for the story so far
My name is Keegan and I ran. I mean I seriously ran. A spacecraft, morphing men, eyes in the dark, the Doire that changed, I bolted away from the Bwbachod towards the bus stop on the other side of the park. With any luck, I could get there before they realized I was gone.
Down the slope, along the grass, through a rowdy bunch of drunks and up a slight hill on the other side. I thumped into the well-lit station, a beacon of electric lights.
A bus pulled in and I rooted around for my recently used transport card and swiped on.
“You okay son,” the driver asked me in heavily accented Indian.
“I’m fine, I just lost track of time and my mother is expecting me home at a certain time. I don’t want to worry her.” The lie coming out fluently.
“You are a good son not to worry your mother.”
The door hissed shut and the motor revved a little as the bus pulled away from the curb.
Three men were watching the bus disappear. The headlights picked up two red eyes. Oh fuck. At least on the bus I was relatively safe at the moment.
Jesus, Mary, and fucking Joseph. I was the only one on the bus at the moment as we cruised through the inner suburbs. I did not have a clue where the bus was actually going, I just knew it was going away from the weirdness.
After about 15 minutes, I pressed the button for the next stop and exited the bus in a dark section of roadway. The lights either side of the bus stop were out.
“You take care getting home son,” the driver admonished me.
“I’ll be fine,” I replied. “I’m only about a block away.” A block away from something, for sure, I just had no clue where I actually was.
I stepped down and walked strongly in a direction, turning the first corner so that I was out of sight from the bus driver, then I pulled out my phone and turned the location on so I could at least get my bearings. I simply needed to head west and I would get myself closer to home, I swiped the phone and physically turned it off. Then I set off down the road I was on at a jog.
About an hour into my jog, a dog started chasing me. This one was a tri-colored beagle and she seemed content to catch up with me and then stay there.
“Are you one of them,” I asked the dog. It was pretty stupid, but the dog did not reply so I guess everything was okay. The proof would be over time, I mean how many people wanted to live permanently as a dog.
I entered my flat through a small back window that I was somehow always able to fit through and I collapsed. The jog home had been exhausting, 3 hours and about 20 kilometers, that, on top of everything that had happened tonight. It was surreal.
I showered quietly as was my habit, drank some water and then collapsed into bed.
I couldn’t sleep. Too much shit traveling through my brain, but it always came back to the Doire. I tried reading my English novel “Empire of the Sun” but the words kept on getting superimposed on the Doire.
I threw the blanket off, cold hitting me rapidly. It shouldn’t have been that cold but tonight, but I shivered. I pulled open my emergency pack. This is the one I would grab if I ever had to leave in a hurry. It was sort of the pack I took to work and the pack I would occasionally take to school.
I heard a whine. The damn beagle was outside. I clicked the door open and let the dog in getting it a bowl of water. Then I pulled the box out that I had grabbed when I left my home what seemed like years ago.
The Doire stared back at me. It had been burnt into the surface of the timber and I felt the bumps as my finger passed over it. In and down, around the bends, always linking back to the same starting point in an intricate mesmerizing dance.
I had never opened the box. Dad and Mum had both said that I wasn’t too, that sometimes, no matter how much I wanted to, I shouldn’t open the box. I wanted to now. Oh boy, I really wanted to. I could hear it calling me.
The beagle barked.
I paused. It was looking at me expectantly and it came closer, sniffing a trail up to my feet.
I looked back at the box and my feet were gently nudged. I absentmindedly patted the beagle. The box seemed to have no seam but I had seen Mum with it opened once. She had closed it gently, no slams, no looking guilty, just as calm as a gentle spring day, she shut the lid and told me not to open it. Seem or not, I knew it could be opened.
I traced the Doire again and my feet were pushed back, one of my ankles hitting the chair leg.
“Hey, stop that,” I commanded the beagle. This time it jumped up on my lap, spun and pushed the Doire away from me.
“Are you sure you’re not related to Paw Man or that Chaise fellow,”
The Beagle looked at me with dopey brown eyes. I gave it a rub and checked it over for any Identification. There was none that I could find, just a tatty old collar.
I pulled my laptop out of my emergency bag and searched for lost dogs. No one had reported a missing beagle. My mouth opened involuntarily and I yawned. I stashed the Doire box and the laptop and headed back to bed. The Beagle jumped up and circled a spot at the end of the bed.
The following day, I submitted my application to the university, studied and walked the dog, I called her Pain in Bum or PIB.
The next day I tried to do a repeat of my activities, focusing on things that I could do, but that damn box called to me. Reluctantly I pulled the box out of the bag and placed it on the rickety table. PIB jumped onto the table, causing it to wobble and knocked the box off, then she nudged it under the bed in the furthest corner. Fucking dog.
“Out,” I commanded her, pointing to the door. She lay down in front of the box and whined softly.
I headed out for a run.