Like Cats And Dogs – Episode 04


Pete smiled.

“Of course. He does seem to trust you. Though I have to warn you, animals that have suffered this kind of neglect and ill-treatment can have difficult temperaments. Are you sure you know what you’d be taking on?”

Imogen shrugged, gazing into the dog’s eyes and seeing a kindred spirit.

“Everyone deserves a second chance. I’ll ring later to see how he’s settled.” She gave the dog a gentle scratch, and he licked her hand. “See you later, little chap.”

Of course, no-one had ever come to claim him. “Chap” had stuck as his name, and he had become her shadow.

The only fly in the ointment was the behavioural problems that Pete had warned her about. Poor Chap was fine with her, but caused a terrible ruckus if she left him alone, and there was an even worse carry-on if there was anyone else besides her around. He was a one-woman-only dog, which was quite a social handicap.

Not that she had much in the way of a social life. She’d gravitated to the village for the simple reason that she’d thought it looked pretty as she was travelling through one day on her way to town in search of work.

Imogen’s free spirit meant that she never held on to a job for long, and that she was inclined to give in to impulse when it claimed her.

She’d hopped off the bus to explore, seen an ad in the newsagent’s window for part-time help, and she’d been here ever since. It was probably the longest she’d ever spent in one place, but it just seemed to fit.

A ramshackle flat above the shop was hers if she wanted it.

Imogen believed in fate, and maintained that it was all meant to be. Including finding Chap. Now all she had to do was figure out how on earth to tackle his possessiveness.

She wasn’t quite sure what she could do about it, but at the moment it meant taking him miles from anywhere for a walk, and praying her neighbours didn’t complain about the noise when he was left alone in the house while she went to work. Fortunately old Mr Meldrum through the wall from her flat was stone deaf.

She glanced at her watch.

“Come on, Chap. Time to go.”

****

The flyer had been delivered through the letter-box at the end of the drive: Grand Opening Day! This Saturday! Come and look round. Bring your four-legged friends!

For some reason Cally had stuck the notice on the fridge instead of tossing it in the recycling bin, and ever since it had caught her eye whenever she opened the fridge door.

Now it was the Saturday in question, and Marna was cocking her head at her over their cuppas.

“So, have you decided? Are you going?”

Cally had been staring at the notice yet again, but dragged her eyes back to look into Marna’s amused gaze.

“You might as well,” Marna went on, blowing steam off the top of her mug. “You’re dying to know what the place is like. I am, too. We could go together when we’re finished here.” She turned the diary round to scan the page for today. “One departure and one arrival, but not till after four. Plenty of time to have a quick look next door.”

Stalling, Cally rose to fetch the biscuit tin from the little kitchen adjoining the open-plan dining area where they were seated at the table.

The whole house was small, but it was well finished and brightly decorated in shades of lemon and buttercream. It provided a sunlit haven on a sunny day like this, and a snug, cosy nest in winter.

When she sat down again, she knew Marna had seen right through her little ploy.

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one aspiring tip to new writers is to “write from your imagination”.