As the squad car headed out of town, we passed by the pet store. I spied a torn off piece of one of my fliers stuck to a telephone pole just outside the door. It was the bottom part, preserved under some packing tape. It read “her name is Luna.” It had likely been torn down by the owner of the pet store, we never did get along. When I saw it, my heart leaped into my throat, tears came to my eyes, and memories flooded my mind.
I recalled the memory of our last night together. Luna’ small brown eyes peered over the edge of the table, waiting for me to throw her some scraps. She would whine and sniff in my direction, her collar rattling with each step she took towards my meal. Of course, I took pity on her and tossed a piece of steak in her direction. She wriggled happily, almost smiling, and scarfed down the steak as if she might never eat again.
Later that night we cuddled together on the couch. We sat watching the evening news together. I stroked her soft, short hair as her small frame curled up beside me and she rested her head on my thigh. Butterflies erupted in my stomach and I finally felt at peace with my new pet, I couldn’t keep the smile from my face. She was starting to get used to me after being reluctant for so long.
My life had no purpose until Luna arrived. I’d had pets before, but none seemed to understand me the way Luna did; we just clicked. The night I brought her home it was pouring down rain. She was shivering, sheltered under a bus vestibule, she was alone, filthy, and whimpering. When I approached, she seemed hesitant. I took my time introducing myself, extending a friendly hand and assuring her she was safe with me. I shielded her under my coat from the rain as I opened the passenger door of my truck and helped her jump inside.
Once we were in the safety of my truck, I told her she could stay at my house until we can get in touch with her owners. There was no collar around her neck, but she seemed domesticated enough to have had a family.
Luna was shy; she often hid from me around the house and cowered when I tried to pet her. I understood; I would be scared too if I was somewhere unfamiliar without my family. I promised her I would find them for her, but I figured it just went through one ear an out the other, so after some time, I hoped she would just forget. I just couldn’t let her go, she was so beautiful. Luna was smart, though. She figured it out after a few days and definitely wasn’t happy. She tried to escape multiple times after that, and even tried to bite me. I simply had no choice, the chains were necessary. It broke my heart to bruise her pale complexion each day. She just didn’t understand yet that this was where she belonged, I had to help her.
After she grew accustomed to her predicament, I purchased several collars to try out from the pet store as a reward for her good behavior. The best fit was a studded leather collar with a large buckle that could be hooked up to the chains I had on my walls. Luna was less than pleased with her reward, but eventually, she stopped pulling on her lead and followed me around the house as I clipped her chain to various chain mounts on the walls of each room.
Over the next few months we shared together, I made sure to keep her healthy and fed her canned wet food twice a day, always leaving out a bowl of water in case she was thirsty. I let her outside to do her business and play with me as well; she was thankful to be free of her chains even for a few moments. We played with a Frisbee and chased each other around my fenced-in backyard. After being alone for so long, it was nice to have someone to spend time with.
Then came the fateful night she escaped. We were sitting on the couch, calm and peaceful, watching the news. Since she was on the allowing me to pet her, I didn’t have her tethered to the chain in the living room, all she wore was her collar. Occasionally she cooed in comfort, nestling her head into my lap. The past two months had finally come to a point and I could tell she was starting to feel loved.
That night, I decided to go to bed early. It was a chilly autumn night, and the sun was setting early so I decided to let Luna out one more time before going to bed. I made the mistake of trusting her to handle herself in the backyard. As I held the sliding glass door open from the living room, shielding myself with a blanket from the cold, she did her business in the yard. Rather than clean it up as she was instructed to do, she ran off through a hole that had been dug under the fence. I suppose all those times I lost her over the slight hill in my backyard playing Frisbee, she had been working at the thing bit by bit.
She ran down the street, naked like she always was, screaming for help and pounding on neighbor’s doors. She screamed her name into the darkness and told any neighbor that would listen that she was being held against her will. I rolled my eyes and giggled to myself as I got into my truck and drove around the entire city. Luna always did have a sense of humor. For some time, I let her wander around for something to do, but after an hour or two of looking, I realized she was gone. I circled the entire city three times before giving up my search.
I cried the entire way home, an ugly, pathetic cry that showed just how much I cared for her. I wish she had been there to see it. She might not have left if she had. Throughout the rest of that night, I made fliers on a program on my computer, wiping hot tears from my eyes. The only picture I had of her was one I took after I rewarded her with that collar. Looking at it now only made me more upset she had left. She was on all fours, her gentle curves and pale skin flew off the paper as if she were an angel. Her short, spiky blonde hair fell over one eye and the other was a dark brown and stared straight into the camera. Her thin lips were pursed in a defiant expression that matched the downward arch her eyebrows carried. She was, of course, naked as all pets are, and the lisence tag from her collar clearly showed her name.
The flier read “lost pet” at the top with my name, phone number, and address underneath. On the bottom, I wrote “her name is Luna” in large blocky font so whoever found her could call her by the right name. The next morning I hung my fliers all over town. There were hundreds; I went through seven rolls of packaging tape, and displayed them on every telephone pole, shop window, and corkboard I could fine.
I didn’t hear anything for a few days. No one came by, and I had begun to lose hope. I sat in my house thinking of nothing but her. I barely ate, spent my sleepless nights crying, and lost all interest in my other hobbies. I’d even scouted the area looking for another lost pet to pick up, even though I knew they could never compare to my Luna, but there were none to be found.
One day, about a week after I had posted my fliers, I heard a loud pounding on my door. I jumped up from the couch and ran over, excited to see if someone had found my Luna. It was an officer; three actually. I feared the worst as soon as I saw them and my already swollen eyes welled up with more tears
“Oh my god,” I said, taking the officer standing at the door off guard.
“Are you Reginald Bolton?” The officer asked.
“She’s dead isn’t she?” I replied, tears falling down my cheeks.
“I’m sorry?” The officer said, his face twisted in confusion.
“My Luna, she’s dead. That’s why you’re here, right? So I can help identify the body?”
“No, Mr. Bolton,” The officer said slowly, seemingly confused. “We’re here because we have a victim that claims you kidnapped her and held her here against her will for several months. Furthermore, we’ve discovered fliers with your address and phone number on them, and have several witness accounts to corroborate her story.”
“Oh god, she’s alive. Thank God. Where is she? Can I see her?” I breathed in relief.
The officer looked at his partners, then back at me and shook his head. He looked disappointed, but I assumed he was just jealous. He grabbed my shoulder and turned me around. Swiftly, he placed handcuffs around my wrists and led me out towards his car.
“Are the cuffs necessary? I’m just going to visit Luna.” Without a word, the officer sat me down in the back seat of his squad car and shut the door. They all drove off towards the edge of town and I couldn’t keep the smile from my face. I was going to see my Luna again.
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