Marrick woke up to Archor licking his face, soon pushing his hairy snout away from him when he had woken up enough to do so. “Knock it off,” Marrick said softly.
Archor let out a soft bark, continuing to lay upon the bed as he watched Marrick sit up within it and rub his face to help wake up more. Marrick made his way towards his dresser and chose clothes to change into after his shower and made his way to the bathroom to get ready for the day. He came back into his room a short while later to Archor still laying upon the bed and he finally jumped down after he noticed Marrick making his bed, now knowing that Marrick wasn’t going to come back to this particular room for a while so he got up and jumped down, following Marrick around as usual.
As the two entered the kitchen together, Archor went straight for a chew toy instead of straight to his bowl to wait for Marrick to feed him, causing Marrick to raise his brow is slight confusion towards Archor. He shrugged it off and made himself toast for breakfast, sitting at the table and all he could hear were the sounds of the chew toy being bit my Archor and the crunching of the toast within his mouth. His chewing soon slowed as he stared at the empty seat still in front of him, taunting him as it remained empty the longer he stared. His frustration got the best of him and he threw down the remainder of the toast he had left down onto the plate and stood up hastily, walking to the garbage and throwing out what he hadn’t finished and washing his plate within the sink. His actions caused more sound to fill the silent void; the empty garbage bag was crinkling still as the rest of his uneaten toast slid down to the bottom of it, the sound of the water on full blast as he washed his plate and hands, the chair he pushed back into the table roughly to get it out of his way.. He was looking for noise, any kind of sound, any kind of life, but he realized that no matter how much louder he made every sound, it still didn’t make him feel as if he wasn’t the one doing it..
Marrick’s frustration soon calmed as he filled Archor’s food dish and he watched him drop his chew toy instantly to come and eat. Marrick walked around the living room then, picking up all of Archor’s chew toys from the ground and cleaning up the place. As he tidied up, he looked to the finished product and everything was pristine, clean, in place and looked as if it had been untouched for years, only adding to how much he grew to hate it there ‘alone’. Before his father had gone mad, he remembered that their home was always filled with laughter or just simple noises that Marrick now missed immensely; the sound of his mother washing dishes, the sounds of his sisters fighting over a toy, how his father would call up to him from the bottom of their stairs.. Marrick even missed how his father always let him slide all the way down the railing and his father would always be there to catch him. His frustration was beginning to turn to depression, causing him to completely erase his thoughts and go about his day as normally as he could.
Marrick walked out of the house and Archor followed, running passed him and around the yard playfully as Marrick got the mail and paid the few bills that he had. As he shut his mailbox door, the squeak noise it let out from the somewhat rusty hinges made him think back to when he had left his home 14 years ago..
He flung the fence gate open that made the same noise the mailbox had, Marrick fleeing from the scene as tears streamed down his face at the thought of his mother in the library. He ran as fast as he could, ignoring everyone and everything in his way, his school bag eventually falling from his shoulders and he got rid of it only to be able to run faster. He had ran until his legs gave out a few towns over, collapsing under his exhaustion. Marrick only woke up to begin running for as long as he could and again collapsed under his exhaustion until he finally wound up waking up at the orphanage several towns over. He claimed to have no parents and his clothes had been beat up enough from his journey that it seemed as if he was homeless, being accepted into the orphanage almost instantly..
Archor began barking angrily and protectively at someone jogging passed the house and snapped Marrick from his thoughts, calling Archor to come back into the house and walking in before Archor.
Marrick left the door open as Archor came in behind him, stopping and he reminded himself of something, “Archor, get the paper,” he requested calmly and Archor did a 180 degree turn instantly and rushed out the door. He came back in quickly, hitting the door and causing it to bounce off of the wall and close behind Archor, walking proudly over to Marrick and submitting it to him. Marrick took the paper from Archor’s mouth and patted him upon the top of his head, “Good,” he said softly and Archor wagged his tail and looked to Marrick, panting and the expression on his face looked at if he was smiling at Marrick.
Marrick made his way into the kitchen and pulled out a chair, taking a seat and opening the newspaper as he heard Archor going back over to his bowl to eat more of his food. Marrick read the paper and it told him of a few robberies within the city, as well as a murder, two homes were consumed in flames, and one bomb threat. Marrick scoffed at the seemingly nothing-but-bad-news section and flipped the page, reading a small section on the next page of a woman who had been auctioning her prized paintings to places around the city for a fundraiser; fighting an illness of some kind. She had also been coming into classes at schools and giving art projects and guest speaking; she was widely known and seemed to be a genuine person. There were a few more sections he read, including the contests section, sports, and weather, but soon Marrick folded the paper up and threw it out when he decided to go back outside and do something with Archor.
