Clark walked beside me swinging his bag of groceries as I watched the clouds between the passing hovercars. Poor orphans like Clark couldn't use the skyroad, because they couldn't afford hovercars. Despite that, he had SpeedSneaks; they doubled the user’s speed! He won them when Domica Industries was raffling them for free advertising. Domica Industries is literally everywhere; their logos are on all the hovercars, SpeedSneaks, HoloPads, clothes, robots, and buildings in the city! Clark activated his SpeedSneaks and signaled for me to be ready. We raced towards our beat-up home, dragging our groceries. I could barely keep up with Clark as we jumped onto the dumpster next to our house and climbed into the attic window. Home. Sweet. Home!
I’ve never been so out of breath in my life! I looked over to Clark and he agreed with me.
“Those SpeedSneaks make you run like the wind. I could barely keep up!”
“I can’t believe you kept up either, Buddy. I bet it's because I was carrying more groceries than you.”
“Someone my size can only hold so much.”
Clark unpacked the groceries and I went to lie on the couch. Good thing I’m a dog, I don’t need to worry about helping with that.
“Buddy, we’re having chicken and rice tonight.”
“Okay. Yuma coming over?”
“Yeah, but she’s gonna be late so we don’t need to wait for her.”
After eating the gigantic plate of food Clark had laid out for me, my senses were not working. All I could think about was closing my eyes and drifting off into a dream.
After dreaming of eating bacon, I realized I was being shaken. I jumped from my bed and landed on my paws. I opened my eyes to see blue jeans and beat-up Converse. I began to bark but stopped myself when I smelled a mix of Doritos and burnt cables, Yuma’s signature scent. I wagged my tail, jumped on her lap and licked her face. She pushed me off of her lap and looked around, her face wrinkled in concern.
The last thing I remembered was going to bed at home. So why was I strapped to a bed in an unknown room! Where am I? I tried to call for Buddy only to realize that my mouth was stuffed with a tube leading somewhere. I strained my neck, arms, and legs against my restraints to no avail. I saw wires, IVs, and tubes attached to all parts of my body leading to monitors along the walls. The room smelled like a hospital with a hint of chemicals.
I wished I could call Buddy to help me; he’s always been there, like the day my parents died. As the years went by, Buddy and I became inseparable. Buddy told me we were more than friends, we were family. Yuma joined us not long after, we met at one of our foster homes. Ever since, it has only been the three of us; they are my family.
Yuma and I wandered around the city trying to find clues, anything that could help us find Clark. With no luck, we went back to the house to search. In the corner of the room, Yuma spotted a royal blue memo with three numbers, “441.” She picked it up and brought it to my nose. “Sniff boy, sniff,” she kept repeating. I tried and tried but my senses were not fully back. Rather than relying on my senses, I relied on my heart call for him, remembering when I met my best friend.
Clark was five. He found me on a street corner. I was small at the time, just a couple of weeks old and enjoying a piece of meat. I sensed someone watching me and turned to face him. We made eye contact and it was like love at first sight! He stared at me for awhile and said “Hey little puppy, do you want to be my friend? You’ll be my first!” I stared at Clark for a while and barked yes at him. Then Clark noticed something: he understood what I meant by my barks. After some thought, Clark said, “I’m gonna call you Buddy, because you will always be my friend!” He hugged me and brought me home.
My feelings overwhelmed me and suddenly I could see a vision of a white hovercar flying into Domica Industries. I looked up at Yuma. “What is it?” she asked impatiently. I wagged my tail and barked at the door signaling for her to follow me. She did and we ran to Domica Industries, a large white building in the center of the city. “Domica? He has Clark?” she asked confused. I barked again and she just nodded in approval, taking out her HoloPad to hack into Domica’s system. “Domica Industries, 441”, She mumbled. “It’s a room number on the fourth floor! We’ll wait for everyone to leave and sneak in.”
After everyone left, Yuma hacked in to shut down security and we ran up to the fourth floor to Lab 441. What had we walked into? I saw monitors along the walls and cages with tails, wings, hands, and feet sticking out. We heard cries and whimpers. There was a rancid smell and I could see IVs and tubes carrying what seemed to be a yellow liquid leading into the cages. Yuma and I ran to the cages, desperately checking every single one of them, praying that Clark was not in one. I let out a sigh of relief when we didn’t find Clark in any of them.
We opened a door and walked into another room. I saw a single hospital bed with wires connected to Clark! We rushed in; I was desperate to check if Clark was alive. As we ran into the room, the doors slammed shut behind us. It was all a trap! Yuma grabbed me and said, “No matter what, we will get through this.”