Welcome to Wednesday Briefs, where authors post free fiction of 1000 words or less each week. I used this prompt: "the power of love"
I couldn't breathe. I couldn't think. I couldn't move.
The words laid out with the tiles blurred until a gray haze concealed them from me. Nothing made sense, and yet, everything clicked into place. I wasn't a child, but I so wanted to believe this message. I wanted Shane to come back from the dead for me, even if it was in puppy form. The power of love was supposed to be the greatest power on earth, wasn't it?
A firm bump against my knee caused me to suck in air. The haze vanished and, instead, I panted and trembled. My hands clenched and unclenched of their own accord. Every muscle in my body vibrated. Light-headedness became an issue. I locked my knees, but they shook so badly that I gave up. As soon as I did, I found myself sitting flat on my ass on the floor, wheezing.
Hope climbed atop my thighs, whimpering. His paws might be small, but they still dug into my flesh. I snatched him by the nape of his neck and held him up in front of my face, hissing. “This is impossible. I don't know what game you or someone else is playing here but it'll stop. Right now.”
Hope wailed. It was a high-pitched, long-drawn wail that raised the hairs on my arms. I gritted my teeth against a myriad of emotions rattling me. Hope struggled in my hold and, with all his might, he tried to get closer to me.
“You're Hope,” I said. My voice cracked when I added, “You're not Shane.”
Hope writhed in the air. If I didn't want to hurt him I had to let go of him. I lowered him onto my legs and he immediately launched himself at my chest, barking and climbing up on me. For a moment, I resisted.
But when he rubbed his small face against my cheek, I gasped and clasped my arms around him. He stilled right away and pressed his fluffy body against me. His breath came in sharp bursts, tickling my face, and his heart raced.
“You can't be Shane,” I repeated.
Hope wiggled out of my arms, then climbed back on the coffee table. There he shoved tiles apart and grouped them into new words. I waited while he busied himself. My mouth was so dry, and blood kept pounding in my ears, toning down some of the scratching noise Hope made whenever he pushed a tile around.
When he barked, I asked, “Are you finished?”
Hope bopped his tail once on the table and fixed his marble-like eyes on me. As I rolled onto my knees to read his new message, a chill surged through me. A wave of heat followed the icy sensation, and I knew my eyes had to be large as saucers, maybe even as large as a plate because these eyes... they reminded me of Shane.
Shane's eyes had been dark, so dark, and they'd twinkled, depending on how the light fell on them. I'd been attracted to Shane's body, yes, but once I'd looked into his eyes, I'd been a goner.
My pulse sped up so much, I feared to lift off any second. With great effort, I pried my eyes off his and read the new message.
GIL IT IS REALLY ME SHANE
I swallowed. This was impossible. It couldn't be. And yet, a small part of me believed this strange little creature.
I opened my mouth several times, never sure what to say, or even if I'd be able to form words. In the end, I listened to my own awed voice asking, “Seriously?”
Hope bounced to his feet, barked and swished his tail from one side to the other.
“Shouldn't you thump your tail to answer my question?”
Hope blew out a breath—something Shane had done too whenever he was exasperated—and then knocked his tail once on the table.
“Really?” I asked.
Hope did it again. Tears sprang to my eyes so suddenly that I had no chance to prevent them from spilling over. A harsh sob tore from my throat even as I opened my arms. Hope—no, Shane—pushed away from the table and sailed through the air, his eyes lit with joy.
“Shane,” I sobbed, while I hugged him as tightly as I dared.
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