There’s nothing like the salt spray on your snout, the gentle undulation of the ship as she dances on the waves.
We are finally under way to take these pesky humans to some port they call “vacation.”
I’ll be glad to be rid of them. Hope nothing goes awry.
In 250 words or less, tell me a story incorporating the elements in the picture. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.
Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.
Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until 5:00 PM Pacific Time on Tuesday, July 31st, 2012.
On Wednesday morning, we will open voting to the public with an online poll for the best writing entry accompanying the photo. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday.
On Friday morning, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature. Best of luck to you all in your writing!
Entries only in the comment section. Other comments will be deleted.
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Photograph by K.S. Brooks, used here with the photographer’s permission. Copying or reproduction of any kind without express consent is prohibited. All rights reserved.
For a more detailed explanation of the contest & its workings, please see the post called “Writing Exercises Return with a Twist” from 12/24/11.
By participating in this exercise the contestants agree to the rules of the contest and waive any and all further considerations or permissions otherwise required for any winning entries to be published by Indies Unlimited as an e-book, showcasing all the photos and with the winning expositions credited appropriately and accordingly.
7 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: Sea Dog”
Pish sniffed the air. It was delicious. The time to be subservient was over. He chewed at the life vest the female had fastened around him. He snorted. It was stuck tight. He'd have plenty of time to chew through it later. He jumped down from his high spot on deck and followed the smell.
His human lay sprawled where he had left her. She had bent over to give him a kiss. It had been easy. The humans forgot how sharp his teeth still were. He felt something primal as he licked up the blood that pooled around her. He raised his head and breathed deep of the salt air. There was no land around that he could see, but he would eat well for a long time. He opened his maw and howled at the sea.
As soon as we landed my human took me to a field where she said I could run and “do my business”. She had slacked off on the leash lately. I had lulled her into thinking I’d be obedient. As she gazed out to sea I made a dash for it. The beach grass hid me from view. I followed my nose to the tantalizing fishy smell. This would be a breeze. All the free food and freedom I could ask for. Ha!
I ignore her calls, distant and frightened. I almost felt sorry for her. She’d miss me, I knew. But no more leashes for me. I would not go back. I hear the call of the wild. Now where is that fish? My dog’s nose leads me unerringly down the beach. There it is. Looks like some fisherman couldn’t be bothered to toss his catch back. His loss, my gain. That sun is really hot on my back. I’ll eat and then have a drink, maybe a swim. I look up and see just the top of the sails from my human’s yacht. I wonder what they are having for supper.
That fish was turning kind of high but it filled me up. I need a drink. Hey, I have a whole ocean. I lap at the water. Yuck! Salty! Makes me think of the bowl of fresh cool water on the boat.
My human calls again. “Mr. Pish!” She sounds really sad. I think I’ll go home.
Take the Canine Cruise, they said. You’ll never forget it, they said. Boy, were they right.
The ship’s crew was completely made up of canines. I assumed humans were running the show behind the curtains, so to speak. Surely dogs couldn’t operate a boat. The cuteness of Captain Pish kept me from thinking too much about it.
An hour after departure, with no land in sight, the puggle maitre d’ circulated among the passengers with a serving tray wine glasses strapped to its back. We all took our glasses and made toasts. The wine was more bitter than I was used to, but I didn’t question it. Maybe I should have.
I remember feeling a little disoriented after the wine, my mind fuzzy as if I had taken my Ambien by mistake. I chalked it up to the alcohol and my inexperience on the water. I convinced myself I was just a little seasick, nothing more. I dropped onto the seating that lined the outer edge of the boat and was soon asleep.
I don’t know how long I was out. I stretched my arms ahead of me and felt my tongue curl as I yawned. For some reason the world seemed gray, monotone, lifeless. I scratched at an itch behind my ear with my back foot. Something about that seemed wrong, but my muddled mind ignored my concern. I turned my head to see Captain Pish at the wheel, smiling with his cute doggy grin.
That was six months ago.
I still think about that carefree premonition today. Who was to know that the boat was going to crash on a reef and limp to the shore of this deserted island?
My mistress survived the wreck relatively unscathed. Somehow she got on the good side of the three crewmen who made it to shore. Not sure how. She used to go away with one or more of them for hours at a time. I think they were exploring the island or something.
