Voyage of the beagle (and friends)

The sun rose once again, oblivious to the blood shed.

The body of Sniper had been discovered by a tourist, who had called the vets. They had come to remove the body.

The body of Tumble still remained inside the den, deathly cold, despite being concealed between Dosi and Tag.

Everyone had sobbed the previous night, especially Tag.

Alsatian had gone off on his own in the middle of the night and had not returned.

In the end, all Buck could suggest was that they bury the body.

They let Tag chose where his brother was to be buried.

He chose a patch of reeds under a palm tree.

“He will be safe from the sun and rain” Tag had whimpered.

Dosi had dug deep into the sand, her paw pads being ripped to shreds by the reeds.

They dug so deep that Alsatian could have been buried in their.

They put Tumble’s fragile body into a coffin-like wooden box and lowered it into the grave.

They buried the box and Tumble, and then put a small rock into the sand by the tree.

Using his sharp claws Buck wrote; “Tumble, the cutest pup ever, the best brother and a most brilliant friend lies here”.

Once the grave stone was in place, and the tears had been shed, Dosi led Tag back to the den.

“I’m gonna go and find Alsatian; he has a lot of explaining to do” Buck explained miserably.

“When you find him, give him a big kick up the furry backside from me” Dosi insisted.

Buck knew where his friend was; the pub bin. When Alsatian knew he was in trouble or wanted to sulk, he would usually go to the bin.

Buck found the German shepherd huddled up in a tight ball.

“You missed the funeral” Buck said softly. When Alsatian didn’t respond, the beagle decided to take a different approach.

“I thought you said you wouldn’t lie”.

“It doesn’t matter, its just a small problem” Alsatian murmured, his voice hoarse.

“It does matter! It changes everything!” Buck shouted, outraged “I thought you were our protector, but all this time, you’ve been one of them!”

“I’m not one of them” Alsatian muttered “My family joined them, but I refused too. You saw how I was only halfway between me and the wolf. I can’t help it, it’s a family curse” Alsatian explained. 

“And I’m supposed to believe that?” Buck questioned.

“It only happens when I get angry” Alsatian stated.

“Me and Dosi are going to rescue Pasha, we’re taking Tag with us” Buck said, then added; “You will probably only kill him anyway”.

“You can’t! You don’t know where she is, if she is even alive or if she is can be found” Alsatian protested.

“I think that Forbidden Island is a good place to start” Buck announced.

“Forbidden island! Do you even know why it’s forbidden?”

“No, why?” Buck tilted his head questioningly.

“It was about five years ago, I was only a young pup at the time, but I remember it like it was yesterday.

On that island there was massive testing facility. They used animals; which was not a popular choice in the public eye. They were using explosives and testing them for wars and a new type of untested bomb was used one day. The scientists must have used too much explosives and gunpowder because the whole island went up in flames. At least one thousand animals and two hundred people were killed. Puppies younger than Tumble and dogs older than me died on that day” Alsatian explained calmly.

“So why is it dangerous now?”

“Because some of the chemicals tested there are still active. Those chemicals would easily kill dogs. Also, if the wolves really are there, there will be lots of them” Alsatian reasoned.

“I’m going, if you want to come, you can” Buck concluded.

“As long as you forgive me” Alsatian muttered.

“Consider yourself forgiven” Buck sighed.

 

The tunnels were becoming darker and Buster was starting to doubt that they would ever make it out alive.

He had saved Pasha twice now, and was beginning to wonder why he was leading her to her fate, even though she trusted him.

“Pasha?” he said quietly “I need to talk to you about something”.

“Whatever it is, it can wait” mumbled Pasha; she was fed up of being the dog in distress all the time.

Not wanting to cause an argument, Buster decided it was a good idea to tell her when they were out of the cave.

Princess was becoming exceedingly thirsty. She moaned and groaned for ages until Pasha suggested that she lick the water off of the walls.

Knowing this was a good idea and their only hope, Buster started licking the damp walls and Princess soon followed suite.

Pasha suddenly realised the hopelessness of their situation; they had been reduced to licking cave walls for water.  

