Rainy Day - Grem2
Once, Puck knew the house like the back of his hand. He knew how soft the couch was, the way the coffee table had a secret stash of stuck-on gum in the right corner, the smells, the sights, the sounds, they were all a daily familiarity. Now, though, he had no idea where anything was. The storm brewing was, supposedly, going to be disastrous, so the family had allowed him inside for the night. It was the first time in a long time he’d been given the privilege and his heart hammered nervously in his chest.
The children, who had been so small when he first came home, now wouldn’t look up from their devices whenever he was allowed to enter the house. Around them, for whatever reason, he neglected walking upright and instead opted to keep himself lower than them. At some point, they’d gotten a new carpet; it was beige and plush, soft beneath his toebeans, and when he lifted his hand to put it forward he found he’d left a dirty hand-shape behind. Puck froze and slowly, cautiously, put his foot back down over the mark he’d left.
Once, when they were little, the kids would have run up and tackled him. Maria would have slung her arms around his neck, squealing with delight, while Sage would have grabbed a pillow and smacked him with it. They’d have wrestled and rolled all over the living room, colored with crayons together and watched cartoons. Now, Maria didn’t even seem to notice him peeking over the corner of the couch.
Upstairs, his delicate ears could pick up his master speaking on the phone. Further out, he could hear the rumble of thunder. He looked down at his hands again and took a few more slow, deliberate steps on the carpet. For the first time in a long time, he didn’t want to get kicked out. Usually, any attention was good for Puck, but tonight he wanted to stay inside. He carefully picked his way across the carpet and rubbed his body along Maria’s legs.
“Ew! Puck, your fur is all nasty!” She squealed, pulling her legs up, “I just washed these pants!”
He froze and looked up at her. Her cherubic face had thinned in recent years, her pigtails gone into intricate braids that circled her head like a crown. Puck tried to remember the last time he’d actually seen her or heard her voice.
“Do you want to play?” He asked.
“No, I’m busy.”
“Talking to Devan. Go away, Puck.”
“Whose Devan?” He climbed up on the couch beside her, pushing his face into her tablet.
“PUCK!” She screeched, “Get off the couch, you’re RUINING the afghan!”
He jumped off immediately, but his claw had snagged the afghan and it followed him. Panic took over as he tried to kick it free and his foot hit her leg, making her scream again.
“No, no, no, sorry, don’t scream Maria, I’m sorry, wait!” His legs tangled up in the blanket.
Behind him, he could hear his master storming down the stairs. He fought harder and sat up as fast as he could, digging his claws into the blanket and ripping it to free himself before his master caught him. The fabric was difficult to rip through and he thrashed harder, kicking himself free. He got to his feet and reached one hand out to Maria, who was teary eyed and curled up on herself on the couch.
“No, no, don’t be sad Maria, it’s ok--”
He flinched and looked slowly over his shoulder. His master, Dad, looked at him with a deep fury that made Puck’s whole body freeze. Behind him, Sage had come running as well. He was turning into a handsome young man, Puck realized even through his fear. Soon, Sage would go to college, then Maria, and then what would happen to Puck? Dad stared hard at Puck, his face pale and his hands fists.
“What did you do?” He hissed.
“He kicked me and he ruined grandma’s afghan!” Maria shrieked.
“I didn’t, I didn’t mean to, it was an accident, it got stuck and--” Puck tried to explained.
“Outside, Puck.” Dad’s voice was barely controlled, his hand trembling as pointed towards the sliding doors.
His ears were flat against his skull but he didn’t budge, hesitating. “But… It was an accident this time.”
Puck didn’t wait to see what would happen if he argued further. Still on his hands and feet, he scurried through the kitchen and out the glass doors. He made it halfway through the yard when the glass door slammed hard behind him. He looked back to see Dad flip the lock and pull the curtains, undoubtedly turning away without looking back. Puck sat in the center of the yard, the thunderclouds above him rolling angrily.
“I didn’t mean to.” He whispered, as the sky broke and rain began to pour.