She wished she could keep the dog. She had even given him a name in the time it took to reach the small road which would lead them to the nearest village, Tobber-something it was called, the road sign had broken off after the Tobber. A lot of places around here were called Tobber-something, the Tobber part spelt in a variety of ways, sometimes it was Tobar or Tober. Luce had told her it meant there was a well, most likely a holy well, somewhere nearby. The area seemed to have holy wells everywhere.
Luke, as she had named him, was thirsty and had been drinking from puddles along the way. He must be hungry as well. There was no way she’d be able to hitch a lift with him. People were particular about their cars, didn’t want dog hairs on their seats. You’d find that the ones who didn’t mind dog hairs owned dogs themselves, and the dogs were usually in the car with them which meant they didn’t have room for another one or didn’t want the mayhem of canine jealousy unfolding if another dog was allowed into the mobile territory.
She was feeling hungry and thirsty herself. She had drunk from the rainwater which had gathered in the oil drum outside the cowshed, but that was about an hour ago and she hadn’t eaten since breakfast the previous morning. Luke and Cath had walked for quite some time. He was good on the lead, so had to have an owner who had started training him and missed him.
She tied Luke onto a sign post outside the village shop. The place looked deserted and there was no one about except for an old man who shuffled along on the other side of the road, head lowered, carrying a plastic bag filled with groceries. Entering the shop she hesitated inside the door for a moment until her eyes adjusted to the dark. It was a small shop and the young girl behind the till was busy texting someone on her phone. She didn’t even look up when Cath entered.
“Could I have a plastic bag, please,” Cath asked when she lifted the items she had selected onto the counter. A bottle of still water, a small carton of milk, sliced cheddar cheese, granary bread, and for Luke a tin of dog food. The girl’s phone beeped and she returned her attention to it as soon as the transaction had been completed. This was the perfect opportunity to slip away and leave the dog tied up outside. She opened the tin of food for him and stroked his head. He sure was hungry and she walked away not allowing herself to look back for fear that she wouldn’t be able to leave him behind if she did.
(c) Ash N. Finn, 2016