Short story by Iris Carden
“Next!” The Gatekeeper called. The line moved forward one place.
“Name?” The Gatekeeper asked.
“Bond,” said a voice down near the Gatekeeper’s feet. “Jane’s Bond.”
“Bond,” the Gatekeeper knelt down. “I’m sure Jane gave you that name for just such a moment as this. Who’s a good dog? You’re a good dog! You are the absolute best dog!”
Bond wagged his little tail for a moment, then stopped. “I have to go back. I left Jane at the vet’s. She was crying. She needs me. I’m Jane’s dog. She needs me when she’s sad.”
The Gatekeeper sighed, “You are a very good dog, Bond, and I know you love Jane very much. But there’s no going back from here. That’s why Jane was crying. She knew she would have to be away from you for a while. But she’ll be here too, eventually, and you will be waiting for her. And you’re not the only one who will be waiting for her. Jane’s Fido is inside. I’m sure he’d love to meet you and show you around.”
“Jane told me about Fido. He was her dog when she was little. She said Fido was her best friend then, just like I’m her best friend now.”
“I’m sure you and Fido will get along very well, when you both love Jane so much. Just run along through the gate there, Fido’s waiting to meet you.”
“When will Jane get here?”
“Time’s different here. It won’t seem like long at all. You run along. Oh, and take this.” The Gatekeeper pulled a large meaty bone out of a pocket in her robe. “Special treat for a very good dog.”
Bond wagged his tail wildly, bit hold of the bone which was almost as big as himself, and happily dragged it through the gate.
The Gatekeeper stood up straight again. “Next!” she called.