A Midnight Stroll

It had happened every night that week. George’s new pet would scratch at the bedroom door until it was opened, then jump up and run circles on the bed until he got up and fetched the leash. Fido’s wilfulness would always outlast his and he would eventually comply.

It never wanted to go for a walk in the daytime, it was always the middle of the night. George did not bother getting dressed, simply putting on slippers and a hoodie over his pyjamas in the dark. He knew none of his neighbours would see him. Fido always found a path devoid of other pedestrians.

The streetlights went out as Fido entered their radius, popping back on as they walked past their reach. George followed the shadow of his spoiled pet, enjoying the way its blurred form trotted. He could never quite make out the shape at the end of the leash, always meaning to put the light on at home to get a better look. He never remembered to do so.

Eventually, Fido led him back to his home. George did not turn the lights on, simply unhooking the leash and putting it beside the door. Fido trotted happily towards the bedroom, jumping up onto the bed expectantly. George crawled back under the covers, sliding his feet down so that Fido could curl up against them. He smiled as he rubbed what he thought was his pet’s back with his feet, feeling the contented noises reverberating through the mattress. There was no skin or bones to Fido, but he liked the attention all the same.

The next morning, George awoke well-rested. As he made his way out the front door, he wondered why he had a leash on the table beside his keys, then dismissed it. He wondered the same thing every morning that week.

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