This story was written for the March 2022 Monthly SimLit Short Story Challenge, coordinated by the one and only LisaBee! This month’s theme is “Lucky.”

In early April, head over to LisaBee’s blog to find the list of all entries. After you read them, you can vote for your three reader’s choices in the veteran and novice categories.

We named our dog Lucky. The neighbors thought that it was because, as a stray, he was lucky to be adopted by us. He had a reputation of being aggressive, and the county Animal Control had him on their list to be euthanized, the next time they received a complaint about him. Stubborn and with messy, shedding fur, no one else wanted him. But really, we were the ones who were lucky to have him in our lives.

He adopted us. He started by sleeping on our porch. Then I started setting out food and water for him, and before long, he chose me as his person, even letting me pet him and brush that thick matted coat.

My grandfather wasn’t a cuddly type.

He was a very good man, but growing up, I always felt he cared more about the state of the environment than he did about the state of my emotional well-being. I realize now that part of why he wanted to save the earth was because he wanted to leave me with a habitable planet; it was part of his selfless goodness. As a kid, I just wanted affection and someone I could talk to.

I found both in Lucky.

We were inseparable.

He walked with me halfway to school every morning, along the path by the stream, stopping when we got to the big street.

While I was at school, he ambled through the meadows, or strolled back home to sit in the sun while Grandpa fixed things. And when I got out of school, as soon as I crossed the big street, I’d see him racing up the banks of the stream to meet me. We spent the afternoons rambling through woods and beaches.

As I started getting older, my grandfather reminded me more often about not talking to strangers. “If you don’t know their names, if they’re not folks I know, or people you know from school or town, just leave a wide berth,” he said. “Don’t give out any personal information, and, well. Just don’t talk with them.”

It didn’t make sense to me because I’d been raised to be friendly, respectful, polite, and helpful. What if someone new here, whom I hadn’t yet met, needed directions or help with something? Grandpa said it wasn’t my responsibility. Somebody else, an adult, maybe, could help them. This conflict in values was uncomfortable for me, but I trusted Grandpa, and I guess, at the time, obeying him was my prime directive.

One afternoon, a man followed me all the way home from school.

I didn’t talk to him, and I kept trying to get further and further away, but his legs were longer.

“Hey, little girl,” he kept saying. “Where you going? Why’re you in such a hurry? Don’t you want to slow down and talk to me? I’ve got something to show you.”

My grandpa’s words rang strong, so I stayed silent and kept on walking. I was afraid that if I ran, he’d grab me.

Something inside of me warned me not to go directly home, so he wouldn’t find out where I lived, so I took a detour down by the beach, hoping we’d run into someone. But the beach was empty, and he kept getting closer. I could feel him breathing behind me.

Then, I heard Lucky’s bark. I glanced back just quick enough to see Lucky racing towards us, going so fast now he couldn’t even bark.

Then he growled and snapped. We’d tried so hard for so long to teach him not to bark, growl, and snap at people, afraid of what Animal Control might do if he did, but I was so grateful that day that we hadn’t been successful in training him.

He stood, all the hair on his back raised and bristling, between me and the man.

Then the man backed up and walked off.

“You saved me!” I told Lucky. “You’re like a hero dog!”

A few weeks later, Grandpa and I were watching TV after supper, with Lucky lying on the carpet at our feet, when I saw that man’s face on the news report.

“That’s the guy that followed me,” I told Grandpa, “when Lucky rescued me.”

“What was that?”

I told Grandpa the story.

“We are very lucky,” said Grandpa. “That’s a very bad man. He’s done all sorts of bad things to little kids. That’s why he’s in jail right now.”

He reached down to pet Lucky. “Good job, old boy,” he said. He put his arm around me, for the first time I could remember, and held me tight next to him. “Good job for you, not talking to that man. Good job that you’re safe, little Annie.”

After that night, I sometimes saw Grandpa standing outside watching Lucky while he slept on the porch.

I always got the impression that he was thanking God for him, just like me, thanking God every day for our good luck.

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.

Captain’s Christmas: Chapter Four


The next morning, as soon as it was light, Sarah raced out to look for the big dog. She didn’t have to go far. He sat in a patch of sun near the front door.

“There you are!” Sarah said.

He looked at her fondly. She was about to give him a hug, when she caught a whiff of rotten eggs. “You smell bad, dog!”

Then she saw the reason. He’d knocked over the trash bin and strewn rubbish across the yard.

“Oh, dog!” she said. “We’re in big trouble!”


Before she had a chance to clean up the mess, the panther raced out.

“Pippa! No!” cried Sarah. “You’re not to be outside!”


The panther headed right towards a pile of old rags that smelled like sardines.


Quietly, Sarah snuck up behind her. “Good cat,” she said. She mustered all her courage and picked up the panther, as quickly and carefully as she could. Pippa made a low noise and Sarah was about to drop her in fear when she realized, this was purring!

She gently carried Pippa back into the conservatory, setting her in her favorite lookout amongst the ferns.

“We’ll pretend you weren’t outside, OK, Pippa? Not a word to Jacob about this.”

Then she headed out to clean up the mess and see what Big Dog might need.

Big Dog was gone, but he’d left so much trash all over the yard!  It took a long time to pick it all up. What she couldn’t pick up, she rubbed into the dirt with the soles of her boots. She thought it looked OK, if Jacob saw it in the dark.

Next, to find Big Dog! She whistled as softly as she could and called him in a whisper-shout.

She walked down to the cove by the dock. Not a sign of him.


Then she headed across to the open beach that led out to the sea.

He wasn’t there either.


He wasn’t in the woods, in the lighthouse, on the trawler, in the cave under the bluff, hiding in the empty crates, or waiting by the back door, whining to get in.

He was nowhere to be found.

Sarah trudged back to the conservatory, kicking stones along the path.

The orange raccoon raced down the brick path.

“Are you scared?” Sarah asked, and the raccoon cat darted out of sight.


Back in the house, she heard water splashing in the bathroom.

“My, my, Senator,” said Jacob. “What a mess you are!”

There was the big dog, in the tub, being scrubbed clean by Jacob.


Soon, the big dog bounded out of the bathroom, straight towards Sarah.


“The Senator has taken a liking to you,” Jacob said.

“Why do you call him that?”

“Senator Jones is his name, surely,” Jacob said. “You have a good dog. That you do.”

Was he really her dog?

At lunch, she asked Jacob. “Is Senator Jones really my dog?”


“Must be. You rescued him,” Jacob said. “Can’t stay with me.”

“But I thought he could,” Sarah said.

“He’s all right here in the winter,” said Jacob, “but come summer, shorebirds breed on the beaches, and seals calve in the cove. Hounds are predators, and they can’t stay in the conservatory, like cats. He’ll have to go with you.”


“I don’t know that Mom will let me keep him,” Sarah said.

“Something will work out,” said Jacob.


At least for now, Sarah would pretend that Senator Jones was her dog and she was his girl.

In the afternoon, they roamed the island.

She loved to run ahead of him and then stop, calling him to her.


He raced toward her, his tail pointing down like a rudder.


“We are best friends!” Sarah said. He looked in her eyes as she rubbed his neck.


He stood as tall as her when he put his paws on her shoulders.


This was what Sarah had always wanted, and she didn’t dare to think that it might just be for now. It had to be forever. Something would work out, just like Great Uncle Jacob said.


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