Jock spent the interminable days walking up and down in his cell or laying on the uncomfortable bed provided in the corner. There were two highlights to each day – food and fresh air.
For a short time each day he was released from incarceration and allowed to feel the fresh breeze and the sunshine. He was never completely free, tethered as he was to the guard, but he got to walk on the grass, enjoying the feel of it beneath his feet. In his previous life he had enjoyed running at least once every day. His joints were seizing up with the lack of exercise. There were other inmates to greet on these short trips outside, but they mostly kept to themselves, depressed and downhearted as he was.
Food provide a few minutes of solace. It was the same mush every day but it filled his stomach and made him sleepy. In his sleep he could escape his confines and run freely with his friends, or settle down comfortably on the sofa in front of the TV with family.
He wondered how long he would be here. He seemed to have been here for a very long time already but he dimly remembered an earlier period inside which had, eventually, come to an end. He could remember the excitement of getting out and going home. Why had he ended up here again though? What had he done to deserve it? When would he escape?
He lay in his bed and listened to the sounds around him. He could hear inmates shouting periodically. One, in particular, could keep it up for ages. Jock didn’t see the point in wasting his energy. No one came no matter how much anyone shouted. Occasionally he heard other voices, sometimes raised in excitement, sometimes in anger. He drifted off to sleep listening to the voices.
Another day of waiting had begun. It felt like it was time to be going outside but no one came for him. He heard other inmates being taken out, could smell the outside when the external door was opened.
He became aware of voices he recognised. Could it be …..?
“There he is! Jock, we’re here!” He could hear and smell them before he could see them. It was his family! They hadn’t forgotten him and left him here forever.
The cell door opened and Jock threw himself at his family, his tail wagging his whole body.