They call me Bramble. I have been living rough for several months since my friend died. Before that, I used to live in her house with four like me — all of whom have now disappeared along with the five large dogs that used to live outside. I was very afraid of them, they did not like us and used to hunt us in packs. I hid inside a lot.
The rest of my family and I were confused when our friend laid on the floor not moving and then all those strange others like her coming and going, emptying the house, building bonfires and making all those loud noises. Their last act was to round us all up and throw us outside. All that was left then was emptiness and silence.
Then the dark and the cold came, soon followed by hunger and rain. My family vanished one by one leaving me all alone. I looked for my friend every day, every time I walked the boundary, every time I hunted for mice and birds and every time I hid from the larger birds of prey and mongoose that frequent the garden.
I have survived the winter, the worst of the rain and the wind, I am grateful that it did not freeze this winter and I have had some shelter from the worst of the elements.
Last month, the others came back — more machinery — more bonfires. I stayed hidden. I slink around in the grass after they leave to see if I can scavenge some titbits left after lunch. Sometimes I get lucky and find sardine leftovers.
I have to be careful of one other in particular — he spends all day hosing down the garden and the paths — it is like constant rain.
This morning, something different happened. Two new others appeared. They looked rather funny wandering around the house in Wellington Boots — especially as one of the others had just finished sweeping it out. I watched from my hidden spot in the grass as they walked up and down, peering in the shed, and the pump house. I stifled a laugh at the other who nearly lost his boots in the very deep puddle close to the boundary.
Then I am rumbled — I hear a whirring, click, click, click — the redder other is pointing a black thing at me. I stay very still and watch as she turns delightedly to the taller other, visibly happy, pointing in my direction.
They turn and leave arm in arm — joyfully talking about finding their new “half-way” house home.
I think I may have new pets.