Chaos at the Dog Show

I originally wrote this short story as a submission for a column to appear in a pet enthusiast magazine, but this magazine does not print stories relating to dog shows (I honestly didn’t even think about that), so I’m posting it here. Obviously, I’m crazy about my dogs, and we all just watched the Westminster Dog Show together (Zip, in particular loves watching dogs on tv).

Zip Watching TV

So here’s the story!

Chaos at the Dog Show

By Rascal, the Jack Russell Terrier

Rascal Face
Last night, I dreamt I was at the Dog Show. I was backstage amid the hubbub, the handlers and the hair spray. While the Poodle got his hair puffed, and the Doberman barked strict orders, I trotted between the legs of the Great Dane and hopped over the Pekingese. I’d never seen so many dogs in one place, and had definitely never seen so many hairstyles.

The Parson Russell Terrier sniffed his way over to me.
“Hello, Cousin,” I said to him. “What’s your name?”
“They call me Spot,” he replied. “I enjoy frolicking in the woods and am a great companion. I’m energetic and was bred to hunt foxes. I enjoy success but can be stubborn at times.”
“Okay,” I shrugged. That’s a little TMI for our first meeting, I thought. “Want to take a spin around the room and see who’s who?”
Spot, the Parson, stood on his hind legs and turned in a circle. “Spin,” he said.
“Very funny, show-off,” I laughed. “Let’s go for a quick walk.”
“WALK?” he yipped. A few dogs near us snapped to attention. “WALK?!” He started bouncing as though on a trampoline.

I realized my mistake once the word slipped across my flat tongue. My canine cousin’s enthusiasm was infectious, though, and I couldn’t help myself. Soon I was hopping up and down next to him. We were like two pogo sticks with tails.
“WALK! WALK!” we chanted, and soon other dogs joined in. The handlers frantically grabbed for their leashes and tried calm the pups with liver treats.
“WALK! WALK! WALK!” our chorus continued. We leapt and jiggled through the area. The big dogs stumbled and tumbled over the smaller ones, while those in the Toy category found refuge near larger, protective breeds. I noticed the Pug seeking cover under the Mastiff, and the Chihuahua climbing onto the back of the Rottweiler.
“WALK! WALK!” was our mantra. Spot led the charge through the doors and into the arena, where a surprised scattering of audience members watched our parade. The dog handlers chased us. Round and round we went, pooches and humans, dashing in circles on the green carpet of the arena.
Finally, our excitement waned and dog after dog flopped down. I found a good space to lie down near Spot and we tucked our heads next to each other. Spot yawned. My eyes drooped with sleep.
“That was a great walk,” Spot said dreamily.

“Great walk,” I agreed. My eyes closed and the sounds of doggy snores slowly faded away.
I woke up in my bed, warm and soft. My human was leaning over me with a smile on his face.
“Wow, that must have been some dream, Rascal!” he said. “You were barking in your sleep and your legs were going, as if you were on a walk.”
I jumped up from my bed, tail wagging and ears perked. “WALK?!” I yipped.

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Superhero Story — Part 8

Read Part 7 here.

Chapter 19 – Lindsay

I clenched my fists, my fingers grabbing handfuls of cold earth. What happened? Where was I? I was with Nick, I remembered. And then he pushed me. The astronomy building! I pushed myself to my feet. There was a hollow in the ground where I’d fallen. I shook my head, trying to clear the clouds of my mind. Cal was up there and I had to get moving, but my body wasn’t cooperating. I focused on taking one step, then two. Then, when I felt normal enough, I broke into a run.

I sprinted up the steps to the tower. At the top, the door was locked. I banged on it, jarring the entire door. “Nick?”

“Stay out there,” I heard him say. I heard other voices, too.

“Who else is here?” a man’s voice asked.

“No one, no one,” Cal insisted.

“Let me in!” I pounded again on the door.

“STAY OUT!” Both Cal and Nick shouted.

It was like they were protecting me, and that pissed me off. I took a step back and readied myself.

