I’ve been walking all day. Walking alone! Walking, looking for people. Well, not just any people. People, who are not trying to bite, me. People, who are running and want to, play. That’s what’s funny. Most of the time people who run want to play, but not today. And what’s even funnier is most of the time people don’t want to bite. I really can’t remember a time when people wanted to bite me. I mean I’ve been bitten. My sister bit me when we were little, so I bit her back. Mom let us go like this a while then she stopped us and we took a nap. But people, they never wanted to bite. At least not, until a couple of days ago.
I was at home waiting when things kind of went funny. No one came home when they were supposed to. No one came home for dinner. No one came home when it got dark. So I had to go to sleep alone and hungry. And that never happens. Come to think of it a lot of things are happening now that never happened before. I woke up a lot that first night. I was hungry and my stomach was growling. But what really woke me up, was the sounds of cars and sirens. And the sounds of people, walking around outside, making funny noises. So I went to the door and told them to go away. They didn’t, then, I went to the windows and told them to go away even louder. But they only came to the windows and made faces. That never happened before. So I went upstairs and fell asleep in the big bed. It was hard to sleep that night.
When the sun came up the next morning I looked all over the house to see if anyone was home. No one was. I looked in the kitchen to see if there was any food. No food. But there was still water so I drank a little. It helped my stomach but not much. So I went outside. It smelled funny. Like smoke. Not barbeque smoke, bad smoke. Like when leaves get burned but a lot worse. And it smelled like something was left out and had gone bad. Like when the trash doesn’t get taken out. I got in trouble for knocking over the trash, once. But this smelled like something I didn’t want to knock over. I looked around the yard and tried to look over the fence to see if I could see anybody. But I couldn’t. That’s when I saw the gate was knocked over. It must have been those people who made the faces at me last night. I decided they were bad people and I would yell at them first chance I got.
Well, since the gate was open I decide to go out front and see if I could find anybody. That’s when I saw the first biter. I came around to the front of the house and there was the neighbor. He was just standing there looking out into the street. So I walked up to him and touched his hand. I knew right away something was wrong, ‘cause he smelled funny. That’s when he looked at me. He had a funny look in his eyes. And his shirt was all bloody. Then he growled at me and tried to grab me. At first I thought he was playing, but then he grabbed my neck and tried to bite me. It really hurt when he grabbed me. So I yanked myself away from him and yelled at him to leave me alone. Then I made my angry face at him. But he didn’t care. And he tried to grab me again. So I turned and ran away from him. That’s when I ran right into the next biter. She was a little girl I know from down the street. She used to give me cookies and play with me. But she didn’t want to play today. She just wanted to bite me too. She couldn’t grab me ‘cause both her hands were gone. It looked really bad but she didn’t cry, she just tried to grab me so I ran away and yelled at her to go away. But the little girl and the neighbor followed me. Then I saw more of the biting people. They were everywhere and they were all coming after me. I wanted to go home but there were just too many of them so I ran away. I didn’t know where I was running to, I just ran away. Everywhere I looked there were biters. Some were coming after me, others were biting other people. And others were just walking. So I just kept running. Finally, when I stopped seeing biters, I started to walk. I walked all day and part of the night. I was so tired and hungry, and so lonely. I wanted to go home! But I was lost, and didn’t know how to get home or where anybody was. I didn’t even know where I was until I turned a corner and there it was. The park! I was so happy to see the park. This was some place I knew. We had come here a lot. We played with balls here and ran and laughed and ………….. and now it was dark and a little scary because every sound made me think there was a biter nearby. So I walked slowly up to the playground. No biters. I walked around the playground. No biters. I came to the steps up into the playground. No biters. I went up the playground steps and looked in the play tunnel. No biters. So I crawled into the tunnel and fell asleep. It was cold and lonely, but it was high up and there were no biters, but there was no food or water. I really wanted to go home.
When the sun came up the next morning I woke up, but that was not what woke me up. What woke me up was feeling like I was not alone. That’s when I heard it. Breathing, and feet walking. And then I felt something touch me. That’s when I jumped up and started to back-up and yell “leave me alone, go away”!
“Toby, is that you making all that noise?”
I knew that voice. But I kept yelling “leave me alone!”
“Toby, stop yelling will you, you’ll call the bad people if you don’t shut-up”.
