Day 187 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Write about a character’s pet.
Erin: “What you up to bud,” I crouched down to see the little spider he had found. “You want daddy to kill that for you,” I began to offer and saw his little eyes go big.
“No,” he placed his hand on my chest as a barrier. “He’s my pet,” he cooed as the spider crawled between his fingers.
“Yeah? What does he eat?”
“Idonknow,” he mumbled still enamored by his pal.
“If you don’t know these things, then how are you going to take care of him,” I challenged.
“Well I know all about how to take care of a dog dad, but you won’t let me have one of them,” he pushed out his lips.
“With time son,” I laughed walking off to give them some privacy.
Shannon: When I first met the scrappy mutt my brother picked out at the shelter I wasn’t impressed. I was afraid the dog might attack my cat, so I kept my distance in my attempt to keep their paths from crossing more than necessary. What I didn’t anticipate was how much Oliver didn’t mind being ignored.
He’d follow me everywhere with big eyes just waiting for me to eventually look at him. I tried to shoo him away and lead him to my brother, but he always stuck with me like it wasn’t my choice. He was going to give me unconditional love and I had no choice but to accept it, so I did. Turns out it’s hard not to reciprocate that kind of love.
Give your character an animal sidekick.
As we strolled along the walkway, Sadie’s leash tugging rhythmically at my side, I let the stunning sunshine warm my face. Whenever we passed by any other morning joggers, her down-soft fur rustled against my bare fingers as she took up a more protective stance and I watched for rock patterns in the path. Her watery brown eyes would take in my body language, her puppy brain working hard to decide on the best course of action, before whining in a comforting tone. Stroking my trembling fingers through her deep brown and dusty white coat, I would feel the love and protection wafting off her in waves.
It was about ten minutes from my basement apartment to the walkway, but we usually covered it in a little under five; I hated walking on the sidewalk along the busy roads with the noises and vehicles, so we generally ran the route. As we reached the end of the walkway, I slowed down until Sadie’s curious eyes were on me, asking why we were barely moving as we reached the road again, I sighed loudly. Before us, vehicles were rushing past at enormous speeds and kicking up clouds of dust in their wake, but the dog sat patiently with me.
After a minute, I slipped my earphones in, still playing a low tune on pan flute, I returned Sadie’s gaze. Patting her head, I clicked my tongue and we were off, jogging around the first bend on the empty sidewalk. As we hugged the outside edge, not daring to glance down at the swamp it dropped off into, I attempted to completely block out the horrible noise of the traffic by humming along to my music loudly enough for Sadie to hear. It only took a few minutes to get around the next corner and onto the quiet, dead-end street we lived on with only one working streetlamp. When we walked in the evenings, sticking to the quiet residential streets instead of the busy main road, I clipped a flashing light to Sadie’s vest and we moved faster than our morning outings. Though she didn’t mind going anywhere, she sometimes whined at me to not leave if she sensed my anxiety flaring up.
In front of the house, Sadie led the way through the gate and around to our door, gently pulling my forward by the leash. When we stood at the lime green door, she sat down and fixed me with one of her intelligent gazes. Jiggling the key in the rusted lock, I swung open the door and stepped over the threshold into the pitch apartment. Though I had big, bay windows along one side of the room, I kept the blinds closed to sleep easier and only opened them if we were going to stay in. I could feel a nagging voice at the back of my mind pestering about people looking in my windows if I had them open, even though I knew that shouldn’t concern me.
Sadie stuck close to my side as I strode to the light switch and the apartment came into bright, warm light. At one end was a stereo set, a few musical instruments, a plush navy blue couch that fit both of us and a small wooden bistro table. The other side was dominated by the matchbox kitchen and doors leading to the grungy bathroom and comfortable bedroom. Pulling out the earbuds and hanging up my jacket, I took down the hoodie from its hook and threw myself into its fuzzy material like a long-awaited hug. As I reveled in the soft, warm sweater, I headed into the kitchen to make some tea.
Beside me, Sadie watched as I filled the kettle with water, placed it carefully on the stove, turned the heat on, got down a pastel teacup and took out a tea bag. She bent down and picked at the dry kibble in her dish, washing it down with a long drink from the water bowl. When she was finished, she sat down at my feet and leaned her warm body against my leg and closed her alert eyes. Stroking her head gratefully, I breathed in line with her deep, calm breaths as we waited for the water to boil.
Just before it squealed, as the bubbles bounced around in the metal pot, I took it off the heat and poured the steaming liquid into my favorite cup. I dunked the tea bag a few times before throwing it out and taking my weak tea over to the side table. Setting the drink down, I settled myself into the corner of the couch to turn on some delicate acoustic guitar music and reached for my half-knitted sweater. It draped across my knees and Sadie curled up on the other end of the couch with her petite head nestled on my thigh. When I reached for the pattern, she yawned a sloppy, tired yawn as I upset her pillow, before settling back in for a long, sleepy morning.
I was wandering along darkened streets in an unknown city, completely alone, with streetlights that flickered off as I reached them. Outside of the tight circles of light, it was pitch black where shadows seemed to undulate just out of sight. Thunder rolled from above as lightning flashed across the sky and I cowered from it against a cold brick wall that was momentarily bathed in light. Voices shouted from down the street; one high-pitched and begging, the other deep and angry. Though I couldn’t see them, even as they passed right by me, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up, my hands felt clammy, my heart rate spiked and my breathing became shallow and ragged. My stomache twisted painfully as horrible memories of being unable to do anything as angry conversations could be heard in the room beside me. As a car screamed by with more heated arguments aboard, I dropped to my knees as the noises overwhelmed me.
When I opened my eyes suddenly, Sadie’s nose was nudging my arm insistently as she whined at me to wake up. Seeing my eyes gleaming, she nosed her way under my armpit and lodged herself there for the remainder of the night. Though I could still feel the pit in my stomache that threatened to carry me into a darkness so deep and terrifying, I might never escape, her presence helped easy the discomfort. I shifted to free my other hand and stroked her in the glow of my nightlight, letting her calm demeanor relax me.
Her friends were a little annoyed by how insistent Jacey is to visit every animal in the zoo. But there is a reason she is so fond of them, even to the point of calling them by name. Jacey was never allowed to have pets at home. Her uncle couldn’t risk an animal wandering into the workshop and getting hurt. And when Jacey was shown to have gained shape shifting powers, it was out of the question. Chris and Rick did not want to have to guess between the pet and Jacey.
So when she got the job at the zoo, she treats the animals like they are her pets. The other employees notice she is gentle with the animals, and always remembers to feed them. She isn’t scared of the more aggressive types, but understands the distance needed when handling them. Jacey is the person they go to when naming a new addition to the zoo, unless it already has a name. In that case, they make sure to tell Jacey before she starts calling it something else.
Overall, she has pets, and will take every opportunity to see them, in her work uniform or as a visitor.