You run down the alley. You seem to be having more trouble now avoiding the garbage. You don't feel well. Maybe that fall dazed you.\n\nYou slip when you try to run past a garbage can, and you fall to the ground. <<display "home collapse">>
The child's hand smells interesting.\n\nThis is one of the first times you've been able to smell a human this closely. Humans have such different smells from other animals. Most animals are covered by the scents of everywhere they've been, everything they've been close to. Humans smell mostly like themselves.\n\nThe child holds its hand trembling under your muzzle. It's friendly but maybe intimidated, or maybe it just doesn't know how to start playing. You lick the child's hand. You're [[okay with this|begin playing]].
Finally, the man grows tired of waiting for you. He picks you up and carries you into the machine. You sit, or rather lie, cowering the entire trip. You have no idea how long you lie there until finally you realize that the low visceral vibrations of the machine's movement, which you hadn't noticed when they started, stop. [[You've arrived.]]
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<<set turn_white()>> \s\nYou look up and see the humans approaching you. One of them says something. You try to scramble to your feet but your legs won't pay attention. They twitch uselessly. You fight to stay focused but your eyelids feel too heavy. You can barely keep your eyes open.\n\nThe last thing you can remember is one of the humans reaching his arms down to pick you up. Then [[all is black|stop thinking]].\n<<if $thoughts['streets']>> <<set $heat = $heat + 1>> <<endif>>\n<<set $thoughts['streets'] = false>>
Your BED is hard and very small. The sides touch you on either side, so you don't have room to move. When you stand up, you notice that the sides are about as tall as you are.\n\nYou think that there is a wall at the back of the bed; your tail has touched it. But you can't turn around to check.\n\nWhen you lie down, you notice two strange things next to your head. They feel like metal. When you lick the first a tiny piece of food comes out. Water comes out of the second. There isn't much, but the water makes you feel better.\n\nYou notice when you turn your head that it feels like something is stuck to you. You really really want to scratch at it so it goes away, but your leg can't reach your head. There isn't enough room to scratch anything. You whine and hope it goes away soon.\n\n<<set $cabinactions["feel"] = true>> \s\n<<display "Cabin actions">>
It had been a bit noisy outside for awhile. Inside, all was calm; you didn't expect that the noise meant much to you.\n\nSuddenly the entire room shakes. A noise louder than anything you've heard before, a rumbling like the entire world is breaking. Before long it stops sounding like noise at all and sound shakes you like it could tear you apart. You huddle down but it's hard not to when the air itself fights you and [[pins you to the floor]].
You're shaking. Your stomach feels awful. The only reason you haven't thrown up is because you haven't eaten in days. The feeling keeps getting worse and won't stop.\n\nFinally you can't take it anymore and [[close your eyes|stop thinking]].\n<<if $thoughts['noise']>> <<set $heat = $heat + 1>> <<endif>>\n<<set $thoughts['noise'] = false>>
<<display "Cabin movement actions">>
You caught the ball! It's yours now. You bite down on it a little bit harder to make sure it stays in your mouth. The child tries a little harder to pry it from you, and eventually the man has to come to take it out of your mouth. You're disappointed.\n\n<<display "second throw">>
You are in a ROCKET. Obvious exits are NOWHERE.\n\n<<set $heat = 0>> \s\n<<set $cabinactions = {}>> \s\n<<set $thoughts = {\n\tstreets: true,\n\tvisit: true,\n\tnoise: true\n}>> \s\n<<display "Cabin actions">>
Your ears perk up as you hear a low metallic noise in the distance. It's coming.\n\nA moment later, and the big machine creaks slowly to a stop in front of you. You and your siblings get up, and enter as soon as the machine's door opens up. The bored-looking human behind the door pays no attention to you, and mostly seems interested in leaving.\n\nThe inside is totally empty right now, so you have your choice of seats. Your sisters and brother sprawl out across the seats, taking as much room as they can. There's time enough for a nap while you wait. You ponder whether to sleep with [[your brother]], [[your older sister]], [[your younger sister]], or [[alone]].
