Good intentions…

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Apparently I was more tired than I thought today. As a result, I wrote a grand total of 124 words, all of which were part of the random planning stages of my newest Caladria story. Then I napped a lot, and now I’m watching I Know What You Did Last Summer with my sister. Oops.

Anyway, to make up for my disappointing lack of word count, here’s a short story for you. I wrote this one yesterday, based on this prompt from Yeah Write on Tumblr. Enjoy!

A New Path
by Eleanor Musgrove

The first thing I have to tell you is that I’m not lost.

It’s just that I’ve never been down this particular path before and, well, I didn’t realise how far I’d walked. It’s Bonnie’s fault; she’d gone off bouncing after a rabbit, and then another. I’d hurried to catch up before she bowled someone’s kid over or made a nuisance of herself, because as hard as it is for me to understand, there are some people who just don’t like dogs. By the time I’d got her back under control, clipped to her long roamer lead, I didn’t actually recognise the path at all.

I shouldn’t have wandered away from my normal routes, not alone and in Autumn, not really. It’s a strange season, changing all the familiar trees and the identifying features of the landscape into a wash of red leaves and bare branches, altering the woods from one minute to the next. So when I decided we’d gone far enough and turned, well, nothing looked familiar at all. It still doesn’t. Even the dog at my side looks different, thanks to a large, muddy puddle she seems to have rolled in sometime mid-chase. No wonder she didn’t catch the rabbit.
“This is your fault,” I tell her, and she wags her tail delightedly. At least one of us is having fun.

I mean, it’s been a good walk. We’ve had a great time, Bonnie bounding along and diving in the odd pile of leaves – I think one of them might have been concealing the puddle, come to think of it – while I took in the beauty of the season. The transformation seemed miraculous and wonderful, then. Now, it’s just another worry. I wouldn’t know this path well anyway, but now I’m afraid I won’t recognise my usual woodland walk when I reach it again. If we reach it again. There are no signposts here, and at this time of the morning, I have no idea if the usual dog-walkers will be out. I couldn’t sleep, last night – we set out just after dawn. An hour later, the woods are still quiet, the occasional bird chirping suspiciously as we pass. I can only hope we’re heading in the right direction.

“Calm down,” I tell myself, “this is good for you. You have Bonnie, she’ll see you safe.” The logic in that is slightly flawed, and we both know it; Bonnie is a companion dog, not a bloodhound or a fierce beast. She’s a little springer spaniel, and she’s saved my life more times than I can count over the months since I got her. I suffer from crippling anxiety – the result of a series of life experiences I try not to dwell on – and I’d reached the point of hiding under the covers in my bed, in my little bungalow, refusing to go out or talk to anyone but my oldest friends and family. Bonnie changed all that, when my mum brought her round to ask if I’d sit her for a few days. A colleague of hers needed to rehome her, she told me, and they couldn’t hang on to her for any longer. I reluctantly agreed that she could stay for a few days. I dragged myself out of bed to feed her, I let her out into the garden while I made myself a cup of tea and some lunch, and at last, at my mother’s insistence, I took her out for a walk around the block. It wasn’t until I got home and slumped into my chair – Bonnie immediately clambering into my lap – that I realised just how much I’d done that day. How much I hadn’t been able to do in a long time. I hugged her, ruffled her ears, and settled into an idle pattern of stroking her, scratching behind her ears and making her legs kick. Mum took one look at us, two days later, and said,
“She’ll be staying with you, then?” I didn’t even have to think about it.
“She’s staying with me.” With Bonnie at my side, I can walk up to the shops or around the park – as long as it’s quiet, that is – and I have to get up when she needs feeding or letting out. She doesn’t let me waste my life, and she doesn’t judge me. I need that. And when I’m with her, things aren’t so scary.

I realise I’ve become lost in my thoughts, daydreaming about meeting the muddy dog padding along beside me, and snap out of it in time to realise that I can see the road, looming up at the end of an avenue of trees. I can see the house next to mine. Bonnie picks up the pace, glad to be heading home. I smile fondly down at her.

I’m not lost, not any more.

Total written today: 124 words.

March total so far: 7092 words.

2015 total so far: 64635 words.

Talk to you tomorrow!

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