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Shep sat in his lonely cage with thoughts rolling in his head. He stared at his brown paws, finally tired of tearing at the door of his cage and continued to wonder why he was unable to control the anger that burned within him. What was happening to him? He observed the other dogs at all times. When alone, some dogs would sleep; some think, and others play within their confined space. During feeding time, most would sit and wait until the man was finished and had relocked their cage before eating, some would immediately rush to their food bowl and start eating from it before it was even full, while the more aggressive ones would try to make the man’s hand a part of their meal.

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“Results?”

“They are coming…Just wait.”

“Oh, I just can’t wait!”

“I know. To see if all our hard work has paid off. This is just too exciting!”

“So?”

“Not quite. Almost…”

“I am getting goose bumps all-”

“They’re in!”

“What? Really? Let me see!”

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Four Years Later

Natalie’s dark green eyes shot open at the pounding of her bedroom door.

The unpleasant sound of her uncle’s voice followed the pounding, “Wake up Natalie! It’s time for work!” Sitting up and rubbing her eyes drowsily, she yawned and walked to the small circular window of her attic room, staring out to the darkness of early morning. The many stars of Septia’s sky met her drowsy eyes as they twinkled and danced in the sky.

Another hard day of enduring work was ahead of her.

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Shep tugged at the collar that was wrapped tightly around his neck. He tried to remember anything of his life, but nothing came to him. Who had put this annoying collar on him? Without claws, he was unable to tear it off and gave up with a sigh. The sun had just hit the horizon casting a pink and purple glow over the sky. Hunger quickly nagged at his mind, urging him to travel to the city and away from the forest. For some reason though, there was a strange feeling that passed over him when he entered the woods. He felt…home almost. Ignoring the feeling, he rose to his feet and looked behind to the forest once more.

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Looking up at the bright full moon looming overhead, Shep tried to remember as far back as he could. Resting all four of his tired paws, he sat on the vast, grassy hill that overlooked the bustling city below. He wasn’t sure why, but there was nothing there. Part of his mind was missing…gone…lost. Why couldn’t he recall anything? Small pieces of his memory seemed to float by his mind, just out of reach, the same as how a dream taunts its waker throughout the day, feeding enough images to catch your interest, then snatching them away. What happened to him, and why was he here?

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Running through the forest, a young girl brushed rough branches from her face. Her long maple-colored hair snagged on low-hanging leaves as she passed, slowing her speed. Scanning her surroundings with her dark emerald green eyes, she tried to find what had uttered the long, painful cry that she had heard earlier. Her heart raced in her throat as she glided through the woods. She searched through the mystery of the foliage. Growing tired, she slowed her pace to a fast walk, her chest heaving up and down under her white blouse as she gasped for air. Her heart rate slowly began to return to normal as she continued her search.

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