Black CATastrophy Writing Prompt: Puppy Love

 Gone

 

                                                              Puppy Love

They found the bike propped up against the wall, but Allison was gone.
“Dammit, I knew I should have never got her that bike.”
“Dad, it’s not the city anymore. She’ll be okay.”
“I know, it’s just…”
“Yeah, I miss Mom, too.”
Samuel gave his son a side hug. “I love you, Marius.”
“C’mon, Dad. Let’s find her before she stumbles across a backwoods meth lab.”
“Ha, ha.” He watched his son load the bike into the back of the SUV. Hard to believe he’s already a senior.
“We’ll hit all the stores on Main Street before they close. Then head over to the dog park, then—”
“Then we’ll swing by the trailer, then the community pool, then out to the farmhouses on the outskirts. Can I drive?” Marius asked.
“When you get your own car.”
None of the store owners had seen Allison.
“Next stop, the diner,” Samuel said. His son was too busy texting to answer.
“Hey, Rhonda, seen Allison today?” Samuel asked his boss.
“No, hun, not since you all were here for Sunday brunch. She missing again?” Rhonda inched closer. “You just need a good woman to look after you all.”
He could smell peppermint Schnapps on her breath. “We’re doing okay.”
“C’mon, Dad, it’s going to be dark soon.”
“You all just let me know if you need something.” Rhonda patted Marius on the head.
Samuel hustled Marius out the door.
“Seriously, Dad, a head pat? Please tell me you don’t like her.”
“Why not? She’s a good woman.”
“Now I know you’re full of shit.”
“Watch your mouth, son.”
Their laughter stopped when they got to the trailer and saw Allison on the steps.
“Oh, no, she’s got Mrs. Wilson’s dog.” Samuel said.
“Daddy, look. I have puppy friend.” Allison stood, the dog struggling to get free.
“Dad, what’s all over her dress?” Marius said.
“Hopefully just mud.”
“It’s all in her hair, too.”
“Sweetie, that puppy is Mrs. Wilson’s.”
“No, daddy. Is mine.” Allison held the dog even tighter.
“Allison, we’re going to get hamburgers at Charley’s. Mrs. Wilson is going to watch the puppy while we eat. Okay?”
Allison smiled crookedly. “Okay, Daddy. Then we go get puppy, if I’m good?”
“I promise.” Samuel gently took the dog from her. “Now, go with Marius. He’s going to get you all cleaned up.”
Samuel carried the dog over to Mrs. Wilson’s trailer and knocked. The tin door squeaked open.
“That girl of yours stole my dog again?” Mrs. Wilson flicked her cigarette into a bush.
“Yes, ma’am. I’m very sorry. Allison doesn’t understand when she does something wrong. And she just loves dogs.” Samuel said, as the dog ran inside.
“So you keep sayin’. Next time, I’m gonna call the police.” Mrs. Wilson slammed the door.

********

Later that evening, Samuel made sure the childproof locks were set on the front door. At least she couldn’t wander outside at night.
“But what if there’s a fire,” his wife said to him, in his head.
“I tried my best, Janine,” he whispered, as he poured himself some Scotch. After a couple of sips, he took the glass to the desk in his room. He pulled out a glossy pamphlet from the drawer. “I’m so sorry, Allison.” Salty tears mixed in with the whiskey taste in his mouth.
The next morning, Samuel dropped his son off at school.
“Allison not coming to school today?” Marius asked.
“Nope, we’re taking the day off. After yesterday, I’d better keep an eye on her. Figured we’d go get pancakes. Can you get a ride home after band practice?”
“Sure, Jessica’s mom can drop me off.”
“Pancakes?” Allison said from the back seat. “Chocolate chip?”
“You betcha. All the chocolate chips you want.”
After Allison had her fill of pancakes, Samuel drove her to the state psychiatric hospital that Allison’s doctor had recommended.
“Daddy, where are we?”
Samuel unloaded her suitcase. “Sweetie, you’re going to go on a vacation.”
“Are there puppies inside?” Allison asked.
“Let’s go see, shall we?” He held her hand tightly while he led her up to the white building.

