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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Way of Things: A Dog Story, the final chapter


Done, done, and done. These entries will very likely disappear over the next few days or so.  (I'm beginning to think book and short story stuff might need a separate blog?) 

I have much to report over the next week or so: An impatient man who didn't have enough time for own his mother, a patient man who took time out of his day to hug someone else's mother, several excellent books, but especially- "Nickle and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America" by Barbara Ehrenreich, and why I don't want to be a minister's wife. 

XXXII

Inside the Boy and the Visitor had awakened to find the Hound and the Small Dog asleep beside them, their bodies carefully arranged around his. Without disturbing them, he climbed carefully out of bed and went to the front window.

Outside he could see his mother holding her dog in her lap, and he could see her tears. His own heart ached.

“So it wasn’t just a dream after all,” He said to the Visitor.

No Boy. It wasn’t.  

“And I really do have a job to do.”

You do.   

“I wonder if she’d believe me.”

Probably not.

 He watched his mother for a moment, unwittingly echoing the dog. “Probably not.”

He exhaled. “I guess I’d better get started.”

And he opened the door and went to the crying woman in the front yard.

The Visitor stood at the window and watched his Boy embrace his mother.

The Hound came up behind him. You need a better name. We cannot go on calling you the Visitor. You’re obviously staying.

Names were earned, not claimed, so the Visitor waited while the Hound considered him. I believe we will call you the Boy’s Dog.

A high honor indeed.

The Hound continued to inspect him. Though I suspect the rest of the world will call you the Little Warrior.

I prefer to be the Boy’s Dog.

Good.

They were silent, staring out the window, each caught in his own memories of the battle.

I am sorry about the Old One.

 He knew the Way of Things and he lived it exactly as he should have. Then he died doing exactly what he wanted to do most: protecting them.

The Boy came in the door and went back to the bedroom to get his father out of bed.

The Small Dog joined them and the three quietly watched as the Humans carefully dug a grave under the old tree and buried their friend.

Later they would all go to the rise at sunset and listen as the dogs on the surround hills sang homage to the Old One, joining in, telling the story of him, and giving thanks to the Whole.

The song would go on for a long time, much longer than usual.

And then they would return to the house and take up their positions. Each doing his own job. All being attentive. Always. 

THE END

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