I tend to be the kind of person who dismisses compliments, rationalizing that they are mostly out of fondness for my quirky self and not based on any actual merit. This annoys the hell out of my husband by the way. But I've had enough friends and family whose judgement I do trust telling me I need to give my writing a serious shot and NaNoWriMo's timing couldn't be more perfect, so here I am, testing out what I've got.
I can't completely put aside all of October's grieving - I'll probably be crying for quite a bit but I have done some writing I've been proud of during this period, and while I may not meet the word count at the end of November, I'll be pretty darn far along by then (and December looks relatively calm in terms of activity this year).
So New Moon, New Year (my fellow witchy folk understand what I'm talking about) and a new look for the blog. How do you like it? The artwork was created by the amazing Sunshine Shelle (I saw the original in her etsy shop and had to make it mine). And I owe a lot to Magaly Guerrero at Pagan Culture for helping me get the fine details just the way I like them (and for checking for typos). It's just what I needed to mark my new fresh start.
Get ready NaNoWriMo, because here I come!
I have found it is difficult for me to be sad and listen to Motown
This is a quick story I wrote soon after a big event in my life. I won't claim its perfectly polished but I got what I needed to get down on paper.
For everyone who has
ever loved a pet. And most especially for Faye and Muffin. Love you.
Twelve Times Seven
Muffin padded silently up the stairs of the quiet town
house. Although he didn’t need to use the stairs strictly speaking, he found he
liked doing it anyway. Although it was smaller than the houses he had shared
with TheBoy, walking up and down the steps reminded him of those days when they
lived together. He got to the top, found the door to TheBoy’s room and walked
The corgi puppy that lay at the foot of the bed heard Muffin
as he entered. She cocked her head and blinked sleepily at him but didn’t seem
scared or even surprised at all. This would have astonished the man and woman
also sleeping on the bed. Just this morning the puppy had been barking
aggressively at a plastic bag blowing in the wind, sure it was up to no good.
But then again, the corgi knew right away it had nothing to fear from the
strange dog, although it just walked right through a closed door. Ghostly
golden retrievers were one thing; plastic bags that seemed to move by
themselves were another.
“Welcome to the family!” Muffin said.
The corgi wagged her stump of a tail a bit, got up and
nudged the woman’s foot. She muttered something about eggplants, rolled over,
but otherwise stayed asleep, oblivious to the visitor. The man didn’t move at
all, just continuing to snore.
“Who are you?” the puppy asked.
“I’m Muffin. I’ve known TheBoy since he was a puppy.”
The puppy gave him a puzzled look. “Since? He’s still a very
small puppy though he’s gotten big enough to walk on his own sometimes with
Mommy and me. She has to push him in a stroller or carry him otherwise.”
Muffin started to laugh, which rather offended the small
corgi. She gave a soft bark and growled a bit causing the man to mutter in his
sleep a bit, “Shh, Faye. Just a few minutes…”
Faye stopped making noises, not wanting to wake up Mommy or
Daddy but whispered fiercely, well at least as fierce as a corgi puppy could,
at Muffin. “Stop that! You’ll wake them up!”
“They can’t hear me,” Muffin said. “But they can hear you
just fine, well your barking at least. You have to love humans, the crazy
things can’t understand a thing we say, but they do try hard. At least TheBoy
“The only thing TheBoy tries is to steal my food from my
food bowl. And I think the other day Mommy fished one of my puppy teeth out of
his mouth. He chews on everything!” Faye said exasperatedly, pleased she at
least was above such undignified behavior. Then she looked over at the crib at
the side of the room fondly. “Still, he’s very cute and doesn’t mean any real
harm. It’s a good thing Mommy and Daddy have me here to keep an eye on him.”
Muffin successfully controlled his laughter this time.
“TheBoy likes to chew on food a lot, but he’s never chewed on anything he
couldn’t eat. Maybe it would help him if he just chewed on things. His Mate
sometimes gets annoyed when he eats too much.”
Faye suddenly understood. “No, Muffin. You have it
wrong. This,” she said, motioning with
her snout to the man on the bed, “is Daddy, not TheBoy. TheBoy is in that crib
Muffin frowned. “No, Daddy and Mommy live in a big house
someplace else. Their pups are all grown, but they are over there a lot with
pups of their own and…”
“No,” Faye interrupted. “I think you’re talking about
Grandma and Grandpa.”
“No I’m not.”
“Yes you are.”
They bickered this way, oblivious to the simultaneous groggy bickering of the
humans, each insisting that it was the other one’s turn to walk Faye. Finally
the man got up, motioning to Faye who managed a final “Are too!” before he led
“Hello Muffin,” Faye said as he came through the bedroom
door. The woman lay asleep with a toddler boy curled up beside her and a new
occupant in the nearby crib.
