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The Lost Youngling

 

                                                  Hyaku-Leggers

                                       All Dogs go to Heaven

                                           Little Memories of a Beautiful Life

 

 

                                               The Lost Youngling

                                    Written by: Fern (Hyaku-Legger)

 

Starring:

Sasha La Fleur & Charlie B. Barkin

Flo

Bess

Anabelle

 

San Francisco, California

8:45 PM

 

Everywhere around him, people stepped lively, cars honked and other bigger dogs growled menacingly.

Afraid, he decided that he had to cross the street and head for the alley between the two apartment buildings that loomed over him. But as he crossed the street, a big busHUGE bus, came ripping the asphalt at breakneck speed, headlights blazingRight towards him. Paralyzed with fear, he could do nothing to hinder his own doom. Five feet away, two, twelve inches, one inch..

 

Silence. Butwhen he opened his eyes, he was on the sidewalk, safe. And beside him was a huge, tough looking, brown and cream male German Shepherd. The huge dog placed a paw on his shoulder and

Are you okay kid?,asked the dog.

Kid?!,was the answer,Kid? Get away from me! I can take care of myself, you know, big lug.

 

Charlie B. Barkin was running a late errand to buy yeast, casually he saw the little pup run in front of the huge Greyhound bus, and without a second thought, fast as lightning, he spread his wings and swooped across the street, taking the kid to safety. All happened so fast that not a soul was any wiser, it took about a quarter of a second for Charlie to save a life.And this was the thanks he got?

Gee,said Charlie, looking down at the kid,Youre welcome.

Just get lost, big lug,said the pup,I didnt need your help and I never will.

Fine,said Charlie,If you say so. Just take my advice and look both ways when you cross the street, eh?

Charlie grabbed his paper bag of yeast in his teeth and walked off without another word.

Hey you!,the pup called out after him,Hey, big guy!

But it was useless. The pup sat there on the sidewalk, watching him as he left the spot and entered an alley and vanished into the dark night.

 

Flea Bite Cafe

8:50 PM

The Flea Bite was closed. Sasha was arranging things for tomorrow, Friday, and hoping Charlie would return soon. Bess was sitting at a table trying to put together a very complicated sliding-panel jigsaw puzzle. Florence, Charlies puppyhood friend, was wiping the last drops of water off the kitchen sink so that it was shiny and dry for tomorrow. Sasha was feeling fine, but she wished Charlie would come soon. A happening that had almost killed her and her friends was still fresh in her memory and she wished she could feel Charlies rough and muscular foreleg in both of her own small and slim ones at that moment. Cautions had been taking place lately, and Sasha always asked someone to stay with her whenever Charlie had to go out to run errands. Sasha liked it better that way, she had someone to talk to and be cheerful with while Charlie went to get supplies.

Gee,said Bess, looking at the clock on the wall,Its getting late. I wonder whats taking Charlie so long.

Perhaps the store was closed, and he went to another one,said Flo as she came to sit beside Bess,I hope hes okay. Im sure he is, actually. Hes not so easy to harm as we all know.

Yeah,said Bess,Hes not the kind who will get attacked by alley brigands. One good look at him will do to intimidate any thug in town.

Bess and Flo also felt a lot of affection towards Charlie, for it was thanks to him that they were all together and became friends. Bess and Flo lived together in a house that was abandoned by its human occupants some time ago. They were both happy to have the other, and they thanked Charlie immensely for all the things he had done for them in these times, including saving their lives.

Heh,said Flo,You got that wrong, Bessie. The panel with the foot should have gone over there, to the right, and the one with the right hand in the middle.

Well, you got a point,said Bess,But theres more than one way to build these things. Watch.

Bess slid a few panels and completed the figure, before Flos amazed eyes.

You were always good at those things,said Flo,And at picking locks too! If you were to go to the wrong side, no house in the city would be safe!

I guess youre right,said Bess laughing.

Sasha went over to sit with Bess and Flo. It made her happy to hear such nice remarks about Charlie. He was a large and very tough dog, and at the same time he was a very affectionate lover. For Sasha, Charlie was the most immense mass of happy feelings and nice things that the world ever knew, and she could still not believe how lucky she was.

Sasha was glad to know that Flo and Bess loved Charlie very much also.

So, you still think you can get me a puzzle I cant solve?,asked Bess.

Yup,said Flo,Ill get you a puzzle so hard that you wont solve it even after becoming a granny.

Well,said Bess laughing,That should be interesting.

Flo laughed too. For weeks she and Bess had being playing like that. Flo got Bess a puzzle of any kind, jigsaw or otherwise, and Bess always solved it. Bess was good at solving puzzles. No matter what, Flo had promised that she would find a puzzle that Bess would never be able to solve, but up to know she had not yet succeeded.

 

Just then, Charlie came in.

Im back!,said Charlie cheerfully.

Sasha got up and pranced over to him.

Charlie!,she said,Youre back!

The other two also came up to him.

So, did you get what you needed?,asked Bess.

Yeah, right here,said Charlie, showing them the package,Ill put this in its place and we can go home.

Yeah,said Flo, yawning,I think we all deserve a good nights sleep.

Charlie put the yeast away in the pantry and afterwards everyone walked out of the cafe and headed home.

You know, there was a pup that almost got hit by a bus on the way back,said Charlie,and I helped him. But, I guess people are just not grateful anymore for what we do, but I guess its just the price of living in a cold society.

What did he say, Charlie?,asked Sasha as she walked beside him with her head touching his shoulder.

Oh, that he could have saved himself and he didnt need my help or something like that,said Charlie,Its not important.

Well, kids seem to be getting more and more spoiled lately,said Flo as she walked alongside,Especially human kids. They talk back to their mothers, dont think of all the things that their parents have done for them, everything from bringing them to life to picking them up after school.

Ungratefulness if very ugly,said Bess.

I agree, Bessie,said Sasha, looking at Charlie, so big and gentle, and giving thanks to God for the ten millionth time.

 

As they came to the alley where Charlie and Sashas house was, Bess and Flo said goodbye and crossed the deserted street towards their own alley house.

Sasha and Charlie entered their alley and walked until the came to the front steps of their humble home. Charlie opened the door and after Sasha he stepped inside locking the door behind him.

Well, love,said Charlie,Why dont you take a good bath and relax and Ill get supper ready, eh?

But at that moment, they both heard a scratching at their door.

Charlie went down the hall and looked through the glass lens, and saw who it was.

Well, Ill be,said Charlie,Its the pup I saved a few minutes ago.

Charlie opened the door and the pup, looking a little desperate, a little embarrassed, and a little famished, looked up at Charlie.

Sir,said the pup,uhhh.thank you, for saving me.

Sasha came up beside Charlie and saw the little pup.

I, uh, followed you,said the young one.

Thats a little redundant to say,said Sasha.

Please, sir, can I stay here tonight,asked the kid,Imalone, and I probably have no family

 

Charlie thought for a moment. He looked at Sasha, and she nodded.

Well,said Charlie,Since youre alone, I guess we can accept you here for the night. Come in and tell us your story, kid.

