Night had fallen and Miranda was in the living room of the rustic cabin after having kissed the girls goodnight. The vacation had been the twin's idea. They had convinced her after the divorce from Stephen had been finalized that they, Patricia included, needed a break from New York and the hustle and bustle of city life and the press. So far it seemed as though Emily had outdone herself. The cabin was secluded in what seemed to be a community filled with the retired affluent. There was a lake and well cared for paths all through the neighborhood and it was blissfully quiet, almost too quiet for Miranda. The cabin itself was also a gem. It seemed the cabin had been permanently inhabited until recently. The previous owners had left some curious, unexplained items that had actually come in handy. Firstly, there was a very large doggie door in both the front and back entrances. There was also a large, pristine doggie bed by the fireplace. The bed looked brand new as though a dog had never actually slept there. There had also been food bowls for a dog. This was odd because the community was very strict and actually had a policy against pets. Miranda had almost been denied bringing Patricia and Miranda still wasn't sure how Emily had managed to get the St Bernard on the reservation for the week. Details never concerned her anyway.
Miranda sat gazing at the fire thinking about everything that had happened since Fashion Week in Paris when her third husband, Stephen, had faxed divorce papers to her and her first assistant had been hit by a car breaking her leg and leaving Miranda assistant-less for the most of the event. It had been harrowing to say the least. There was a noise at the door. Miranda tilted her head to listen. She glanced down at her feet where Patricia was sleeping soundly. Miranda smiled and shook her head; the old St Bernard was half deaf. She heard the noise again. It sounded like scratching at the back door. "Must be the wind," she thought. "After all the noises out here in the 'country' are nothing like the city." The editor relaxed back into the couch. Suddenly she heard the creak of hinges and shuffling. Patricia growled. Miranda rose and walked cautiously in the direction of the noise, which just happened to be the kitchen, with Patricia at her heels. Peeking around the corner of the doorway into the dimly lit kitchen illuminated by a light over the stove Miranda was not prepared for what she saw. A person was crawling on the floor on all fours after having obviously entered through the large doggie door. At first Miranda was alarmed but after watching for a few moments Miranda realized that this person wasn't a threat. The person, a woman Miranda could now tell, was going from one place to the other sniffing the kitchen in a very familiar way. She looked like a dog. Her mannerisms were very close. It was the strangest thing Miranda had ever seen. The woman seemed to be looking for something. Whatever it was she didn't find it. The woman-dog walked, on all fours, like a dog, directly to where Miranda was standing. Quickly Miranda crossed back over to the couch and sat down bringing Patricia with her. Patricia seemed just as interested in the woman-dog as Miranda and had long since quieted down. Just after Miranda and Patricia had taken up their former spots on the couch and floor the woman-dog crawled in. She stopped for a moment, sat back on her haunches, looking eerily like Patricia, tilted her head and studied the pair. Miranda sat stock still as did Patricia. After what seemed like an eternity the woman-dog padded towards the fireplace where a large dog bed was located. She climbed in and turned around several times, curled up in a tight ball and went to sleep. Miranda was shocked. What should she do? This had to be the weirdest situation she had ever been in. The woman seemed harmless enough but she had her children to think about. She glanced at the clock. It was half gone ten. She decided the best course of action would be to call the local police. It was a very small town and she was sure if there was a woman-dog in residence the local police would know all about her and what to do.
The phone rang twice. "Cooper county police department," answered a friendly voice, "how may I help you?" For a moment Miranda was at a loss. How exactly would one describe the situation she was in? 'Yes, there is a woman acting like a dog in my living room?' Apparently Miranda had been thinking too long because the voice on the other end said "Hello? Hello?"
"Yes, I am staying in one of the cabins in the Wimberly Estates and there is a woman that came in the doggie door and ..." Miranda trailed off. She really didn't know what else to say. Luckily, the voice on the other end did. Miranda heard the woman raise her voice and speak to someone else in the room with her, "Hey Jake, Day went back to the Carter's old place and dropped in on the renter." Miranda heard muffled laughing and cursing. "Shit, tell 'em not to touch her and that I'm on my way. Been looking for her for days." The woman came back on the phone, "Ma'am, the sheriff is on his way. Don't touch her, alright?" Like Miranda didn't have any sense at all. She rolled her eyes. "Of course," she sighed and hung up.
Twenty minutes later Miranda heard tires on the gravel drive. She had checked on her twins and they were both sleeping peacefully. She was rather glad they were missing this. It was too strange. The woman-dog was still asleep in front of the fire in the oversized dog bed. At least she was well behaved.