<<set remove_white()>> \s\nYou are still in the small room.\n\n<<if $heat == 0>><<display "Heat 0">>\n<<else if $heat == 1>><<display "Heat 1">>\n<<else if $heat == 2>><<display "Heat 2">>\n<<else if $heat == 3>><<display "Heat 3">>\n<<else>>This should not be possible. <<print $heat>> <<endif>>
You lie down.\n<<set $sit = true>>\n<<display "Cabin movement actions">>
Your brother picked one of the long benches; he's rolled himself into a ball at the end, leaving just enough room for you. You curl up next to him, and rest your tail on his back. His tail flicks but settles down again.\n\n<<display "waiting on the train">>
You walk slowly, with your tail between your legs. You only barely keep up. With each step you think about where he might be bringing you today. You don't want to go back into the tiny cage.\n\nIt takes you a few minutes to notice that you're not walking towards the tiny cage. Instead the man takes you into one of the moving human machines. You stand staring at it. You've never been this close to one of these machines before. They're far more dangerous than the big machine near your home. You know that dogs who get near them die.\n\nYou stand completely still, like a little statue of a little dog, too afraid to move. You think that you could take even the tiny cage better than the uncertainty. Maybe he's taking you [[somewhere worse]].
Today you felt like stretching out. You jump up onto one of the cushioned benches and stretch yourself out, taking as much of the bench as you can. You feel relaxed and happy, though you still keep a lazy eye open.\n\n<<display "waiting on the train">>
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So when the door opens again, you're shocked. You didn't expect them to come back. You thought that you were going to stay in the small room forever.\n\nYou're devastated when they don't unstrap you. You whine and cry but that doesn't make them let you go. One of the humans takes some time to pet you, and says something comforting that doesn't make you feel better.\n\nOne of the humans wipes your fur with something that smells terrible; the other one holds you. You flinch and yelp when the human attaches something to the sharp things they put in your skin. The human holding you strokes your fur and talks in a soft voice that doesn't make the pain go away.\n\nFinally, after a few minutes, they're done. The humans turn to go, but one turns back. He walks up to you again, leans in close, and kisses your nose. Then they both go, close the door, and leave you alone again until [[it happens|it happened]].
That day was the last day you saw your old home.\n\nYou lived away from the human place, but you visited it often. Sometimes—especially in winter—it was hard to find food at home. There was always food to be found in the human place. Some dogs lived near humans for that reason, but you knew it was a mistake. It was better to [[travel]].
You have no idea what's happening but you have had //enough//. You don't know why this child is here or why you're here or what this man is doing but you just want them to go away and leave you alone.\n\nYou growl at the child. You want them to go //away//.\n\nThe child jumps back scared. It starts to cry. Obviously concerned, the man tries to get close to you, but you growl again. This goes on for minutes until the man stays back to give you some space.\n\nYou lose track of the next few hours; after awhile the man and the children give up and leave you to stay there in the yard, alone. <<display "didn't play conclusion">>
You had been sitting in the small room for [[three days]] when [[it happened]].
A few minutes later, you notice the man come back out from a door at the back of the building.\n\nThe man is followed by two young human children. They stare at you with surprise. They don't seem to have been expecting you. They say something to each other, then the father prods one of the children forward. The human child walks up to you and puts out a hand. You're not sure how to react.\n\n* [[growl]]\n* [[whine]]\n* [[lick]]\n* [[nothing]]
You turn onto the street and run down the road away from where you came. You don't recognize the things here, but maybe the humans won't either.\n\nIt's later than you thought, and the sidewalks and streets are beginning to fill already. That could be dangerous for you, but it also might be an opportunity if it makes it easier for you to slip out of sight. You run down the sidewalk, not caring if you force humans off the path or bump into any legs.\n\nJust before you reach another crossroads you hear something shoot through the air, and you're struck by something sharp so hard that you almost fall over. You barely recover your strength enough to be able to make a decision on whether to go [[down into the alley|alley straight shot]], or whether to turn [[left onto another street|street left shot]].
