Skittles Acetone was already tightly grasping the tops and sides of her feet as she stumbled through the front door. The pressure of her grip relieved the pain in her feet just enough to continue, even through the thick leather of the skates. She eyed the bench just ahead. Only three feet, maybe four. She can make it. She began to stretch her right foot in front of her. SMACK! Her foot was fully extended and she was on her ass.

“Fuck it,” Skittles muttered to herself under her breath. “Bixby!” Beneath the sound of her own voice, she could already hear the tiny nails on Bixby’s tiny paws scratching and sliding on the tile. He came around the corner, practically flying. He tried desperately to grip the floor with his tiny claws to turn but his body continued forward.

Skittles watched Bixby and couldn’t help but smile. His entire body looked as though it would explode with excitement, but his wiry sand-colored hair was stiff, almost frozen in time. Bixby’s body finally slowed enough for him to turn. He ran down the hall stopping too late, sliding into the bottom of Skittle’s skate. He was tough. The mutt shook off the misstep and looked up at Skittle’s smile with an almost smile of his own.

“Where are my slippers?” Skittles asked Bixby, more as a command than a question. As she untied the bow on her first skate, Bixby just stared back at her just as excited as before. “Bixby, find my slippers!” He spun around in understanding. And he was gone. Skittles could hear the pitter patter of his nails on his floor as he frantically searched from room to room. He was back before she had her second skate off. There has never been a dog prouder than Bixby was in that moment.

“Those are yours, ya goof!” Skittles laughed as she carefully lifted the laces of the booties from behind Bixby’s teeth. “Alright.” She lifted Bixby off the ground and one by one put the booties on his paws. She plopped him back down and he immediately turned back to face her and sat. He looked up at her, tilted his head, and pounced at her knee. “Well, aren’t you pleased as punch.”

Without standing up, Skittles shuffled to the first doorway. She leaned on the wall, grasped the corner and pulled herself into the living room. She looked at the big green Lazy Boy in the center of the room and felt herself get lighter. She dragged herself to the back of the chair. In these moments she knew she had made the right decision in putting no other furniture in the room. She climbed to the front and up into the seat. She felt the bulging green fabric begin to engulf her body. She kicked up the foot rest and leaned back. As the room faded to black she felt Bixby jump into her lap.

“Bixby,” she smiled to herself as she felt herself melt into the recliner.
Then there was nothing. The room was gone. Skittles opened her eyes and in the vast empty there was a faint crimson light in the distance. It grew slowly. No, it wasn’t growing. It was getting closer. It was not only growing in size, but it was also growing brighter too. Skittles reached her hand in front of her and faced her palm back at her so she could feel the heat radiating from the light. It was a blistering heat. Back home this would be burning, but here she felt no pain. Skittles had found it. After seven failed attempts, she was finally there. This had to be it. This had to be…

The Ember Galaxy.

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