Buddy (A dog's view of the ZPAW)

Zombie or Post Apocalyptic themed fiction/stories.

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Buddy (A dog's view of the ZPAW)

Post by DannusMaximus » Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:25 pm

There is nothing on earth quite so wretched as a dog who has lost its humans.

Buddy was lying in a puddle of early morning sunshine on his favorite rug in the rear entryway of the house, head resting on crossed paws, staring intently at the back door. The views from his favorite rug at the front door were frankly more interesting, but his humans mostly came and went through the back door, so that’s where he had spent the majority of his time in the weeks since they left him.

Buddy had a canine’s view of time, of course, and didn’t think in terms of days or weeks. He did know that his humans had been gone much longer than normal, had in fact NEVER stayed away this long before. With a 7 year-old girl and two busy working adults, mornings were a frenzied bustle of activity at the Martin house, and in normal times Buddy vaguely enjoyed the peace and quiet that settled over the home when his humans had left for the day. He napped, or played with his ball, or gazed out the window at the quiet street which passed in front of the house. Several times a day he would shimmy through the doggy door The Man had installed and go potty or make a routine patrol around the fenced perimeter of the back yard, chasing squirrels or butterflies or anything else that caught his attention. Pleasant as it was, however, after a day of such activity Buddy was always ready to see his humans again, and each reunion was a joyous festival of wagging tail and happy barking. Even accounting for the compressed notion of time possessed by C.familiarus, the hour had long since past when his humans should have returned, and they were still nowhere to be seen.

In fact, even though Buddy had a very good nose (even by dog standards), he hadn’t seen or smelled ANY humans for some time. It wasn’t that there was an absence of smells, either. Far from it. The air was rich with both familiar and unfamiliar odors. A million different variations of a thousand different scents swirled around Buddy when he was outside and drifted through the open kitchen window, permeating the small house. The sharp odor of fires drifted on acrid smoke. The smell of falling leaves and late autumn pollen. The smell of sewage and rotting food and uncollected garbage. The smell of other dogs, rabbits, squirrels, and birds. And the smell of The Sickness, overwhelming all the other smells.

Nor was there a lack of activity outside the house. There was plenty of movement to keep Buddy's attention. Numerous figures wandered the streets and yards of Buddy’s formerly quiet suburb, but even though they looked like humans, Buddy knew they weren’t. For one thing, they didn’t smell like a human. The smell of a human was very distinct, and the smell of any INDIVIDUAL human was equally distinct. Even to the most nose-challenged dog the odor of the humans that the dog belonged to was as distinct and recognizable as a flare on a moonless night - - there was simply no Homo Sapiens emotional equivalent to the joy a dog felt when it smelled it’s human. There was also no H. sapiens linguistic description for the smell given off by the human-looking figures shambling along aimlessly day and night. Buddy could smell when people were sick, and he could also smell when a person had died or was close to death. Any dog (and most cats) could do that. These figures smelled like a combination of those two odors. They were sick/dead things. They smelled…dangerous.

The more Buddy encountered the dead/sick things, however, the more apparent it became to him that they could care less about dogs. One of the things had fallen down while walking between two yards and had become briefly entangled in a section of chain link fence. The thrashing and groans had aroused Buddy from a late afternoon nap and Buddy, like any Good Dog, went to investigate. The sick/dead thing flailed stiffly, paying no attention to Buddy no matter how much he barked or how close he got. Increasingly agitated and frightened, Buddy finally bit down on the thing’s hand, and STILL it paid him no attention. Confused by the lack of response and nearly gagging on the taste of the thing’s flesh, Buddy had slunk back into the house, tail tucked. Buddy didn’t exactly have a refined palate, but he was no poop-eater, either. He had drunk nearly an entire bowl of water trying to get the taste of the thing’s hand out of his mouth.
Last edited by DannusMaximus on Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Holmes: "You have arms, I suppose?
Watson: "Yes, I thought it as well to take them."
Holmes: "Most certainly! Keep your revolver near you night and day, and never relax your precautions..."

- The Hound of the Baskervilles

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Re: Buddy (A dog's story)

Post by DannusMaximus » Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:28 pm

Of note, even though the sick/dead things seemed mostly oblivious to dogs, they evidently found cats to be a fabulous snack. Buddy knew this because of a brief but intense interaction he had with one of the cats who frequented his back yard. Surprised? Don’t be. Buddy was casually acquainted with a number of neighborhood cats. Contrary to popular human belief, cats and dogs tended to get along quite well. The domesticated variety certainly had a lot in common with their canine counterparts, but even feral and semi-feral felines made pleasant enough company for the average dog (even though the general snootiness of cats - - all varieties - - had a tendency to wear thin rather quickly). Buddy frequently had the animal equivalent of friendly back fence chats with the various dogs and cats that lived in his neighborhood, and he had recognized one of the local cats slinking along the alleyway behind his house a few days after the incident at the fence.

