A sliver of daylight slipped through the window shade, needling its way across the floor to where Timothy slept.
The door opened and Timothy’s mother tiptoed up to the bed to look down upon her son. “So peaceful,” she thought.
He lay sprawled across the bed, blonde hair a damp mop across his eyes, one sock clinging precariously to a dangling foot.
She bent down to brush his hair from his eyes as she whispered his name. “Timmy, hon? It’s time to wake up, sweetie.”
Mumbling incoherently, Timothy brought a hand to his eyes as if trying to keep the last of his dreams from slipping away.
“Come on, honey,” said his mother, nudging him again, “Time to get up and get ready for school.”
Ever so slowly he woke. Wiping the sleep from his eyes he gave his mother a playful smile. “Aw, do I have to?”
His mother ruffled his hair, “Afraid so, mister, she said, “You got a big day today. Get your butt up.”
Timothy thrashed his legs to kick off the covers. “All right, bossy,” he said, with a grin, “But there better be waffles.”
“There could be,” said his mother, “But if you don’t shower and get dressed quickly I’ll be eating your share.”
She moved to the window and raised the shade, letting a crystalline morning light fill the room.
Looking out the window, she noticed a dog staring intently back at her – it’s eyes intelligent and focused.
It sat at the fringe of the yard, just outside the gate, and as it saw looked it stood and gave a wag of its tail..
“I wonder whose dog that is?” she said, “I don’t think I’ve ver seen it around here before.”
Timothy came to window to take a look. “Beats me,” he shrugged, “I’ve never seen it before either. Maybe it’s a stray.”
Frowning slightly, his mother turned from the window, “Well, anyway,” she said, “You get ready and I’ll see you in a bit.”
As she left the room, Timothy lingered, looking out the window at the dog as it stared back at him calmly, tail still wagging.
He gave a little wave, and smiled to see the dog’s tail wag more enthusiastically. “What a good boy!” he thought.
The two watched each other a few moments before Timothy reluctantly tore himself from the window, to start his morning routine.
Once he’d showered and dressed, Timothy came to the kitchen to find his mother had been true to her word about the waffles.
As they sat and ate, conversation came back to the dog. “Maybe he got lost,” said Timothy. “Do you think?”
“I wouldn’t know,” said his mother, “I hope he hasn’t been abandoned, though. He’s a beautiful animal.”
“Why don’t you ask around at school,” she continued, “Maybe he’s from one of the other neighborhoods.”
Timothy nodded, “I will,” he said, “Do you think he’s had anything to eat yet? He might be hungry. I could take him a waffle.”
“You’ll do no such thing,” said his mother, sternly “You don’t know anything about him, and you’ve got to get to school.”
“He doesn’t look rabid or anything,” protested Timothy, “You saw him wagging his tail. He looks like a nice dog.”
“Even so,” said his mother, “You never know. Go to school. Ask around. Somebody’s probably missing him.”
Timothy nodded, and gathered up his plate. Just before adding it to the dishwasher he slipped a bit of waffle into his pocket.
At the door his mother gave him one last kiss and patted him on his way. “I love ya, kiddo,” she said, “See ya this afternoon!”
“Love you, too, mom,” said Timothy, giving her a broad smile and a final wave. “See ya later!”
As he walked down the street, Timothy glanced back at the house and was startled to see the dog was following him.
It was about twenty feet behind, and paused when Timothy paused; walked when Timothy walked.
After a block or so, once they were both out of eyesight of the house, Timothy turned and greeted his companion.
“Hello, boy,” he said, crouching to the ground and extending a cautious hand. “Aren’t you a pretty, boy?”
The dog stood looking at Timothy for a moment before lowering its head and trotting forward, tail wagging.
It approached Timothy without fear, and as it reached him it nestled it’s head into the boy’s outstretched palm.
Timothy was amazed. “Good boy!” he said, ruffling the dog’s fur and scratching behind the animal’s ears, “GOOD BOY!”
The dog wagged it’s tail and lifted it’s head to flick it’s tongue against Timothy’s nose, making him giggle.
“Aren’t you a sweet boy!” laughed Timothy, “Aren’t you just the sweetest boy in the whole world!”
Timothy reached into his pocket and took out the piece of waffle he’d saved from earlier.
Holding it gingerly between two fingers, he offered it to the dog. “Are you hungry, boy?”
The dog looked up at him with a curious expression, it’s eyes filled with something that, to Timothy, looked like sadness.
Timothy noticed the dog’s eyes were the same color as his own. “It’s OK, boy,” he said, “Go on. You can take it.”
The dog looked at him for a moment longer, then lowered his head to take the food from Timothy’s hand almost tenderly.
Timothy watched as it ate, marveling at the gentleness of the animal and the expressiveness of it eyes.
“It’s almost as if he’s human,” he thought.
As the dog finished eating it moved closer to Timothy and nuzzled its head against the boy’s hand again.
Timothy cupped his hand beneath the dog’s chin, raising its head lowering his own to press against it.
“Such a sweet boy you are,” he said, “I wonder where you came from? And who you belong to?”
The dog looked at him with soulful eyes and again Timothy was struck by the humanity that seemed to lurk beneath the surface.
They sat gazing at each other, with something approaching understanding, until Timothy suddenly remembered school.
“Crap!” he exclaimed, shooting to his feet, “I’m gonna be late!” He started to turn, but the dog placed a paw on his hand.
“What’s the matter, boy?” said Timothy, looking down, “I’ve got to get to class or I’ll get detention.”
The dog kept his paw in place, looking up at him with eyes almost pleading with an urgency Timothy couldn’t understand.
Timothy gave the dog another pat on the head, then gently removed the animal’s paw from his hand.
“I’m sorry, boy,” he said, backing away with a genuine sadness, “But I’ve got to go. I’m probably late as it is.”
The dog lowered it’s paw slowly and sat down on the sidewalk. As Timothy backed away a high pitched whine escaped its mouth.
The sound pierced Timothy’s soul, and his heart caught in his throat. He didn’t know what to do.
He looked up the street towards his school, then back at the dog, mind spinning furiously. “Could I take him home?” he thought.
“Mom’ll kill me,” he answered himself. “And I can’t take him to school.” He looked at the dog, “What should I do?” he moaned.
The dog offered no answers. With sorrowful eyes it gazed back at Timothy as if trying to convey a message it couldn’t speak.
Timothy bent down again and gave the dog a ferocious hug. “I’m sorry, boy,” he said again, “But I’ve got to go.”
He stood quickly and turned to sprint away. As he rounded the corner he glanced back to see if the dog was following.
It stood stationary where he’d left it, looking after Timothy with shattered eyes.
Closing his eyes to keep his own heart from breaking, Timothy sprinted across the street to the corner of the schoolyard.
As the tires squealed, the dog lifted its head and let out a anguished howl to muffle the sound of the child’s body breaking.
No matter the form a Seraphim takes, the grief they express at the loss of a human is sharp, and deep.
As the sirens wailed, the Seraphim bayed its pain to the heavens, straight to the ears of a melancholy God.
~~ THE END