Tony was still recovering from being attacked by the creature, but both of us knew that we needed to save Cleo from the pound before it was too late.
“How much time do we have?” I asked Tony.
“I don’t know,” said Tony. “But not a lot. It won’t take the humans long to decide that no one wants her.”
I began pacing back and forth trying to think of a plan, but between being lost in the middle of a never-ending wilderness, running out of time, and Tony hardly being able to stand, I couldn’t think of anything.
“Calm down Honeybee,” said Tony. “We’ll think of something.”
“Yeah, but by then it’ll be too late!” I said.
He looked me in the eye. “We’ll get there…. somehow.”
I took a deep breath and sat next to him. “Somehow,” I repeated.
That night was cold, and I didn’t sleep. It’s not that I couldn’t, I just didn’t. I really don’t know why.
Tony didn’t sleep hardly either, not because he chose not to, but because every time he began to doze off he looked almost as if he was dead, and I woke him up to make sure he wasn’t.
Both of us were tired in the morning, and I’ll be honest, it was hard to move. We decided to try to find our way back, and then work out a plan. That way once the plan was made, we’d already be there. However, finding a way back wasn’t as easy as we thought.
I think foxes and dogs are supposed to have really good senses of direction, but no matter how hard we tried, there just seemed to be no way back.
We walked on the street for a while, till a car came up behind us and nearly ran over us!
Then it screeched to a stop, and a big man came out. I hadn’t ever seen him before, but Tony was shaking as he whispered, “That’s the man that took Cleo.”
He approached us slowly. Any other day I would have run away from him as fast as I could, but Tony wouldn’t be able to make it, and I wasn’t leaving him behind.
“I don’t need you,” The big man looked at me. “You’re a fox.”
Then he looked at Tony. “But I’d better put this one out of his misery.”
He pulled out an odd looking stick. Something told me it was a weapon. He pulled something on the stick back and it clicked. He pointed it at Tony.
It was over before I realized what had happened. He lay there. He didn’t know what had hit him. He didn’t move, he was bleeding. He looked at me, surprised, scared, as I was.
He was the dog catcher. I had jumped onto him and the stick had boomed loud into the air. He lay there quite surprised. He didn’t know what had happened, and to tell the truth, neither did I.
I jumped off of him as soon as I figured it out, and Tony and I ran- or limped- down the street.
We still didn’t know where we were going, and I couldn’t hear that well after the stick boomed by my ear.
The dog catcher guy got up, but he didn’t bother to chase after us. His forehead was bleeding a little, and he walked slowly back into his car shouting words I couldn’t understand but assumed were bad.
We walked for what felt like an eternity. We were nearly ready to give up and go to sleep, but then I saw something in the sky.
It flew really fast, and looked awfully tiny from where I was. It was too noisy to be a bird, and it didn’t move its wings.
Then I remembered, in the city near the ally, there is a huge place where lots of giant flying things land and take off. The one above us looked too small to be one of them, but it was worth a shot.
“Tony,” I said. “Follow that thing in the air!”
“Why?!” Tony asked quite confused.
“It’ll take us to the city!” I wasn’t actually sure, but I didn’t have time to explain all the details, so we ran down the road after it.
It’s hard to chase a flying thing when it’s so much faster than you and you’re with someone who can’t hardly walk. Eventually, we lost it, but not too soon, because I could see the tops of buildings peeking out over all of the trees.
“Tony, Look!” I ran down the road towards the buildings and Tony limped along behind me.
The buildings grew closer and closer, and I was so occupied with getting there that I forgot to figure out what we were going to do once we did get there.
Finally we reached the city. It felt different than when I had left, but it was the same city.
We had to think of a plan now, we needed a way to get Cleo out without getting put in ourselves. No matter how hard we tried, all the plans that stood a chance of working took more than two people.
“We gotta go get the others, Honeybee,” Tony said.
“No,” I said defiantly. “We don’t need them.”
Tony looked at me. “Honeybee, when are you going to forgive them?”
“I don’t need to forgive them, I just need to forget them!”
“How come you’re so stubborn?” Tony asked. “Why don’t you just ask yourself, what would you have done?”
I didn’t even hesitate before standing straighter and firmly saying, “I wouldn’t have lied.”
Tony sighed. “Well, how do you propose we do this by ourselves?”
I stared at the ground, thinking, then I looked up and grinned. “I might have a way.”
That night was cold, but Tony and I stayed in a cardboard box by an alley, discussing what we were to do.
In the Morning we were ready. I walked into the alley and found a puddle of mud. I stared at it for a moment, then splashed it all over my face before rolling around in it.
I wasn’t sure if it would work, but when I saw my reflection in a window, I was completely brown, and looked slightly more like a dog, though I still had the facial features of a fox.
In order for the plan to work, I had to look exactly like a dog.
I walked to Tony. “Will it work?” I asked.
Tony looked at me carefully. “I don’t think they’ll buy it.”
I shook to get the mud out of my fur, because it was getting a little itchy. “Then what do we do?”
Tony nodded at me. “I have to be the distraction, not you.”
“But Tony, you’re hurt.”
“Exactly why you have to get the job done. I’ll be more helpful as the decoy.”
I shook my head. “But how will you get out?”
Tony hesitated, then smiled a kind of sad smile at me. “Maybe I won’t.”
I closed my mouth. Time froze. I think the world stopped turning. I walked over to him and touched my forehead to his. “You’re going to live,” I practically choked. “I love you.”
He closed his eyes. “And I love you too, Honeybee.”
So there we were, standing in the middle of the world, as every creature, tree, and planet, held their breath.
Tony wouldn’t let me stop him. “There’s no other way.”
“Alright, but promise you’ll be careful.”
He smiled. “I promise.”
So that was that. We were breaking into the pound.
Tony ran to the front and barked in at the other dogs, who in turn gave him a bark of warning, but the humans already saw him.
“Hey, look at this little cutie pie,” one of them said.
“But look, he’s hurt,” The other one replied.
One of them picked him up. “He’s got no license, must be a stray.”
“C’mon, let’s put this poor fella out of his misery.”
Out of his misery. That was what the man with the stick had said. They were going to kill him! I crept in the door after them, like I was supposed to. But in my mind, operation free Cleo had become operation save Tony.
I ran after them, not even looking for which cage Cleo was in. They took Tony into a dark room. It smelled weird and felt like death.
They set Tony down on the floor and tied a rope around his neck. One of them walked out, while the other grabbed one of those sticks and pointed it at Tony.
I heard it click, and that meant the boom would be coming soon. There was nothing I could do, it was too late to jump on the guy. But when I saw the fear in Tony’s eyes, I had to do something. I jumped in front of him, and a second later, I heard the boom.
To be continued in “Millie: A story of family (part 4)”