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Thread: Just a whole bunch of short stories that I love

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    Default Just a whole bunch of short stories that I love (Some Mature Content)

    I am not a professional writer. However, a goal of mine is to one day write a novel. It will likely be fantasy because I want to live in a world wherein I have powers. Unfortunately, I was born in the part of the universe where that kind of magic doesnít exist.
    So Iíll dump my stories here. I like a lot more than others, my current favorite is one I wrote over the Great Depression. It may or may not get a sequel. It depends.
    Now good luck trying to understand some of these. They can be cryptic.
    Also some stories may be considered iffy, so Iíll try to filter out what I consider to be too terrible. I will also post trigger warnings before any stories that I consider a little messed up.
    Last edited by Hashbrowns; 02-03-2020 at 06:07 PM.

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    Writing Prompts I Got From Reddit

    Story #1
    Prompt: I should be writing right now.
    Story: I should be writing right now. There are so many things going through my mind, but I can’t even begin to process them. This last week has been so eventful! The world almost ended, the dead became the living, some living became dead-,
    Let me start from the beginning.
    It all started about a month ago. There were some protestors, most of them were renowned scientists. They were outside of the Pentagon and they were adamant that the world would end. It was a scary event for the American people. Most of us wrote it off as a hoax. Something caused by too many hours at work or whatever. There were, however, the few of us that believed them.
    We got together in small groups and we talked. Panic ran rampant in those meetings. None of us knew how to stop the apocalypse from happening. It was all so scary, and our geological readings were off the charts crazy. The little bits of proof that were accidentally leaked gave us even more fear. Nobody would believe us. We were written off as crazy people or just plain over dramatic.
    Until the bomb went off. I had just taken my kids home from school on a Friday. It was exactly 4:00 when I turned on the tv. It was revealed to us that the government had been testing bombs for the past year. Stuff that could cure sickness in wide ranges with minimal damage to the public. Or at least that’s what we were told.
    Those of us who believed the scientists dug into the ground and stayed there. We listened to radios and occasionally peeked outside to see what was going on.
    They didn’t act like zombies. They were more like people who had bad coughs and looked tired. Many of them were just half decomposed corpses that just wandered about.
    Those of us who wandered out of the shelters to try to find supplies or living people would be killed or seriously injured. We were lucky that some of the scientists who protested the bomb were in shelters-and more importantly- had radios. They told us how to fend off the ‘zombies’ and how to treat minor wounds. They also told us that they were looking for us.
    I was assigned documentation. I need to document everything I see, hear, taste, eat, and breathe, but there’s so much. I’ve done so many radio interviews with the scientists. Progress is slow. Painfully slow. The ‘zombies’ don’t stop decomposing. I suppose that’s good. My kids are still safe. I don’t let them out of the shelter. My wife was not so fortunate. It’s all a matter of time now.
    End prompt

    Prompt #2
    Writing prompt: Due to an error a baby was born without a guardian angel. A demon notices this and has taken it upon themselves to become their guardian demon. But they seem to have some… dark ways of helping their human stay alive.
    Imagine he is in an interview with God.
    He was so small. I always loved watching them be born. It gave me ideas on how I would torture them in their futures. Sometimes I would get chewed out by the guardian angels that were assigned to the babies. One day, I was watching some babies in their little cases. All of the guardian angels fussed over theirs. Only babies can see them, after all. It’s their only time for bonding.
    One baby though… He was all alone. I waited for a time, but saw no guardian angel. They never came for him. I decided to take it upon myself to help him grow up and live.
    I entered the room where they kept the newborns. The guardian angels immediately started harassing me so I would leave their kids alone. I had no interest in them. I moved for the little baby boy with no angel. As I approached him, an angel approached me.
    “What are you doing?” She asked.
    “He has no angel,” I replied simply, “I would like to be his angel.”
    “A demon? An angel?” She laughed after her questions. I simply moved past her and knelt down beside the boy.
    He had little strands of white hair. When he woke and saw me, he smiled. No teeth at all. His eyes were a shade of blue so bright, they were almost white. His stubby little hands reached up and grabbed my horns. I looked at my own skin. Deep red and scarred. I felt pity for the boy.
    The angels didn’t give me much thought after that. I followed the little boy out of the room when the doctors wheeled him out. I met his parents' guardian angels and we had a few laughs.
    It was quickly found that he had spinal issues. Parts of it weren’t fully formed, and it was bent into strange shapes. No matter how much surgery he went through, he would never walk. His parents were crushed. I do recall reveling in their sadness. I am still a demon, after all.
    Nothing really happened during his first few years. His disabilities caused a bit of bullying. They didn’t last too long. I even recall dealing with one of his bullies.
    I don’t know where he is now. He hasn’t talked to my Jasper since the day I dealt with him.
    He called Jasper many rude names. It was the second day of Kindergarten. I took offense for Jasper. He was after all, my little one.
    That same day after school, I followed the young boy to his home. I became the monster under his bed that night. I scared him so badly that he wet the bed. He no longer spoke to Jasper.
    It was during Jasper’s Senior Year of high school that things started getting heated. A new girlfriend had found him. She was very nice at first, and I approved greatly. Then I followed her home one day and found that she was cheating on him. How dare she, right? . Guardian angels cannot interact with the living unless it is their own child. Demons, however, can.
    Jasper cried the entire month after the incident. The papers blamed the boy who she cheated on Jas with. He was arrested and sentenced to prison.
    I don’t understand why Jasper was so upset. He got so upset that at one point, he tried to..do something unfortunate. I barely managed to get him out of that mess.
    I had been out at the time, doing my daily evil deeds in order to appease Satan. When I returned to Jasper, he was laying on the ground. I immediately took action and went to his parents’ guardian angels. They came home with his parents soon after.
    I stayed with Jasper throughout the entire hospital stay. I got quite an earful from Satan because I had fallen behind on my evil duties. I didn’t care. My boy was safe.
    I even made some upgrades to his wheelchair during the time. I just tightened bolts and put some of his favorite stickers on them. Little things to make him know that his guardian demon was still there.
    Sitting through his therapy appointments was terrible. That therapist knew what she was doing. Can I say something about therapists really quick? Yeah? Okay, so they are a huge pain in the ass when it comes to my job. I make people upset, and when the therapists tell them that their feelings are validated and all that bullshit, it completely freakin ruins it. Oh, sorry about the cussing.
    Anyway, Jasper got better in the following year. He even got accepted into his favorite college. I was busy taking ‘care’ of the minor problems in his life. He even met a new girl, who I approved of after some time. They got married pretty quickly. They never really had kids.
    I watched Jasper from afar for the rest of his life. I watched as his mortal body deteriorated. I watched as his chocolate brown hair turned white. I watched as he held his wife in his arms as she died.
    When my sweet boy Jasper died, I held him in my arms. He was at home, and he had just finished his breakfast.
    I used all of the energy I had been building up for that moment, and I picked him up out of his wheelchair.
    “My sweet boy,” I said, laying him out on his bed, “You will see me soon.”
    End Prompt
    Last edited by Hashbrowns; 02-03-2020 at 06:11 PM.