“Like hell I will,” I shouted. I jumped up and slammed my foot against the door, kicking as hard as I could. I landed with one foot in the room, the door underneath me. Dust flew up and then cleared, revealing Cal and Nick, their jaws hanging open, and the gross man, his eyes steely and anxious.

Chapter 20 – Nick

I have to admit, that entrance was pretty cool. Maybe cooler than mine. But then when she got in, we were all like, “What now?” and the crazy dude was probably ready to drop us all out of the tower to get rid of us. I didn’t know what he had planned, but his eyeballs were as big and flat as nickels and they were swirling around his head, adding to his nutso factor.

“Lindsay,” I said. “You’re freaking nuts. Now what? You bust up in here and you don’t have a plan, right?”

“Shut up, Nick,” she said. But I could tell, she was wondering what to do next.

“Everyone stay calm,” Cal said. “I’m trying…” and then got that lost look on his face that he’d been getting lately.

“Oh my gosh,” I said. “You guys suck! I can’t believe I’m stuck having this crazy superhero experience with you losers!”

I turned to the creepy dude. “And you! Do you know you practically killed me earlier today? I mean, if you’re so afraid of ‘the monster’ you’ve become, then why not just leave us alone?”

“No, no,” Cal said. “This won’t go well. Don’t attack him verbally.” Then he scrunched up his face again and did more mental math.

The man took a step toward Lindsay, but she stamped the floor, shaking the tower.

“Think again, crazy. You so much as touch me and I’ll whip you around like a rag doll. These nitwits have gotten on my LAST nerve and I’m just begging one of you to step out of line. I have HAD IT with you boys.” Lindsay emphasized each point with a stamp of her foot.

“You’re a freaking psycho,” I said to her.

“I swear Nick, if we weren’t fighting a bad guy, I’d give you one little nudge to send you flying into the wall,” she said.

The guy lunged at me, quick and solid, and I didn’t have time to back away. I felt the cold, gooey freeze seep into my arms, then my torso, my legs, my neck. I was immobile.

Chapter 21 – Cal

The Jelly Man moved so fast that I didn’t see it coming. In less than a second, he had Nick in a bear hug, and I watched as the frozen hold traveled up and down Nick’s body.

“NO!” I cried and threw my arms around the Jelly Man. I wasn’t thinking, I didn’t do any calculations. I didn’t know what the result might be, but I had to stop him. My plan was to pull him off of Nick, but as soon as I made contact with the Jelly Man, I felt the icy grip clench my skin and bones. I was in a frozen embrace.

And just a second later, Lindsay had jumped toward us too. I wanted to warn her, to tell her to stay away of this frozen mass we were becoming. But I couldn’t move, couldn’t open my mouth, couldn’t turn my head.

I felt her arms grab around us, and I felt her strength weaken under the jelly-like stiffness that came to her.

And then, a darkness came over the room. The four of us were all balled up into one lump in the middle of the tower room, and, like the sun passing behind a cloud, the room grew blue, then grey, then black.

I felt my mind release the equations and calculations and numbers that had been constantly running through since the day with the meteor shower. I felt my eyes let go of the laser-like quality that I’d used to unfreeze Nick in the high school bathroom. I felt my arms go limp and my embrace became loose. I dropped to the floor.

Nick and Lindsay were also on the ground. Lindsay clenched her fist and pounded at the floor. Then she winced. The floor showed no damage. The Jelly Man was slumped against a wall, he touched his arm, and then rubbed at his face. There was no gooey residue.

“What happened?” Nick said. “I feel normal.”

“Me too,” I said. “I think we’re back to normal.”

Lindsay stood. “Let’s get out of here.”

“What about him” I asked, pointing to the Jelly Man.

We looked at him, the crazy guy that froze us and took me to the tower and followed us to our school. He didn’t look so crazy anymore. He looked like a normal man, maybe someone who needed to know that others had been going through the same thing he was. He looked like someone who could have used someone to talk to when crazy things started happening to him. He stared at us, looking scared of what we might do to him.

“Leave him here,” Nick said. “We’re all back to normal now. It doesn’t matter.”

