"Gawd damnit!"

Creaking hinges followed by the slam of aluminum told the boy the occupant of the house had just gone out the front door.

"If I find you yur dead! Ya hear me! Dead!"

Rage combined with alcohol forced the words to come out in a jumble of slurred growls, but the boy was used to deciphering this language by now. The heavy crunch of gravel as the man walked down the driveway sounded the opportunity he'd been waiting for; the boy leapt from his hiding spot and raced across the yard. He slid to a halt on his left side, rocks cutting deeply into his bare leg.

He extended his hands into the opening, there was a growl then a whimper as the creature inside recognized his scent. Unfastening the chain and pulling the tiny brown puppy from the makeshift doghouse he clamored to his feet. The dog was a mongrel, a mixture of undetermined breeds with a long nose and torn ear. "We're gettin’ outta here, boy," he whispered running from the house.

Something flew past his head and he heard the heavy clunk of it hitting the ground. Looking over his shoulder he saw a large man in a white sweat-stained undershirt and blue boxers huffing behind him. Clenched between his teeth was a cigarette and the man grunted as he hurled another brick at the boy. "I'll git you," He growled, then spat the cigarette into the grass.

It sparked then. The cigarette in the tall, un-mowed grass that had gone without rain for weeks. The man cursed as the boy out-paced him, leaving him heaving in the dusty air. "I'll git you!" Behind him the spark turned to flame and quickly started to spread.

The boy never looked back. He just ran.