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    This next story was an assignment. The story it is based off of is “A Rose for Emily”.
    Trigger warning
    This story details murder. Nothing gory or anything, but it does outline the murder. Death by poison.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .


    “How shall I do it? Cyanide? Arsenic? Strangling?” I said to myself.
    Oh the whimsical feeling that plotting his demise gave me. I could feel my blood rushing as I imagined his eyes rolling into the back of his head and foam coming out of his mouth. Just planning it gave me rushes of adrenaline.
    Originally, I had planned on letting him go. Then he told me of how he’d rather hang out at the local pub than be with me, even though he told me he loved me. He angered me deeply with those words, but I kept a level head. After that, he didn’t see me for a long time. Luckily, that gave me time, enough to plan his death.
    I wrote out my thoughts in my diary. I guess I’m lucky that they never found it.
    The day he came back to me, I treated him with a certain kindness. Thoughts of his death filled my head and I had to hide my expression of absolute happiness and excitement. He would never be able to tell. He would never leave me.
    “Why have you come to see me, Homer?” I asked him, setting his cup of tea in front of him.
    “I came to apologize for what I said,” he replied, “But I feel that we both said some things… I also came to tell you I am leaving town. I don’t plan on coming back. Would you like to come with me?”
    I pursed my lips and looked away from him. I suddenly felt that killing him may not have been the best idea. I pushed those thoughts out of my mind and sighed.
    “Come back tomorrow. I need to get my affairs in order.”
    He did as I said and came back the next day.
    “Before we go, I must ask that we have one final cup of tea here. This house is all I have left of my father… I feel it would only be right.”
    He drank his tea and I smiled. It would be over soon. My sister hadn’t even come home yet. It would work perfectly.
    “How’s the tea?” I asked as he started choking. I had gone to the physician the previous day and I had gotten some arsenic for my ‘mouse problem.’ He looked at me, pain and panic in his eyes.
    “You’ll never leave me now.”
    He fell into my arms and I carried him up to the second bedroom. I lay him out on the bed.
    “You will keep your promise to me, my dear husband.”
    I ran a hand across his face and I smiled. He looked so peaceful. Now to get him out of his rags and clean him up.
    When I had finished, I set a final cup of tea next to him for when he woke.

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    both stories held my interest--good starts!
    <font size=1><font color=#ffd700><b><i>"To make a difference in someone's life you don't have to be brilliant, rich, beautiful or perfect.  You just have to care. ~M.Hale </i></b></font>
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    Why thank you

    - - - Updated - - -

    This story is based on the Great Depression. It’s a Historical Fiction and there may be inaccuracies.


    It’s been months since any of us have had a full meal. We eat mostly scraps, and not very often. It’s been five days since I’ve eaten anything significant. The baby is so hungry that he has stopped his crying. He looks like he’s lost the will to cry. He is so little too! He’s almost a year and a half and he still looks like he’s only about a year old. He doesn’t even have a name yet. All Ma calls him is “The Kid”
    Dad doesn’t look in much better shape. He’s been sitting in his chair for a month now. He stopped eating to keep me alive. When he coughs, it sounds hollow and frail. It’s like even his lungs have given up on even trying. It’s his own fault though… he won’t let us get help. He’s too proud to accept anything from other people. Won’t even accept help from President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
    After he lost his job and lost all of our money to the stock market, Dad tried to find anything to help keep us afloat during this whole ordeal. It wasn’t long after he started the good old job hunt that he got sick. We couldn’t even afford to take him to the local physician.
    Ma came back with a whole loaf of bread and some soup tonight! Maybe it’ll keep Dad alive long enough to get more food! God knows we can’t afford more than one meal a week, and this would be two meals this week. She must have stolen this meal. I keep telling her that I’ll get a job and she won’t have to steal anymore. I can’t get her out of jail again.
    Dinner was somber. Ma said nothing throughout the whole meal. She looked like a broken woman, and I could only stare into her emotionless eyes. I tried to make conversation with her a few times, but she only looked at Dad when I spoke.
    When I walked by him later that evening, I noticed that his chest had stopped moving. He no longer made any sounds. I choked and ran out into the streets crying. My friends came up to me. Each one of us was so much thinner than we had all been four years ago. Before all of this. And all they could do was hold me in their arms as I sobbed.
    When I got home, it was about midnight. I walked into our shack of a house and noticed a scrap of paper on the table. It read, ‘I’m sorry baby.’ It was Ma’s handwriting.

    She’s been gone for ten days now. I managed to grab a waitressing job at Dean’s. It doesn’t pay much, but it is enough to keep me and my brother alive.

