1.16. Good Dog
“I don’t understand why you brought that filthy dog into our house,” Human Female wrinkles her nose at Human Male.
“‘That dog’ has a name, and it’s Sheba,” Human Male runs his hands through Sheba’s fur, “and I adopted her because homes with dogs are statistically safer from break ins.”
“I don’t think a dog could have stopped,” she stops mid-sentence and yawns loudly before continuing, “Mercury from waltzing into Lark’s room.” Human Female’s eyes are bloodshot, and there are bags under them. Every movement seems to demand a great amount of her energy.
“I’m going to train her to guard Lark,” Human Male says, “and she’s a good guard dog. Aren’t you, Sheba? Aren’t you the best guard dog?”
Sheba tilts her head.
“No she doesn’t, Luna. You’re just being contrary.”
“I’m never contrary.”
“You’ll come around--Sheba is a part of this family now. Right, Sheba?”
Sheba wags her tail. The conversation is hard for her to follow, but she likes the tone of the male’s voice. The female isn’t friendly, though, but that’s okay. Sheba is patient. Sheba can win her over. Sheba will unite new pack.
Sheba is excited to be part of new pack. Human Male had taken her from the sad concrete building where Sheba had lived for the past year. Sheba did not care for that place. New home is much better. Sheba will protect new home.
Human Male leads her around new home and shows her each room before presenting Tiny Human to Sheba. He lingers nearby while she sniffs Tiny Human. Tiny Human smells sweet and fresh, but there’s a hint of something Sheba can’t place. Sheba is not a young dog, so this surprises her--she thought that she had smelled all of the smells in the world. This is very concerning. New smell is otherworldly, airy, floral. Sheba makes note of new smell.
“Sheba, this is Lark. You need to protect Lark, okay? You need to let us know if she’s in danger.”
While Sheba does not fully understand Human Male’s strange yapping, she understands that her purpose in the pack is to guard Tiny Human. And so Sheba will protect Tiny Human for the good of the pack.
“Again,” Human Female protests, “I don’t think this will help.” She sniffles softly. Sheba whines--she does not like it when humans cry. It is very pitiful. Very annoying, too.
“You need to get some sleep, Luna. You’re exhausted.”
“I can’t sleep,” Human Female snaps, “Someone has to watch over Lark.”
“And that’s where Sheba comes in, hon. She’ll let us know if anyone breaks in.”
“But if that person is working for an effing fairy or whatever, what is she going to do to stop them?” A tear rolls down her cheek.
Human Male sighs, “She’ll at least let us know, and then we’ll figure it out. Besides, Lark will be a child soon. From what Mercury said, his, ummm--employer?--his employer only wants babies. Until then, Sheba will keep her safe. Right, Sheba?”
Sheba looks proud in the face of Human Female’s doubt.
Tiny Human takes a liking to Sheba almost immediately, and Sheba returns the affection. Sheba can see the value in Tiny Human: she is cute, like an almost furless puppy, and she makes pleasant babbling sounds. She has a very promising future, and Sheba will ensure that Tiny Human is properly raised. And other than her disconcerting smell, Sheba enjoys the company of Tiny Human. Even when Tiny Human holds on to Sheba just a little too tightly.
There are other small humans in the house as well: Human Boy and Human Girl. They are of similar size and smell, though they look very different from each other. They are bigger than Tiny Human but smaller than Human Male and Human Female. Sheba has not been tasked with guarding them, but still she keeps on eye on them. Sheba must keep all members of the pack safe, even those who do not seem like they are in danger.
Human Boy and Human Girl often play together. They like to pelt each other with objects: snow, balls, pillows. They scream and shout as they hit each other. Sheba watches approvingly. Rough play is the best way for pups to learn how to defend themselves. Human Female often yells at Human Boy and Human Girl when she finds them play-fighting. Human Female does not want them to fight. Human Female does not realize how important play-fighting is to a pup’s development. Sheba knows she should not judge the parenting style of others, but Human Female is doing a disservice to her pups by discouraging play-fighting.
