Chapter IV: Return

            The furry white puppy got up from its basket and walked gingerly across the room. With a sniff, she knew that fresh kibble had been placed in her bowl. However, the house smelled different.

            As she followed the smell, she realized that the house was not her own. Then she remembered, how she was staying with a different family. Nine days. It still felt irregular, even for one so young.

            And she paused, three feet from her bowl, as another curious smell filled her nostrils. It was exotic, filling her nose with a pungent oddity. Sniffing the floor, she followed it to a faded green stain upon the carpet. There, she stopped and began to teethe upon the stain.

            And as she continued to sink her budding teeth into the soggy carpet, the puppy remained grateful that the rude ferret was not there to pick a fight with her.

 

            Meanwhile...

 

            An adolescent young woman sat in a yellow school bus, as it sped down a rural road of farmland. Her pale blond hair framed her face in curled curtains, and a weak smile met her lips upon a modest chin. She wore a plain, bright purple t-shirt and a pair of tight bell-bottom jeans.

            In the distance, construction crews and suburban utopias crept ever closer, slowly eating up the prized farmland without mercy.

            The young woman watched, out her window, as a young man ran past with incredible speed. For a moment, she thought she recognized him, but thought better of it, No, just a passing resemblance.

            She turned to the girl in the seat across the aisle from her, "You all right, Morgan?"

            Morgan turned away from the cat-calls she was getting from the front of the bus, "Y'know, I thought they'd have forgotten about it after Spring Break."

            "We call it March Break, here in Canada."

            "Same thing," Morgan answered. She had straightened red hair, cut short. Her face was tanned from a vacation. She wore a black blouse, and denim painter's pants. Leather sandals were strapped to her feet. "It's like I've been branded a high school whore."

            "You didn't sleep with Mike," she consoled. And after a pause, "Right?"

            Morgan just laughed, and then stopped herself, "No, Sharon. I didn't."

            "Well, I'd tell you that it doesn't matter what other people think . . . but that would be a lie."

            The students in front of them began to stand, and join the line-up to get off the bus.

            Sharon rose, "I broke up with Aidan."

            "Oh?" Morgan frowned, pulling herself to her feet. "Why'd you do that?"

            "It's a long story," she picked her bag off the seat, "I'll tell you on lunch."

            "Do you need me to get anything from his house? He offered to baby-sit my puppy, Noire, while we were in Florida."

            Sharon smiled, as they shuffled into the aisle, "Ooh, is that a Florida tan?"

            "Yes it is," Morgan smiled.

            And in moments, they were off the bus and navigating a writhing sea of fellow students.

The End

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