Welcome to Wednesday Briefs, where authors post free fiction of 1000 words or less each week. I used a picture prompt:
The smile slipped from my face when I realized what I’d done. Guilt slammed into me and took my breath away. How could I smile or experience any kind of happiness, even when this moment didn't last for more than a few seconds?
Shane still remained dead.
I stared down at my fingers in the dark fur. They trembled. What had felt wonderful seconds earlier now felt... I bit my lower lip. It hurt to admit that it still felt good—so soft, so alive.
With a stifled sob, I raised my eyes and searched for anything to look at. My gaze strayed to our large living room window. An eerie light fell inside and tinted everything in a bluish hue.
A shiver ran through my body. The puppy blinked one eye open, then uncurled itself and stood up on my lap. It scrutinized me for a long time and I couldn't help but stare back. I knew it was just an animal—and a young one—but its eyes... They seemed old and knowledgeable. This, combined with the bluish light, made for a creepy atmosphere.
As if the pup read my mind it barked, wagged its tail, and threw itself with a full body slam against my chest. I had no other choice but to wrap it in my arms. “Shhh, calm down there.”
The puppy licked my face with its small tongue, yipping in excitement. Its whole body moved from one side to the other as it tried to get as close to me as possible. All my warding off remained unsuccessful and when its cold nose pushed into my ear, I heard a sound I hadn't heard in months.
A harsh gasp followed my outburst. I grabbed the puppy, set it on the sofa, and stumbled to my feet. I staggered toward the window where I leaned my forehead against the pane, creating moist spots with my breath. Through a veil of tears, I saw a blue moon illuminating the dark sky.
There was nothing to be happy or laugh about. Nothing. How could I do this?
I almost jumped out of my skin when the puppy slid between my legs, sniffed at my feet and then barked. As I stared down at my little, unwelcome intruder, I wrapped my arms around myself. For the time being, I gritted my teeth and didn't give in to the urge to rock back and forth.
The puppy rose up on its hind paws and pressed its forepaws against my left knee. It barked and pushed its forepaws against me over and over again, almost stamping them. I ignored it and instead focused on the blue moon outside.
After a while, the puppy gave up and sat down on my feet, whimpering from time to time. I closed my heart against its sounds. I couldn't get involved with it; I still had to make a decision.
The puppy moved again. I squeaked when it stuck its snout into my left pants leg. I jerked my leg away, which earned me a growl from the puppy, but at least its head wasn't stuck inside my pants anymore.
“Look,” I tried, “you can't stay here. I don't want you.”
The puppy's ears flopped downward and it sat, in a completely dejected pose. I felt compelled to add, “I... we'll look for your owner, okay?”
The puppy's ears perked up and it threw itself against my leg, wagging its tail and yapping. Its enthusiasm—albeit I didn't know why it reacted so enthusiastically—elicited another small smile from me. I swallowed my guilt. No one had to know that I enjoyed watching this small creature, or that I enjoyed having a live being lend me warmth.
On impulse, I bent down, picked the puppy up, and cradled it in my arms. The pup swiped its tongue over my hand, but otherwise allowed me to position it the way I liked. It was so warm and smelled so good.
“We can't do much about your owner now, I guess. How about you keep me company while I stare outside?”
The puppy yawned and closed its eyes.
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