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Sirhan Saifuddin posted at Dec 19 2017, 11:01 AM
The dingy little apartment was just as they’d left it in the morning before school and as the siblings closed the door behind them and locked it with the key they wore on their wrists like bracelets, they fell into a familiar routine in the absence of their parents who were only coming off their shifts in five hours.
There wasn’t any sense of resentment to be felt however, merely the kind of steadfast diligence that came with having grown up faster than most children had to and knowing that the roof over their head for the next month depended on the work their parents put in; it was bad form to have Baba or Amma come back to a home in complete disarray after a day of hard labor.
“What did Amma leave us?”
Sirhan inquired excitedly, starving from a day of classes as he tucked his shabby schoolbag underneath his bed before scampering off to the kitchen where his sister Amira was peering into the weathered pot on the stove. Their mother would cook lunch for them before she left for her dishwashing shift at a neighbourhood diner and entrusted them to heat it up themselves once they returned from school and so far they’d managed to avoid burning down the kitchen despite how much of a fire hazard it was with sprinklers that didn’t work and a lack of ventilation.
“Combusken Karahi. There’s naan on the counter. I’ll heat them up!”
Amira informed him as she rifled through the rickety drawers for a spatula and two plates.
“You go bring in the clothes and take out the buckets. It’s going to rain soon.”
Nodding curtly, the coltish boy made his way to the fire escape where last night’s washing had been hung on one of the many laundry lines which wove in and out between the narrow alley like a web and he reached over the edge of the fire scape to grasp the one their family used with the with the kind of blasé disregard for heights that came with having done this particular chore long enough to know how far he could go before he ended up with a cracked skull on the tarmac five floors below.
Gathering the laundry in his arms, Sirhan was about to head back in when he stopped for a moment as he heard the distinctive sound of a trash can falling over in the alley. As he turned around to peer over the edge of the fire escape in hopes of getting a better look at what creature had made its way into narrow bit of dead-end street, it was to see a rather unique sight in the form of a dog, black and orange and mangy which was snuffling persistently through the big bags of refuse that had been carelessly tossed down by the less civil-minded residents from their balconies and windows.
And in an instant, the mundane routine of yet another weekday afternoon had taken on a new life.
This post has been edited by Sirhan Saifuddin: Dec 19 2017, 11:05 AM
Sirhan Saifuddin posted at Dec 19 2017, 11:03 AM
“There’s a puppy in the alley! A big one!”
Skidding across the floor after having dumped the laundry on the couch to be folded after lunch, Sirhan breathlessly stopped at the entrance to the small kitchenette where Amira was ladling chicken pieces onto the plates and heating up the naan in a pan and his sister raised an eyebrow with a skeptical look in her eyes.
“You’re sure it’s not a really big rat?”
She questioned him further on the matter; Pichus and Helioptiles were a common sight here and the yellow rodents could sometimes grow to prodigious sizes depending on which district in the city they frequented.
The occasional Purrloin was not an odd sight though marginally less so than the first two who were often regarded as pests by the populace, but feral dogs weren’t something which the urban wildlife here had to contend with on a regular basis and for good reason; they were considered more dangerous and strays were subject to being rounded up as quickly as the city council could receive reports on them.
“Unless they come in black and orange, no!”
The boy blurted out before beckoning for her to follow him to the fire escape.
“Come see! He might still be there!”
His sister gave in and turned off the stove, setting the plates of food on the small coffee table in the living room before she followed in his stead.
“Look, maybe it’s just some Lillipup that got loose from a pet shop somewhere. It’s not a big d—-“
The snarl coming from alley below immediately silenced Amira as she scampered over to the side of the fire escape which Sirhan was eagerly looking over just as the sound of toppling trash cans echoed through the narrow cul-de-sac.
“I don’t think he’s a Lillipup.”
Said the younger of the two siblings flatly as they watched the creature tussling violently with a pack of neon yellow goannas which had not taken kindly to the intrusion on their territory.
“Yeah, definitely not a Lillipup.”
Amira nodded in agreement as her brow furrowed in thought.
