The rain cascaded down from the pitch black sky onto a dead clearing surrounded by square concrete buildings. Sounds of celebration and eager drunkenness echoed throughout the otherwise quiet town. Emeric stared out the window of his small house which, much like all the other buildings on the island, was made of plain white concrete. The inside wasn’t much better. Two rooms: a bedroom-kitchen-workshop combo and small bathroom, with walls and floors and ceiling of concrete. There was barely enough room for him to move around, and the hair on the top of his head just barely grazed the ceiling. It didn’t bother him much, though, as he lived alone, so the small space was easy to deal with. He sat on his bed, and had only a candle to light up the room.
He couldn’t sleep. No matter how much he tried, nothing worked. He even took double the recommended amount of sleeping pills, yet he still stayed awake in some strange insomniatic state between consciousness and unconsciousness. His head leaned against the wall as he continued to stare into nothing. The candlelight cast a soft orange across the room, giving the concrete inside a slightly natural feel and creating an obvious reflection of Emeric in the glass. He tried his best to not notice his scraggly mustache or wrinkles around his face, a depressing sign he wasn’t a young man anymore.
This was Cyrus Island. A small island to the east of Maine. With a population of fifty, it serves as a joint fishing port and military base, although most of the latter is in a restricted area that citizens (such as Emeric) had no access to. Emeric worked as a fisherman. Every day, he went out to sea and caught hundreds of fish in huge nets. It was tiring and repetitive, but it paid enough to live in his shack without worrying about dying of starvation or dehydration.
Emeric continued to stare outside, hoping that he would eventually just fall unconscious. Suddenly, a group of men ran out to the clearing. Given the time of night, it was likely some of the young guys from the base, drunk off their minds, and off to destroy something in the town. They’ve done it before. A few months ago, they trashed the outside of Paul and Sara Trohman’s house. They got off scot free because they’re in the military. Those men were borderline untouchable to the citizens. Emeric’s met some good and upstanding soldiers in the years he’s been alive, but they were a far cry from the ones occupying this island. They could burn down an innocent man’s house and the higher ups would sweep it under the rug like it was nothing. This time was different however, as Emeric heard a shrill scream in the direction of the crowd. A few minutes passed of an excited crowd surrounding something before Emeric had enough and hopped off his bed and burst open his door, not nothing to put on a raincoat or shoes. The outside was cold, especially the ground, but in the moment, he didn’t have the time to think about that.
“Hey!” He yelled. As soon as the group of men heard him, they scrambled off in the direction of the base, leaving a bloodied figure on the ground where they congregated.
Emeric moved closer to the body, and saw it was a silver-furred anthro dog, barely conscious and letting out harsh, stagnated breaths. Blood flowed out of her mouth and nose and mixed with the rainwater on the ground, creating a sickly pool of red around her that trailed through the cracks of the pavement. Her left eye was swollen shut and her right arm looked broken at the shoulder.
He didn’t feel anything when he saw the creature. Anthros weren’t something he often felt empathetic over, but he couldn’t just leave her to die. She needed to be taken somewhere, but where? He wasn’t a doctor, nor did he know anyone who was. Anyone who got sick or injured had the military medic come out, but Emeric had no contact with him, not like he would treat an anthro anyway. He thought about just leaving her and hoping she didn’t die, but she likely would in that situation, and he couldn’t forgive himself for doing that, even if she was just an anthro.
Something had to happen quickly, so he grabbed her ankles and dragged her to his house. A trail of blood led right up to his door as strained to pull her surprisingly heavy body across the clearing, made even more difficult by the rain making the stone slightly slippery. He tried his best to pull her into shelter and onto his bed, staining everything in a complete mess of water and blood. He examined her mouth, a few teeth were knocked out. He grabbed a towel from the cupboard and tried his best to soak up as much of the flowing blood from her face. Seeing as how she didn’t squirm when he placed the rag on her face, she was either unconscious or five minutes away from death, and Emeric wasn’t exactly sure which was more apparent.
Now that there was downtime, he got a good look at her. She wore a basic white shirt and dark grey shorts. She was barefoot, however he was sure that was a normal thing among dog anthos. After a few minutes of holding the rag to her head, he removed it. He wasn’t sure if he treated her properly, so he just waited and hoped that she wouldn't expire overnight. Although now that he thought of her more, he wondered how the soldier boys got their hands on her, much less how she managed to even get on this island in the first place. Anthros rarely stray from southern New England and the ones that do usually stick to the inner forests near the Quebec border. Emeric’s been to the mainland of Maine many times, and he never saw a single anthro then.
He sat down in a chair across the room, which in reality, was only a few feet away from the bed. Now that he relaxed his muscles, a wave of tiredness rushed over him, like a century-old dam breaking after years of tension, and he found it increasingly difficult to keep his eyes open. The last thing he saw before drifting to sleep was the blood-soaked bed and floors he knew he would need to clean up later.