Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Patience (08/21/08)
TITLE: The Watch
By Rick Higginson
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Nighttime came, and it was strange that the master wasnít home yet. The master always opened the door and called for him before dark. He would chase the ball for the master until it was too dark for the master to see it, and then they would go inside. They would have a meal, and then he would curl up at the masterís feet. It shouldnít be much longer; he could wait. The master always returned.
Other houses in the neighborhood called their dogs in, and soon were dark. His ears perked at the sound of one of the strange, noisy vehicles wailing in the distance. The master had left in one such vehicle, carried to it by two men. Perhaps the screaming vehicle was bringing the master home, and he looked in the direction of the sound. It was moving away, though, not coming closer. With a yawn, he laid his head on the ball, returning his eyes to the door. He would just have to wait a while longer. The master always returned.
He slept, occasionally waking to one noise or another, wondering if he was hearing the masterís return. The door, however, remained closed, and the ball ready between his paws. The master had said he would be back, and would find him waiting. The master always returned.
When the sun began to warm the damp grass, he picked up the ball and trotted his rounds, inspecting the periphery of the yard for anything amiss. It was one of the jobs he did for the master, and he wanted the master to be pleased that everything was in order and safe when he returned.
His patrol completed, he sat by the door and looked through the glass, holding the ball so that the master would see it as soon as he came home. They always played ball when the master returned.
In the afternoon, he moved back to the cool grass and watched the door, ignoring the hunger gnawing at his belly. The master had missed their meal, so there must have been something very important to keep him away. The master was good and trustworthy. They would have a special meal when the master returned.
The day ended, and still the door remained closed. What could be keeping the master? The master had never been gone this long before, but no matter; he would be waiting and ready regardless of how long it took. The master always returned.
He slept, and dreamed of the master. He held the ball up, and the master took it, smiling and laughing before throwing it across the yard. He would happily chase the ball for as long as the master wanted to throw it, just so that they could be together when the master returned.
Walking his patrol the next morning to conserve energy, he sniffed at each side and corner of the fence. He dropped the ball beside the water dish, and was lapping up the remnants of the water when he heard a click. Raising his ears, he looked towards the door before snatching up the ball and bounding towards the house.
The master always returned.
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