Sasha led the kid into the family room and Charlie went to the kitchen to get him something to eat. The kid sat on the rug and looked at his paws, not lifting his head. Sasha looked at him and tilted her head.

You said something about probably not having any family,said Sasha,Whats that supposed to mean?

Charlie came into the room with a tray of home-baked cookies and milk. He placed them on the coffee table, and the kid attacked them with ravenous hunger. Charlie and Sasha sat down together on a couch and waited for the kid to finish.

When the pup had cleaned his plate and glass, he sat down facing them and talked.

Im alone,said the kid,My name is Mark. My family was kidnapped by the henchmen of Corueña, the boss of the White Tail mob, who operate on the docks.

Mob?,Sasha said,Theres organized crime on the waterfront?

Yeah, there is,said Mark,Even thought theres very little, there still is some.

Sasha was surprised because the few organized criminal organizations that operated around their area had been squashed by Charlie long ago when they dared to mess with him.

Corueña is a Spanish dog who owns the thugs near the port,continued Mark, He and his adoptive son, Lebowsky, control everything, canines who bring in contraband things, drugs, everything. Theyre the masters of the waterfront, and everyone answers to them. Corueña kidnapped my mom and dad and sister, but I managed to escape. Hes after something that my family has owned for many years

Mark took something off from around his neck. It was a pendant. He passed it to Sasha and Charlie so they could see.

The pedant was like a clamshell, and as Sasha opened it, she saw something inside. It was like a small marble, but it had something floating inside. Something shiny.

Charlie, whats that?,she asked.

Charlie took a close look, and as he recognized it he was surprised.

Its said to be some kind of lucky charm,said Mark,It brings luck to whoever owns it. My family has been rivals with the Corueña family for centuries, and its only now that they want to finally put an end to all this. Since my family has been more prosperous than the Corueña family for years, he believes that its because of this lucky charm. He wants it badly.

Charlie was very concerned now. This was no mere lucky charm. He had to tell Sasha, and he decided that it had to be now.

Excuse us for a moment, Mark,said Charlie, and she signaled for Sasha to follow her.

They went into the kitchen and Charlie spoke quietly.

Sasha, the little thing floating in the middle of the orb,said Charlie,is the Crest of Heaven.

What?,Sasha said surprised.

The Crest of Heaven, the symbol of allegiance with Heaven,said Charlie

Charlie took his emblem from his chest and gave it to her.

See?,he said after a while.

Its the same design,said Sasha,the two silver and gold wings, and the crystal embedded in the golden plaque in the middle. So that little marble must be one of Heavens Artifacts.

Precisely,said Charlie,And we must try to find out which one it is and what it does, and no one better than Anabelle to tell us that.

Charlie came back out with Sasha. Mark was sitting down on the same spot where they had left him.

Theres a guest room upstairs and one at the end of the hall,said Charlie as he gave the marble back to him,Choose the one you like. You need a good nights sleep.

Mark thanked them and went to the nearest room.

Sasha and Charlie went to the upstairs living room, where they could have a little privacy. Sasha sat on the sofa, and Charlie stood on the rug to communicate with Anabelle. Charlie placed his paw on his emblem and mentally spoke to Anabelle.

The room was suddenly filled with light and Anabelle appeared from thin air.

Yes? You needed my help?,said Anabelle.

Anabelle,said Charlie,it seems that I have another mission, and I want you to guide me a bit. Theres a pup whose family was kidnapped by the mob. They owned a little crystal orb for centuries and thought it was a lucky charm. But when I looked in the middle of it, I saw the Crest of Heaven in the middle, and knew it was an artifact of the angels

Anabelles jaw dropped.

Charles Barkin, you are the greatest angel in the whole history!,she exclaimed,Do you know what youve found?

Charlie was confused.

No,he said.

What is it?,asked Sasha.

Youve found the legendary Power Zapper,said Anabelle,its a Heavenly weapon, used to defeat many of the ancient demons. It drains the energy from a demons body and adds it to your own, weakening them and making you more powerful, and it also works with the livings that are evil enough for it to have an effect on. Charlie, how did you manage to find it?

Well,said Charlie,I saved the kid from a bus, and he followed us home. So, it kind of came to me.

Charlie invited Anabelle to sit, and she accepted. He sat down himself beside Sasha on the sofa.

Charles, Sasha, listen carefully. That artifact was thought lost forever,said Anabelle as she sat down on a couch across them,It was robbed from Heaven exactly 1250 years ago by a traitor. He employed it with greed, thirst for power, he wanted to be the most powerful angel of all. So he searched for the most powerful demons and killed them, but since he worked with the impulse of vanity and greed, the Power Zapper turned against him on his final battle, draining his evil desires from his body and adding them to the demons strength, and that way he was defeated. The Power Zapper can only be employed by one of true heart and noble mind, in other words, by angels like you, Charles.

Aw, shucks,said Charlie grinning.

So, what do we do?,asked Sasha,We cant tell the kid about the Zapper.

No, that wouldnt be a good idea,said Anabelle,What we must do is try to rescue the pups family and then tell them about the situation. The Power Zapper is a very potent weapon, and if it falls into wrongs hands there will be several deaths. The Power Zapper will only work on angels of pure heart. If an evil person employs it, his life will be consumed by it and he will die in the most horrible way. We must recover it.

Right,said Charlie,Well do that as soon as the kid is rested and calm. I think well have to pay a visit to this so called White Tail Mob.

Yeah,said Sasha,Well put an end to it.

Very well,said Anabelle, very pleased,You two are just too kind. Youre going to risk yourselves and put all your best to help that pup and his family. You practically have your place in Heaven assured, and I can tell you that as a guide and arch-angel. Ill tell Bess and Florence about the situation if you dont mind. Theyll surely want to lend you a helping paw.

Yeah,said Charlie,I think that would be fine.

Very well. Ill be seeing you then, and if you need help, just call me, okay?,said Anabelle.

We will,said Sasha.

Good. Take care,said Anabelle.

You too, Anabelle,said Sasha.

Anabelle disappeared as soon she finished speaking. Charlie looked at Sasha and smiled.

Well,said Charlie,It looks like another mission, Sashy. Lets get some sleep.

Right,said Sasha.

Charlie and Sasha went upstairs to their room after checking to see if Mark was okay. Charlie placed a small light orb close to the door that would tell him even in his sleep if there was any danger. With that, he had seen to the security of their guest.

As Sasha lied down on the comfortable bed, she thought about what Anabelle had said about the Power Zapper.

Only angels with no malice and a true heart can employ the Power Zapper. Only you can use it, Charlie,said Sasha as Charlie lied down beside her.

Charlie smiled rather bashfully.

Gee,said Charlie,There must be tons of good angels out there. They might be able to use it rightly too

Sasha giggles a little and she kisses his cheek.

But theres no angel as high-ranked as you, Charlie,said Sasha,You are highest ranked angel in Heaven currently. Why, with one more rank youd become an arch-angel like Anabelle.

Sasha kissed him again and nuzzled his muzzle with her own.

