ɢʜᴏsᴛ |1

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Woof. Woof.

Ghost quickens his pace as a squirrel comes into view. Big, velvety paws struggle to catch up, dragging me along. My fingers tighten around the leash, forming a cloud of dust as I try to stop, my feet skidding. I wave my hand as dirt flies up, trying to keep it off my face.

The warm sun peeks through the swaying branches of the trees. My nostrils get a whiff of the sweet scent of pine. A puffy cloud-filled sky entrances me. A bird chirps, almost as if saying hello.

An invisible weight falls off my shoulders as I take in the beauty that is nature. Nature always had a calming effect on me. Time slows when I am at my happy place. When I have stressful days, nature seems to be the answer.

Mom continued informing me how sick and tired she was of that Doberman being in her home. His howls give her headaches and his fur gets everywhere. My legs moved on their own accord to this cute forest preserve near my house. I refuse to sit there and listen to her trash talk, my sweet angel. Her excuses are a bunch of bullshit.

They confine him to one room while I'm at school, which makes him cry. She doesn't bother letting him out, even though she comes home before I do. The times that he walks around, I vacuum all over. Does she believe what she claims, or does she just say it for fun?

A buzzing sound from my pocket ruins my peaceful daydreams. Mother pops on the screen. Ugh! My energy having to deal with her runs lower with each interaction. I throw my phone back in my pocket before the thought of her screams dampens my mood. I would rather deal with the consequences of my actions later.

My eyes wander until they land on a guy walking the same path as I. His hair is dark like a raven. Luscious curls flow on his head. His well-defined jawline looks as if a sculptor chiseled it himself. The dozing sun hides behind the trees, making him glow like a god as he approaches.

My heart thunders in my ears as he runs his fingers through his hair. He glances my way, and words jumble in my head. I look away before I get lost in his ocean blue eyes.

Ghost's usual protective stance when a stranger is near is nowhere to be seen. Instead, his tail wags with excitement. What is going on? He jumps up and down. I clutch onto the leash for dear life, but he runs as fast as the speed of light. The leash slips out of my hand, and I trip, attempting to grasp it mid-air. Instead, I end up tripping on the few rocks on the ground. Just my luck!

My undivided attention is on finding Ghost and not on the stinging sensation. Something wet trickles down my knee, probably blood. I quickly glance down, but I don't waste time. I can't waste any more time.

This is surreal, almost as if it's a scene from a movie. I scan my surroundings for a clue that could help me find Ghost.

"Come back, Ghost! Please!" I beg, losing hope with each shout that goes unanswered.

A tear rolls down my cheek. Ghost is close to my heart. I take a deep breath, trying to calm myself. Fear ices down my spine.

"Are you okay?" the stranger questions, as he runs back. I snap back to reality.

"Not really," I reply, not mentally able to hold a conversation.

"I tried to catch your dog, but I lost him amongst the trees. I could bring him to you if I see him around. Where can I find you?" he asks, helping me up.

"Thank you, but you don't have to," I quickly reply.

"It's not out of my way..." he reassures, a tone of worry in his voice.

"I mean, I could use the extra help. Well, I live that way," I point out, "The only red brick house on the block. "

"Good luck," he says, strolling off, his hands in his pockets.

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