One of the human men whistles and waves his hand towards you, like he wants you to come up to him. You don't like that. Sometimes if you're very hungry the risk can be worth it, but never when you're full. It doesn't even look like he has any food.\n\nHe kneels down and reaches his hand out to you, palm up—still empty. You keep backing away. Your tail is low and your ears are flat against your head. He says something, in that high-pitched voice humans think dogs like. Finally, as you keep moving away, he seems to lose patience and gets back up to talk with the other humans next to him. You [[turn to walk away]] with your sisters and your brother.
Something whizzes past your head. You turn quickly and see a ball roll to a stop on the grass. You wonder how it got there.\n\nThe other child looks at you like it's expecting something but you're not really sure what. You look back and forth between the child and the ball curiously. The child says something in a friendly voice but you're not really sure what it means.\n\nAfter waiting for you to do something, the child runs to pick up the ball and throws it past you again. It rolls past you to a stop on the ground.\n\nSoon the child starts bringing the ball to you after throwing it, dropping it at your feet. Suddenly something [[clicks]].
Near the place that you lived was an amazing building.\n\nOne of your brothers discovered its secret when he was searching for food late one night. Inside that building was a kind of a magic machine. If only you could get inside, the machine would move faster than you thought was even possible and carry you incredible distances. You're not sure how far it goes; one day you had taken it the furthest it could possibly carry you, and it took you to a place you didn't even know existed in the world. But you do know that it takes you places that would take you days to walk.\n\nTravel is good because recognition is bad. Humans seem to like dogs, except when they know that dogs live without humans. They can't stand that. A dog that humans know lives outside is a target. For what, you're not sure, but you know that dogs disappear. Maybe they're hunted.\n\nBefore your brother found the amazing secret you travelled into the human place only sometimes, and you were always sure never to revisit the same parts too soon. But with the machine you could travel incredible distances to so many places, you never risked being noticed.\n\nThat was why you went out [[one winter morning]].
* [[stop thinking]]
It's still getting hotter. You're panting.\n\nIt's been steadily getting hotter since the big noise stopped. It's getting hard to bear. You can't stop panting. You can't stand up anymore. Your tongue feels awful.\n\nYou feel very, very thirsty. You last drank a little awhile ago but you didn't feel good. Still, you feel like you should drink.\n\nYou take a very short lick of the thing with the water. It makes you feel good for a moment, but your stomach feels so bad. You're worried you might throw it up again. You can't even look at the thing that gives food.\n\nYou lay your head down between your paws. You just want it to stop.\n\n<<display "think">>
It is very hot. You feel bad.\n\nEver since the big noise ended, it has been getting hotter inside the small room.\n\n<<display "think">>
It's still getting hotter. You try to focus on something else.\n\nYour neck is itching. It's been itching since long before the big noise, but you've been trying to ignore it. You only have so many things to focus on, though, and as soon as you try to block out the heat you just start itching harder.\n\nYou try to angle your head back so you can reach it with your leg, but your head hits the ceiling. It's too short.\n\nYou think maybe you could reach if you stood up halfway, so you slowly rise to your feet. You turn your head as much as you can think you can get away with, then slowly—slowly—reach out your hind leg to try and touch your claws to your neck. You're nearly there, and—\n\nYou slip and fall, almost.\n\nSomething's not right. You hang, not quite falling, until your forelegs scramble enough against the ground to resettle yourself. Your stomach is in knots. You shrink down to try and forget what just happened.\n\n<<display "think">>
There is a small, round window in front of you. The window is dark too; it doesn't let any light into your room. You think it might be night.\n\nOutside the window are little lights, off in the distance. It looks a bit like a SKY at night, but you don't think you're looking up.\n\nYou can't see a moon in the sky. You do see a big blue ball. It's bright, the only bright thing you've seen.\n\n<<display "Cabin actions">>
It is very hot.\n\nYou feel awful. You stopped trying to eat or drink hours ago. You haven't moved in a long time.\n\nYou can't stop panting but you can't feel your tongue anymore. Your can't keep your breaths regular. The rasping hurts your throat. You're afraid of what would happen if you stopped. Your muzzle lies in a small puddle of vomit but moving it is too painful. You ignore it.\n\nYou can't think about anything else anymore. Every thought is about the heat and the pain. Every breath is because of it and every breath fails.\n\nOut of energy, you close your eyes. Maybe you can shut it all out for awhile. You close your eyes [[and feel nothing]].
