Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Family Pet (05/15/08)
TITLE: The Other Side of the Fence
By David Story
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His move involved an opening between the gate and the fence post. It was seductive, inviting. For a long time it had been calling his name, and tonight was the night he would answer the call.
He crept slowly to the sidewalk that ran toward the gate in the fence. At the gate, the sidewalk turned into a three-way intersection, with one part running towards the door to the house. He cautiously turned and looked at the door. It remained closed, and on the other side, all was quiet.
He turned his attention back to the sidewalk that led to the gate, and made his move. It was rough and hard at first, but with a forceful effort and a push with his nose, the gate gave way. He squeezed through, feeling both fearful and excited all at the same time. Once on the other side, he looked back, but only for a brief moment. Finally, his tail wagged as he did a half-turn, and trotted away from all that he had ever known.
First, he noticed the different smells. They woke his senses, the possibility of a new adventure surging with every whiff. He went to the front yard next to his own and sniffed every bush and shrub. He trotted to the next yard and did the same thing, and then the next yard, and then the next.
Suddenly something on the other side of the street grabbed his attention. He glanced in the direction of the sound and saw movement in the shadows. His ears went up, the hair on his back stood straight, and his tail pointed toward the sky. Whatever was over there demanded his immediate attention.
Without a moment’s thought he darted out into the street. He never saw the oncoming car.
He hit the curb hard. Disorientation, dizziness and pain flowed through his broken body. He heard a loud screeching sound as the car that hit him slammed on its brakes, and then through one open eye he saw the car drive away.
Confusion continued as he drifted in and out between the real and the unreal, consciousness and unconsciousness. And then finally, all went black.
When he came to, he found it hard to breathe, hard to move, hard to do anything. His hind legs were screaming at him and his head was on fire. He found that he could walk, so with the help of the one good eye, and a scent of remembrance, he began the long walk home...
Amy was in the kitchen eating her cereal when she heard the cry. “Did you hear that, Mommy?”
Claire turned from the counter. “What?”
Amy pushed her chair back as she got up. “It sounded like a cry.” Her deepest fear kicked in. “Rusty!” She started running for the front door and Claire followed, calling her husband's name.
Steve came out of the bathroom, shaving cream on his face. “What is it?”
“Amy heard something. She thinks it’s Rusty.”
They got to the front door at the same time. Amy opened it with one pulling motion, and they all froze at the scene before them.
His breathing was slow but steady. He had been crying out all night, hoping that one of them would hear. With every ounce of strength he had left, he'd let out one more cry, and that’s when he heard her voice.
The door opened and with a sudden sweep he found himself in the big one’s arms. The little one was caressing him and crying at the same time. Consoling words were coming from the other. He hurt. He was tired. He was exhausted. But suddenly, and most certainly, he knew he would be all right – for he was home.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. - Psalms 91:1 (NLT)
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