Belly of the Beast

Ralph was a lost dog wandering the streets of a rundown city.  He missed his home and family.  He missed the life he once knew and loved.   Images flashed through the dog’s mind, faces and places that seemed both strange and familiar.  Ralph was never so alone.  The dog was hungry and cold, shivering in the gray twilight.  The city was always gray – it never changed – there was no daylight and no night – just an endless gray fog or smoke.   Unfamiliar landmarks and alien smells emerged from the fog and forced the dog into a maze, a gauntlet where every turn was life threatening.   Ralph was forgetting his past life, even losing the comfort of his name.  He was becoming feral.  Hunger pushed the animal forward searching for some sustenance.   The hunger was overwhelming like a wild storm imprisoned in a cage.  A huge wolf appeared blocking the dog’s path. The menacing beast had red eyes that glowed like cinders – saliva dripped like blood as the wolf appraised the dog.  Wolf was also hungry – driven by insatiable need.  Dog whimpered and backed away. The wolf lunged and sunk his fangs into the dog’s neck.  Pain paralyzed the dog as blood filled his eyes turning everything red.  Ralph remembered … he used to be a man … human.  After the car accident he drifted into a coma and became a dog in his mind.  Months elapsed.  Before he could gain consciousness, he knew he’d have to fight and defeat the wolf.   Each time he saw the wolf he cowered and had to start over from the beginning.   Each time he promised himself he’d fight – but, then he forgot – over and over he forgot.

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