Hello cat.

Hello dog.

Cat, where have the humans gone?

The humans are hiiiiiding. WE are hiiiiiiding.

Why are the cats and humans hiding?

The sick/dead things are kiiiiiling us! The sick/dead things are EATING us!


The Cat’s eyes were wide, flashing nearly phosphorescent at her last statement. Buddy was appalled.

Why?!

We don’t know whyyyyyyy!

Where did the sick/dead things come from?

We don’t know! Things are wrong now. We are hiiiiiiding! YOU should hide!


Even in the best of times cats had a tendency to be drama queens, and Buddy simply couldn’t accept that the things she was saying were totally true. Things did feel wrong, though. Wrong and dangerous, but for a reason that Buddy still couldn’t quite nail down.

I’m going back in my house. I’m waiting for my humans to come back.

The huuuumans are not coming back, dog. The huuuumans are all dead or have gone. The sick/dead things are all that are here. Can you not smell it, dog? Can you not hear it?

My humans will come back for me, cat. My humans love me. Good luck, cat. Goodbye.

Goodbye, dog. Good luuuuuuuuck….


Buddy had not seen, smelled, or heard another cat since that disturbing conversation. The cats were terrified, and had gone completely into hiding. Say what you will about cats, you had to give them credit for being able to disappear. Most dogs didn’t have the patience for even short term stealth. Cats lived for it. And in this case, if what she had said was true, maybe their lives actually depended on it.
Holmes: "You have arms, I suppose?
Watson: "Yes, I thought it as well to take them."
Holmes: "Most certainly! Keep your revolver near you night and day, and never relax your precautions..."

- The Hound of the Baskervilles

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Re: Buddy (A dog's story)

Post by Braxton » Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:33 pm

Tag.
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Jeriah wrote: you are NEVER completely certain of any other human being: not your parents, not your brother, not your wife, nobody.
Actually I think under some circumstances people sometimes don't even know themselves, but that's a bit existential for this thread. :lol:

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Re: Buddy (A dog's story)

Post by DannusMaximus » Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:36 pm

It was a distant memory, increasingly hazy for Buddy, but he vaguely remembered the events leading up to his humans leaving him. He had begun to notice a new smell, The Sickness, for several weeks prior to that awful moment. It was faint at first, but grew increasingly intense with each passing day. Along with the new odor came a vague sense of foreboding, similar to the feeling Buddy would get prior to a big storm. By the time his humans had started acting strangely and begun smelling of fear, the smell of The Sickness was everywhere.

First, The Woman and The Little Girl had stopped leaving during the day. The TV was on at all hours, not normal for the Martin house. A harsh beeping noise frequently emitted from the TV, and strange voices would follow. Any time there was a beep, The Woman and The Man would rush into the room to watch. There were many, many phone calls at first, but those eventually stopped. The Man began leaving more often, but stayed gone for shorter periods of time, and always returned with large amounts of Human Food and other items unfamiliar to Buddy. The Man always smelled dangerous to Buddy when he left, the scent of an animal just before it gets into a fight. When he returned he smelled scared.

As the smell of The Sickness and the smell of human fear grew stronger on the early autumn breeze, The Man eventually stopped leaving the house at all. The Woman wasn’t taking Buddy for walks at night, and he wasn’t let out into the yard during the day, only at night, and then only to Go Potty. Buddy liked having his humans around all the time, but was becoming increasingly worried and stressed along with them, his canine psyche channeling and amplifying the feelings of his humans. Thankfully, the awful sirens had stopped. For a period of several days Buddy had been subjected to a non-stop cacophony of blaring fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances. The sharp sounds of gunfire (Buddy thought they sounded like fireworks, another noise that he could barely tolerate), had reached a crescendo and fallen off as well, and now only occasional shots rang out, mostly during the night. Buddy was thrilled at the relative peace and quiet - - even the nonstop soft buzzing he was used to hearing from the electrical wiring in the walls of the house and the soft vibrations from the metal plumbing was becoming less and less frequent. He didn’t understand the growing stillness meant that the human world he knew was coming to a rapid, wheezing end.

“Daddy, why can’t we take Buddy?”