Youre just so modest and humble, Charlie sweetheart,said Sasha,And thats something I really love about you. Besides about a billion other things that I couldnt finish listing even in a month

Sasha gave Charlie one last and passionate kiss along his cheek and all the way to his nose, then she switched off the bedside lamp and tucked her head under his chin and closed her eyes.

Good night, love,said Sasha.

Charlie smiled and kissed her good night also.

Good night, princess,said Charlie,Sweet dreams.

                                                           *          *          *

The next morning, Charlie woke up early to make breakfast. He quietly climbed off the bed, trying not to wake Sasha who was sleeping peacefully and quietly left the room. As he went downstairs, he suddenly heard the door knock softly, and he quickly went to see who it was.

It was Flo.

Charlie opened the door.

Good morning, Charlie,said Flo,Can I talk to you for a moment?

Sure,said Charlie,Come in.

Flo stepped into the house and Charlie closed the door.

Lets go into the kitchen,said Charlie,Im making breakfast for everyone.

Ill help,said Flo.

Okay,said Charlie.

Charlie undid his protective angelic power as he walk in front of Marks door.

Flo and Charlie walked into the kitchen.

So,said Charlie,What is it that you wanted to tell me? Did you find a puzzle that Bess cant solve?

No,said Flo,Shes too clever. I gave her a 1000 piece puzzle of the Buckingham Palace and she built it in forty five minutes as I got supper ready last night.

Flo got out the utensils that theyd use and placed them on the table.

Anabelle came to us last night, Charlie,said Flo,She told us about the situation. Is it really deep, Charlie?

Im afraid it is, Flo,said Charlie as he toasted the bread slices,Theres the mob involved and we must be very careful. We have two objectives. The primary one is to rescue the pups family, and the second one is to put an end to the mob for good, because if we dont theyll just keep growing.

I dont know why,said Flo as she sat down,But when I heard Anabelle speak about the mob I remembered the old days back in our hometown.

Charlie turned to her.

You too?,he asked.

Yeah,said Flo,I cant help it and I couldnt then. That is a part of our lives that I wish I could just erase like an eraser does with a pencil trace. Sometimes I have nightmares about it, but when I wake up I realize that Im in my room, with all our photos beside me on the bedside table, Bess is on the bed opposite to mine, and crossing the street, I can always find you.

Flo smiled.

Now the past seems like something fit only to be forgotten,said Flo,I prefer living in the present and forgetting about all the things we went through to get to where we are now.

Youre right,said Charlie.

Gee, and to think there was a time in which I dreamed of speaking to you and thought that I would never speak to you again,said Flo,I owe Anabelle so much.

Charlie nodded.

Me too,he said.

And Bess also,said Flo,She gave me a home which is now mine too. I cant believe how lucky I am.

Charlie sat down with her and looked at the tabletop thoughtfully.

Same here,said Charlie,Look at all the things I have now. I have a house, Im a high-ranked angel, I have you and Bess

Charlie paused for a moment.

But most important of all,he said, Sasha. I have Sasha by my side all the time, whenever I need her.

Flo smiled and placed her paw on his.

Were so lucky,said Flo,And to think that we used to be so unhappy at one time. Life really twists as Bess would say.

You bet,said Charlie smiling,It does.

Charlie got up and got the last details ready for them to have breakfast. Just then, Sasha walked into the kitchen. She was pleased to see Flo.

Good morning Flo,said Sasha with a big smile,Howre you doing.

Fine,said Flo,Have a good sleep?

Yeah,said Sasha,In fact, I had the most weird dream. I dreamed that we were all in an arena and there were lots of shadowy figures around us. But suddenly a bright light crossed the sky and all the figures disappeared. But one of them remained, the smallest one, and it looked like aa human.

Flo and Charlie looked at her.

Strange indeed,said Charlie

I hope its not an omen of some sort,said Sasha,It was really scary.

Sasha sat down at the table with Flo and Charlie.

So,said Sasha,Did you find Bess a puzzle to complicated for her?

No,said Flo chuckling,Shes so incredibly nimble when it comes to these things. She wins at chess whenever she plays against someone at the park, and no one can beat her at it. But strangely enough, I usually win her at chess when we play at home, and she uses her most complicated and elaborate techniques to try and win.

Heh heh,said Charlie,She must have fun with all the amateurs at the chess tournaments.

Shes was champion in five straight tournaments up to now,said Flo,Won a lot of money from it.

Suddenly, Mark appeared as he crossed the doorway. He saw Flo and wondered who she was, but he didnt say anything.

Mark, this is our friend Florence,said Charlie.

Hi,he said sickly.

Flo just smiled and nodded. She knew that the poor kid was going through a very difficult situation.

Why dont we all have breakfast, eh?,Sasha suggested.

Thank you very much, but I have to get back home and see if Bess is awake to help her with breakfast too,said Flo.

Why dont you call her over?,asked Charlie,That way well all be together to decide on what to do and where to start.

Yeah,said Flo,Now thats a suggestion that Charlie would make. Youre so clever, Charlie.

 

Ten minutes later everyone was sitting at the table enjoying the toasty warm breakfast.

Mark was gobbling it ravenously, and he didnt stop until he was stuffed.

Bess and Flo were listening to everything that Charlie said, and they understood the situation.

Flo, Sasha, Bess,said Charlie,I need you to find out all about the White Tail mob you can, but keep well away from the boundaries of the waterfront for now. We might experience trouble if they find out were investigating them. Try to be as casual as possible.

Sure thing,said Bess.

Okay,said Flo.

Got it,said Sasha.

Meanwhile,said Charlie,Im afraid Ill have to pay the mob a visit and see the structure of their hideout. I have to locate Marks family and then plan on how to save them with the help of you girls. Ill have to take Mark with me

What!,Mark stammered,Youre taking me to the mobs hideout? Are you crazy?!

Relax, kid,said Sasha,Theres no one youll ever be safer with than Charlie. He wont let them find you. No one will even see you.

Whats that supposed to mean?!,Mark answered back,They have tough sentinels, they have motion sensors, they have everything! We cant just sneak up into their hide out without being seen! You think its so easy, huh!? I was there, and I can tell you!

Marky, its not nice to talk back to people like that,said Bess gently,Please just listen and understand. Youre the only one who can lead Charlie to the hideout, right?

Well, ehyeah,said Mark.

And you can show him which way to get in through because you escaped though that route, eh?,Bess continued.

Yeah, yeah. But its not that simple! The place is heavily guarded and I almost got caught at least a dozen times!,protested Mark.

Look, we know its dangerous,said Bess,This whole business is deadly dangerous, we all know that. But look at it this way, we have no other choice. You want to save your family, right?

Yeah,said Mark.

And we want to terminate all those mobsters once and for all. And to do that, we have to risk our necks,said Bess,Theres no other way.

Wellokay, I guess youre right,said Mark.

We have to act fast,said Charlie,His family could be nearer and nearer to deadly danger if we dont hurry.

Charlie got up and looked at Mark.

You and I are going to try to locate your family,said Charlie,Youll take me to the hideout, and Ill do the rest.

Mark nodded.

Dont worry,said Charlie reassuringly,I wont let anyone harm you.

 

After a while everyone was at the front steps.

