Maya was ecstatic. She had smelled the most aromatic flower there was.
What was it, though? She was curious, but she had no idea. She'd never been good with names. Ten seconds in, she was no longer concerned with this question. The petrichor exuding from the wet grass made her forget that.
She had wanted to spend all her day here but it had begun to rain. Large pearl-sized drops of water landed on her hair. She was not a cat-person, but it was not a long stretch to say that she didn't like getting drenched.
She forgot the flower all of a sudden and started spotting a shelter.
She looked all around her.
Long swaths of grass but no trees. The rain had begun to form puddles of muddy water in dips. She might not like drizzles, but she had always taken a liking to playing in pools and puddles. I could even say it was genetic!
She played as long as she could have cared. When one dried off, she found another. She didn't leave the last remaining puddle until her hair got muddied with sludge.
It had been while since shower had stopped. The air around the hills was still profused with the brisk and almost sweet scent of the raindrops. A fragrance which you would not find anywhere else.
She was on her back. She looked at the sky which was on the verge of sunset. Orange. Red. Colourful clouds with a tinge of red here and there. She began to spot little white spots in the orange sky. Seconds later, they were numerous. Thousands. Then, ten-thousands of little stars twinkling.
It was getting dark. She should have been going. But she didn't want to.
Sleeping under the open sky with gentle flurrying breeze was very appealing to her. It was so much better than her small room. Here, her room was the world. No boundaries whatsoever.
No boundaries also meant no protection.
She was convinced that she had heard a hustle in foliage. On the other hand, she could not spot anything in sight. There was nothing in the hills that could have camouflaged anything. Or Anyone.
She did notice goosebumps on her front limbs. If her heart was not letting her leave, her instincts did the work.
On the way home, she heard something again. But she couldn't make out anything. In this concrete jungle settled with darkness, she could have never been certain. Her pace reduced. She ambled making as little sound as possible. The way was murky. Gloomier than what the usual night felt like.
Was it a dog or a coyote? She could not decide what was more fearsome.
At this time, her 8-year old brain was muddled with the choice to keep her slow cautious pace or run with all she had. It was not until another what seemed to be a bark this time, she made up her mind and scurried.
The barks became frequent.
And they became louder.
She had been running for 10 minutes with no break. The barks and howls were nowhere to be heard. A blip maybe. But she didn't stop. She could sense her breathing slowing down with every step though. Her legs were running, but her mind was racing backwards. What led her here? She couldn't go back any. Her mind was blank.
A familiar light. At last.
She might not remember everything, but she could never forget her home. The back-porch of her house had a tall lamp-shade which was visible from far away. It was imprinted in her mind from seeing it every evening.
She reached around to the main road and opened her small special door to enter. Now she was in the boundaries of her home. No fear of dogs or coyotes. Or rains.
The familiarity of her home made her feel safe. And forget everything else. The dread and the threat she faced on her way didn't exist in her mind now.
Now her entire focus was on food. She hadn't eaten anything since morning. She began searched for her favourites. It used to be on the same spot everyday. She found it.
It was empty.
Gloominess fell upon her. She felt famished. She could see what she wanted in the kitchen, but she was still not tall enough to get things out of cupboards.
She heard a car stop at her house.
She knew who just came.
She ran back to the door. She wanted to open the door but she couldn't. She had no option apart from waiting for them to open the door themselves.
When they entered, she followed them around the house asking for food. They understood her instantly for they had known her since they had rescued her. She gulped everything wagging her tail. Everything she had experienced today now resided in some back-alley of her mind.
She felt safe.
She was home.
Her humans were home.