24 Sammy

Two years had past since that fateful day with Carrie. The war Miss Emilia Thorne stood at the front of the old classroom, teaching Mathematics. The classroom had recently been rearranged when Miss Thorne took over from Mrs White, the temporary teacher, who had to move away because of Mr White's new posting in one of Britain's colonies in Southeast Asia.
'Ah, William! Will you do problem five on the board please?' Will pushed his chair back reluctantly and slowly made his way to the blackboard, thinking and rethinking the answer for the question. He wrote a faint '19' beside question five and glanced behind him for Miss Thorne's nod. While he was making his way back to his double desk which he shared with Patsy, he caught Lucy dreamily staring at him, her face cupped in her hands. Will shivered and continued walking down the aisle. Everyone was feeling a little restless on this beautiful Friday morning. The sun was shining brightly outside and all the children felt warm in their sweaters. No one could really concentrate on the lesson. Spring was approaching.
Will could feel Lucy staring at him from across the room for the entire day. He felt rather awkward when they exchanged glances and was relieved when Rose rang the bell for the end of school. Will slowly made his way out of the classroom along with George and Ginnie. The three of them were used to being a threesome, however, Will still missed the afternoons he used to spend with Zach, playing Cowboys and Sherlock Holmes. When Will reached the gate of the school house feeling pretty sullen, he was surprised to see Tom waiting there for him. 'Dad! What are you doin' 'ere?' 'William, S..S.Sammy, he.' 'He wot? Dad? Please! Tell me!' said Will, fearfully. 'Sammy, he is sick, but I ent know exactly wot happens to Sammy,' Tom began Will looked at Tom, beckoning him to go on. 'Look, I tell you when we gits home.' Tom said finally and the father and son did not say another word till they reached home.
Will ran when they reached the gate and rushed through the doorway, anxious to see Sammy.
Sammy sat at the food of the armchair by the range. Instead of the usual barking greeting he gave Tom and Will whenever they entered the house, Sammy's eyes just stared sadly into space.
'Dad? Could we bring Sammy to see Doctor Willow?'
'Doctor Willow? But Sammy ent no tree!'
'Dad! E's the veter.vetar.'
'Veterinarian, son.'
Will was startled. He glanced at Tom, thinking how Tom would have known what a veterinarian was.
'Mrs Fletcher told me, Son. You ent the only one with friends eh!' Tom said suddenly, as if he had read Will's mind.
Will started to smile, but remembered that Sammy was sick.
'Did you feed him anything Dad?' 'Yeh, but he threw everything up.' 'Do you'se think Doctor Willow is free to look at Sammy here? Or do you'se think we should bring Sammy to him?'
Tom bent over and lifted Sammy to his shoulder. Will promptly opened the door and Will went to get Dobbs. They carefully got into Dobb's carriage and travelled to Weirwold, where Doctor Willow's clinic was located.
Will opened the door of the clinic for Tom and closed it after them. Doctor Willow's clinic was a small, square room with white wash walls. He sat at a long wooden desk at the side of the room, which was covered with stacks of papers. An old typewriter was placed on the desk, against the wall.
'Good afternoon! I am Doctor Willow. You are?'
'Thomas Oakley, this is Willie and this,' Tom said, holding Sammy up, 'is Sammy.'
'Place him on the examining table please.' Will looked where Doctor Willow was pointing and saw a white rectangular table. Beside the examining table was a long wooden shelf. Many queer instruments lined the shelf top and the levels below it. Tom gingerly put Sammy down and turned to face Doctor Willow.
'Wot's wrong with him Doctor?' 'Has he been behaving strangely lately?'
'Yeh. 'E doesn't eat his food and he throws up. I ent understand how 'e gits stuff to throw up'
'Let's take a look at him.'
Doctor Willow gently held Sammy's neck. Sammy flopped over and Will looked at him sadly.
'Well, your dog has a case of stomach flu.' he said, finally.
'Stomach flu? Are you giving him medicine?' Tom asked, worriedly.
'Just a shot.' 'A shot? You mean an injection?' Will exclaimed.
'Yes boy, an injection.' Doctor Willow said with a kind expression.
Doctor Willow loaded his needle full of a icky green fluid and injected it into Sammy. Will clutched Tom's hand tightly, burying his head in Tom's coat.
''Tis over now boy.'
Will opened his eyes slowly.
'I'll have to keep him here overnight for observation. Come and collect him tomorrow evening.'
Tom nodded. 'We'd best listen to wot the doctor says. Thank yew Doctor. Come on William, let's go home.' That night, both Tom and Will felt very awkward. They could feel that something was missing. While they ate dinner, Will did not feel Sammy's fur rub against his feet under the table. Sammy wasn't there to finish the food on Will's plate which he couldn't finish. Sammy wasn't there for Will to cuddle when Tom read him a story from the library book they had borrowed two weeks ago.
When it was time for bed, Will felt very alone. Usually Sammy would come up to his room with him and snuggle up in his bed. But that night, only Will and Tom came up the ladder to his room. Will felt so sad that he began to cry.
'Ent no need to worry boy. Sammy'll be back tomorrow.'
Tom tried to sound as cheery as he could but deep inside his heart, he himself felt lonely without Sammy, his faithful companion and best friend for eleven years.
Will nodded, his face streaked with tears.
'Sweet dreams son!'
When Will woke up, he found himself on the floor. It was still pretty dark outside and he remembered he had woken up several times that night, because of nightmares. He stared at the ceiling blankly and lay there for a long while. He closed his eyes and fell back asleep.
'Will, wake up! I've brought Sammy home!' yelled Tom.