I do know that voice, “Missy”?
“Yes, it’s me, Missy! Now will you please be quiet”
I was so happy to see her, I nearly knocked us both out of the tunnel when I ran to her.
“Ok, Ok, I’m glad to see you too. Now will you settle down?”
“Missy, what are you doing here?” I asked.
“I was out looking for people, that’s when I heard you up here snoring. You know you snore loud. You’re lucky the bad people didn’t find you.”
“You mean the biters?”
Missy cocked her head and thought for a minute, “Is that what you call them? I guess that’s right. Every one of them I’ve seen has tried to bite me. Ok, yeah the biters.”
“Was I that loud?”
“Loud enough. So what are you doing here?”
“I’m lost………” , and that was when my stomach started growling. I was so hungry.
“Boy, how long has it been since you’ve eaten?”
“I don’t remember, it’s been a while.”
“Well, you wanna come over to my house and eat. I’ve got plenty.”
I was so happy to hear that. “Yeah, I’m so hungry.”
“Well follow me.”
So I followed Missy home. We had to hide in some bushes to stay away from a few biters. They came so close we could smell them. And boy did they smell bad. So we stayed hidden and very quite. When they moved off we ran from bush to bush and tree to tree until we got to Missy’s house.
“Ok, we’re here, but we need to go in the back door. Now be quiet and follow me.”
We ran to the back of her house and pushed through the door into Missy’s house. What a mess. There was food everywhere.
“What happened here, Missy?”
“Oh I got myself a snack. They left the door to the pantry open, so I helped myself.” Missy went into the pantry and brought out a bag of cookies. “Here eat up, there’s plenty more.” I was so hungry, I didn’t think, I just ate. I knew it was wrong. At my house if I got into the cookies like this I’d get a spanking for sure. But there was no one here except for Missy and me, so I ate. I looked around for something to drink when I had eaten my fill.
“What you looking for?” Missy said, between bites of a loaf of bread she had started on.
“I was looking for some water.”
“At the fridge. There’s always water there.”
She was right, there was water. Cool clean water. I drank and drank. It felt so good to be full and to drink. When I was finished I walked over to Missy and sat down, and nibbled on some bread. I looked out the window and saw it was getting cloudy.
“Missy, do you think anyone is ever coming home?” She looked up at me and looked kind of sad. Like, she wanted to cry or something.
“I don’t know Toby. I don’t want to think about it too much. This is the first time everyone’s been gone so long. I get afraid and sad if I think on it too much. So I don’t. I just eat and drink and wait. I go outside sometimes but I come back in quick. I don’t like the ‘biters’ so I stay in. Today was the first time I went out of the yard. Lucky I did or I wouldn’t have found you.”
“Yeah, lucky.” We sat in the kitchen for a long time and didn’t say a word. The only sound was the wind starting to blow outside. Then some rain started to fall against the windows.
“I’m sleepy”, Missy said, “you can sleep on the sofa, I’m going to my bed upstairs. See you later.” Then she was gone. I hoped I hadn’t made her mad or anything. But then I thought she just sounded too sad to be mad. So I walked over to the sofa and went to sleep.
I don’t know how long I’d been asleep when I woke up to the sound of Missy calling me.
I ran to the living room where Missy was and stopped. Missy was at the window looking out. Boy was it raining. Not the little drops that are fun. It was big hard falling drops. And it was thundering, and the lightning was close! Every flash and every boom made the windows rattle and made the room seem brighter. Missy started to cry.
“Oh, Toby, I hate the rain. And I hate the noise and the flashes.”
I walked over to Missy and saw she was shaking. I was going to tell her it will be ok when there was a really bright flash and a boom that shook the whole house. Then a tree that was just outside the window came crashing into the living room. That was all it took, and Missy was running to the kitchen. Before I could reach her she was out the back door and into the rain. I yelled after her to stop. I yelled it was stupid to run out into the rain. But it was too late. So I ran after her to try and get her to come back.
When I got to the front yard I saw the tree was on fire and Missy running down the street as fast as she could go, so I followed her. Suddenly she stopped running and started to back up. There was a flash and that’s when I saw them. There were biters everywhere, and they were looking right at us. Missy turned and ran away from the biters and ran right into me. We tripped over each other fighting to get back up. By the time we got to our feet the biters were almost on top of us. So we ran. That’s when we ran into more biters. They must have seen the fire and headed to it. We were trapped. That’s when Missy said, “come on follow me”. So we ran between two houses. That was the wrong thing to do. Missy stopped and I almost ran into her again.
