Skip to content

Emma Skyte

Dust covered the fields surrounding an old house, the air so thick the sky looked stained.
            Decaying furniture began to rattle. The kitchen cupboards shuddered. A whine echoed throughout the house, followed by panicked footsteps.
            ‘Here, boy,’ Nick called out, reaching his arms towards a shaggy dog that paced anxiously beside the front door.
            The dog looked up. Then it whimpered again, its tail dropping.
            Nick knelt down, his worn jeans meeting the sooty wooden floor. ‘Billy,’ he pleaded.
            The dog charged into Nick’s arms, pressing all of its weight against him. Its brown nose soaked the material of his shirt. Fearfully, it continued to cry, even in the warmth of its owner’s embrace. 
            Nick’s lips thinned as he cradled his only friend. He, too, sensed the end was near. With the air as contaminated as it had become, he knew their time together was limited.
            Billy was only small, limping at the back of his fields, when Nick found him. He had been surveying his wheat when he caught sight of a small pup waddling through the haze of his crops. Even young, Billy’s cream fur had been long and bright, despite being sullied by dust. From that day on, Nick raised Billy as though he had always been a part of his farm. The young dog would run through the countless fields with ignorant bliss.
            The rattling in the house grew louder. Nick gathered the panicked dog into his arms and stood. Until now, Nick had somehow survived the harsh storms. But when he looked outside, at the great wave of dust nearing, he pressed his lips to the top of Billy’s scruffy head. The animal whined, its paws clinging to the material of Nick’s shirt.
            Nick sighed.
            The great wave climbed.
            Whining, Billy licked the side of Nick’s neck.
            ‘I love you, too, pal,’ he whispered.
            Then dust devoured.