By Lexie Wikel
Mullens Middle School,

Wyoming County Teacher: Leslie Garretson, West Virginia State Winner, Third Place Grades 7-8


My life had purpose. I knew it.
You may regard me as simple-minded, but I know you regard me with respect- even the most cynophobic of humans are aware of my service to their kind.
I am called a police dog. My handlers and my master address me by “Bullet.” I adore hearing my name called by my master.
Currently poised beside my master, my umber eyes settled fixedly on the heavy-setmale a distance from she and I. His body appeared to be concealed in the padded black suit I recalled from my training sessions as a juvenile dog. Inwardly, I yapped with amusement.
I waited for my master’s voice.
A flick of her hand, and I was gone. Long strides devoured the distance between the fleeing man and me. The final obstacle was a dauntingly tall, plastic wall held up by two people that I had to clear to reach the runner. I narrowed my eyes.
With a monumental leap, I soared over the wall, slamming into the guywith ceaseless momentum and taking him to the ground quite roughly. I snapped powerful jaws around a section of the suit, thrashing my head violently as my sharp teeth sank deeper into the thick material. He squirmed vainly underneath me, but he wasn’t going anywhere on my watch.
A shrill whistle, and I swiftly released my once unyieldingly grip on him. I returned to my master’s side and gazed up at her with my tongue lolling pinkly.
What’s next? I blinked up at my master.She crouched to meet my gaze, beaming elatedly. “Good dog, Bullet.” …
The big van came to a screeching halt, and my limbs strained to keep me from face-planting into the floor. An officer- my master! – opened the door for us. I descended to the ground warily, as a metallic odor burned inside my nostrils.
Blood.
My master led me to the apparent scene of the crime.
My hackles raised as we approached the large building- a school. My master was wary, too- her fear-scent was strong and competing with the blood-scent. At last, we reached the entrance of the building. Slowly, stiffly, we entered.
Master’s voice boomed against the empty halls as she uttered a quick demand. No human response met her words. Only a great, suffocating silence.
A desperate scream met our ears. I barked in acknowledgement before pounding down a hallway after the noise. My partners trailed me, peering into every classroom along the way before following me again. I soon found myself alone in the labyrinth that once brimmed with the laughter of children.
I turned a corner to find the cry’s owner, a young girl battered and bruised. Her shiny eyes rounded at the sight of me before she buried her teary face into my fur. I emitted a small bark, just enough to echo for the others to locate me. They eventually did, and the girl was taken hastily away to a safer place.
Now, to find the bad man that did this.
His scent was strong, and it drove my senses mad. Master noticed my tense posture, and we both turned our heads.
A silhouette against sterile lights, the man hastily drew a weapon I’d laid eyes on many times. My master withdrew hers as well. Both stood deathly still.
Abruptly, the man turned and fled down another corridor and some stairs. Master yelled in surprise and exasperation before chasing him, but not as fast as I was on him. In a flash the man and I were tumbling down the stairwell, snapping and striking the whole time. I decided I’d had enough of this and found a hold on his exposed neck. I bit down, hard, just before I felt a metallic touch just above my eye.
Bang!
White-hot agony seared the flesh, while my skull felt bound to shatter with horrible pressure. My vision flashed a pristine white before being engulfed in maroon.
I’m falling, I’m falling, I…What is my purpose? Why am I here?I know.To live for someone. To love someone. And to die for someone.
My life had purpose. I knew it.

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