“He kind of looks like a demon dog. Like the ones in the storybooks. Houndour, I think?”
“He fights like one.”
Sirhan sat down, dangling his legs between the metal slots of the ledge and frowning at the battle taking place as one of the Helioptiles sank their teeth into the dog’s rump while another tore into his nose.
“It’s not fair though, he’s just one puppy and there’s three of them ganging up on him.”
“You don’t have anything to throw and you’re not going down there to fight them. Those things have a nasty bite and if you get hurt, Baba will have to take you to the doctor and get special medicine and we won’t have enough for the apartment this month.”
The older sister’s tone had taken on a stern but concerned note as she glanced over to her baby brother who was pouting unhappily at the notion but seemed resigned to it regardless as she then tried to console him a little.
"Come on, Bhaiyya. He looks strong! I bet he can handle them just fine.”
As though on cue, the Houndour managed to free himself from the lizards’ grip and left out a flurry of angry yarking as he plowed one of them into the side of a dumpster which dented on impact before snatching another around the throat and violently shaking and dragging it across the ground like a ragdoll before tossing into a wall. Agonised reptilian shrieking filled the air as the electric lizards hurriedly limped away from the savage hound who let loose a few more booming barks as a final warning to anyone else in the area who wanted a scrap with him.
With an approving nod, Amira ruffled her brother’s hair as he broke into a relieved grin and clapped his hands appreciatively.
“Well what did I tell you?”
This post has been edited by Sirhan Saifuddin: Dec 19 2017, 11:04 AM
Sirhan Saifuddin posted at Dec 19 2017, 02:00 PM
The clapping of Sirhan’s hands didn’t evade the pup who was alternating between licking his wounds and digging through the garbage for dinner scraps and as the Houndour looked up to the source of the sound, he locked gazes curiously with the two children who’d been watching the entire altercation before sitting on his haunches and letting out a low ‘boof’ at them.
It didn’t sound as threatening as his battle barks, it sounded more like a question than anything else and as Sirhan waved gleefully at the pup, elated at having drawn the canine’s attention, he let out another ‘boof’ which sounded more conversational this time, his stump of a tail wagging gently.
He had been in the company of humans a few times; they could be kind and cruel in equal measure but these two seated high above him didn’t seem to be like the ones who threw rocks at his head or chased him off with sticks whenever he was trying to find a meal for himself in their refuse.
“I think he’s trying to speak to us.”
Sirhan murmured as his sister crossed her arms with a smirk.
“Well what’s he saying?”
She inquired, playing along as he then got to his feet and smiled toothily at her.
“That a winner should get something for winning!”
He announced, pounding his fist into an open palm decisively as the smirk on his sister's face faltered.
"What are you going to give him, Bhaiyya?"
Amira tilted her head to a side and followed her little brother indoors once more he scooted over to his plate of food and broke off a portion of chicken from the piping-hot Karahi.
"He's hungry! We should give him something to keep his strength up."
Sirhan waved the piece of chicken in front of his sister as he attempted to explain his train of thought as well as he could.
"I bet those dumb banana lizards are going to come back, and I don't want them to chew on the fuse boxes again 'cause we always have to study under candlelight when they do that. Maybe he can keep them away!"
"That is true."
Amira concurred with a thoughtful little frown playing on her lips as she tapped her bottom lip with a finger and deliberated the plan before she broke off a piece of her chicken as well.
"Amma and Baba shouldn't find out. She's might not be happy if she finds out we're giving our food to a stray."
Sirhan mimed zipping his lips into silence as both siblings headed for the door and pulled it open. Just as they came out to the corridor however, the sight of a group of burly men idly chatting over glasses of liquor made them stop in their tracks as one of them decked in a ratty leather jacket leered at Amira tauntingly.
"Well hey there sweetheart."
Came the sleazy crooning as Sirhan squared his jaw instinctively stood in front of his sister even though she was a few inches taller than him.
"Where you off to in a rush? Your parents home?"
"Yup. They're home. Just checking for the newspapers."
