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Home for Now

It all started with a commotion in the street early that morning.

Jake had rushed out the front door without even thinking. Got caught up in the lights and motion and drama.

And then, when the mob dispersed and when the sound faded into the hills, he was alone. And he was lost.

Up and down the street, the houses looked familiar, but he knew none of them were his. Still, there were smells of home everywhere — hot ovens, sweet food, fizzy drinks. And he could hear people talking, laughing.

If Jake couldn’t find home on his own, maybe someone in one of the houses could help him.

So he tried.

“Go away,” a woman at the first house said.

“You don’t belong here,” a man at the second scolded as he slammed the door in Jake’s face.

Nobody answered at some houses.

And, at others, the people just looked out, saw him, and closed the curtains.

By the time Jake got to the end of the street, a long and lonely street, the sun was starting to set. The air was colder, and the bare trees stretched their shadows across Jake as he walked along.

He was tired, scared, more alone than ever.

And then, no one answered the door at the last house.

Jake hung his head and shuffled down the front steps. The sky was almost dark, and it felt like snow. He would have to head into the night to try and find home on his own.

Just as he stepped into the street again, a clicking sounded behind him, and then something creaked.

“Why, what are you doing out there, boy?”

Jake turned back toward that last house. An old man stood in the doorway, smiling. He held a hunk of meat in his hand.

“You can’t be out here alone on Thanksgiving,” the man said and stooped down, holding the meat forward.

Jake took a timid step back toward the house. Was the man talking to him?

“C’mon boy!” the man cooed. His voice was kind, and he smelled good. So did the meat.

Jake turned fully toward the man and trotted back across the yard, up the stairs.

“That’s a good boy,” the man said. He put the meat on the concrete porch, and Jake sniffed it, then took a bite.

The man reached out and scratched Jake behind the ears.

“Let’s get you inside, boy,” the man said, standing and opening the door wide. “I’m alone this year, too, so why don’t we spend Thanksgiving together?”

Jake wagged his tail and trotted inside.

This wasn’t home, not really, but it was home enough for the night.

Published inFlash Fiction

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