Tiny Human has many toys. Sheba has toys, too, but Tiny Human’s toys are different. Tiny Human does not play with her toys by chewing or ripping, which Sheba thinks is a shame. How will Tiny Human practice hunting? How will Tiny Human keep her teeth clean? Tiny Human should really play more roughly with her toys. Sometimes Tiny Human shares her toys with Sheba, and Sheba demonstrates the proper way to play. Tiny Human cries when Sheba destroys her toys, though.
There is one toy Sheba does not care for, and that is Tiny Human’s stuffed bear. Tiny Human’s stuffed bear is loud. It speaks in a woman’s voice, but it is so high pitched that Sheba doubts the humans’ puny ears can hear it. Except for Tiny Human--Tiny Human can hear it.
Tiny Human calls her bear Ahtey. Sheba does not like Ahtey. Ahtey asks Tiny Human to come visit her and play with her. Ahtey tells Tiny Human that she wills end someone to collect her. Tiny Human should not go to Ahtey.
As Tiny Human grows, so does the strange woman’s voice. It becomes louder, more pleading. The voice is loudest when Tiny Human plays with Ahtey. So Sheba makes a decision: Ahtey must go.
Sheba waits until Tiny Human is distracted by another toy. Tiny Human screeches whenever Sheba touches her toys, and Sheba cannot risk Human Male and Human Female stopping her from this important mission.
When Tiny Human is occupied, Sheba grabs the bear in her mouth and darts out the back door. She runs to the nearby woods and drops the bear in the snow. Then she digs as deep down as her paws will go, deep enough that Ahtey will not be able to call to Tiny Human. Her paws are rubbed raw by the friction, but Sheba ignores the pain. Sheba is strong. Sheba is brave. Sheba will protect Tiny Human.
Sheba drops the bear into the hole and covers it up, panting as she pushes soil and snow into the hole. Ahtey tries to speak, but her voice is muffled and inaudible. Sheba did a good job. Sheba wags her tail and trots back to the house where there is no voice, no Ahtey.
At night, Tiny Human sleeps in a cage with an open top. Sheba feels pity for Tiny Human--sleeping in a cage is lonely and frightening. But Sheba knows that Tiny Human is put in this cage for her own safety. Sheba sleeps nearby so she can follow Human Male’s directions to protect Tiny Human. Most nights, it is quiet in the house and Sheba need do nothing.
But tonight is different.
Tonight there is Intruder Human.
Sheba does not like Intruder Human.
He is male and big, bigger than Human Male. He walks through the wall to get into Tiny Human’s room. Sheba does not like that--humans are not supposed to walk through walls. And he has the same otherworldly smell as Tiny Human.
Ahtey sent him. Sheba is smart. Sheba knows this.
Intruder Human does not seem to notice Sheba at first. He stands in front of Tiny Human's cage and stares at her. Tiny Human does not stir. But Sheba notices. Sheba watches. Sheba waits.
“Sorry, kid,” Intruder Human mumbles, “but I gotta do this.”
Sheba growls. Intruder snaps around and looks at her before laughing, “scram, you mutt.”
Sheba is taken aback. Intruder Human laughed at her. Intruder Human does not take her seriously. Intruder Human even called her a mutt! But Sheba is no mutt.
Sheba is strong. Sheba is brave. Sheba is hellhound.
Intruder Human is weak. Intruder Human is cowardly. Intruder Human is no match for Sheba. Sheba does not use her fire powers often because it drains her, but she must protect Tiny Human. Intruder Human screams as she blows fire at him, a howl emitting from her mouth along with the hellish flames.
Sheba does not kill Intruder Human, no. She just scares him a little. He needs to live because he is a warning to Ahtey: the next intruder who touches Tiny Human will be Sheba’s dinner.
Tiny Human sleeps through it all. The whole pack does, in fact. They will never know how brave or strong Sheba is. But that is okay. Sheba is confident. Sheba does not need praise to know that she is a good dog.
