The puppies were much heavier than I thought as I carried them in a basket the next late afternoon, and they were constantly trying to hop out as though they were bunnies. I had to walk around everywhere to even see anyone, but it seemed as though people were scared. They were hiding in the buildings, and I wanted to shout that they won’t disappear, but in the end, I was only silent as my eyes fell upon the alley that led to the bazaar. I blinked and walked over to it, the puppies yelping in both excitement and fear.
I entered to see all of the women, who glanced over and noticed the dogs. “They’re kinda scared of you, so…” I heard Vera’s words echo in my head as I sat down in the corner with the basket of pure fluff. They tried to pile out, but I managed to keep them all in the wicker basket as a woman in dark clothing walked up to me. “U-um…” She stuttered. “Why are you here?” She asked, and I responded that I was giving puppies away. “Recently, my dog apparently impregnated the stray dog around here, and he had puppies that I can’t really take care of…” I explained as she lifted up a tiny white dog. “So I’m giving them away… I suppose this may be a good place for them to brighten up the place…” I then frowned as I asked her why they stayed here. “The men out there forced us in, so we can’t leave…” She responded as the puppy licked her face. I explained what had been happening in the “outside world”, and more people gathered around to listen. “You mean…” One of them mumbled, “We can leave? They don’t care anymore?” I let out an “I don’t know” sound as I explained, “I just think the people who are still here are just more focused on other things…”
The puppies were all given their own owners, save for the runt of the litter. I lifted her out of the basket as she cried out, and I noticed a little boy hiding behind who I assumed to be his mother. I bent down and handed it over to him. He seemed hesitant as he stared at the small dog. His mother nudged him, and he took the puppy from my hand. She licked him gently, and his face seemed to light up. I smiled and stood up, calling out that they can leave this dark place. They all mumbled among one another as I began to walk, motioning for them to follow. It was like I was leading a march of dark hooded figures into the light, and they all seemed to “ooh” and “ahh” at the sight of the sun.
It didn’t take much for the women and occasional man and child to start feeling comfortable. It was nice seeing them with smiles on their faces. They even started laughing among one another until I noticed the reverend stumbling out of the church and crying out, “What are you doing?!” I looked over at him as he held up his robe as he ran to me. “They can’t be out here!” He shouted, and I asked him why, my voice a bit muffled by the helmet. “They’re going to scare everyone!” “I don’t think they’re scared of them. I think they just don’t want to disappear like the many people before.” I insisted, and he crossed his arms over his chest. “I helped you before, but this, I cannot condone.” He claimed, and I mimicked him. “Well, I cannot condone keeping these people in a corner like prisoners…!” I then motioned towards everyone. “And besides, it’s like a trend! Someone does one bad thing, and they’re instantly thought to be a witch! Then the second they’re gone, someone else is a witch!” I then turned back towards him and asked, “Can you even remember what these people did to earn this treatment?” He fell silent, and I said in a much calmer voice, “These people are not monsters…” The reverend then asked, “Who are you to tell me what is right or wrong?” I also fell silent before responding, “I am an unbiased person that can see that there is much wrong with this town.”
I then spun on my heel and left him standing there. There was nothing more for me to say, and as I walk down this path, I wonder if there’s anything more I can do. “I no longer am needed in this town.” I thought as I approached my home. “All there is left to do is simply leave…” I then entered my home, dark due to the lack of sunlight seeping in through the windows. As I noticed my reflection, I then thought, “And one more thing…” I then entered my room, where Loki was laying tiredly on the bed. I smiled softly at him and cooed, “Hey, buddy…” He looked up at me as I pet his head. His fur was starting to grow heavily around his eyes, so it was a bit more difficult for him to see. “We’re leaving tomorrow.” I told him. “And we’re doing it in style…”
He wagged his tail in a way that almost seemed to understand what my thoughts were. I looked down at my knapsack that I hadn’t touched in what felt like forever and pulled it up onto the bed. I stuffed it with with my things as I explained to him that I was going to do some cooking to prepare ourselves for our trip. The odd thing was that a lot of my stuff was gone, mostly clothes I had worn in the past, but I knew that moths must’ve eaten them up. “Where will we go first?” I asked him, and he let out a little whimper. I smiled at his response and joked, “No, we’re not going to ‘Mother Russia‘.” He only stared up at me, and I felt my smile falter a bit as I thought about his age.
I then walked into the kitchen and began cooking so much, I was surprised I didn’t burn down the house. After cooking several meals, my eyes met a pile of papers on a desk. After cleaning up, I plopped down into the chair and pulled a quill out of the inkwell. I brought the tip of it down and began to write. I wanted to be eloquent with my final words, but I only wound up as casual as my life had been here over the past almost year.
My friend, Taavi,
I did not wish to tell you as you rode off in your carriage, but I am leaving.
I knew you would simply lock me in my room and keep me like a princess in a tower, but I have done enough in this town.
I have solved the issue with the disappearances thanks to the help of a
man friend of mine.
I helped all of the “witches” by helping them come out of their dens and see the sun once again.
Now, I’m sure you may be upset, but do not worry.
I will not forget your stupid behavior and how you often flirted with me for the sake of annoying me.
I won’t forget how you treated me almost like a daughter, and yet like a lover.
I will, however, try to forget the stupid names you gave me like “Beautiful” and “Kitten”.
I doubt I will be able to, though.
Regardless, I don’t want you to forget me either.
Promise me we will still see each other in our travels?
I want us to share stories about what we’ve encountered!
Goodbye for now,
P.S: You have a hole in your wall, if you didn’t know… It was not me, I swear.
Your “Kitten”, Anna
I set the quill down and stood up from the chair. It squeaked loudly as it ran its legs across the wooden floor. I pushed it back into the desk and set the letter down onto the table as the ink dried. I wrapped up the food by the light of a candle as I called out to Loki. He waddled into the room, and I pet his head. Even as tired as he was, he was still begging for food. I picked up a elderberry off the counter and tossed it at him. He tried to catch it, but it only hit his forehead and fell to the ground, where he proceeded to eat it and lap up the juice.
I smiled and went back to wrapping up the food and shoving it into my bag. I then placed it by the fire of the stove that I soon after extinguished. I lifted up Loki and carried him to the bedroom, where I plopped him onto the foot of the bed. He fell asleep almost instantly as I pulled off my armor and climbed under the covers. I rolled onto my side as I thought about what I would be doing tomorrow.