There was dirt sprinkled throughout his hair. Not that his hair was ever particularly clean, it was ratty and fell down in front of his eyes in a curly mess, but creeping through the garden had left him with clumps of grass, dirt, flower petals all wrapped up in it. He liked it though, the smell of the flowers, the feeling of the dirt beneath his bare, leathery feet. The garden was one of his favorite places. It was perfect, for the most part. There was the cat.

He had never liked the cat, mostly because it had never liked him. It had always given him this look, it was fickle and hissy. It acted like the king of the world, especially around its master. He wasn't particularly fond of her either. Almira Gulch was her name. She was a terrible old woman. She towered over him, always dressed in a black that seemed to make her already pallid skin look even more pale and lifeless. Her face was dictated by her glaring eyes that seemed to burn into you and her crooked nose, giving the appearance of an old fairytale witch.

But today, Miss Gulch and the cat were nowhere to be found and so it was a good day. The air was cool and refreshing and filled with the chirping of birds. The sun happily shone down on the world. Just outside of the garden, his name was being called. He turned around to look, flicked his head to one side to get the hair out from his eyes and there she stood.

She had a cute, delicate face, a perfect smile and sparkling blue eyes that matched her gingham dress. Her hair parted off and ended in two braided pigtails tied with bright blue bows. That girl was Dorothy Gale. She was the most beautiful girl in the world and didn't look for a second like she belonged anywhere near Nowhere, Kansas.

Just looking at her made him happy inside. She was perfect and she was his and no one would take her away from him. He smiled and turned back towards the garden, bent his head down and put his nose up to a flower. It smelled lovely.

There was a rustling behind him, and a shrill hiss. He turned to see Almira Gulch's cat staring at him. He tensed up, the hairs on his neck and back pricked up. The cat arched its back and hissed again. Both stood glaring at each other, caught in a backyard showdown. The few minutes that passed were slowed down with tension.

The cat blasted off and he chased it. It was fast, its little legs pumping over the ground. There was no way he could catch it but that wasn't going to stop him from trying. They ran all throughout the garden. Dorothy was yelling something at them. Through the dandelions and the tulips, he chased the cat. He was doing his best to keep on its tail, but the gap was widening. The cat dodged between sunflowers and petunias, slowly losing its follower.

He couldn't keep up. Panting, he watched as the cat jumped up over Gulch's white picket fence into the next yard over. Dorothy was still yelling something from behind him. He perked his ears up to listen to her.

"No! Look out!"

He turned and saw a rake crashing through the garden flowers, landing just in front of him. On the other side of it was Almira Gulch. Her face was contorted with an angry sneer.

"Get out of my garden! Get out of here you little devil!" she sneered as she lifted the rake up in the air again. Once more she slammed it down, just missing her target by mere inches.

A growl escaped him. Gulch lifted the rake up off the ground and started to jab it like a spear. He hopped out of the way, dodging the thrusts.

"Get away from here you filthy animal!" Gulch yelled again, then lifted the rake above her head and slammed it down once more. With a swift sidestep, he evaded the blow and dashed in, getting Almira Gulch right in the leg. She screamed, more in pain than in anger, and threw her rake down on the ground as he ran out of the garden.

"Come on, let's get out of here," Dorothy cried, and they two went off running down the road.

From the garden, shaking her fist while grabbing her leg with her other hand, Miss Gulch boomed, "I'll get you for this! This is a lawsuit, I'm getting the sheriff and that monster is going to be destroyed!"

They ran, glancing back over their shoulders every once in a while, towards Auntie Em's farmhouse. Halfway down the road, Dorothy stops. She glances back in Miss Gulch's direction and then turns to him.

"She isn't coming yet. Did she hurt you?" She lifted up his arm, sifted through his hair looking for wounds or bruises. "She tried to, didn't she? Come on, we'll go tell Uncle Henry and Auntie Em."

Dorothy starts running again. He stands where he is, watching as she jogged away. Miss Gulch's attack didn't even phase him. He was so engrossed in Dorothy nothing mattered. Lightning could strike him where he stood and that'd be okay, as long as Dorothy was there with him.

Noticing he wasn't following her, she turned around and beckoned him to run with her. "Come on, Toto." He smiled and sped to catch up with Dorothy. They ran off to Auntie Em's farm together as quick as they could.