Your older sister is already asleep on one of the benches. There's enough room for you next to her though, so you jump up and lay your head down on her back as a pillow. She grunts, but doesn't seem motivated enough to do anything about it.\n\nThe rising and falling of your head as she breathes is hypnotic, and you find yourself nearly falling asleep. You try to stay awake and merely doze, so you can still pay attention to your surroundings.\n\n<<display "waiting on the train">>
You meant to doze and pay attention to your surroundings, but it's only when the noise wakes you up that you realize you had fallen asleep. Your ears shoot up. You open your eyes and scan the alley to see what's happening.\n\nThree humans are standing at the end of the alley. Their steps are loud; you can tell that they're not used to trying to conceal their actions. That means that they're probably not dangerous, but you're not sure why humans who look this well-fed would come to an alley like this. Usually your only competition is humans who need food like you, or the owners of the box, and these humans don't look like either.\n\nYou try to avoid looking like you've noticed them, but you get more nervous as they approach you. Your older sister has already stood up and is backing away with her ears down. You decide that she's probably right; standing your ground at this point is dangerous. You [[back up slowly]], and watch for what the humans do.
The child seems disappointed. It steps closer and puts its hand right under your nose. You can tell that the child wants you to touch it. You don't know what to do.\n\n* [[lick]]\n* [[lie down|lie down in backyard]]\n* [[nothing|nothing again]]
You're overwhelmed. This is too much.\n\nYou lie down, muzzle brushing against the child's hand. You don't have the energy to pay attention to this child. You don't have the energy to play. You wish you could rest.\n\nThe child kneels down next to you. It wraps an arm around you. You're too tired to stop it right away, so you let the child touch you.\n\nThe feeling of its fingers in your fur is strange. Humans haven't touched you like this often, except when they want something. You're not sure the child wants anything. It just sits with you.\n\n* [[growl]]\n* [[lick]]\n* [[nothing|nothing again]]
You walk over and poke your older sister with your nose. She makes an annoyed sound and tries to bury her head deeper in her tail. Your younger sister's still sitting upright, so you walk over to sit with her. She seems glad for an excuse to use you as a pillow, and puts her head down on your feet.\n\nToday you're travelling with your oldest sister, one of your younger sisters, and your brother. You usually don't come here in groups larger than this; today was your turn to travel.\n\nIt's your younger sister's first winter travelling; she was still too young to go that far away from home last year. It seems like the excitement of the first visit has mostly worn off, and now she's just interested in getting some food.\n\nYou're standing a few feet away from the [[ledges]], and can see a good distance down the [[tunnel]].\n\n<<set $train_arrival_turns = $train_arrival_turns + 1>> <<if $train_arrival_turns gte 3>><<display "train arrival">><<endif>>
There's a short drop just past the ledges. It's short enough that you think you could jump back up if you fell, but you're very careful not to get too close. Last winter, one of your sisters jumped down to explore how far the tunnel went; she was killed by one of the big machines when it came.\n\nBehind you, your [[sisters and brother]] are sitting waiting for a big machine to come. The rest of the [[tunnel]] seems empty.\n\n<<set $train_arrival_turns = $train_arrival_turns + 1>> <<if $train_arrival_turns gte 3>><<display "train arrival">><<endif>>
The small room smells mostly like you.\n\nWhen the big noise happened, you were very scared and marked the small room to make it yours. You can still smell the urine now, but you're not sure it mattered. You don't think anyone else will try to take this place from you.\n\nYou also smell your SWEAT. It is very hot inside the small room and you feel bad. You have been sweating and panting since the big noise.\n\n<<set $cabinactions["smell"] = true>> \s\n<<display "Cabin actions">>
Your sisters and your brother follow you down the sidewalk to the left. As you continue, you notice that the buildings this way seem to be smaller, less populated. You suppose that fewer humans is good, though of course there's less food in places without many people.\n\nBefore long you reach a thin alleyway. That looks promising to you. You know that when humans are finished with food, they usually throw whatever is leftover into [[giant boxes]] in these places where they don't like to go.
