Faith’s Discovery

1931032_36129957313_9434_n-impAsh threatened to gag her with each breath she took but Faith continued to sniff the charred ground around her. The smell of burnt flesh occasionally assaulted her nostrils and smouldering debris quickened her steps. Small puffs of smoke drifted upward here and there. It was a dismal aftermath.

‘Mind your paws, Faith,’ Ken’s voiced in a raspy whisper.  He cleared his throat before continuing. ‘I don’t think there’s anything out here but death,’ he added and knelt on one knee beside the burnt carcass of a small wallaby.

Faith nuzzled Ken’s elbow. He lifted his arm and drew her near. There’s always life after a fire. We just have to keep looking. With her head held low she continued her search.

Ken’s radio crackled to life. ‘Hey you guys. Did you find anything?’

‘Not yet, Chief. Mandy and Steve are searching along the creek then up to Wattle Road. Faith and I are moving in the same direct along the top of the ridge. Hopefully, we can cover more ground this way without walking right past any life. The air is still thick in places. Oh, and there’s been a few spot fires we had to extinguish too. I’ll check in when we meet up with the other two.’

‘OK, Ken. I know it’s not the best job but someone has to do it. Later.’

‘Come on, Faith. Let’s get moving.’

Faith thought about the conversation Ken had with his fire fighter friend Joe earlier today. Poor Joe. He found that old man in that burnt-out shed this morning. Not much left of him. Faith shuddered. Counselling, Chief had told him. I think I would need it too. A high-pitched whistle broke into her dismal thoughts.

Looking around, Ken whistled back. Faith’s ears pricked up and shifted back and forth. The whistle came again and they both turned toward the sound in a hurried walk.

‘What’s up,’ Ken shouted as they approached two figures slumped over a mound on the ash covered ground.

‘Looks like a backpack but there’s no one around here,’ Steve said. ‘At least not in the ten-metre circle we’ve searched.’

‘It could have been here for months,’ Mandy added poking at the pack with her fire fighter’s axe. ‘We can take it back for further investigation.’

The guys nodded in agreement and continue toward the road that was just within their hazy vision. Faith led the way with her head close to the ground. No one spoke until they stopped in the middle of the deserted street. They all walked slowly in a small circle just staring. Three burnt-out cars smouldered on the side of the road. They appeared to have been heading north out of harm’s way. Ken approached the closest vehicle and peered inside before moving to the other two. Faith stayed by his side.

‘Well, at least the occupants seemed to have escaped,’ Ken said to no one in particular. He removed his hat and wiped his sweating brow with the sleeve of his filthy jacket.

‘This has been a day of deaths and sadness,’ Steve said quietly. ‘Down right depressing it is.’

Steve and Mandy dowsed what flames they could. Dark puffs of dark clouds formed and died above the cars.

Faith began to walk in circles sniffing the ground.

Ken crouched on the warped bitumen.  ‘What is it, Girl?’

She barked and headed up the road with Mandy, Steve and Ken following close behind.

Most of the houses on both sides of the road were burnt out; some still burning.

‘Anyone here?’ Ken shouted.

‘Hello’, Mandy and Steve called in unison.

Faith barked.

Silence. Except for the crackling of nearby flames and the shifting of rubble, it was eerily quiet.

‘We’ll split up. Faith and I will check out these two houses. Mandy, Steve, take those two,’ Ken pointed across the road opposite the burnt-out cars. ‘Don’t go in unless you see someone…but call for us first.’ He removed Faith’s lead. ‘I’ll call for you if we find anything.’

Steve nodded. ‘All right. Be careful, Ken.’

Faith looked up from the steps she had been sniffing to see Ken jog through the charred remains of the front gate. Nothing here….or is there?  With ears twitching back and forth she listened.

‘Hear anything.’ He stood beside her and waited.

She wagged her tail and proceeded to circle the entire house before returning to Ken and looked up. Nothing. Let’s go. She bolted through the side fence while Ken took the long way around.

The second house revealed nothing as well. They returned to find Mandy and Steve putting out spot fires near an outdoor BBQ and gas bottle. ‘Nothing?’ Ken asked.

‘Nope,’ Steve sighed.

Faith’s ears snapped to attention. There it is again. Something…

‘Faith?’

She looked over her shoulder at Ken and woofed.

The three followed her around to the rear of the house to what appeared to be a workshop or garden shed. As they neared the opened door they heard a faint cry. Faith was nudging a shelf that had collapsed.

‘Let’s see what we have here,’ Ken said quietly. Faith moved out of his way and sat beside Mandy who patted her gently.

‘Oh my. How did you get stuck in there? Steve, give me your rake.’

Steve obliged and placed his fireman’s rescue rake into Ken’s hand.

A few minutes later Ken stood up with something in his hand.

‘A flower pot?’ Mandy gasped.

Ken turned the pot around to reveal a little bundle of fur. A kitten, to be exact.

Faith whimpered and Ken placed the kitten, still in the pot, under Faith’s nose.

 She  gently licked the ball of fluff. Hi cutie. I’m sure glad Shield is spending the day in training. He’d eat you alive.

