Over My Doberman
rating: +21+x

If I were to describe what I remember from before I was born, it would be “chaos”. The colors were chaos, the sounds were chaos, the shapes were chaos. Even my integrity as a being of time and space was in chaotic jeopardy at that time. The only vaguely non-chaotic thing I can recall are two words, spoken in a soft and seemingly sad voice. “Goodbye, Sampson”. And then I was born.

I awoke in an unknown land with an unknown body, and I startled myself awake. Like magic, however, I regained my senses immediately, or at least somewhat. My vision was like staring through a foggy window, and somehow I knew what a foggy window looked like. I also knew I was in the middle of a vast field, with what looked like trees dotting the surface occasionally, and I knew two things for certain. My name is Sampson and I am a dog with a purpose.

What that purpose was I had no clue. My first action was to look for it directly, something in my immediate vision to pursue. Sadly, my isolated situation along with my lackluster eyesight led that goal nowhere. I figured I could find my purpose with a sound, so I mustered up all of my energy and let out a strong BARK! The noise echoed across the plain, ringing in my ears, and shook the ground I stood on. My fearful instinct was to yelp more, which only continued the problem. Afraid of my own abilities, I ran away without making a sound.

I must’ve ran for hours before I collapsed on the ground, exhausted. To my surprise, I stumbled in front of a massive spotted creature, with what looked like much smaller creatures crawling out of holes from it. Too tired to move, I stood still in front of the beast until it let out a horrendous call, something like a “moo”. I barked in response, which made the monster run away as far as its little legs could take it. Realizing my power, I continued to chase the beast with my earth-quaking barks, the shaking ground no longer affecting me. The only thing I had going for me was the feeling of tall grass brushing against my legs, but it was enough energy to fuel me.

At some point, I found more spotted monsters which started running with the original one I had scared. Eventually, after much chasing and barking, I stopped. As the beasts went away, I thought about my purpose once again. Was this really it, just chasing monsters for no reason? Surely a life mission couldn’t be that simple. I gave the things one last final bark when, out of the blue, the world around me disappeared, and I reemerged in a different place.

The sky became a brown ceiling, and I realized that I was inside a room with many other dogs like me. In fact, I was much smaller, and not only that, but my vision was much clearer. A tall pale creature with two legs stood over me, grinning. They picked me up, and I saw their attire: a bright green vest with the letters "WWS" written in a wholesome brown. I yelped, and he started to chuckle. It was then that I reemerged in the world I was at before. I entered with new knowledge; the two-legged pale creatures were humans.

I continued to walk the plain, sometimes barking at things that came close to me, until I saw two silhouettes in the distance. They looked like humans. I barked at them to go away, yet they continued to get closer and closer. Eventually, the two men stood still, and as I basked in my glory I heard a sudden noise, and a sharp pain hit my side. My movement became clumsy, my vision somehow became more foggy, and I fell into deep sleep.

I awoke once again in a small cage, the outside of the cage hot and dingy. The lights were low, the air conditioner barely blew, and I could hear the muffled voices of two humans from outside. Suddenly, they entered, and I could hear them clearly.

“I’m telling you, we’ve found ourselves the perfect guard dog! I think Mr. Dark will be very pleased,” spoke one of the humans, wearing a purple waistcoat with the letters "MC&D" written on ornately.

The other human, balding and wearing glasses, raised an eyebrow. “Who is to say this Doberman doesn’t go against our demands? If it possesses such power, than surely it could use it against us.”

The purple-suited human guffawed. “My good sir, have you gone mad? This is a dog, they’ll do anything we tell them to do.”

“Say that in two weeks time.”

“Ha! Extend that to when this boy dies.” The balding human exited the room, and all that was left was me and the purple-suited man. “So, would you like to get out for a bit?” I couldn’t say I was too pleased with my current conditions, but I didn’t trust this human at all, so I struggled against his hands. “Blasted thing, can’t follow simple instructions!” He yanked me out of the cage.

With more than a bit of struggle, the purple-suited man led me through the facility, passing many packed hollering rooms. The people in the rooms all seemed extraordinarily dressed, waving around green slips of paper, but they all blended together with my poor eyesight. After many twists and turns through the corridors, I finally emerged outside. Ready to finally escape, I jumped about and was about to bark only for my lips to be restricted. Some funny contraption was placed on my nose, and I could no longer utter a yelp. Not only that, but I was latched onto a pole that stuck out from the ground, and I could only move a bit away from my position. The purple-suited human looked at me sternly.

“Now listen, you stay here and guard this building behind me. Got it? Good boy.” He went away, and I was left alone with a bowl of kibble and water. The next two weeks of my life were absolute torture. Whether in pouring rain, blistering sun, or any other weather, I lived outside, just laying down. I slept and soaked in all that came onto me, yet no one cared. There weren’t just a few that entered either, there were dozens. Some walked in with twirly mustaches and stuffed pockets, others weren’t humans at all but rather tentacle monsters or antlered bipeds. All had that same aura of arrogance as the purple-suited man, laughing maniacally as they walked in.

By the end of the second week, I had enough. I couldn’t do my job; I had become tired, weak, nearly blind anyways, and I hadn’t used my bark at all. I watched as those same humans and others walked in loaded with money, and I couldn’t take it any longer. This couldn’t be my purpose. I couldn’t live under the rule of someone who barely even knew my appearance. My anger culminated in a bark unlike any other. The ground went up and down like mad, my muzzle broke, my chain snapped, and all those people fell down. In that instant, I had another vision, my world snapping back to another time, another place.

I sat on a soft cushion on the floor, two men chatting across from me. They both wore that same bright green vest, but this time they had name tags. I could barely read them from the cushion. “Daniel” and “Jonathan”. My vision snapped back. I remembered those two humans from before, Daniel and Jonathan. They were brothers until something happened. I couldn’t remember what.