So we left. And things went back to normal at school. For awhile we would eat lunch together or catch up in the hallways or after class. Then that stopped. Like I said, things went back to normal at school. But it was good, because we all knew that we had this bond. This unexplainable power was given to us and then an even more mysterious event took it away. It’s not normal and maybe it’s a bit magical. That’s just how life goes, sometimes.

The End.

My Good Excuses

I’ve been on hiatus. On a break. The blog has been dormant. You get the picture. But I have such good excuses!

There’s good reason I’ve taken time off and it’s been months and months since I’ve posted. I’ve been so busy that I have barely put pen to paper (in my personal life). So here are my excuses. They’re good excuses, I swear.

1. I got a job where I’m writing full time! So it’s hard to take a break from writing to write. But I will. It’s officially been a year since I started this job, so it’s time to make the transition.

2. I got engaged…

3. And then I totally got married!

Image

(How gorgeous is that family?!)

In the span of three short months, I got engaged and married, and have been adjusting to married life with a new husband and my two new puppies and a new house and… yeah, it’s been a busy few months.

4. Did I mention puppies? Two. JACK RUSSELLS. So, they keep me busy, too.

Image

So those are my excuses. And, you’ve gotta admit, they’re pretty good. But I’m making the promise, right here, right now, that I’m getting back to writing. I’m brainstorming for a new short story and I’ll be putting together new poems and posting regularly again soon. You can hold me to it!

Changing the Topic…

Someone asked me how my novel was coming. You know, the novel I’ve been working on for like 4 years. The one that I resolve to finish EVERY New Year’s. So I swiftly changed the subject to avoid having to talk about it.

But then I went and checked on it. If word documents could collect dust, this one would be inches deep. So I theoretically blew the dust and cobwebs away, and stared at my novel. It’s finished. I mean… there’s an end, but it’s not finished, you know? I need to read it 400 more times. And change a word here and there. And then pack it away again for another year.

So last time I had worked on it, I changed it from third person to first person, but when I opened up the file this time, I saw that it was third person (apparently, I had abandoned the first person revision about 1/3 of the way through). I know it’s a tough change to make, but I really think it would be better in first person. How do you decide point of view for your story? I know there are books out there on the subject, but they have never been much of a help to me, because for me, it comes down to “feel”. It “feels” better as a first person story.

For example, I HATED that the twilight books were written in first person. It rubbed me the wrong way from the opening lines. I don’t know why, but it really did. But some stories need to be more personal, and I think that’s where first person comes in. How do you decide?

Flying Figures article on yahoo

http://movies.yahoo.com/blogs/movie-talk/flying-people-stun-yorkers-promote-movie-chronicle-194823215.html

Here’s an excerpt from the article: The movie tells the story of three high school students who discover they have superpowers, including the ability to fly.

Hmmm…. “three high school students who discover they have superpowers“?

Well, maybe the movie will tell me how this story ends. (I’m working on it … kind of).

Superhero Story – Part 7

Read Part 6 here.

Chapter 16 – Lindsay

I busied myself by bending the wrought iron patio furniture in my backyard and then fixing it back into the correct shape. My mother would freak if she knew what I was doing. Heck, I was freaking.

When I checked my watch and saw that I’d been waiting for the boys for over a half hour, I got really impatient. And when a superhero has abnormal strength and is tapping her foot impatiently, that’s bad news for the patio below her. So I moved a potted plant over the cracks I made in the cement, so my parents wouldn’t see.

Then Nick sauntered up.

“Okay, where’s Cal?” I said, letting myself breathe out a bit of relief.

Nick shrugged.

I folded my arms and stared at him. “Did you see him after school?”

“What am I, a babysitter?”

“Nick!” I yelled. I lunged at him and saw his eyes widen in fear. “We’re all in this together, you jerk!”

Nick stepped back, probably afraid that I’d suffocate him if I placed a hand on his shoulder.  “Fine, crap! If I’d known this was going to be such a pain I never would have hung out with you up in the tower.”

“Well, none of us knew what this would be,” I said, letting my voice become quieter. Nick was a jerk, but I didn’t need to remind him of that with every sentence. He had to be freaking out as much as I was.

