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"Nine one one, what is your emergency?" Joan's tone was flat, a result of desensitization from years of dealing with the worst kind of crises.
"It worked! Oh Jesus, I didn't think it would. Not like that."
"Sir? What worked? Are you injured?"
"I gave it to her. I did it! But that was... I mean, that was supposed to happen, but I didn't think it would, you know?" He seemed to be in shock. The Emergency Address System placed him about thirty miles out of town in an abandoned and mostly dismantled chemical plant. Joan rolled the Sheriff and EMS just to be safe.
"Sir, I need you to calm down and tell me whats going on. Can you do that?"
"Yeah. Yeah, I can... Wait, what? No, she hasn't come back, you see. I thought she would come back for sure. Two days, tops. I told her. I told her what would happen and she left anyway. Six years, you know? I was so close. We were so close and she just up and left. She left! I told her what it would do to me. What it would do to her. She left anyway and she hasn't come back. It's too late now. Much too late. They're coming, right? You sent them already, didn't you. Didn't you? They're coming to take me away... I know..."
"I knew what would happen. I told her. She wouldn't listen. She stopped taking them and she wouldn't listen. Not even when I told her. Not even when her teeth fell out. She wouldn't listen to me. We were so close. How did she get out? I was so careful, how did she get loose? I cooked for her, you know? I cleaned up after her, and she never thanked me. Even once, she never thanked me. I can't stand it. What am I supposed to do? Do you know? She never talked to me the last two years, but last week she laughed. Her hands!"
The shrill scream caused Joan to throw her headset to the desk and topple her chair as she jumped out of it clutching her ears. Her training taught her to keep the caller talking until help arrived, but there was something unnerving in his giddy recollection. For the first time in a long time, Joan was becoming emotionally invested in a call. She was frightened, but she didn't know if her fears were for the the man on the line or for the girl he was talking about. The commotion had drawn the attention of the Shift Leader, and a red LED on her phone let Joan know he was listening in. Reticently, she picked up her headset and resumed her job.
"- anymore they would have come off easy. How did I miss that? Lab's are so much thinner than people's after all. I should have known. I should have known. It's why she laughed. She laughed and now they're coming to take me away. And I can't help her on the funny farm. Oh no. They'll find her and she'll go to the ASPCA and I can't help her there. I should have seen it. How did I miss it? It was hard to look at her after it started. But I did. I watched and I tried to tell her, but she wouldn't listen. She just laughed. She was crazy! I wonder if it hurt?"
"She threw up everything I fed her the first two days. I knew she would, it was happening inside. I wonder what it felt like? I could see it. Before it happened, I could see it. Her skin stretched over her bones as they moved. It wasn't pleasant to watch, even though I did. She looked emaciated, you know? But I fed her. I fed her and cleaned up after her, and she never thanked me. Never once. And then she stopped taking it and it changed her like I told her. Why wouldn't she listen? Do you know? When her feet grew, I should have seen it then. But it took days, you know? I mean, they are bones after all."
"It took days. How could I see through time? She cried until she could eat again, and then the muscles came with the tail. Her face was the same, I think, even when she left. She wasn't human anymore, but I still loved her. She left me all alone. God, I love her. Have you found her? Hello? Have you found her? She'll be a yellow lab, mostly, I think. Young for her age. Bring her to me and I can help her. I can help if you bring her to me. Ok? Oh, they're here. The sirens are breaking through the window. They've come to take me away. I knew it. I knew you called them. And now they're coming to take me away..."