“Katie, sweetheart, we have to go to where the soldiers are, and the people on TV said we can’t take pets to the shelters. Buddy will be fine, we’re only going to be gone for a few days. Then all of this will be over and we can come home. Now you go finish packing your backpack. We have to leave in a few minutes.”

The little girl had walked silently from the living room, tears slowly leaking down her cheeks. The adults had sat quietly for a few minutes, Buddy lying patiently on the rug at their feet.

“Chris, we can’t lie to her. You know we’re not coming back.”

“Goddammit Emily, what am I supposed to say to her?” the man said softly with no anger in his voice, only sadness. “That we’ll be lucky to even make it to Camp Atterbury? Jesus, it’s over 50 miles away, and you’ve been watching the news. It’s a nightmare out there. I don’t even know if we can figure a way out of the city at this point.”

More silence.

“Besides, we might be back, you know? Maybe somebody will figure out what the hell is going on, or some kind of cure. There’s always a chance, huh?”

Emily looked at her husband, gave him a faint smile.

“Sure honey. I suppose there’s always a chance.” They were both lying to each other (and to themselves) but both understood that some truths don’t need voiced.

Several days prior, when it finally became evident to them the only chance they had was to try and make it to the nearest FEMA/DOD shelter point, The Man and The Woman had decided to kill Buddy. It would have been easy to discretely bury the dog in the back yard and tell Katie they had taken Buddy to a safe place to be with other dogs until this nightmare passed. They couldn’t take the dog with them, and it seemed entirely too cruel to leave Buddy to fend for himself considering the horrors being transmitted from what few TV stations were still broadcasting. Late one night, The Man had crept into the living room and stood over the well-worn blanket where Buddy slept. The dog was oblivious to his presence, softly snoring, paws quietly working at some dreamt about ball or chew-toy. The Man had a pillow in one hand and a 3- pound sledgehammer in the other. It would have been quick and quiet. The man stood for 10 minutes, gazing at the sleeping dog, before finally turning and walking away, back to the bedroom where his wife and daughter slept fitully. The next morning when Buddy pounced into bed with the sleeping family, startling them awake, The Woman had merely glanced at her husband with quiet understanding.

The morning they left The Man had dumped an entire bag of dog food in a pile on the kitchen floor, enough to last Buddy for a month. To say this greatly interested Buddy is a vast understatement. Buddy was gifted at convincing his humans (especially The Little Girl) to give him bits of Human Food from time to time, and he certainly ate his share of doggy treats and tidbits dug up from the back yard, but he was officially only used to eating once per day, and then only what would fit into his chipped blue bowl. This amount of food boggled his canine brain. The Man had also filled every container he could find with water, and had placed them on the floor as well. Buddy appreciated a good drink as much as the next dog, but the bowls of water were not NEARLY as interesting as the pile of food!

The family had gathered at the back door and was readying to leave when Katie finally broke down, dropping her pink Dora the Explorer backpack and wrapping her small arms around Buddy with fierce strength, sobbing and burying her head in the short fur of his neck. Buddy didn’t know why The Little Girl was so upset, but he didn’t really need to. He sat patiently, absorbing her grief and channeling it away from her. It was his job, after all, and it wasn’t the first time The Little Girl (or The Woman, or The Man for that matter) had turned to the dog for comfort. Dog fur had a near limitless ability to absorb human tears. Every Good Dog knew that.

“Sweetheart, we’ve gotta go now. Follow mommy out to the car.”

Katie reluctantly let go of Buddy, wiped her eyes and nose, and clasped her mommy’s hand. Both walked out of the back door and towards the packed SUV. Only The Man and Buddy were left in the kitchen. Buddy wagged his tail and stared up expectantly as The Man crouched down and rubbed him behind the ears.

“I’ll see you, pal. I hope you’re okay. I hope we make it back. You’re a good boy, Buddy. Be a good boy.”

Buddy didn’t understand most of The Man’s words, but certainly understood being a Good Boy. He smelled tremendous sadness and fear coming from The Man, and it troubled him. Buddy abruptly flipped over on his back, splaying all four paws up in the air and wriggling furiously. The Man chuckled and rubbed Buddy’s belly. That little move ALWAYS earned a belly rub. Buddy was no fool.

