Dogs didn’t live long in the Tangle, the Spire didn’t allow it. They were a “burden” on the system. But Crab had somehow defied the odds, somehow avoided the culling, and thrived in the shadows. Ophelia looked down at her adopted, yet wholly independent, companion and smiled. Crab looked up at her, licking the drool from his chops in anticipation. He let out a low whine and shifted on his haunches.
She giggled and tossed Crab the last bite of her lunch. His jaw made an audible snap as he deftly snatched the morsel from the air; then, tail wagging, he trotted off into the crowds of the Tangle. Ophelia watched him disappear and shrugged her shoulders. Off on some enigmatic dog quest I suppose. See you later buddy. It made no difference. Crab showed up and vanished as he pleased, yet sometimes at the strangest of times, as if he knew that she needed him or wanted to see him. Pets always seemed to have a sixth sense in that regard, but she felt a connection to Crab that sometimes felt psychic . . . she couldn’t really rationalize it. She loved him, one of only a few things she loved in the Tangle.
The only other thing she loved was her father, but he rarely came down to the Tangle. He spent all his time in the Spire attending to the whims of the elders there, governing things on this planet and others that she didn’t understand, and probably would never want to understand. She hated the Spire even more than the Tangle.
“Hello, Ophelia,” a voice said from behind her.
She spun around and looked into blues eyes framed by grey hair and beard. “Father!”
Polonius opened his inviting arms and smiled.