Something Golden

Once again, I’ve managed to miss the whole TWO weeks of Creative Writing Ink. I can’t say that I didn’t see it coming, considering how hectic my past couple of weeks have been. Though I’ve somehow expected it, doesn’t mean I’m any less disappointed in myself. *sigh

Now, switching gears! When I saw this pic, I immediately went, “Aaaw…” in a swoon simply because it’s so beautiful and elegant. Despite my fascination, however, I found it hard to come up with a story line. I know you’ve probably heard this quite often by now, but I really had to work my brain out to create an idea, a theme, SOMETHING! I guess this is the punishment I get from being absent from writing for quite a while. Needless to say, I’m expecting (and rather hoping) for some criticism.

OK, enough moaning and complaining about myself. Without further ado, I give you:

Something Golden

It was a few minutes after dawn, tenth day of winter. The air was ice-cold. When you breathe, you’d feel icicle tearing your throat apart, and when you heave a sigh, you’d see your puffs of breath blend with the morning fog. The atmosphere was so quiet that when you hold your breath, you would hear your lungs banging on your chest, begging for some oxygen.

I looked up and stared at the branches right above me. In the summer, I would find a bird nest or two, with the little birds chirping away as they soak in the glorious sun. Now I saw nothing but twigs, tiny and fragile like fingers of a witch.

“Oh, bollocks.” I cursed when another drop of water fell from the tip of a twig and landed right on my left eye. The branches shook as the winter wind blew, as if laughing at it’s own prank. “Ha.Ha.” I smiled bitterly. It seemed rather silly to open the umbrella now, considering the drizzle had just stopped a while ago, but I did it anyway. I twirled the crooked handle clockwise twice, then counter-clockwise three times, both while staring at pebbles and a puddle. I had to do something, anything, to occupy myself while I wait.

And the wait was finally over.

Faint and distant, I heard the sound of small footsteps. I sat on the edge of the only bench available, waiting for the figure up ahead to make shape. I glanced quickly at the bench and realized that the color is red. It reminded me of blood and death. Ironic? Coincidence?

“Slow down, boy!”

I smiled as the tiny voice got closer and clearer. Quite so often I caught the infectious sound of laughter, and I pictured him playing on the puddle in a pair of adorable, tiny, red rubber boots.

“Rocky, wait up!”

I caught a sight of something approaching. Something big and golden. Right behind it, someone small and brunette. I took a deep breath and stood. A few seconds later, I was standing face to face with the six-year-old boy and his dog.

He tilted his head and stared at me for a moment, his ocean blue eyes sparkling with curiosity. “Hello.” He greeted.

I smiled and nodded both to him and the golden retriever.

“The rain stop.” The little guy said matter-of-factly.

“I know.”

“So you should…you should close your umbrella now.”

My smile grew an inch wider. It’s always adorable to listen to a little kid stumbling for words. “Thank you for telling me.” I closed my umbrella, left it on the bench, and took a step closer. “Where’s your mummy?”

“In her bedroom, sleeping.” The little guy answered and scratched the tip of his nose with the back of his hand. “She-she wakes up at seven and…and make me breakfast.”

“And why aren’t you in bed? Isn’t it a wee bit early for you?”

“Rocky woke me. He-he touched his nose on my face when I was sleeping. When I woke up, he bit my…he bit my pajamas and pulled me outside.”

I turned to Rocky, who was lying on his stomach on the cold, wet ground. “I guess he wanted to play with you for one last time.” I murmured. Rocky glanced up at me and whimpered. I smiled.

“No, not one last time.” The innocent little boy shook his head. “I have…I have no school today. I can play with him all day.”

“But Rocky can’t, sweetheart.” I brushed the six-year-old’s dark hair gently without taking my eyes off the old golden retriever. “He needs to come with me now.”

“Why?”

I crouched right in front of Rocky, who slowly sat up so our eyes were even. I cupped his neck with my hands and felt his heart beat. It was getting slower by the minute. “Time to say goodbye.” I whispered.

Rocky walked towards the little boy and tilted his head up. He touched his nostrils to his master’s cold, rosy cheeks. A goodbye kiss.

“…Rocky?”

A little part of me shattered when I heard such a vulnerable voice. But there was nothing I could do. Not anymore. So I looked away, not wanting to intrude on such a private moment between a boy and his dog.

“Where is he going?” the little boy asked when Rocky slowly parted from him. I saw his hand outstretched, trying to reach for his beloved dog. A vague yet heartbreaking attempt. I had to swallow to keep my emotions in check.

