He opened the door! I bolted, like lightning, down the hall when I heard the sound. This was it. As I burst down the hall, through the corridor, I saw the light shining through the open door like a beacon. Freedom. He saw me and froze, staring at me, bug-eyed, like a frightened deer. He tried to block the door, but I darted between his legs and was off.

The cool, fresh winter air blew between the riffles of my fur. It was chilly, but not uncomfortably cold, like when it rained outside and they would let me sleep on the bed. I bounded down the street, looking at the plants, smelling the animals, and enjoying the space to run that the backyard of the house lacked. Off in the distance, a ways behind me, I heard the curses of him calling after me. He wasn’t happy, but what did I care? I was free now!

Eventually, my legs grew tired of running, and I slowed to a trot. I ran a few circles around a tree in a yard. It smelled like a friend, but I couldn’t be sure, so I emptied my bladder on it to be safe. I heard a rustling noise coming from the bushes. It was a squirrel. My eyes grew wide with excitement, and I sped after it. It ran up on the trunk of the closest nearby tree, and I jumped after it. My jaws came inches from it’s tail, but it narrowly escaped.

Another sound caught my attention. It was him. He had followed me all this way. He had me cornered, too. I’d been so attentive to the squirrel, I had lost the rest of my surroundings. He put his arms out, like a big dopey oaf, to block my way. He had this weird, clunky way of walking to him, like he wasn’t exactly sure which foot came next. When he lowered his arms and coiled his body to pounce, I made my move. I feigned right for a moment, then skipped left. He took the bait and dove, missing me by a short few inches, and I ran on past him. More curses chased after me.

We played this game for a little while. I’d let him get close, and just before he got me I’d scamper down to the next house. But eventually, it got boring. He was really upset, and I felt a little bad. The outdoors hadn’t been the ocean of delicacies that I had expected. I mean, why would they go out there every day, all dressed up, if they weren’t even getting more bacon? It was just some plants, a few birds, and a mess of cars. Nothing special.

I was thinking all this when I let him grab me. His rough hands wrapped around my chest and neck, until they had a hold of the collar. He was speaking sternly to me—like when I hopped on the chairs at the table. We walked back up the road until we came back to the door—still wide open like I’d left it, and I spent the rest of the day locked up in the backyard.



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