Inspiration Monday – Don’t let them see you’re afraid

Another great week of prompts from BeKindRewrite, so here’s my little story for your perusal. Comments and critique are always welcome. I’ll be away from decent internet most of the next couple of days, so please forgive me if it takes a while to read your comments.

The Dogs

I’ve been scared of them ever since I can remember – those teeth and the eyes that look at you with a pleading desperation that can flip instantly into murderous rage. My sister used to tell me not to be afraid, but her reasoning was neither helpful nor reassuring. “They can sense fear,” she said. “It makes them more likely to attack.”

Now I’m surrounded by them, and I’m thinking to myself “Don’t let them see you’re afraid,” and it’s only making me feel worse. Now I’m scared they will know I’m scared, and therefore attack me, which makes me scared. And on top of that, I’m trying to look like I’m not scared because this is my first time at David’s house and what’s he going to think of me if I burst into tears at the sight of his beloved mutts?

The black one stands higher than my waist. David says that Plato is a softy, just wants his stomach rubbed. But that stomach is waaay too close to those dinner plate paws and a drooling jawline that makes me quiver. Plato is the largest of the four, but it’s Dolly who I’m having most difficulty not being scared of. Apparently, she “nips affectionately” to greet new people. I do not wish to be nipped, affectionately or otherwise, and Dolly has her mouth open already, like she is just picking out the more affectionate limb to tear off. The other two are smaller, and I don’t even know if it’s Shane or Rattle who is chewing the laces on my shoe, and Rattle or Shane who has his front paws on my knee and his teeth bared at my crotch. Either way, my head is screaming “Get them off” and I’m certain they are all sensing my fear, planning their attack.

Suddenly, they back off in a single military retreat. It frightens me almost more than their ad hoc attacks, because there is real strength in this show of unity. But I am safe, David has come back out. He offers a glass to my shaking hand. I take it and knock back the contents, disappointed that it is only coke, and not the whiskey I needed.

“This isn’t going to work,” I say quickly, trying not to let David see how much that hurts. “It’s not you, I just can’t…” I look around the yard. The hounds of the Baskervilles are all lolling around in the sun, looking cute and fluffy and more harmless than my Grandma’s cat. “I’m just not ready for people to know about me yet,” I say. And it’s the truth, just not the one he thinks it is.

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9 Comments

Filed under Inspiration Monday, Writing

9 responses to “Inspiration Monday – Don’t let them see you’re afraid

  1. Oooh, this is good. A very authentic telling of a down-to-earth problem – a telling that makes you feel it – and then, a hint of something deeper at the end. Well done.

    • Thanks bekind! This character feels a similar way about dogs as I do – although ramped up a bit for effect. I much prefer cats; even when they bite, they can’t have your leg off!

  2. Pingback: Inspiration Monday: don’t watch the news « BeKindRewrite

  3. KP

    Nice, ‘real’ story. I feel the fear. Perhaps it’s the excuse she’s been looking for …
    (Capital B for Baskervilles)

    • Ooh, too right about that B. I shall fix it at once. Thank you.
      Sadly, I don’t think it is any excuse – I have a feeling there was something about David, if only he didn’t have those nasty pooches!

  4. I like this…especially the left-hand twist at the end. 🙂

    • Thanks DB. Did you get the impression the narrator was a guy? I thought afterwards that I should have firmly established he was a guy at the beginning, but my husband says he thinks it’s better as a girl, so I don’t know!!

      • My initial reading was that the narrator was female, but your comment got me to thinking and I re-read it a couple times. The first was to look for any gender-identifying words–and I found none. The second reading the narrator as male and this works either way. The male narrator makes the twist at the end different but no more or less real.

      • Actually…I think it works better in its ambiguous state. Removing that only lessens the impact, in my opinion.

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