    I’ve decided that Ma isn’t coming back. It’s probably a good thing for me and the kiddo. I only have to pay for one other mouth to feed. Sometimes my boss lets me take home some leftover fries too, just as a little extra nutrition.
    I made the choice that my brother’s name should be Benny. It was what Ma said would have been my name if I wasn’t a girl.
    It is so hard to work with a kid. I’ve had to give up schooling just to keep food in Benny’s mouth. My boss is a huge help though. His wife helps take care of little Benny while I’m workin, and teaches me how to care for him while I’m not. Only 17 and I’ve already got a kid.
    I even met a nice boy while workin. He comes in every Friday at the same time, orders the same plate of French fries and our signature burger, and always sits in the same booth. He sure does like to talk a lot. If there’s nobody else in the restaurant, he will talk to me for hours. His name is Louis, after his great uncle. He has brown hair, just like Benny’s. He loves to listen about Benny too. I even brought the little guy in so he could meet Louis. I swear I never did see a pair hit it off as well as those two did. Louis handled kids like a dream.
    Louis comes from a pretty well off family. He likes to come in and eat at our joint because it made him feel like he was a part of the people. I think he’s even taken a liking to me.

    It’s been so long since I’ve looked at this journal. Readin through it makes me realize how bad we all had it then. I guess it just makes me all the more happy that I married Louis instead of the other boys.
    Benny is seven now. He looks just like Dad. His first word was Beth, which is my name! Me and Louis have been raisin him along with our two kiddos. Benny is a sweetheart and he loves his nieces and nephews, even though they aren’t that far apart in age. My oldest, Rosy, is only four years younger than Benny. Thomas is only a few months old too.
    All I can say is, I’m livin happy now. Sure, life has its ups and its downs, but I’ve got it good for now.

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    Mutant story time



    Long ago, humans began testing on humans. Not long after, they met with aliens for the first time. At first they were peaceful. They even helped us test on our own young. We don’t know what happened after that. The aliens started their own ‘civil war’ that bled over to the humans. They sent what they called the mutants in to fight. That’s where it all fell apart. When they returned from the war, the mutants were treated like the men who returned from Vietnam. But the problem is, it never stopped. It got worse, actually. They made us our own villages. Slums, actually. We were not allowed to have more than one child. We were useless to them. Only useful as soldiers. Nothing more.
    Soon after the alien’s civil war ended, the humans started turning on us.
    We were fighting for those who hated us. We barely even fought sometimes. The war never ended. We were all born to fight.
    All I know is- Alien gone- Human enemy. But what about us?

    Year: 999128
    Name: Havila
    Gender: F
    Age: 10,587
    Mutant Status: Suspected Living
    Place of Residence: Village F
    Soldier Status: Unknown
    Rank: Private
    Confirmed Kills: 8,567
    Physical Description: 5’11. Blue skin red eyes. No hair. Physically strong.
    Mental Status: Unknown
    Wanted

    They got mad because I stopped fighting and said no. Food is scarce around here. Everything is scarce here. We aren’t even on Earth anymore. The sun blew up a long time ago. We are on a planet called Havescan. It is strange here. I lived on Earth, before it blew up that is. I fought wars on Earth.
    I’m now living in a fortified castle. It has been hidden for many years. Only those who lived there, built it, or worked there know where it is. There are many of us here. We are working to free our fellow mutants.
    We have freed a few hundred. It is a slow process, and we get more killed than anything. It is a dangerous world for us.
    But that’s where the story starts.
    It happened about 10 years ago. I met the group of 5 mutants while I was scouting. They were obviously family. Each one had pink skin, all of different shades. They each shared purple hair and blue eyes. Had it not been for the height and gender differences, they could have all been the same person. They originally attacked me. Had it not been for my military training, I surely would have died. I gained their respect though.
    Their names were strange and in a tongue I could not understand. They were only able to say a few words in English.
    “Help-us” they kept saying, over and over. I tried to calm them. I very quickly realized that the oldest out of the five was badly injured. I was blessed with the ability to heal, along with amazing strength and agility. I was a force to be reckoned with.
    They were bait. I don’t know why I didn’t realize it before. Chains surrounded their waists. At first, I figured that they were escaping, as I had. But no. Many soldiers, mostly human, poured out from around the bushes.
    I was barely able to escape them. I heard the screams of my fellow mutants, and it took all of my strength to not go back and save each one for risk of mortally wounding myself. Of course I could not get back to the stronghold. I would reveal everyone else. My head clouded with visions of death and destruction. Those pink skinned mutants, I thought, They must have the ability to project emotions and visions. Seers and mages, the lot of them.
    I shut my eyes to shut them out, but that only made the visions worse. I opened my eyes and saw burning trees around me. I only felt terror. Something was wrong, I could feel it. I nearly collapsed from the emotions that overtook me. I blinked a few times and the visions went away. I could sense other people around me.
    “Come out then,” I said, preparing for battle. Two of the younger mutants with pink skin came out of the bushes. Tears streamed down their faces.
    “Mommy-“ the youngest of the two, “Others- dead.”
    “Come here,” I said, beckoning the pair over. They quickly ran over and I knelt down and gently hugged them and stroked their heads. “Follow me. Quickly, we must be out of here.”
    I took them back to the fortress after zig-zagging through the surrounding forest. They were quickly taken care of by the live-in nurses and medics.
    “You know that we cannot afford any more mouths to feed,” I heard a voice call from behind me.
    “The humans killed their parents. And another one of their family members,” I hissed, turning to face the person whose voice I could always recognize, “So if you don’t mind, Kurdor, I would rather help them out. The little girl…”
    “You must pull double weight. Your rations will be cut. I gave you specific orders-“
    “And they were stupid!” I retaliated, “Our promise to the mutants was to save them! Not turn them away at our doors. You forget who helped you start all of this, Kurdor. Now let me do what I made a blood oath to do.”
    He sighed and sat down at a nearby table. He was obviously a broken man. His skin had turned a darker grey than normal. His hair was turning from black to white. He had lost most of what he held dear during the first wars. He and I had made the oath to save our people from the humans’ tyranny. However, supplies were running low. Fresh water was increasingly hard to find. We had very little farmland that could be hidden and defended. We had to slaughter the last sheep just to feed the people.
    “I’m sorry,” I said, turning away from Kurdor and looking towards the children.
    “You are right. It was our oath. But we have no food to feed them. There isn’t even enough lodging for them. Unless we can find a big cache of food or raid another one of the shipments to the troops…” his voice trailed off and he put his head in his hands.
    “If we chased off that small faction to the West, it would give us more farmland.”
    “It’s too dangerous.”
    We bickered for quite a while until I felt a tug on my long hair. It was one of the children. The little girl.
    “Brother- dead. Injury- great.” She couldn’t convey her emotions through words. I nodded and picked her up. She couldn’t have been more than six at the time.
    I took a final glance at my fellow leader, then walked away with the girl.
    Over the next ten years, I trained her and raised her. She came with me on many raids of supply wagons and ships. She was like a daughter to me. I could never figure out what the burning forests meant until the day we figured out that she could conjure fire out of thin air.
    I could not control her after that. She never listened anymore, as any teenager would. She burned forests down so she could chase away the humans that killed her blood family. She became a villain.
    The day we fought, I thought I would die. She had completely lost her mind and I had no choice. When I had landed the final blow, I felt everything crashing down around me. In my arms, I held the child who had been with me for ten years.
    Kurdor said he heard my screams back at the castle when I returned with her in my arms. I said nothing to him. Not for many months.
    When I went to sleep at night, I would dream of being with her again. She, who helped the mutant factions defeat humans and give us freedom in certain places. She, who without fail, could make me smile at any moment. She, who was so determined to help us all survive that she killed at just the age of ten and stole food and farmland. She, who was so strong and beautiful. She, who was my daughter in bond, not blood.
    When I would wake up in the mornings, there would be a blissful moment when I would forget that I killed my own daughter. Then everything would crash back down onto me. I would weep in my room. Kurdor would always tentatively knock on my door and rouse me from my sadness. He was my rock in those trying times. The only thing that never changed.
    “You have to get back to work. I know it must be hard… She was a good kid,” he would always say.
    Then I would get up and go to work, my eyes still puffy from the morning weep.
    I still go on raids and I still chase the humans out. It doesn’t feel like I’m doing the right thing anymore. Not without my Sylvia.
    I still help Kurdor run things at the castle. He has softened to me quite a bit. He now sends the child refugees to me. I care for them as I would have cared for Sylvia. I train them as I had trained Sylvia.
    Nothing feels the same anymore. The children are amazing, and I love each of them individually. But there is this hole in my heart now. One thing still lingers with me though. I never found out what the burning forest meant.

