the short story project


Seven Days


Mmmmm, scratch behind the ears and a head rub.  I trained my humans perfectly. Time for a walk, human!  Don’t want you to get out of shape!

Sigh.  My lead human is always looking at a device in his hand.  But he looks rather upset today. I know! I’ll nuzzle him!  He loves my nose! What is wrong, lead human? Is everything okay today?  Do I need to nuzzle the small humans? Do they need me?

Good idea, lead human, consult your mate.  Uh oh! She’s crying! Emergency nuzzle in operation!!!!  Must snuggle human’s mate! I’ll even throw in some kisses!  There! That’s better!

“But I just don’t understand, how can the entire human race just disappear?!  Marvin, what will we do?”

Marvin laughed ruefully.  “There’s nothing to do. Think about it.  ALL of us will be gone! Honestly, I think it’s like all of us are going to meet up in a different place, all of humanity together.  But no one will be left here to mourn us, so there’s no reason to get upset, really. Telling the kids will only worry them. At the end of it all, we’ll all be together, Raimy.  We may not even notice a difference once we get to the other side.” Marvin embraced Raimy just as their dog Bobo pushed his nose in between their knees, tail wagging, anxious for attention.

Raimy reached down to scratch Bobo’s head.  “I daresay, Marvin, at least one soul will mourn us.”

“Very true, love.  Well, we have seven days to prepare to give Bobo a fighting chance in his new world.”

“Yes, that’s right.  Let’s see…” Raimy began making a list.  It made her feel better to be doing something productive, not just waiting idly for an apocalypse.

What is “disappear?”  Something doesn’t feel right.  I don’t understand. Must check on the small humans.  They need nuzzling and kisses, I’m sure of it.  

New day!  I love new days.  More playing! More nuzzles!  More treats! Wow, my humans bought me a lot of food!  Yes! Food is good. It is always good. Time to go outside human!  Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!

Wait, first, the smaller humans must get kisses before leaving for the day.  Where do they go? I do not know. Sometimes they look happy, sometimes they do not want to go.  But only when it gets colder outside! I like it better when it’s hot outside. I get to play in the water with the smaller humans.

Why is my lead human filling up the smaller humans’ watering hole with so much water?  Do you want them to swim, human? No, it is too cold for them. None of you have fur. It is not hot outside!  This is the wrong time! What are you doing, human? I thought I trained you better than that!

Marvin leans down to pet Bobo, now wagging his tail and panting as if asking a question.   “There you are, Bobo. I will leave you with as much water as I possibly can! Go about your business, Bobo.  You know what to do.”

Back inside, Bobo greeted Raimy.  He had questions.

Why all the water, human’s mate?  What is going on? Do you know what the lead human is doing?

Raimy petted Bobo, scratching behind his ears and on top of his head.  “You know something is changing, don’t you, Bobo?”

I don’t like this.  I do not like this feeling at all.  I need to hold a meeting with the other residents of this neighborhood.

Bobo looked at Raimy and let out a sharp decisive bark.  This is the “I need to go outside” bark. Realizing Marvin had already let him out for a potty break, Raimy decided he needed a walk with his leash.

Three blocks into the walk, Raimy came upon one of her neighbors, Linda.  Linda was also walking her dog, Daisy. Raimy and Linda hardly had a chance to greet each other before Bobo and Daisy did.

Daisy!  Boy am I glad to see you!  Listen, are your humans acting strangely?

Ok, Bobo, enough with the sniffing, you know who I am.  To answer your question, yes, they are acting weird now that I think about it.

Is something happening?  What do you know?

Daisy paused to scratch behind her ear.  I don’t really know anything, except my humans just bought me a whole lot of food, and my lead human has been cleaning out her kitchen ruthlessly!  Throwing away almost all the human food! I tried to tell her I’d be happy to eat it for her if she doesn’t want it, but she threw it away anyway.

Bobo sat down and looked at Daisy.  Do we need to hold a meeting? I have a feeling all the humans are acting weird.  All of them. Are your smaller humans okay?

Daisy thought a moment.  Yes, they seem to be okay.  Nothing out of the ordinary there.  They are getting older and are very smart, so they would know if something was really wrong.  Unless…

What, Daisy?

I don’t know.  Do you think humans lie to their pups?  Maybe the adult humans are keeping information from the smaller humans?

Bobo was suddenly back up on all fours, wagging his tail and panting excitedly.  Yes! Yes! I think you’re right! That would explain why the smaller humans are not doing anything strange!  Bobo sat down again. But that still doesn’t tell us what is wrong with the humans.  

Daisy found herself being pulled away.  Let’s all meet tonight behind Rufus’ humans’ house!  You know where!

Okay, Daisy, I’ll be there!  I’ll tell the others!

Bobo and Daisy then let out a simultaneous, piercing wail and howl that would wake the dead.  “Bobo! What are you doing?! Stop that at once!” Raimy scolded him.

