Growling sounds suddenly prodded Yorick awake from his afternoon nap and he snapped his long head up. Not that he ever slept soundly anyway; he always kept an ear out for potential dangers lurking. Yorick found his brother on the couch, shaking his head furiously and rolling on his back with a creature on top of him. Yorick’s heart leaped and he licked at the air nervously, emitting a strong, specific odor that came from the enclosed, musky cave that was his mouth.
“R-Ripley? Is everything okay?” Yorick managed to squeak out.
Ripley’s body stopped sprawling around and froze momentarily. He craned his neck and met Yorick’s eyes, and then Ripley turned back to the ferocious wild animal that was attacking him at the neck a second ago. He found instead a deflated stuffed raccoon.
“The monster escaped,” Ripley explained to Yorick. Immediately after the words left Ripley’s mouth, a roar from outside the house vibrated into the living room. Ripley and Yorick’s ears shot up and a series of barks formed from the pit of both their stomaches and burst out of their throats wildly. In a couple of swift movements, Yorick sprang from their shared bed and onto the couch, next to Ripley. They howled their little hearts out until the roar disappeared into the distance.
“Whew, we did good, bro!” Ripley panted. “Scared more monsters away.”
Yorick remained silent for a while, his body still tense and alert. After it was quiet for several moments, he relaxed and curled into a ball at the corner of the couch.
“I thought it might have been mommy and daddy,” Yorick confessed.
Ripley shook his entire body, his wagging tail making a flapping sound. “Don’t be a crybaby,” he said.
Yorick buried his head in the seat of the couch, trying not to whimper. His eyes peeked up and glanced around nervously, making his cherry eye bulge. Ripley sniffed around the couch and plopped down after he found a satisfactory spot. Within a minute, his legs were sprawled out and they twitched against Yorick’s side as Ripley entered an intense dream where he pursued the wild animal to end its life once and for all.
The growling and jerky movements from Ripley were making Yorick nervous. When Ripley got like this, Yorick could never tell if Ripley was still himself or if he was being possessed by an evil spirit. So many frightening things could just spontaneously happen at any moment. Yorick had seen some weird shit in his life. You could just never know. Suddenly, Yorick’s ear whipped to the garage door and the rest of Yorick’s body followed nimbly.
The garage door whirred open. Yorick involuntarily began licking at the air frantically. He tried to suppress his squeals when Ripley jolted awake and shouted, “Daddy’s home! Mommy! Daddy!”
The car doors opened and slammed in the garage. They both excitedly raised their front paws into the air and onto each other, their tails flipping back and forth. Footsteps. More barking and jumping. The door from the garage to the house opened! Ripley could already smell his parents’ familiar scent and he took off from the couch, running towards the only two people he trusted in this entire world. His front paws jumped at his daddy’s legs first and then he spun around and ran to his mommy, begging to be picked up.
Ripley’s mom cradled him in her arms, crooning his name. His dad walked into the living room and saw Yorick frozen in his tracks, cornered beside the TV. Pure adrenaline was rushing through Yorick’s small and agile body. He made eye contact with his dad and he recognized him, knew him as the man who fed him dinners and cuddled with him while the TV was on, knew him as “Daddy”, and yet…
“Yorick!” his dad sang out and Yorick could not help but anxiously piss all over himself. Bad boy! Bad! Yorick scolded himself, shaking and crouching down the floor. His dad approached and Yorick expected to feel pain shooting across his head as he got hit, but that never came. Yorick instead was gently picked up and wiped down, while being planted with kisses in between.
After Yorick watched his mommy clean the puddle that he had made and she, Daddy, and Ripley sat together on the couch, he remembered: This is my life now. And in this life, I am loved. Feeling light-hearted, Yorick joined his family and let himself be petted. He lightly licked at the air and the smell of his breath made his mom and dad smile.
Writing challenge prompt 5/30: Write about what your pets do when you’re not home.