A ten-minute short
By Shiva the Dog
Cast of Characters (in order of appearance):
Shiva’s Person #1
Shiva’s Person #2
(An urban forest in Western Canada at dusk. The season is early winter. The sun has set below the treeline and the lighting is dim. The ground is covered in a mix of brambles and crunchy snow. The jingling of metal tags is heard but otherwise all is quiet. A female, medium-sized, merle-coated dog, Shiva, darts into the scene, ears flying, tongue dangling)
Shiva: (excitedly) Woo hoo! I’m a dog! I’m a dog! Oh yeah! I’m a dog! Gotta sniff! Gotta run! Woo hoo!
(Runs around the base of the trees, nose to the ground. Dog sees a stick and picks it up in her mouth, chomping and growling)
Shiva: Grrrr! I’ll get you stick! Huh? I smell something!
(Drops the stick and runs in a seemingly random direction, nose high in the air. Leaps into some brambles, crashes into a tree, and then keeps running.)
Shiva: (euphoric) Haha! I knew it! Mud! Best thing ever!
(Immediately starts eating the mud on the ground as fast as she can, tail wagging. A human voice is heard calling from the other side of the trees.)
Shiva’s Person #1: Shiiiiivaaa! C’mon puppers!
(The dog’s ear flicks. Continues to eat the mud making slurping sounds.)
Shiva: Mud, mud, I love mud. I am a dog and I love mud.
(The voice is heard again, sounding more impatient)
Shiva’s Person #1: Sheevs! Let’s go! C’mere!
(Eats faster, body tensing. Voice shouts again, sounds farther away.)
Shiva’s Person #1: Bye Shiva! I’m leaving you here!
(Looks up, mud falling out of her mouth. She cocks her head to listen. There is no sound. She licks the ground briefly then looks up again. Silence.)
Shiva: Huh? (looks around) Where am I?
(Takes a few steps forward out of the mud, tail held out straight, sniffing the air. Looks around quickly, panicking.)
Shiva: Ack! I’m alone! I’m alone! She left me! Ack! Ack!
(Runs forward as fast as she can, leaping over brambles and fallen branches. Keeps running and jumping, approaches two dead trees on the ground set wide over five feet apart with sharp branches jutting upward.)
Shiva: Gotta find her! I’m alone! Gotta find her! Don’t leeeeeaaaaaavvvvvve meeeeeeeeee!
(Leaps wildly in the air, neck, chest, and legs fully extended. Chest scrapes one of the sharp branches of the fallen trees. Dog falters a little but lands on the other side, continues to run.)
Shiva: Huh? Gotta run! Gotta find her!
(Runs to the edge of the woods and reaches a wide snow-covered path. Looks to her left and stops running. Pants. A female human, Shiva’s Person #1, is standing on the path about thirty feet away from the dog and up a steep incline. Human is holding a dog leash in her right hand.)
Shiva’s Person #1: Shiva! There you are! C’mere!
Shiva: Ummm… (sits and looks down at her chest, twists around to lick at her side)
Shiva’s Person #1: (reaches into her left pocket and pulls out some dog kibble, drops the kibble on the ground.) Let’s go, puppy!
Shiva: Food! I love food! (starts to run then stops) Huh. (twists her neck around to lick her stomach)
Shiva’s Person #1: Sheevs, I’m serious. It’s time to go home.
Shiva: (looks up, trots toward the human, tail between her legs.) Ow! Food! Ow! Food! (Lays down in front of Shiva’s Person #1 and eats the kibble.)
Shiva’s Person #1: (clips the leash on to Shiva‘s collar, looks concerned) Shiva, are you okay? (Motions for Shiva to stand, kneels and examines Shiva‘s side. There is a large amount of fur missing. Touches the area and then pulls hand away.) There’s no blood… (Touches Shiva‘s chest again and her brow furrows.) Let’s go home.
(Shiva and Shiva’s Person #1 run up the path. They run over a bridge and up a set of stairs. They run down another path and up another set of stairs, reach an open field and keep running. Shiva‘s tail remains between her legs but she runs directly beside Shiva’s Person #1. Shiva’s Person #1 reaches in to pocket for kibble and gives to Shiva several times as they run. Shiva‘s tail wags each time she sees the kibble and then goes back between her legs.)
(They run to another path and then out on to a residential street. The sky is now black. Only lighting is from the houses that line the street. Shiva and Shiva’s Person #1 run up another hill and then on to a sidewalk.)
Shiva’s Person #1: (worried) It’ll be okay, Sheevs. As long as we get home. It’ll be okay.
(Shiva and Shiva’s Person #1 reach a large white house on the corner. They run through a gate and up the steps to the front door. Shiva sits on the top step as Shiva’s Person #1 removes her mitten to open the door. Shiva‘s tail wags.)
Shiva’s Person #1: (looking down at Shiva) It’ll be okay.
(Shiva’s Person #1 opens the door and Shiva runs through. Shiva’s Person #1 follows and closes the door behind her.)
(Lights in the house flicker to mark the quick passing of time.)
(Shiva’s Person #1 and Shiva’s Person #2, a tall male human, slam open the door. Shiva is behind them and still on a leash held by Shiva’s Person #1. All three characters run down the stairs and toward the back of the house. Nothing is said other than soft encouraging words directed at Shiva.
(There is a blue pickup truck parked behind the house on a gravel driveway. Shiva’s Person #2 gets into the driver’s seat of the truck. Shiva’s Person #1 runs around the other side and opens the back door of the truck on the passenger side)
Shiva’s Person #1: (gently but in a panic) C’mon, Sheevs. Let’s go.
Shiva: (jumps into the back seat of the truck without difficulty) Okay.
(Shiva’s Person #1 gets into the truck and sits beside Shiva.)
Shiva’s Person #2: (strained) What’s the clinic address again?
(Truck backs out of the driveway, into the alley behind the house, and then out to the street. Truck turns quickly on a busy road and picks up speed. The bright lights of a large city loom in front of the truck.)