A lone voice in the dark keeps hope alive

Submitted to Round 1 of the 250-word Microfiction Challenge, November 2022

The formerly busy square of a bustling city, streets now desolate, deserted, atmosphere dark and brooding.

The only sounds, the eerie moan of a lonely wind, and screams of twisting buildings, corkscrewing into oblivion.

No human walked these streets, only hungry creatures roamed free from interference. Rodents, pets gone feral, deer, wolves. And predators.

A battered German Shepherd named Harvey, who’d once been loved by a Small Child, came daily to this place of echoes, ghosts. Aching for his Gracie.

His matted, patchy fur, grey lined muzzle, tattered ears and flyblown eyes disguised the beauty of this once fine animal. His heart lifted and eyes shone when he heard her voice calling him, gathering memories, hastening hot tears. He hurt, yet he came as a Willing Supplicant, in hope that he could feel her love, her warmth, her touch.

‘Help a hungry child, every dollar counts. Donate today.’

The disembodied voice played around the square. Muted as it bounced off green covered buildings. Sharp as it hit open air and clear-to-the sky glass towers. The voice was of a girl child, bright, innocent and hopeful.

Ears pricked and tail wagging, the beast smiled with happiness. His vision impaired by tears and overlong fur, he gambolled like a puppy with joy. She was here.

Except that, she was not. Once a day, the girl’s voice broadcast from the bones of a screen that showed children squatting in dirt, huddled and unhappy.

Hope sustained his canine soul.