“Stop right there, dog!” yelled a voice from behind me. I turned around and, as I expected, it was the purple-suited man. Knowing he’d get me sometime if I just stood there, I booked it away, and though he chased after me he wasn’t at all fast enough to catch me. I ran far away into the plains, and I found myself in a situation much like I had been in before. I still had no clue what my purpose was, other than it had to do with Daniel and Jonathan, whoever they were.

Soon enough, I found myself near a large red house, which wouldn’t have been too notable if there hadn’t been the same massive spotted creatures as there were when I first became a thing! Not only that, but in massive quantities too! I must’ve barked a thousand times at them, because if there was one thing I knew I enjoyed, it was barking. But it couldn’t have been my purpose. There must've been something deeper. And that’s when the Wilsons found me.

They approached me cautiously, each one of them. One was a bearded human, a camera in hand and a sun hat. Another was a young woman, writing in a notebook and staring intently at what she had written. There was one human in particular that I recognized the most, a young man with a turkey sandwich. He was oddly familiar, really familiar, and he clearly had good tastes. I decided to go with the human, although the others didn’t seem half-bad either.

He gave me his sandwich and put me in the back of a van. As we drove away, I heard the woman and the sandwich human talk with each other.

“Good job on getting the dog in here. He’s a Doberman, you know? At least that’s what he looks like from what I can tell.”

“He is a bit blurry, isn’t he? He seems like a friendly fella, however. Not like Ringo.”

“Heh, we didn’t know Ringo would even do that stuff. We still have to take good care of him, we don’t want him running off anywhere. I think you have a good handle on him. Any ideas for names?”

“I was thinking…Sampson?”

“That sounds good, Daniel.”

Daniel, this man was Daniel. And somehow he gave me a name I already had? I didn’t question it, he seemed more welcoming than the purple-suited man. He brought me to an enclosure with a wide field, sticks, balls, and no poles. To say it was an improvement from my previous situation is an understatement. I spent my life running around, eating turkey sandwiches, and interacting with Daniel. Despite my time of luxury, my life still seemed meaningless.

Was I supposed to stay with Daniel? What would I do with him? Nothing seemed clear, yet I was so comfortable. It seemed wrong. One day, when I bit into a piece of turkey, my vision went away again, and I was back in the clearer land of a different time.

I found myself normal size, but I sat across from the woman from earlier and another person, the person who was there with Daniel in my earlier vision. Jonathan. They both sat in an office room, the fan spinning above.

“Fae, I d-don’t know what I’m gonna do,” stumbled Jonathan, “With Daniel gone, I just…I just don’t know.” He started tearing up, and Fae placed her hand around his shoulder.

“Listen, I know it’s tough, it’s tough for all of us, but there’s no way to get to the past.”

Jonathan turned to face her. “But what if we could? What if we could go to another time, another place? There’s gotta be a way, with the tools we have available.”

“You know the Supervisors won’t allow you to use their super-tech. Come on, let's get some sandwiches.” They left the room, and as the door shut, my vision went back to its usual fogginess at my regular shelter. Daniel’s gone? But Daniel was still there, unless that wasn’t my reality. Perhaps it was a different reality entirely. But, if that was the case, why would I view it? Things seemed weird enough that it could’ve just been a coincidence. My thoughts were interrupted by a conversation behind me.

“Hey Daniel, you should see this,” said Fae, as she walked into the same room as Daniel. She held a piece of paper in her hand, which read “LOST DOG: Sampson, Owner: Jonathan Stanford, $50 Dollar Reward”. Jonathan? But he wasn’t of this world, and if Daniel’s reaction was anything to go by, he didn’t expect this either.

“Jonathan? But…how?”

“I know, that’s why I brought it to you. You know that temporal displacement thing one of the Supervisors was talking about? We’re thinking this has something to do with it.” Daniel started to mumble.

“I…how…are there any ideas about how or why?”

“The supervisors have the guy at wherever they do things. They say he has some kind of Foundation tech that allowed him to get here. We don’t have the details though.”

“What’ll happen to Sampson?”

“I’m not su-”. Fae stopped mid-sentence as the intercom went off over Wilson’s HQ.

“Attention! There is an anomaly loose in HQ. Do not make contact! I repeat, do not make contact! Have a nice day!”

I stood there shocked. Was Jonathan here? The most important question was why, but there was no time to think as Fae and Daniel entered my enclosure. “Come on, buddy,” said Fae, “we gotta go to the shelter. It’s around here somewhe-”

The door clicked open to the enclosure from behind them. There was a white silhouette in view, walking toward us, but slowly it became clearer and clearer. It started at the head, and spread to the body. It was a human with a bright green vest with the letters “WWS”. Memories started flooding back.

I remembered him with the weird tech in his hands. I remembered him saying Daniel’s name over and over. I remembered him touch my head, strap something to my body, and say “Goodbye Sampson”. There was a piercing feeling in the back of my mind. It all made sense now. My purpose was simple; my purpose was to find Daniel. I stayed by Daniel as Jonathan walked closer.

“Good boy, Sampson, good boy,” spoke Jonathan, as he patted me on the head. He turned his attention toward Daniel. “I’m glad to see you again, brother.” Jonathan hugged Daniel, and it appeared as if Daniel hugged him back, even if he wasn’t entirely there.

“B-but, how?” Daniel asked back.

Jonathan shrugged. “Those supervisors have some interesting stuff in their abandoned closets. I’m not even sure how it works. I’m just glad I found you.” He put his hand on Daniel’s shoulder and looked back towards me. “Come on, old boy, let’s go home as a family.”

And then I went back into the aether.

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