by Leo King

Approx. 900 Words

Thomas did not have a remarkable life. He never saved anyone from danger; neither could he be considered a hero. Thomas wasn’t particularly selfless, in fact he generally thought only of himself. He never stayed in one place for long, and often stole his food from others. He was rough around the edges, and had a habit of shrieking annoyingly whenever upset or angered.

But despite all that, Thomas was witness to a lot of remarkable events. Such as one summer evening in an alleyway in New York City, where Thomas had decided to take what he believed was a well-deserved nap.

Thomas awoke with a start, a screeching sound ripping him out of a particularly savory dream about minced tuna and turkey gravy, one of his favorite cast off meals. Quickly, Thomas flipped over to his stomach and scurried like a mouse behind a nearby trash can. He wasn’t sure what had made that sound, but it sounded awful.

The screech came again. Thomas felt the hairs on his back bristle with anxiety and fear. Barely daring to duck his head out from behind his safe trash can, he looked out towards the far end of the alley.

A large black sedan had parked itself at the entrance to the alleyway, facing inward. The front bumper had a large red smear on it. One of the headlights looked cracked. Thomas guessed it was an accident.

Suddenly, the front doors opened and two men came out. Big, burly men. Thomas slunk back more behind the safety of the trash can. He didn’t like big, burly men. They often would kick him.

One of the men shouted something in gibberish to the other. Thomas had a hard enough time understand friendly sorts like the local butcher or baker, but the way these guys were jabbering, Thomas couldn’t make heads nor tails of what they were saying. He did, however, understand that there was a deep sense of urgency to their excited yelling.

The second man gave a gruff sort of a snort and hurried to the back door of the car on his side, opening it up. Thomas watched curiously, his nose reflexively twitching from the smell of automobile exhaust. It was a pungent odor and he didn’t like it.

The second man pulled out a small boy who looked, from Thomas’s vantage point, about eight shades of terrified. Thomas had seen this sort of thing before and didn’t need to understand what anyone was saying to figure it out – a kidnapping was a kidnapping in any language.

The sounds of sirens started to fill the air and the second man, grabbing along the terrified child, joined the first in heading down the alleyway, right towards Thomas’s hiding spot. Thomas shrunk back in the shadows as low as he could, pressed down and watching anxiously.

As the trio neared, Thomas could see that the boy looked bruised and battered, and was crying pitifully. Thomas, despite his own fear, instantly felt a sort of feeling he’d never felt before – a selfess desire to help. He hated this feeling. He felt it could only lead to him getting killed.

Still, as the trio was almost upon him, the first man roughly grabbed the child by the other arm and tugged – hard. The little boy let out a wail, and in that instant, Thomas felt a surge of courage he’d never felt before. He had to act. And so he did.

With a movement so fast he was like a black blur, Thomas kicked the trash can he was hiding behind. The same surge that gave Thomas his courage also gave him tremendous strength, far beyond normal, for that singular moment. With several “clangs” and a “crash”, the trashcan spilled out in front of the two men, causing them to trip.

Thomas quickly hid behind another, nearby trash can.

The trio went sprawling, all three crying out in shock. One of the men even hit his head. The little boy tumbled towards where Thomas was hiding and skidded to a stop. He looked to be unconscious.

The men got up. The one who had hit his head was started to bleed. Before they could turn to the little boy, the siren sounds, now very loud, were accompanied by a screeching of wheels, just like before. With what sounded like some vulgar expletives, the two men ran off, leaving the child alone.

Thomas waited for a few moments more, his heart racing like never before, before creeping out to check on the child.

The boy was hurt, that much was obviously, but his small chest was rising, up and down, and Thomas knew that meant the little boy was alive. Feeling relief, Thomas crept up to the boy, sniffed his small ear, and gave it a reassuring lick.

The little boy groaned in pain. That and the sounds of feet as three policemen rushed towards them both, guns drawn, were all the reasons Thomas needed to leave. He ran so fast he nearly tripped on himself and within moments was hiding out at the other end of the alleyway.

Thomas watched as the policemen hurried to the boy’s side and started yelling into their walkie talkies for help. Despite still feeling fearful, Thomas also felt something else, another feeling he’d never felt before – pride. He was proud of what he had done.

And so with a proud lick of his paw and a flick of his tail, Thomas fled off into the night, a black unassuming streak, in search of some leftover tuna or chicken – who was rather remarkable after all.

Note From Leo: If you wish to leave feedback on this general fiction short story, please fill out the comment form below. I make sure to read all feedback, both praising and critical.