2 min read

#13: Hurry

#13: Hurry

Jackie almost didn't see the border collie. It was standing at the side of the road, coiled to pounce, so she did a quick scan for cars, and crossed the road. It was unusual to see a car, let alone anyone else, and she just assumed the owner was foraging in the dense foliage. Was it time to search for mushrooms? She didn’t know. It was a matter of convenience that her running route went through the dense forests that hugged her suburb. There were only so many times you could run the streets, and since she took to leaving the safety of pavement, she's felt stronger with each step. The hills feel more open with the clean air.

As she passed the dog, it tensed as its eyes followed her. Jackie assumed the dog was protecting whoever was just out of sight.

And then the thought crossed her mind that the person hiding could be ready to strike against her. She quickened her pace, with her spine tensing in anticipation of something terrible coming from behind.

Relief surged when she felt she was far enough away to be out of danger, but then the dog circled around her, as if it were herding her. If she was in doubt, the dog nipped at her heel. At the moment the dog lunged for her, Jackie could see the dog's eyes. There was no malice in them. In fact, there was a sadness. And the nip made no contact.

She slowed down, unsure what the dog wanted. It had been so long since she had anything to do with a dog.

The dog circled once again, and Jackie noticed a limp. Splotches of blood pooled on the hind leg.

Jackie stopped, hoping the dog would as well, but it pushed in on the distance between them, as if it wanted her to go back.

The dog paced back and forth, closing the gap each time. A small whimper of pain accompanied each step.

Jackie looked back and noticed the railing crumpled, as if something chewed right through it.

The dog, sensing Jackie understood, went towards the yawning hole that lead to where a car lay on its roof some twenty metres down the hill. The dog sat on the tyre marks where her owner tried to correct the over-steering and barked at Jackie. "This way," she seemed to say. "Hurry."