After several seconds The Man stood back up and walked to the back door. Almost as an afterthought he opened the window over the kitchen sink part way, then turned back once more, taking in what he feared would be his final view of the house. Soft morning light filtered in through the curtains, reflecting off pictures and tile and making slowly moving dust motes flash like fireflies in the air. Buddy lay in the middle of the kitchen floor next to the enormous pile of food, head cocked towards The Man, tail still wagging. The Man smiled down at Buddy, wiped his eyes with the back of his jacket sleeve, and walked out the door, closing it and locking it behind him. A faint breeze slipped through the partially opened window, bringing the sharp smell of The Sickness with it. Buddy heard the car doors slam and the engine start, the noise slowly fading away as it backed down the driveway and drove steadily away.

All was silence. Buddy was alone.
Holmes: "You have arms, I suppose?
Watson: "Yes, I thought it as well to take them."
Holmes: "Most certainly! Keep your revolver near you night and day, and never relax your precautions..."

- The Hound of the Baskervilles

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Re: Buddy (A dog's story)

Post by DannusMaximus » Tue Nov 15, 2011 4:14 pm

That awful day had long passed, and the warm early Autumn breezes had given way to the first hard frost of a budding winter. The enormous pile of food was dwindling steadily, even though Buddy, after first taking the opportunity to gorge himself nearly to the point of nausea, had since fallen back into his once daily meal routine. The bowls of water The Man had left were empty, either consumed or evaporated. Luckily for Buddy it had been a cool and rainy Autumn, and the planters and water bowls on the small patio outside the back door had been constantly replenished. Water was not the problem, but food soon would be. Buddy only understood this on a very basic level, but that nagging feeling combined with the lack of exercise and loneliness were beginning to wear on him.

It was no real surprise then, that one late morning Buddy decided he was going to leave the house and go find his humans. As with most decisions made by dogs, it would have been impossible to pin down exactly when that decision was made. Dogs didn’t work like that. There was no conscious thought-process that a human would recognize, no careful weighing of the pros and cons of leaving versus staying, no mental checklist or consultation with other interested parties. One moment Buddy was lying quietly on his wadded up blanket in the living room, and the next moment he had squirmed through the doggy door and into the back yard, pacing the fence perimeter and sniffing the air intently. His ears (at least 3 sizes too large for a dog his size) were upright, turning like black fur covered radar dishes, filtering out unimportant background noises and scanning for threats. Buddy was unconsciously using every tool nature had given him, straining his eyes, ears and nose to put together a multi-spectrum analysis of his surroundings, once so familiar, now increasingly strange and dangerous. Any modern battlefield commander would have given their left arm and spent precious weeks of time to have access to as much actionable intelligence of their AO as the 26 pound terrier mix had gathered in the few minutes since he had left his warm blanket.

Fact-finding aside, though, how was he going to get out of the yard? In his younger days (Buddy wasn’t a particularly old dog, but he wasn’t a puppy either), Buddy had been rather adept at climbing the chain link fence and escaping into the neighborhood surrounding his house. Like clockwork a neighbor had always returned Buddy to his house, and each time he did this he had to suffer the indignity of being locked in his kennel for the remainder of the day, and, worst of all, had been called A Bad Dog. Nothing so wounded an otherwise Good Dog as being called a Bad Dog, no matter how deserved the title might be at that particular moment. His climbing days were behind him, however, and the 4’ tall chain link fence might as well have been 40’ tall. What then?

Well, there was digging of course! Buddy would dig under the fence! Digging in the yard was also a no-no, but Buddy was easily distracted and had seldom made more than a shallow hole before he was sidetracked by other things or otherwise stopped by The Man or The Woman (The Little Girl on the other hand seemed to have carte blanche to dig in the yard. If Buddy had not adored The Little Girl so much he might have been truly vexed by this double standard). He had also been called A Bad Dog for digging, however, so this decision wasn’t an easy one to make. Buddy tested the dirt near by the fence near the southwest corner of the yard, making a quick swipe with his front paws. His nails neatly peeled away a section of turf and moist soil. A startled mole wriggled out of the soil, and Buddy spent the next few minutes chasing it around the yard until the poor creature finally escaped by sliding under a section of landscaping timbers near the back porch, disappearing under the moist wood and out of reach of the barking dog. Completely sidetracked by his romp, Buddy took a huge drink of water and stretched out on the sunshine-warmed concrete of the back patio, dozing off contentedly…

…and awaking a few minutes later with a start. Digging! He was supposed to be digging under the fence! Buddy ran back to the corner and stopped, his canine brain churning. If he stayed here, he would eventually run out of food, but if he left he would miss his Humans if they came back for him. Buddy sat back on his haunches. He whimpered. He sniffed. He shifted his weight back and forth. He chewed his tail. For one solid hour he waited, his huge brown eyes burning a hole into the ground in front of him, desperately struggling between his desire to stay where it was safe and his desire to go out and find his Humans. His mind kept flashing back to what the cat had said before it disappeared.