Bess and I know some places where there might be something about the mob,said Flo,There are stores who get goods from the port, and theyll surely know something about Corueña and his gang. Well take care of Sasha, Charlie.

Good,said Charlie,I trust you both. Take one of these in case you need it.

Charlie handed them a small golden dog tag with the Crest of Heaven engraved in it. They took it and carefully put it away.

Well meet again at noon here at the house and well discuss what we saw and found out,said Charlie,If you have any trouble, communicate with me using that tag and summon me to your presence is necessary.

Right,said Sasha.

Charlie looked at Mark.

We must leave now, kid,said Charlie,We have to be real brave, eh?

Mark nodded and started to walk towards the waterfront.

Charlie waved goodbye to everyone and followed.

Sasha looked uneasy.

Charlie!,she called.

Charlie stopped and looked back.

Excuse me for a moment,said Charlie to Mark.

He walked back to where the girls were and looked at Sasha with a reassuring smile.

Sasha hugged him tightly and pressed herself against his furry chest.

Charlie,said Sasha quietly,Be careful, love.

I will,said Charlie stroking her fur,I promise.

Charlie gave Sasha a little kiss and went off, following Mark towards the shore.

Sasha felt better after he had promised her to take care. Charlie always kept his promises.

Flo and Bess walked to her side and placed their paws on her shoulders.

Hell be okay, Sasha,said Bess,I know he will.

                                   *                      *                      *

Charlie followed Mark until they came to a very big warehouse deep in between the complex structures of the waterfront.

This is it,said Mark,This is Corueñas hideout. But how will you get in?

Ill climb up to the ventilation system and crawl through it,said Charlie,Its the most standard way to infiltrate an enemys base.

But whatll I do in the meantime?,asked Mark.

Youll disappear,said Charlie,No onell see you.

How can you say that?,protested Mark,Are you going to just leave me here?

Kid, I have my work ethic, and I wont leave you here without protection,said Charlie,Close your eyes for a moment and Ill make sure youre safe from the enemys view.

Mark was fuming at the nonsense, but he did as he was told. Charlie placed an Unperceivable Cloaking on him, which is a standard angelic ability to make things unnoticeable.

There you are,said Charlie,No one will find you.

Mark looked up at Charlie and made a very rude sign at him with his paw. Buthe couldnt see his paw in front on him!

Whoa!,said Mark,Ivanished!

Keep quiet, okay?,said Charlie,you can still be heard.

Charlie looked up and saw the entrance to the air vent.

Here I go,said Charlie, and with a terrific leap he jumped up and burst into the vent.

 

Charlie crawled through the vent and searched for rooms through the spaces which he could see through. Suddenly, Charlie saw a hole through which he could see a hallway, and a prison cell

And dogs!

There they are,said Charlie.

He crawled towards the hole and carefully looked through it.

There was a prison cell, and two dogs with guns guarding. They were standing on their hind legs, and this was very bad taste.

Humpf,thought Charlie,That proves their allegiance with humans. Standing on two legs, now thats a low symbol only fit for scum like them.

Charlie eyed the prisoners. They looked very stressed and concerned.

I could free them right now,said Charlie to himself,But that wouldnt be convenient. We must follow a plan. Besides, I dont know the inside structure of the warehouse, and that would be a great disadvantage for me.

Charlie sighed, and returned to the entrance of the air conduction system.

As he emerged, he heard Marks voice.

Are you okay?! Did you find them?!,he asked.

Shh,said Charlie,I did. Theyre in a prison cell

How come you didnt save them!,demanded Mark.

I cant now,said Charlie,It would be too risky. I have a better idea.

IDEA? My family needs help! Not ideas!,shouted Mark.

Will you shut your mouth!,hissed Charlie,Theyll come after us if you keep hollering like that!

For some strange reason, Marks invisibility faded and he was clearly visible.

From the corner, two voices came, and Charlie knew that they had been spotted.

HEY! WHOS THERE!,said one voice.

Get em!,said the other.

Charlie saw three dogs, all burly and tough, head towards them on two legs. The carried machine guns.

Well, what have we here?,one of them snickered,The little kiddy is lost, eh? Well, its a bummer you ended up here, kiddy. Cause this place aint a nursery.

Fortunately, it seemed that these grunts didnt know that Mark was the pup they were looking for, although it was not for certain.

Mark was all pale. The dogs were advancing upon him, and he knew that this was the end.

Suddenly, Charlie stepped in front of them, blocking Mark from sight, and they all stopped.

Who the hell are you!?,asked one of them.

That doesnt concern you,said Charlie,Were passersby, so theres no need for trouble.

HEHEHEHEHHAHAHA,laughed one of the dogs,Ya hear that, boys? No need for trouble. Hehehahah. Now look here, punk, were the masters of this land, and youre in for the beating of your life!

Hey, Lugger,said one of them in the back,That kids the one the boss wants caught. I remember he showed me the picture.

Really? Well, that means that this dude is with im,said the dog in the front,So, thought you could outsmart us, eh? Were the White Tail Mob, and dont you forget that, punk.

Charlie was getting a little ticked off by these grunts. They were low and they were bullies as well, and Charlie hated bullies. They had already seen through them, and there was no choice but to silence them.

Charlie stood at all his height, which left the bullies about half his own size. They looked a little intimidated, but they were carrying guns.

Dont make me mad, guys, you hear? Ive got enough troubles already and I dont need anymore. Now get out of my sight, or else,said Charlie.

The others laughed.

HAHAHAHA,said the one in the front,Youre threatening us? Did you come here looking for diapers, babyhead?

No,said Charlie grinning,I came here to kick your boss Corueña and all his gang of losers out of town.

The dog frowned.

What did you call us?,he growled.

Did you forget your hearing aids or something, granny?,Charlie said,I said LOSERS! You are a LOSER! And all of your little friends are too!

At this point, they were all ticked off.

You wanna eat lead, punk?,threatened the on in front.

Go ahead and shoot me if youre brave enough, you little sissy,said Charlie grinning,I bet you couldnt hit an ocean liner with that stupid human-made thing.

Then, it came. Mark screamed with terror as he heard the machine guns go off, and all the bullets headed straight for Charlie!

But.they bounced back off!

RATATATATATTTAATATTA!

The machine guns shot at high speed, but Charlies fur didnt even get ruffled by the bullets. They impacted and bounced back off all crumpled up, as if they hit a concrete wall.

HEHEHHAHAHAHA!,Charlie laughed hysterically,Whats wrong? Is that it?

The dogs shot and shot, but they saw no effect. After a while, one of them stopped. So did the others. Their eyes were as wide as cartwheels.

Gee, that was pathetic,said Charlie,Is this the best gang of thugs Corueña has? Come on, even a kindergarten bully could do more harm that you.

SHUT UP!,said the one in front and he shot Charlie once more. But this time, the bullets didnt even get to touch Charlies body. They melted right before they got even close to him.

In a few second, all there was left of the bullets in the magazines that the grunts were carrying was a big puddle of molten lead.

Gee, only a human can depend so much on lead,said Charlie,What are you guys? Humans or pansies? Or both?