********

He got home well ahead of Marius. There was a dog sitting on the front steps of the trailer porch. At least it’s not Mrs. Wilson’s dog.
“Shoo,” he said, and the dog took off. The trailer was so quiet. He turned on the TV and then took a new bottle of Scotch and a glass from the cabinet. The house was still too quiet. He turned up the TV volume. Some old action movie.
He poured one drink, then another. Then a third. His hands hadn’t stopped shaking, but at least he wasn’t crying anymore. Have to be strong for Marius.
Five o’clock, and the winter darkness started to close in. Someone started yelling in the movie. Then a cacophony of barking dogs erupted from the television. I don’t remember dogs in the movie. How much Scotch did I drink? He shook the bottle. Almost empty.
He squinted at the TV, but the picture was blurry. He turned it off. The yelling stopped but the barking persisted. No, it was more like howling, now. He fumbled with the childproof locks and opened the door. Animals streaked from the small porch into the shadows.
“What the—” He took the flashlight from the shelf by the door and shone it into the darkness. Dogs. Hundreds of dogs. Some even looked like wolves. And they had stopped howling. Instead, they were growling. Growling and snapping as they sprinted forward. Samuel stumbled backwards and fell, dropping the flashlight.
“I’m so sorry, Allison,” he cried as the dogs closed in.

*********

“Hi, Marius.” Allison hugged her brother. “Are we going to go get pancakes?”
“Yes, Allison, pancakes with chocolate chips.”
“Then home?”
“Yes, home. But only after we get you a puppy from the shelter.”
“Puppy.” Allison clapped her hands. “I love puppies.” Her smile was no longer crooked.

 

–Willow Croft

Writing Prompt Link: https://blackcatastrophy.com/2017/12/03/black-catastrophy-writing-prompt-16-gone/.

 

Amnesia in Retrograde

 

Amnesia in Retrograde

Daylight makes me
a shadow on the wall
unseen and unheard, except
by rote.
I’ve learned my lines,
but every now and again I 
slip up, to the audience of puzzled looks
and cold shoulders.
I knew how to be alone,
protected by the warmth of youthful
energy, but now
I slow down
blood pressure static
and I creep around, creepily
tilting at windmills.
Or just tilting.
Here, in the bright,
I forget more than just names and dates,
but I console myself that I never 
had the chance to learn who I was,
because people always told me what they wanted.
I don’t realize that none of those 
things are true, until after the midnight hour.
In dreams, I remember the girl I was,
and the woman I was supposed to be.
All rainbows and unicorns and hope
for a kick-ass maybe someday.
It’s taking even longer to find her;
a 4 a.m. quest through never-ending thrift stores,
lost all over again with the punishing sun.
Each night, I set sail again,
traipse through forests,
get a letter to Hogwarts,
read my just-so story, where my past
Has never happened.
Last night, though,
gratification was instant.
I remembered you,
deep brown with that wilding blaze,
and I held on for dear life, 
breathing in your horse-warm smell
as you take me to my lost ones.
“I’ll be home soon,” I whisper,
as the jealous dawn steals love from me.

©2018 Willow Croft

 

Definition of Wilding from Merriam-Webster: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wilding

 

This poem was based on a dream and got the final gloss of inspiration (in response to) When Women Inspire’s post on January 5 (And, yes, Christy B., it’s typically melancholy! *laugh*). 

https://whenwomeninspire.com/2018/01/05/want-change-about-you-job-health/

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Year Begins, Again.

I hope everyone is happy, warm, and safe in their little time pocket of the multiverse!

If you signed up for the newsletter, I look forward to reading and sharing your New Year’s creative thoughts (if any). I’ve scheduled this post in advance, just in case I was able to make it to another realm for New Year’s. Thanks to those who participated.

