Flash Fiction, Contest Entry
| The beagle pup lay in Dillon’s arms as they waited for the veterinarian to come back into the exam room. He stroked Bandit’s head and spoke softly. “Don’t worry. Dr. Jenson’s gonna give you some medicine so you’ll feel better.” Bandit wagged his tail weakly.
Dillon thought of the time they’d spent together playing in the back yard over the past few days. Bandit enjoyed tug-of-war, and especially liked chasing balls. He couldn’t run very fast. But when he got a little bigger, Dillon imagined the pup would race through the back yard with grace and ease. The veterinarian returned and asked to speak to his mother. She stepped out into the hallway.
“They’re probably going to have to keep you here for a while.” He kissed Bandit’s head.
After several minutes, his mother returned wearing a grim expression. “Dillon, honey, I’m sorry. But we’re going to have to leave Bandit here.”
“When can we come back to get him?”
“We’re not coming back.”
“You don’t mean that. Please tell me you don’t.”
“Bandit has distemper.”
“He could still survive.”
“Even if he did, he would probably have nervous system damage for the rest of his life. You wouldn’t want him to suffer like that, would you?”
“No. But I also wouldn’t want to put him down and give him no chance at all.” Dillon glared at her. “When people get sick, we try and keep them alive. We don’t kill them. Please just give him a chance. Please!”
“You need to say goodbye.”
He touched the soft fur of Bandit’s ear, turning away from his mother. “I’ll see you again someday,” he whispered. “I promise. We’ll play tug-of-war and fetch, and I’ll give you lots of belly rubs. Just wait for me in God’s back yard, okay?”