Chapter 1:

Pup and Away

Stray Dog Style

Writing porn, like any other job, had its ups and downs. You got to write about all kinds of different sex - from the vanilla to the incomprehensibly kinky - which was pretty fun, especially when you weren’t getting any yourself. However, there were various challenges, and Elias Coffey was facing one in this exact moment. The fact of the matter was there were only so many ways you could write sexy moaning noises, and he’d already used a whole bunch.

"Damn this main character for being so vocal-"

His shoulders instantly flinched as his mobile phone began to ring. He took a deep breath through his nose, closing his eyes briefly before glancing at the screen. He relaxed only slightly when he saw his editor’s name, the repetitive buzzing of the vibration against the desk burning his ears. He waited for the call to end before picking up the phone with shaking hands. Sure enough, a notification popped up informing him he had a voicemail.

Taking another deep breath, Elias slid his finger across the screen, and brought the device to his ear with an unsteady hand.

“All okay as usual. Just a couple of typos, but I fixed those on my end. I do have some bad news, though. The next client wants to meet face-to-face, or at least speak to you on the phone about the details… Let me know which one is easiest for you. I’d really rather you not pass up this opportunity, but I understand how… difficult it is for you. I’ll be waiting for your email. Oh, and don’t forget to check your bank balance and make sure the last payment went in, we had some issues on our end. Anyway, that’s it from me. Until next time.”

Elias took a moment to take in what his editor had said. Sometimes clients did ask to meet in person, but more often than not he refused. Phone calls even more so. What was the point when you could express what you wanted far more clearly in an email? He placed his phone back down on his desk before rubbing his eyes.

"I should go check my balance…" Erotica wasn’t exactly the most profitable of businesses, and porn scripts paid even less. If he wasn’t careful with his finances, he’d be living hand-to-mouth.

Huffing out a deep sigh, he quickly pulled on a zip-up jacket, reaching for his phone and earphones. The faster he got it over with, the better. Grabbing his keys and flicking his music on shuffle, he left his apartment and started the brisk walk to the convenience store. The walk itself wasn’t bad - Elias might have spent ninety percent of his time indoors, but that didn’t mean that he hated being outside. There was a slight chill in the air but bright skies. The road to the store was lined by huge trees, with one side leading off to a small park. He took a deep breath in, enjoying the sensation.

That’s when he heard it, a sound that even his the music in his ears couldn't muffle. A distinct whining was coming from the direction of the park. Pulling the earbuds from his ears, Elias stopped in his tracks to listen. Again, he could hear a whine. It clearly wasn’t a human noise - he had heard enough of those in his time - and it didn’t sound like a cat... It definitely sounded like a-

“Dog?” Elias muttered aloud before he realised it. Looking into to the park, he saw something small and furry scurrying around. He was about to keep walking when he realised - there were no people in the park. Looking around once more to confirm, he took slow steps into the open area, keeping a distance from the animal. The park had an earthy ground, with tufts of grass here and there, and was surrounded by trees. However, there wasn’t a person in sight. What there was, was a small cardboard box with a tattered umbrella resting over it. An even smaller dog kept running up to the box, jumping in, before whining and jumping out again.

Thinking it might be lost, Elias slowly walked a little closer to the box, wanting to check for a collar. The dog remained completely oblivious, too occupied with running about and making noise. He saw no collar around its neck, no sign of identification. In fact, now that he looked closer, the dog seemed rather thin… Too thin to have as much energy as it did. What he had assumed to be its natural colour was actually what seemed to be mud matted into its fur. Just how long had it been outside…?

The panic quickly set in. What was he supposed to do in this situation? Whipping out his phone, Elias quickly googled ‘stray dog.’

“Millions of stray dogs gassed in Japan”

“9,000 stray dogs killed per day”

“Cruel ‘euthanasia centre’ for stray dogs discovered in Tokyo”

“You’re not helping, Google!” Elias muttered frustratedly, quickly changing his search to ‘what to do when you find a stray dog’, and trying to forget the information he’d just seen. He quickly tapped on the first article, and took a deep breath as he flicked through the contents. The first point stated, “Assume lost, not stray.” Elias took that to heart. He’d much rather think this pup had got lost somewhere than it had been abandoned, but something about that cardboard box made him think otherwise.

“Calmly approach the dog, prioritise your own safety if you feel it may be dangerous.”

“Dangerous, huh?” He took another glance at the dog, which had now calmed down slightly and was pacing around the box, still whining every now and then. Elias took another step forward, making coaxing noises and rubbing the fingers of his right hand together in an attempt to look friendly. Before he knew it, the dog was bounding towards him, tiny front paws clawing at his legs. Slowly lowering to his knees, he reached a hand out towards the dog’s small head, and it only flinched slightly before pushing its head into his touch. Elias was surprised at how warm it was. “As if you could be dangerous...”

He glanced at his phone again, checking the next step in the article. “Ask around to see if the owner is nearby.” Elias swallowed heavily. That one was impossible at the moment, for various reasons - the main one being there wasn’t a single person around to ask. He looked down at the dog, petting its head once more before slowly wrapping his right hand under its stomach, pulling the dog up to his chest. He had known the dog was small and looked thin, but he hadn’t been expecting it to be this light… Worryingly light, and shaking.

Looking from side to side and still not seeing anyone, he slowly unzipped his jacket, bundling up the pup inside before zipping it back up again, leaving the top slightly open. The puppy wriggled around inside his jacket before popping its head out of the top, black nose sniffing around as muddy paws held on to the hem of his zipper. There was only one person he could think of who could help in this situation. Hooking one arm under the dog in his jacket, he brought his phone back to his face and opened up his contacts. With a deep, shuddering breath, he scrolled, finding the name he was looking for.

He paused for a full minute, his eyes scrunched shut. Take a deep breath in, out. Repeat. Opening his eyes again, he quickly pressed call before he could chicken out.

“Hey, it’s Elias. I kind of need to head to your place. Yeah, right now. Is that okay?”