One of them lost his cool. He threw his gun away and ran at Charlie with a paw ready to throw a punch. But Charlie grabbed the paw and twisted it as hard as he could.

AAHHHH,yelled the brigand,LET GO!

Okay,said Charlie and he hurled the dog into the puddle of molten lead.

The dog yelled and squirmed, but soon he was unable to move because the lead hardened, turning him into some kind of travesty of a half dog, half statue.

Whos next?,asked Charlie.

Another dog lunged at him, brandishing a knife.

Ill chop you to bits!,he said.

Charlie looked behind him and saw Mark, cowering on the ground.

Then he turned his head back towards the attacker.

I guess I can have some fun with you guys,said Charlie as he raised a paw.

The attacker froze as he saw something bluish-white form in the middle of Charlies paw.

Eat this, you little weakling,said Charlie, and with that, he shot the energy ball out of his paw and it impacted right into the other dogs face.

The attacker was out cold, he fell to the ground with a thud.

The third dog was petrified. Charlies eyes meet his, and he screamed and ran off.

Oh no, you dont,said Charlie as he raised his paw again and shot out another orb straight at the runner.

The wretched dog was blasted forward against a brick wall, which cracked with the force of the impact.

And so, all three were defeated.

Come on,said Charlie,Lets get out of here.

He got up, and Mark saw the fainted bodies of the attackers on the floor.

HEY!,he called out after Charlie, who had started to head back home,What did you do to them?

Nothing much,said Charlie,Theyll live.

                                   *                                 *                                 *

Mark looked sideways at Charlie as they arrived at the house.

What are you?,he asked warily.

A dog,said Charlie humbly.

No youre not,said Mark,Youre some kind of supernatural thing. They shot three machine guns at you, and youre completely unscratched.

They missed perhaps,said Charlie grinning.

Dont be dumb,said Mark,You cant miss with a machine gun.

I think my friend told you its not nice to talk back to others that way,said Charlie.

Charlie walked up the steps and opened the door.

As they walked in, Charlie found Sasha, Flo and Bess sitting in the family room, looking a little anxious. Sasha saw Charlie and it was clear that she was relieved by the sight.

Charlie! Youre okay!,she pranced over to him and snuggled  herself closely against his chest,I was so worried about you.

Im okay, Sashy,said Charlie,Found out where the family is being kept, and all we need is to make a plan to get them out and to disband the mob.

Charlie sat close to Sasha on the sofa. Mark sat down on a couch, looking warily at Charlie. Flo and Bess sat together on the sofa opposite to Sasha and Charlie, and shared what they had found out about Corueña and his gang.

Mostly, the neighbors were too scared to even talk about the mob, but the little info they got was useful. Corueña was very old, and his adoptive son Lebowsky was probably going to inherit his place soon. Corueña was a descendant of a long line of organized Spanish canine criminals. It seems to run in the family.

And so now, hell do anything to extend his life to the maximum,said Flo,Thats probably why he wants to rob the lucky charm from Marks family and see if it can extend his life a few more years.

Wow,said Charlie,Hes really obsessed, eh?

Nutter, Id say,said Sasha.

Yeah, hes dotty alright,said Bess.

So, what are you planning to do?,Mark interrupted harshly.

Well, Marky, I formulated a plan as a matter of fact,said Bess,And Id be happy to explain it to you over a nice refreshing glass of tea, eh? How about it, Flo?

Flo nodded.

You know, Florence over there makes a simply delightful iced tea, and she gives it a touch that I never tasted in any other iced tea,said Bess,How do you do it, Flo? Whats you secret?

Lots of love,said Flo smiling,I guess thats all.

And so, as they drank the delicious iced tea that Flo made, Bess showed them her brilliant plan to get the mobsters out of town and to get Marks family back from them.

                                               *          *          *

Corueña, a fat and old dog wearing clothes ( a striped business suit, common among human criminals), shriveled like a prune, sat at his desk smoking a foul cigar and talking to his adoptive son, Lebowsky, who was beside him.

Suddenly, a figure of a very badly injured grunt dog burst into his office, followed by a tough sentinel.

Youre not gonna believe it, great father,said the dog,Its

Maintain your composure, you little louse,said the sentinel,Stand up straight before the great father.

II tried to stop im,said the grunt,It was a big German Shepherd, and the kid you wanted. But he tried to defend the kid. So we shot him! We shot him with all we got! But he, didnt get hurt!

What are you babbling about!,Lebowsky snarled.

He took all the bullets impacts, but it didnt even rustle his fur!,said the grunt.

What utter nonsense!,said the sentinel.

Corueña sat still and watched.

And then, we lunged at him, and he got Tykey,said the grunt,And then, Gordey went to get him, with a  knife, and then he, he

He what!?,demanded Lebowsky.

He shot something blue, from the middle of his paw! Like a light ball,said the grunt,And he knocked Gordey out. ZAP! Like that.

Dont be a fool, you wimp!,said the sentinel, laughing,I think youve been watching too many Japanese cartoons lately.

The grunt turned at him.

You think Im lying,he yelled, then he turned to Lebowsky,you think Id lie to you! IM TELLING YOU! THAT BIG OAF SHOT SOMETHING RIGHT OUT OF THE PALM OF HIS PAW, AND HE KNOCKED GORDEY OUTCOLD! YOU KNOW WHAT IT TAKES TO KNOCK DOWN GORDEY? HE GOT HIT BY A CAR ONCE, AND HE JUST GOT UP AND WALKED AWAY WITHOUT COMPLAINING!

Corueña raised his paw. Apparently he wanted a word.

Dont get overexcited, my son,he said,I know you very well, and I know you arent lying. But its just that this is a truth that is very difficult to believe. You recognize that too, sonny, dont you?

Yes, father,said the grunt.

Now, what we must do is question our prisoners to see if their child has some sort of, bodyguard, and then well know what to do next,said Corueña.

And so, a sentinel was sent to fetch the family, and Corueña would question them. The situation got thicker, and it was getting very complicated. Would our friends get there and save them in time?

                                           *       *       *

Okay,said Bess, as they approached the hideout,Wish me luck.

Bess, are you sure you wanna do this?,asked Flo.

Sure, nothing to it, as long as Charlie does his part correctly, then everythingll be fine,said Bess optimistically.

You can count on that, Bess,said Charlie.

Good luck, Bessie,said Sasha.

Bess walked over to the entrance of the warehouse where one of the sentinels was standing guard. She acted casual.

Excuse me, sir,said Bess,Uh, I lost my way. Is this that famous place where girls can come and find nice males to date with?

The sentinel was a vulgar dog, and he wasnt going to turn down this chance.

Why, yes it is,said the dog,But first you gals have to go through an inspection, and Im the inspector.

Really!,said Bess,They you ought to be able to show me the procedure, right?

Sure, missy, and Id be glad to do it right here,the words were violently interrupted.

Charlie, with a strong energy blast, knocked the sentinel out of his senses. The wretched idiot had neglected his post and turned to face Bess, so his back was unprotected.

There you go,said Charlie.

Pervert,said Bess as she looked at the unconscious sentinel,That was a good blast, Charlie. He deserved it.