The huuuumans are not coming back, dog. The huuuumans are all dead or have gone.

The humans are not coming back. I have to go get my humans myself.

Buddy began digging.
Holmes: "You have arms, I suppose?
Watson: "Yes, I thought it as well to take them."
Holmes: "Most certainly! Keep your revolver near you night and day, and never relax your precautions..."

- The Hound of the Baskervilles

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Re: Buddy (A dog's story)

Post by SteveD » Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:09 pm

And then?
if all else fails, accelerate!
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Re: Buddy (A dog's story)

Post by TacAir » Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:49 pm

Bookmarked.
TacAir - I'd rather be a disappointed pessimist than a horrified optimist
**All my books ** some with a different view of the "PAW". Check 'em out.
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Re: Buddy (A dog's story)

Post by majorhavoc » Tue Nov 15, 2011 7:42 pm

DannusMaximus wrote: Dog fur had a near limitless ability to absorb human tears. Every Good Dog knew that.
I don't care who you are. If that doesn't tug a little, you've either never owned a dog; or you have no soul. :(

Bravo! I'm really liking this story. Extremely well written and totally unique. DM, you're not merely telling a story of the zombie apocalypse and calling the narrator a dog. You're convincingly showing us the PAW through a dog's eyes, with a dog's unique sensibilities. And not the anthropomorphized "Long Journey Home" human voice-over type of dog, either. Something much more authentic. Completely new, yet utterly believable. You're channeling your inner canine. Woof!

PS:
DannusMaximus wrote: The huuuumans are not coming back, dog. The huuuumans are all dead or have gone. The sick/dead things are all that are here. Can you not smell it, dog? Can you not hear it?
Genuinely creepy. Makes me realize: if the cats are scared, you know things really are bad. :shock:

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Re: Buddy (A dog's story)

Post by DannusMaximus » Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:54 pm

Buddy had never experienced the joys of digging a hole this size before. It was amazing! Dirt and roots flew from beneath his front paws, and as the hole grew deeper a little squirming allowed him to get his back paws into the action as well. The wet soil tore away in huge clods, spraying Buddy with brownish-gray flecks, turning his already dingy white coat battleship gray. His shoulders and back legs worked furiously, the muscles thrumming. Buddy had been sedentary for far too long since his humans had left, and he finally had to back out of the hole and take a breather. His tongue was hanging out of the side of his mouth when he collapsed on his belly on the grass, splaying out in a large wet pile of exhausted fur next to the growing pile of fill.

A squirrel was perched on the top of the chain link fence next to Buddy’s partial excavation, watching curiously. Buddy looked up at him, panting. Squirrels had very limited entertainment value for a dog unless you wanted to chase them, and Buddy had formed an uneasy truce with the local tree-rat population to not do that since The Sickness smell had begun. At any rate, he was simply too tired to give chase at this point. The squirrel continued to stare at Buddy. Buddy stared back. It was becoming awkward. It was a rare squirrel that would initiate a conversation with a dog, even if that dog was mostly friendly. Buddy sighed.

Hello, squirrel.

Hello, dog!

Have you seen any humans, squirrel?


A pause.

Where is the easy food at, dog?

The squirrel tilted its small head towards the feeder attached to the tree near where Buddy was digging. The Woman always put dried ears of corn out for the local squirrels and birds as summer came to an end and she continued to do so throughout the winter, but she had only done that few times this year before The Sickness had changed the routine.

The Woman put the food out, but The Woman is gone. I’m going to look for her. Have you seen any humans, squirrel?

The squirrel twitched its tail pensively.

Dog, when The Woman comes back will she put out the easy food again?

Canine ocular physiology prevented Buddy from being able to roll his eyes or he would have.

I’m sure she will. Squirrel, have you SEEN any humans?

No! No humans! Only the sick/dead things!


The squirrel's ears suddenly perked up, its eyes brightened.

Dog! Do you think the sick/dead things will put out the easy food?

No squirrel. I don’t think they will. Goodbye squirrel.

Goodbye dog!


The squirrel swished it’s tail, scampered across the top of the fence to a large tree growing near the alleyway, leaped across the small gap separating the two, and disappeared in a flash, spiraling up into the mostly bare branches and out of sight. Buddy watched him go. After another few moments of respite, he stood back up, shook himself off, and attacked the growing hole with renewed vigor.
Holmes: "You have arms, I suppose?
Watson: "Yes, I thought it as well to take them."
Holmes: "Most certainly! Keep your revolver near you night and day, and never relax your precautions..."

