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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Vision (08/03/06)

TITLE: The Smell of Grace
By Teri Wilson


“Get away you filthy mongrel!” I hear shouting and run for my life.

The heavy footsteps of a man follow me as I dash away with the stolen fish clutched tightly in my jaws.

Run faster, run faster I tell myself. The pads of my feet make thumping noises on the dirt path and I hear my breath growing heavier and heavier. I can smell the man behind me, sweaty with anger. Just a little bit longer until I reach the safety of the olive grove. The olive trees will cradle me in their lush green branches and keep me from harm.

Too late.

The rough hands of the man yank me up by the scruff of my neck. In a state of panic, I open my mouth and drop my treasure. The dead fish falls on the ground with a thud.

“This is the last time you steal from me, mutt.” Something hard strikes me on the side of my head and I land in a heap at the man’s feet. My ear is throbbing with pain and I feel the man spit on me in disgust when he leaves me lying in the dirt path alone. Discarded and despised.

Life wasn’t always like this for me, you know. There was once a time when I didn’t need to steal or beg for food.

I was born on a farm on the banks of the Jordan River. As a young pup, I grew big and strong drinking the milk from my mother’s body. I romped and played with my littermates and slept nestled in the safety of our pen at night. During the day, the farmer’s children would feed us snacks from their grubby hands and play games with us.

One day, after a vigorous game of chase, the farmer’s youngest daughter scooped me up and held me close to her chest.

“Daddy,” I heard Ruth say, “I think there’s something wrong with this one.”

“What do you mean, dear?” The farmer stepped closer to us.

“Look at his eyes. They’re cloudy and pale.”

The farmer shook his head in disappointment. “He’s going blind. We’ll have to put him down.”

“No!” Ruth shrieked. I could feel her heart hammering in her chest next to my trembling form. I knew something was terribly wrong.

“He can’t be a sheepdog if he can’t see. I’ll take him down to the river first thing in the morning.”

I was confused and frightened. Ruth held me for a very long time and I licked the tears that fell from her eyes. Late that night, she snuck outside and plucked me from my pen. She walked far from her home until we reached the olive grove.

“Stay. Don’t come back to the farm. It’s not safe. Goodbye little doggie.” I looked at Ruth through my blurry eyes. Her sweet childish face is the last thing I ever saw. I had been plunged into a world of darkness.

It has been many years now since Ruth left me in the olive grove. My muzzle is now gray with age and my ribs stick out from hunger. It is the gnawing in my belly that led me to the fish market earlier this morning.

I wake up in the road when I feel the rumble of the earth beneath me. Hooves. Someone must be driving cattle. I need to move before I am trampled. I drag my weary, bruised body up from the dirt and hide in the grass beside the road.

I hear many voices along with the hooves and realize it must be a caravan of travelers. Crouching low in the grass, I try to disappear. But, suddenly I feel the presence of a person in front of me. My brain screams run but I am too worn from my beating to move.

I feel a small hand gently caress my head and stroke my ears. It has been so long since I have been touched with any kind of tenderness. My body begins to shiver and tingle all over. Then slowly, miraculously, my dark world shimmers with the brightest of light. I can see.

I find myself once again looking into the face of a child. He winks at me and gives me another pat on the head. I can hear voices calling to him. “Come along, Jesus. We need to get to Jerusalem before nightfall.”

The little boy scampers back to his parents and I never take my eyes off him.

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This article has been read 1388 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ross08/12/06
This is so precious! I never anticipated the ending! Well done! :)
Caitlynn Lowe08/14/06
Excellent! I loved this story, and I especially liked the twist at the ending! ^_^
Kimberly Mitchell08/14/06
I love stories about animals and this one takes the cake. Good Job. The twist gives it a delicious flavor. :)
Mary Davila08/14/06
This is a wonderful story. I really enjoyed it. Your ending is great.
Tabiatha Tallent08/15/06
This story is absolutely precious. It touched my heart! Great writing, I loved the ending!
Jan Ackerson 08/15/06
One of the best twists that I've read on a short story here. Bravo!
Beth Muehlhausen08/15/06
Aha, what a surprise ending! I never would have thought this is where you were going! "I once was blind but now I see" .....through a dog's eyes....very creative indeed. :-)
Joanne Sher 08/16/06
Oh, this is so sweet! Great twist at the end - I had an inkling near the end, but it didn't detract from my delight when I discovered I was right! Love the title - and all the rest of it too! I'd like to think the young Jesus did things like this, wouldn't you?
Jen Davis08/16/06
A very, very touching story. A unique perspective of Jesus as a child performing a miracle. This story left me pondering the idea. From beginning to end this was beautifully written and a favorite of mine for the week.
Trina Courtenay08/17/06
Teri, congrats on your win! I added this to my favorites list. Loved how this ended - awesome job!
Rita Garcia08/17/06
CONGRATULATIONS! I am so happy you won with this delightful story!
Sherry Wendling08/17/06
Wow, Teri. Wonderful writing! You gripped me from beginning to end.

I love the way you tease the reader with the age-old speculation of what Jesus may have done during his childhood. And from the viewpoint of an innocent little dog!

If God cares about one sparrow falling from a tree (or one doggie born blind), how much more does He care for those created in His image? A beautiful revelation of Father's heart through His Son. My warmest congratulations!
Karen Treharne08/17/06
Excellent read Teri. Congratulations on a well-deserved win. The entire story was captivating and the ending was a welcome surprise. I ccould easily visualize our Lord already healing as a child. Thank you for the vision of God's grace.