Bulletproof Dog

Someone was shooting at him, so he held up his bulletproof dog and the rounds ricocheted off it and lodged in the wall.  The dog whimpered because, although it was bulletproof, it didn’t like being shot at.  He stroked the dog to soothe its nerves.  Then he got up, clutching his dog the whole time, and closed the windows and drew the curtains and hoped that meant no one would be able to shoot him.

The dog was still whimpering.  It was some kind of collie.  He stroked it until it was quiet, buried his face in its fur.

He fell asleep, despite the shooting.  He dreamt, but his dreams were leaking, and the people who wanted to shoot him were moving freely between his waking life and his dreams.

In his dreams he owned a bulletproof dog, so he had made a hole in his dreams and pushed the dog through into the waking, so that he could take it everywhere he went.  There were no rules that meant he had to surrender his bulletproof dog at the borders of reality.

The people who wanted to shoot him were not the usual anonymous, interchangeable dream sprites (lets call them unrecognisable unrecognisables), nor were they individuals duplicated from his waking life (recognisable recognisables).  These were a new breed, fictional characters invented by his subconscious and intended to be disposable one-dream stands, who nevertheless insisted on recurring night after night (making them recognisable unrecognisables).  And they were out to get him whether he was awake, asleep or just snoozing.

Sometimes he felt lucky to have people shooting at him because it meant he could justify ownership of a bulletproof dog.  Having a bulletproof dog and not being shot at would be a waste.  But he could no longer remember which had come first – maybe they were shooting at him because they wanted to take his bulletproof dog from him.

He and an old school friend ran through a forest that was reminiscent-but-not-quite of the one near their home town.  The recognisable unrecognisables followed, mounted on hovering wraith-stallions that moved effortlessly through the trees.  Every time he looked back over his shoulder, they had drawn closer.  When they shot, he held the bulletproof dog up to deflect a hail of bullets and the dog howled it’s disapproval.  One of the bullets struck the dog’s ear at a strange angle and ended up in the throat of the old school friend.

He woke sweating, cuddling tight up to his dog.  He got out of bed and scrambled across the room to the telephone, keeping low in case anyone opened fire.  When his old school friend answered he sounded alive, groggy, maybe a little pissed off at being woken so early in the morning.

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