Sleepless Watch

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The following was a response posted on Reddit by user euthenios in response to the writing prompt above. The original thread can be found here.

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The last thing I remember is My Person bringing my to the Sharp Place.

I never understood why My Person would bring me to the Sharp Place. The smells were sharp, and they poked me with sharp things. That’s why I called it the Sharp Place. It was a bad place. I didn’t like it.

I don’t know why My Person brought me there, that day of all days. I already hadn’t been feeling good. I’d been throwing up, and my hips hurt and my paws hurt. Even eating grass didn’t help. And then My Person brought me to the Sharp Place. I tried to be mad at him, but he seemed so sad about something, so I tried to wag my tail to cheer him up. I didn’t even really notice when the Sharp Man poked me.

Then my eyes got heavy and that was the last thing I remember.

Buddy, a voice said. Buddy, wake up.

I opened my eyes and got to my feet, and I realized my paws didn’t hurt anymore. I tried a wag, and that was fine, too. I sniffed the air. It smelled like the Play Park and like Our Home and the Car Window. I liked it a lot.

Welcome, Buddy, came the voice again, from behind me.

I turned around, and there was a person there. He wasn’t My Person, but he was all safe and good smells, so I trusted him.

Where am I? I said.

You’re in the place that Good Boys go, the person said.

I was a Good Boy? I said.

You were a Very Good Boy, he told me.

That was good. I always tried to be a Good Boy. Where’s My Person? I asked.

He’s still down there, the person said. And he waved his arm and all of a sudden we were in Our Home, and My Person was sitting on the Forbidden Chair and looking sad. Every so often, he’d look over at the Okay Couch, where I was allowed so sit, and his breath would catch because he was very sad. I tried to nuzzle him, but my nose just passed through his hand.

What’s happening? I don’t understand, I said.

The person sighed. You can’t be with him right now, Buddy. I’m sorry. It’s the way of things.

I thought about this. So it’s like My Person is on the Person Bed, and I’m not allowed there? I said.

Exactly like that, the person said. But he can be with you someday. If you choose to wait for him.

Of course I want to wait for him! I said. Not wait for My Person? Who did this person think he was talking to?

Hold on, Buddy, the person said. He seemed sad about this for some reason. It’s not that simple. You have a choice. He got down on one knee and he looked into my eyes. There are bad things in this world, Buddy. Very bad things.

Like Neighbor Cat?

So much worse than her, Buddy. He waved his hand, and I saw what he was talking about. He showed me dark things, that were like snakes and rats, only worse. Worse than the Sucking Machine. Worse than the Sharp Place. They smelled evil.

These are the things that want to hurt him, Buddy. They want to hurt everybody. So you can wait for him, or you can keep him safe. But if you choose to keep him safe, then you can’t see him again.

What, never? I said.

The person nodded. Never, Buddy. I’m sorry. Those are the Rules. It’s a terrible choice.

I looked at my paws. I didn’t want to not see My Person ever again. But I wanted to keep him safe even more.

I know what I have to do, I said, and the person waved his hand, and all of a sudden we were in a place with there were as many dogs as I have every seen before. More, even.

These are all the Good Boys who chose to keep Their People safe, the person said.

I looked at them all. I couldn’t believe it, still. But there’s so many of us! I said. How many Good Boys are here?

The person looked down at me. He smiled, but I could tell he was also partly very sad. All of you, Buddy. Every single one.

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