My name is Milo. I was told I received the best training to help the blind, and that I was the brightest pup of my group. I know I am a good boy.
My assigned dad’s name is Nikolas. I was taught to recognize my name and his. I like how we sound.
I used to like where we used to eat and sleep; I should like it here more because of the squirrels and trees, but I know everything is little wrong here. Nik doesn’t sense it.
We moved to a cave made of trees. My master burns wood for fire. I have smelled wood burn before; wood taken from the woods here smells wrong when it burns. Like metals, like man’s work. But much worse. It smells wrong.
My dad was reading one of his bump-page books when they shut the power off. Nik did not notice. Something in me flashed “dad is calm, so I should be too”. But somehow, I knew the intruders and the power going out were connected. I smelled them when it was too late.
I saw them at the window.
But I had no idea of what I was looking at through the glass. I was trained to know over 200 different living threats that can hurt Nik, and none of the faces I saw through the window came close to what I learned. The faces were too long. They had no eyes, yet they looked at us as if they did. They had too many jaws and thin openings on a bald surface. The skin was gray and dead, and they walked on two legs, yet there were as naked as those that walked on four. They smelled like the wood dad burned- wrong.
I barked, and Nik spoke what sounded like a question. The faces in the window were gone. So was the entire front door. They came inside as smoothly and silently as my shadow follows. I knew I had to alert dad now, no matter what they were. Something wrapped around my muzzle and crushed the breath out of me before I could.
I could only helplessly watch another dog walk in, a dog that had the same smell as the intruders and as the firewood Nik burns- like glue and metals. He wore the same vest as me; his tag even read MILO. I knew how to read my name. It looked like me, and even looked like it FELT like me- but it didn’t breath, and this “dog” didn’t have a trace of love behind its eyes. Maybe dad would notice.
The last image I ever have of my dad petting the thing that looked like me as I was carried off into the woods.