<<if $cabinactions["smell"] and $cabinactions["look"] and $cabinactions["feel"] and $cabinactions["move"]>> \s\n* [[think]]\n<<else>> \s\n<<actions "smell" "look" "feel" "move">>\n<<endif>>
You can't move. The room is very small. You have enough room to stand up, or to lie down. You try to turn around, but you can't—the BED you are in is too narrow.\n\n<<if $sit>> \s\n[[stand up]]\n<<else>> \s\n[[lie down]]\n<<endif>>\n\n<<set $cabinactions["move"] = true>> \s\n<<display "Cabin actions">>
jQuery: on
The giant box smells like more kinds of food than you know how to recognize. You can't explain why humans dump their food into places like this—don't they want it? You want it!\n\nFortunately, it looks like the top of the box is open. Some of these boxes are sealed shut, which you don't understand; if they don't want the food, why wouldn't they want someone else to have it? Thankfully you can reach this one, even if the entrance is high up off the ground. You step back, ready yourself, then [[leap|leap into the box]] over the ledge.
The child steps back a few feet and throws the ball again—harder. You leap joyfully for it again, easily catching it.\n\nThis time the child watches you expectantly. It calls towards you like it wants you to come. You walk over curiously, and sit in front of the child. It gently takes the ball from you and puts it at its feet.\n\nYou think you [[get it now]].
This room is empty for now, but you want to keep an eye out for any humans who might come. You picked the room on the very end because humans don't seem to like this one, but you can't take too many chances. The machine makes deep rumbling and clanking sounds, which only occasionally slow down as the machine pulls in to another tunnel.\n\nYou know that there's a risk that a human might enter every time the machine stops, though you know they usually don't pick a room like this one. You raise your head every time you come to a stop, and close your eyes again when you're satisfied that no one is coming.\n\nYou usually pick a stop somewhere near the end of the line, so you have awhile to wait. You and your siblings haven't decided where to get off. One of you will [[decide to leave]] and the rest will follow.
You stay alone in the yard for hours. You grow tired of standing after awhile, and you lie down. You try to sleep. You don't think about much.\n\nThe sun slowly goes down, then it grows dark. The day ends. Finally, when you're too tired to do much about it, the man comes back to put you in the machine again and [[takes you back|stop thinking]].\n<<if $thoughts['visit']>> <<set $heat = $heat + 1>> <<endif>>\n<<set $thoughts['visit'] = false>>
It was a terribly cold day. The snow made it hard to even run, and on days that dogs don't like to run neither will the prey. The squirrels had long ago left to sleep in their trees, and the birds had gone away. There were animals at home but not many. There were far more hungry dogs than animals.\n\nSo many days you went out. The routine began and ended about the same every time. You would wake up while it was still dark and make your way to the building with the magic machine, carefully. If you went too early, the building was sealed shut; if you went too late, there would be too many humans for it to be safe.\n\nBut at this time it was safe. Humans didn't like to come out at that hour. Most days the only human around was the human by the door, usually too sleepy to be able to care about a few dogs.\n\nToday there is no one but a single human. You think they're asleep. You, your sisters, and your brother walk quietly to go past them and [[down the stairs]] into the tunnel.
You're not sure why the child wants the ball back, but it doesn't matter much to you. You drop the ball and let it take it again. <<display "second throw">>
You wake up to feel your younger sister prodding you with her nose. You must have fallen asleep.\n\nThe machine is stopped, but when you look outside you see it's not the last stop. You don't have long before it will start up again, so you hurry off while you still have time to join your siblings.\n\nYou step out into another dark tunnel, lit by the same strange lights on the walls. There are a few sleepy humans waiting for another machine, who seem too sleepy to pay any attention to you. The [[exit upstairs]] is just behind you.
