I asked to see the vet. I was holding Gaia in my arms. She was wrapped in my school coat, which was now soaked from the heavy rain. The receptionist chatted loudly with an elderly woman. The elderly woman wasn’t wet. She had two small white cotton ball dogs on her lap. I asked to see the vet again. The receptionist looked at my sodden school uniform and told me to wait. She laughed at something the elderly woman said. They both wore too much makeup.
The vet arrived and asked me to follow him. The receptionist muttered something about certain people owning dogs. The elderly woman made a sound like an agreement.
Clean white walls, thin metal table, two needles, one dog.
The vet spoke briefly about a complex procedure. My mother had a part-time cleaning job. She used to bake cakes and tell ghost stories, but now my dad talks to himself and goes missing sometimes. Now, she sits by the bird feeder. The birds watch her from the distance, waiting for her to leave.
He took her from me.
He put her on the thin metal table. He explained the needles. One to put her asleep and one to stop her heart.
Two needles, one dog.
The vet unfastened her collar and passed it to me. He then administered the needles in sequence. We waited in silence for her heart to stop.
Kev lives in Dublin, Ireland. He was shortlisted for the Fish Publishing 2021 Flash Fiction Contest. He spends most of his time coming up with excuses not to train for the Dublin Marathon. Some of which are quite believable.