Before long, Tiny Human grows up and becomes not-so-tiny-human. She is still smaller than Human Boy and Human Girl, but bigger than when Sheba first came. Sheba feels a bitterness in her heart: it is so hard to see pups grow up, but so sweet when they are able to take care of themselves. This makes Sheba realize how special this human is to her. Special Human. That is a good name for a human.
Special Human smells different now that she is older. That otherworldly smell is gone, replaced by normal human smells. She is able to walk steadily, and she can speak now, though she does not speak as much as Human Boy and Human Girl. She sleeps in a different human bed. Sometimes Special Human asks Sheba to sleep on the human bed with her. Sheba likes that.
Sheba was brought into the pack to protect Special Human. Human Male still tells Sheba to protect her. But now that Ahtey is gone and Intruder Human is defeated and the otherworldly smell has disappeared, Sheba can tell Special Human is safe. Safe, at least, from what scared Human Male and Human Female so much.
Sheba is strong. Sheba is brave. Sheba is good. Sheba protected Special Human. So Sheba rewards herself by relaxing a little. She does not pace the house as much. She lets herself play with Human Boy and Human Girl more often. She snoozes during the afternoons and does not bark at every noise outside. Sometimes she even watches human television. Life is simple and predictable. Sheba likes simple and predictable.
Sheba is very surprised one day when she wakes up from a morning nap and Human Female is cleaning. It is not cleaning time. That is for after dinner. But Human Female is cleaning. And Human Male looks worried. Very worried, in fact. And then Human Male brushes Sheba. He never brushes Sheba, unless something special is happening. But what could that special thing be? Sheba does not care for this deviation from the routine.
The doorbell rings. Sheba lets loose a bark as she rushes to the front door.
“Move, Sheba,” Human Female orders. Sheba is annoyed by the command, but she listens.
It is the secondary pack: Secondary Human Female, and Secondary Human Male, and their pups. Sheba is disinterested in them. They are still to be protected, but not as much as Special Human. Still, it is strange that they are here. They normally visit at dinner time.
Sheba is one confused dog.
“You ready?” Human Female asks.
“As ready as I’ll ever be,” Secondary Human Female replies.
"Tag, you're it!" Secondary Pup yells.
"Huh?" Special Human says, her eyes glazed over.
“Should I be worried?” Secondary Human Male asks.
“No,” Human Male says, “well...maybe a little.”
"You're it, Lark! That means you hafta chase me," Secondary Pup whines.
"Oh," Special Human jogs after him halfheartedly.
The doorbell rings again. Sheba trots to the front door to investigate before Human Female pushes her aside. Human Female puts on a strange smile, then opens the door.
“Mom! Dad! Crux! So nice to see you. How was your flight?”
Author’s note: So this chapter originated from this thought: “wouldn’t it be funny if the Bees tried to find a mundane solution to their magical problem and ended up with something equally magical?” And thus the Bees now have a pet hellhound (though she’s more like a Cŵn Annwn). You might be saying, “wow, that’s really convenient and coincidental!” Yes. Yes it is.
This chapter took so long despite its simplicity because I’ve been posting a different, non-legacy story to Tumblr (though I’m also cross posting it to Blogger). That story was initially supposed to be second fiddle to this random legacy, but it’s taken up a lot of time. If you’ve read it and wondered how it’s going to interact with the Bees, the answer is “not much.” At least not for awhile. One of the characters--who hasn’t appeared yet--will probably end up in gen 2 though. But because this other story has grown so big, that character will likely show up in this legacy before the conclusion of his plot line in that story (so I’ll have to perform some writerly acrobatics, which affects me way more than it affects you).
Game-wise, Elysia had another son with Crimson. His name is Liev--that was NOT the name SP gave him. His name was Lashawn, which I felt didn’t match Lowell very well. So I changed it.
Lastly, I want to thank Teal Moon for sending me a bunch of sims. I used one of her sims for Intruder Human. :)