Amira fibbed, not wanting it to be common knowledge to the squatters here that they were both almost always alone on weekday afternoons as she took hold of her little brother by the wrist and quickly retreated back into the ramshackle apartment unit where the door was locked, bolted and had a chair shoved under the knob for added measure before they both sank down on the floor next to it.
Sirhan’s breath was hitched in his throat and he saw his sister crawling towards the landline phone on the kitchen wall when the doorknob rattled experimentally in someone’s attempt to open it from outside and both of them kept quiet until whoever it was had given up and gone off elsewhere.
“Not a good idea to go outside right now huh.”
The boy glumly pointed out the obvious as he rested his cheek on his palm and studied the piece of chicken sullenly.
Both siblings commiserated over the situation in silence before Amira snapped her fingers and proclaimed earnestly,
“I know just the thing!”
This post has been edited by Sirhan Saifuddin: Dec 19 2017, 02:01 PM
Sirhan Saifuddin posted at Dec 19 2017, 03:15 PM
Padding through the garbage for an hour had only earned the Houndour half a mouldy loaf of bread (he’d nibbled off the clean parts and disregarded the green stuff) and some stale pizza crusts which he scarfed down hungrily and already he could feel his stomach rebel. It kept him fed for the moment certainly but too much bread was no good for him and he needed more than that and water to survive the rest of the summer; while he’d put up a good fight against the Helioptiles earlier, he could feel his muscles grow weak with lethargy in the absence of any meat in his diet for the past week.
The pickings here were slim, part of him chastised himself for not killing one of the damn lizards for food as he lapped thirstily at some water which was leaking from underneath an air-conditioning unit before sinking to the ground to lick his wounds further, every now and then passing a glance to the fifth floor fire escape where the two children had hung out earlier.
He had asked the boy (who seemed more interested in him than the girl was) if there was any meat to be spared. It was a long shot especially since he was quite sure they couldn’t understand him but it didn’t hurt to hope. They had disappeared for a while however, and resignedly, he licked his chops and settled his head down upon his paws for a quick nap to regain his strength.
It was hard for humans to find food here too. He’d seen many homeless ones rummaging through the trash like he did and they had it worse because their stomachs couldn’t handle bad food as well as a Pokemon’s did.
Sometimes they got violently ill from it.
Sometimes they died from it, like his former friend and then the Helioptiles would try to feed on them. He chased them off however and barked and barked until someone noticed and called the ambulance to pick up the bodies and then he had to run because inevitably they would also call the men with nets who from their loud conversations always seemed to think he had something to do with these deaths.
He didn’t hurt or eat them because they were kind to him sometimes (It seemed to him that often the humans who had very little were the nicest because they knew what it was like to be hungry and cold) and while he disliked the humans who blamed him for doing awful things, he didn’t hold it against the poor for having nothing to give him at the end of the day.
The feeling of something gently bopping his head from above made the Houndour yelp in shock as he scrambled to his feet and bristled once more, readying himself for another attack by the Helioptiles, but there was no sight of the annoying electric goannas.
He heard the shout from above as he looked up and saw the boy once more perched upon the fire escape, dangling a long length of laundry line all the way down to where he was and at the very end of it tied up neatly like a present were a pair of Combusken drumsticks drenched in some sort of rich, spicy gravy and oh Arceus how good smelled.
He was drooling before he even realised it and he lolled his tongue exuberantly before barking excitably at the boy who reeled down the offering, dancing on his hind legs and wagging his tail madly as the child added on,
“It’s for you!”
The Houndour wasted no time yanking the drumsticks free from the twine and settling down for his first proper meal in a week as high above him, Sirhan’s smile was as bright as the sun.
“You think he likes it?”
Amira inquired dryly as she chuckled at the pup’s expression of pure bliss as he horked down a chunk of meat.
Sirhan nodded as he reeled up the laundry line they had pilfered from the store room.
Once the deed was done, both children finally settled down on the fire escape with their own plates of food as they ate in companionable silence with the dog far below and through a mouthful of rice, he pointed out,
“We fed him. He’s a friend now ‘cause Amma always makes friends through food so we should name him!”
“You got any ideas?”
