A Cat Named Dog

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Sarah told me not to name my poodle Spot. 

That's why I named my poodle Dog.

Dog has a spot on his side, so my parents call him Salt and Pepper—Speppe. 

But Dog doesn't care if you call him Dog or Speppe.

Someone ran over Dog. 

Dad says if that asshole didn't speed through the neighborhood, they wouldn't hit poodles wandering outside. Mom says Speppe should have been on a leash, but she forgives him, because what's done is done.

"But Dad didn't hit Dog," I say. Why forgive him?

Mom pulls me into the folds of her flowing dress, whispering, "It's okay. Speppe's in Heaven now, Sweetheart."

Heaven?

Isn't that the place that speeding asshole preaches about every weekend?

My parents are peeved I'm not attending a Catholic college, but then, they've been pissed at everything I've done in life. I could only handle so many we're-disappointed-in-you episodes before I stopped tuning into the channel where they broadcast opinions.

Still, I love them, because: parents. 

Dad's driving me to the university he no doubt fancies as a hellscape, glancing nervously at the pile of Dungeons & Dragons books I've sprawled across the backseat. Since we lost Dog, I've filled myself with games instead.

"Watcha doin', honey?" he asks.

"Designing an adventure," I murmur, penciling ideas.

My buddies and I still meet on weekends, despite splintering down different branches since high school. I went to community college—this'll be my first semester at uni—and Sarah got a job at Hot Topic, then promoted to manager. Meanwhile Gary is playing League of Legends while studying online—yes, in his parents' basement—and Justin's in a fraternity.

Since I saved tons of money living at home—working part-time through my two years at community college—I'm splurging on a studio apartment across the street from uni. I'm the only one who won't live with parents or roommates.

That makes me host of weekend games from now on. So stoked.

My friends are slaying the Cerberus that defends the medusa's library when a black cat jumps in through my open window.  

Sarah says, "You got a cat?"

I look up from my dice. "No?"

The cat stares at me with familiar eyes.

"Why don't you have screens on your windows?" Gary asks.

I frown. "Because locking the glass before bed works fine..."

The cat strolls into the room, then jumps on my round kitchen table, without blinking an eye. It sits in front of me, glaring. What does it want?

"Maybe," Justin says, "it belonged to the last person who lived here."

Then it hits me. I leap out of my chair. "It's Dog." 

"The poodle?" Sarah asks.

The cat meows. He's nonplussed.

"Guys," I say. "This is my childhood dog."

"Nah, bro," Gary says.

"How you know?" Justin asks.

I don't really know until I take Speppe to my parents. Then the cat named Dog walks into the middle of the street. He howls at the place where Dog died, like a wolf mourning in the night.

♦️

First draft: October 18
Word count: 498
Inspiration: Contest hosted by _Dark_Fantasy for the Halloween Vault, "Good Boy—or is He?"

Contest is located here:

https://www.wattpad.com/641328467-halloween-vault-11-dark-fantasy-good-boy-or-is-he 

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