Monthly Archives: August 2014

Storytime – Strange Woods

Here’s another Writing Exercise I submitted for one of my writing groups:
(p.s. ever want to try some writing, but don’t know where to get started? Leave me a note in the comments below).

Writing Prompt:

You’re enjoying a quiet evening at home, but then you hear a scratching sound at your front door. Upon opening the door you discover an unfamiliar dog there, and the dog seems agitated. You turn on your porch light, and then step out onto the porch to see if you can determine the dog’s owner. As you are examining the collar of the dog, you find a piece of paper tucked in and held with a piece of string. It is a note, and on it there is a hand-drawn picture of a house with an oddly-shaped roof with several gables, and below that it reads, “I may be in danger – I think there is a …..”.
Strange Woods

I’ve only been in my new place for about seven months, but now that I’m here I realize that this is the place I’ve been needing, hungering for. For years I’ve been running inside one of those corporate treadmills, just trying to please my boss, his boss, the company, but now, no more! Yes, I’m in a wheelchair now, but these are wheels I can deal with. My new haven, my cottage in the woods, has the ramps I require and a few extra conveniences that make it possible for me to be here in the woods, away from it all.
With my savings, I had ordered my new house from a catalog, and I was especially taken with the wonderful line of the roof, lots of gables, plenty of character. My contractor assembled the whole thing in a remote spot in the north woods, and now I’m here, listening to the trees grow.belgian malinois My good dog Maximus, whom I chose and named after seeing that Russell Crowe “Gladiator” movie, is my constant companion. He is a Belgian Malinois, and has the fierce look I wanted that might dissuade evil-doers out in my part of the lost woods. Sometimes, when I talk to him, he has a set to his head that makes me think he might understand me. Maximus loves to roam, and I’ve let him out to follow his nose whenever he wanted, so he could satisfy his canine curiosity and get some additional exercise. He always returned, and I know he enjoyed his outings. Also, I have a path through my woods that is wheelchair-friendly, and Maximus allows himself to be leashed up to pull me, which is a great help. I sometimes say, “Mush!” when he’s pulling me, and he’ll usually just give me that, “What the hell are you talking about” look, but he just keeps on with the job.
Just recently I started a new project, and I’m kinda excited about it. I never really considered myself a writer, although I’ve dabbled in short stories and the like, but now I have launched my novel. The idea has been rattling around in my head for some time, although I never actually used the ‘novel’ word when I thought about it. But now, I’m doing it, and it feels good! This quiet environment really does allow me to lose myself in thought without interruption. Maximus helps by lying on his comfy rug in front of the hearth, thinking about the novel he may write someday. We are quite the team, I must say. I wonder who’ll get published first?
Just a couple of weeks ago, I was busily typing away when I heard a rustling noise outside – not loud, but just enough to get my attention. It was like something was skittering across my wooden porch, something with claws, something that sounded very much like a dog. The odd thing was, Maximus didn’t seem to be alarmed at all, and he hardly moved until he saw me roll back from my keyboard. He came over to me and looked at me, as if asking, “Time for a trip down the path? I need to catalog some new smells.” I sat still where I was, listening intently, but heard nothing further. I rolled slowly back to the table.T-rex5
A few days later, it happened again. This time I was in the kitchen, trying to assemble some lunch, which always mesmerizes Maximus. Just because I dropped a small piece of chicken one time, he thinks I’ll be doing it as a part of my routine always. I paused at the noise, straining to see through the thin curtains toward the porch, but I saw nothing. The noise quit as suddenly as it began. I sat there like a statue, wondering if I should be alarmed. I do have a ham radio set up, in case of emergencies, but I didn’t have any real evidence yet, just those noises on the porch. Maybe it’s a playful wolf cub, or maybe….. hmmmm, I just don’t know.
Autumn was in full swing now, and those few deciduous trees in the woods were shedding tremendous quantities of leaves. I was not able to rake the ones in my yard, so I didn’t worry about them – they’d decompose on their own, anyway. There were leaves gathering on my porch, also, but the wind should disperse those without problem. But, three nights ago, I heard something on the porch crunching around in the leaves, and there were a few tentative scratches on my front door. I managed to get from my bed to the wheelchair, but by the time I got to the door, I saw nothing. Maximus was at my side as I surveyed the dark yard, but his hackles were not up, so I got us back inside and locked the door.
A couple of nights ago, there was something on the front porch again, and I also heard similar noises from the piled-up leaves near the back door that had been put there by the swirling winds. Now I was wishing I had put in those security lights, but it was too late now. I resolved to keep my big flashlight by the door, and I also put my heavy pistol there, just in case. Whatever it was, I was pretty sure I could dispatch it, if necessary.
Last night, more noises, front and back, and this time, Maximus wanted out, so I let him – it was time for him to earn his keep as my protector. He didn’t seem alarmed, just curious, so I wasn’t worried either. I only got worried when I happened to notice that my pistol was gone from the table near the door. The flashlight was still there, but no gun. I had either had a burglar, which didn’t seem likely, or my dog had taken the gun somewhere and hidden it. Why would he do that? I was getting nervous now, as the noises increased outside, with no sounds from Maximus, who could be quite the barker.
I rolled to the door, picked up the flashlight, opened the door quietly, and went out onto the dark porch. Moving as surreptitiously as possible, I switched on the flashlight and saw them.
In my yard were scores of young men, dressed in dark slacks, white shirt and tie, and carrying copies of “The Book of Mormon.” They sat on their bicycles, staring at me with empty eyes. Nervously, I called to Maximus. I saw him there, right in the front row, but he was reluctant to come. Did they have some strange power over my dog? At last he came, tail between his legs, and the two of us went back inside. I slammed the door and hurriedly penned this note and tied it to his collar:
“I may be in danger – I think there is a missionary invasion going on at my place, and I don’t have any money to appease them. Help!”
I pushed Maximus out the back door, possibly tearing the note in the process, but I got him going. I hope he finds someone to save me from this hell.