Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Family Pet (05/15/08)
TITLE: Summer's Storm
By May Flowers
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Lightning flashed leaving eerie shadows that died with the light. Thunder echoed through the campground as families huddled in their tents, while the unrelenting light and shadow show escorted them through the night. Whipping branches made snapping and hissing sounds. Those with extra tarps secured over their tents were thankful, as unleashed rain poured and beat against their nylon and canvas homes. Leaking tents made some dash to their vehicles, where they endured the rest of the night’s storm. Sleep eluded all but the dead tired.
It was after a crack of thunder that I heard it.
“Tom, there’s a dog whining. It sounds like it’s underneath us.”
“We can’t leave the poor thing out in this storm.”
Thunder muffled Tom’s reply. Flipping back his sleeping bag, he got up, and unzipped the canvas door. Sticking his head out in the wet blackness, “Here, Pup,” brought a black shadow that jumped past him.
The dog dove for shelter under our mini table as lightning flashed. Curling into a ball, panting and trembling, the pungent smell of wet dog filled the tent. Playing the flashlight onto it, Tom said, “I guess we have company.”
“It’s terrified of the storm.”
“Looks that way.” Shining the light onto three-year-old Summer, revealed she was undisturbed by the storm or commotion.
Dawn brought welcome, but short-lived quiet as the thunder faded, replaced by greetings of crows and squirrels. Songbirds joined in as families pulled themselves from their sodden shelters. The sky cleared, revealing pastel splatters of color streaking the early morning sky. Broken branches and debris littered the campsites and roads.
The sun-warmed foliage gradually stopped dripping. Soggy clothing and sleeping bags decorated the ropes strung from tree to tree, swaying to a light breeze. Those with dry firewood kindled fires, and the smells of wood smoke, coffee and toast wafted through the campgrounds, mingling with the fresh smells of the wet foliage.
We had let the dog out when the storm subsided, and there it was, laying at the edge of our campsite - a beautiful grey and black Norwegian Elkhound. It looked purebred.
“Come.” I said, and saw the dog’s clear silver underbelly when she stood up, shaking the moisture from her thick coat. She sat down in front of me, like a true lady. Petting her carefully, I checked for a collar and tattoos. There were none. She pressed her nose into my hand.
Just then, Tom arrived, a pail of water in one hand, holding Summer with the other. Setting the pail down, he picked Summer up and stood beside me.
Still sitting in front of me, the dog shifted her gaze to Tom and Summer, her curved tail wagging. “It looks like she had pups. She’s real friendly and seems well trained.”
“Let me see, Daddy,” Summer squirmed to escape his hold, and Tom set her down.
The dog laid down when she started petting her, and then Summer fell on her. She looked at us, as if to say, “Would you mind?” and I pulled Summer off.
“I hate to admit this, but I hope we can’t find her owners.”
“She is nice,” Tom said, scratching behind her ears. “We’ll leave a notice about her at the campground store and park office. Guess we can go from there.”
I smiled, “What’ll we call her ‘til then?”
“I’m sure you’ll think of something.”
I studied her alert face. “You came in from the storm. That’s what we’ll call you. Storm.”
Storm seemed content to stay and the week sped by. Summer sat at the picnic table eating an apple, when we started to break camp. Engrossed in pulling the tent trailer and tarps down, I glanced up, folding the last tarp and gasped, "Summer". She was gone.
We headed at a run in opposite directions. Others joined in looking for her.
Relief overwhelmed me when I rounded a curve. Walking down the campground’s gravel road was Summer, her half-eaten apple in one hand, her other hand resting on Storm’s neck. The unlikely twosome strolled unconcerned towards me.
“Hi, Mommy,” came with her beaming face.
Scooping her up, I hugged her. “Summer, Daddy and I were so worried.”
Summer smiled happily. “Storm walking me Mommy.”
“I see that, Honey.”
“Found her,” echoed through the campground. Storm walked effortlessly beside us as we headed to our campsite. Thanking God for the storm that brought her into our lives, we were even more thankful when no one claimed Storm, but us.
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