I was taking a nap in my spot in the hall when the door opened. It did that sometimes. Sometimes it was people carrying wonderful food for me. Sometimes it was angry people who beat me. I never knew which for sure until I either smelled the food or felt the lash.
"Um, what is that?"
I looked in the direction of the person speaking and growled in surprise. I was supposed to be a guard dog, but I wasn't very good at it. I could barely see, and my hearing wasn't all that great either. My sense of smell though; that was unmatched.
"It's a dog, I think. Or it was one. It's been through the rift," another voice said.
I smelled the stale scent of sweat on their clothes; it had been a while since any of them bathed. They didn't have the chemical smell of the men who beat me, or the smell of meat that the other people sometimes brought. These people were different. I did, however, smell something small, but very delicious. One of them was carrying a piece of cheese.
"It isn't attacking us, what do we do?"
"It's guarding the hallway. I think it'll only attack if we try and pass it."
I ignored the ones talking and honed in on the one with the cheese. It was wrapped in plastic and stuffed in a bag that smelled like it had been to a hundred different planets. I wanted that cheese.
Slowly, carefully, I let my nose lead me to the one with the bag. I put my head down and wagged my tail, hoping to let him know I didn't want to hurt him. I was just hungry. I went hungry a lot.
"He doesn't seem like the attacking kind," said the first voice.
"I think it's a she," said another.
"She smells something in your backpack. What have you got in there?"
"Just the tech from our last gig," said the one with the bag, "Oh, wait! I've got one of those snack packs in there, I put it there in case I got hungry. Bet that's what she smells."
I heard a zipper and then the smell of the cheese got even stronger. My mouth started to water and I wagged my tail even faster.
"Is this what you want, girl?"
The one with the cheese opened the plastic and I whined in spite of myself. Dignity be damned.
"Here you go!"
A hand reached forward and offered me the cheese. I licked it clean in gobbled the cheese as quickly as I could. It was wonderful.
The one who had given me the cheese laughed and stroked my fur.
"You're not some scary guard dog, are you? You're just a hungry pup caught in a bad situation."
I rolled over and showed them my belly, and was rewarded with some belly scratches. It was heavenly.
"Captain, can we keep her? Please? She can stay in my room, I know she'll be good!"
I heard the other voice sigh. "Don't you have enough pets as is, Neek?"
"The others are all in cages, and none of them are bigger than a hamster. This girl needs us, look at the condition they keep her in. She's hungry, and if I'm not mistaken, they beat her. Who could do that to such a sweetheart?"
"Fine. But she's your responsibility."
"Thank you, Captain. You won't regret this."
I felt one of them fiddle with the chain around my neck, and a moment later it fell to the floor. I shook my whole body, happy to be rid of it.
"If you come with me, girl, I'll get you all the cheese you could ever want, okay?"
I didn't understand a word the person was saying, but I would have followed them anywhere. They were nice, and they gave me cheese. That was more than enough to buy my loyalty.
"I think I'll call you Sofe. This will hopefully be the start of a beautiful friendship, you and me."
I wagged my tail and happily followed him down the hallway into whatever the future might bring us.
Credits: Story/Profile/Overlay by Faber, background pattern from toptal.