Fiona loosened the latch of the large metal gate. As it came ajar, I poked my way through a tiny gap and rushed out to embrace the open spaces it guarded. I loved the park and exploring its mysteries, particularly its smells. Whenever my friends were there, we’d chase each other through the play area, around the trees, and rolled in amongst the lush green grass. However, today felt different.
I went about my routine, exploring my usual places and favourite smells. I could tell Fiona wasn’t her usual self. Something wasn’t right. Thwack! My ears lifted. My head jerked. Out the corner of my eye, I saw a branch from a nearby bush wave at me. A scent tickled my nose but then disappeared. I hoped it was my imagination playing tricks on me. That smell didn’t belong to someone good.
As I searched for the scent, something appeared before me. I yelled at it, prompting Fiona’s voice to roar in my direction. My head spun towards her.
‘Stop barking at that mirror, Brutus!’
My gaze returned towards the mirror. I inspected this foreign object that now resided in the park. My investigation ceased. The same scent I smelt before had returned. My ears pricked up as careful footsteps pressed against the ground. They were close. I looked towards Fiona. Beyond her was a strange man, his face covered with a black mask, his clothes as black as my coat.
His smell triggered a memory, a painful one. Whoever belonged to that smell kicked me the night they unleashed their fury upon Fiona. There was nothing I could do to stop it. The man forced me out of the room and locked the door. Even over my barks, I could still hear the painful slaps and screams.
‘Fiona! Look out!
‘Stop barking at that mirror, Bru…..’
As her phone slipped from her hand and smashed to the ground, I saw terror grow within her expression. Then he spoke. That same rough, aggressive voice that I connected to the smell. It was him in disguise.
‘I knew you’d come here to walk that bloody dog!’
Fiona replied tentatively. ‘Please! Leave us alone.’
His hand raised above her as it did that night. I wasn’t going to let it happen again. I acted quickly. Chow Chow’s weren’t known for their athleticism, but at that moment, I found something deep within me.
I jumped up and locked my teeth around the man’s raised arm. He roared in pain. My body shook as he attempted to loosen the grip of my jaw. I wasn’t letting go. You weren’t going to hurt her again. As he dragged me towards the gate, screaming, I relinquished my grip.
As he disappeared from view, I felt two loving arms wrap around my body. Two lips kissed my fur before Fiona’s head embraced my back as if it were a pillow. She was safe.