Kreative Kue 241 asked for submissions based on this photograph:
“A song, a song
High above the trees
With a voice as big as the sea
With a voice as big as the sea.”
“Yes, Little One.”
“Could you hold down the carol for a second?”
“Sure. What’s the problem?”
“Do you see what I see?”
“Tell me more.”
“Don’t listen to her Mom. Go ahead and keep singing.”
“Let’s just wait, Trevor. What is it, you see?”
“On that cement post there. Is that a camera?”
“My goodness child. It does look like one. I wonder who put it there?”
“It wasn’t pop I can guarantee that. He’s like a bear in hibernation.”
“Now Trevor. Your dad is busy with his writing. So what should we think about the camera?”
“Beats me. Maybe the government wants to make sure we aren’t doing anything improper.”
“That’s a laugh. They should have cameras on themselves then.”
“Ma’ ma. Be careful what you say. These are the days of the conservatives you know.”
“I have an idea. Let’s all gather around the camera and sing a carol.”
“I can’t wait for the dispatched loonie wagon to reach us.”
“Oh hush, Trevor. I think it will be fun.”
“Okay, mom. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
“Ready? One Two Three.Said the king to the people everywhere
Listen to what I say
Pray for peace people everywhere
Listen to what I say
The child, the child
Sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light
He will bring us goodness and lightHe will bring us goodness and light.”“Not half bad, mom.”“Thanks. Let’s go home and have some tea.”“And a biscuit?”“Several.”
This moving story is from Na’ama Yehuda, who blogs at https://naamayehuda.com :
One needed a long leash.
One needed to be kept on a short one.
Metaphor for her life, it was.
She adopted both as babies. Whelped at the same time by the same stray dog, they were, and yet they could not be more different. People did not believe her when she told them that the two were litter-mates. Had she not seen it with her own eyes she might’ve doubted, too. She wondered sometimes if it was possible that they were fathered by two different dogs altogether.
A little like her own sons. Who had.
Only that she had survived her children’s births. Unlike the dog, who didn’t.
It had been a cold spell then as well. The roads had become ice-sheets and her breath had hovered so close that it was as if the air itself did not want to leave the warmth of her body for the arctic chill. A storm had been forecast and she’d just returned from the store with extra essentials when she’d heard the whine of something small and vulnerable coming from the crawl space under the house.
The laboring dog did not resist when she’d reached for the writhing pup. Panting and with her head hanging low, she just rose heavily to her feet and followed the pup to the garage. She must have recognized help, or perhaps she was just beyond protesting.
Three pups were born. One large, two small, one of which did not survive. Neither did the birthing mother, who suckled the pups but was dead by morning. Perhaps she bled internally or was too weak or otherwise beyond recovery. With the storm in full force there was no way to call the vet. Or to bury anything. She dragged the mother and babe outside, where the cold would preserve them till she could find a way to properly farewell them. And she took the two mewling wrigglers in. Where they’d stayed. Milo and Martin.
After her uncles. One robust and placid. One short and wily.
She’d padded a box with an old blanket, kept it by her bed, and set a timer. She’d fed them with an eye dropper first, then a turkey baster with a piece of cloth tied on for suckling. It wasn’t till their eyes opened and they’d began exploring that she’d let herself realize that she’d be keeping them.
And that they will be keeping her.
From the plans she’d been making.
Her sons no longer needed their mother. But the puppies did.
So she stayed.
And three years later, they were all still there.
One with his long leash. One with the short. And her, in the middle. Held by both.
My effort was
“Tell me again why I have to walk the dogs all the way to the vet’s – on my own?”
“Do you seriously expect me to walk on slippery roads with my feet?”
“You keep on about your feet but you’ve never seen the doctor about them. What’s so badly wrong with them that you can’t even walk?”
“And what’s that in plain English?”
“I got a bone in my foot.”
“Worse than bone spurs? Is there anything worse than them? They’re bad enough to stop brave men serving their country, for goodness’ sake!”
“Loads of things are worse, if you did but know it.”
“So what are you doing while I’m trudging through the snow, freezing cold?”
“Following you on my iPhone.”
“Stalking me, you mean?”
“I wouldn’t call it that. I’m using the ‘follow my friends’ app.”
“Something to do. It can get quite boring sat here waiting for you to get back from the vet’s. How long you gonna be anyway?”
“Let me see. It’s five kilometres to the vet’s, give or take. According to my phone, I’ve done just over two in… How long have I been gone?”
“Three quarters of an hour.”
“So, by my reckoning, I should get there in another two and a quarter hours; allow an hour there and three hours back. I should be back in about six hours.”
“Six hours, give or take.”
“And you’d expect me to walk that much in this weather with my feet?”
“You expect me to with mine.”
“There’s nothing wrong with yours.”
“That’s what you think, Mister. I just don’t go on and on about it.”
“Anyway. If you’re not back for another six hours, what am I supposed to do about my dinner?”
“I don’t know. Maybe you could try making it yourself.”
“Nah. That’s alright, I’ll call in an Uber Eats.”
“Don’t forget that other delivery services are available…”
“Will they come out on these roads?”
“It’s not all that bad. They’ll manage.”
“So why am I walking? Why didn’t you offer to drive me and the dogs?”
“You didn’t ask.”
“Oh, sorry. So when I said, ‘can you drive me and the dogs to the vet?’ that wasn’t asking?”
“I don’t remember that.”
“Do you remember saying that the roads are too dangerous?”
“Did I say that?”
“Don’t remember that, but if you say I did then I must have.”
“So, what you’re saying now is that it’s too dangerous for you to drive but okay for the food delivery people.”
“Sounds about right.”
“And too far for you to walk but okay for me.”
“You got it.”
“Stuff you. I’m calling an Uber while accepting that other services are available.”
“Not on my account, you’re not.”
“You gonna stop me?”
“I s’pose not. Can I ask one thing, though?”
“Can you stop in at the newsagent’s on the way back and pick me up a lottery ticket? I’m feeling especially lucky today.”
“I won’t be coming back that way. I need to call in somewhere else for some paperwork.”
“Where? What paperwork? … Hello? Hello? You still there?”
On to this week’s challenge: Using this photo as inspiration, write a short story, flash fiction, scene, poem; anything, really; even just a caption for the photograph. Either put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at email@example.com before 6pm next Sunday (if you aren’t sure what the time is where I live, this link will tell you). If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be appreciated, but please do also mention it in a comment here.
Go on. You know you want to. Let your creativity and imagination soar. I shall display the entries next Monday.