Chernobyl Curs Audition- Final Page
The dog tumbled sideways, coming to a stop a few feet away. It had not uttered so much as a yelp, and at last it looked as though it was out cold.
Marcus watched for several seconds, waiting for it to rise. Finally, and hesitantly, he gave the inert body a prod with the stick and quickly leaped away. Just in case.
He must have looked funny to someone, for a derisive guffaw drifted in his direction. Other dogs had been watching from a distance, and Marcus hoped none of them would take the opportunity to start a new fight. None seemed inclined to, however, to his relief.
Then a short-legged, stump-tailed dog with a funny hat came over and gave the body a hard poke. Marcus groaned inwardly, expecting the monster to fly to its feet, angrier than ever.
But the body of his opponent remained motionless. Only the occasional rise of the dog's ribcage as it drew a shuddering breath indicated it was still alive.
The poking dog gave a sigh, as though disappointed, and moved on.
Marcus dropped the stick and ran his tongue over his teeth, checking for splinters.
"So... What've we got here?"
Beyra was back, with a gleeful Jack at her side.
"See, Beyra?" Jack said happily, "See that? Took 'im three hits, but he got it done, yep! Knocked th' bastard right out!"
"I ain't blind, Jack," the big dog rolled her eyes, "Now shut yer trap and go find somebody to drag that piece of shit outta here."
With a happy yap, Jack scurried off.
"As fer you," she said, regarding Marcus, "I suspended that no-fightin' rule for ya just this once. Now ya wait until the tournament starts, else you'll go home early with the new tail-less look. Got it? Yer friend's waitin' fer ya back there. Catch ya later, Marcus."
She was sauntering off of she said the last bit, and was soon disappearing into the crowd. The other dogs that had gathered to watch the fight quickly went about their business.
Marcus sat down for a quick breather, but kept a sharp ear out for trouble. No one bothered him, though; Beyra, it seemed, had her ways of finding out if rules were broken, even when she wasn't around.
He nosed the stick, glad he had come across it, and decided to hang onto it. Maybe it would come in handy later.
A few minutes later Jack reappeared with two large mongrels. Both seized a portion of the unconscious dog with such brutality that Marcus decided now was a good time to rejoin Iza.
She was waiting for him there; she had kept herself out of his business, as Beyra had told her. She gave no outward sign of her reaction to Marcus' fight. Hesitantly he grinned around his stick, and wagged his tail to show her that he was all right. For the most part, anyway.
She gazed back at him, a vague, sad expression crossing her features. The hurt and anger which had been there before seemed to have vanished.
"Beyra told us to make ourselves at home," she said after a moment, "And that she'll be making an announcement here in a little while. I guess to let us know who's going against who."
Marcus looked beyond the Ferris wheel, back towards the way they had come. Sure enough, the crowd was drifting towards the giant metal structure.
"I know you're just trying to do the right thing, Marc," she added in a low voice, "And I do think you're right about entering. You heard the warning her dogs gave us that day. 'Either join on your own, or be forced to join'. Not much of a choice."
She paused, eyes downcast. "I just wish that it had been me who
" she trailed off with a moan.
"Ee-sah?" he managed to croak, extending a paw.
try to stay alive, huh?" she grinned weakly as she stood up, "I need to get out of this crowd for a while. Go find a spot for us, I'll find you later.
"And Marc," she added over her shoulder, "Don't go sticking your nose in anyone else's face, okay? I mean that."
She wandered off past the crowd towards the weedy outskirts of the park.
Marcus watched after her, annoyed. He knew how to look after himself; he knew how to fight; he knew what he was doing. He wished she had more faith in him.
He caught sight of the shy dog he had encountered earlier, the one who suddenly turned savage, her eyes blazing furiously, and remembered his mistake of trying to befriend her.
Stupid, he thought to himself, Iza was right, I do know better than that.
Well, that was one mistake he wouldn't make again. No more underestimating the other dog, whoever they were, or what they looked like.
We're not here to make friends.
After one last glance after his sister, Marcus moved off to join the growing mass of dogs, all awaiting Beyra's announcement.
End of Audition