You stand up.\n<<set $sit = false>>\n<<display "Cabin movement actions">>
You run down the busy sidewalk, but you're having trouble dodging the humans now. You try to run under a man's legs but you stumble and collapse onto his leg. He shouts something and kicks you away.\n\nAll the humans are looking at you now. <<display "home collapse">>
You had been living in the cage with the two other dogs for a few months before the trip happened.\n\nToday, thankfully, you were in the big cage. This was where they had brought you when you first woke up, and where you had spent most of your time. For those first few days, you thought it was going to be okay. They fed you, they took you out to run, they seemed to care if you were well.\n\nYou haven't been in the big cage long this time. Only yesterday did they let you out of the tiny cage, a place so small that you had no room to move, no room even to urinate or defecate. You still feel numb. Even after coming back you haven't been able to make yourself piss.\n\nThe other two dogs sit off in corners of the cage, no longer interested in you or each other. You suppose they've been going through the same things you have.\n\nYou hear [[footsteps]] approaching the cage.
The child throws the ball a third time. You catch it easily, then walk back to the child and put it at its feet. The child says something nice and pats your head. You think you did the right thing.\n\nNow that the children know you understand the game they both start playing. Soon they're taking turns, or throwing the ball between each other and daring you to catch it. You're running all around the yard, catching the ball almost every time, bringing it back when you don't get too excited. You realize that this is the first time you've been able to run [[in months|played conclusion]].
Something shoots past your ear and hits a can next to you. You run. You don't need to look back to know that whatever it was it came from that human.\n\nOne of the humans shouts—you don't care which one—and you can hear them start to run after you. You run faster now. You've already lost sight of your sisters and your brother but right now that doesn't matter, you can find them again later. The alleyway continues [[straight|alley straight]], and turns off to [[the left|alley left]] and [[the right|alley right]].
Three days go by.\n\nAt first you thought they might just have forgotten about you. They've never left you more than a few hours before. It was by the time you figured out it must be night that you realized they weren't coming back.\n\nSo you wait, for three long days, inside the dark little room. You have just enough room to move around, but you don't feel like moving. There's water and awul-tasting gel to eat, but you don't feel like eating. There's nowhere to piss or shit, but you haven't been able to [[in weeks]].
You and the children play for hours. You don't pay attention to the time, so when the sky grows dark and you realize that it's night it surprises you.\n\nIt's only when it's dark that the man calls to his children and asks them to come back. They look sad to leave you. You're sad too; you don't want them to go. One of the children hugs you before they both walk into the building and leave you alone.\n\nThe man comes back out and guides you to the machine again to [[take you back|stop thinking]].\n<<if $thoughts['visit']>> <<set $heat = $heat + 1>> <<endif>>\n<<set $thoughts['visit'] = false>>
No.\n\nYou're lost and you're afraid. You don't know if doing something will mean that you will be taken to another, worse place.\n\nYou ignore the child. You stand perfectly still, doing nothing. Nothing is safe, but this is the [[safest thing|didn't play conclusion]].
You follow. You're not sure you want to come, but, afraid, you don't know what else to do. You're grateful to be outside and not to be in a cage for now.\n\nYou stand in the yard behind the building still stressed and only beginning to calm down. You don't know why you're here. You don't know where you are. You don't know where the man went, or if he's [[coming back]].
Your brother, then your sisters, follow you in. There's enough room for all of you.\n\nThe smells are overpowering enough that you can't pick out anything in particular, so you just start digging in. You root around, eating anything solid enough to feel good, and avoiding the parts that seem to have gone bad. You eat so quickly you can't make out any individual flavours, but you don't really care. It's been so long since you've had a feast that just the feeling of loads of food going down your throat feels as good as you can possibly imagine.\n\nIt takes awhile for you to be able to flop over the edge of the box and back onto the ground. Your sisters and brother collapse next to you. It's rare for you to be able to feast like this without being caught; usually someone comes to check on the noise and runs you away before you've had a chance to eat much. You're just lucky today, you suppose.\n\nThe safest thing to do would be to find somewhere quiet to nap and get your energy back, but moving just feels like //so// much work right now. Maybe you can get away with [[napping here in the alley]] for awhile.