Amira took a deep draught from her plastic tumbler before using what water was left to clean off the end of the laundry line which was coated in Karahi gravy.
“He fights like a prince of his own kingdom. Even if it is small and smelly and kind of dingy.”
Said the boy with a shrug as the notion came to him and he announced it with all the gravitas of a royal at a knighting ceremony.
“Shehzada. I’m going to name him Shehzada.”
This post has been edited by Sirhan Saifuddin: Dec 19 2017, 03:25 PM
Sirhan Saifuddin posted at Dec 20 2017, 04:34 PM
A week had passed since the appearance of the Houndour pup in the alley next to their apartment and by now, both Sirhan and Amira had fallen into the routine of feeding the creature before they left for school with whatever scraps they had left from last night and then sharing their lunch with him when they came home.
The older of the two siblings inquired in hushed tones as she cleaned up the plates after breakfast; There was a ten-minute time frame in which Amma and Baba needed to ready themselves for work and were sequestered off in their room, and it was in these ten minutes that Sirhan would rush to search through the old fridge and bin for anything salvageable.
"Mareep bones. There's still some meat on them!"
Sirhan hissed back triumphantly as he quickly wrapped up the raw bones left over from last night's curry in old newspaper before hustling them out of the kitchen like precious cargo. The sound of flowing water from the shared bathroom hadn't died down yet when he made it back to their bedroom and popped the package into his schoolbag before hopping out of his pajamas and into the second-hand clothes, jeans and a hoodie which Amma had bought from the local thrift store for school.
Outside, the sun had just about risen above the pink and purple horizon to chase away the last remnants of twilight as he poked his head out of their bedroom window to check on the alley down below. It was dark there still which made it hard to spot anything among the pitch black garbage bags which were haphazardly dumped there, but he pressed his lips together and whistled and could have sworn he heard a gentle rustling somewhere among the refuse.
Crossing his fingers with the hope that it wouldn't be another Helioptile---they kept count now to see how many days the dog would last there before the roving goannas which proliferated in the streets drove him off---the small pout on Sirhan's lips quirked into a wide grin as he saw a distinctively canine silhouette stepping off a large garbage bag which had been used as a nest the previous night and vigorously shaking off any remnants of sleep with a long, wide yawn.
Waving at the dog which lolled a pink tongue at him, the nine-year old slipped back behind the window and hoisted his bagpack upon his shoulders before nodding at Amira who was carefully adjusting her hijab in the mirror and adding more pins to secure it in place on her shoulder.
She never had to use that many pins on it before back in Hoenn, but a number of Uberimme residents had a distinctive brand of dislike for the simple piece of cloth which necessitated that she add more to secure it in place so careless hands couldn't so easily swipe it off. It was something she was used to at this point albeit reluctantly, just another facet of the big city she had to deal with despite being just a child but she saw the thoughtful frown playing on her brother's boyish features through the mirror and that was her cue to walk over to him and poke him playfully on the nose to break him out of his doldrums.
"You're not wearing that long face to see him, are you Bhaiyya? Come on, let's go before we're late for school!"
This post has been edited by Sirhan Saifuddin: Dec 20 2017, 04:34 PM
Sirhan Saifuddin posted at Dec 20 2017, 05:12 PM
They both exited the room, running into their parents' arms for goodbye hugs and kissing their father's hand before their mother handed them a piece of garlic naan wrapped in baking paper to tide them over during recess.
"Take care of each other, look both ways before crossing and be careful on the streets."
Uzma was nursing a workplace injury in the form of a sizable scalding burn on her left forearm, but that didn't dampen her spirit as she knelt down low to kiss them each on the cheek before adding with a lively gleam in her eyes,
"If somebody grabs you, kick them in the nuts!"
"God will understand."
The father Javed added on with a conspiratory wink as he checked on his inventory list before he was to head down to the store where he was working as a stocker.
Closing the door behind them, both brother and sister bolted down the stairs two steps at a time until they had reached the ground floor of the run-down low-cost apartment they had called home ever since they were saved by a trained Wailord and pulled out from the sea by a Ranger vessel.
