Chapter 3: Karl
Written by: Whitney Emeigh
“Of course, I’m not sure why I’m surprised. I have a dog familiar whose name is Karl of all the ridiculous things.” Adette turned back to her chair. She was now determined to sit and drink her lemonade at all costs. This was not the way her day should be going at all.
“I can hear you, you know,” Karl pointed out.
“I was counting on your ability to hear things.” Adette looked pointedly over the half drunken glass at his ears.
“No need to make fun. They’re very useful and people who don’t know I can talk seem to think they make me look cute.” Karl finished cleaning his paws and stood. His legs weren’t very long so even though he was standing, he was still rather close to the ground. Without being invited he leapt, rather impressively for a dog his size, into the chair on the other side of the table.
“I don’t remember inviting you into that chair,” Adette remarked. Karl raised one eyebrow, which Adette could now see had three whiskers sticking out of it, and considered her.
“Is this how you treat all of your guests?”
Adette downed the other half of her lemonade and poured herself more. “Do you even like lemonade?”
“No, I can’t stand the stuff. I just wanted to make a point. So they didn’t tell you?”
“What was your first clue?” Adette set the glass down on the table.
“You were supposed to have been told. I’m guessing that means they didn’t tell you about what your placement entailed either, did they?”
Adette drew the folded paper out of her skirt pocket, unfolded it, and set it across from Karl.
“Sorry, you can read right?” Karl shot her a doggy look of disapproval before reading over the short letter.
“I’m seriously hoping that you can fill in the giant holes left by that letter.” Karl’s tongue stuck out. He panted twice before shutting his snout again. “This is without a doubt one of the most useless letters I’ve ever read. If it weren’t for the begrudging post script, you’d be entirely up a creek.”
“That’s exactly what I’ve been thinking since I read it. Do they normally make a big ordeal out of people receiving their placement letters?” Adette was hoping more than she could say that his answer would be yes.
“What do you mean an ordeal?”
Adette sighed and took the look of confusion to mean either they didn’t or he didn’t know.
“I’ll explain some other time. You do know more than this letter says right?”
“I’m afraid I don’t. I am only a dog after all. They told me my placement but nothing else. You’ve either really impressed someone or made them very angry with you.” Karl slowly lowered his chin onto the arm of the chair as he said this.
“Sure, now you’re only a dog.”
Karl didn’t bother replying to this.
Karl’s head flew up. His ears perked up and his small stump of a tail began waggling furiously.
“I figured. Come on. I’ll bet I’ve got something for you.” Adette scooped the pitcher and dirty glass off of the table. Together they stomped and clacked their way back into the small cottage. Adette’s shoulders slumped when she realized she still had a mountain of produce to do something with.
“I’m not very picky, but if you have any, I’d really like some bacon.”
“Of course you want bacon. Should I also start smoking some butcher bones for you too?”
“Well, if you’re offering I wouldn’t say no.” Karl blinked. He apparently took the thought very seriously. Adette’s shoulders slumped. Her mouth opened then shut. She was thinking furiously, but the retort she was looking for couldn’t be found.
“Who sent you here anyway? I’ve never heard about anyone receiving familiars.”
“Well, someone sent the call to the home of the familiars. I was chosen, so here I am.”
“Do you have any idea who sent you?”
“That’s not how it works. One of the elders calls and we’re sent. We’re told from pups not to question.”
“Huh…” Adette mused as she began working her way through the pile on the counter.
Karl settled down onto the floor. Even though Adette hadn’t given him a real answer about the food, he still looked expectant. The pile, which looked much bigger than it was, soon was all put away. The last bag of onions got stowed securely in a cupboard. Adette allowed the heavy wood to fall shut and turned to consider Karl where he still lay on the kitchen floor.
“Alright, I suppose I could fry up some bacon. I wouldn’t mind a BLT myself, but we will need to get you some proper dog food afterwards,” Adette sighed. She reached up and lifted a skillet from its hook above the stove. It clanked down onto the stove top.
Karl’s long pink tongue swirled up and around his snout. His brown eyes seemed to grow brighter with the anticipation of bacon. Adette turned to look at him and nearly burst out laughing.
“I guess I know what I need to get if I ever need a special favor from you Karl.” Air whooshed between Karl’s dog lips in a good imitation of a human huff but he didn’t deny anything. Adette smirked and threw the refrigerator door open. Her hand got half way to the bacon before she was interrupted by a truly pathetic sigh of disappointment.
“Don’t bother.” In Karl’s voice, Adette heard disappointment. She got halfway through asking him why but was interrupted by a scream.