Stray Puppy - Book cover

Stray Puppy

Anxious Coffee Boy

Age Rating


Zyon has been living on the streets since his parents abandoned him when he was five. Now at age twenty, he’s resigned himself to a life of solitude and living in his alleyway. But little does he know, his best friend Seàn is trying to save up enough money to provide for the both of them. And if that’s not enough, neither of them know about the mysterious Axel, who’s keeping a close eye on both of them.

Age Rating: 18+

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123 Chapters



I had lived on the street for as long as I could remember.

My earliest memories of life before the streets were blurry faces yelling and hitting each other.

Then suddenly being in the middle of the road, alone and confused.

I learned early on that I couldn't trust anyone.

At five, a few months after being dumped, I was taken in by a woman with the promises of food, but she decided to use me as a punching bag to end her stress.

I left after a week, hungry.

I also learned to live off my instincts.

Stealing is common knowledge—a food stand with the worker gone or not paying attention is free game, and anything in a store is game if small enough.

And if I get caught: run, fast, and make distractions out of the environment.

I now live in an alley between two abandoned buildings. Over the years, I got things to create a small shelter.

A big blue tarp hangs between four loosened bricks, covering my head and my worn-out blanket.

I even found a pillow on the side of the road in front of apartment buildings.

I like the quiet of my alley.

No one comes this way from the main part of the city. Cars go by, but not a lot of people.

And if they do, I don't talk with them; strangers usually leave me alone. I'm dirty and my clothes are too big and torn.

The only person I talk to is the man at the place down the street, who gives me the leftovers from meals no one ate.

Mainly greens and brightly-colored foods—the man called them fruits and vegetables.

(I didn't know that's what they were called, I just called them food.)

Sometimes he'll give me full meals, but he said he'd get fired if his boss found me outside getting the food.

When I first met him, I was around seventeen, and one of the first memories I have of him is him calling me stupid.

I didn't know that word, so he explained it to me, and I agreed.

Sometimes I hear women or men ask kids, “How was school?”

It confused me at one time because I never went to whatever school is.

I only understand because I've had to learn things to survive—some words still confuse me, and certain things I don't understand, but everything else I don't really need.

Just sleep, eat, and run.

So, I guess I'm stupid.

But at least I know how to survive. As long as I keep myself alive, I don't care if I know what it is I'm eating.

My days aren't too busy.

I wake up and search for breakfast—there's a food stand a block away that sells really good hot dogs, as the stand says.

Then I walk around. At night, I go to the place the nice man is at to get the leftovers, then back home to my alley.

Today is chillier than usual. The thin shirt and shorts I found aren't very warm, but at least I'm wearing something.

I'm going back to my alley.

I'm not there much during the day, as for some reason people are banging around inside one of the buildings, and there are big vehicles with different stuff.

They've been at it for a long time, and the noises bother me.

But the man at the food store wasn't at the back door, and all the food stands are closed, so I have no choice other than to go home and wait to eat tomorrow.

Once I get to my alley, I see a long line of people in weird outfits standing outside the building that was previously abandoned.

There's a bright purple (eye-hurting) sign at the top reading PLAYHOUSE.

Loud music is echoing out whenever the dark double doors open to allow another group in.

A man is reading something that the odd people are giving him and either pushing them away or opening the door.

I don't like it, it's too much noise and too many people.

Some give me dirty looks as the bright lights and sign light up the darkness.

I turn and run down my alley to get away from them.

I'm safe in here, under my tarp and with my blanket.

I lie down and close my eyes, hoping the thundering from inside stops, but it never does—it feels as if it’s shaking the ground.

The cheers and voices echo from around the corner.

My breathing is getting heavier, my chest hurts and stings, my eyes are wet like my cheeks, but I don't know when I started crying.

I don't know what's happening to me.

I never felt this scared before, even when I was small and new to the streets. I was scared sometimes, but I got over it quickly.

This is new, and I don't know what to do.

Why am I scared? Why am I shaking and crying?

I'm suddenly colder than before, and I curl in on myself.

I don't like this, I don't like the noise or the people or the new place.

I just want the quiet back.


I slowly walk back to my alley with a shiny red apple from the man at the restaurant.

I don't want the strange men at the new building looking at me, and the noise hasn't stopped, so I take as long as possible to get home.

I’m uncomfortable around my alley now. Not because I'm ashamed of it, but because of the men that walk past my home and watch me from the long line.

Whenever one sees me, he points me out, and then I'll have a group staring at me like I'm something that shouldn't be here.