Luckily, I heard the wild boars coming that third night and alerted my mistress. One of the crewmen lost a finger escaping them. He died a week later from some sort of infection. Boy, did his hand and arm swell up something huge!
The two crewmen got into a huge fight a couple of days ago. One saw the other going to explore the island with my mistress and he jumped him, stabbing him with a knife. The other guy picked up a rock and bashed him in the head. They both fell to the ground, but the guy with the head wound didn’t get up again. The other guy rolled around howling, but got real quiet.
My mistress picked up the knife. She’s been very quiet the past few days, looking at me with a strange, hungry look in her eyes. That’s too bad. I’ve got a hungry look in my eyes. And I have very sharp teeth. She looks really tasty.
♫Yo, ho, ho… A life on the ocean wave! A home on the rolling deep! Where the scattered waters rave, and the winds their revels keep!♫
The little West Highland terrier had heard someone singing that the last time he’d been on-board and it was now playing over and over in his head. It just seemed to mirror his mood right now perched up by the steering wheel of the little sailing boat.
‘This is the life! I could handle a lot of this, and my mistress always seems so relaxed when we’re here. I wonder why we don’t live here all the time,’ he thought, ‘I’ll go and ask her…’
‘Mistress, Mistress, Mistress, why don’t we stay here all the time? Don’t you just love it here?! Don’t you! Don’t you! Don’t you!’
“All right, Mr Pish, I know you’re exited, but quieten down a little. I don’t think the man fishing over in that boat really appreciates all that barking. And I wouldn’t mind a bit of peace and quite too, I’d almost dozed off then.”
The reproach served its purpose, the little Westie stopped his barking. He hadn’t been reprimanded, it wasn’t an admonishment, and he knew that. He understood everything his beloved mistress said and was sometimes a little frustrated that she didn’t always understand what he was saying; but that was alright, Mr Pish knew she loved him and that’s all that really mattered.
♫Yo ho ho… A life on the ocean wave!♫…
Title: Come About
“We’re going on vacation, and this year you’re going. Sorry, there’s no pet resort this year.” Do they know how annoying they are? I was looking forward to seeing my friends.
I’ve been dreading this ‘boat day’ for weeks. ‘Salt spray on my snout and the undulation of the ship on the waves.’ This is not going to be a vacation for me at all. Besides, didn’t they notice I’m not a ‘water dog’?
They have been using words I’ve never heard before; headings, mast, sail, jib, port, starboard, stern, and many others. I’m not waiting; I’m going to be sea sick.
I should have broken my leg again, so I couldn’t go. Even a kennel offers more than this sailing adventure. It’s too late now. Besides, that cast and the helmet thing were terrible.
Let me think, there were some words I think I recognized. ‘Bow’ – I can bow. ‘Set Sail’ – I know how to sit. ‘Stay’ – yup, I know that too. ‘Running’ – I love to run. ‘Wake’ – every day. ‘Roll’ – I roll for biscuits. ‘Coast Guard’ – I might be small, but I guard the house. ‘Poop Deck’ – I’m a natural at that. ‘Captain and Mate’ – MATE…that’s very interesting. Maybe there will be a Poodle, or two, on that French island.
I can see it now – Mr. Pish (aka Sea Dog) meets She Dog. Maybe this will be more fun than I expected. I better not let them see my tail wagging like this.
Salty flicked her ears as the humans went ashore, eager to instigate her escape plan. It was all she could do to keep from yipping in joy. The lazy mutineers gave themselves shore leave again for the last time. That crew took a nap every hour and didn’t know how to scrub down the deck properly. She pried the door of the brig open and looked around to be sure no one was watching, then jumped to the dock and pulled the mooring lines free. It took only seconds to start the small prop engine on the sailing vessel with the push button start. The humans were none the wiser as Capt’n Salty took the helm and steered the boat away from the dock and out to sea.
The rise and fall of the waves made Salty’s heart soar. Those scurvy humans could enjoy their shore leave for as long as they liked. There was no way Salty would be sent to the brig on her own ship again. She checked the charts as the isle of St. Lucia disappeared from view, smelling the salty air as it blew by. The larder was well stocked. The ocean breeze was brisk, and the sky a clear crisp blue. All Salty had to do was keep her course. Martinique was only twenty-five nautical miles away. She’d make port there and take on a new crew. Humans were easy. All a dog need do was wag her tail and look cute.
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