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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Repeat (01/24/13)

TITLE: It's Gonna Be Okay
By Myrna Noyes
01/30/13


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A frigid prairie wind clawed and howled like a rabid animal as it thrashed through the black abyss of the late-winter night.

The large dog's sad eyes couldn't shut in sleep under these conditions, and he whimpered pitifully. The world was such a frighteningly vast, forsaken place to the quivering mound of brown fur huddled under the wreckage of an abandoned hay wagon. His inadequate shelter shook and groaned under repeated assaults by the lusty, gusty gale. One attack even threatened to blow the wooden relic over, and the dog's head lifted to howl back his defiance at this unseen but terrible foe.

Gone were the sweet, sunny days when his beloved master and he tramped the wild prairie together, carefree and unfettered. When they got hungry, they'd stop by a singing stream and sit under the skimpy shade of an overgrown bush.

"Big Boy, let's go splash a few minutes to cool off and wet our whistles before we has a bite to eat." Then Master would tug off his boots, roll up his pant legs, and the two of them would stand in the creek while their tired, burning feet found brief relief. Next, Master would scoop up cold, sparkling water to toss over their heads while they both sated their thirst.

"C'mon now, Big Boy! Let's set yonder and enjoy our grub." Master would open his battered knapsack and extract bread and dried meat to be shared equally between them. Afterwards, Master often brought out his harmonica and played tunes that seemed to make the wild grasses dance and sway in time. It made Big Boy want to sing along, as well. Sometimes he tried to repeat the notes but could only manage sharp barks and low whines.

Their idyllic existence ended the day Master fell into an unexpected and deep ditch while they hunted rabbit for dinner. "Help me, Big Boy!" the man yelled, and he obediently jumped down beside him. But there was so much blood flowing from a gash on the man's head. The dog licked the wound and laid beside him. He even tried to tug on Master's shirt to encourage him to get up, but something was wrong with the man's leg, too. Master grew weaker. "Don't leave me Big Boy. I can't die alone."

The faithful animal stayed at his post for two or three days until Master no longer spoke or moved. Finally, hunger and extreme thirst drove Big Boy from the spot. He'd roamed the country roundabout for some weeks now, existing on whatever he could catch, while his heart grieved his lost companion.

The morning after the wind storm, he came upon several buildings strung along either side of a wide, dusty street. Horses, dogs, and more people than he'd seen in a long time mingled in the road and on the boardwalks in front of the false-front stores and two-story houses. A cacophany of unfamiliar noises filled the air, and Big Boy decided to avoid the crowd. He slunk along behind the buildings in hopes of finding a scrap or two to still his stomach's grumbling before he headed away again.

Suddenly a back door flew open, and an aproned man tossed a tubful of dirty water right in front of Big Boy. He yelped in fright, and the startled man stared. The gaunt dog's eyes were both desperate and wary.

Smiling, the man squatted down in the dirt and held out his hand. "Hey there, big boy. Would you like something to eat?"

The dog trembled. How did this strange human know his name?

The man disappeared for a moment but then returned with a heaping plate of stew meat whose savory smell drew him hesitantly forward. After a few faltering steps he stopped as fear and hunger battled it out within.

Slowly the man set the food down and stepped back a few paces. Over and over he softly invited, "C'mon, big boy. It's okay. It's okay."

Whenever Master called, "C'mon, Big Boy," it was always something good. Maybe he could trust this man, too.

"C'mon, fellah. I could use a dog like you around here to eat leftovers and guard the henhouse. Yes, it's okay. Good boy. It's okay."

The dog's nose twitched. His tongue tingled with desire. He edged nearer and nearer until the intoxicating aroma became irresistible and he began to devour the nourishment.

Reaching out, the man tentatively touched his matted, shaggy coat. "That's it, big boy. It's gonna be okay."


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This article has been read 366 times
Member Comments
Member Date
CD Swanson 01/31/13
Awwwwww! This made me cry. Anything ot do with animals, always does, being such an avid animal lover.

I loved the ending, although it was poignant overall. I especially liked how you showed the undying loyalty and compassion a pet has for its owner. He lapped up the blood and stayed by his side, it made me cry so much.

Beautiful job, and fantastic story. "And they all lived happlily every after..."

Yes, my kind of story!!

God bless~
Joe Moreland01/31/13
Great job! Very immersing story and plot. I loved reading it. I saw the ending coming, but loved every second of it.
Virgil Youngblood 01/31/13
The title said it all. A very enjoyable read from beginning to end.
Loren T. Lowery02/01/13
The title first drew me in and I can't help myself for loving animal stories. This one did not disappoint - I could especially feel for "Big Boy" when hunger and thirst finally drew him away from his beloved master. That a new master was found makes this round out to a wonderful story. Your title is something we all long to hear.
Allison Egley 02/02/13
Awwww. This is cute! I love the dog's POV, and how his new owner gave him the same name. Nice job.
lynn gipson 02/02/13
Terrific! So happy Big Boy found a home, and so sad at the loss of his master.

This is excellent. A winner I am thinking. You had me all the way through this one.
Danielle King 02/03/13
Awwww! I've just gone through a box of tissues reading this. This is beautifully put together and tugs at the heartstrings. I am so happy about the ending too. It was simply lovely. And unique for the topic.
Noel Mitaxa 02/03/13
Very descriptive, with a terrific POV from Big Boy. Loved it.
Bea Edwards 02/03/13
I adore dogs and it was so easy to imagine this dialogue occurring in Big Boys mind. Well done from a 'best friends' POV.
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/04/13
Masterpiece . . .
Alicia Renkema02/06/13
Although I do like some of the larger dogs pretty well, I am not an animal lover per se'. I would classify myself as more of a cat lover which is why what I am about to say is really high praise. You did such a marvelous job in painting this dog's relationship with his master that when he lost his master, I felt so bad for him and was finding myself wishing someone would come by to rescue him... I think the unique way in which you showed the topic with the dog's same name being repeated by the new owner as well as the dog going to another compassionate man to care for him was a very powerful way to demonstrate this week's topic. I also enjoyed your amazing description of the scenery; the frigid weather; the dog and both masters. Thank you for this most enjoyable read.
Judith Gayle Smith02/06/13
Your first sentence is masterful. I parked on that for a few moments, trying to absorb the richness of the scene you so beautifully opened to me. I have fallen in love with "Big Boy", and so appreciate your descriptions!










Loren T. Lowery02/07/13
Congratulations, Myrna! Big Boy is a keeper and the title (and its meaning) will stay in my memory for a long, long time.
Danielle King 02/07/13
Awww, I'm so glad you placed with Big Boy. Congratulations!
Margaret Kearley 02/07/13
Oh Myrna, this is just wonderful. What a story and so beautifully told. I was longing for a happy ending for Big Boy. Brilliant writing. Many congratulations.
Noel Mitaxa 02/07/13
Congratulations on your placing and your EC for a wonderful story.
Beth LaBuff 02/07/13
Despite the frigid prairie wind I encountered here, you totally warmed my heart. Beautiful story! Super congrats on your EC and ribbon!
Ellen Carr 02/08/13
Congratulations Myrna on your 3rd place and your EC place. This is a beautiful story and you tell it so very well. I loved it.
Bea Edwards 02/09/13
Congratulations on your win! I was enthralled all over again by your first sentence. Powerful storytelling, my dear indeed!
Catherine Craig 02/10/13
What a clever effective use of words to draw word pictures for the reader. You had me. Award well-deserved. Congrats!