A light knock at the front door and Miranda walked up front to let in her newest arrivals. "Evening ma'am," a young brown haired man in his thirties said tipping his cowboy sheriff's hat at her. "Please call me Miranda," the editor replied automatically. The young man smiled and said "Yes, Miranda." He looked right into her eyes and said "They said you found Day?" "Is that her name?" Miranda queried. "Come in, she's by the fire." She showed the young man, Jake she thought he had said, to the living room. When they entered Jake took a deep breath. "Yeah that's our Day. No one's seen her in several days. We were starting to get worried. She doesn't usually disappear like that." Miranda held up a hand to stop the young man's rambling. She did so detest babbling. "Jake, I suggest you start at the beginning. You seem to not find this entire situation to be odd but I assure you, the rest of the world would." "Yes, ma'am," at her glare he corrected himself, "Yes, Miranda."
"That there, we call her Day. It's short for Lucky Day. It's on her collar." Miranda glanced over to the sleeping form and sure enough she was wearing a red collar around her neck. "They found her about three years ago. Some men in an RV were traveling through town and got stopped for some reckless driving. Well the officer, Earl, he saw Day there locked up in a crate. You know like a dog crate?" Miranda nodded. "Anyway, they took off and started a chase. This is a small town. We've never even had a homicide and now we had a police chase," here he shook his head. "Anyway, they chased 'em on the highway for a few miles then the RV flipped. Guess they were drunker than they realized. The men didn't make it but Day over there did. It was obvious that they'd had her awhile and were treating her like, well like a pet. A dog." Why he felt the need to clarify Miranda didn't know. Clearly the woman acted like a dog. "They took her to the hospital and looked her over ya know just to make sure she was ok. We couldn't find any ID and well she has this scar from her throat down," he gestured to his stomach with his hand and blushed. "Well all the way down, ma'am," he averted his eyes for a moment. "Doc figures they sliced her vocal chords so she couldn't scream for help." At this Miranda spoke, "Figures?" "Well ma'am, Day she don't take kindly to men folk. Only lets women touch her and Doc, the town doctor, is a man. Won't let him near her. The nurses looked best they could but Day just don't like being touched. Found that out the hard way, we did. Doc's still got the scar from her teeth." He grinned and glanced at the sleeping woman before his face became serious again. "We put out bulletins, called around, ran specials on the news stations and papers but we never could find out where she came from. The papers ran a headline saying it was her lucky day when she stopped in Cooper County and the name kinda stuck. Was better than Jane Doe anyway. She's kinda been the community pet since then." Jake finished shrugging his broad shoulders lightly. "You mean to tell me that this woman lives as a dog as she did with her captors and this entire town just goes along with it?" Miranda hissed. "She is a woman not a dog!" Jake met her eyes and said, "I know that ma'am. We've tried for years to convince her she's a human not a dog but it's done no good. It took forever to get her to sleep inside and wear clothes and bathe her. They've done wonders with her around here, really ma'am. She goes from one house to the other around this little community and gets fed and bathed and taken care of. It's not ideal but it's a far sight better than what she had and it's not like you see this everyday. She's happy here." Miranda stared at the man. She could scarcely believe her ears. If the woman herself hadn't still been asleep in front of the fire Miranda would swear she was hallucinating. "Fine. What do I do with her?" "She was close to the couple that used to live here. Betty and Arthur. Arthur passed and Betty went to live with the kids. Anyway, I think she slept here quite a bit. Just let her sleep here and she'll probably wander off to Clifford and Joan's in the morning. She's not known for staying put." "You said she'd been missing recently?" Miranda asked. Jake nodded, "She's done it a couple of times before but not for as long as this time. It's been days. I remember once she came back all matted with mud and brambles. Had to cut most of her hair off that time," he laughed and shook his head. "She's a mess. They take care of her out here though and she doesn't go missing that much anymore and the locals know her and know not to let the men get near her." He glanced at the woman again and then at his watch. "Well, I'm almost off shift now. Glad she made it back safe and sound. Like I said just let her sleep and she'll probably wander off in the morning." Jake stepped back towards the front door to leave. "Oh one more thing, if you feed her don't give her any meat. She'll get sick." "Should I feed her?" Miranda asked. "Nah, Joan usually makes her breakfast. I was just warning ya." He tipped his hat again as he stepped out of the door, "Night ma'am." "Miranda," she automatically corrected. "Night Miranda," he nodded. She closed the door behind him and locked it.
