Coming Home

I realized when I got home that I had accidentally forgotten to feed my best girl. This was going to be a catastrophe. I had been in a rush this morning as I wanted to get to work early. The boss had given me a hard deadline on a report that was due. Honest truth, the report was in my opinion a B.S. report, but corporate demanded it every month.

Not only had I forgotten to feed Gracie, I had also forgotten my umbrella and even worse my coffee. I was soaked head to toe from the daily afternoon rains. My mood was rotten this morning from having to drink vending machine coffee. I don’t know what they put in them, but they always taste like something that came out of a monkey’s butt.

I braced myself as I opened the door and paused for a moment in a silent plea to the heavens that Gracie had not acted out while I was gone. I took a quick peak. Nope, the house was a complete disaster. She is definitely a girl with a grudge when I forget to feed her.

The hallway was strewn with shreds of toilet paper. This was going to be bad. I entered and took a look into the kitchen. I don’t know how she did it, but every lower cabinet door was open and pots and pans were scattered throughout. Damn, I had really screwed up this time.

The living room was filled with stuffing from the sofa cushions. Ouch, this was going to cost me a bunch. But wait? Is that… is that pieces of the remote control? She ate the remote control! Now I’m worried. I haven’t seen or heard Gracie since I got home. Did she overdo it and is now lying in pain? Or even worse, is she dead?

I tore through the rest of the house calling for her. I looked under the bed, in the closet where she had left me a present of half-eaten shoes. I checked the bathroom and found the shower curtain torn from the rod. No Gracie anywhere. I went back to my home office and my desk chair was lying on it’s side with great gouges of the leather ripped.

Then I noticed that my back door was open. I don’t remember if I had locked it this morning. As I stepped out onto the patio, my foot came down on something squishy. I looked down and it was dog vomit. Disgusting for sure, but also a good sign.

“Gracie! Gracie! Where are you?” I called out.

I looked all around the back yard and then spotted her lying on her side under a bush. As I went closer to her, I saw with a relief that she was breathing. I reached out to pet her and she growled and snapped at me. I guess I deserved that. Gracie had been my faithful companion for many years and I had done her wrong by forgetting to feed her.

“Come on, Gracie, let’s get you something to eat.”

She scrambled up and shot into the house like a rocket. Even though she had destroyed my house, I couldn’t be mad at her. I just hope I never ever forget to feed her again.

Written for two prompts:

Fandango’s Story Starter – I realized when I got home that I had accidentally

OLWG #241 – a girl with a grudge

Carry On

Written for OLWG #240 prompt – “you lost more than your hair”

Personal Photo Collection

The sky was overcast, a typical late fall day. Winter was coming and it looked to be a bad one this year. Farmer’s Almanac had forecasted multiple days of snow. With all the many chores I had to do around the homestead, I had neglected to put in a sufficient amount of firewood. I could order up a cord or two of firewood from the Delany brothers, but money was tight. Plus they charged way too much for the firewood. Heaven help you if you asked for credit. Scorn and derision would be heaped upon you for the rest of your days by the brothers.

I looked at the elm tree leaning over the bunkhouse. It had been slowly dying the past few years. Elm is not the best firewood as it brings out an odor even when dried for a year or two. Having to chop down this one and split it into firewood for this year was sure to smell up the house. Plus the wood is notoriously hard to split. I knew my axe wasn’t going to be up to the job. Over the years after many sharpening’s, it was about worn out. It would take a coon’s age to chop down the tree not to mention getting it down to chunks of firewood.

I knew I needed a chainsaw to get the job done in time. With all our money saved just for food and utility bills, there wasn’t any left to buy a chainsaw. I took off my cap and rubbed my mostly bald head. It somehow helped me to think. There was only one thing to do but I knew my wife wouldn’t like it. I had to do it, no, I needed to do it. I’ve exhausted every opportunity.

I slowly limped back to the house with dread in my heart. I steeled myself before opening the door. This was going to be hard. I walked in the back door to the kitchen. As I reached into the top shelf of the cabinet over the sink, I heard my wife come into the kitchen.

“What are you doing?”

I pulled out my .45 Colt M1911A pistol from my service days. Ignoring her question, I popped the magazine out of the pistol and checked to see how many rounds I had left. Two, only two, but that would be enough.

I sighed, “What’s the saying sweetheart? Desperate times call for desperate measures.”

She sank down on the chair with disbelief in her eyes.

“Are you . . . are you . . .”

I hung my head and quietly said, “Yes, there is no other way.”

“Jerimiah, you lost more than your hair, you’ve lost your mind. After what happened last time? How could you even think about doing this.”

I slowly turned around while shoving the magazine back in the pistol with a click. My wife, my soulmate looked panic stricken. I smiled at her and then gave her a wink.

“Don’t you cry no more, it will be all right.”

Omen

This is inspired by a writing prompt from On-line Writer’s Guild #239

My mind wandered as I drove down the desolate highway. It had been a long trip and wearing on my bones. Each mile brought me closer to my destination. A destination I had hoped not to make. I was going back home to my father’s house. I had left home when I was but eighteen vowing to never return. Yet many years later, I found myself making the trek.

If I had made this trip last year, I would have been able to see and talk to my father. Would he have been proud of me for my life choices? I doubt it. My own son had left home at the young age of eighteen also. I couldn’t blame him as I treated him just as my father had treated me. It’s hard to break the chain of repeating your father’s mistakes.

I had not planned on attending the funeral, but had heard from my ex-wife that my son would be attending his grandfather’s service. I hoped to see my son and maybe find the strength to apologize to him. I don’t expect forgiveness but hope to see that he isn’t repeating my mistakes.

The highway stretched before me, miles and miles of nothing but one tree by the road. From a distance, it looked like the tree was black. As I neared the tree, it looked like the branches were moving. Was a sudden windstorm in the making? I slowed down and stopped next to the tree. I swore there were at least a thousand blackbirds flocking on the tree.

It seemed as if every one of them were eyeing me. Definitely creepy and an ominous foreboding of what was to come. I took it as an omen and slowly turned my car around. The blackbirds had made me fearful of continuing on to my destination. My resolve to see my son evaporated. I’m not proud of this moment but I’m not proud of my life either. I looked into the rear view mirror and saw the entire flock rise up out of the tree and head towards my car.

I sped up, nervously glancing at the mirror. The birds were somehow overtaking me. My speed was already over eighty. I pushed my car to the limit reaching one hundred miles an hour. No longer was I looking forward but my eyes were glued to the mirror watching in amazement as the blackbirds kept coming closer.

A sudden blast of an air horn from an oncoming Semi-truck startled me. I jerked the wheel to the right and felt the car swerve into the roadside ditch. The nose dipped and then rose into the air and I felt the car slowly twisting upside down as it flew over the barbed wire fence that lined the ditch. Time had slowed down for me and I could see that I was going to land on the roof of the car. My last thought, “This is going to hurt.”