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Drama Sad Inspirational

The sky was heavy with snow clouds, and it had already snowed a lot. Eight-year-old Careena stepped off the school bus, and glanced at the sky. Her galoshes sank into the snow as she swept the bus stop scene with her eyes. Her heart lurched. Lucky wasn’t there to greet her tail wagging. Her faithful Lucky was always there, but not today. Where was he? She felt like someone had kicked her in the stomach. Panic struck. She clutched her lunchbox and clambered through the snow steadily making her way home as quickly as the snow would allow, which wasn’t fast enough. Maybe he was there, but that made no sense. He had never missed the bus. Mother said it was uncanny how he always knew when the bus was due and would whine to be let out. This ritual had been going on for three years ever since she started to kindergarten in town. Worry after worry pounded through her mind and heart.

Upon reaching her door, she flung the door open and started to step inside when she saw her mother crying on the couch. She had never seen so many tears flowing from her mother’s eyes. She froze and then found her voice.

“Mother, Lucky wasn’t…”

Mother raised her tear-filled eyes and nodded. She murmured, “Dog fight. Badly injured. Kitchen. Don’t…”

Ignoring her mother’s warning, Careena kicked free of her galoshes and ran sock-footed to the kitchen door, froze, and gasped at the sight she saw.

Lucky was trying to stand despite his many wounds, his tail even gave a slight twitch, and then, he gave up slumping down into the pool of blood from which he had half risen.

Mother had joined Careena at the kitchen door and slipped her arm around Careena to comfort her.

Mother spoke softly, “I called your father. He’s on his way. He will take Lucky to the vet.”

Careena nodded and dropped onto her hands and knees. She slowly inched her way toward Lucky all the while murmuring soft love words. She reached him and sat next to him completely oblivious to the blood now seeping into her clothes. She rested her little hand on his shaggy head. Tears dribbled down her face dropping onto the newspaper which Mother had lain down, where they mingled with Lucky’s blood. She moved her hand around his beloved face which was oddly free of wounds and when she reached his mouth, Lucky weakly licked her hand. He was so slashed and cut up that she restrained herself from hugging him, afraid she would hurt him more.

She just kept repeating, “I love you, Lucky. I love you,” as she gently stroked his head.

Mother watched and granted her young daughter the right to be in this moment with her beloved dog and best friend, Lucky.

“Careena, darlin’, he’s hurt real bad,” Mother said quietly.

“I know,” Careena acknowledged and continued, “Will he die?”

“He might. He’s lost a lot of blood. He dragged himself home.”

“What about the other dog?” Careena asked.

Lucky opened his eyes.

“He’s dead. His owner followed Lucky’s blood trail to our door. it was that big malamute from down the road that attacked Lucky that time the malamute came into our yard. Well, you know Lucky, he never forgot.”

Lucky whined at that moment.

“It’s OK, Lucky, you just did what you had to do. I love you,” Careena murmured as she gently stroked Lucky’s head. “I love you. I always will. No matter what.” Silently in her heart, she prayed that he could be helped.

The sounds of the front door closing and her father calling out, “I’m here,” broke her concentration. She looked at her father who had appeared in the kitchen doorway and was standing beside Mother taking in the scene.

“Careena, we have to take him to the vet now,” Father said.

Careena nodded and stepped carefully away from Lucky.

Mother handed Father a soft blanket that he used to wrap around Lucky submitted to this with only one small whimper looking at Careena.

“Father, may I go with you to the vet,” Careena asked in response to Lucky’s whimper.

“Of course, you may,” Father answered.

Mother made her wishes known saying, “I’ll leave Lucky to you two, the vet, and God. I’ll clean up while you are gone.”

When they arrived at the vet’s clinic, Father carried Lucky into the exam room. Careena sat in the waiting room being as brave as she could be and silently talking to God asking him to help Lucky not suffer.

Father came out of the exam room. Careena clenched her hands together and waited hardly breathing as he approached her. Father dropped to his knees in front of her and put his big work worn hands over her small ones.

“Careena, he’s lost too much blood and is too badly injured to save him. He’s suffering. The vet gave him a shot to help with the pain, but he says the best thing to do for Lucky is to put him to sleep.”

A sob escaped Careena’s lips as she spoke, “I don’t want him to suffer.” She paused a moment. “Can I see him to say good-bye?”

“Yes, my brave girl, that’s why the vet sent me out here.”

Father pulled one of his always handy large handkerchiefs out of his overall pocket and handed it to Careena. She wiped her tears and took a couple of deep breaths. Father held out his hand, tucked the used handkerchief back in his pocket, and asked, “Ready?”

Careena nodded yes. She and Father walked hand-in-hand into the exam room. Careena saw Lucky’s blood had stopped and the vet had cleaned him up. Lucky was breathing more easily, but his eyes were closed. She stroked his head gently murmuring love words to him. He opened his eyes and when she moved her hand lower on his face, he licked her hand.

“I will love you forever, Lucky. I’ll never forget you and how you watched over me and always made me feel safe. Thank you.” Careena’s voice broke, a sob escaped, and then she continued, “I don’t want you to suffer no more. So, sleep deep, my Lucky, sleep deep.”

One last pat for Lucky and she turned away reaching for father’s hand. They left the exam room.

“Sit here, Careena, while I go make arrangements with the vet. We’ll bury Lucky ourselves on the farm.”

“Oh, Father, I would like that.”

“Mother and I thought you would. We discussed that on the phone when she called me to tell me about Lucky.”

Later, as she and Father were driving home, Careena broke the silence that had descended between them saying, “I want to bury him behind the barn under that oak tree where we used to sit and watch the horses in the pasture. I will visit him there.”

“We will do that as soon as spring thaw softens up the ground,” Father said.

“When will that come?” Careena asked.

“In a month or two.”

“Where will his body be until then?”

“In refrigerated storage at the vet’s clinic.”

Careena rode a few more minutes in silence mulling over all the information and then asked, “Father, do you think I’ll see Lucky in my dreams?”

Yes, I’m sure you will if you want to.”

“Oh, I want to.”

“Then, you will,” Father assured her. “You have a strong love bond and that is a tie that outlasts death.”

“Will the hurt go away?”

“It will lessen, because of the legacy of love Lucky left to you.”

“Does that work between people too?”

“It does.”

Careena sighed, “Yes, that’s what Lucky left me, a legacy of love. That’s a very good thing, even though it hurts.”

“It is,” Father agreed.

Careena nodded and hummed a nameless tune while Father tapped the steering wheel in time with her tune all the rest of the way home.

September 17, 2022 01:01

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