“Hello pretty lady,” he said roguishly.
Faye rolled her eyes. “You’d flatter a toothless old dog if
you thought it would get you somewhere.”
“This is true,” Muffin said. “It’s a shame I didn’t know you
when I was in my prime.”
“I wasn’t born then,” she said dryly. “Though it’d be nice
to have you here more often. Two pups! At least TheBoy doesn’t go in his pants
anymore – and don’t start that again!” she said, noticing the beginning of
“Sorry. But TheBoy is still TheBoy to me.”
“That is entirely too confusing. We need to decide on something we can both
agree on. I wish you were sensible enough to see that.”
“Well, maybe we can come to some agreement on the pups’
Faye thought for a moment. “Mommy calls TheBoy, I mean the
older pup, Little One sometimes. I’ve heard her call the new pup Little Two.”
“I like that! How are you holding up with human pups in the
“Well, it’s hard right now. Mommy is still tired and I’d
like to get walked more. I know she will when she feels better. Thanks for
playing chase with me sometimes when I’m bored.”
Muffin gave a snort. “I can’t believe they call that The
Running of the Corgis. I mean I know they can’t see me, but still you’d think
someone might notice something”
“They can’t help being humans. Besides I think sometimes
Mommy and Daddy notice something,” she added kindly. “Right now they need help
noticing when Little One and Little Two are beginning to move in their beds.
It’s a good thing they have me here to let them know if they miss it!”
At that, the baby started stirring in her crib. She blinked
her eyes sleepily and looked at the two dogs.
“Aw!” said Muffin. “I think she knows her name. Who’s a cute
She looked at the ghostly dog and reached towards it. When she couldn’t grab on
to it, she began to howl.
“Loud, isn’t she?” Faye said proudly. “I hardly need to bark
to let Mommy know.”
Both woman and toddler woke up. The woman rubbed her eyes.
“OK, OK, honey. I guess I can’t complain. That was a half hour you let me
sleep. Faye must be crossing her tiny little legs by now.”
Faye looked indignant “She’s one to talk. She’s no giant among humans either,”
she muttered to Muffin.
Muffin was too preoccupied with the baby to comment. Faye
remained annoyed until the woman came over to her, with the now soothed baby in
one arm. “Good Faye,” she said scratching her with her free arm. Let me get her
in a sling and I’ll get you out back real quick.”
“I come too!” said the toddler.
“OK, then let’s get the baby in the stroller and make it a
real walk. What do you say Faye?”
Faye barked enthusiastically.
“Did he always snore this much?”
Muffin contemplated the man peacefully snoring on the bed.
“Nope. That happened as he got older.” He looked carefully at him and tested
out the name he and Faye had agreed upon. “Sleeping OK Goofball?”
The man murmured incoherently, a quick smile flitting across
his face before he rolled over.
Muffin wagged his tail. “He likes it!”
Faye nodded approvingly. “I thought so.” She padded over to Muffin to look at
the man. “I rather like Goofball’s snoring. I find I have a hard time going to
sleep at night without it. That’s why I like staying up with him.”
“You sleep just fine during the day,” Muffin teased.
“Well, it is less busy with both Little One and Little Two
gone for the day.”
“How is Loca doing with them gone?” Muffin asked. He wasn’t
entirely sure about the new name for The Mate, but Faye insisted that there was
a song that described her perfectly with that word in the title. (Faye wasn’t
terribly happy that it mentioned cats, but thought the part about mocha skin
and voodoo dolls sounded about right. Muffin still thought Shorty was better,
but Faye was very offended when he suggested it.)
“She was sad for a bit. But thank goodness I’m here. I’ve
got her on a good schedule with walking so she gets plenty of sunshine and
exercise. Doesn’t she look healthy now?”
“Almost as good as her dog.”
“Flatterer,” she said, but pulled herself up as tall as her
frame would allow her.
October 10, 2013
“Muffin I’m so tired.”
Muffin knew this kitchen. It was the one he had so many
happy memories of, with Goofball and his family a long time ago. He knew today
Goofball was very, very sad, so was Loca. And he knew why. An old friend of both of theirs had arrived
in the Summerlands just a few days ago. Before Muffin came to see Faye, he went
to see them. They weren’t too far from this home, standing out in the rain with
other friends in one of those odd parks with small stones spaced neatly apart
from each other, near a large box ready to be lowered in the ground.
Muffin looked at Faye
and knew it wouldn’t be long before she made the journey to the Summerlands
“Hi pretty lady,” he said.
“I’m an old lady, Muffin. And something is wrong. I feel it
in my tummy.” The usually self assured corgi looked nervously up at Muffin.
