Childhood Shadows: Paw Patrol

Ryder dropped his croissant onto the floor and ran across to the police scanner after it suddenly screeched into life and frantically made notes on the pad he always left on the desk next to it. After a moment the scanner went silent again, and he looked across to the dog eating his discarded breakfast off the floor.

“Come on Chase, No job is too big, eh?”

The large, tired-looking German Shepherd looked wearily at Ryder for a moment, bits of croissant flake floated down from its muzzle back onto the floor. Its dishevelled, middle-aged owner stared back at him with an intense, hopeful expression, his eyes bright with excitement.

“Come on, boy, ready for action?”

The dog made a low, non-committal, growl, which Ryder took for assent. He grabbed his phone, beckoned the dog to him, then left his apartment.

Thirty minutes later, Ryder arrived at the harbour to find a handful of police cars parked at random, jaunty angles, an ambulance was just leaving with its sirens on — which Chase barked at it half-heartedly as it shot past — and a crowd had formed around the outside of the cars, at least three people deep. Ryder gripped Chase’s leash tighter and pushed through the throng of onlookers.

Detective Turbot was methodically walking around the crime scene, taking great care to avoid the chalked circles that peppered the floor everywhere. He pulled his eyes away from a peculiar bit of evidence, and was idly wondering whether it was a shoulder bone or a knee-cap when he looked across to the crowd and spotted Ryder pushing his way to the front. He swore loudly enough to make one of the forensics guys drop a finger in surprise, then started to walk across to the crowd, suddenly not caring about the chalked remained.

“Ryder — stop right there”

Ryder stopped and looked across to the detective.

“Hi there, Detective, just the man! Paw Patr-” the detective had made it across to Ryder and immediately cut him off.

“You can cut that shit out right now, man. We have it covered, you need to stop this.”

“But I can help” Ryder started to reply, “show him, Chase! We’re on the case, right?”

The dog looked sheepishly up at him.

“Chase, come on boy, show him”, still the dog did nothing.

The detective let the moment linger, then gently put a hand on Ryder’s shoulder.

“Dude, how many times do we have to go over this? You need to find something else to do. Adventure Bay has a functioning response service. This isn’t the old days where my dad would get stuck on his boat and give you a shout, those days are gone. You know what he would do if he were alive today and his trawler hit a rock?”

Ryder started to picture an elaborate pincer formation of dogs on bespoke water vehicles shooting across the waves to a stricken Captain Turbot, but the detective carried on talking and the picture shattered.

“He would call 911, you understand, Ryder, 911?”

Ryder started to reply, then gave up. He was right, this wasn’t his fight anymore, the world had moved on, all of the other dogs were dead now anyway, there was only Chase left, and his chasing days were long gone.

The dog sensed his owners mood and quietly rubbed his head on Ryder’s leg. The broken man took one more look at the murder scene, then turned and left.

Six weeks later, Adventure Bay’s fire service were called to a blaze just outside the city. They found a fourth floor apartment aflame and a dog barking furiously from the sidewalk. The resulting police report indicated that one man had died in the fire. Neighbours told the police that prior to the incident, the man had been seen pushing his dog out of the main entrance and onto the street, he was then seen shortly after shouting at the dog for help through the window, though firefighters reported that they needed to smash the doors in as the occupant had locked them from the inside. The coroner’s report concluded that Ryder had died of smoke inhalation.

The dog was put down a few weeks later.





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