‘Smart dog,’ Steve finally reacted and moved outside with the others close behind.

The three fire fighters laughed. Faith barked. The Kitten meowed. Their depressing mood had suddenly been lifted. Mandy took out her water bottle and removed her glove. The kitten lapped from her opened hand.

Just above the commotion the chief’s voice was heard. ‘Hey, what’s happening out there? We haven’t heard anything for some time. What’s happening, Ken?’

Ken handed the kitten over to a jubilant Mandy. ‘We’re fine Chief,’ he yelled. ‘You won’t believe this.’

The cheering rose and Faith jumped up and down barking excitedly.

‘Ken?’

‘Everything’s OK, Chief. We found a kitten. He’s alive!’ Again, cheers went up.

The chief responded with a chuckle. ‘I’m glad for you guys. It’s been a depressing day. Oh, and another search and rescue team found a backpacker. He’s all right. He was dazed and wondering around. Says he lost his backpack in the fire somewhere by the river.’ He paused. ‘Return to headquarters. I think you all need a break.’

‘See you soon, Chief. We’re bringing in the kitten. Mandy’s already named it.’ He laughed. ‘Lucky, I think. We also have the backpack. Hope that makes the owner’s day. Over and out.’

Faith bounded over to Ken at his call. Let’s go home.

 © Chrissy Siggee – 2019

This is a work of fiction. Except for Ken and his dog Faith all other characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Faith’s Close Encounter

1931032_36129957313_9434_n-impWith his gloved right hand still holding Faith’s lead, Ken pulled his overcoat tightly around him. His brush with death a year earlier had left him somewhat thinner. ‘It’s a cold night for security, hey Faith.’

Faith looked up in response and Shield shook himself causing Ken to drop his lead.

Just as Ken picked up the lead and twisted it around his bulky glove they heard a faint thud in the darkness beyond the path that led to the administration block of the high school they were patrolling. There had been a number of recent school break-ins and Ken and his dog team had been called in for an extra night’s security shift.

The thud came again and the murmurings of voices carried in the chilly air.

A quick directive from Ken silenced an anxious Shield.  ‘Let’s get closer.  Quietly,’ he added for the benefit of the newly trained canine. Shield was a quick learner but he had the tendency of being impatient.

Deep masculine voices sent chills through Faith’s body. Cold is right and these guys sound dangerous and I can’t even see them yet. Where are they? She stifled a whimper.

Ken stopped to point his torch at the ground and switched it on. Slowly directing the light in a sweeping circle around him, he found his bearings. He flicked the torch off again before continuing toward the voices.

Ah… they must be between the Administration Block and the Science Building. Thankfully they mustn’t have seen the glow of the torch.’

Before taking the path between the two two-storey buildings, Ken knelt and drew his team close to whisper. ‘I need to call for back-up but if something goes wrong before they arrive Shield, follow Faith, she knows the drill.’

They took a few steps back and hid behind a retaining wall that lined the garden on one side of the path. Here Ken touch his radio that had been surprisingly quiet tonight. ‘Bluelight, this is Canine Security over.’

‘This is Bluelight. What’s up, Ken. Over.’

‘I hope you’re in the vicinity of High and Green. Over.’

The radio crackled again startling Shield. ‘The high school? Over.’

‘That’s a big ten-four. Trespassers. Over,’ he said quietly listening for any changes in the distant voices.

‘On our way. Be careful.’

Ken turned the radio volume dial down. Peering around the retaining wall, he listened and watched for a few minutes before leading Faith and Shield toward the corner of the Administration building.

Faith stood close to Ken’s right side and followed his gaze down the path where she could just make out the tall broad silhouette of a man with his hands reaching above his head. A ladder leaned against the Science building. There are at least two of them. If there are three, we still should be ok but they sure are big.

Ken took a moment to glance at his watch then estimated the distance between them and the trespassers to be at least twenty metres. If he could get closer he could see exactly how many and what they were up to.

Faith resisted against the lead a little but trusted Ken. They moved soundlessly toward the men whose voices became clearer as they approached.

‘Hurry up,’ one of them shouted in a whisper. ‘We have enough computers. Grab some cables or something to tie them to the trolley or they’ll fall off.’

‘OK, OK,’ someone from the first floor window called back. ‘Pasco’s gone to look.’

Faith’s hair stood on end. Shield made the quietest of whimpers but it was enough.

The dogs froze before Ken could stop causing the leads to become taut.

‘WHO ARE YOU?’

Ken looked up at the huge dark figure that seemed to have stepped out of the wall just a few steps in front of him.

Oops! This must be the lookout. How did we miss seeing him? Faith stood her ground.

‘I asked you a question, Weed’.

Ken kept his voice clear and steady. ‘Well, I’m Ken and this is my Faith and my Shield.’

Another huge figure appeared and the two looked down at the dogs in surprise.

‘RUN!’, Ken yelled and turned before the men realised what was happening.

Faith and Shield bolted.

Ken’s feet hardly touched the ground as they raced around the corner and back up the path. ‘The oval,’ he panted. He gripped the leads tighter hoping they wouldn’t slip through his gloves.

‘COME BACK HERE, WEED.’