  7. #7
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    In the bottom group on the Forum 'page', there used to be a writer's prompt section that changed prompts at least every month. Writers' prompt challenges have also been in some annual contest events on RPA. You have shown imaginative storytelling, and I have enjoyed your works.
    <font size=1><font color=#ffd700><b><i>"To make a difference in someone's life you don't have to be brilliant, rich, beautiful or perfect.  You just have to care. ~M.Hale </i></b></font>
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    Quote Originally Posted by HoneyHeart View Post
    In the bottom group on the Forum 'page', there used to be a writer's prompt section that changed prompts at least every month. Writers' prompt challenges have also been in some annual contest events on RPA. You have shown imaginative storytelling, and I have enjoyed your works.
    Thanks! It means a lot to me when people like my stories. I’d love to do one of these writing prompts too

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    This story is called For the Dogs, I am currently updating it on Wattpad under the username The_Middle_Child or @hashbrownie02, so if I forget to continue posting it here, that’s where you can read the rest.


    I can recall the day I met her. I was outside, sitting in the sun and letting it soak into my fur. In the sun, I so closely resembled my mother, who was a spotted black and white border collie. However when I moved to shade, the brown undertones of my half chocolate lab, half border collie father appeared in my face. At the time I weighed around 90 lbs, but it constantly changed. I had no home, and neither did she.
    She was a gorgeous Australian shepherd. She had so many different colors in her fur. Copper, dark brown, and her spots were a lighter brown. She had stumbled into my neck of the woods by accident because she was on the run from her previous human. But what caught my eye at first was her front left leg. It was completely gone and replaced with a mechanical one. I could hear it whirring when she took a step. I couldn’t stop looking at it. It looked like she had full control of it. It moved exactly like a normal leg would.
    I had never liked humans. I generally stayed away from them, but she had obviously had a few encounters with them. From what I could tell, they were brief, or few and far between. The leg must have come from a concerned citizen who had tried to befriend her. I never asked about it. It was a sore subject for her, and I wish I had known that when we met.
    What concerned me most about her was her physique. As I took a closer look at her, I noticed that she was heavily pregnant. She looked incredibly tired.
    She looked around. I made sure to stay out of sight. I knew this part of the forest well. I lived there because it was far out of the reach of humans, and normally other dogs. At the time, I liked to live alone.
    Finally, she lay down and relaxed. After a while, she went to sleep and the whirring in her mechanical leg stopped. It was probably tied to her brain somehow.
    That was when I decided to take a closer look at the strange female who had stumbled into my territory. I took quiet and careful steps towards her. I knew she was sleeping lightly on purpose, so I made sure to keep my breath quiet as well. Carefully, I sniffed in her direction. She smelled of the earth. It was the pleasant smell that always came after it rained, and it was relaxing.
    After inspecting her further and making sure she wasn’t a threat, I left her. There was no collar around her neck, so I had no reason to worry. The smell of human had faded as well. So, I walked away and hid my scent. In that moment, I wanted nothing more for her to leave. I struggled enough to find enough food for myself to eat, much less a new mother and her puppies. However, as I kept thinking about her, I felt that I needed to go back.

