So a few people, including Kemq, suggested doing a chapter in Carlie's voice. So here is a short epilogue from the puppy.
Mommy smells weird, I thought from her lap as I rested my head on Daddy's hard leg. She was like all of the hard, cold family now. At first she'd smelled normal, like all of the other humans I'd met, and she'd been warm and soft, and she fell down a lot, but I figured she was still little like me and had to get used to walking around. I sometimes tripped too when I was a puppy, but I was grown up now. I didn't understand why, but she was hard and cold now. At first, after her car had gone down the hill and she'd screamed and then stopped moving, I'd been worried. Her daddy had come and got us then, and Daddy had carried me home. Daddy had locked me in the room where we slept while the tall, really nice one that was her Daddy took her into the other room, and I was scared! I wanted Mommy, and she was hurt and crying and I could tell that she needed me, but no one would let me out, so I'd barked and barked and scratched at the door, crying and begging. Mommy needed me! And then the big one had come in and grabbed me, carrying me into the room with her. Out of all of them, he was the only bad one, like my brother back before I left my other family. He'd pulled my tail all the time, biting my ears until it hurt and laying on top of my head…that was how Mommy's brother treated her, and I kept telling him to stop, but he never listened. He just laughed at me! So I did what I did with my brother…I bit him. That would teach him to mess with Mommy…even if he did taste like rocks and never seemed to mind my teeth.
I didn't mind that Mommy smelled funny. She was still mine, just like the rest of them, but especially her and the one that took care of her and played with me. He was the most fun to be with. When I was playing with him, I always felt great…happy and excited…he loved playing with me. But when he was sad, like when Mommy had been crying and yelling as her scent had changed, and she'd gotten so cold…I'd felt that too. I'd been torn between leaving the room and snuggling up to him. In the end I'd stayed with Mommy…I was supposed to stay by her side. I'd known from the time she'd met me that she was mine, and I had to take care of her. The big one had brought me downstairs when she'd started to wake up, and I hadn't seen her for a while, but when she'd come down with Daddy, she'd looked fine…happy and normal, but different…like the others. When she'd knelt down to hug me and I'd kissed her, she tasted different, and her scent was too sweet and scary. For a second, I'd been scared, like when I'd first met Daddy. But she'd talked to me and petted me and I'd known that everything was okay now.
Earlier today we all rode in that weird, giant car, and then another car, and then they took me to a new house full of old smells, and everything was changing so much and I didn't like it…I crawled under the bed and hid at first, like a puppy. I'm not a puppy anymore though…I was just scared. But Mommy came upstairs by herself after a while and laid on the ground beside the bed, her hand reaching out to me, and she talked to me for a long time, using the word she always used when she talked to me. I didn't know what it meant, but she'd been saying it since I first adopted her, so I humored her, coming whenever she said it. It wasn't her fault she didn't know how to talk. Mommy and the others talked funny, like all humans, and even though they growled sometimes, or snarled or showed their teeth like normal, they usually spoke like humans. They didn't have any tails to wag or anything…so I guessed that's how they said they were happy. That's what it seemed like to me anyway. She talked really quiet and nice to me, and I finally came out, crawling over to her. She may have been cold and hard, but she was still Mommy, and I had to be brave and protect her...from her lap. She held me for a while, letting me kiss her and tell her how much I loved her. I didn't think she could understand...it took a lot of effort to tell humans things...they weren't any good at talking the right way. But she hugged me and petted me and put her face against me, so I guessed that meant she loved me too.
Later she carried me downstairs, even though I'm big now and can walk down the stairs myself. They were all been waiting downstairs and the nice one, her brother that I liked to play with, came over and petted me, talking nicely like she had, and then she took me outside. I had loved outside at our other house, but this outside was so much bigger! There was so much grass and trees and little bugs and birds and everything! And so many smells! I'd never smelled so many new things, and Mommy and Daddy sat on the ground right beside each other, talking while I sniffed every bit of the grass and flowers and trees close to them. I didn't go too far away just in case they needed me...it wasn't because I was afraid of the dark place in the trees and the strange smells there. My Mommy and Daddy needed protecting, and I didn't want to lose them. They were really fast, Mommy too now, and I wouldn't be able to help if they got away.
After I sniffed the grass for a while, tracking a rabbit to the very edge of the trees and stopping there, I ran back to her, starting to get sleepy. I'm not a puppy anymore, but I still want to nap sometimes. I don't need to. I want to. I'm a big dog now. I can do whatever I want, I thought from Mommy's lap as my eyes closed. Daddy was scratching me behind the ears…I loved it when he did that. He and Mommy put their faces together for a while and he put his arms around her. I didn't know why they did that all the time. Maybe it was how they talked without saying anything. He held her close like she held me for a long time, and I knew that even though I was there to protect Mommy, he would protect her too, so I could sleep if I wanted to. The rest of her family came outside then. They had been pulling familiar smelling things out of boxes and setting them around the big room downstairs, and I knew that I'd have time to smell all of that later. For now, the sun was disappearing and it was getting dark. Mommy didn't sleep with me in the bed anymore, but she would still stay close to me when I slept. I liked it best when she held me. That way, if anything happened, I'd be close enough to protect her.
The big one sat down with his mate, and Mommy's mommy and daddy sat with us on the wet grass. Her daddy reached out and put a hand on my back, and she leaned against him, saying something in human again. The one I liked to play with and the littlest one sat together too, and they all talked and talked. I wondered why they needed to make so much noise as I dozed off, my tail thumping up and down lazily until I was chasing rabbits in my dreams, always aware of the cold, comfortable arms that held me. Hopefully I'd find some real rabbits here at our new home soon.
Thanks for reading :) I hope you enjoyed the quick epilogue.