Marrick decided to take Archor for a walk, needing to get out of the house and beginning their journey in the opposite direction of the city. The further Marrick got from the city the more comfortable and relaxed he began to feel, adoring the sights before him and admiring the mountain tops that spread across the horizon. Archor pulled at the leash when he noticed a squirrel in the distance, perking up his ears and one of his front legs bent up as if pointing towards it for Marrick. He whimpered a little and Marrick looked to him and let out a snicker without so much as a smirk, releasing Archor from his leash and watching as he lunged forward but crouched down as low as he could. Archor’s stomach barely grazed over the grass and he stopped roughly thirty feet from the squirrel, his paws shaking as he waited in anticipation for Marrick to give him the ‘go ahead’.
Marrick waited a few long seconds, “You sure?” He asked Archor, watching as he continued to point towards the squirrel and finally letting Archor go with a reluctant tone, “Get it,” he said just above a whisper and Archor took off as fast as he could, chasing the squirrel frantically for a few seconds as Marrick watched calmly. Archor caught the squirrel quickly and Marrick heard it squeal in slight pain and Archor brought it back to him, laying it upon the grass, maimed, Archor looking for praise, “You can’t have it, kill it,” he said and Archor looked to him as if he understood fully, Archor’s eyes pleading for an explanation as to why. “You know better than to hunt on our way out, I can’t carry it with me in anything and it’ll go bad before we get home. Finish it and lets go,” Marrick demanded and he watched as Archor gave him an ashamed look in his eyes, hanging his head and quickly biting the squirrel’s neck to put it out of its misery. “Go bury it,” Marrick demanded again and he watched as Archor picked up the squirrel gently and brought it back to where he had first noticed it, digging a hole, burying it, and coming back to Marrick. He secured Archor within the leash again, “Let this be a lesson, you can’t always have what you want. Be smart about your actions.. You know better.. Now let’s go,” Marrick said softly and Archor then walked behind Marrick, following at his footsteps.
Marrick and Archor soon reached a small forest preserve up the mountain from their home, Marrick releasing Archor once again and watching as he ran away from him and playfully ran around the area, circling trees and digging inch deep holes a few times out of excitement for coming to this spot; they always came here at least once a month together and it was Archor’s favorite place to go. The first thing he always did was run away from Marrick and Marrick always had to come and find him. Marrick knew he was playing hide and go seek, but it felt less childish playing it with a dog rather than children so Marrick never contested to Archor’s wishes. He picked up his pace and jogged slightly, looking around for Archor and not finding him as soon as he usually did, wondering where he couldve gotten to.
Marrick slowed his pace to a walk, realizing that Archor had probably gotten distracted by something and forgot he was playing his seemingly mandatory childish game with his master. Marrick sighed, stopping and looking around at the trees and the brush, smelling the air for a few seconds and admiring the smell of nature, at peace finally now that he couldn’t hear a sound coming from the obnoxious city. He looked over to a tree that had low branches that a child could reach, his mind playing tricks on him and he saw the middle born, his little sister Bionca, climbing the branches and getting higher and higher before his eyes. He grew worried and walked quickly to the tree, looking up and panicking as Bionca scaled the tree higher and higher, “Catch me if you can, Marrick!” She called out and he shook his head at her in disagreement, watching as the next branch she stepped upon broke and she fell from the tree. He dashed forward and held out his arms to catch her. The moment that he would’ve caught her safely, he looked down to his arms held out and he had caught nothing, only looking to the empty palms of his hands and he shut his eyes, shaking his head and ridding himself of his thoughts. Marrick heard Archor barking and he looked towards the sound, walking away from the tree and towards the noise.
Marrick soon walked passed a few large bushes and his eyes fell upon Archor who was getting extremely friendly with a stranger, something he hadn’t ever witnessed himself since he had known Archor. He scowled at Archor’s behavior, hating that he was giving so much affection to someone else and now also hating that he had probably noticed this stranger as Marrick was childishly looking for him during their ‘game’ of hide and seek. Archor’s expression seemed content and in love with whomever he had just met, causing Marrick to get slightly jealous towards his behavior..
Marrick walked closer, “Archor,” he called out softly and Archor ignored him as the stranger looked over and gave Marrick a warm smile. He grew confused by the expression upon her face and ignored it, “Come,” he said, demanding towards Archor to obey and he ignored Marrick once more, watching as the stranger stood from petting his best friend as Archor continued to sniff her legs and wag his tail happily.
“So it’s Archor? What a neat name.. He’s really beautiful. Sweet, too,” the stranger said with a smile towards Marrick and he ignored her gaze. He looked to her sweater and admired it, it was his favorite color and she looked well in it. The blonde hair that fell down over the dark color illuminated in the morning sun and her sapphire eyes weakened him slightly when he glanced at them, but he ignored the primal urges he felt just like every other woman he came in contact with.
“Archor,” Marrick said a little more sternly, watching as Archor’s ears fell in shame, but he continued to remain by the strangers side. Marrick grew angry as he watched his best friend betraying him before his eyes, wanting to leave instantly, with or without him now..
