“Hey, what are you up to out here all on your lonesome, huh?”
He crouches down, closer to the dirt and the dust and waits. There’s dirt under his fingernails, and his boots started off an ochre colour and now they’re black. He hasn’t shaved in a few weeks, and he favours one arm over the other, but there’s no mistaking him.
There’s no mistaking eyes that dark.
The dog moves towards him, body posture relaxed, sleek, lean.
You shouldn’t pet dogs you don’t know, or so the old mantra goes. But he did know dogs. He’d grown up around them. On a farm, if you can believe that.
“Hello,” he says, trying a smile through his gristle. “My name’s Frank Castle. What’s yours?”
The dog, ears forward, tail wagging, moves forward close enough to close the gap between them and lick his face.
“Ah so it’s like that, is it?” The former marine says, sinking his hands into the creature’s fur. He has no collar, no tag, not from where Frank’s standing.
“C’mon, you gonna show me round or what?” he stands, wipes the dust from himself and starts walking again.
It’s twilight, and the last of the sun is shining through the stark, brittle trees.
The sky is the colour of honey.
When Frank whistles the dog comes quickly, neatly by his side. He’s sleek, and lean, a German Shepherd, and he looks like he could run for days.
So they do.