Story A Day for May, Day 2


Baron and Kate

The beach smelled of rotting things, and the thrill of picking out the scents of kelp, fish heads, and seal carcass distracted him from the ache that drove him from the little gray house. The man had not returned, not for three sunsets, which meant three nights with an empty supper bowl. He could tolerate hunger. But after his tongue roughed the dry porcelain at the bottom of the water bowl, he scrambled to the creek, to lap at the clear pool high above the bend, before the water turned brackish. Near the pasture by the swamp, he’d found the gopher, and at least, now, his belly was full. He chased each scent, as if it delivered salve or promised salvation.

She missed the bus, on purpose. She could stand no more eyes that looked down, off towards the playground, or, if turned to her, met her open gaze with a glare.

“Why don’t I have friends?” she asked her grandpa, at least every week.

“But you do,” he said sometimes. “You must.”

Or other times, he said, “You’ve got me.”

And when, as the weeks turned, she kept asking, he would say, at last, “It’s not easy. You’ve got to find someone who gets you. There’s more to life than friends, at least.”

He handed her the blue mug, full to the brim with hot tea, gold from cream and sweet with honey. The warmth filled her. It didn’t remove the sting entirely, but it helped, for when he said that, she thought that at least he understood her.

On a day like this, after returning to school from a week home with the flu, with no one smiling to see her back again or even asking where she had been, or on days when she was bustling to share news of the wren’s nest in the willow by the creek–like a fairy’s cap turned upside-down in the crook of the branch–or the black darting pollywogs down in Martin’s Puddle, and no one cared to listen–on these types of days, she missed having actual human friends.

But she had trees. Even if they couldn’t say her name in English, she felt, sometimes, that they recognized her, for when she walked among them, the leaves glistened and shone, and she thought she caught an echo of her name in the whispers of branches or the sudden scent of green.

And the ocean, too, though it cared nothing for her personally, nor for anyone, was there always, and would always greet her with the generous roar it shared with anyone and no one, in the endless rhythms of waves.

He raced after a flock of gulls.

She ran towards the shore.

They met in the path, and each froze.

She smelled like sweet warm milk, like the man did when he brushed him and called him, “Good boy.”

He tilted his head, and met her gaze with his. His eyes grew big.

“Did you get lost, then?” she asked. “And are you now found? Do you want to come home with me?”

He whimpered once, and trotted down the path at her side.

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Prompt for May 2: “Use this story formula to to create an interesting character, give them a desire, kick off some intriguing action and plan the kind of resolution you want.

Once you have that skeleton, you can start filling in colorful details…and soon your creative brain will be demanding you start to write!

A _______ (adjective) ________(noun), who _________(verb) ___________(subject), then _________(related verb) __________(resolution)”


My sentence: A lonely dog, who wandered the beach, then met a girl, saved a life.