Miranda quietly walked over to the fire and the still sleeping woman. "Lucky Day isn't a proper name. Though I suppose Rover isn't any better," laughing at her own joke she let her eyes roam over the sleeping girl. She was slight, probably no more than 120 pounds. She looked young too. "You can't be any more than 30, if that," Miranda whispered softly. Her hair looked to be about shoulder length and was a curly brown mess. Her skin was clear and pale. She was wearing a t-shirt and some tan carpenter pants with what seemed to be padded knees, probably an adjustment some kind soul made to save the woman's knees, as it seemed she never walked on her feet. Even so someone had managed to put a pair of atrocious hiking boots on the woman. Miranda glanced at her face again. The girl was actually quite pretty once one got past the fact that she was sleeping in a dog bed. Just then the woman stretched and opened her eyes locking the chocolate orbs with Miranda's. Day's face remained impassive. Miranda decided to break the silence. "My name is Miranda. I understand you were close to the people that lived here before. You are welcome to stay as long as you like. We will be here the week." Miranda paused waiting for acknowledgment of her words. She didn't get it. Day continued to stare into Miranda's eyes, unmoving. "I am going to bed. I will see you in the morning. Good night, Day." With that Miranda turned and walked towards her temporary master suit. She almost stopped dead in her tracks when she heard a familiar shuffling behind her. Day was following her. Miranda fought down panic at the strange situation. Not even Miranda's husbands followed her to bed. She had always insisted on separate rooms in order to retain her independence and identity. "The woman thinks she's a dog. Get a hold of yourself, Priestly. It's no different than Patricia!" Miranda reached down and patted the head of her faithful St Bernard at her side. She continued to the bedroom. She opened the door and walked towards the bed. Moving the duvet back she climbed in and watched as Patricia settled herself in her doggie bed, one Miranda had brought from home. Day remained in the doorway watching both Miranda and Patricia. Once they were both settled Day padded over to the bed, on all fours of course, and lithely jumped onto the foot of the bed all the while her eyes were locked on Miranda's. She repeated her early motions of turning around to get comfortable and then curled up tightly in a ball and went back to sleep. It took much longer before Miranda joined her in the land of dreams.
Light was just beginning to stream through the windows when Miranda was awakened by a soft tickle on her chest and a dip in the bed beside her. Panic was her gut instinct but upon remembering the night before and Day at the foot of her bed she clamped down hard on any outward reaction. Miranda opened her eyes to mere slits and was able to see that Day was on her haunches at her side or rather what passed for haunches in a human. The woman was sitting with her knees and shins pressed to the bed and her hands palm down in front of her. The girl's face was mere inches from Miranda's own, her nose just an inch above her cheek. She seemed to be ...sniffing...Miranda. Slowly she followed a path from Miranda's cheek to her jaw to just over her mouth, taking short breaths in through her nose the whole time. Miranda struggled to remain still and not startle the girl especially as se was known to bite. The editor cursed herself for letting the woman in her bed to begin with. She knew she couldn't fight her off if she became violent. The girl was after all half her age and spent her days working out her body, granted it was as a dog but Miranda spent her time behind a desk. Sure she worked out but she didn't think yoga would be particularly helpful in this instance. Focusing on her breathing Miranda let Day continue her journey uninterrupted glad that it was far too early for the twins to be awake. Day moved from her mouth down to her jaw and just under her ear. Here she took a very deep breath in through her nose before continuing down the editor's neck her nose brushing her skin at several points. The journey continued over her collar bones, between her breasts which made Miranda glad she had worn far less revealing button up pajamas than her normal night wear of a sheer, low cut gown. Day continued to trail her nose down between Miranda's breasts to her stomach to her navel. "Surely she isn't going to continue?" Miranda thought. Then she remembered that as this woman thought as a dog that yes she most likely was going to continue. Miranda braced herself for the invasion of her privacy. Day's nose was now on her body, not breaking contact as she continued to take small snuffling breaths through it. When her exploration took her over the waistband of Miranda's silk drawstring pants Day's breaths became deeper and slower. Slowly Miranda felt her nose trail over her pubic bone to directly on her sex. Here Day took the deepest breath yet. Unlike everywhere else on her body that Day had passed over quickly the girl seemed set to linger here. "Great, just great," Miranda thought. "I haven't been touched in years and now I've got a dog-woman sniffing me like I'm in heat." She had to quickly grit her teeth when Day suddenly used her nose to forcefully push Miranda's thighs apart. The editor couldn't hold back a surprised gasp when the woman pressed her nose and lips, mouth open, to the apex of her legs and took several slow, long, deep breaths. "Oh god," Miranda thought. "Day, please stop," she said breathlessly. She was still wary of startling the woman into a violent reaction but it didn't come. Day gently removed her face and sat back on her haunches studying Miranda's face, head tilted as though waiting on the editor's next words. "You shouldn't be able to sit there and look at me so innocently after what you just did," Miranda accused looking into chocolate brown orbs. "Good morning, by the way. That is the proper morning greeting," the editor said. Day just smiled at her. Miranda shook her head. "Dogs," she thought.