Returning home.

Felix’s deep piercing gaze sent shivers down Lucky’s spineas he walked from his cage and slowly approached her. A million questionspopped into her mind as she observed the black scar-ridden canine. Almond was jumping for joy to see his buddy finally freed from hisprison.

“You came,” Felix muttered to Almond. “Like you said youwould.”

“Didn’t I tell ya?” Almond reassured. “When those cretinscame after you, who was it that said they would free you? That’s right, it wasme.”

“Trust is something I don’t have a lot of. I apologize forever doubting you.” His eyes drifted back to Lucky.

The other trapped hounds howled along with Lucky’s stomach,embarrassing her as Felix continued making her feel uneasy.

“Go on,” Felix groaned. “Do to them what you did for me.”

It took Lucky a few seconds to realize that he was talkingto her.

“O-oh! Sorry…”

As told, Lucky effortlessly freed the remainingcaptives and each of them took the time to thank her as theystretched their paws. Even Lucky was feeling happy for the freed animals.

Felix quickly took control of the situation with a longhowl, prompting the others to pay attention.

“We are free, my brothers,” Felix started. “From now on, we decide our own fates. Never again shall we be shackled to the coldhearted humans… slaves to their every whim.”

“Yeah!” One pup shouted from the background. “I’m my own dog!”

More howling ensued after that last bit.

“We’re out of here,” Felix roared as he made a mad dash forthe exit from where Almond and Lucky came. The rest of the animals followedsuit leaving the pet store quiet and in shambles.

Outside, Felix rendezvoused with Almond to discusstheir situation. Lucky tagged along, waiting for her promisedfeast.

“You going to tell me who this is in full detail now?”  Felix said, glaring at Lucky.

Before Almond could answer, Lucky spoke forherself.

“I’m friends with Almond… he promised to feed me if I helped you and well…”

“Friends? For how long? When did you two meet?” Felix asked.

It was clear to Lucky by this point that talking to Felixwould get her nowhere. The way he was eyeing her put her in a state ofcaution. What she said next could backfire on her.

“Save the questions, Felix,” Almond spoke up. “Let‘s get out of this alley and head back to the spot!”

For what seemed like hours, the trio walked. Lucky had neverwalked as much before today so she was exhausted and sluggish. For Almond andFelix, it was another exercise. Almond had no trouble telling Lucky off andexplaining how lazy she was.

They finally parked their rears near a large cardboard boxunderneath several large trees. The area was quiet as there wasn’t a singleperson or vehicle in miles. Something Felix took great joy in.

“Where… are we?” Lucky asked. Her voice drained from the events of today. Now was a good time as any for a nap.

“Home,” Felix answered as he walked into the box, laid downand made himself comfortable for a nap.

“This box?” Lucky wondered.

“If you don’t like it, you can leave. I don’t know whyAlmond brought you with us.”

“I told you,” Almond said. “She helped us and now she caneat and speaking of that — I’ll be right back!”

Almond dashed through the tall and patchy grass leaving Lucky and Felix alone in the dark. Still, Felix had his guard up gazing at Lucky who tried her darnedest to look as innocent as could be.

“Your fur is red,” Felix groaned. “Never seen anything likeit before.”

“Y-yeah,” Lucky stuttered. She wanted to say more but wasunsure how Felix would reply.

Felix huffed and said, “you have to leave tomorrow morning.Almond and I can’t have you around. I’m grateful for your help, but you gottago.”

This caused Lucky to snap.

“I don’t know where to go! I’ll starve or… or die…!”

“Not our problem,” Felix barked. “We got things to do thatdoesn’t concern you.”

Before Lucky could argue back, Almond returned with a paper plate, that looked worn out, filled with rotten carrots, half-eaten chicken drumsticks and smelly applecores. The sight disgusted Lucky.

“You got anything else?” Lucky questioned.

“Nope. This is all we got in our little storage,” Almond answered.

Felix took notice and growled, “you’re too spoiled if youcan’t handle this. This is our life. This is what we do to survive. If youcan’t handle this, then you won’t last a day.”

Wanting to prove Felix wrong, Lucky took a tiny biteof some chicken leftover. The taste made her immediately want to throwit back up, but she forced herself to swallow and grin. She ended up nottouching anything else afterwards.

Hours flew by and the gang quietly huddled together in their box. Almond and Felix drifted off after a conversation among themselves while Lucky struggled to sleep. Visions of Amelia hunted her along with the family members that kicked her out.

“… please come back,” Lucky whispered. She tossed and turned over and over as Amelia’s kind face flashed in her thoughts. And then, another memory arose from within. The time she was a little kitten lost and cold.

Moments before Amelia had found her, Lucky was dropped off bysomeone or something. The formless shape isn’t registering in her mind and thatfact kept irking at her. She continued to lie half asleep throughout the nightwondering about how she came to be…