Faith made a sudden turn to the right causing Shield to gasp as he was jerked along. Ouch! Where do you get you strength, Girl?

The three kept running until the voices faded.

Faith slowed and panted to a stop. They all collapsed on the damp grass in the middle of the sports oval just as a distant siren broke the midnight darkness.

Ken turned the volume up on his radio and panted a brief update… ‘I think there’s three, maybe four. They have computers on a trolley of some sort. Over.’

‘Ok, Ken. Take it easy. We have called in another Bluelight. We’ll get them to cover the south of the Science block. Stay where you are until we have them in custody. Over.’

‘No worries about that.’ He signed off and hugged his team.

Shield nuzzled Faith. That was so cool. Can we do that again?

Faith gave a quiet woof and pushed in closer to Ken. Her Ken…the weed.

© Chrissy Siggee – 2019

This is a work of fiction. Except for Ken and his dogs Faith and Shield all other characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Faith’s Christmas Surprise

1931032_36129957313_9434_n-impChristmas carols played while Ken wrapped the last of the gifts that were to be distributed at the children’s hospital later that afternoon. This was Faith’s favourite time of year and best of all she was allowed to visit the children again with Ken.

It had been a busy year with many visits to hospitals where children needed a distraction from their pain, recovery or just the plain old boredom of their every day routine. Faith always looked forward to seeing them. It was their smiles and squeals of glee that made it all worthwhile.

Ken had made a silly elf hat for Faith to match his. She shook her head. Nope it’s not going to come off. Oh well, I guess the children will like it. At least it’s better than last year’s reindeer antlers.

‘Almost done, Faith,’ Ken said clutching a red ribbon between his teeth as he talked.

Faith tilted her head to one side and ruffed. It’s about time. Curiosity had set in so she wandered over to the Christmas tree and sniffed a sack of gifts.

‘You’re not going to find anything under there for you this Christmas, Faith girl.’

Faith whimpered and hung her head.

‘It’s not like that,’ Ken laughed. He knelt on one knee as he often did and hugged her.  ‘Your gift will arrive sometime later tonight. ‘Actually, it will be our gift. We’ll be sharing this one. Those gifts under the tree are for my parents who are coming for Christmas lunch tomorrow.’

Faith wagged her tail. She loved Ken’s mum and dad. I wonder if our gift will arrive by sleigh or maybe it’s being delivered in a fire truck. She nudged Ken’s elbow with her nose knocking him off balance. Come on! It’s time to go.

Less than an hour later, Ken was busy handing out gifts to the children in the burns unit while Faith nuzzled the hands of any child, parent or nurse reaching out to her. The ward was noisy with excitement—oh what fun it is! One child was almost totally covered in bandages; blue eyes, a little nose, hands and feet protruding. Faith looked up at a male nurse standing nearby.

‘Go on. Mandy will be thrilled’ he said nodding at the patient.

Faith cautiously stepped toward the child and licked a dangling hand before carefully lifting both paws onto the side of the bed. She was within inches of the little girl’s nose.

Mandy lifted her hand slowly and placed it on Faith’s head. There they remained for what seemed a very long time. But, Faith didn’t mind.

The afternoon visit included ice cream for everyone except Faith, as usual, but Ken had a few doggy surprises in his pocket for her to enjoy.  It had been a great visit.

It wasn’t until later that evening when she curled up on the mat near the back door that Faith thought about Mandy again. She whimpered a moment before resting her head on her paws. And, I wonder what our surprise will be…yawn.

 

It was just after dawn when Faith was aroused from a deep sleep by a faint scratching noise. She opened her eyes slowly anticipating a possum trying to steal the remaining few biscuits from her bowl. To her surprise, another pair of doggy eyes met hers across the porch. Faith blinked, not just to clear her eyes but in response to the handsome canine who lay opposite.

Both dogs lifted their heads in unison. Oh my, Faith thought. Her tongue slipped over the side of her jaw. A slobbery drool slipped down to the tip of her tongue before she could prevent it dripping to the floor. Fortunately, those amber eyes before her didn’t seem to notice. Time seemed to stand still.

The glass door gliding along its track brought Faith out of her daze. Ken stepped out and knelt to stroke Faith’s ears. ‘I see you two have met.’

Well, sort of.’  She shook her head throwing drool over Ken’s clean shirt.

‘Faith, meet Shield. Shield this is Faith.’

Shield rose to his feet in what seemed to Faith as a graceful bow.  Faith followed suit and approached the longhaired Border Collie before she shyly turned her head and nudged Ken instead.

With a chuckle, Ken picked himself up of the floor. ‘Ok you two, how about breakfast?’

Both dogs wagged their tails eagerly and waited in anticipation.

The two dogs spent most of the day playing and walking in the back garden. They soon became the best of friends. Ken’s parents had been and gone. Lunch was fabulous. There had been plenty of gifts to go around and the doggy treats were extra special on such a wonderful day of the year.

Merry Christmas from Faith and Shield… Oh, and Ken too of course.

© Chrissy Siggee – 2019

This is a work of fiction. Except for Ken and his dog Faith all other characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.