Saturday, January 09, 2010

Entry #84

Offering
by Leah McClellan


The hawks arrived late in the afternoon. Some landed in the yard, but a great cluster of them settled on the wooden fence, close to the house.

Inside, the woman washed the dishes. Her glance alternated between the window and the dog who panted loudly in the adjoining room. He was stretched out in front of the fireplace, his face turned away.

The sound of rushing water and the echoing clatter of dishes was comforting. She heard it at a distance, but the crackling of the fire was very close. She heard herself cough, and that, too, was soothing. The whistling teapot, footsteps, a clatter on the counter, a cabinet door closing, a drawer opening, a gurgle of water. Familiar sounds. Happy sounds.

She held her mug between both hands as she kneeled down next to her dog. She stroked his head gently, and then she leaned over to kiss him. With the tea set aside, she wrapped her arms around him and lay her head on his shoulder. It wouldn't be long. He turned to her slowly and licked her cheek.

A muffled flutter of wings beat on the other side of the wall. She took up her tea once again, sipped, and got up. She walked to the window and looked down. A dead rabbit was on the ledge. The hawks took flight.

The tears fell. She turned to her dog, and their eyes met for a very long moment. He was still.

32 comments:

Aimee Laine said...

Oh! Poor puppy! :( I could just feel the saddness.

pjd said...

It starts off very Hitchcockian (is that a word?) but ends with a mystic twist. I really love the detail in the middle, the bits that comfort her. And presumably also the dog.

Sarah Laurenson said...

A lot of mundane detail to keep the reader grounded. Dying animals to tug the heartstrings. This is so well done.

Is everyone and everything dying here? I got an apocalypse feel from this.

Leah said...

Sarah, Interesting way you're seeing it. I read and re-read with your apocolypse idea in mind, and yes, I can see what you mean. Then I looked at your profile and saw Nevil Shute, On the Beach ....I read that when I was really young (it was my mom's book) and it made a huge impression on me. I can see how my story fits with that sort of feeling!

Comments are so invaluable, thanks.

Bernita said...

Different bonds tie us together. A hunter's bond between hawk and hound is an interesting contrast.

JaneyV said...

Saying goodbye to a beloved friend is a heart-wrenching thing to do. Even the Hawks pay their respects. They seemed so ominous at the beginning but such a light and perfect touch by the end.

I love the description of all the normality because it has such soothing and comforting ring to it.

A lovely piece Leah. Well written.

wrath999 said...

A touching story. Great read

Lena said...

Very descriptive, keeps your attention all the way through. And so very sad that makes me want to cry :(

Aniket said...

I am a dog person too.

The story leave me sad, but I am still very happy to have read it.

catvibe said...

I also got the apocalyptic feeling on this one. Sad!

catvibe said...

Well so much for his comeon! Nicely done Aniket. I enjoyed it much. Especially liked the reality that he was looking at HER like SHE was a silhouette. You nailed the truth of things, women really do want to be SEEN on the inside. Men who gush over the outer things and ignore the inner things can't hold a woman's interest for too long. You're so wise Aniket.

Preeti said...

:-(

Sad. It is so well-depicted that i could visualize every little thing down to the last look between them.

Sigh... :-(

Very well written. Soul touching.

Scattercat said...

Old Mother Hubbard? ;-)

Kartik said...

Oh shucks... this was real sad! The minor details enhance the narration very well!

Nevine said...

I love the first sentence of each paragraph. And your very last paragraph... it captures the moment. Sad and lovely!

Nevine

Kate said...

So poignant! I want to curl up with that dog right now.

Also, really interesting use of the birds.

Tessa said...

This has such resonance in its simplicity - really memorable and so well crafted.

laughingwolf said...

nice one, leah :)

Leah said...

Wow, thanks everyone for all the nice comments and feedback! It's really helpful, and I appreciate it much. I'd love to say something about each one but that will take forever, so I'll just say each one is much appreciated, and thanks! :)

Laurel said...

I love the offering of the dead rabbit. This one is so sad and peaceful at the same time. The dog is where he wants to be, honored and loved, stretched out before the fireplace.

Four Dinners said...

I don't mind people dying but not animals!!!!!

Lovely writing. So very sad but somehow beautiful as well.

The birds honouring the dead hound. Marvellous stuff!!!

illyriataylor said...

this broke my heart, maybe because a crow did the same thing for a friend of mine on vacation this year.

Deb Smythe said...

You tugged on my heartstrings. I liked the juxtatposition of everyday comfortable things and death.

Jean Ann Williams said...

So sad. Pulled at my heart.

Jean Ann

Vonnie said...

Good writing is meant to pull emotions from the reader.

So I say as I am writing through the tears that threaten to fall.

I could picture it all as if I were there. EXCELLENT.

My choice.

Chris Eldin said...

Awww... very well done. sniff, sniff...

Leah said...

Thanks everyone! I'm seeing one spot that I need to tweek because my attempt to communicate something particular didn't come through, or I'm guessing it hasn't since nobody mentioned it. But so many say they see it or understand or feel it and that's what really counts to me: that what I'm painting with words can be seen and felt. Also there were a couple things I didn't realize were good things (like the familiar things that are groundng, simplicity); thanks for pointing them out! I'll remember that :)

james r. tomlinson said...

I like how one random event can mean so much more. I'm reminded of "Marley & Me." As for tweeking: You might want to edit this sentence - "Her glance alternated between the window and the dog who panted loudly in the adjoining room." A glance is just a glance, so I believe you were trying to convey more than one glance. Still, this is very well written and more important: creative and original.

Terri said...

O how sad. The little details in this are excellent.

Aerin said...

Dear Entrants #1-105,

I have read your pieces so that I can fairly participate in the Readers' Choice vote. (I read all of them through last week, before I started commenting.) I will be coming back around to offer my keep/tweak comment, but I didn't want anyone to snark.

Cheers,
Aerin (#236)

BTW, it's perfectly fine if you still want to snark, but this way you can choose a more appropriate subject, like Sarah Palin's hair or the enigmatic career of Justin Timberlake.

Dottie (My Blog 2.0) said...

So poignant, made me feel her pain.

Congrats on H/M

Dottie

Jimmy Carlozzi said...

Great attention to descriptive detail, as well as captivating. Well done.