Existence Was Never Meant To Be

The Fernsbys were never big on dogs or any household pets, for that matter. They had had certain unpleasant experiences with rabid animals in the past that had put them off from acquiring pets for the longest time. However, in the months following the miscarriage, April Fernsby came to realise that it might not be such a bad idea after all. She was cozily seated in a rocking chair that uneventful morning, pruning a Spotify playlist on her laptop when Reggie accidentally rammed a toy truck against the underside of her foot.
Being the well-mannered child that he was, Reggie was quick to apologise and retreated to a corner of the room in which his imaginary roadway accidents would not cause collateral damage to his mother's foot. April stared at him as he went back to playing with his trucks, his small frame draped in the shadows of the wall. It was then that she realised that her son was kind of… lonely. She had never heard him speak of friends of any sort and when he came back from school, all he talked about was arithmetic. His teachers described him as being a very shy child who mostly kept to himself during school hours. When it was his turn to deliver a speech for the Public Speaking Assessment, he managed to eke out exactly five sentences before bursting into tears. Even when talking to April, he sounded worryingly timorous.
When Horace Fernsby returned from work that day, April sat him down at the dinner table and had a brief talk with him.
The next day, Horace came home with a tiny Labrador pup. It was a week old and the size of a fully-grown sewer rat. Its fur, a shade of silken white. Reggie named him Artie after a character from his favorite bedtime story.
Reggie didn't warm up to Artie instantly. He was bewildered by the dog's constant attempts to capture his attention, wondering why this strange creature even bothered to give him the time of the day. So used to being ignored by his peers, Reggie felt genuinely uncomfortable when Artie rolled over on to its back and demanded bellyrubs from him, specifically him. He seemed mystified by the pup's alien mannerisms, never having interacted with a domesticated dog in his life. Eventually, Reggie relented and struck up a companionship with the pup.
In time, Artie and Reggie grew to be inseparable. Reggie would refuse to sleep unless Artie was sleeping in the same bedroom as him; he would refuse to go out and play with the neighbour's kid unless Artie was allowed to come along with him. Throughout middle school and high school, Reggie neglected his human friends in favour of his dog, who he would spend the Saturdays with, taking it on walks in the park and bathing & scrubbing him until its fur coat was pristine.
Artie became one with the family, blending in so well that April and Horace could never remember a time when it wasn't there. A decade flew by. Reggie celebrated his 17th just like he had celebrated every other birthday in the past decade; buying ice-cream for his parents at the ice-cream stall in the park and finishing it in silence while watching other families going about their daily activities. Once the crowd thinned, he would play Frisbee with Artie until they both collapsed from exhaustion.
On this fateful evening however, the weather wasn't being kind to the Fernsbys; halfway through their frisbee game, a thunderstorm began brewing. In a few minutes, it began to rain and Reggie scooped up a tired Artie in his arms and made for the car.
Horace fought an uphill battle with the highways, tires negotiating with slippery asphalt while his hands wrestled with the steering wheel.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License