Copyright – J. Hardy Carroll

Irina came to, hurting.

She’d walked instead of taking the train. Good idea. But this deserted shortcut was a bad idea, and now some low-life had her purse.

She’d tucked a sandwich in her coat pocket. She was glad of that.

From the shadows, a mangy wolf-shape crept. Irina threw it her food, and it disappeared. She thought of old Stranger, the railway stray she patted each morning, then she blacked out.

She woke to a soft whimper, and there was Stranger. His mangy friend ran back and forth, barking furiously. ‘Over here!’ came a shout from nearby.


When I came upon a story about stray dogs in Moscow who ride the commuter trains, I tucked it away in my mind, just waiting for the right prompt.  These dogs have been ‘commuting’ for decades, in the process evolving particular skills, and adapting their pack behaviour to suit this environment. I’ve just taken it one little step further.

Here are two short videos about them.


This is another 100 word story for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. You can find all the others here.

27 thoughts on “Stranger

    • Thanks, once more, Gah. The dogs’ story is amazing. I was particularly intrigued by the fact that intelligence is becoming more important than physical strength in the competition for pack leadership. It stands to reason, I guess, in such an environment. Subtlety and cunning would be useful survival qualities. I’m glad you liked where I went with this – I was hoping it wouldn’t be too far-fetched.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Rochelle. I’ve had this idea bubbling round for a while, but which way I would go with it depended on the prompt I decided to use. This week’s picture provided the perfect setting for my MC to come to grief and be rescued by some four-footed heroes.


    • Aren’t they great clips? I’m amazed by how long this has been happening, and it sounds like there’s a wealth of information there for scientists interested in species adaptation and survival strategies. I’m glad you liked my story, Sandra. Hopefully its plot was within the bounds of possibility (just??).


    • Oh no! Children! That’s a tragedy. I agree with you about dogs. They have great personalities and such potential for loyalty. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.


    • I’m so happy you like my opening. It got cut, and cut, and cut some more to keep within the word limit. You could really do something with the pigeon idea. They’re mysterious little creatures – who knows what’s going on inside those tiny brains?


    • Thanks, Subroto. A little love and attention will win over a dog’s heart and gain you a friend for life, I believe. I went all warm and fuzzy this week. Perhaps it’s time for me to indulge in a bit more murder and mayhem .


  1. What a sweet story, Margaret. Stranger feels even empathy, he has evolved so much as a stray. It’s quite fascinating that these dogs have adopted almost human-like behavior, the way they wait patiently for food and the subway. Amazing.


  2. Kindness always pays. We just don’t know how it will come back to us. Very nice story. So interesting, too. I have a very smart dog – Lab/Border Collie. She knows how to beg. It’s hard to resist her. Now she’s overweight and on a diet. 🙂



  3. I love it when you’ve been hanging onto an idea a long time and finally get the opportunity to use it. Sweet release. Great story, and it sounds like help is about to arrive.


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