Skidding out of the main entrance of the complex, Sirhan took a sharp turn to his right and after looking around to ensure that no one was watching, slipped surreptitiously into the darkened alley followed swiftly by his sister who lifted the hem of her dress slightly to keep it from catching dirt from the dank tarmac.
"Bhaiyya, wait for me!"
She called out to him softly but it was enough that the Houndour could hear as the dog poked his head out from behind a crate and watched the shadowy little human figures approaching him from the only way in and out of the alley he'd decided to call home when the sun had fallen on his daily roaming of the streets for scraps.
Upon catching a proper whiff of their scent however, he left out a jubilant whuff and hopped out of his resting spot before trotting over to them with his stumpy tail wagging away amicably and he could hardly contain his glee when Sirhan slipped off the bagpack from small shoulders and hefted out the little parcel of lamb bones.
"Shhhh don't bark so much okay? Else they'll find you!"
Sirhan raised a hand to bid the pup to keep silent for a moment as he unwrapped the bones from the old newspapers and set them down before the Houndour who sniffed them over eagerly.
"Here. It's not a lot but they're nice to chew on right?"
The dog managed the gentlest of all boofs and headbutted Sirhan affectionately in the chest before allowing Amira to scratch the sweet spot between his ears as he tailwagged his thanks and settled down to gnaw on breakfast.
"See you at lunch!"
Both sibling echoed in unison as they left the alley and started their two-kilometer walk to the nearest school in the heart of the city. They had hardly gone abut five hundred meters however when Amira stopped in her tracks and peered at something on the wall which was lit to stark relief by a street lamp that still hadn't gone out with daybreak yet.
"Sirhan, wait. Look over here!"
Amira beckoned for her baby brother to take two steps back to where a fresh notice had been pasted up upon a wall which was decked out in old posters and faded graffiti. Had it not been for the official-looking form and the logo of the local county on its letterhead, the notice would have gone completely under their radar, but as they read each line of it, the impassive look on their faces quickly turned to dawning concern as they traded glances with one another.
"They're going to put up a bounty on all the dogs and cats caught with no licenses. Thirty for every cat and fifty for every dog. If people come for him---"
Sirhan puffed out his cheeks stubbornly as his nostrils flared bullishly and he glared at the notice as though it had offended him on a personal basis
He liked the dog. The dog liked him. They fed the dog. It was their dog and that dog was worth more than fifty bucks in cramped cage tossed into the back of an unmarked van.
"We'll just have to get him a license!"
Sirhan Saifuddin posted at Dec 28 2017, 05:00 PM
“Fifty dollars? Just for the license?”
The nine-year old echoed hollowly as he stared at the cheerful, brightly-colored leaflet advocating the registering of Pokemon with the city’s database which he was handed when he voiced his concerns at the reception counter of the local Pokemon Center.
They had made their way to the ubiquitous red-and-white building bearing the oversized logo of a Pokeball in the middle of the sprawling city which was a hotspot for travelling trainers the moment their school session ended—-Sirhan himself had been unable to focus during the last hour of math which made his teacher who was already testy on a good day irate enough to rap his knuckles with a ruler for ‘daydreaming’ and he hadn’t felt like contradicting her then—-
“For the tag and microchipping services, yes.”
The lady at the counter, a chipper freckled blonde with a high ponytail replied with a wide smile that told he she didn’t at all comprehend the weight of the matter from the dismay written all over his face as she reached out to ruffle his hair like a big sister would have.
“You can get the money from your parents, honey; come in here with your Pokemon buddy and we’ll take care of everything, no problem!”
To her credit, she was genuinely friendly at least; he could feel the stares from people in the line behind him boring into his back and a portly man roughly nudged him in the shoulder to shoo him off like a mangy pup as he mumbled a quick “Thank you!” to the receptionist before darting out of the Pokemon Center and through the sliding doors towardsthe phone booth which his sister was anxiously waiting beside.
“Fifty dollars. For the tag and microchip.”
Sirhan repeated the information he was given as Amira paled at the amount stated before scanning through the leaflet which her younger sibling handed to her.
