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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Family Pet (05/15/08)

TITLE: Summer's Storm
By May Flowers


Summer’s Storm

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.”

“Uh huh”

“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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This article has been read 471 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Susan Storm Smith05/22/08
Enjoyed the bit of dialogue and action in this piece. Nice read.
Joanne Sher 05/24/08
Beautifully written,with wonderfully rich descriptions and a compelling storyline. I was absolutely engaged!
Joshua Janoski05/25/08
You have some good descriptions in this story that really help put the reader in the campsite with your characters. This was an enjoyable read. Thank you for sharing. :)
Chely Roach05/26/08
Fabulous story, and so well written. Great job.
Debbie Wistrom05/26/08
Everthing about this is wonderful. I was warmed by the tone of this entry.

Dogs do make a difference. Thanks for sharing!
Jan Ackerson 05/27/08
A tent filled with the odor of wet dog...

Great descriptions, you had us right there. Well done.
Holly Westefeld05/27/08
Not long for Intermediate, I think, with such vivid descriptions. I loved Storm's gentle demeanor, which you communicated beautifully.
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/28/08
I loved your story; the descriptions were wonderful.
Sara Harricharan 05/28/08
Some great descriptions! I like the word play in the title of "Summer's Storm" so cute! And I'm glad that they were found and together. ^_^
Lollie Hofer05/28/08
Your words flowed richly throughout this entire story. The title was accurate in reflecting what happened between the little girl and the dog. You won't be hanging around Level 2 very long (hint, hint) with high quality writing like this story. Well done!
Lyn Churchyard05/29/08
Well written, loved the descriptions and the atmosphere in this piece. You've done a great job.
Betsy Markman05/29/08
Good descriptive language. As someone else commented, we were in the campground with you. I can't help wondering about Storm's puppies, though. I hope they were ok.
Norma-Anne Hough05/31/08
Well told and very moving. Your descriptions were excellent. Definetly a "show and tell". Lucky dog to have found the right tent!