Dog Days March

Dog Days March

Publisher: Torqure Press, Inc
Wordcount: 7400
Published on: 2013-09-18
Publisher Line: Outserve Charity Sips
Purchase: Buy from publisher

Five years after an accident in the Army left Jim blind, he's braving the summer heat and a new guide dog to walk in the 4th of July parade with the other Wounded Warriors. In Jim's imagination, he finished the parade, got down on one knee in his uniform, and asked Milo "The Question." But a touch of heatstroke wasn't in his plan, and he still hasn't found Milo in the crowded fairgrounds. It's going to take perseverance, strength, and a little love from Milo to get Jim through this Dog Days March.

Excerpt

Jim angled his head towards the dog, making out the sound of panting over the chatter of conversations and the occasional rumble of an engine. "Dog days of summer" was right. It wasn't just warm; it was sweltering. "You're hot too, Cody. Let's hope we find Milo before we both die of heatstroke. And before I give in and take this uniform jacket off. Forward, Cody."

Cody stood, moving forward and veering right. Jim followed obediently. Cody moved slowly, skittish and uncertain, probably because of the cars lining either side of the strip of grass they walked on. The flow of people he heard moving in both directions wouldn't help either. It was difficult for Cody, adjusting to moving obstacles that stopped and started suddenly.

Even through his dark shades, Jim occasionally caught a glint of sunlight off of some bit of chrome, or a shadow passing in front of the glint. The shadow-play was sometimes useful. Today, the inconsistent shapes and flitting movements only added to his headache.

Milo was here, somewhere. He'd promised.

Jim counted out fifty steps. Fifty more, and he'd ask someone for help. Or fish out his phone and call. But giving in, asking for help, went against all of Father's "winners never quit" speeches. And Mother had finally, finally, stopped calling him at work in an unsubtle move to make sure he'd arrived. He'd only gotten lost once on the way to the office, and that had been the first week. The only reason he was lost now was this was someplace new, and Milo hadn't known enough to give him exact directions.

He might have been okay, if not for the nerves that caused him to skip breakfast. The light meal, the heat, Cody instead of Bailey, everything added up to him headachy and off kilter.

Cody jigged one way and then the other. Jim sucked in a breath through his nose and let it out slowly through this mouth. The last thing he needed was Cody picking up and copying his nervousness. "It's okay, Cody. Forward." It couldn't be too much further. Milo had said the Jacks booth was supposed to be close to the entrance of Hot Rod Alley, right by where the parade had ended.