    It was eight days before I saw her again. She was trying to catch a mouse, but was unsuccessful. I looked over her a few times and came to the conclusion that she hadn’t had her pups yet, so I decided to approach her carefully.
    She growled at first and assumed a defensive position, but I wasn’t deterred. After a few minutes, she determined that I wasn’t a threat and allowed me to come closer. Her hostile nature continued when I got within a few steps of her though.
    “Back off!” She barked through a sudden snarl.
    “Calm down,” I said with a huff. I had nearly no patience for other dogs. That would change quickly however. Her demeanor changed quickly again. Suddenly she was very shy and submissive. I could feel the fear radiating off of her.
    “I’m sorry, it’s been a tough few months…”
    “Don’t be. I understand… What are you doing here anyway? Shouldn’t a dog like you be somewhere around humans? I’ve only ever known your breed to be at their heels.”
    “Then you know nothing of me!” She suddenly sounded angry and defensive again. She snarled and snapped in my direction. “I was beaten! My leg was ripped from my body and I had no say in it! They forced me to have this litter! I ran for my own safety, and I’ll be damned if another dog tries to take that from me!” She tackled me and pinned me down. I smiled and bumped her nose with my own, which startled her enough to release me.
    “I know enough to know that you are hungry and in need of shelter. Both of which I can provide if you calm down and follow me,” I said curtly.
    It took her a few moments to reply.
    “Okay,” she finally said, lowering her head as a sign of acceptance and obedience.
    I turned and trotted off, making sure to take one of the easier paths to my den. I knew it wouldn’t be long until she would give birth, and I wanted to provide for her. At that moment, I promised myself that I would never leave her side.

    We got to my den a few hours later. I lived under a tree in a hole something or someone had carved before me. It was cool and the roots provided enough support to keep everything up. It was just tall enough for me to stand up straight in, but what it lacked in height, it made up for in space. There was more than enough room to allow for many more dogs to sleep there, so I thought that she might like it.
    On the way back, I learned much about her. I learned that she was born feral just like me. She had been taken from her mother after the rest of the litter had died. She was cared for by a nice human up until the human had too many illnesses to care for her, so she was released. After that, she only had unpleasant experiences with humans, most of which she refused to tell me. She had told me that she had ended up in the home of a cruel breeder, who had beaten her every time she refused to breed. The litter she was pregnant with were to be shepherd-shepherd mix. Their father was a purebred German shepherd.
    I listened to every word that came out of her mouth. We had to stop a few times, as carrying the litter wore her out quickly, but we were able to make enough ground to reach my den before nightfall. During the entire journey, my mind kept thinking one thing. I will protect her until the day I can no longer.
    I crawled into my den and invited her in. She was more than happy to oblige. She found a nice soft spot near the back of the den and curled up to rest.
    “Thank you for treating me this way. It is so rare that I meet another dog like this,” she said, her voice smooth and calm.
    “I don’t usually,” I said bluntly, “Then again, the dogs that are usually in my territory are looking to take it over, and usually aren’t pregnant.”
    “Well, tell me if I overstay my welcome. By the way, what’s your name?”
    “Milo. For the field I was born in. And you?”
    “Ryder.”
    That was the last we spoke that night. I went out to find food to bring back to Ryder.
    I was a pretty good hunter. I had grown up living on the streets and in the woods, so I could usually sneak up on a rabbit. Sometimes, if I was lucky, I would stumble across a deer carcass or something that I was never able to catch. If I happened to sleep near water, I would usually eat duck for dinner. If I was in town, I would sift through trash until I found something delectable. Those were rare occasions.
    I brought back a rabbit and three mice. It was one of the most successful hunts I had ever had, but I think that was because I was providing for someone. She quietly took two mice and ate. After that, she slept.
    I stood watch near the entrance, but I didn’t watch the entrance. I watched her. I knew it could get cold at night, but I didn’t want to overstep my bounds and curl up next to her, as tempting as it was. But when she started to shiver and whimper in her sleep, I decided enough was enough. I padded over to her and lay down, careful not to wake her again. I laid my head on her shoulder, closed my eyes, and went to sleep.