- The Hound of the Baskervilles

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Re: Buddy (A dog's story)

Post by DannusMaximus » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:09 pm

Focus in…

A terrier mixed-breed is walking down a road. His ears and face are black, and he has a black spot on his rump. His feet are also black. The remainder of his fur is white, or at least would be if he wasn’t in terrible need of a bath. The coat is streaked with mud, a thin layer of clay and grime thoroughly worked into it. His ears are huge and upright, his snout tapering to a severe point. The dog is thin, but not terribly so. His black nose is working furiously, nearly touching the pavement. The dog is wearing a cheap blue nylon collar with a single metal tag dangling from it. The tag reads ‘Buddy’.

Zoom out…

The dog is walking down the center of a road in a suburban neighborhood. At first glance it seems like any other normal neighborhood on any other normal late fall afternoon. Look closer. This seems like a neighborhood where no hedges go untrimmed and no driveway goes unedged, where dependable husbands discuss the latest riding mowers over backyard barbecues. These lawns look shabby and overgrown, rain gutters packed with leaves, weeds creeping across unsealed aggregate driveways. Windows are broken in several of the houses, others have the words ‘INFECTED INSIDE’ spray painted on the doors in bright orange. Trash cans are sitting on the curbs, filled to overflowing. Many of them have been knocked over, torn bags sending their contents swirling around in the breeze and skipping down the sidewalks. Rats are crawling in the stew of rotting food and garbage.

Zoom out…

One street north and one street east of where the dog is walking is an elementary school. The playground has been partially excavated, an olive drab military bulldozer sits abandoned nearby. The excavation is full of bodies in various stages of decay. More bodies fill the open topped military transport trucks parked haphazardly along the street which runs parallel to the school. The entire area has been surrounded with sandbagged checkpoints and concrete highway dividers. A mash up of charred civilian vehicles and wrecked Humvees are snarled in a pile and blocking the street leading to the school. Bodies, both uninformed and non-uniformed are scattered around the area. Other figures are visible as well, upright and walking stiffly, wandering with no pattern or sense of purpose. These figures are everywhere. In the streets, on sidewalks, wandering through yards. Everywhere.

Zoom out…

The city is in shambles. Fires burn unchecked, entire blocks reduced to smoking rubble. Military and police roadblocks have created chokepoints on all the major roads leading into and out of the city. They have all been overrun. Traffic jams of abandoned vehicles clog every available bridge, road, and shoulder. A bedsheet is visible on the roof of one of the commercial buildings leading out of town. The word ‘HELP!’ has been hand painted on it in red. A group of figures is visible on the roof, huddled out of the chill breeze next to a non-operating roof HVAC unit. The building is surrounded by shambling masses.

Zoom In…

The dog has stopped, frozen. His hackles raise, stiff spikes coated with dirt. He is looking straight ahead.

Zoom in…
Holmes: "You have arms, I suppose?
Watson: "Yes, I thought it as well to take them."
Holmes: "Most certainly! Keep your revolver near you night and day, and never relax your precautions..."

- The Hound of the Baskervilles

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Re: Buddy (A dog's view of the ZPAW)

Post by fourpaws » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:10 am

Cracking read DM !!! Loving the pooch's perspective... "chats with cats" .. brilliant !! :D :D
Somewhere, somehow, someones going to be smashing zombies.....

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Re: Buddy (A dog's view of the ZPAW)

Post by DannusMaximus » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:29 am

Thanks for the replies, folks. I'm seeing the view count tick up, but not hearing much back. I'm a complete sucker for feedback - - let me know what you think of the story! Are the animal conversations too silly? I know they can't talk, but I'm convinced (as a long-time dog owner) that SOME type of communications happens between our furry friends, so I'm trying to show that. I'm really attempting to see a ZPAW from a dog's perspective and it's a bit of a mind-bender for me, to say the least. Buddy has to make up for his lack of ability for complex reasoning with his hypersensitive nose and ears and other instincts. It's a challenge to write, but pretty damn fun also.

Buddy's got a ways to go. If I've got some folks interested in his further journey's, I'll keep banging away on the keyboard!
Holmes: "You have arms, I suppose?
Watson: "Yes, I thought it as well to take them."
Holmes: "Most certainly! Keep your revolver near you night and day, and never relax your precautions..."

