"Skipper! Where are you, dammit?"
"Wretched dog! You've only got so much time!"
Locate Rory. Locate. Locating. Locating.
"Where are you?" Another voice chimes in. "I want my paper. It's early in the morning. They told us you were an obedient creature."
Rory found, chasing butterflies on the south lawn. Come closer. Closer.
The little girl shouts, "Skipp-er! Skipp-er!"
Skipper barks, and Rory calls back. Safety is across the bridge, across the broken-windowed fairy house and shattered pond, but the voices are coming and Skipper has no idea how to stop them.
"I want my newspaper! Come over here!"
The monsters are getting closer, cold hands and bloody lips. Skipper wants to obey, is wired to obey, but he owes Rory so much. Can't let her down now.
The cows, the ducks, the chickens join in the shrieking chorus. Skipper spins in a whirlwind of little girl hair ribbons, coffee breath, smokey fumes and the scent of mother's sewing fabric. They are coming closer now. Skipper pulls Rory across the lawn, closer, closer to the little house, but his chasers are on his back.
Rory falls out of his paws, limp. Blood trickling from her ears.
Little girl hands on Skipper's back. Little girl voice in his ear.
He looks up. Turns around. Ghosts.