    The next day was eventful. Six puppies were born on that day. And they all looked different, except for two. Ryker, the first pup, looked like a carbon copy of Ryder, Reno, the second pup, looked more like a silver sable German shepherd but with a strange pattern, Nettles, the third pup, looked almost just like Reno, Pitch, the fourth pup, looked like a strange mix of an Australian shepherd and a German shepherd, then the last two, Silver and Willow, looked exactly like a silver sable German shepherd.
    Ryder had done well. Every pup was born alive and moving, and she remained strong for the entire event. She had every name picked before I could even think to ask. There was a strong sense of love for her puppies when she spoke. She cursed and spat with every contraction, but silenced herself as soon as Ryker was born.
    I also surprised myself. I thought that if I had ever found myself in that situation, I would have been the strong one. I could not have been more wrong. Every time she cursed and spat I found myself in a blind panic. I felt awful that I couldn’t alleviate her pain, and even worse that I couldn’t do much except for bring dry leaves to keep the pups on. I thought she would be the one trembling with fear, but it was me who sat beside her with my tail tucked between my legs. I was glad she said she wouldn’t bring it up. But I also surprised myself in another way. I too felt a love for the pups. I thought that I would need to build a stronger relationship with Ryder, but instead, I felt that the puppies were like my own right from the beginning. I stayed awake throughout the entire day and night simply getting nothing done except for fussing over Ryder and the pups. I got familiar with each of their scents within an instant. I kept counting their tiny little heads, making sure each time that there were six.
    Ryder laughed a lot after the birth. She laughed at how much I cared, she laughed at the little noises that the puppies made, she laughed at nothing. Each laugh was tired and weak, but the twinkle in her eyes told me that each laugh was genuine. I would perk my ears to the very sound of it, then she would laugh again.
    “Why are you laughing, Ryder?” I asked after I was finally too curious to let it go.
    “You keep counting them. Why? There will be six each time. I don’t think they will go anywhere for quite some time,” She said, laying her head on the ground.
    “I know, I just… I’m not sure.”
    I lied to her. I knew exactly why, but I knew that she would laugh at my reasoning. So instead, I lied.
    I was only able to tear myself away from the pups to do one of two things. Go out to answer the call of nature, and to keep Ryder warm. The night got cold, so I did my best to keep both the pups and Ryder warm.
    At last, I felt peace. I turned my nose towards the entrance of the den and took a deep, cleansing breath. I felt tension release from my shoulders, I felt my legs finally relax, and I truly felt the cool night air rush into my lungs. I let my ears hear the crickets and the locusts. Must have been late summer or early fall. I allowed myself to listen to everything. Rustles of the leaves that small creatures caused, the familiar sounds of the night, and the whimper of newborn puppies. I closed my eyes to really take everything in, and I could suddenly appreciate the dirt beneath me, the warmth of Ryder beside me, and the soft breaths of Pitch, whom I had set on my legs so he could lay close to my chest.
    “Milo?” A sudden voice said, jolting me out of the peaceful state I had set myself in.
    “Y-yes? What is it?” I responded while quickly collecting myself.
    “Can you watch them? I want to step outside for a moment,” Ryder said quietly. The other five pups were laying close to her stomach, so any movement was sure to wake at least one of them.
    “Yes, go on ahead.”
    Ryder got up quickly and quietly, and sure enough, she woke Nettles. The pup started whimpering almost immediately, but was hushed by a quick lick to the face from Ryder. She quickly trotted outside. I so badly wanted to join her in that moment, but I was bound by a promise of words.
    She returned a few minutes later, looking refreshed and happy. I was worried that she wouldn’t.
    “Still have six?” She asked.
    “Of course,” I responded with a grin.
    “Lovely,” she said, plopping down carefully.
    “R… Ryder?”
    “Yes, Milo?”
    “Will… will you…” I sighed and looked her in the eyes. Her eyes were chocolate brown on the outside, but the inner rim before the iris had blue flecks. Even in the dark of the den, I could see them almost perfectly.
    “Stay here. Stay here with me. I will provide everything, I will teach them. But don’t leave… Don’t leave me,” I finally said, my voice sturdy and calm.
    She didn’t respond for a moment, but she looked shocked. Then, she bore a soft and kind smile.
    “I promise that I will stay here.”

    The next few days were difficult. Nettles almost died from something, Ryder and I had to fall into a routine, which was very difficult because I already had one but it would have required me to be gone a lot, the six puppies for her first litter made her very nervous, I had to get a lot more successful while hunting very quickly, and I also had to make a large bed of leaves and sticks for Ryder and the puppies. Ryder only ever left her puppies to eat, drink, and find a place to release, and I was constantly in and out of the den. We quickly figured out that the puppies liked to explore, so I put rocks around the bed so they couldn’t escape.
    Ryder acted much more kind to me. She would wag her tail when I entered the den, wouldn’t huff every time I spoke, and she even licked my ears. Even when Nettles was sick, she was still very kind to me.
    After we had a routine going, everything got easier. I would replace any ruined bedding in the morning, go hunting, bring in whatever spoils I could, then I would relieve Ryder of her duty for a while so she could go try to hunt and take care of whatever she needed to. She almost always came back with nothing, but I didn’t blame her.
    We ran into a problem though. Any food caches I had were quickly running out, but we couldn’t leave the pups alone so we could hunt together. I resulted to stealing from a farm I knew. It was a long journey to and from, but I had to make it every day. I stole eggs from the chickens and ran back into the forest before the farmer could see me, I stole food from the garbage, and I almost got shot once when I tried to take from the farmer’s lunch. It was a stupid move on my part, I really just wanted to see how close I could get before he noticed. Then I would slowly transport every spoil back to the den. Occasionally, I would leave the scraps out so I could attract more food. It usually worked and I was able to pick off mice and the occasional bird.
    I was happy to watch the puppies grow. Ryder and I panicked though. We would need help from more skilled hunters if we were to raise them. The only other hunters, however, were the wolves several miles north of the den, which Ryder nicknamed ‘The Hollow.’ By the time the puppies had opened their eyes and ears, we had made the decision that as soon as we could, we would have to take them north to learn.

    (Trigger warning: chapter contains descriptions of blood, gore, and fighting. If you are sensitive to that stuff, I will have a clean synopsis of this chapter in the next.)



    It was a difficult decision to come to. The wolves couldn’t be trusted unless they were alone, and even then it was a gamble. Ryder thought it best considering the farmer started noticing the increasing amount of missing eggs. I thought the decision was far too risky. I had run-ins with the wolves before. I warned her that I barely escaped with my life, but she was stubborn. She made several good points.
    We barely scraped by. I had to expand my territory so we could have a wide range to hunt in. It resulted in a few turf wars with a neighboring dog. He and I got into several spats.
    The worst was on a rainy day. It had been a full two and a half months since the pups were born. Ryder and I had grown fond of each other and usually spend a good part of the day together. The pups could be left alone for longer periods of time, so she and I hunted for a short period of time together every day.
    I was patrolling and looking for more food when he saw me again. He barked and growled, then charged me. He was only a bit smaller than me, but he was heavier and more skilled in battle than me. His specific breed was indistinguishable.
    He caught me off guard. I had been chasing a rabbit when he tackled me. His paw grabbed at my stomach and his claws were able to create a small gash. I grabbed his throat and kicked him off of me. We stood for a moment, both of us were bleeding. Then he charged again. I could feel a sharp pain in my right eye. He had grabbed me by the head and was trying to throw me down.
    I managed to grab his leg and draw more blood. I yanked him off of my head, a bad decision but an effective one. He may have been more skilled, but I was stronger. I pinned him down in an instant and put my paw to his throat. He kicked at the wound he had created on my underbelly and I released him. Suddenly I was seeing red.
    Both of us fought each other to no avail for about fifteen minutes. We kept drawing more and more blood up until he surrendered and ran off. I stood until I could no longer see him. I tasted his blood and my own blood in my mouth. I could feel it dripping down my legs and back. I suddenly felt very weak and almost collapsed.
    We had gotten into disputes before. Most of it had only drawn a little blood or none at all. We had established that we didn’t like each other. I needed his territory. It was much more plentiful than anything Ryder or I had found. I wasn’t going to give it up because he growled and barked at me. I was desperate to provide for my family. For Ryder.
    I didn’t make it very far before I could no longer walk. I fell and yelped as I tumbled down a small hill. I was sure I would die that day. The smell of iron and blood filled leaves around me was sickening. It took Ryder two days to find me.
    She panicked and whined. It was the most scared I had ever seen her. She nudged me and tried to get me to move, but I was ready to die. I couldn’t even flick my ears to acknowledge her. She tried to clean my wounds, but every time she touched my body it felt like I was burning. I would almost scream in pain. Her panic would only increase after that. She tried to whisper calming things to me, but the sheer panic and fear in her voice weren’t comforting.
    Finally, she left. I wanted her to stay with me. I mustered up enough strength to move my neck to watch her leave. I called to her. My voice was hoarse and rough, and I felt pain even moving my mouth. I couldn’t see out of my right eye.
    The panic of her leaving kept me alive long enough to see her come back. She was leading someone to me. The last resort.
    She had led a human right to me.


