There’d been a heavy snowfall on New Year’s Eve, and the farm was isolated by several feet of snow.
I’d checked on the animals and then settled down in the library with the journals I’d salvaged. With a freshly packed pipe, a good fire, and coffee, I flipped through the journals to see what other versions of myself and my father had jotted down.
I picked up a journal with the word ‘Dogs’ written on the spine, and I opened to the first entry and a line that promised interesting reading:
“I never met a dog who couldn’t speak.”
I put my feet up closer to the fire and began to read.
I’ve been to a few versions of Cross now, and they are, as my father had said: same and yet different.
This is as true a maxim as I’ve ever heard.
I’m close to three centuries on this Earth, and the finest people I’ve met have been dogs. It irks me some when I see them being spoken down to, and I’ll confess to a red fury when they’re being mistreated.
This winter has been hard, and so I have decided to reflect on the dogs I have known. Such memories please me, and it is my hope that they will lessen the grief I feel at her loss.
I remember shortly before the War of the Rebellion when the Secesh were making noise and little else. A pair of soldiers came into town with their two dogs.
I’d been sitting in the train station, reading the Boston Gazette and enjoying a cup of coffee, when the men stepped out of the car and onto the platform. As they entered the station, the men snarled and kicked at their dogs, both of whom cried and moaned and begged their masters to stop.
The men laughed and aimed their plows at more tender parts.
Once the soldiers left the station, I followed.
Not surprisingly, they made their way to Aldrich’s photographic studio.
I watched them enter the building, and when I was sure they were settled down and ready for a portrait, I went in after them.
I heard the dogs crying and heard Aldrich plead with the men to be kind, if only for a moment.
I waited until the photograph was finished, and then I stepped in through the back.
Neither of the men saw me, nor did they hear me.
Not even when I used my blade and killed them both.