Thanks,said Charlie,But now comes hard part.

Sasha and Flo walked up to them.

Now we have to be very careful,said Bess,Flo and Sasha, you have to try and sneak into the place while Charlie and I distract the sentinels with my stunt. But you have to wait for our signal. Youre job is to watch the corners and make sure no one surprises us. And Charlie, make sure you knock them out really good, so that they dont get up and call all the others.

Right,said Charlie, flexing his paw.

Well, lets get rid of this idiot and head into action,said Bess.

Sasha and Flo followed Bess and Charlie, and hid in the shadows until Bess gave them the signal after pulling her stunt. Charlie got rid of all the fallen sentinels, locking them in the most unusual places.

Finally, Charlie, Sasha, Bess and Flo came to the corridor where they held the family. And it was deserted!

Good!,said Charlie,Well free them and get out of here as fast as we can!

Charlie led the way towards the cell, and there they were!

There was a little female puppy, who looked a lot like Mark, and two parents, with the same features.

Whowho are you?!,asked the father.

Shhh,said Sasha,Not so loud. Were getting you out of here.

Bessie, do you have your paperclip with you?,asked Flo.

Yep. Locked and loaded!,said Bess, brandishing her paper clip.

Nimble little paws, do your stuff,said Charlie grinning.

Bess unfolded the paperclip and inserted it into the lock feeling around. She grinned, recognizing the mechanism and knowing that it was a simple lock.

Bess picked the lock in less than five seconds.

There,said Bess, folding the paper clip back into its exact original shape, something most people cant do to save their lives.

The prisoners were free. They stepped out warily and looked at our friends.

Youre saving us,said the mother,But why?

No time to chat now,said Flo,We have to get out of this place immediately. The guards might come.

True,said Sasha,Lets get going.

As the walked towards the door, they felt triumphant. But there came a noise that made them all jump.

HEY!,said someone,Look!

It was three guards, and Lebowsky was with them.

Theyre freeing the prisoners!,said the guard,SHOOT!

They couldnt have any time to duck. The bullets came and Sasha thought to herself This is the end. But

The bullets came and came, and Charlie was there to welcome them. Quick as a flash, Charlie spread his wings with no side thought and shielded them from the bullets. He knew that he would have to do some explaining later to the shocked prisoners, but it was a life or death situation, and he didnt have any choice.

The bullets smashed against his fur and crumpled up, but Charlie was completely unharmed. The smoke from the machine guns prevented the bad guys from seeing anything, but Lebowsky ordered them to stop firing, and the smoke stopped.

All of them were shocked when they saw a huge German Shepherd with a pair of magnificent silvery-gold wings shielding the prisoners and the females.

What on Earth is that!,asked Lebowsky.

Charlie frowned.

There mustnt be any witnesses,said Charlie,No one must follow us.

Charlie raised a paw and formed a large orb of spirit energy.

Sorry, but its necessary,said Charlie and he hurled it at them.

The orb exploded with seething power leaving the bad guys all unconscious.

Charlie concealed his wings and turned to the others.

Everyone okay?,he asked.

They all nodded, shocked probably.

Lets get out of here,said Charlie, and they were all too glad to do so.

                                    *                      *                      *

Sasha didnt know how, but the next thing she knew they were all in the family room of their house, safe, and with Mark hugging his family and all that stuff.

Charlie was beside her. Sasha had her head rested snuggly on Charlies shoulder. She had almost died of fright when she saw that Charlie had shielded them from the bullets. Only about two seconds later did she remember that he was immune to that sort of things. She was just grateful that he was here, and they were all okay. She lifted her head and kissed his cheek, then rested her head once more on his shoulder.

Bess and Flo were sitting on a couch beside them. They were pleased to see that the family had been rescued and that Mark was happy.

But there was still a lot to talk about, and after the family was calm, they turned to Charlie and Sasha very seriously.

Who are you?,the father asked,And why did you save us?

Charlie spoke up.

Let me introduce you to my friends, she is Bess, the one who picked the lock,said Charlie.

Bess waved.

Florence, the pretty collie sitting beside her,said Charlie.

Flo grinned.

Aww, shucks, Charlie, youll make me blush,said Flo.

This is my girlfriend, Sasha La Fleur,said Charlie.

Sasha did blush.

Nice to meet you all,said Sasha.

And Im Charles B. Barkin,said Charlie.

The parents were baffled.

I meant, who are you really?,asked the father.

Charlie looked confused.

Pardon me?,he said.

You, youre not a dog. Youre some kind of, supernatural thing. I mean, you did that stunt over there, and you blasted those mobsters just like that,said the father,What are you and what are your intentions

Now, dont you think youre being a little rude,said Sasha defensively.

Like father, like son,said Bess.

The father was still bewildered.

Look, thats a long story, and I dont want to bore you with it,said Charlie,The important thing is that you are safe, and out primary objective was that.

You cant just elude the whole thing,said the mother, getting up,Tell us, we have the right to know. How can we be sure if youre not some other band of mobsters who want to get hold of us too, eh?

Sasha hugged Charlie defensively as she saw the mother approaching them. Flo stood up and blocked her path.

Now, calm yourself down, maam,said Flo,Surely well get to understand each other better if we all just calm down and stop making such a fuss.

Charlie stood up.

I believe youre right,said Charlie,You deserve to know the truth, no matter how crazy it may seem.

Charlie stood tall and sighed, and then he spoke.

Im analien!,said Charlie.

Sasha tried not to laugh, but it was difficult, so she just turned her face. Charlie was so funny. She knew that he was too ethical to reveal his true nature to just anyone, and she was so tickled by this sudden expression.

The family was surprised.

AN ALIEN!,the shrieked,Where from?

From the underground colony Zaeton Phall 65 inside planet Saturn,said Charlie with utter seriousness,I am the last of my kind and I was able to escape the cataclysm about 5381 years ago, counting this one. My body remained dormant for about 5380 years, so this is really the first year I am living like a breathing being, although I cannot survive more than twenty Earth years with this oxygen rich atmosphere. I breathe dichlorine oxide, which is rare in its natural state. Fortunately, I found friends and they can help me live pleasantly for these twenty years I have left. I assumed the form of the most intelligent being on earth and the one with the most survival capabilities, the canine species, and here I am.

The family stared at him as if he really were an alien.

But, why are you helping us?,he asked.

You have a treasure that belongs to me,said Charlie.

Sasha opened here eyes and smiled.

Charlie, youre brilliant,she thought happily.

It is a small orb which contains the essence of my planet,said Charlie,Without it, I have nothing but vague memories of my lost home.

Flo and Bess were poking each other in the ribs to prevent each other from laughing out loud. Charlie was so brilliant, so nimble and quick at mind. He made up a very convincing story and the family believed every word he said.

The father got up.

Mark, give him the charm,said the father.

But papa,said Mark,It belonged to the family for centuries

And it rightfully belonged to this Saturnine for millenniums,said the father,Go on, son.

Mark gave Charlie the Power Zapper, reluctantly.

Many thanks,said Charlie.