Congrats to the winner, The Green Stars Project, who wrote a great post about liminal space that’s very fitting for this time of year. Become part of the Green Stars initiative!

The Green Stars Project New Year’s resolution: “My not-so-secret wish is to practice ethical consumerism and to also encourage others to do so. I have a specific plan, and I’ll know that it’s starting to work whenever I see another person writing a Green Stars review! My latest post, which starts with a brief discussion on liminal space, pretty much sums it up. https://greenstarsproject.org/2017/12/29/resolution/Sometimes, perhaps when I’m faltering on my path a little bit, the universe sends me a sign – it usually comes from an animal. That’s kind of where it all started – with my cat and other animals. Baggins the cat is no longer on this plane (or maybe he is back on it in another form) but I think he still guides me.”

 

New Year’s Poem by Willow Croft:

Mechanic

“I think time is broken,”

you tell me, in my sleep.

It’s my 365th attempt to fix things

but our clocks are lives and years apart.

With each tinkering,

more pieces of me 

pile up in the corners,

and I’m running out of places to hide

from monsters under the bed and

in real life.

So I seek my way out of these worlds.

At the harbour, I’ve missed the boat.

At the airport, I’ve missed the last plane out.

At the station, I’ve missed the train.

And my carriage never arrives 

at its destination.

Always a day late and a dollar short

and a hundred years away from you

in the dark and cold

of another new beginning.

© Willow Croft 2017-2018

 

“One Hundred Years” by The Cure: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBtBD2WwvGY

 

 

 

 

Quantum Singularity Contest!

My lovely holiday newsletter is ready to send out!

Even better, I decided to create a wishes-come-true contest to go with it (A signed copy of my poetry book to eleven lucky winners!). Details will be in my email newsletter, so sign up by using the link to the right on the widgets sidebar  (MailChimp), or go here.

Good luck in the contest!

Happy holidays, and have a lovely winter season to all my follower friends!

The Stone Field

 

The Stone Field

Broken stones

are still stones.

I have become something else

with the wind and storms and rain

broken and not reborn, here.

Still, you seek me out through our

thousand lifetimes of separation and

the resultant scarring.

But only here are we together

on the starlit stones

and just as icy on our skin.

This realm is one of feathers and flight and all things impossible

through magic

through wishes and coins and the sacrifice of flames

that would have warmed us

called us into being through all realms

and time

and thought

if only we knew

how to heal a stone.

–Willow Croft

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ghost Stories?

 

So, as if I don’t have enough to do, I’ve been hit by the inspiration muse for my next book of poetry. At least for the overarching theme of it (like how galaxies/alternate dimensions/astrophysics/time travel was for the last book). I was thinking maybe the paranormal/unexplained/ghosts, but have the poems revolve around lost people/opportunities, especially since I have been pretty chimerical throughout my life, and a lot got jettisoned and left behind in the wake.

“I liked you the way you were. I liked your walls. I liked being the one to bring them down.” Hook, Once Upon a Time

Here’s a sample one:

The Secret Life of a Chimera

I admit,

you were one of the ones

I had little regret about

and didn’t count you

among my secrets-to-the-grave.

There was zero nostalgia there

except maybe that time

we went to another dimension

with the help of…synthpop, was it?

Whatever it was, it was a beautiful step

out of time, on that Vermont road

clean and pure and transcendental as ice

that, luckily, wasn’t also on the road.

That’s how I remember you.

I will never admit that I think about

the play you wrote that saw the

me no-one else did.

But last night, out of nowhere,

out of years bygone,

I dreamed of you,

pineapple bright,

with a unicorn heart

full of rainbow love, just for me.

And I let you hold me, prickly pineapples

and prickly me and all.

I don’t know what was more confusing

that I let you in, or that I let you go.

And I wished another impossible wish

(they’re the only kind I’m allowed)

that you were the one to break down my walls.

 

–Willow Croft