They hadn’t held so much as a ten-dollar bill in their life, the notion that they needed five times that was staggering and she swallowed hard as she folded up the printed page and handed it back to Sirhan who stuffed it in the side pocket of his bag.
“How’re we going to get fifty dollars?”
She almost whispered as the two of them shakily started to walk home.
“We can’t ask Baba or Amma. That’s a week of food!”
On their way home from school, the sun rose high above their heads and burned away like the searing eye of a vengeful god; the walk to the apartment often left him hungry and thirsty which made him look forward to whatever was left on the stove for lunch but Sirhan felt none of that right now as they trudged upon the sidewalk looking completely deflated.
“Baba skipped dinner for a month to pay for the school fees and our school books. We can’t do that to him again.”
Sirhan nodded grimly in agreement as his brow furrowed in thought;
There had to be a way to find the money, find it the right way because stealing was out of the question; Amma didn’t raise ruffians in her household.
He stopped in his tracks all the sudden as Amira bumped into him almost bowled him over as his gaze locked upon one of the stores where some gangly teenagers were lining up at.
Before she could voice her concern, Sirhan tugged at her sleeve and pointed to the HELP WANTED sign in the display window and suddenly things didn’t seem as bleak as they were five minutes ago even though he was all of nine years old, weedy and with zero experience.
“What if we make the money ourselves?”
Sirhan Saifuddin posted at Dec 28 2017, 06:04 PM
The first store they had gone into in hopes of securing a job, even just for a few days to pay for Shehzada’s license had turned them back outside almost immediately as the owner, a burly man who stank of of cigarette smoke laughed at them after looking them over scathingly and announcing that he had no use for skinny kids who looked like they weighed seventy pounds soaking wet and holding a brick.
Sirhan had puffed out his cheeks when they were a safe distance away from the store and Amira adjusted her hijab before stating firmly,
“Time to find a place that will hire two skinny kids seventy pounds a piece.”
Together they scouted out every wall on their way back, jotting down addresses and pulling free several leaflets from establishments in the neighbourhood who were looking for part-time help. They ranged from newspaper routes to more shady requests for child actor auditions in an office a few blocks away from their apartment which they knew hadn’t been open in months (This they ignored) and both sister and brother marched up to every shop on the list they made, eyes and smiles bright with the hope that one of them would be kind enough to offer them a job that they’d set their mind to put every second of their after-school into.
The stocky blonde woman who needed assistants to stock her shelves had barked at them to leave her shop the moment she saw them come in and the spiteful look in her eyes was a familiar one which sent them scurrying away as fast as they could
The bespectacled store owner with the bushy moustache who needed newspapers delivered had been kind but firm in requiring that one of them owned a bike to expedite the delivery process given the long distances he needed them to cover on their routes; it something neither of them had.
The willowy lady with pale skin who ran the bookstore was sympathetic to their story but insistent that the job of arranging the books after the customers were done looking through them went to a local and simply wished the siblings luck on their endeavours.
High above, the sun had drifted down to a late afternoon golden glow that placed the current time at half-past three and as Sirhan and Amira made their way to the last shop on the list, the hunger from missing lunch was palpable as they leaned against a lamp post for a moment to catch their breath.
“They might not take us in.”
The older of the two stated forlornly as she wiped the sweat from her forehead and lifted her feet one after like a HootHoot to rest them after the long walk, seemingly fruitless walk.
“Then we’ll find some place else.”
Sirhan wandered off to a nearby water fountain to fill his bottle before returning to Amira as he shared the drink with her.
“We gotta try.”
They marched off to the last store which was just behind the corner of the block and stopped in their tracks as they saw the exterior of the establishment;
It was a shelter, not a store and from where they were, they could already hear the baying of countless animals from within as they looked at one another, nodded and then waited for the traffic light to turn green at the Zebstrika crossing before skittering across the main road to slip through the doors which were adorned with images of cheerful Glameows and Lillipups.
