It was nine years ago that the trouble started. The days had been cold and dark. It rained incessantly, the city was under constant cloud cover. Far from home, in the dim light, a little girl and her father skirted around a car, and made a dash for a huge building. There was a flash of a yellow anorak, and they were gone.
An unearthly din rent the air. Screams and howls filled the building. And then slowly… it all calmed down. Three people emerged from the building this time. The little girls shoulders were hunched, her arms were wrapped around her middle. The father seemed concerned, looking at the child over and over again. The third person, an old man, handed him a roll of paper. With a nod to him, the father guided the child back to the car. As it started up, the headlights shone through the silver rain and lit up the old man’s face. He was smiling. In the bright light… it seemed ghostly.
In the small car, the father turned to his daughter. Through a slit in her anorak, something dark moved. Two soft bright eyes peered out. A soft coo escaped from the girls mouth. She bent over to kiss it again. The puppy wiggled in her arms and then settled comfortably to sleep.
The adoption papers lay unfurled on the dash board, catching the street-lamp’s light.