Hello, friends and readers! I had been putting episodes of my fiction story “Imagine: Life on a Chain” on the new Kindle Vella, but they went and blocked my first episode (which is FREE on Vella anyway) because it appeared here on my blog—which was solely an effort to attract readers to the story on Vella.
Sigh. So I said, nah. I’ll just put it all out on here rather than go ten rounds with Amazon trying to get it unblocked. My first two attempts when unanswered. That’s what happens when you deal with a bohemoth.
My loss is your gain! I hope you enjoy the story, and it helps bring awareness to chaining as an issue, too.
Below is the first episode, again, and you can look forward to one each Tuesday until the story is done. Follow my blog to get a notification when the next episode comes out.
Imagine…Life on a Chain
In the year 2020, the worst global disaster in our lifetimes forced humans into confinement against their wishes.
They didn’t deal with it well.
Doctors and scientists tried to educate the people, convince them it was for the greater good, and yet—even when faced with the very real possibility of death for stepping outside their doors—humans still did so in large numbers.
They fought wearing masks, proven to save lives.
Fought any perceived restrictions on their freedom.
One could argue that for the first time ever, humans at large got a small taste of what is a daily reality for a dog on a chain.
Dogs like Imagine, who couldn’t speak for himself…
…had no voice to say “no more.”
Shame, too. If only the humans had known what he was capable of, they may not have cast him aside so casually…
Based on a true story, Imagine could be any dog living a confined existence in America today. Each of these dogs is worthy, capable, and deserving of a home and loving family of their own.
And, yes, dare we say, freedom.
A Weird Smell
The dog awoke, feeling more uncomfortable than usual—which was saying something, given that he was chained to a dilapidated box the size of a grocery cart.
The world seemed off, the neighborhood quiet, even the woods behind him hushed . . . like everything waited . . .
He shifted uneasily, sniffed the air.
It was warm for March; the sun was just peeking over the far-off mountains, and he shivered as he crawled out of his doghouse to meet the dawn, memory of the recent cold snap making his bones ache.
He supposed he should be grateful for the promise of a warm day. As he slid into middle age, the winter months seemed longer and more unbearable with each passing year.
He shook his fur out the best he could, hoping for a little more insulation until the temperatures rose a few degrees.
He was a mutt, like so many of the forgotten. His fur was thick but on the shorter side, and his black and tan markings made him unremarkable. His floppy ears bespoke a Labrador heritage, while his coloring hinted at shepherd in the mix.
His eyes were kind, smart, knowing.
So very, very sad.
His owner called him Magnum, tossed out with a sneer and a pretend gun pointed at the dog’s head, the obligatory “pew, pew” sounds always next out of his mouth.
“Here’s your food, ya stupid mutt,” he’d say, pouring some kibble into a bowl and dumping a pitcher of water over it, never bothering to bend over far enough to ensure the water stayed in the dog’s banged-up dish.
The dog gobbled the offerings each night, knowing he had to eat fast and slurp every drop of the precious liquid, as tomorrow was never a sure thing.
On the few occasions he hadn’t finished his dinner, there was always someone waiting just beyond the shadows to take it from him.
But even though the morning brought constant hunger and thirst, dinner was a long, very long time away—if it came at all.
He peered at the neighbor’s back window and, reassuringly, saw a flicker of light. He remained bothered by the unusual stillness, even for early morning when the world had just begun to awake from its dark slumber.
Normally he could hear the traffic already clogging the highway two blocks over, but today there were no cars on the road.
Normally his owner Rudy’s alarm blared about this time, but the faint sounds of his snores still drifted out into the backyard.
The breeze shifted, and a whiff of something unknown teased his senses.
What was that? He brought his head up and inhaled deeply.
He didn’t recognize it…and yet…and yet. Something about the odor nudged a memory from his mind, of a time when life held promise, when he’d fully embraced the naïve enthusiasm that came with puppyhood.
He tugged on the mental string, and the flashback overwhelmed him. He sagged onto the ground, assaulted by memories of his first home.