I was aware of the heaviness in my eyes caused by the warmth and comfort of the crackling fire. Her hand continuously stroked my silky grey coat. My tired body lay close to some of my old friends. I was a true winner at last.
24 hours earlier…
The verdant scenery rushed past my intent stare towards the finishing line. I could see that I was going to win. I had never felt more alive; I had so much energy and I had to keep going. It was exhilarating. I could feel the fresh breeze rushing through my whole body as I was lifted above the ground. It was amazing, exhausting and meaningless all at the same time.
I was unstoppable. The blow of the whistle released me from my gate. My vest was tight to my chest – number 13, which was definitely unlucky for me.
“Run, run, run!” they bellowed agressively.
My soft feet were an accelerator pedal pushing down into the ground. Striving to reach the all important finish line, to make him happy.
The atmosphere was both sweet and sour at the same time; lights flashed around me. Screaming, shouting, harassing, but I just kept running. I began to feel the sweet smell of success as I was hurling closer to the finish line. My robotic body had done this over 80 times and I was programmed to succeed. My reward: a cold bed, a loveless and empty existence provided by him.
Not much futher to go until I win. I kept telling myself, just keep going you know you can make it.
My nine year old legs felt the strain and were drunk with fatigue. How much longer could this go on for me? Where had the others gone? Old friends, which, I hoped had found a better place.
My legs buckled underneath me and I was breathless. The noise grew louder and louder as I staggered to get up again. The others raced at high speed past me. I would have whimpered but no one would hear me and no one would care. Slowly, I pushed through over the finishing line and saw the glare of disappointment in his eyes. I was no use anymore. No longer a source of entertainment or a money making machine for him.
I waited patiently as always to receive my lead, but he didn’t come close. I knew I had let him down. His body was a dark shadow that disappeared into the distance.
I continued to wait and that’s when I saw her face for the first time. Who was this? Her kind face smiled into my helpless dark eyes and I instantly felt her warmth as she stroked my soft head.
This time I really was a winner.
The fire crackles and I am safe with my old friends.