Friday, December 27, 2013

Prompt: Lost on the margin

Note: You can always tell when I’ve been on a long drive – I tend to have these rather nightmarish fantasies about being stranded or finding things on the side of the road…

The afternoon sun was killing my eyes, and I was dreaming of a Starbucks stop. Hannah and I saw the puppy in the central median at the same time. She cried out, “Mama, stop!”, but I had already slammed on the brakes and swung into the grass.

Looking in the mirror, I could see the pup sniffing the ground. I was afraid if we spooked it, it would run into traffic. I knew it would break Hannah’s heart. I also knew I’d never keep her in the car. “Okay, you get some treats out of the bag in the console. I’m going to get the leash out of the trunk. You climb out on my side. And BE CAREFUL!”

She just shot me a look, already digging into the overstuffed console for the bag of dog treats. I climbed out and popped the trunk. What had made me throw the leash in the front corner before I packed the car this morning?

Hannah was already headed toward the pup before I closed the trunk. I jogged after her, trying not to make big movements that would scare the pup. It was still nosing around the ground in one spot, ignoring the rushing traffic—and us. The glare seemed to shine off dust in the air, and I kept blinking trying to focus on the pup. It was big, maybe a shepherd of some kind? The motion—my running, the traffic, trying to keep an eye on Hannah and the pup at the same time—made it even harder to get a good look. It almost seemed to blink in and out of my sight.

Hannah was making friendly calls, and the pup looked up and jumped farther away. I shouted, “Hannah! Stop! You’ll scare it!”

She dropped to her knees and held out her open arms. The pup ran right to her and jumped up, with its paws on her shoulders. I still couldn’t get my eyes to focus on them. “Hannah, careful! That’s not a dog…that’s a--”

They disappeared.

I shouted again. “Hannah!” I raced toward them, past where they had been sitting, and stumbled over something. Looking down as I fell, there was nothing there. But as I reached out my hands to break my fall, I grabbed onto fur. I scrambled back, shouting again, “Hannah!”

I blinked, and large wolf was standing over me snarling. I tried to scramble farther away, and it jumped straight off the ground and landed with all four paws around me, its jaws looming over my face, hot breath in my nose and mouth. I couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t scream.

What has your pup done with mine?

I heard the voice, but how?

“Where’s Hannah?” I cried out.

Let’s go find out. She said grimly. I knew it was her.

The wolf reached down and clamped her jaws on my neck. I closed my eyes, sure she was about to kill me. She chuffed, and I opened my eyes. She backed away and I looked around. The traffic was gone. My car was gone. We were in a thick forest. She walked away, then paused and looked back.

Come on. Let’s go find our pups.

Dogs in house

Time writing
15 minutes

December word count

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