Jessica lay motionless, head resting on the floor. She always liked to rest against the sofa facing the door after a hard day of doing nothing. She didn't mind laying on the floor; she actually found it more comfortable than a couch or bed. The front door swung open and her best friend Mike stumbled in. She had only seen his feet, but she could recognize him from any body part that happened to be in view. Being in a rather playful mood, she sprung to her feet and jumped forward to tackle him, knocking him backwards onto the patio from which he came.
"Hey Jessie," Mike said, "I'm ready if you are. Let's go."
Mike had a melancholy tone in his voice, but Jessica hadn't noticed. She was just happy to see him. They walked outside and Mike closed the door behind him. Sitting on the patio stairs facing the street was Sheldon, who stood up to greet them.
"Sheldon," Mike said, "Are you sure you want to come? You look worried."
"No, I'm fine," Sheldon said, swallowing, "Unless you don't want me here."
"You know you're always welcome." Mike said, his voice cracking. "We better get going. It's going to be dark soon."
They had planned a stroll in a nearby field. Originally it was just going to be Mike and Jessica, but Sheldon invited himself along. They didn't mind. Jessica and Mike both enjoyed his company.
They arrived at the field with the sun shining directly in their eyes. It was getting close to sunset, but they had walked through this field often and knew their way. They began to walk in the vast plain of straw and hay, following a path of stalks, beaten down by people passing through. Jessica seemed to enjoy these walks more than Mike or Sheldon, but they liked them, nonetheless. Mike and Sheldon always walked one pace behind her. She was oblivious to their sad undertones. The only thing she noticed was they were talking a lot less than usual. She, on the other hand, hadn't made a sound. Mike stopped walking and grabbed Jessica's back to let her know that they stopped. She didn't even look back; she was enjoying the sunset, or so it seemed to Mike.
"Are you sure you want to look?" Mike asked Sheldon. Sheldon just nodded, not taking his eyes off Jessica.
The sound of the gunshot was the last thing to go through Jessica's head, save the bullet. All the trust, all the unconditional love she had for Mike had disappeared with the click of a hammer. Sheldon began to sob quietly, but Mike just stood there, torn apart, his face expressionless. Sheldon burst out crying.
"Why'd you have to kill her now?" Sheldon practically screamed, tears streaking down his face, "Why couldn't you just let time run it's course?"
"You heard what the doctor said," Mike choked out, "Rabies would be a slow and painful death. A week from now she wouldn't even be the same dog."
Sheldon nodded slowly, trying not to look at her brains
splattered across the sun bleached stalks of hay, now dyed red with
the blood of a friend.
© 2000 Wyatt Kozinski, all rights reserved
appears here by permission
This story also appears at theworm.virtualave.net