    (Synopsis of the last chapter for those of who were sensitive to it: Milo got in a massive territory battle with another, more skilled dog. His wounds were severe, but the rain kept them clean enough so he could survive. Ryder found him two days later. She got very very desperate, so she went to the farm and led a human right to him.)


    Ryder wouldn’t come close to the human. She wanted to be close to me, I could tell, but the human was too close. She circled us, trying to find a way to get close, but she never did. She barked at me, and I did my best to respond. Finally, it was time for her to go back to the puppies. It killed me to see her go.
    I couldn’t even move my head. I resigned myself to what I thought was the inevitable euthanasia, but it never came. Instead, the human panicked and summoned other humans via the weird device. They came and tried to pick me up, but in my panicked state all I did was growl and snarl at them. I don’t know why, I couldn’t even move to bite them even if I wanted to.
    They were very gentle. They moved me into a crate and took me to the giant thing that kills. They put me inside and took me to the veterinary hospital. It was a place I had been to before. There was a lot of commotion and I just wanted to sleep.
    My wish was granted within minutes. They put me into a deep sleep, and when I woke up, I had no right eye. I couldn’t feel the pain anymore, but I was still reluctant to move. My only thought was to get back to Ryder and the pups.
    I dreamed of them when I slept. I thought only of them when I woke. I knew that the humans wouldn’t let me go back, so I would have to escape and find my family again. I yearned for the smell of the forest instead of the smell of the stale veterinary hospital.
    I don’t know how long I was there. I just knew that I had to play nice with the humans so I wouldn’t meet the wrong end of a needle. With each passing day, I gained my strength back. My scars began to heal and I could feel fur growing back in some places. I was able to move without pain. I took my time and carefully planned my escape. Finally, it came. They practically gave it to me.
    A human put a leash on me. That was their first mistake. My strength had returned. Then, they took me outside. I had seen people do this with their house dogs. I knew how this would go down.
    I allowed the human to walk alongside me. I needed to get a feel for where I was. I tried to find landmarks of where I had been, but found none. That was the only thing that hindered me.
    After the human had gotten comfortable and was allowing me more leash, I made my move. I suddenly ran and yanked the leash out of the human’s hands. She started yelling and chasing after me. I ran in a blind panic. After a while, I lost her, but I was also hopelessly lost myself.

    I kept my focus. I took note of my surroundings. A large neighborhood with a few other dogs in it. A light layer of snow was on the ground, so it had been at least a month since I had last seen Ryder. I couldn’t see the forest, but it didn’t smell like a big city. There was nothing familiar, but I had always been good at finding my way home.
    After resting for a few hours under a tree, I stood and started to make my way to what I thought was home. The cold air brought worry to me. Since Ryder had to hunt on her own, I feared that the puppies hadn’t put on enough weight to keep themselves warm.
    My travel was slow. The leash kept getting caught on everything and I constantly had to figure out how to get myself unstuck. I had to be much more careful. Walking with only one eye threw off my balance and I kept walking to the left instead of in a straight line. Any sound that came from the right startled me since I couldn’t see where the sound came from. As the day turned into evening, I gave up and just carried it in my mouth. I had made good progress by the time I decided to rest.
    I hadn’t realized how tired I was until I found a nice bush to sleep under. I kept myself awake long enough to assess my wounds. I knew that permanent scars would come out of some of them, but the smaller scars didn’t look so bad. I didn’t get as good of a look at my right side, but the pain had mostly gone, so I figured it wasn’t as bad. It took me a grand total of about ten seconds to fall asleep as soon as I was done.
    I woke early. I was stiff with cold and I started shivering as soon as I woke. The morning was completely silent. Not even the birds sang. I took that as a sign of bad weather soon to come, so I stretched and began trotting in the direction I thought the forest was.
    By mid day, I saw the edge of the forest. I still had a few miles to travel, but just seeing the trees made me feel so much better. My pace quickened along with my heartbeat. I reached the edge of the forest after another hour.
    At first, everything wasn’t familiar. I started to vaguely recognize sights and smells the further into the forest I went. However, I began to feel increasingly exhausted. The cold began reaching close to my bones. My paws began to drag, and I finally resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn’t be home that day.
    The places where I had no fur began to really hurt with the cold. It didn’t help that the scars were exposed as well.
    I didn’t realize that I had fallen asleep. I only knew when I woke up to the smell of food. I hadn’t eaten all day, but the sudden smell of food made me nervous. I stood up and moved towards the smell, then hesitated when it came into view. It was a deer carcass. The smell told me it was pretty fresh. That wasn’t what made me hesitate though.
    There was another dog there, or what I thought was a dog at the time. I wasn’t in my territory. I could tell that I was getting close, but the fact that I didn’t smell Ryder or the puppies told me I had a ways to go, so I carefully approached the stranger.