Sasha, Bess and Flo could hardly keep their faces straight. Fortunately, the family was too outraged at Charlies story to pay any attention to them.

And now,said Charlie,We must get rid of those mobsters once and for all.

Right,said the father,But, do you have any idea how?

Simple,said Charlie,We knock them all down, and we ship them to different parts of the world so that theyll have a difficult time reuniting.

Sasha jumped up.

Charlie, thats brilliant!,she exclaimed,Youre a genius!

Charlie, your brains are equal to all three of ours put together!,said Bess.

And I thought the probabilities theory was brilliant. Well, Charlie, Pascal is now in second place, and youre in first,said Flo delightedly.

Aw, shucks, girls,said Charlie,It was just a suggestion. Really Im not all that brilliant.

Ehem!,the father said,Said is easier than done. Now, how will we manage to do away with them?

Ill do it myself,said Charlie.

And Ill help,said Sasha.

Im in too,said Bess.

Dont forget me!,said Flo.

Youre all insane,said the father.

Perhaps,said Sasha.

                                   *                      *                      *

Back in the mobsters hideout, Lebowsky and the other dogs woke up from their unconsciousness, and immediately headed towards Corueñas office.

Lebowsky was in cold sweat when he was face to face with his surrogate dad.

They were telling the truth, I saw it, IIt was this big German Shepherd and he knocked us all down with something he shot out of his paw,Lebowsky spluttered.

Corueña told him to calm down and explain exactly what was happening.

Now, can you tell us exactly what went on downstairs?,asked the foul leader.

A group of dogs infiltrated the hideout, and the freed the prisoners,said Lebowsky.

And what happened to our sentinels?,asked Corueña curiously.

At that moment, a whole bunch of sentinels stepped into the office, all with their heads turning.

And then, we shot them,said Lebowsky,When we got there and saw the escaping prisoners, we shot with all we hadbut the big lug stepped in front of them, and somehow he stopped all the bullets. I didnt see well because of the smoke. And then he raised a paw and shot some light or something at us, and thats all I can remember.

Corueña was stunned.

This is probably some work of another organization,he said,And they use, er, what do you call itlaser technology. That must be it.

But great father, whoever they are, theyre a menace to us,said a sentinel.

Corueña looked at the group of sentinels and frowned.

And whats your story,he said, not to tickled about having his hideout infiltrated.

Some chick tried to tempt me into, er, you know,said the one that was at the gate,she wanted to know if this was some dating center

Wait a minute, the same thing happened to me,said another.

And us,said two others.

And you fell for the oldest trick in the book,said Corueña,Cant you think!

But, she waswell,said one of them.

No excuses,said Corueña,I will not tolerate incompetence.

But just then, they all heard something.

                                                           *          *          *

Charlie, Sasha, Bess and Flo were all standing at the entrance of the hideout. Mark, who was supposed to be at the house, was watching them from behind a garbage can.

Listen, its dangerous,said Charlie,Youre not immune to bullets. So I want you all to take this.

Charlie formed three orbs in midair and they floated and dissolved into each of the females.

This is all the protection I can give you,said Charlie,Itll keep you safe from attacks.

Thank you, Charlie,said the girls.

Now, remember, we have to get the leader,said Charlie,We mustnt let him get away.

Right,they agreed.

Good, nowwreck havoc!,said Charlie.

Bess had prepared a Molotov bomb and tossed it into the front entrance of the hideout.

In less than a minute, all the members of the mob were outside, coughing and spluttering from the smoke.

What was that all about!,they shouted. There werent as many as Charlie and his friends had thought, only about twelve dogs in total.

Among them, Corueña was shielded by some tough-looking bodyguards. He was yelling something at them.

Spread out and search!,he yelled.

The bad guys did as they told, and split in groups of two or three to search the place. Our friends have hidden themselves in strategic places, and as the groups passed, they could freely attack and knock them down.

On group, of two burly dogs, passed near where Sasha was. She had prepared a miracle tag just for the occasion. Once the two were in her sights, she tossed the tag at their feet. Immediately, a sort explosion sounded loudly, and the two were out cold.

Flo and Bess did a similar job with two groups, five dogs in total. Flo dropped a tag over them and it created a barrier of something heavy and hard around it, then flying around and bashing them on the head it knocked the dogs out, one by one.

In a few seconds, Charlie, Sasha, Flo and Bess reunited and were ready to confront Corueña.

Unfortunately, one of the body guards had found Mark. He dragged the wretched kid all the way to where Corueña was, and that would make things more complicated.

Corueña called out.

Whoever you are, come out now!,said the old dog,Show yourself.

Charlie stepped out of his hiding place. So did the others.

Well, well,said Corueña,It seems that we have an anti-mob squad here.

Everyone grouped up beside Charlie.

Give it up, you cant do anything to stop us,said Bess.

Weve already got all your little friends,said Flo, pointing at the fallen grunts.

I must say I am thoroughly impressed,said Corueña,But as always, the bad guys have a last resort, and I shall show my last card before we end this game.

One of the thugs, the last one remaining, walked out from behind a heap of boxes, and with him

HELP!,Mark squirmed and yelled.

Charlie sighed.

Ive had it with that kid, hes impossible,muttered Charlie.

Now,said Corueña as he aimed a gun at the kids head and held him still,Will you cooperate?

Charlie was a bit lost now, but suddenly, he got an idea. He turned to the girls, supposedly to have a word with them, but instead he just winked and grinned.

Okay,said Charlie as he faced Corueña again,This is what you want.

He lifted the Power Zapper so that the enemy could see.

Corueña nodded greedily, and Charlie chucked it at him. The bodyguard caught it, and handed it to his boss. Corueña let go of Mark, who instantly ran behind Charlie.

Now,said Corueña, aiming the gun at Charlie,You and your little friends will pay for all the trouble you caused me.

Charlie grinned malevolently.

Go on, shoot me, if you dare,said Charlie.

Hehehe, Ill blow your head off,said Corueña.

Mark cowered on the floor, covering his ears, and Corueña laughed and took aim.

He pulled the trigger.

 

But, nothing happened. Charlie watched with great satisfaction. Sasha, Bess and Flo were a bit confused.

Whats wrong with this thing!,Corueña cursed,Its stuck.

Whats the matter, afraid to shoot?,Charlie called out.

Corueña tried to make the trigger shoot, but strangely he seemed to be too weak to pull it.

Bess could no longer stand the suspense.

What did you do to him, Charlie?,asked Bess.

Nothing,said Charlie,Just handed him his own doom.

Of course! The Power Zapper,Sasha said,Charlie, youre wonderful!

H-Hey boss?,asked the grunt,Youre face. Whats wrong with it?

SHUT UP YOU SILLY ASS,yelled Corueña.

But it was true. His face looked a little more wrinkled than it was before.

The wretched old dog growled and screamed as he pulled the trigger as hard as he could, but suddenly, the gun fell out of his pawbut his paw was

Corueña looked at his paw and yelled with fright. It was all deflated and limp, as if it had been a balloon and someone deflated it. It was like only the skin remained and the insides had been sucked out with a vacuum.

AHHH!,he yelled,WHATS GOING ON!