With a heavy heart, pasha once more recalled the many happy scenes she had had with her family and friends.

She remembered as much of her life as the concussion she had suffered would let her, which was right up to when she had fallen.

It was then that she realised that something was up.

The wolf that had attacked both she and Princess was a killer, more like the werewolves in the humans campfire stories she had heard.

Where had Buster come from? She didn’t remember seeing him during the night of her capture. And why did he seem to know where to go?

Why had the wolf not killed them?

She halted, spun round and confronted Buster.

“How come you know where to go all the time?”

Before he had a chance to answer, Pasha butted in and threw more questions at him.

“Where were you on that night?”

“Why do we have to go to the building?”

“Why did the wolf not kill us?”

Poor Buster didn’t know what to do.

“I’ll explain everything!” he shouted, it was all he could do to shut her up.

“Go on then” Pasha urged.

“You’re gonna hate me” Buster said.

“Start talking” Pasha hissed.

 

Now that the team was back together, and all of them had set their minds on rescuing Pasha, they were raring to go.

They had the idea of hiding on a tour boat. The tour boats went everywhere, even within half a mile of forbidden island.

The hardest part was getting there. Tourists’ ands the public seemed to either love petting the younger beach dogs or lobbing stones at the older ones.

Since Tag was less than eight weeks old, he was in danger of someone scooping him up and taking him home.

The four expressionless dogs walked quickly through the packed beach and past the masses of people queuing for an ice cream.

A few people came near to Tag and bent down to stroke him, but they were driven off by Alsatian growling.

One brave soul came very close and, ignoring Alsatian’s barks, picked up Tag and petted him.

The human started to walk away, but Alsatian leapt forward and reared up.

When the man refused to let go of Tag, the German shepherd resorted to biting.

He sunk his fangs deep into the man’s ankles.

The man screeched loudly and dropped Tag. The screams brought the attention of the other tourists who shouted for the Dog Catcher.

“Run!” Alsatian ordered before the Dog Catcher could come.  

The four canines sped towards the harbour where the boats parked and ran down the wooden pathway that led to the end of the beach.

A tour boat named “Island Tours” sat there, bobbing up and down like a rubber duck in a bath.

Alsatian leapt onto the deck and raced past the main mast.

He and his puppy friends skidded into the cabin and hid behind some barrels. Luckily, no one had seen the dogs, but had been tending to the man’s wounds instead. 

Alsatian and his companions had been too fast.

Alsatian was ready for a stampede of people to come rushing in to the cabin, ready for a tour, but only one man and a small girl came in.

The girl was no older than six, and the man seemed to be the captain/owner of the boat.

The girl skipped through the cabin and went into the door at the end of it.

The man went back up to the deck and started the boat.

The vehicle lurched forward, forcing its way out of the harbour, and started speeding forward.

It took only a few seconds before the boat was going so fast the island was merely a speck in the distance and the boat was literally skimming across the sea like a flat rock would after being thrown.

The little girl came back through the door and started looking behind the barrels.

It seemed as if she was looking for her teddy bear.

She clumsily pulled at the barrels, revealing just more dust and rubbish.

When she finally pulled at the last barrel, she got quite a surprise.

Instead of screaming in terror as she saw the four dogs bundled together she laughed with joy.

She bent over slowly to stroke Tag, cautiously looking over to Alsatian, as if to gain his approval.

Alsatian nodded, sensing the girl was not a threat, and allowed her to stroke Tag.

She picked him up and cradled the tiny pup in her arms.

Once she had finished fussing over Tag

Buck and Dosi came up to her and licked her bare legs softly.

She was wearing a dress, a pretty dress patterned with pink flowers. She was also wearing a pair of pink, open-toed shoes that resembled sandals. Her hair was tied up in two small pigtails and her eyes were bright blue.

Seeming unusually relaxed, Alsatian found the confidence to nuzzle her open palm that she was extending towards him. The many tourists that visited the island would often keep their children away from him, saying that German shepherd dogs bite.

The young girl once again picked up Tag and carried through the cabin and up onto the deck. Alsatian, Dosi and Buck obediently followed.

