January 08, 2014

Wednesday Briefs: Hope #15

Welcome to Wednesday Briefs, where authors post free fiction of 1000 words or less each week. I used this prompt: "I wished the earth would open up and swallow me whole."

Hope #15

Shane turned back to the tiles, surveyed them, then cautiously stepped around his laid out word and pushed his nose into the pile that had accumulated at the far side of the table. He huffed and pawed at the flat disks, growing increasingly put out.
I crawled over to him and watched him. “What do you need? The E at the bottom?”
Shane knocked his tail once and I fished the required piece out of the stack. He licked my hand and I almost squeaked. He cocked his head to the side, pulling up his lips, and wagged his tail.
“Right,” I said. “Just make fun of me, why don't you.”
It came out more bitter than I intended. Before I realized what was happening, more words spouted from my mouth. “Must've been great for you to be alive... somewhere, knowing I was bawling my eyes out and considering suicide. The ultimate kick for you to know how much I love you, huh?”
Shane froze. I glared at him as I hoisted myself to my feet, shaking all over. I was mad, incredibly mad. Although mad didn't cover how I felt. Sick and exhausted, and a small part of me still didn't trust that this puppy was my Shane.
I walked toward the living room window, taking up a stance there. Some people walked their dogs, talking to each other or their animals, obviously enjoying the sunshine. I pressed my hand against the pane, shivering when I encountered the smooth, cold surface. I stared at my reflection in the window, looking out for Shane because I'd heard him jump from the table.
“Well, wasn't it?” I demanded. “I don't know where you were or why you didn't come back to me earlier but I'm sure you have been pampered, what with you walking around as a cute puppy. Did you even spare a thought for me? How I felt? How I barely had enough strength to face another day without you?”
A soft wail drew my attention toward my leg. Shane stood there with his head ducked deep, his tail tucked somewhere between his hind legs, shuddering. Yeah, served him right.
Shane all but crumpled to the floor, curled himself up in a tight ball and his small chest heaved up and down fast. For a moment, I frowned, then it occurred to me that I observed a puppy crying.
My heart stuttered to a stop and when it beat again, it raced and stumbled, leaving me lightheaded. Shit! I wished the earth would open up and swallow me whole. How could I have accused Shane of leading a fine life without knowing the facts? How could I hurt him so much without having the tiniest clue of what he'd been through?
I lowered myself to my knees and carefully lifted him in my arms. He curled himself up even tighter but at least he didn't refuse me completely. I cradled him against my chest, cupping his head with one hand. His eyes remained closed while he emitted choking noises that reminded me of someone trying to keep sobs in.
“I'm sorry, Shane. I shouldn't have said what I did. I just... I don't understand. I don't understand a single thing anymore...” I trailed off and thumped the back of my head against the wall. For a moment, I closed my eyes, which stayed suspiciously dry even though my stomach did those unbidden somersaults that usually preceded a bout of severe nausea.
My eyes flew open again when Shane barked. He still lay limply in my arms, and I shifted him higher. “It was wrong to accuse you of having had fun when I don't know what you did the last few months. I'm sorry.”
Shane wiggled around until he stood with his hind paws on my tucked up knees and butted his little head against my cheek. I asked, “Did you think about me?”
Shane showed 'yes' with his tail and I added another question. “Could you have come to me earlier?”
When he showed me 'no' I wrapped my arms around his trembling body.
“I'm so sorry,” I whispered into his neck, breathing in his puppy scent and doing my best to quash the guilt that slammed into me.


  Don't forget to visit the other briefers:

  Or you can visit us here:


  1. This story just totally breaks my heart. I so want to know everything!

    1. I know it's slow going but I hope it'll be worth it. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, JL. :)

  2. Oh, Chris T Kat! This is so touching! When someone loses a loved one there is often anger and you showed this so well. Each week I don't think I can wait for the next part, but I'll try to be patient.

    1. I'm glad Gil's anger came across as believable and I'm very happy you're still enjoying Gil and Shane's story.

  3. Great job Chris, I nee dto read the rest. Tweeted

    1. Thanks a lot for reading and tweeting! Much appreciated. :)