losing sight of the mission. She got off her master’s lap, and grabbed the ticket from her harness. Handing it to her master he took a close look at the lottery ticket with a confused frown.

“What’s this for?”

Mollie had forgotten to give her master something else. She quickly sniffed her harness and crumpled up at the bottom of one of the pockets in her harness was gift number two. Clutching it tightly with her teeth she wrestled it out of the pocket. Her master took it off her, straightened it out and saw his name on the front of this mysterious envelope.

“Oh?? Should I open it?”

Mollie barked loudly. Her master slightly startled took out the letter and began to read it quietly to himself. A few seconds into this spoiler heavy write up a loud beep came from inside Mollie’s harness. Oh no! That means she has a minute before the wormhole opens up and then another minute before it closes! Giving her master one last lick Mollie jumped off the bench and ran for her past, present and future life.

“WAIT!” cried her master but she was already halfway across the road, avoiding car tyres and bonnets by millimetres. Jumping for the kerb she got there just before a lorry almost took out her back legs. The wormhole was only round a couple more street corners but something told her to stop running. The screeching of tyres, raised voices and panicked screams behind her told Mollie the horrific truth before she saw it with her own puppy dog eyes. Sprinting back to the kerb she saw a car stopped in the road, the driver kneeling on the ground screaming for someone to call an ambulance and lying lifeless on the tarmac staring directly at Mollie was her master. He wasn’t moving at all, her best friend was hurt because of her. Her heart ripped into several pieces. This whole mission was to help him and now he was dead. She didn’t know what to do. Maybe she could help him? Maybe he wasn’t dead yet! All of those options were incinerated when the second alarm began to beep in her harness. She had to run for her life or she would be stuck in the past forever.

With tears streaming down her face, her auto pilot took over when her paws dragged Mollie away from the tragic scene, down an alley way, up a stairwell, over a fence and into the street where she first arrived. It was pure muscle memory taking over as Mollie’s shaggy head was definitely not in the game. With 100 metres to go Mollie’s glazed eyes sprung to life and could see the wormhole closing. As if a rocket had been lit in her butt she found a sixth gear and darted into the car park watching the nearby glowing wormhole getting smaller and smaller. With five metres left she launched her body towards the tiny hole, trying to make herself into a doggy javelin. Her head made it through, then front paws, her tummy barely got past the rim of this shrinking entrance and finally with no seconds left her tail travelled into the wormhole milliseconds before it would have been sliced off. And just like that, Mollie and the hole were gone.

Mollie’s tail may have gone into the wormhole last but due to the timey wimey washing machine nature of the journey her backside was first to shoot out of the other end. Her entire body flew across the room and slid into a nearby table whilst the fizzing portal quietly disappeared. 

Opening her eyes and attempting to shake off the impact Mollie took a look at her surroundings. It looked like the old lab but much shinier with more boops and beeps coming from nearby machines. The double doors to the room slid open and in walked a familiar face.

“There she is!” said Mollie’s master marching into the centre of the room. She began to race towards him but stopped dead when her eyes met his glistening metal prosthetic legs. His could see she was frightened.

“I know, lots to talk about! I was dumb to chase after you but thankfully other than losing my legs the doctors saved my life. I claimed the lottery ticket once I was discharged and I was able to invest millions in the company. We did it old girl!”

Mollie’s couldn’t understand everything he said but his body language suggested it was positive. Her tail was wagging so much she could almost take flight. Kneeling down to dog level, Mollie and her master embraced becoming a tangle of paws and arms. She was so busy licking her master’s face she didn’t notice him pull something from out of his lab coat pocket, gently insert it into the ruff of her neck and begin to plunge the deadly contents into her bloodstream.

Before anything left the syringe, Mollie’s master was struck hard and sent crashing against the far wall slumping in an unconscious heap onto the floor. Spinning her entire body round Mollie came face to face with her master’s attacker. She made a guttural growl, teeth bared ready to strike. That was swiftly replaced by a confused whine when she saw the person in front of her was a giant robot dog. Before she could get her bearings the robot began to talk in a monotone mechanical voice.

Mollie, we don’t have much time. Your master will regain consciousness in ten seconds. He was about to kill you with lethal injection to cover his tracks.”

Looking over at her crumpled master, Mollie could see the syringe in his hand. She let out a poochy gasp.

“I’ve been sent from the future to take you back. Quick, jump into the time loop before it’s too late!”

