Stray Dog

There once was a girl who wanted to be a stray dog. Stray dog would be better than being owned. Better than sleeping outside. Better than being starved. Better than being on a chain. Better than being beaten. Living as a stray dog on the streets would be better than this.

One night there was a storm. He was out in the yard beating her, chain in one hand, the other free. Flashes of lightening, raging across the sky, blinding him. She pulled with her hands at the chain, heels digging into the dirt. Good girls didn’t fight, good dogs didn’t bite. The beating continued until another flash of lightening. He paused to look into the distance. It would rain soon. Now was her chance. Snarling, she dove forward into his chest, knocking him over. he dropped the chain. Scrambling to her feet she ran, hoping he wouldn’t catch hold of her. He didn’t. She heard him screaming and cussing as she jumped the fence and ran down the street.

Just as she always dreamed. The gravel beneath her feet, the chain dragging behind her, the wind whipping her hair. The reality of the situation, that it even was reality, refused to set in. She ran desperately—tears or fear and stress streaming down her face. Then gradually, slowly, the knot in her chest was replaced with something else. She ran and ran and ran until her lungs burned and legs strained with the effort, and still she ran on and on. Behind her the storm grew, growling at the sky holding it back. Soon it would break free and trample the earth beneath it, just as she was.  

Yes, stray dog was better.

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Little Lady Princess

Lady looked out the window dismally. The day was beautiful, gorgeous, perfect even. The sun smiled down on the land and everything on it. Birds chirped, rejoicing the recent hatching of their offspring. Dogs barked and people talked. A group of children, Lady recognized some of them from around the town, were playing a game of ball just outside her house. She felt it must have been a cruel joke by God for them to pick such a spot at such a time.

Lady was mature for her age not by nature but by upbringing. She knew this and felt the difference between herself and her peers. She often lay in bed at night and mourned for her youth, tossed aside in favor of someone else’s agenda.  She knew the opportunities she would be granted were beyond measure and well worth her trouble, but she could not dash the sound of distant laughter from her mind for all the bright future in the world.

“Lady.” Her mother called, entering her bedroom. Turning from the window Lady curtsied. “Now there’s my little princess.” Examining her daughter, she straightened her dress and fluffed her hair while quizzing. “Let’s begin today by going over what we learned yesterday.” Walking to the front of the room her mother stood in such a way that would make a marble statue jealous.

“A proper lady,” Lady began. “Keeps a decent house and home, thinks much and speaks little, and can silence a room with just a look. She reserves her bedroom behavior for the bedroom; it is not for the world to see therefore employing the valuable moral of “leaving something to the imagination”.

Lady didn’t understand everything she said. She knew at a young age she was promised to a boy a few ages older than her, but in all the years since she had met him not once. Her mother promised they would meet when he was ready and that in the meantime she should work on improving herself for her future position.   

“Good.” Her mother, once in her own position (so she was told) smiled. “Today we’re going outside.” Lady perked up, daring to hold her breath for hope of feeling the sun directly against her skin. “We are going to practice walking up and down stairs.” Her mother elaborated, clapping excitedly. Lady fought hard to maintain her composure and not throw herself to the floor in exasperation.

Handed a pair of new heels, considerably taller than any she’d worn before, she was led out into the hall. Standing before the grandest decent in the house Lady swallowed nervously. “A real lady looks the most graceful when descending a staircase in heels and a dress.” Her mother said over her shoulder.

Lady took a deep breath, gathered her skirts, and took the first step. It started out shakily but with each clap of her heels she became more confident. She lowered her skirts just enough and reached for the railing hoping to convey eloquence. It only took a second for her skirts to mingle with her heels and form one budging mass, sending her tumbling down the majority of the flight.

Disoriented she heard the clack of her own mother’s heels as she rushed down the stairs after her fallen child. Hoisted up, sorting up from down, Lady counted her bruises but sent a quick prayer in thanks she was still alive. Sighing, her mother held her head.      

“Maybe we should start smaller…” She looked at Lady encouragingly. “I’ll have to think of something… For now why don’t you go outside for some fresh air? You’ve seemed pale lately.”

Blinking, Lady broke into a grin and ran upstairs back into her room as if nothing had happened. Changing into a more manageable outfit she dashed out the front door without a care in the world. 

Crash

“Are you sure this is ok?”

“Sure we’re sure.” Mike assured.

“Would we risk your life like this if we weren’t?” Michael asked.

“Yes, yes you would.” Shirley answered.

“Maybe, but all for the sake of science and glory!” Mike exclaimed as he applied more duck tape.

The three boys, ages 10, 11, and 12 respectively, known collectively as “The…”, only because the three couldn’t come to an agreement on a name (“Yet”, Michael would be quick to add) were young entrepreneurs looking to make their fortune in aviation. They were hoping to retire early and live on an island you see, and the best way for them to accomplish that was to invent a new form of transportation. Unfortunately, none had the funds to support a proper jet pack investigation, so they settled on attachable wings instead.

“But I don’t think—” Shirley started.

“We’re not paying you to think.”

“You aren’t paying me at all!”

“Hold still,” Michael adjusted the right wing, made from some random cardboard pieces and the occasional streamer. For looks.       

“Ok!” Mike took two steps back to admire his work. “I think we’re ready.”

“I’m not,” Shirley looked below. The trio stood atop a small drop off near the edge of town. The fall was only a few dozen yards really….

“Oh come on,” Michael shoved him playfully. “You volunteered, remember? Think of all that publicity you’re gonna get!”

“For dying?” Shirley panicked.   

“There is absolutely no way you could die from this height.” Mike chided. “We figured it.”

“You did?”

“Of course.” Michael dusted Shirley’s shoulders. “Now off you go.”

Tenderly, Shirley inched his way to the edge of the cliff and took one last, long look ever. “If I die,” He said, looking back. “I’m coming back and haunting you.”

“Yeah, ok, now get on with it already!” Mike said. Michael folded his arms. Both were ready to see some action.

Shirley breathed in and out, spread his arms just like Mike and Michael had shown him, and jumped. He had a strong, overwhelming sensation of falling.

Falling

F A L L I N G

F  A  L  L  I  N  G

F    A    L    L    I    N    G

Mike and Michael heard a loud THUMP! below. Glancing at each other, they quickly ran down the hill. At the very very bottom they found a pile of rubble, smoking slightly. Where the smoke came from, neither to this day could guess. They heard a low moan and rushed forward, piling a bit away here and a bit away there until they unveiled their friend.

Dazed and confused, Shirley focused his eyes on the two figures standing above him. “Am I dead?”

“I don’t think so.” Michael said.

“Oh… Let’s never do that again.” He croaked.

“Only if you don’t tell your mom.” Mike piped up. Michael elbowed him and shook his head.

Pulling their relatively uninjured friend from the crash site, the three left their invention where it lay and walked home peacefully, already discussing plans for the next weekend.