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A note from Skwrepb

This is a quite short chapter, but I had only so much time to write this morning. I will try to get another chapter posted tonight.

UPDATE: I ended up crashing two nights in a row, sometimes it's just impossible to stay up late enough to work on my writing.  I fixed a few oversights in this chapter. I will try to get another chapter done today, but no promises.

EDITED: 10/18/21 - Fixed spacing

The voices had filled the predawn hours with ominous intent. Like Lobo, Lucky could feel something awful looming over him in the darkness. Girl, Man, and dog waited at the window, watching the dimly lit street. Hours passed with excruciating sloth. Girl was the first to curl on the couch, but Man followed soon after. Eventually, it was only Lucky who waited, watching out the window. The tension could only be maintained for so long before even he began to relax. He sat, shoulders slumping with fatigue and rested his chin upon the windowsill.

 

None of his natural senses gave him any cause to worry, but that looming something was still out there. As dawn clawed its way over the horizon, the dog yawned hugely and padded over toward the sofa. There was still nothing out there. He took one last look at his family sleeping on the couch and padded through to the kitchen and out the doggy door. The looming weight of the sky felt all the heavier outside and Lucky shuddered. He padded over to the tree where he could scent the sleeping squirrel.

 

“Quick?” He barked, lifting his paws to stand braced against the tree. “Quick!” He barked again, louder when he got no immediate response.

 

The squirrel’s peeved face peered at him from the branches. “It’s the middle of the night.” Quick complained.

 

Lucky glanced around. “Nice observation.” He deadpanned. “Did you hear the voices?”

 

“Voices?” Chattered the squirrel. “Is this to do with your grass-words?”

 

“Something like that. Listen, come down and I’ll take you inside. I think it’s safer there.”

 

“Inside? With the humans.”

 

“Yes. You already met Girl, she won’t hurt you. Man won’t either. I swore I would protect you.”

 

Quick bounded down the tree and settled into the dense fur around Lucky’s neck. “Do you know what’s coming yet?”

 

“Not at all. The voices tonight said something about viruses.” He bounded up the stairs and slid back through the doggy door and padded into the living room.

 

He curled up next to the sofa, but his gaze returned to the window even as he sought a more comfortable position. Girl woke not long after dawn, groaning at the stiffness in her muscles as she stretched. Her leaf-colored eyes scanned the room before they landed on Lucky.

 

“Everything alright, Lucker? Anything happen?”

 

Lucky yawned again. “Nothing. Nothing is moving out there.”

 

“Why don’t you get some sleep and I’ll keep a lookout.”

 

“Thanks.” He tucked his nose into the curl of his tail and was asleep almost immediately.

 

He slept for a couple of hours with no alerts and woke at least a little refreshed. Girl was pacing around the living room and Man was buried in something on his computer. Lucky stood and stretched, first leaning back with his rump in the air and then stretching forward until each of his back legs were stretched to the furthest they could go. Then one at a time he spread his hind toes and stretched those too. At last, he flopped down on his rump and scratched at his collar, jangling the tags.

 

“You’re awake.” Man observed as he finally tore his eyes from the screen.

 

“Mmm.” Lucky yawned.

 

“It’s all over the internet, you know? The voices and the screens. It seemed like everyone has gotten them. So far though, nothing has happened. Nothing has even been observed and governments are watching radars and everything like hawks, but nothing.”

 

After one final yawn, Lucky stood and shook out his fur. “We have time then.”

 

“We should leave the city.” Girl put forth. “It’s smarter to get out of here, away from the crowds. We’ll be safer.”

 

“We can hope.” Man said, though he didn’t sound terribly hopeful. “We could go to Grandma’s.”

 

Girl nodded, but Lucky wasn’t sure that was the best idea.

 

“Let’s pack up then.” Man said. The laptop lid closed with a click.

 

Lucky went and looked out the window once more, his hackles rising as he tried to get a feel for whatever presence was looming above him. Part of him wanted to tuck his tail between his legs and run. The menace that he felt was so much bigger and more powerful than him, even after the system had burned through his bones. Judging by the changes to his attributes, he must have fallen well below the baseline.

Lucky Lachlan

Primary Class:

None

Miscellaneous Canine

Secondary Class:

None

Attributes

Base Resistances

Strength

20

Physical

20.025

Endurance

22.1

Magical

18.42

Dexterity

20

Mental

16.25

Reaction

18

Enchantment

18.33

Intelligence

14

Wisdom

15

Special Resistances

Willpower

18

None

Charisma

22

The friendlier voice had done something to him, changing all of his numbers by ten and he knew that because suddenly numbers made much more sense to him. Power was good and more power was better, right? So the increased numbers should help him to protect Girl better. Or at least he hoped so.

 

Man and Girl were busy bustling about the house when the klaxon sounded again. That same fierce sound from the day before. Almost immediately after the klaxon began another siren began howling. The sounds seemed to split the air with an audible crack.

 

Over the din, Man yelled, “Get to the basement! That’s the air raid siren!”

 

All of them ran for the basement stairs, Lucky loped behind his family, almost herding them onward. Thankfully the little squirrel had never left the comfort of his fur. It was mere moments from the time the sirens wailed before Girl disappeared down the stairs followed by Man. Lucky was hot on their heels, only steps away from the opening when there was a horrendous sound.

 

It was akin to the sound of hundreds of thousands of steel dog bowls clanging together. There was a shattering sound to the explosion of noise and a roar like some terrible beast. Instinct warred with duty for only a moment before Lucky turned back to face the noise, his hind paws at the very edge of the top step and his body braced for action. He could almost see the shockwave of destruction headed their way. He turned and leapt down the stairs, touching only one on the way down. When he landed, he skidded as he turned toward Girl. He knocked her down and stood over her, attempting to use his very body to shield her from whatever was coming. It was not a moment too soon.

 

A great, hot, wind blew down the stairs. It brought with it the sound of breaking glass and the whole house shuddered around them as wooden beams gave way before a wind they were never intended to withstand. Parts of the house fell down around Lucky and Girl where she huddled beneath him. The wind tore past the house, ripping away much of the structure as it raced away toward another building to destroy. In its wake, rubble rained down upon the multicolored dog, slamming down onto his back with bruising force. He withstood the onslaught until an oversized beam crashed down upon him and his vision failed him.

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A note from Skwrepb

Thank you so much to Kieran Pierce for the absolutely wonderful cover.

Please take a moment to rate or review! For those of you that have, thank you very much! I've been enjoying the heck out of writing this story and I'm grateful that you are enjoying reading it.

 


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About the author

Skwrepb

  • Iowa

Bio: Hi! My name is Skwrepb (pronounced Jen, I swear). I'm a stay at home mother of three with not enough time on my hands. I've been writing since I could hold a pen and I have so many stories to tell!
I'm an avid reader and The Wandering Inn is what brought me to Royal Road. I have been devouring stories here ever since.

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