You bank around the corner to the left as fast as you can, trying to use the garbage there as cover. You hope that the humans didn't see you.\n\nThe turn takes you back to the street, returning the direction you came. It must be later in the day than you realized, because there are machines on the street now and humans on the sidewalk. You can't see either your sisters or your brother.\n\nIt's too dangerous to go onto the road now, so you keep running down the sidewalk. You run through the legs of humans, or around them, hoping that the man chasing you can't see where you go. Just as you think you've lost them, you hear something fast coming through the air and something sharp hits you in the side. It hurts so much that you lose your balance, and you fall into one of the humans on the street. When you can stand up again, you notice that you've reached a corner. You could turn [[around the corner into an alley|alley straight shot]], or [[right onto another street|street right shot]].
It is PITCH BLACK. You can see nothing inside. You don't have room to turn your head, but you don't think there is anything behind you either.\n\nAll you can see is the small [[WINDOW|window]] in front of you.\n\n<<set $cabinactions["look"] = true>> \s\n<<display "Cabin actions">>
Today seemed different though.\n\nThe humans took a lot longer putting you into the room today. Normally it's pretty simple; they strap you down into the bed, they set up your food, and they lock you in.\n\nToday you can sense that something is different. The humans are taking longer and seem concerned about something. They're not usually this careful. There isn't anything that could go wrong.\n\nFinally after a long time, they lock the door. All is dark, and you [[wait]].
Your sisters and your brother follow you to the right, where there seem to be bigger, more populated buildings. These kinds of places are riskier, but at the same time these places where humans gather often have human feeding places. There's always something left over. Sometimes you can dig up whatever the humans didn't want, and sometimes humans are willing to feed you.\n\nAs you keep going, you notice a giant building that smells like food. It's hard to see on the inside, but it looks like it's filled with tables where humans will eat. You wag—this is probably a place you'll be able to find something to eat.\n\nYour older sister has her nose close to the ground; she seems to be stalking a scent. You follow her down the road, then down the corner into a small alley behind the building. It's not long before you stumble across one of the [[giant boxes]] that humans use to keep the things they don't want.
You slink back, whining. You don't cry anymore when they come to get you, but today it doesn't seem right. You only just came back to the big cage; they can't want you back again. You always get a break before they make you go back.\n\nOff in the corners the other two dogs completely ignore what's going on. Maybe they can tell that the human is only coming for you, or maybe they just don't care.\n\nThe kennel door opens, and when the man calls for you you reluctantly [[follow]].
The tunnel is the strangest place you had ever seen, though by now it wasn't any stranger to you than anywhere else. It was such a thin dark place, narrower than a human street and with almost nothing there but the hard floors.\n\nThere was very little light. The sun and moon can't reach here, but there are strange lights coming from the walls. They are just bright enough for you to be able to see the [[ledges]] on either side of you, and to look a bit down the [[tunnel]] in front of you. Your [[sisters and brother]] are sitting next to you. They don't really look interested in exploring today.\n\n<<set $train_arrival_turns = 0>>
You whine.\n\nThe human child seems friendly, but you don't know how to react. You worry that if you do anything, maybe this okay place will go away again and you'll have to go back to the cage.\n\n<<display "inaction followup">>
When the door opens you jump out of the machine. You're still shaking. You have no idea where you are, but knowing that you aren't locked in someplace is a relief you weren't expecting. You don't notice where you are until you start to calm down. Panting, you look back and forth.\n\nYou stand in front of a small human house in a part of the city you've never been to before. The buildings here are smaller than what you're used to, and spaced far enough apart from each other that they're not touching.\n\nYou realize that the man has been calling you. You didn't hear. You look over to see him standing next to a fence. [[The door is open|entering the backyard]].
