The Silver Retriever – by Edith Tucker

“Ella!” Mum shouted from the kitchen. “Yeah?” I replied.
“I need you to sort through your stuff.”
“Oh ok,”

Recently schools had closed and I had to work from home online due to Coronavirus, a virus which is now considered a pandemic and made life very different. Today was Saturday, and I was playing Minecraft. I realised the time and immediately got up, went to my room and looked at the enormous wardrobe. I opened the first box. This one was useful, so I kept it. So was the second one, but I didn’t like the third. I carried on sorting, and eventually I started to enjoy it. A long time later, there was one box left. I opened the box and inside was a dog. A silver dog.
The dog was a kind of beagle, with dark blue ears. Its coat was silvery-blue, almost white. Its eyes widened in terror, but it settled when I didn’t do anything. Yes, that is right! It was alive! It opened its blue lips and spoke.
“I am The Silver Retriever. I used to be a healing God millions of years ago, and came down looking like this to heal. But since more modern treatment and medicine, I wasn’t needed. I need to heal to stay in God form, but then I couldn’t. I need someone to heal, but there is no-one.”
I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was speechless, my mouth agape. “But… You… I…” I stuttered. Then, I didn’t know why, but I started to laugh. I wasn’t sure how playful the Silver Retriever would be, but I really hoped it would be. Then it bounded out of the box and started playing. We played catch with sticks, and it would spend ages gnawing them. He was just like a normal dog. Then I suddenly stopped. I could never look after a dog. I wasn’t allowed. He must be immortal, so at the end of lockdown me and my family would have to go to work and school. My parents couldn’t know. No-one could know. “Shhhh!” I said desperately. “My parents can’t know about you.”
“Just… They can’t. But we can stay secret.”

Then we heard Mum calling.
“Quick, get into the box! I’ll hide it!”
The Silver Retriever leapt into the cardboard package and I closed it. I looked around. Where should I hide it? Mum was getting closer. She was so close I heard her footsteps. I slid it under my bed and pushed another box in front. A second after Mum stepped in.
“Ella! You’ve been ages, dinner’s ready.”
“Oh! Right. Ok. What are we having?”
“Spaghetti bolognese. Come on!”
“Yes! Okay!”

I ran downstairs, jumping the last few stairs. As I ate, I thought of The Silver Retriever cramped inside that box all these years, and that I had put him back in there. I felt bad, but I knew that he knew that he had a friend. After dinner, I went upstairs to read. But in my room I yanked aside the other box then pulled out the right one. The one with The Silver Retriever. I opened the box and… Nothing. No-one. Could it have been a dream?
“Haha! Tricked ya!” said the blue dog, peeking from underneath my bed. Of course not. None of this was a dream! First I was angry, “What?!” Then my anger quickly turned to joy. The Silver Retriever laughed and played while I watched him over my book. I loved how he acted like a dog when he wanted, and like a person when he didn’t. When I saw the time I realised that my parents must be wondering why I was taking so long. But this time I put a stick and a ball inside a bigger box, along with some blankets and cushions so that my ice-coloured friend would be comfortable. Then, I went downstairs and enjoyed my evening.
When I woke up, I had forgotten everything. But then the Silver Retriever, the fun had with him, came flooding back to me. And it was Sunday. Which meant one free day before online “school”. The time I first opened the box and set my eyes upon his silver coat and blue eyes felt like months ago.

I carried on the day, playing Minecraft, reading, and, of course, playing with The Silver Retriever. After lunch, I had just finished saying bye until the evening to him, when mum came into my room.
“Ella,” she said. She looked as if she had been crying. “Grandma is in hospital. The doctors think she could have Coronavirus.”
I jumped up. “What?” I whispered to myself. I couldn’t believe it. “Can we go to see her?”
“We can. But only at 14:00. So in 15 minutes be ready, ok?”
“Ok.” I knew what I had to do. I took out the box and talked to the Silver Retriever. “Listen. I need your help. But I need to take you to the hospital. I’ll keep you secret for as long as I can.”

We ran to the hospital and up the stairs to Grandma. I knew it was time. Mum hadn’t bothered to ask about the box. When we sat next to the bed I opened the box and The Silver Retriever bounded out. Mum and the doctors fell silent. They didn’t know what to say. The trusty hound placed its paws on Grandma’s chest. He closed his eyes. It took a while but when he was finished, Grandma was fine. And the Silver Retriever was returning back to his God form. “I have healed a soul. This gives me the power to change back to a God. But I know that I will see you again,” he said as he drifted up into the sky. And I knew he was right. I would see him again. We went home and I knew that as long as he was a God, the Coronavirus could end.

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