“Where do you want to go?” Nick finally asked.

I thought about it, making sure I moved to the grass before I tapped my foot again. “I guess… we should probably check the astronomy building.”

I’d hoped Nick would tell me that I was being paranoid, but he just nodded.

“You’re right. That’s probably where they are.”

I didn’t need to ask who he meant by “they”. We didn’t need Cal’s foresight to know that he was in big trouble.

Chapter 17 – Nick

The entire way to the tower, I had to basically hold Lindsay’s hand and speak in soothing tones, like a damn sugarplum fairy. It was getting on my nerves.

But when we finally got to the tower, I have to admit, even I got a little shaky. We didn’t really know what we were up against, right? What if Cal was up in that tower with the creepy dude— I mean, what did we know about the dude’s powers, really? I knew firsthand that he could mess me up. And Cal was the only person who was able to fix it. But what if the guy had some other powers that we didn’t know about, and what if Cal was already a goner?

We stood at the entryway, staring up at the top of the astronomy tower. The sun was getting lower in the sky, and I knew my mom would start getting worried. And that made me mad, because I’m a kid, dammit.

Lindsay was biting her nails, practically shoving her hand down her throat with anxiety.

“You better stay here,” I said.

“No, Nick!” she shouted at me. “We’re in this together.”

I sighed. The girl was pissing me off.

“You need to stay here,” I began again.

She cut me off again. “We’re a team. We may be freaks, but we’re freaks together!”

“Lindsay—”

“No, Nick,” she interrupted. “You’re not going anywhere without me. I refuse to wait down here while stuff goes down up there.”

She looked up to point to the top of the tower. It was my chance to get rid of her.

I pushed her down on the ground as hard as I could, since I didn’t know if her super strength would mess me up. She went background, falling first on her butt, then thudding her head against the cold earth.

I couldn’t risk waiting around to see how much damage I’d done. I took off running up the steps of the tower.

I glanced back once to where Lindsay was motionless on the ground, her eyes closed.

Chapter 18 – Cal

My mind was working overtime. The man—I called him the Jelly Man in my head— had taken me to the tower, where it all began. When we got in the room, he’d locked the door and had been nervously pacing back and forth for what felt like hours.

I kept my mouth running. I told him about school and bullies and the chess club and girls. I talked about everything except for my powers. I spoke while I made my mind do mathematics and see what my options were. They were scarce, and none seemed like a plan I wanted to carry out.

He was sweating, or it was just his jelly-like glaze covering his skin. He continued crossing the room. He barely looked at me.

I was running out of topics when the Jelly Man spoke for the first time.

“Enough!”

I shut my mouth.

“I know you were here. I know you up here when you weren’t supposed to be, because I was up here, too. But we weren’t the only ones were we? Who else was here?”

I tried to look like I didn’t know what he was talking about.

He walked over to me with his arm outstretched. “Tell me, kid.”

I cowered away from his reach and his eyes gleamed.

“You know, don’t you? You know about the monster I’ve become.”

I shook my head. “I don’t know anything. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m a high schooler who came here on a field trip and I got lost, and now you’re really scaring me.”

The man came toward me again, his fingers practically dripping with the gross gel.

“Leave him alone!”

Nick’s voice came from the other side of the door. The man glared at the wall, and paused for a second. But when nothing else happened, he inched toward me again.

“I said,” Nick’s voice came at us. “Leave him alone.” Nick stepped through the wall, through the locked door and into the room.

The man stared at us.

TO BE CONTINUED (one more part, I promise — ish)

Merry Christmas – FREE eBook!

If you’ve read this blog for some time, you’ve seen that I love to write, and that I post serial stories on this blog. I formatted the reunion story into an ebook and have published it on smashwords. And … it’s FREE!

If you’d like a free copy or know someone who may, you can download it here: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/116153

This book will always, always, always be free. And, if you’d like a FREE copy of any of my other ebooks from smashwords, all you have to do is ask (I love giving things for free!).

Happy holidays!

eLibrary – Open Ebooks Directory – includes most of the ebooks sold on the internet. Free for addition of one’s own ebooks.