You tense your legs for the next time the child throws the ball. As soon as it's in the air, you leap at it and catch it before it hits the ground. Feeling proud of yourself, you sit holding the ball and wagging. You caught it!\n\nThe child comes up to you and tries to take the ball away from you again.\n\n* [[Let the child have it]]\n* [[Keep it]]
The light of the sun feels blinding after spending so long inside, and you have to close your eyes for a little bit just to help yourself adjust. It takes a minute before you're comfortable enough to be able to see well.\n\nOutside the building is a human road, only just starting to pick up in activity at this time of the morning. It's one of the safest times of day for you. The road stretches out [[to the left|streets to the left]] and [[to the right|streets to the right]].
The tunnel goes on for awhile; it would take you a few minutes to walk all the way down. It's dark, but there's enough light that you can tell there isn't anyone else down there. That's good. You don't usually see other dogs, but you don't want to run into any humans.\n\nThe lower part of the tunnel continues into the darkness, well off in the distance. That's where the big machines come and go. They're loud enough and bright enough that you can tell when one is coming, but there isn't anything now.\n\nThere are [[ledges]] on either side of you, which are where the big machines will stop. Your [[sisters and brother]] are lying down to doze until a machine comes.\n\n<<set $train_arrival_turns = $train_arrival_turns + 1>> <<if $train_arrival_turns gte 3>><<display "train arrival">><<endif>>
Your younger sister is sitting up on one of the chairs next to the window. Now that the machine is in motion her curiosity is outweighing her hunger again, and she watches the shapes fly past the window. You wonder when the last time was that you were that interested; you've done this so many times you've stopped paying attention to the windows.\n\nThere's room on the next seat over for you, so you climb up and sit with her.\n\n<<display "waiting on the train">>
You can't even think of what to do. This is too much. You still don't know why you're here, you don't know who this child is. You don't know that this isn't some kind of trick. The safest thing maybe is to do nothing at all.\n\n<<display "inaction followup">>
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<<set turn_white()>>You remember your old home.\n\nA very long time ago (almost longer than you can remember), you lived in another place. You were away from the big human place; here it was surrounded by trees, water, fields, only sometimes interrupted by narrow roads. And those roads were free of those terrible metal things which were everywhere in the human place. It was safe here.\n\nNot that there weren't humans here—they came through often during the day (rarely at night). But most of the time the humans were alone, or in small packs. It was almost never crowded. Crowds were dangerous. Crowds didn't like dogs that lived with dogs outside. That was why you stayed away from the city. Some dogs said that there was much more food in the city, and that life was easier there. That could be true. But dogs who lived in the city disappeared.\n\nYou lived in your home with your mother, your brothers, your sisters. There were many of you in the pack. You used to run together, looking for food, finding exciting things. There were bad times, sometimes, but never as many as the good. You loved it there, until [[that day]].
The humans woke you up to take you to the small room again. It had been so many times you stopped worrying about it anymore. Every so often, you were taken to the box and made to sit in it for a long time. You hated it but hating it didn't make you [[feel better]].
This section of street is less busy, and there are fewer humans here. That's good because you think you're having trouble running now. Maybe the pain from the sharp thing was too much for you.\n\nYou bank to the side to dodge a garbage can but you lose your balance and stagger onto the street. A human shouts something. The world goes black for a time. You're not sure what happened, but you think you're on the sidewalk again. <<display "home collapse">>
<<set remove_white()>> \s\nYou try to think about something else.\n\n<<if $thoughts['streets']>>* [[Home]]<<endif>>\n<<if $thoughts['visit']>>* [[The trip out]]<<endif>>\n<<if $thoughts['noise']>>* [[The big noise]]<<endif>>
They can see you if you continue straight, but the alley is short and filled with garbage to cover you. It's easier for you to run through here than it is for them. Maybe they can't follow.\n\nYou run so fast that you're nearly flying. You vaguely feel the hard ground tearing up your pawpads but you don't care about that right now. You duck left, past a can, right, past another big box. You hope that the humans can't follow you through this.\n\nJust as you reach another intersection there's another whizzing sound, and then pain. Something sharp hits your back and you stagger to the side for a moment. You try to shake it off and make a decision. You could continue [[straight|alley straight shot]], or turn [[left|street left shot]] or [[right|street right shot]].