Even if you were a super genius, this would be too much to comprehend in one go. For a dog, even one as clever as Mollie, this was frying her brain. She would need days to figure this all out but her doggy instincts were telling her to get out of there. Taking a running jump Mollie landed on the other side of the portal on the start of her journey to who knows where. Her new canine cyborg friend followed shortly afterwards and only unfinished echoes of her master’s voice could be heard from the lab as the hole closed shut behind them.

“Mollie, don’t listen to…”


March 18, 2022 19:04

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20 comments

18:57 Mar 24, 2022

Hey, I loved how the POV character was Mollie. It made the story so much for interesting!

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Pj Aitken
19:45 Mar 24, 2022

Thank you - I enjoyed getting into the mind of a dog 😁

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Lavonne H.
16:27 Mar 24, 2022

PJ, I loved the pacing and action in your story! And the twists and turns (never trust a time travel scientist!) Just wondering why you chose to only refer to the Mollie's benefactor/nemesis as her 'master'? Was that to keep with her perspective? Thank you for writing such an entertaining piece. Yours in writing, Lavonne

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Pj Aitken
17:00 Mar 24, 2022

Thank you - I liked the idea of keeping his description to a minimum and I think there was some subliminal Dr Who ideas going on with “The Master”. Very likely he will flesh out as part of the story that takes place after this short.

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Hen Neralany
04:42 Mar 23, 2022

You come up with the most fantastic stories ever.

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Pj Aitken
05:32 Mar 23, 2022

Oh Hen! 🙈 And you come up with the most fantastic compliments ever 😄

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Hen Neralany
05:40 Mar 23, 2022

Pfft, it comes naturally to things that deserve it. Although, just a little side note, I don't think dogs cry with tears? Well, this is in the future, evolution may have taken place, and Mollie isn't any ordinary dog. It's just a minor detail, though it did throw me off a little, amazing and crazily creative story anyhow!

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Craig Westmore
20:57 Mar 22, 2022

Fun story and lots of great twists!

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Pj Aitken
21:08 Mar 22, 2022

Cheers Craig!

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Craig Westmore
01:04 Mar 23, 2022

Hey PJ, I had some additional thoughts on your story. I was thinking some description of Mollie's master at the beginning would help visualize him and then later when Mollie sees him in the past that same description but of a younger version and then repeating it again in the future. Something like grey hair then brown hair then bald. That way we can visualize the change in time of him. Just an idea. There was one phrase that pulled me out of the story for a moment, "our shaggy traveller." It calls attention to the narrator who isn't a part...

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Pj Aitken
05:31 Mar 23, 2022

Thanks Craig - I did think about that along with the fact Mollie would only see her master in black and white. But love the suggestions. I really appreciate it.

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Craig Westmore
11:15 Mar 25, 2022

It doesn't have to be hair. Mollie could recognize the same cologne but notice his scar or a limp is missing.

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Riel Rosehill
07:03 Mar 22, 2022

Hey, what an adventure..! Surely will make it into that "autobi-dog-graphy" (LOL) that Molly is yet to write. It was a rollercoaster... Firstly, I was so happy her master didn't die, but then he's evil, and then, we can't be sure and maybe Molly is being taken away by someone who cannot be trusted?! Love the uncertainty of the ending here, and your story was so much fun to read! Also cool to see that someone else also picked non-human POV for this prompt!

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Pj Aitken
08:19 Mar 22, 2022

Thank you for all your lovely comments!

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Michał Przywara
00:55 Mar 22, 2022

Ha! This was hilarious, with some surprisingly suddenly-sad turns. What I especially like is how you keep escalating what the story is about. First it's a science thing about teaching a dog tricks. Then it's teaching a dog to write. Then it's sending a writing dog through a wormhole. Then the wormhole goes back in time. Then we learn the whole point was lotto fraud. Very funny! Thanks for sharing.

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Pj Aitken
05:33 Mar 22, 2022

Time travel lotto fraud is something we’d all try once if we could, right? 😏

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Chandler Wilson
14:19 Mar 20, 2022

Very well done. Love the story being from Mollie’s perspective. Managing time travel events can be a challenge even for Hollywood. Looking forward to learning where she landed and what her master didn’t want her to listen to. Thanks for sharing!

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Pj Aitken
17:02 Mar 20, 2022

Thank you! Yeah lots of Mollie’s story left to tell.

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Sharon Hancock
01:55 Mar 20, 2022

Oh no poor mollie! What happened next? You’ve got me in suspense now! I love your nod to The Doctor( timey wimey ). Time travel stories are so fun. I saw Terminator reference in there too. I enjoyed this story a lot and hope to read more soon.😊

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Pj Aitken
17:04 Mar 20, 2022

Glad you enjoyed it! Mollie has a long and dangerous journey ahead of her.

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