In the hallway amid fragments of glass and a few new drops of blood Lt. Martin Major (ret.) gazed at some photos at random, felt mild pain in his legs, moved on to the closed door of the den, he clutched the knob turned it and as the door opened he felt resistance, he studied the door for a moment then pushed more forcefully and heard a breathy guttural sound, he saw Marci awkwardly appear. Preoccupied at once with the bloody leg and foot she commenced to lap at them, slobbering, the heavy painted brownonwhite bull terrier, and as he descended to his knees and embraced her that slightly rough tongue sequed to his face without hesitation. Girl he said, he’d think of her name later it would come to him, girl it’s good to see you. He laid down the dumbbell and held her long blunt snout with both hands as she continued her licking, then his brows furrowed as he took measure of her face, something seemed wrong, he felt it, the licking wasn’t calm and rhythmical as he usually experienced it but seemed, what, a bit agitated, labored, as if she were trying to strip the skin from whatever held on to it. A moment later they were sitting on the floor together his back to Toni’s desk, one hand stroking Marci’s smooth coat the other relaxed, resting on the dumbbell, his naked legs straight before him, Marci attending to his exposed crotch, he stared at the red ooze streaming down his calf now and settling into the Turkish rug he sat on, Well girl he said, she raised her head from his thighs, her name would come to him later, she sat up and gazed sadly at him.
Well girl he said again, but he didn’t see her penetrating eyes, he was surveying the room, the teak desks and cases filled with books, heavy law tomes and academic works in Toni’s field, child psychology,and the literature, he’d read it all and forgotten it all. Firm couch in tan leather, teak armchairs with plain golden pads, Danish floor lamps, a large tapestry of a Scandinavian shoreline village against a backdrop of forest barely concealing reindeer unicorns wolves and blackbirds. Well girl he said once again.