Jessica’s head rested on the car window, and she watched the trees rushing by in a blur of reds and golds. Autumn was her very favourite time of year, and the forest her favourite place. But the pretty colours couldn’t console her, not today.
She sniffled, and wiped her nose on the back of her pink woollen mitten.
“Mummy,” she whined, her feet kicking the back of the driver’s seat, “I love him. I’ll look after him. It’s not fair!”
“He’s not happy with us in our house. You didn’t want to have him put down, did you? Well, did you?” said Jessica’s Mummy, looking in the rear view mirror at her daughter.
“No!” said Jessica.
“No. So… look, at least out here he’ll have a chance, living in the wild.”
“But.. in the wild? But you said he could go and live on a farm. You said…”
“I know what I said, but I just don’t think there are any farms that would take him,” said Mummy, pulling in to the side of the road. “He’ll love it out here. He can eat… I don’t know, rabbits or something.”
Handbrake on, she opened her door, got out, had a quick look round. She stared into the dense woodland for a moment.
“He’ll be happy out here, you’ll see” she said, opening the rear door for her daughter to clamber out. “Come on”
They both walked to the back of the car. Jessica’s mummy opened the boot.
“Come on then. Come on. Out you get,” she cooed.
Gerald, bloodshot eyes wide with terror, leapt out of the boot and half-ran, half-stumbled into the woods without even bothering to try and release his hands from the gaffer tape.
“There look. See how happy he is?” said Mummy. “Now come on, let’s go and find you a new Daddy!”
Jessica sniffed once, and took a final look into the forest, to see Gerald run headlong into a tree and drop like a sack of spanners. She smiled. This Daddy was funny. She sniffed again, then climbed back into the car.
“Can we have one with a moustache this time?” she asked, as the car pulled away. “I like the ones with moustaches”.
Every Dog by Harris
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