“There’s a fence”, she said terrified, ‘there’s a fence”!
Sure enough we had run right into a fence. “Let’s try and jump it”, I said. So we started to jump. But it was too tall. We jumped and jumped but it was no use. So we turned around to run again but it was too late. The biters had followed us and we couldn’t get out. They came closer and closer so we started to yell at them to go away. We yelled and made angry faces at them, but they still kept coming. Closer and closer; louder and louder. That’s when Missy panicked.
“I’m going to run, they won’t be able to catch us if we run really fast!”
“That’s no good there’s too many of them”.
“It’ll work, come on”. And then she ran, ran right into them. At first she was able to get past the first few but then they closed in on her and she was trapped. One of them grabbed her head and reached down to bite her neck. “Toby, TOBY, help” she screamed, but when I started to try and help it was too late, the biter had taken a big bite out of her her neck. Then another one grabbed her leg and started biting big chunks out of it. Then another and then another got hold of her. And she was gone! Then they started towards me. So I yelled and cried and screamed “leave me alone, go away”. But they just kept on coming. I backed into the fence and turned my head and started to cry. That’s when I heard it. A big “CRACK”. Like nothing I’d ever heard before. When I looked back at the biters, one was on the ground, a big hole in his head. Then there was another crack, and another, and another. The biters heads were blowing up like balloons with too much air in them. Crack, Crack, Crack. When the cracks stopped all the biters were on the ground. All I could hear then was the sound of the rain falling. I walked over to the biters and they didn’t move. But then I looked up and there was another biter walking up to me. I was so scared I started yelling again and making angry faces and angry noises, and backing up to the fence again. That’s when I heard the biter talk. That was funny because none of the biters had talked, just growled.
“Hey, boy it’s ok. They’re all gone, now. No one’s going to hurt you.”
I was so scared I kept on yelling!
“Jack, you got any food on you.”
“What…… food? Are you out of your mind. First you drag me over here to save these two mutts. Then you have us make all this racket putting down these maggot bags. Now you want food? Man, let’s go before any more of these things show up.”
“Food, Jack. Come on give it up.”
“Man you’re going to get us both, killed, or worse.”
There were two of them. They weren’t biters but I still yelled at them to leave me alone.
“Just hand it over.”
The one called “Jack” threw something at the other one. He unwrapped it and that’s when I smelled it! Peanut butter! I love peanut butter! The first biter threw the sandwich over to me. It smelled so good I forgot all about the rain and the biters.
“That’s a good boy, you like that huh?’”
Then I felt a hand on my head. And it wasn’t trying to grab me. He just scratched my ear. I was so happy to find someone who wanted to be nice and not want to bite me that I couldn’t help myself I started to wag my tail and then I jumped up and started to lick the man’s face. He was not a biter he was a man, and so was his friend.
“Ok, Pete, you’ve done your good deed for the day. Now let’s get going!”
“Jack, you got no heart man, this guy won’t last another day out here with all the ghouls around.”
“Hey, I got a heart. I just wanna keep it in my chest and not, between a ghouls teeth. I’m funny that way you know.”
“Look I’m not leaving him. See what they did to the cocker.”
The two men went over to Missy. The biters had torn her apart. Poor Missy! I started to cry, and the man called “Pete” bent down and petted me on the head.
“It’s ok boy. We won’t let that happen to you.” I wasn’t sad for me I was sad for Missy. That was when the man took off his belt.
“Now what are you doing!” the man called Jack, asked.
“I’m using my belt as a leash. We’re taking this fella back to the school with us.”
“I’m telling you right now, “Doctor Dolittle, the chief ain’t gonna like this.”
“You let me worry about that.” Pete wrapped his belt around my collar and said, “Ok boy let’s go.” And I was glad to follow. As we passed the biters I made my angry noise, “That’s what you get for hurting Missy”.
“Don’t worry boy”, Pete said “they aren’t gonna hurt anyone again”.
I was walking again. But now I had found people, people who didn’t want to bite me. Good people. The rain had stopped, and all I could think was, “I wonder if they have a ball, and more of that peanut butter”.