But his voice died out. His face was deflating too, all his head, his whole body, everything. Even his tongue dangled out like a piece of wet yarn.

The bodyguard looked in horror as Corueña collapsed on the floor like some rubber pool toy, all deflated, and gradually, turned into dust. After about a minute, the dust had blown away and Corueña had ceased to exist. The bodyguard collapsed as well, unconscious.

Then, slowly, the Power Zapper emerged from the remaining clothes that the dog had been wearing, and drifted off into Charlies paw.

Well,said Charlie,Thats that.

We got rid of them,said Sasha.

Not quite,said Bess,Now we have to make sure they cant reunite.

Mark watched curiously as Sasha and her friends placed all the bad guys into separate crates and labeled them to different parts of the world. China, Greece, Italy, France, Greenland, Alaska, Argentina, Kenya, and a lot of other places.

Well,said Sasha after all was done,The humans will be picking those crates in a few minutes now. I think its time to make tracks.

Right,said Flo.

We all deserve a good break,said Charlie.

Especially you,said Bess,You were the mastermind behind this entire heroic feat.

And so, everyone walked back to the house, Mark following them, wondering for the hundredth time, who were these canines?

If only he knew.

 

                                   *                      *                      *

 

Gee, Charlie isnt arriving yet,said Sasha as she looked at the clock on the Cafe wall.

Bess, Flo and Sasha were at the cafe, waiting for Charlie to arrive. He had gone on an errand to get them some more yeast, which had been used up during the past week.

Suddenly, Charlie walked into the cafe and greeted everyone.

Hi girls,said Charlie,Sorry Im late. Sids was closed, so I went somewhere else.

Charlie put his purchase on counter and accommodated the things in their places.

Bess was thinking hard over a jigsaw puzzle that Flo had gotten for her. She had been on it all afternoon, but she had not solved it. Flo was jumpy, could this be her opportunity to win Bess? Could this be a puzzle to complicated even for Bess

After about fifteen minutes, Bess looked up at Flo.

Flo waited nervously.

Bess smiled, and breathed out.

I give up,she said.

Flo exploded.

YAHOO! I won!,said Flo.

Hehehe, youre lucky ol girl,said Bess,Where did you get a puzzle like that, anyway?

From our closet,said Flo,I found under all the Christmas stuff.

Well, I tell you, Ive never felt more confused in my life,sad Bess.

Congratulations, Flo!,said Charlie as he smiled from the counter.

Sasha walked over to him and held his paw.

So, anything new on the streets?,she asked.

Same old stuff,said Charlie,But boy, am I starved. Flo, Bess do you want anything to eat?

No thanks, Charlie,said the girls.

How about you, Sashy,he asked.

Naw, Im fine, thanks,said Sasha smiling.

Well, I think Ill make something to eat then,said Charlie as he headed towards the pantries.

Oh Charlie. Why dont you just sit down,said Sasha,Ill make you something delicious.

Oh dont worry, love,said Charlie,I can manage.

Its no worry, Charlie, come on and sit down, and Im make you something delectable,said Sasha smiling.

Oh, okay then,said Charlie smiling back as he sat down.

As Sasha hustled around on the counter, a courier came into the Cafe. He bowed and approached Charlie.

Mr. Charles Barkin,said the courier.

Yes, thats me,said Charlie.

A letter for you,said the courier.

Oh, thank you,said Charlie, taking the envelope that the little dog handed to him.

The little courier bowed and left.

There you go, Charlie,said Sasha,With extra greens, just the way you like it.

Thanks you, Sashy,said Charlie as he kissed her cheek.

Charlie turned his attention to the envelope. He opened it and extracted the letter and smiled.

Hey everyone!,he said,It from Marks family.

Charlie took his plate and the envelope in one paw and walked towards the table where Flo and Bess were sitting. Sasha followed and sat down beside him.

Read it out loud, Charlie,said Bess who was sitting beside Charlie on the other side.

Yeah,said Flo, who was beside Sasha.

Well,said Charlie,Here goes.

Dear Mr. Barkin and friends:

            Thank you for all youve done for us. We cant thank you enough, and this letter is only a small thing compared to the greatness of the meaning of your help. We hope you and your friends are well, and let you know that you have only to call upon us if you even need our help. I guess thats all we can say for the moment. Thank you once more and good bye.

                                               A very grateful family

 

Well,said Charlie,It seems that everything turned out just fine. I gave the Power Zapper to Anabelle so that she could return it to Heaven, and everythings quiet once more.

Yeah,said Sasha,I hope we can have some peace and quiet before the next mission turns up.

Good thought,said Flo.

Suddenly, the place was flooded with light, and Anabelle appeared out of nowhere.

Hello, best beloveds,said Anabelle, sounding like Rudyard Kipling,It might interest you to know that everyone was pleased with the recovery of the Power Zapper. It was always thought to be a lost forever weapon, but now thanks to you, we have recuperated it.

Thats great news, Anabelle,said Bess.

Oh, and I came for something else too,said Anabelle,Charles, for your great services and your cleverness, we have decided that you should be granted something. I have a gift for you, Charles.

Gift?,Charlie asked,For me?

Sasha was curious.

Catch,said Anabelle and she tossed something at Charlie.

Charlie caught it, and to his surprise, it was

The Power Zapper!,said Charlie,But Anabelle, how come?

Well, I decided that its in better paws with you holding on to it, and itll be more useful to you than it will to us,said Anabelle,Please accept it, Charlie. You deserve to own it.

Charlie looked at the Power Zapper, and suddenly it shined. His emblem shined too.

What,he said, but then he understood.

Charlie took his emblem and placed it on the table before the others. Flo and Bess got closer to have a better look. Charlie then placed the Power Zapper close to the emblem, andthey fused! The Power Zapper rolled towards the emblem and melted into it like a drop of mercury would do when put close to a small lump of gold. And after a few seconds, it finished its fusion. Charlie replaced the emblem on his chest.

Anabelle, thank you,said Charlie,I promise to employ it wisely and to be always available whenever Heaven needs my help.

I know we can count on you, Charlie,said Anabelle smiling pleasantly,Farewell for now.

She disappeared as she had come.

Charlie sat down and smiled.

Well, this certainly as been an exciting week, eh?,he said.

It certainly has,said Sasha.

Charlie, youre the greatest,said Flo,You saved another needed soul, and now youve got a new weapon to rely on in case youre ever overwhelmed.

I couldnt have done it without you and Bess, and Sasha,said Charlie smiling pleasantly,You three are always a great help. Its you who deserve the credit, really.

Sasha hugged Charlie closely and gave him a sweet kiss.

Bess and Flo blushed and giggled. Sasha snuggled close to Charlie and closed her eyes.

Its always great to have friends when one needs them,said Sasha.

Oh, yes,said Charlie,That is for sure.

And so, another case was solved, and Charlie upgraded his angelical abilities once again.

But evil is always lurking near, and what dangers will our friends confront next, no one knows. But for now, lets let them rest in the tranquility of the night, proud for being friends and happy for the love that binds them all together, like one great power, always there when needed.

 

                                                           THE END