It wasn’t the first time I’d woken up not knowing where I was, but it was the first time I’d woken up not knowing where I was! I’d experienced this odd phenomenon before where I’d wake up and have no idea who or where I was. No idea at all. And then a few minutes later, the cobwebs would clear and reality would kick in. But not today. I was lying in a pile of black bags somewhere in the city, using a pool of vomit as a pillow. My head ached, my body ached. Had I been beaten? Kidnapped? I had no idea. I had no memory of how I got here. My last memory was being curled up in bed with her. I longed to see her more than ever. I needed her warmth. I needed her loving hands to caress me. I needed to be at home feeling safe. That was all that mattered. The longing welled up and my tears trickled into the vomit.
I tried to stand. My legs felt weak and my head spun, but the dizziness passed and I was just about able to walk. I’d been able to wipe some of the sick from my face with a discarded carpet. The carpet stank but not as much as I did. I didn’t recognise this part of the city. I couldn’t even sense where the river was. Usually you can tell, almost subconsciously. Or maybe it was just the gulls hovering in the air. Panic kicked in. Was I even in the same city? The same country? My heart raced. And my legs picked up pace. I began to run up an alleyway hungry for the sight of a familiar landmark at the end. There was none. I kept running. I didn’t see the road, didn’t see the cars. They beeped, swerved and skidded. I kept running even though all my limbs ached.
I kept running until I came to a fountain in a square. I didn’t realise just how thirsty I was until I saw that glistening liquid calling out to me. I couldn’t help myself. I ran to the water and drank until my belly felt heavy. But not as heavy as my heart. I had to see her. Every ounce of my body longed for her warmth. But I still didn’t know where I was. I sat there at the fountain, still panting from my run. A saw a man approaching. I grew nervous. He was smiling and began to hold his hand out to me. There was something in his smile that seemed familiar and then in a flash it all came back. A smiling man approaching, the smile dropping at the last instant, trying to run, hands grabbing, another man, a van, dragged into the van, others in the van, then a sharp pinch at the neck as chemicals mixed with blood and I went unconscious.
I looked at the smile of the approaching man but didn’t wait for the smile to fade this time. I ran. I ran in a blind panic again paying little attention to traffic. Cars beeped and swerved as I ran across the road. But I wasn’t so lucky this time. I felt something the size of a small planet collide with my world. Although the immense pain was brief, before I passed out, I was still conscious of the man’s presence and knew he was upon me.
It wasn’t the first time I’d woken up not knowing where I was. But at the same time I experienced an intense feeling of familiarity. Like I’d been through this recently. Then it all came back to me, quickly this time. The pain I now felt was on a different level completely. I could barely open my eyes. But then I noticed a smell. A familiar aroma that made my heart soar. It was too good to be true. I had to get my eyes open. My heart sank as I noticed the man from the fountain. Then it almost burst. She was here too! I felt dizzy with relief and happiness. They saw me stir and came to be near me. She brought her face next to mine, happiness filling her eyes with tears. As much as it hurt, I couldn’t help but wag my tail. She rubbed her nose against mine and I licked her face. I was never so happy. She hugged me gently and whispered soothing words in my ear. But the only word I heard was home. And it was the sweetest word I ever heard.
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