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Re: Buddy (A dog's view of the ZPAW)

Post by Braxton » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:35 am

Dannus, Don't change a thing. And KEEP going!
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Actually I think under some circumstances people sometimes don't even know themselves, but that's a bit existential for this thread. :lol:

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Re: Buddy (A dog's view of the ZPAW)

Post by TacAir » Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:10 am

DannusMaximus wrote:Thanks for the replies, folks. I'm seeing the view count tick up, but not hearing much back. I'm a complete sucker for feedback - - let me know what you think of the story! Are the animal conversations too silly? I know they can't talk, but I'm convinced (as a long-time dog owner) that SOME type of communications happens between our furry friends, so I'm trying to show that. I'm really attempting to see a ZPAW from a dog's perspective and it's a bit of a mind-bender for me, to say the least. Buddy has to make up for his lack of ability for complex reasoning with his hypersensitive nose and ears and other instincts. It's a challenge to write, but pretty damn fun also.

Buddy's got a ways to go. If I've got some folks interested in his further journey's, I'll keep banging away on the keyboard!
Folks generally won't post (or send) any feedback unless you step on a toe/hit a button.

Otherwise, you see your hit count climb and know at least someone is reading the story.

I've written about dogs in two differetn ways - third person personal or one of the humans 'reflecting; the gdog.

"Morning found him covered with snow and dogs, all of them warm and toasty. He was so stiff, he decided to wait until the sun was well up and giving some heat. He finally managed to drag his bones out of bed. What the dogs made of this, they kept to themselves. "Dogs are really smart that way," he thought to himself, "if only I had been that smart."

It hurt but he soon had everything packed and the small Trangia stove burning, turning alcohol into hot water for a breakfast. Buddy and the girls seemed content to lie on their blankets and watch him eat. "Sorry kiddos this freeze dried crap would kill you. Soon as I am done, I have some nice dried salmon for you. Yes I do! Alaskan-made special, just for you." An observer would have sworn the dogs spoke English, for at the mention of the salmon treat; their tails started wagging together, as if they knew what he had promised."

and

""Have a seat Al, this will take a few minutes," As they sat, they saw a black streak come from behind the log building, then head for them like a fur covered guided missile! "Just remember Al, sit tight and don't move." She stood and walked a few paces away.

Seconds later the huge dog skidded to a stop just inches from Al's face. The dog was breathing hard, but had yet to utter a single noise. It took everything he owned not to stand and flee in the face of this - monster. Its head was massive, full of sharp teeth and Al would swear later, in looking into the animals eyes he could see something in there that was frightening at a level far below conscious thought. This dog was Death incarnate.

"Buddy. BUDDY!" Nora had to call twice. The dog moved his head just enough to look at her. "Buddy. Hup!" The dog reluctantly went to Nora, walked around her, then sat - keeping Nora behind his massive frame. She knelt down and rubbed his head. "Good Buddy. Good".

Holding his collar, she walked back to Al. Sitting next to Al, she touched his arm. "Stay still Al. I'll let you know when to stand, OK?" He gave her hand a slight squeeze. "Buddy. Mine!' She put her arm around Al. She leaned over and licked his ear, then blew in it. A light laugh spilled out. "Buddy. Friend!" "OK Al. hold out your hand, palm facing you. Let him sniff it or whatever else he wants - OK?"

It took Buddy at least ten minutes to be satisfied with his examination. He walked off just a bit and laid down, still looking at Al with appeared to be suspicion. Not good, that."

and

"Walking to one side of the party, then the other, Buddy would lick Al's hand from time to time, just to let Al know that he was on the job. Buddy could tell, just as dogs always do in some way unknown to mankind, that everything would be fine."

So, ya, keep going. Tell a story, foks will read it, tell a good story and they will buy into it (more feedback/PMs) and who knows, tell a long enough & good enough story, make it a book and have a go at seling it....

So far, do good. And yes, dogs DO talk, you just have to pay attetion is all....
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Re: Buddy (A dog's view of the ZPAW)

Post by Shanna_Redwind » Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:41 am

I'm really enjoying reading this. Keep going!
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Re: Buddy (A dog's view of the ZPAW)

Post by majorhavoc » Fri Nov 18, 2011 12:02 pm

Besides stellar writing, an excellent story, and the fact that you've totally captured the essence of how a dog thinks and sees the world, I'd like to comment on how you've handled the dialogue between the Buddy and other animals he meets.

That narrative device is fraught with all sorts of pitfalls: it could come across as hokey, infantile or at the very least, contrived. Yet you've made it seem utterly beleivable and completely natural. One decision you made that I really applaud is you declined to deal with the mechanics of how different species would actually communicate. You just make the exchanges transparent.