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    More of For the Dogs

    As I approached the other dog, I noticed that he was no dog. He was most certainly a wolf. Or at least a hybrid of a wolf. His face was covered in the animal’s blood. He heard me approaching and his head snapped up. He turned to me, pinned his ears, took a defensive stance, and began to growl and snarl.
    His state hardly deterred me. It had been too long since I had eaten a decent meal, so I kept carefully approaching. I didn’t take my eyes off of him however. Then, I noticed that he was in no state to fight.
    He was sallow and thin. The deer was probably a lucky kill, or the deer was already dead. His eyes were hungry and tired, and he looked weak. Even so, I wasn’t prepared to take on another dog, and he didn’t look like he wanted a fight.
    Communication with other species was very difficult. Hybrids like fox dogs, wolf dogs, and other hybrid canines usually had strange, almost indecipherable accents. Each species spoke best with each other, or didn’t speak at all. Coyotes made different sounds, almost catlike, to communicate. I knew he likely wouldn’t understand me, but I still needed to make an effort. I still planned on going north with Ryder and the pups so we could ask the wolves for help, and he may be the key to unlocking the language of the wolves.
    “Can you understand me?” I asked, making sure to keep my tone even and cool. He didn’t respond.
    “I’m sorry to intrude, but I need food. Would you mind if we ate together? There should be more than enough here for two dogs,” I said, still inching closer. He stared me down, and I could feel the cold sting of fear run down my spine. I could smell the fear coming off of him. I paused for a moment, allowing the both of us to calm down a bit. Neither of us wanted to be out in the cold during the night, neither of us wanted to fight, and neither of us wanted to make the first move.
    After a few minutes. He finally nodded towards the deer, then approached me.
    “Eat,” he said, “I share deer.” I knew he said more, but I couldn’t understand it. But it was enough, and I probably sounded the same way to him.
    I almost leaped forward, but restrained myself as not to scare him. I instead trotted forward to the deer and took a large bite.
    Flavor exploded in my mouth. Deer was always a favorite treat of mine being how rarely I got to eat it. I felt the warmth of the meat as it ran to my stomach. I sat down and took a glance at the other dog. I nodded and put my ears back in a relaxed manner. It was a universal sign of peace and good intention. I then turned my focus back to the food.

    (I’m about to describe gore so just skip over this part if you’re sensitive to that. I will put in more parentheses where there is no more gore.)

    As we ate, we became more comfortable with each other. He ate slowly and carefully. It was likely better for him since he probably hadn’t eaten in a while. He was very methodical in the way he ate. He avoided the strips of meat that were closest to the bone and went for the more fleshy parts of the deer. I was completely the opposite. My favorite parts of the deer were always the parts around the bones. I generally tended to avoid fleshy parts until I had finished one or two of the legs.

    (Okay you’re good now.)

    As we finished our meals, a hush fell over the forest. The breeze had completely gone and the last of the birds had stopped chirping. Then, only the occasional rustle of something in the underbrush was audible. I felt a type of comfort in knowing that there was another being who was struggling just about as much as I was in that moment. We stared at each other for what felt like hours, both of us trying to get accurate reads on the other.
    “What name?” He finally asked after fifteen minutes of silence. The sudden words spooked me and I flinched.
    “Milo, and yours?” I responded.
    “Fenri. Where from? Where going? Why here?”
    “I’m from this forest. I’m simply trying to get home to… to a friend and her puppies,” I avoided the last question.
    “I go?” He asked while standing up and wagging his tail a bit. I thought about that question for a moment.
    “Can you hunt?” I asked, tilting my head.
    “Yes, I catch raccoon and skunk. I good hunter.”
    “Good. We will be providing for seven others. Follow me,” I said, standing. “Don’t clean off the blood. We can use the scent to lead us back here.”
    He followed without another word. I could tell he was happy to have a place to rest.
    After about an hour of walking, he sidled up alongside me. He smelled absolutely dreadful. It was like he had rolled in a rotten pile of trash. It was so strong that I was surprised I hadn’t caught it earlier. My nose visibly wrinkled at the smell, and he gave me a bit of space.
    “Why you look like that?” He asked. “Why one eye?”
    I stayed silent and pinned my ears. I didn’t want to talk about the feeling of really wanting to die. I didn’t want to think of the dread that washed over me when I was picked up by the humans. I didn’t want to hear the sounds of Ryder whining in a pain I had never seen her in. The only thing I was thankful for was the fact that I was alive, and I had managed to hang on until Ryder found me. The entire event saddened me.
    “I don’t know how I survived,” I muttered. It was true. I thought for sure that the two days and nights were going to kill me. It rained and rained for the first day and a half. Ryder couldn’t go out in the rain or else her leg would stop working, or at least it would freeze up for a while until dry. At that point it would become a dead weight and she wouldn’t be able to do anything.
    I was lucky that it was raining. It kept my wounds clean enough to prevent inflammation and infection until Ryder had found me. It kept my adrenaline running due to the pain it was causing. It gave me enough water. I was also lucky that Ryder and I had eaten well the day before. I was lucky it was warm enough to keep me alive. I was lucky that I only lost my eye.
    I could move for the first day. I was able to drag myself around so I could get to puddles. It was that night when I lost that ability. It got too painful to walk or even move my legs. But luck was still on my side. I could move my head enough to catch raindrops. It stayed that way up until a few hours before Ryder found me. It had stopped raining and I had stiffened up enough to the point where I couldn’t move.
    Fenri didn’t bring it up again. He backed off and followed behind me until we reached a small hole.
    “We ought to rest here for the night.” I murmured, sneaking into the hole. It would be a tight fit for two of us, even tighter because he was massive. He followed me into the hole and curled up. I curled up as well, and we lay so our backs would touch. The scars on my back burned when another being touched them, but I put up with it. We fell asleep not much later.

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