The sun was in the sky, now fully out. Esther and Zehnder had been standing there, watching it rise. It was nice to not have that hatred and those lies between them anymore.
“I guess I should be going now, work and stuff.” She started into the woods.
Zehnder turned to look at her.
“See you again, then; after work, as usual?”
Esther smiled at him.
“After work, as usual.”
* * *
Max whimpered. He was lying on the bed, same as when Esther left. Even though he had been alone on the streets, he didn’t like being alone now. He cocked his head to one side, and then the other; his slightly large ears flopping to the side as he did. He stared at the door in anticipation, worried.
Max kept having the awful feeling that she would never return again. He didn’t like being alone, and didn’t want to be. He rolled over on his back and stared at the door; trying to make it open through pure will.
After a few minutes of staring at the door, it finally opened; although by coincidence. Esther walked into the room, and Max hopped to his feet.
The German shepherd ran over to her and barked happily. Esther reached down to pet him.
“Shhh! don’t bark, you’re not supposed to be here!” She closed his mouth shut with her hands, and he just looked up at her with his big happy dog eyes; his tail wagged quickly, causing his whole body to move in a similar fashion.
“You’ve got so much energy! I should take you to the park sometime to run around.”
She walked over and picked up her bag.
“Sorry Max, I need to go to work.”
Esther opened the door and walked out, and she turned to look at Max.
“I’ll be back in a few hours, bye!” She closed the door and left him. He could hear her footsteps echo away and then disappear.
Max sat down and whimpered at the door; alone again.
* * *
Work was normal, but much happier; despite that, seeming to go by slower.
Finally, the work ended, and Esther could leave. She stepped outside to find Zehnder waiting for her; like he used to. She walked towards him, and he began to walk down the sidewalk, as usual.
“Wait! I thought maybe we could do something different today!”
“Eh?” Zehnder stopped and turned to look at her.
“Come on, follow me!” Esther began walking in the opposite direction, Zehnder followed.
* * *
They arrived at their destination, Esther’s apartment building.
“Wait here, I’ll be back.” Esther went into the building.
Soon she appeared again, holding in her hand a red leash and leading Max outside. Max ran forward happily, looking around at the sights and listening to the noises. He looked around in both directions, trying to decide where to go first.
“That dog, I remember him. You kept him?” Zehnder asked, looking at the excited canine.
Suddenly Max noticed the tall man standing in front of him. He yelped and quickly turned back towards the building. He tried to run back inside, but Esther held on to the leash tightly.
“You know I freak him out, right?” Zehnder stared at the frightened dog that was trying to flee.
“I’m sure you guys can become friends!” Esther tugged on the leash, trying to get Max to come forward; but he held his ground. “I thought maybe we could go to the park together so he could run around.”
Max barked at the door, trying to push it open. Esther pulled on the leash.
“Come on Max! Let’s go to the park!” She continued to pull on the leash to no avail.
“How do you suppose he’ll warm up to me; let him fight the leash ‘til he gives up and waits for me to kill him?” Zehnder watched the frantic dog with some amusement.
“I don’t know how to get him to turn!” Esther fought against the leash and tried to get Max to move.
“How about,” Zehnder walked over to the side of the door, “I stand right here.”
Zehnder, now, standing next to Max, looked down at him. Max looked up at him and yelped, and then turned and ran down the sidewalk. Esther had to run to keep up with him, while at the same time pulling on the leash to try and make him slow down. Zehnder followed at his normal pace, still amused.
Reaching the park, Esther managed to get Max to run into it, instead of past it. Max was tired, so he sat down next to a park bench and panted. Esther, also exhausted, sat on the bench and tried to get her breath back.
Zehnder was still walking towards the park. The sun had gone down and the sky was now dark, a few stars appeared.
When he got there, Zehnder saw Esther sitting on a bench, Max sat next to her, also on the bench. Zehnder walked over to them.
“I still don’t think this’ll work; once that dog sees me again he’ll just run and-” Zehnder stopped talking; looking down he noticed that they both weren’t listening; as they were asleep. He chuckled, remembering that last night she had been up until dawn; she probably didn’t get any sleep.
Zehnder reached over and picked her up. Then his tendrils appeared, one of them formed without barbs on it, he used this one to pick up the sleeping dog. Zehnder began to head out of the park, Esther and Max still fast asleep.
* * *
Esther woke up in her bed. Confused she looked over at her clock; it was morning, almost time to head out for work. There was also a small note by the clock, she picked it up and read it.
Next time you go to the park with the dog, try not to fall asleep. It was annoying having to carry you two.
“Oh you, Zehndy.” She giggled.
Esther smiled and put the note down.
* * *
After work, Esther walked outside and saw Zehnder waiting for her. She walked over to him.
“Thanks about last night, I hadn’t gotten much sleep.”
“Yeah whatever. You aren’t bringing the dog along today, are you? You try it too much and he’ll be afraid to leave the building.” Zehnder started walking.
“Nah, I don’t want to traumatize him. Maybe the day after tomorrow.” She followed after him.
* * *
It’s been about an hour, they were walking around like they used to. So far nothing exciting had happened, and just a few people had passed by.
Suddenly Zehnder stopped.
“Huh? What is it?” Esther looked around.
“Something’s up, I can feel it. Come on.” Zehnder walked across the street and down the sidewalk. He looked around for something. Esther followed, also looking. Finally they reached that bar where they had previously seen that sad cuckold. Zehnder stepped around the side and looked into the parking lot.
“Ah, here we are!” Zehnder leaned against the wall of a building and watched.
Two drunks were fighting, probably over some drunken argument that made hardly any sense. They were roughing each other up pretty bad, Zehnder watched in amusement, waiting to see which one would win. Finally, one of them came out victorious as the other fell to the ground, passed out.
The man looked over and noticed Zehnder watching him. Too drunk to notice that Zehnder wasn’t a normal person, the man stumbled drunkenly over to him.
“Hey buddy, settle an argument; who’s better at football, the team with the red color or the team with that one guy on it who’s name starts with a ‘J’?”
Zehnder started down at the man, annoyed by the idiotic aura he seemed to give off.
“They both suck.” Zehnder reached out his hand and grabbed the man by the neck. He lifted him in the air and then threw him to the ground. The man screamed, but his scream was cut off by the sound of a snap as his spine broke.
The man laid there, now dead and pouring blood onto the asphalt of the parking lot. Zehnder picked him up with his tendrils and slammed him down on top of the other passed out drunk, killing him.
Esther walked over to Zehnder and looked down at the bodies.
“Well, they seemed obnoxious.”
Suddenly sirens filled the air; they turned and could see red and blue flashing lights as police cars drove closer.
“Shit, someone must have called the police on that drunken fight.” Zehnder began walking away. “Come on let’s go.” They began walking quickly away, but the police cars turned onto the street they were on and sped towards them.
“Fuck,” Zehnder swore under his breath, “over here then.” He stepped into a dark alley. “We can just walk through the shadows and-”
Lights flooded the alley as three police cars turned and stopped in front of it, headlights glaring at them. Six police officers rushed out of the cars and pointed their guns at Zehnder.
“What’d I tell ya.” He remarked, “They have guns.”