“He’s Archor.. But do you have name?” The stranger asked and Marrick looked to her with a blank expression, not answering her question and continuing the look back at Archor. Marrick wasn’t sure why, but he was hurt by Archor’s actions.. He felt alone all over again and abandoned, causing him to only grow more angry.
“Hey, wait!” The stranger called out as she watched Marrick begin to leave his friend behind, “Where are you going? Don’t you want him to follow?” She asked, Marrick continuing to walk away from the both of them.
“You should wear brighter colors when you go out into the forest or woods.. It’s hunting season,” Marrick said back to her, unsure of why he said it but continuing on his way and abandoning Archor as he had done to Marrick the moment he disobeyed him.
“Wait! ..Your dog..” She called out again nervously.
“He’ll come home whenever he wants to,” Marrick answered and continued on his way.
Marrick left Archor behind, leaving him with this.. Stranger.. Archor had done to him as Marrick had done to his mother and sisters, completely abandoning them and showing no sign of hesitation about his decision. He grew angry with Archor. Marrick felt uncomfortable and uneasy; the stranger was his father, Archor was his mother and sisters, and Marrick was Marrick, running away once again.. The thoughts that went through his mind infuriated him, wanting to go back for Archor but refusing to acknowledge the stranger in order to get back Archor, he’d have to engage with the woman and he refused it. She was everything that he had convinced himself he never wanted; long, glorious blonde hair, a heart-stopping smile, piercing eyes that he felt as if could take control of his entire being..
The day went on and hours passed as Marrick waited for Archor to come home.. He was angry with Archor, the loneliness he felt now overpowered what he felt when he had him, causing Marrick to fidget within the kitchen chair constantly as he thought of losing his only friend. The woman he had encountered was beautiful, causing him to think of unholy thoughts about her and the loneliness he had felt consumed him, his mind begging him to let it think of her more. Marrick soon shook her out of his brain, refusing it’s request and he thought of Archor once more, wondering when he would return and hoping that he even would. Marrick’s leg grew restless and bobbed up and down frantically as he stretched his fingers and cracked his knuckles as often as he could as his worry consumed him.
Marrick looked to his watch and it read a quarter after six at night and the sun was beginning to go down. He had been without Archor for 8 hours and his nerves were beginning to get the best of him. Archor’s red food bowl began to bleed it’s color and the red paint that melted off of the bowl pooled upon the floor. Archor’s hot dog chew toy melted and sank between the cracks of the wooden floor and his box full of toys began to melt away as well.
Archor’s bark soon poured into Marrick’s ears faintly and he perked his head up, blinking suddenly and every one of Archor’s things had returned to normal, Marrick standing to his feet and looking to the back door where his eyes laid upon the female stranger and Archor. Marrick went outside and bent down, greeting Archor and grabbing the fur on either side of his cheeks, pulling his forehead into his own. Marrick still refused to smile, but he was relived to have been reunited once again with his only friend.
Marrick stood and looked to the woman that was already smiling at him, “I didn’t know where you lived, so I didn’t know where to bring him back to.. He does’t have a collar, either, so.. I assumed I would just play until he wanted to go home, and he kind of lead me here. Sorry to come to the back door, too.. Archor somewhat insisted, though,” she said with a sweet chuckle, looking to Archor and keeping her smile.
Marrick observed her face and it took him a moment to realize he was staring, soon looking to Archor and back to her briefly, “Thanks,” he replied, walking towards the back door and nodding his head towards the home at Archor, his reunited companion catching the hint and going inside.
“I’m.. Sorry I didn’t bring him back sooner, he didn’t want to leave until it got dark, I felt as if he knew you were worried, though,” she said with a gentle giggle. She lost her smiled instantly, however, when she saw the calm, lonely exression upon Marrick’s face.
“It’s fine,” he paused, looking over his shoulder but not looking at her, “Like I said, thanks,” he replied and went inside, leaving her with nothing more but the sound of the back door shutting harshly and Marrick locking it behind him.
Marrick kept silent until he had known she was off of his property, turning around and looking to Archor who was already shamefully looking to the floor. “You..! Y-You, worried me.. I thought I..” Marrick began but stopped, refusing to say anything more as he looked to Archor who had already known he had done something wrong, deciding it was pointless to scold him any more. “First the squirrel, now this..” He added, sighing as he walked towards his bedroom and shutting the door, refusing Archor to sleep with him that night.
Marrick changed into his sleep wear and laid in his bed, hearing Archor whimpering outside of the door and feeling regret already. He shut the light off and soon heard scratching at the bottom of the door, Archor attempting to coax him into opening it but Marrick simply shifted within his bed and put his back to the door. After a few more minutes of pawing at the door and even more minutes spent whimpering, Archor eventually realized he wasn’t getting in and laid upon the floor in the kitchen, starring anxiously at the door, barely getting a wink of sleep.