The girl took Tag too the other human, who was most probably her father, who was steering the boat. He took Tag carefully from the girl’s arms and inspected him.

“He’s a stray, no tags and probably no microchips” the father explained.

When he saw the other three dogs, he soon confirmed that they were strays.

“Tell me something I don’t know” Alsatian joked. To the girl and her father it sounded like six short barks.

“What should we do dad?” the girl asked her father.

“Well, Mia, we can’t keep them. We can’t take them back too the island because they will probably be killed at the pound” the father explained.

At that moment, Buck spotted a map of the islands. He pranced over to it, pulled it down from the mast it was pinned too and licked the island marked “Forbidden Island”.

“We can’t go there dad” Mia insisted.

“The must have a reason. Maybe a lost friend” the dad suggested. Dosi yelped in agreement.

“We go to Forbidden Island then” the father concluded.

Life on the boat was brilliant compared to the daily struggles of the Beach.

A meal of cold meat was guaranteed every evening and a fresh bowl of water was sure to be there in the morning.

The beds were comfortable and ,when the waves weren’t choppy and the sea was calm, the dogs would be allowed to swim.

On one particular and unforgettable night, all of the boats occupants curled up on the sofa and watched a family film.

The film was about a dog who, when separated from his owner, journeyed across the world. Along the way he made friends and enemies until, at least four years later, the dog made it back to his owner.

All of them fell asleep quickly; Mia lay sprawled out along the length of the sofa, Dosi and Buck lay down beside her on the edge of the sofa, Tag was snuggled right next to Mia and Alsatian was lying on top of them all.

Mia’s father lovingly pulled a quilt over them and retreated to bed.

The island that was their destination was at least five days away; the boat was travelling at a leisurely pace.

Alsatian woke up first. He stretched, his ribcage close to the ground and his hindquarters rising high.

He padded quietly up to the deck and sat, admiring the early morning sea.

The sun, its daily battle won, rose slowly, casting its yellowy glow across the sea.

He was soon joined by a tired-looking Buck.

Buck tried to sit beside him, but his limbs were weak and his sense of direction bad after his long sleep and sudden rising.

The boat lurched as it bobbed over a particularly large wave and the sudden movement caused Buck to be thrown easily overboard.

He plummeted into the cold sea below and disappeared beneath the surface.

Alsatian sprang up and raced into the cabin. He leapt on the boat owner’s bed and started jumping up and down. When the man was up, Alsatian dragged the man, still tied from sleep, to the deck.

He focused his sight on the one spot Buck had disappeared and the man soon found his gaze.

Buck surfaced momentarily, only to sink again; his whole body was exhausted.

The man raced over to the deck and pulled a rubber ring out of a box that sat under the wheel.

There was a long piece of string attached to the ring, and this was tied to the mast.

Alsatian climbed into the rubber ring and was lifted up and dropped into the sea. He paddled around for what seemed like ages, desperate to find his friend.

He huffed with annoyance, pushed himself out of the rubber ring and submerged himself.

He swam deeper, his eyes stinging with the salt water and his fur freezing.

He saw a lifeless object twisting in the water, and hoped with all of his heart that that was Buck.

He swam over, kicking his back legs in a fish-like movement and pulling at the water with his front paws.

When he reached the object he found, to his joy and horror, it was Buck. He opened his mouth, letting in lots of foul tasting water and grabbed the pup’s scruff roughly.

Using his final amount of energy, the German shepherd dog swam with all his might towards the surface. By now his lungs were burning, starved of oxygen, and he didn’t doubt one bit that Buck was close to drowning.

He located the rubber ring and surged towards it. He threw Buck onto and, using his muzzle to steer, pushed the ring forward and towards the boat.

It had started raining. It was now lashing heavily into the sea, onto the boat, anywhere it could really. The winds were also picking up, forcing the sea to create bigger waves.

Alsatian was determined not to lose his companion, and it was that determination that saved them both.

He found he could no longer push the rubber ring; it had collided with the boat.

The man reached out and lifted Buck onto the boat. Once he was satisfied that the pup was safe, he helped Alsatian to climb aboard.

