I couldn't protect her; that was my first thought. As I tumbled out of a mess of crunched metal and shattered glass, it felt as if my senses were on fire. Everything hurt. I crawled towards the front of the vehicle, whining as the scent of blood invaded my nose. The source? My beloved girl... the one I’d sworn to protect at all costs. But I, man’s best friend, had failed her.
It all seemed like such a blur now… I remembered lying asleep in the back of the metal monster, what the humans liked to call “car”. I felt a thrumming from the seats, as we moved at a fast but steady pace. Every so often, I’d feel a slight jolt as the monster veered off course, and I’d lift my head to glare at the window, as if willing it to listen to my girl’s commands.
When I’d turn to her, however, I would notice her not looking ahead. She’d be staring at her own reflection in a small box that hung from the ceiling. She’d be tapping on a device, the kind that rang incessantly and allowed people to talk to one another from distances apart. I remembered feeling confused.
I didn’t know much about these “cars”, but what I did know, was that they were not living creatures, like my girl, or like me. My girl had always enjoyed riding horses. She’d bring me with her to her mother’s ranch, and I’d run across the fields, chasing her, nipping at its heels, as her steed cantered along the trail. I always marveled at how she could become one with the horses. It was as if they felt each other’s hearts, knew each other’s thoughts. Every so often, she’d turn back and make sure I was still following. She’d smile at me, perhaps giggle at my tilting head. I’d send her a happy “woof, woof” in response, and my fellow animal would neigh quietly, continuing on the trail.
But the metal monsters were not like the horses, and I wonder if perhaps she’d forgotten that. The metal monster could not feel her heart or know her thoughts. The metal monster could not worry about her well being, and continue on the trail even when she was not paying attention. The metal monster could do none of these things.
I remember sitting up, barking softly to catch her attention. She looked up from her ringing device. I could feel the vehicle lurch slightly as she finishing typing a message and reached towards me, rubbing her hand through my fur. Though it felt nice, I was too worried to appreciate her show of affection. I stepped forward, placing a paw on her device. I looked up at her with sad eyes, trying to make her understand that the metal monster needed her guidance. The metal monster was a fiend, because it could not think for itself. She needed to tell it where to go, and if she was not paying it any mind, it would swerve off the trail and hurt her, because it wasn't alive, so it couldn't feel guilt.
She put down the device and smiled gently, rubbing my head for a few more seconds before shaking her own. “Don’t worry, boy, everything’s fine.”
It seemed she didn't exactly heed my warning. Perhaps, in days to come, I’d wonder what I did so catastrophically wrong. Had I perhaps gotten my message through, she might have paid attention to the world ahead rather than the world of ringing and reflections.
I remembered hearing her twinkling laugh as she turned back around, grasping the steering wheel with one hand whilst picking up her device with another.
And now I lay by her side, hoping she’s okay but knowing – in my heart – that she is not. I can smell the scent of death. I can feel my heart clenching and a hatred growing. My eyes searched the wreckage, before falling on the cracked screen of her ringing device. Her “phone”, as she used to call it. I stood swiftly, grabbing it with my jaws and biting down on it. How dare it steal my girl away from me, how dare it! But… as I allowed the broken fragments of her once treasured possession to fall at my paws, and I lay by her side again, I realized that it wasn't the device that had stolen her away. It was the metal monster, and… it was her.
The sound of blaring sirens assaulted my ears, then, as I snuggled beside her lifeless form. 'I’m so sorry…' I whispered to her in my mind. 'I’m sorry I couldn't protect you…' Now she was no more alive than the metal monster.