Bob’s compact wooden house was as old and tired as he was. The paint flaked and peeled off the dry wood beneath it; shrivelled with age and neglect. Fence panels from the once quaint white picket fence, hung at impossible angles clanging against each other in the wind. There were holes in the roof, which had been over his head for the best part of 50 years, and strategically placed buckets beneath them, which when full were too heavy for him to lift. Despite this, he could still hear the peels of laughter reverberate through the hallways as if the walls had imbued the high pitched sound. Now, the silence was oppressive, pushing on his ear drums, a deafening vacuum. He sat alone in the armchair moulded to his shape at the front of the house. Windows and doors thrown open to the street outside, sucking in as much life as possible to the dead interior.
He strained his neck to see the passing world outside. The spotty, gangly teenaged boy left the house across the street. He’d had to complain twice about loud music whilst his parents were away. No consideration! That generation are all the same, me, me me! He grumbled bitterly to himself. Besides, the music disturbed Max.
Max’s pointed gray ears pricked up at the sound of footsteps plodding past the house, before Bob had registered Max had moved, the mearle grey Kelpie mutt was bolting out the front door and through the dilapidated fence panels. Bob was still gingerly unfolding himself from the lumpy armchair as Max was bowling over the unsuspecting teen.
“No Max! Stop! Come Here! Max!” Bob shouted
He didn’t care too much if Max bit the boy, although he probably deserved it, but the thought of the palava it’d cause made him sweat just thinking about it. He forced himself to quicken his pace, he’s knees jolting with each step. He found the two of them sprawled on the pavement together, wolfish grins on both faces as the boy scratched the magic spot on Max’s belly making his legs twitch uncontrollably.
“Cool dog! What’s his name?”
“Errr, Max” Bob said hesitantly
“I love dogs, but Mum’s allergic so we can’t get one”
“You can walk Max if you like” the offer was out of his mouth before he could catch it and shove it back in, he didn’t even know where it had come from. He cursed himself, the last thing he needed was an inconsiderate teenager hanging around.
“Really!?” The boys grin widened and Bob couldn’t help mirror it, if only slightly – it had, after all, been a long time since he’d smiled.
“That’d be awesome! I’ll help you fix those fence panels too if you like? Stop Max escaping and might save the postie too”.