“He’s going to go somewhere safe, dear.” I held the urge to give him a hug. A huge one, so he wouldn’t cry.

He stared at me for a long minute, then to Rocky. I’m pretty sure that by now, he’d realized the changes in his loyal companion. Rocky was getting older. And it was time for the golden retriever to go.

“Is he….is he going to be with my nana?”

My chest felt warm. Something that almost never happened to me before.

“Yes, Cillian. He is.”

The little man stared at the dog, his best friend for six years. There was innocence in his shining blue eyes, yet an understanding way beyond his years were shown when he finally nod. “Take good care of nana for me, Rocky.” He said with a pure smile only a kid can conjure. “Tell her…tell her I’m getting better with the…with her piano.”

In the end, I smiled, beaming with pride. Miranda’s daughter had done incredible wonders raising this little boy.

When Rocky finally stood by my side, I patted his head. He stared at me, as if saying, I’m ready now. I smiled and nodded. “Let’s go, champ.” I put my hand on his furry neck, giving him a gentle push. We walked into the deep side of the woods, side by side.

***

For those who didn’t get to say goodbye.

 

Note: this is a continuation from previous short: Company

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11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Aswin Jose
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 18:35:39

    Great narration, full of ‘life’, paradoxically. The three characters are described so vividly, and there is something that keeps the suspense till the end. I consider reading this a treat given to myself.

    Reply

  2. dhitzunako
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 21:37:47

    I agree with you. The picture is really beautiful. Plus it has mysterious aura, which I like.
    Btw, great job wulan! IMHO, I can feel the strong bond between the dog and master there. T.T And to pick a young innocent boy as his master? The boy’s lines set the mood of the story very well. ^^d

    Reply

    • si_ulil
      Oct 17, 2011 @ 06:40:59

      Really? I’m so happy you think so.
      From the get-go, I knew I wanted a little boy for the main character, but I wasn’t really sure if I should make him stumble for words or not. In the end I followed my guts and went with it. So to read such a great comment from you was a confirmation that I did the right thing. Thank you, dhitz! 🙂

      Reply

  3. Novroz
    Oct 15, 2011 @ 00:43:52

    I love this one!! You know how I love my baby turtles, all story that talks about saying good bye to pets always break my heart. I honestly shed tears reading this story, I can’t help it when it come to losing a pet.

    By the way, I think you should put the link of the previous story so that people who haven’t read it can understand it more.

    Reply

    • si_ulil
      Oct 17, 2011 @ 06:44:04

      You shed tears?? Aaaaw….that’s probably the best compliment you could have given! Thank you so much for that. I don’t have any pets, but if I did and lost it, I would probably cry my eyes out. When I love something or someone, I love with all my heart. *eeaaaa…curcol

      Anyway, as for your suggestion,I will link it ASAP. Thanks again!

      Reply

  4. danniehill
    Oct 15, 2011 @ 09:56:36

    Beautiful story, Wulan! I come from the ‘south’ in the States and dogs are such an important part of the family. I can remember every dog that I loved and lost, but one day I read something that gave me a better view of their devotion. Dogs show what heaven will be like. Pure love.

    I truly loved this story! Great job. And wonderful creativity.

    I’m a bit slow in getting to your post. The floods in Thailand occupy most of my thoughts right now, but I do enjoy your writing!

    Reply

    • si_ulil
      Oct 17, 2011 @ 06:46:15

      Thank you so much for your comment, dannie. I know I’ve thanked you in twitter, but there’d be no harm done if I did again, right?
      And again, I truly wish everything will get better soon in Thailand. I’ll be praying for you and your family. Take care!

      Reply

  5. rtm
    Oct 17, 2011 @ 16:31:22

    Oh my, that photo is stunning!! Great story, Wulan, beautifully-written. I kind of expect something a bit on the melancholy side to match the mood of the photo. Well done!

    Reply

  6. CBCondez
    Oct 29, 2011 @ 10:51:50

    You know, Wulan, you can come up with really dark stuff (like Damon and his dad in the train station) but you make Death seem so friendly and considerate. I like that! 🙂

    … and “she” likes umbrellas! 😉

    Reply

    • si_ulil
      Oct 30, 2011 @ 11:55:55

      hahahaha… she does like umbrellas, doesnt she? It’s my way of showing that she, as the angel of death, uses it to separate herself from the human world. From the rain, from the human emotion, from everything so she can do the job. Thank you for noticing it! 😉

      Reply

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