When they're the ones who shouldn't be here.

I was here first. It's my alley.

Sadly, it isn't a very long walk, and as soon as I turn a corner onto my street, I hear the music.

I stick to the wall, hoping the line won't pay attention to me this time.

That hope is shattered as I get to the entrance of my alley, where a man in black shiny pants and a chain around his neck points me out to the larger man he's with.

I duck my head as I run into the alley, to my blanket, sitting with my knees to my chest.

The music sounds louder somehow, like they’ve turned it up every day for the past two weeks.

I attempt to focus on my apple, taking small bites to make it last long enough to fill me a little, then focusing on my chewing to distract me from the noise.

It seems to help, but only a tiny bit, and soon enough I don't have an apple anymore.

I curl up on my blanket and cover my ears with my hands and pillow. It doesn't help, but at least I can hear myself think.

I start to count the bricks; I get to twenty before my eyes slip shut.

I feel myself yawn, closing in on sleep…

…until I hear a shoe echo in the alley.

I spring up just in time to catch a light to my eye. Gasping, I cover my eye and blink a few times.

The footsteps are getting closer.

I can only back myself into the corner, preparing myself to attack and defend my space.

“What are you doing here? I can't have beggars on my property.”

The voice is male, deep and husky, stern, echoing against the walls.

I only growl, as if to scare him away. It doesn't work.

"You're making customers complain with your dirty ass. Get out."

I whimper when the steps stop in front of me, the light showcasing my blanket and tarp; which promptly gets torn to the ground.

I curl up against the corner and growl, feeling my eyes water up as the stranger ruins the home I’ve worked so hard to find and make.

He scoffs as he turns the light from the tarp to me, seeing my watery eyes and the way I snarl.

The light is too bright for me to see him, but I hear him mumble, “fuck.”

I heard that was a bad word and assume I look bad. I do, but it still hurts a little.

My eyes follow the light’s movement as it gets lower.

I hear the man move, shuffling closer, which only results in me trying to move more into the corner, growling once again at the stranger.

He chuckles quietly at the action, "Vocal boy, huh?"

I'm confused by what he means but don't move from my tense position, ready to bite or scratch to get him away from me and my alley.

“I apologize for what I said, and did to your little roof. I realize I don't know you or why you're out here. It wasn't very nice of me, and I hope you can forgive me.”

His voice has changed to soft and gentle, the stern tone gone.

I stare at the man’s outline; the lights from the street shining on him and the one he holds block his face from me.

I can tell he's big—his shoulders are huge, how thick his arm is.

“I'm Axel. What's your name, little one.”

I hear his feet shuffle against the ground like he's inching closer.

The wall hurts my bony body, but I have to protect myself somehow. My chest is starting to hurt again.

Everything is too much today, the sound still blasting—and now the man in front of me wants to scare me away from my home.

My breathing breaks and gets heavier, my eyes overflow with tears.

I realize I'm shaking again, like the first night the music appeared. I still don't understand why this happens. I know I'm scared, but enough to cry and shake like this?

The man, Axel, has me trapped. I can't do anything except place my hands over my ears, close my eyes to trick myself that everything is gone.

It doesn't work—the rumble of the music through the wall comes even through my hands, and I can feel his presence.

“Shit, calm down, boy. You're okay, I won't hurt you. Deep breaths, take deep breaths.”

I hear his breathing get heavier.

I don't know what he's doing, but he seems to know what's wrong with me, so I try to do as he said, breathing as deeply as I can.

It doesn't work instantly, like I want. The stranger is still breathing oddly and telling me to follow the breathing.

I don't trust it or think it'll work, but play along just in case it does. This happens again.

After forever my crying has stopped, the shaking isn't as bad, and my chest doesn't hurt.

The breathing did help. I'm going to remember it for the future if a situation like this comes around again. Which I hope it doesn't.

“There you go, breathe slowly for a few minutes, calm yourself down. Good, much better.”

The stranger keeps talking like that as I do what he says in hopes I'll get better and he'll leave.

As my body feels calmer, my eyes get heavy, and when I blink, I see two of everything.

I know enough that when that happens, I should sleep or eat something, but I can't do either as there's a man who wants to take my home and the nice man who gives me food wasn't at the restaurant tonight.

I assume such a strange night—an invader and another odd crying session—has been too much for me.

I'm not used to people, especially this close, and talking to me.

My body seems to want to sleep, and try as I might, it won't listen even as my eyes shut.

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