No More Screams

Night and noise.

“Screaming,” Jack thought. “She’s screaming.”

He was only a dog, and a fairly large one at that. His leg hurt, and his ears were bloody. He could smell the bitter stench of the blood trickling down his snout. He collapsed into the door mat, while hearing another round of screams.

“She’s noisy,” he thought.

He didn’t know the man, but he had been coming over for a while. Every time he did, he slept on the porch and the woman — and her child, would scream. He learned not to come in — the man would punish him if he did. He didn’t want to disappoint the woman and the child, who both happened to be his best friends.

Another scream. This had become a regular fixture for months now, ever since they moved into this house. There were no houses around, and the area was teeming with places he has never been before. Jack had never seen another human for a while, other than the man, woman and child — except for the time when the man brought people at ate meat on the front yard. Jack asked for a piece, but was kicked instead. He knew that he wasn’t supposed to beg, but the woman had always given him a bite if he does.

Another scream, followed by the front door being pushed open. The man had come out and was trudging towards him, foul-smelling, and all.

Jack had enough. He looked up, turned his heels and ran away.

_________________________________________________________

“I found him yesterday,” said the police officer, named Leo. “On the side of the road.”

The St. Bernard willfully stepped into the cage with a bandaged ear while sporting a cone, and lay down.

“He’s chipped,” said the veterinarian. “Do me a favor and talk some sense into the owners — the poor dog’s injuries aren’t by accident.”

“Blunt trauma?” The police officer asked.

The veterinarian nodded.

“You should take him in — it’s not every day we see a man paying the vet’s bills for a dog he found on the side of the road.”

Leo chuckled. He was never good at taking compliments.

“Do me favor and call up the shelter, would you? And please give me the address — I’ll have to make a report at the station before I can do anything else.”

_______________________________________________________________

Jack’s surroundings were familiar. They were in a suburban area, where the woman and the child once lived. He had lived here with the woman and the child…back when there were no screams at night.

The man named Leo stopped the car, and took hold of his leash. He led him to the house they lived in.

Leo talked to an unfamiliar woman, who in turn shook her head and handed out a piece of paper. They returned to the car afterwards.

_________________________________________________________________

“Sorry buddy,” said Leo. “Wrong address. I’m gonna get you back to your family though.”

He drove off again — the woman gave him an address of the real owners, and it turned out that data in the chip was outdated.

He pushed the pedal until he arrived at a desolate area, a couple of kilometers away from civilization, until he came across a lonely old house on the side of the road. The walls had chipped paint, and the roof shingles were blanketed with moss. The yard had amassed a collection of weeds and tall grasses, and it obviously needed trim.

It didn’t look good, Leo thought, as cold sweat ran down his cheeks. Here he was, bringing a dog back to the owners in a desolate farmland away from society. Nevertheless, he was expected to be back at the station in an hour, so he grabbed the St. Bernard’s leash. He opened the doors and as he tugged, the dog wouldn’t budge.

“Can I help you, officer?” A large man opened the door, hair unkept, approaching the rusted gate.

Leo managed to get the dog off the car, still struggling, and looked up — the man was already in the gate.

“Yeah, this big guy’s yours, right?” He said.

The man smiled. He smelled of sweat, tobacco and beer.

“He belongs to my wife. Took her out for a walk and he wandered around when I took a piss.”

Leo looked at him coldly.

“He had no collar when I found him lying down, bleeding on the side of the road.”

The dog, named Jack, calmed down and looked pleadingly at Leo, who was fixated at man at the gates.

“He must have been attacked by runts then,” he said, revealing toothy smile. “I saw a couple of racoons — .”

“Sir, his injuries weren’t by accident.” Leo said, surveying the man closely.

The door opened, and a female child, crying, emerged from the dilapidated house.

The man shouted obscenities, while ordering the toddler to return inside. A woman ushered the child inside and closed the door hurriedly after seeing the police officer.

Leo stood there, horrified at how the woman looked — she had bruises on her face, and her arms were purple. He called for more officers on his radio.

“Sir, please call back the woman, I need to talk to her.” Leo said, with a hand on his holster. “Please.”

The man shook his head, and went out the gate.

“Give me the dog and leave.” He said, scowling.

He towered over Leo and as he approached, Jack barked angrily. The woman rushed outside, crying and screaming for help.

At that moment, Leo’s training kicked in.

__________________________________________________________________

It has been a month since then, and they moved to a new home. The woman was still miserable, although she was visibly happier than she had been compared to when they lived with the man.

No more screams were heard since the man was taken by Leo — and other men — into one of the same cars he rode in.

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Author’s message: never underestimate the power of a pet microchip.

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