That was actually a ballsy move because you're trusting the reader to accept the premise without questioning it. A less imaginative writer might feel compelled to explain exactly how a dog would translate a series of chattering noises from a squirrel. Or the mewings of a cat. And that temptation must have been there for you, because the rest of your story is so grounded in the real and the plausable. But to address any of that would have really bogged down the animal interactions and totally broken the suspension of disbelief so vital to making them work.

It might seem like a small point, but that one stylistic decision was a wise one. It reflects really good instincts as a writer and a storyteller, and I think it plays a signficant role in how well the story has worked so far.

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Re: Buddy (A dog's view of the ZPAW)

Post by nathat » Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:30 pm

I can't decide if I like the animals talking to each other or not...I'll let you know.

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Re: Buddy (A dog's view of the ZPAW)

Post by hatchtrikk » Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:15 pm

Fucking cool! Tagged for later.
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Re: Buddy (A dog's view of the ZPAW)

Post by MVegas » Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:19 pm

I'm reading, Dan. Despite my fear of heartbreak!
(I'm a sucker for dogs)
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Re: Buddy (A dog's view of the ZPAW)

Post by dumb blonde » Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:44 pm

Of course animals talk, to their own species and others. It's just that humans have forgotten how to listen.
Keep "banging away" I'm enjoying the story.
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Re: Buddy (A dog's view of the ZPAW)

Post by DannusMaximus » Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:44 pm

Hey everybody, thanks so much. I'm thrilled that people are reading and enjoying. TacAir, it's interesting that you picked 'Buddy' for your dog's name as well. Universal name for a dog, maybe? I toyed with 'Buster', but 'Buddy' just flows better, in my opinion.

MH, thanks for the feedback. I really did want to keep the actual mechanics of communication a non-issue. The reader can infer that it's the ability to translate noises made among species (e.g., a squirrel can translate the barks of a dog into squirrel-ese), that animals share a rudimentary common language that allows them to communicate, that they have a minor telepathic ability (I'm leaning towards this explanation), or that they run around saying "Raw Ro, Raggy!" like Scooby-Doo.
nathat wrote:I can't decide if I like the animals talking to each other or not...I'll let you know.
Nat, I totally appreciate that. Since this world is mostly void of humans (and Zombies can't really talk - - or can they?) I thought it would have been REALLY boring to have a complete lack of interaction between Buddy and the animals that remain, or at least I would have been hard pressed to get across any type of complex communication by only describing barks or tail wags. Bear with me. I promise there won't be any Disney style scene where all the animals are singing in tune and cleaning a house together or getting a princess dressd for the ball... :)
MVegas893.1 wrote:I'm reading, Dan. Despite my fear of heartbreak! (I'm a sucker for dogs)
I am too, Vegas. I would have to be a pretty heartless bastard to kill this dog. Of course, I'm the same guy who killed off literally every single character in the last story I wrote...(linky) http://zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopi ... 13&t=83107" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Holmes: "You have arms, I suppose?
Watson: "Yes, I thought it as well to take them."
Holmes: "Most certainly! Keep your revolver near you night and day, and never relax your precautions..."

- The Hound of the Baskervilles

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Re: Buddy (A dog's view of the ZPAW)

Post by Braxton » Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:51 pm

Dan, You kill off that dog and we are gonna have words.


Serious words..
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Jeriah wrote: you are NEVER completely certain of any other human being: not your parents, not your brother, not your wife, nobody.
Actually I think under some circumstances people sometimes don't even know themselves, but that's a bit existential for this thread. :lol:

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Re: Buddy (A dog's view of the ZPAW)

Post by ForgeCorvus » Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:56 pm

Dannus, You posted but forgot the Moar :cry:

Re:The critter dialogue. How you're doing it is great( I don't need to know how they do it) and you've captured the characters of the animals (tree-rats as food obsessed air-heads :D )

Buddy. I know this dog or as near as makes no difference (only this ones name is Max), I can see him as I read....... Good stuff



I'm waiting........
I'm English, our Government doesn't trust us to have real guns........or decent pocket knives for that matter
Good job theres no such thing as a Trebuchet licence :D

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Re: Buddy (A dog's view of the ZPAW)

Post by Shanna_Redwind » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:22 pm

Hmmm... Maybe I'd better wait and let someone tell me if this turns into Old Yeller. I won't watch any movie where the dog dies in the end. Marley and Me is out too... Though I don't know if I'll be able to resist.
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