“Don’t be scared Faye. You’ll love the Summerlands. I
“I’m not scared about that. But what if Goofball and Loca
don’t come back in time? I don’t want to go and not say goodbye.” She started
to whimper. “Oh Muffin, I don’t want to go! Who will make sure Loca takes her
walks? Who will stay up with Goofball and comfort him when he can’t sleep?”
“They will have to manage Faye,” Muffin said kindly. He
curled up next to Faye and began to lick her. “But I will stay right here with
you until they come back – and they will come back soon. You will have chance
to say goodbye, I promise pretty lady.”
October 22, 2013
“Muffin, it’s happening today.” Faye gingerly raised her
head and managed a feeble wag. She wanted to save her strength. Little One was
upstairs after giving her a worried look before heading up to his room. Loca
wasn’t in, but Faye knew she would be back soon from getting Little Two from
school. Goofball still wouldn’t be home for another couple of hours.
“I know. I’m here to help you when it’s time.”
“I walked Little Two to the bus stop this morning,” she said
proudly. “I had the energy for that. But I’ve never been so tired and my tummy
hurts so badly now.”
“Beautiful and tough, I’ve always liked that about you,”
“Flatterer,” she said and dropped her head to the ground
Loca and Little Two came back in.
“Mommy how is Faye?”
The woman looked worriedly at the small corgi. “I’m not
sure. Maybe, she just ate something that really didn’t agree with her. You know
how she loves to eat dead earthworms after a rain. Did you do that again
puppy?” she asked as she scratched behinds Faye’s ears.
thought. No not for a long time now. I
guess everyone is in a flattering mood.
Faye could hear Loca’s howls from the other room. She heard
the horrible sadness and wished she could get up to tell her it was going to be
all right. Not too soon after that, a human came and carried her away back to
the room where Loca and Goofball sat, looking red eyed and weary.
Why can’t humans
understand dogs? She thought.
I don’t know. It’d make things so much easier if they
could. Muffin was in the room too. Faye thought it was odd she could hear
him and he could hear her without speaking, but then realized that it might be
because she was so close to the end.
Goofball and Loca stroked and cooed over her. Faye smiled. Silly humans, it’s going to be alright. I am
so glad, so very glad you are here though. I’ve had a happy life, as good as
any dog could ever hope to have. Oh why can’t you understand me? Please don’t
cry. Muffin’s right here. I won’t be lonely when I go to the Summerlands. And
I’ll visit whenever I can.
The doctor is coming,
I’m ready. I love you
Goofball. I love you Loca. Tell Little One and Little Two I loved them too.
They walked out of the townhouse. It was strange to both of
them not to have the familiar jingle follow them out.
“I always liked taking her out at night, spending a little
time looking up at the stars,” the man said.
The woman said nothing, but looked up too.
“Hey, that cloud looks like a Firefly class ship,” the man
said, trying to make the woman smile.
She did. “Goofball. But, yeah, I can see that. Hey look at
that one. It looks a little like…”
“Yeah, pointy ears, it looks a lot like…”
They held each other looking at the corgi shaped cloud for a
long while. From her vantage point in the sky Faye smiled at the couple.
The Summerlands was everything Muffin promised and more. It
was like the biggest park Faye had ever been in. There were woods, like the ones
Loca and Goofball loved to walk her in. But there were also fields and even
city areas for those dogs who loved and missed those types of places. Faye
found she had the energy of a pup again and quickly made new friends there. She
played chase and even enjoyed a bit of wrestling now and again. Today she lay
peacefully under the shade of a tree, watching Tank, Barkley, Sugar Bear, Charlie
and Muffin running around as fast as they could in the adjacent clearing.
Squiggy also lay in the shade with her.
Tank trotted up to her. “Muffin said today is the day. Are
“Yes,” she said happily. “I’m a little bit nervous though.”
“You?” Muffin laughed. “Just wow them with your good looks.”
“You’ll do fine Mamita,” Charlie said.
Sugar Bear nodded, “This is a happy day. It always makes me
happy when I see my family get a bit bigger.”
“The new addition will need a hand, learning about the family,”
“They’re a great family!” Faye said. “I can’t wait to show
them off. Coming Muffin?”
“Really? I thought you might want to go on your own first.”
“Nope. I really want the company if you’re willing
Muffin didn’t need to be asked twice. “Well then, let’s go
They made the journey easily, finding the house they were
looking for right away. Side by side they went through the front door and found
where the new dog was comfortably curled up, perfectly happy in its new home.
It raised its head as Faye and Muffin got closer, wagging its tail. Muffin
nudged Faye forward.
“Welcome to the family!” she said.
First song choice with this story. It helped me think of the title for this story