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Poetry/Short Stories

An Act of Kindness

by Mark One

Terri Davis got out her car an stepped into a pool of blood. "Oh, great!" she said angrily. "I just got these shoes!" She looked down and saw droplets of blood all along her sidewalk and driveway. She then glanced up and saw the blood trail lead to a large figure. A dog lying about a few feet away from the side door to her house. Her initial reaction as she approached the animal was that it was dead. But, she soon realized that it was still alive, albeit barely as its breathing was shallow and labored.

"Oh, damm!" she muttered under her breath as she knelt over the wounded animal. "I don't need this tonight!" Terri had a long day already as she had to work overtime at the office. Then, her car broke down at the foot of the hill she passes en route to her home. That took several more hours because the tow truck got lost in the woods that surrounded the hill trying to find the car. Now, here it is, well past midnight on this cold October evening, and she has this to deal with. She cursed her bad luck as her day of hell just would not end.

"You're lucky I'm a nice person!!" Terri grumbled as she stared at the unconscious dog.

A closer look determined the dog was a male, as Terri spotted a small wound over his left front side that was trickling blood over his thick greyish brown fur. It looked like a bullet wound to her, but she couldn't be sure. She was sure of one thing, she had to find a way to stop the bleeding if he was going to live. She pulled her red scarf off her neck and wrapped it tightly around the dog's left front leg and shoulder. The action caused the dog to awake with a start and almost snap away at Terri's face. But the animal was too weak to attack and he slumped back on the cold concrete and moaned.

Story continued below


"I gotta get you inside from the cold," Terri said as she leaned into the dog's eyes. She noticed how his eyes seemed to sparkle against the pale moonlight. They were ice blue, a very unusual eye color for a dog. It had to be a stray, she thought, since there were no tags on him. She then stood up, opened the side door to her house and pushed the dog inside her one floor flat. "Boy, you must weigh a ton," she thought as she pushed him inside to the kitchen.

Once inside, Terri grabbed an old green blanket from the closet and draped it over the dog, who continued to moan in pain. She then grabbed a bowl from the kitchen, filled it up with water and tried to make him drink from it by gently raising his head. After a few moments, he was able to drink from the bowl. Terri then grabbed some hamburger from the refrigerator and tried to feed the dog. Once again, he was hesitant, but he was able to eat a few handfuls. As he ate, the dog began to stare at this stranger with a gaze of appreciation. His moaning started to subside as he began to relax.

After another drink of water, Terri started to rub the dog's forehead as she comforted him until he fell asleep. She checked on the wound, and saw that the bleeding had stopped. "Not bad, Dr. Davis," she joked. All kidding aside, she knew she had to take the dog to the vet in the morning and get that wound treated. She wondered what he could possibly be doing to have received a bullet wound and who would've been so cruel to have shot him.

Terri looked at her watch and saw that it was well past 2 a.m. She decided to call it a night. "Goodnight, buddy. Try to take it easy, OK?" she whispered in the dog's ear as she got up from the floor and went to her bedroom. As Terri walked away, she thought about the prospect of keeping her newfound companion as a pet. She hadn't had a dog since she was a girl, and judging by its size, he would be good for protection.


Terri awoke the next morning to check on the dog's condition, and to her surprise, he was gone. He was nowhere near the side door where she had left him. "He couldn't have gotten out," she thought. "All the doors are locked." Then, she heard a noise coming from deep inside the kitchen. "Oh, there you are!" Terri called alound as she walked towards the kitchen. "Come here, buddy! What are you doing in... AHHH!!!"

The image of seeing a strange man, half naked and leaning against the kitchen sink caused Terri to scream in a panic.

"Who are you?!! What are you doing here?!!" Terri shouted at the man as she frantically grabbed the frying pan from the stove to defend herself.

"No! Wait!!" The man said as he tried to balance himself against the kitchen counter. He seemed to be more startled than Terri.

"Wait nothing!! I'm calling the police, you pervert!!" As Terri reached for the phone on the wall, she saw the man was wearing the green blanket she had given the dog last night. She then noticed he had her red scarf wrapped in his right hand. "The dog!!" she exclaimed. "What did you do to him?!!"

"Ma'am, please! You don't understand..." The man said to Terri as he inched towards her.

"Don't you come near me!! I'll bash your head in, you... " Terri tried to finish her sentence when she saw the man's eyes. They were the same ice blue eyes she stared into last night. "It's you..." Terri said in complete shock as the frying pan crashed to the floor. "But how? You were a dog last night..."

"I was a... wolf, ma'am." The man said, correcting her. He spoke in a soft, almost stilted voice. He was holding his left shoulder with his right arm, wincing a little in pain each time he spoke. His pale complexion was covered in blotches of dirt from his head down to his feet. "I was chased, no... hunted... by someone last night. Someone who... doesn't want people like me around. I was shot... I remember the bullet going clean through my arm. I... would've been killed for sure if I didn't hide out in that hill. I climbed out through the woods and went into this neighborhood. I remember... walking towards a house... my mind... gets a little hazy after that... I must've blacked in and out. The next thing I knew, I woke up here..." He paused. "You... you were the one who found me, right?"

"Um... yes!" Terri said, obviously floored by the young man's story. "I... found this dog... uh, I mean... you, and um... took care of you last night."

"Yes, I remember...", he said with a smile. "You gave me something to eat... and helped with my wound... Thank you, ma'am... for your kind gesture. Most people these days would not have cared... or would've left us out to die. But you did not....Thank you for that."

"Um... you're welcome," Terri said, feeling rather embarrased. "Um.. can I get you something? Give you a ride... or get you some clothes? I don't think they'll fit you, though...

"No. This will do," the man said. "I think my car's just over that hill there, along with my stuff... If you don't mind though, I like to hang on to the blanket."

"No. No. I don't mind at all," Terri said. Her face turned a deep red. "Here, let me show you out."

Terri led the man towards the front door and unlocked it. "I'm glad I was able to help," she said with a smile. "Are you sure you'll be alright?"

"I'll be fine," the man said as he rubbed his left shoulder. "I just have to be a little more... careful, ma'am."

"You know, you don't have to call me ma'am. My name's Terri."

"OK, Terri. My name's Jason."

"OK, Jason." Terri smiled again. "Um... is there any chance... that I could see you again?"

Jason smiled and laughed. "Perhaps, Terri. Perhaps."

Terri smiled as she saw Jason walked out the door. As she closed the door and watched him walk towards the hill and out of sight, she couldn't help but feel good. After all she had been through yesterday, what she did last night -- saving someone's life -- made it all worthwhile. She had heard somewhere that an act of kindness is worth its own reward. And, even though she didn't know whether she would ever see Jason again, Terri liked the prospect of what the new day would bring.