There was no one to be seen at the reception counter as they nervously glanced around before Sirhan mustered the courage to reach out and ring the bell on the counter. Several seconds passed before they heard heavy footsteps coming their way from the back and an absolute wall of a man, dark-skinned and decked out in tattoos marched out with a towel slung over one shoulder smelling faintly of manure and kibble. He had to lean down to peer curiously at the two scruffy children staring at him wide-eyed and apprehensive before looking around to see if their parents were in the vicinity and in realising that both siblings were here alone, finally spoke up in a rough, deep baritone;
“Can I help you kids?”
This post has been edited by Sirhan Saifuddin: Dec 29 2017, 05:47 PM
Sirhan Saifuddin posted at Dec 29 2017, 05:41 PM
An uncomfortable silence permeated between them for several seconds before Amira took a deep breath and placed upon the counter the simple black and white text flyer requesting for extra hands which they'd peeled off a wall in an alley five blocks away. The man raised at eyebrow as he stared the page and then shifted his gaze towards the two children who were the furthest thing away from the kind of people he'd expected to walk through those doors in answer to his call.
"Y-you said you wanted help, well we're here to help!"
Sirhan spoke up, emboldened by his sisters presence finally as he stood on tiptoes to get a better look at the person who ran the place who by all means was the most intimidating of the people they'd approached to get a job. He didn't chase them away immediately, but with his arms crossed he did look mildly exasperated; they were clearly not what he'd expected.
"Yeah well, I was kind of expecting you know. Taller. Late teens maybe. Your parents know you're doing this?"
The man inquired, still in minor disbelief at the potential applicants as Sirhan and Amira traded furtive glances with one another before slowly shaking their heads.
"Well, they're not at home."
The elder sibling admitted as she clasped both her hands angelically before putting on the sweetest smile she could muster.
"They're usually working until really late so we figure we'd help out you know? Contribute to the household?"
Sirhan chimed in, mirroring her grin and if either of them had tails, they would have been wagging at eighty miles an hour.
"That's cute kid, but I've got child labor laws to think about; they're a thing here. You get permission from your parents, you come back here, I'll see what I can do."
with a shrug of his shoulders broad enough to support a child on either side, the man turned around to return to the back of the shelter. He stopped in his tracks however when he heard something slapped on the counter again and threw a sidelong glance to where Sirhan was struggling to keep his chin above the edge of the tall desk as a tiny hand planted the leaflet from the Pokemon Center on the chipped and weather surface of the tabletop.
"There's a puppy in the alley next to our home. We feed him what we can and he chases away Helioptiles from the fuse boxes so we don't have to do our homework under candlelight anymore when they mess up the wires and the lights go out."
The scruffy boy finally blurted out the truth with an edge of desperation and the feeling of his heart lodged up in his throat.
They needed a yes on this by hook or crook.
"They're saying we have to get him a license so he won't get caught. It's Fifty dollars so it's okay if you can't give us a big job, just a small one will do. So we can keep him. Please?"
There was a pregnant pause as work-worn hands picked up the leaflet so that it could be read over a couple of times before it was finally put down.
"Lillipup? Growlithe? Rockruff?"
The man's interest was now piqued as he tapped his chin thoughtfully.
"Nu-uh. A Demon Dog!"
Sirhan piped up proudly as Amira cleared her throat and clarified;
"He means a Houndour."
"Well I'll be damned. You definitely need to get that boy licensed."
said the man with a frown now; The expression wasn't so much borne out of dislike as it was concern however.
"That's classified within Uberrime as a dangerous breed. If they do drag him to some pound, chances are he's not getting out of there."
"But he's not dangerous!"
The younger of the two siblings exclaimed as he took a step back from the counter, both flabbergasted and horrified at the notion.
"He's a good boy!"
"No, I figure he ain't by he way you talk about him but shit-ass people make dogs like him dangerous so easiest thing for the city council to do is to round up all the ones who don't have owners to vouch for them."
said the shelter's owner with a rattling, world-weary sigh as he turned around and tipped his chin towards the entrance into the back of the establishment.
"Come with me, we'll talk about this."
This post has been edited by Sirhan Saifuddin: Dec 29 2017, 05:49 PM