Bobo would not stop for a good five minutes.  Raimy could hear an echo of all the neighborhood dogs answering Bobo and Daisy’s wails.

“They know,” thought Raimy.  “They may not know what, precisely, but they know it’s something.  Uncanny.”  Raimy shivered as Bobo leads her back home.

“Marvin,” Raimy called as she walked through the back door.  “You might think I’m crazy, but I believe we should leave Bobo’s doggy door unlocked tonight.”

“Why’s that?” Marvin answered.

Raimy was fixing a glass of ice water.  “You won’t believe this. But Bobo and I met up with Linda and her Daisy on our walk.  As we were parting, the dogs let out a horrible wail.”

“Yes, I heard all the wailing and howling a few minutes ago.  Sounded like every damn dog in the neighborhood!”

“I think it actually was.  I think they were trying to communicate with all of them.  Marvin,” Raimy paused, “I think they all want to meet tonight!”

Marvin couldn’t help but laugh.  Petting Bobo, he said, “having a neighborhood meeting tonight old pup?”

“Well, I believe the dogs all sense something is wrong,” Daisy continued.  “After all, we have broken our routine in preparation for the end of humanity.  I’m sure everyone has. The dogs know something is different.  Anyway, what’s the harm in keeping the doggy door unlocked one night?  If I’m wrong, no harm done, right?”

“If it will make you feel better, I don’t see why not, Raimy,” Marvin answered, kissing his wife. “Okay, Bobo, get to your meeting tonight.  All of you dogs have things to discuss, I’m sure.” Bobo wagged his tail and nuzzled his nose into Marvin’s leg as a reply. 

Rufus called everyone to order at the meeting that night.  Okay, everyone.  Settle down, please.  Tail wagging is expected, but please stop the sniffing of butts and the whining.  We all know everyone here. Yes, yes, we’re all excited to see each other again, but please come to order. 

BARK!  Rufus looked around.  Okay, now that I have your attention, I need you all to listen carefully.  Many of us have experienced our humans acting strangely for the past few days.  I have been receiving reports of humans buying extra food for us, throwing out food for themselves, storing water and removing locks from all doors.  Does anyone have anything to add?

Yes, my human actually canceled a beauty appointment I had made two weeks from today!  Nonsense!

My humans have been sad all the time!

My cat brother has noticed the same things!  He has extra food and water too!

I keep hearing new words I don’t understand!  Bobo offered. Does anyone else?

What does ‘disappear’ mean?

What is ‘a-pop-o-lips?’

What does ‘endof humanity’ mean?

Rufus directly addressed that one.  ‘Endof humanity…’ Well, ‘humanity’ sort of sounds like ‘human’.  Hmmm… I do not know what ‘endof’ means. That’s new to me, too.

Humans were calling dog names into the night.  Okay, Rufus stated decidedly.  Humans are looking for us now. We need to adjourn this meeting.  They need us more than ever now, that I can tell you. Everyone go home and take good care of your humans, and especially the smaller humans.  Snuggle like champions. Meet tomorrow at the same time, same place. We will discuss this phenomenon at more length. Meeting adjourned!

And with that, all the dogs of that neighborhood ran back to their homes, greeted by their owners with pats, and scratches in the right places, and treats, and “good dogs.”

Bobo received his goodnight snack, then, instead of retreating to his own bed, went into the children’s room and placed himself in the rug between the two beds.  Everything was right.  

For the next four nights, the neighborhood dogs continued to meet, as long as they could get out of their homes.  A few cats even joined in the meetings, and this was not usually allowed, but they all agreed that whatever was happening was too important to fret about silly rules.  

During these meetings, no one could really come to a conclusion as to what the humans were up to, or if something was wrong with all of them.  Oh, there were a few guesses and speculations – an illness, they no longer need to eat to survive, even aliens among them – but nothing definitive.  In the end, they decided it was best to simply be there for their humans as they are made to do, no matter what is going on.

The following morning, Bobo awoke to find the children’s beds empty already.  

Good, they must be getting ready to go today, Bobo thought.  Another new day! What are we doing today? First, breakfast!

Where is everyone?  No matter, my food is here.  Hey! Lead human! Bark! You left the door open!

Daisy bounded in through the front door.  Bobo!  Everyone is gone!  All the humans! They are gone!  That’s why they were acting so weird!  They knew this was going to happen!

Bobo sat down quietly.  I don’t understand. Why did they all leave?  Didn’t we take care of them correctly? Did we not train them right?

Maybe, Daisy interjected thoughtfully, maybe we did, and it was time for them to be on their own!

Let’s go check out the rest of the neighborhood, Daisy! Bobo replied, wagging and panting.  He was excited to think they all did their jobs that well.

Okay, Bobo, let’s go!

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