The man rushed Buck into the cabin, where he found a towel and started rubbing the young strays back.

Buck coughed up a mouthful of the salty water, but his weak form didn’t stop shivering.

Mia’s father wrapped the dying dog in a towel; not certain whether the youngster would make it.

Dosi and Tag awoke. They climbed off of the sofa and stared curiously at the towel the man was cradling; eager to know what had happened.

“Buck fell overboard” Alsatian stated simply, not taking his eyes off of the unconscious puppy.

For a moment or two, Buck’s breathing seemed to stop and his trembling body went limp. Alsatian, Dosi, Tag and the man feared the worst.

Miraculously, Buck opened his eyes, twitched his nose and sneezed all the water out of his nose.

He shook his head, spraying liquid everywhere.

“Hiya Buck” Alsatian barked gladly.

“Hey Alsatian. What happened?”

“You fell off of the boat. I had to jump into the sea to rescue you” Alsatian explained.

“You are such an idiot” Dosi yapped happily.

 

The tunnel was pitch black and there was absolutely no way to navigate through it.

Buster was tired off the dark and annoyed that he and his two friends were still wandering aimlessly through the never-ending tunnels.

He suddenly spotted a faint light up ahead. He dismissed the vision as an imagination; his failing sight playing tricks on him.

But, as he walked on, the light became brighter and bigger.

“Hey guys!” he shouted “I found the end”.

He started running wildly towards the light, excited and overjoyed to finally be escaping form the cave.

He sprang out of the cave and into the daylight he had so missed and never thought he would see again.

He started jumping around joyously, his dance resembling a chicken trying to fly.

He was joined by his two friends, who had been with him the entire journey.

He was lucky they were still his friends.

When Pasha had asked him about the monster, he had said it had climbed onboard the little boat with them. He also said that when he woke up, he drove the creature off of the boat and into the sea.

He had lied and he knew it wasn’t a good idea, but he also knew some secrets were best worth keeping.

The three of them toppled over, exhausted by their almost tribal celebration.

“I love the rain” Buster sighed as a few cold drops spattered onto his face.

The rain picked up and it started pouring down, but none of the trio got up.

“Me too” Pasha added.

“Yeah” princess said, not wanting to feel left out.

 

Tag had gathered his three friends around him and told them that he didn’t want to leave.

He said he had gotten to life on a boat and wanted to stay. Alsatian decided that this was a good idea, as going onto the island and trying to rescue Pasha would cause all sorts of problems, like death for example.

Tag had stayed close to Mia for a few days now. When Mia had put a collar onto Tag, she noticed how none of the other dogs seemed angry.

Coincidentally, Mia called her new puppy Tag, after the way he loved to chase things and how, when he touched them, he would run away from them.

It was only a matter of time before tag was to be micro chipped, so it was done swiftly and painlessly.

Mia’s father had a micro chipper because he used to work as a vet, so would need to microchip newly adopted dogs.

He placed the stapler-like machine on Tag’s scruff and pressed a button on the handle. All that did was insert a tiny piece of metal into Tag’s scruff. Whenever he went missing, the chip would be scanned and he would be traced back to Mia and her father.

All too soon, the luxury life that Mia and her father had to offer was gone. The ship beached itself on the Forbidden island beach, if you could call it that.

The sand was a horrible grey colour; years of radiation and pollution had taken its toll.

Rubbish littered the grey sand, and was a common as the humans were on the trio’s home island.

The worst feature the beach had was the bones that had collected in big piles.

Alsatian knew only too well that these skeletons were in fact the test animals, killed during experiments.

Alsatian, Dosi and Buck said their farewells to Tag, leapt off of the boat and galloped into the forest without looking back.

It had been a rocky road for Tag, a good home and a loving family would do him the world of good.

The forest was as polluted as the beach; the leaves were a sickly yellow colour, the tree trunks were spindly and cracking, the mud was tinged with green and the air chokingly acidic.

Buck’s mind was running wild with the possibilities of horrifying creatures hiding in the bushes and perched n the tree tops. Dosi must have been thinking the same, as her face was a grim expression of worry.

The End

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