Her dog ran off in the middle of a storm. She went out at the height of the storm, with her three-pound flashlight, to search her fields and the woods, and fell. She tripped over a root and scraped her leg badly. The next day she called both of her neighbors, told them about her dog, the search the night before, her injury. Neither of them had seen Luna. Both suggested different creams for the scrape. One cream was supposed to clean and reduce pain, the other was solely meant to prevent infection. She bought one of these creams. She called the pound, several friends, and the owner of the largest farm in the area. No one had seen Luna. A few asked how she was holding up given the situation. She mentioned the late night search, the scrape, and the cream. They said they hoped she’d feel better. A few days later she’d gone into town to put up posters so that if someone living near her in the country ventured into town they’d be made aware. Since it was summer she was wearing shorts so the scrape on her leg was exposed. All the walking had caused the skin to stretch and the new scab to open. A man in town told her she was bleeding. She looked at her leg and immediately cried. The man asked what was wrong and she explained her dog had run off, she’d gone looking and fallen, she’d called everyone she could think of and all they’d been able to do was suggest a cream for her leg. She was postering the town in case anyone she hadn’t thought to call knew something, anything. He told her he’d keep an eye out for the dog and that he hoped she’d feel better then he continued on. She waited inside so as not to miss the phone for nearly a week. Luna was a well-behaved dog, a shepherd. She never barked and always came when she was called. Even though Luna had been so well-behaved, with her gone the house took on a fretful silence. She’d put the radio on but that didn’t seem to help. Every time the phone rang, wherever she was in the house, she jolted upright and with thudding steps hurried to the phone. The man she met on the street called and mentioned a posting in the local paper, about a shepherd. But it hadn’t panned out. Other callers offered her free tickets for a cruise, asked if she’d donate to a mayoral campaign, her mother had some questions about insurance, and one man with a deep voice offered to buy her a new dog if she’d go with him to Vegas. She called the pound each day for two weeks until they stopped answering her calls. She called her friends, every day. They tried to give her comfort, told her Luna was probably being taken care of, she should think of it like her dog had gone on vacation. These calls grew shorter and shorter as the friends ran out of things to say. Most of the posters in town were still up but they were starting to be posted over or else became impossible to read because the rain ran the ink. The scrape on her leg had nearly healed. The skin left behind was quite smooth. Because of the scab she hadn’t been able to shave the area and so a small patch of hair had grown from it. After a month she’d stopped responding to any phone calls. They were always false alarms. She stopped calling her friends. Her mother left messages on the answering machine wondering what was wrong. She shaved the patch of hair on her leg. She watched TV or listened to the radio for most of the day. During storms she’d drink then try and sleep or if this failed, sit on the porch. Sometimes it’d rain and she’d watch the rain as it fell on her fields. She cut her hair. She started volunteering at a place that taught disabled children to ride horses. She donated more than she could afford to the woman running for mayor. She lost ten pounds. Once or twice a week she slept with the man she had met months ago on the street who’d called with a false alarm. She had been able to pick out his number from her call log. Her mother got sicker. She visited her but rarely said much. She told her mother she was thinking of getting a new dog. Her mother said that would be nice. But she couldn’t bring herself to get a new dog.

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