• In the Spotlight:
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

I want the good, the bad, and the ugly

Posted by on May. 24, 2009 at 11:35 AM
  • 11 Replies

Based on true story. I need suggestions for a title and if you guys think it's good. It's finished, just a short story. I want to submit it to my publishing agent but I want other people's advice that aren't my friends and family.

"We'll have to put them in an old gunny sac and toss them in the river," Dad said.

I shifted my footing uncomfortably, feeling a wave of terror from such a thought. My dad gave me a sideways look and snickered at my fretting. Mom saw his glance and gave me a nudge towards the dark blue camper.

"Go and wash up for dinner, Kerry," she said.

My feet resisted her gentle push and I gave my dad a pleading look. He was a thin man with broad shoulders and a slim waist. He had a handsome German face with deep set, scarlet blue eyes and hair so dark brown that it looked almost black. His arms bulged with muscle, as if at any moment they would burst through the skin glowing with heat and power. His right side forearm was decorated with an angry, golden tiger. The tiger's fangs were bared and his eyes were fierce and menacing. I was afraid of those arms and the large, flat-fisted hands they wielded.

"You're not really going to throw the puppies into the river, are you?" I asked timidly.

As I had predicted, my question was met with an angry stare from my father as if questioning his motives was the ultimate sin. My dad's blue eyes crystallized, becoming paler and seemed to suck the very energy from my tiny, six year old body. His fists clenched and I felt myself tremble.

"What would you have us do? They're mutts and I can't afford to feed my mutts, let alone Ginger's. They'll be tossed into a gunny sac and thrown into the river the instant they crawl out of their mother's pussy," Dad snarled, fists still clenched and eyes gleaming.

I suddenly felt the tugging sensation of threatening tears and tore my eyes away from the consuming gaze of my father to look at the calming face of my mother. She was not angry with me, merely concerned. She knew that I was going to be upset about the murder of Ginger's puppies and knew that I would want to stop it from happening. It wasn't her decision, nothing was really her decision. Her only role was to protect her children and she knew that my reaction to the murder would anger my father. I was stepping out of line questioning his decisions.

"Go and wash up like I told you. Your face is covered in dirt," she said, her gentle voice tinged with fear and warning.

I turned away quickly, avoiding eye contact with my father, and crossed my arms over my chest as I stomped to the camper. Ginger, a small brown and white Springer Spaniel, was pawing at the ground under the camper. She was swollen and her nipples hung visibly from her underbelly. She looked at me with her sad, pale brown eyes.

"Come here, girl," I said dropping to my knees in the dirt and slapping my thigh. "Come on."

She crawled over to me with her bobbed tail wagging excitedly. I stroked her small, bony head and down her long back. I felt her bulging side and saw the babies moving inside.

"You're going to be a Mommy soon," I said gently.

The thought of newborn puppies calling for their mother as they were forced into a scratchy, old potato sac and tossed into the freezing river made my heart drop. I felt my lower lip quiver and tears started to fall down my cheeks. Ginger tensed up a bit when she saw I was crying. She licked my hand and gave me a concerned, doggy look. I rested my cheek on her neck, wiping my tears into her fur and breathed in the scent of dirt and the hint of animal decay.

"I'm so sorry, Ginger," I whispered into her fur. "But my dad's going to kill your babies."

Ginger turned to look at me with her soft, gentle eyes. She licked the tears off my cheeks and then crawled away from me, back under the camper. I watched her paw at the dirt, kicking up little dust storms as she made a nest. Once the ground was soft enough she slumped down and rested her head on her paws. She was breathing heavily and I heard her sigh with fatigue.

After I cleaned the soot of the campfire and the sticky, salt trails of my tears from my face, I gave Ginger another cup of dog food and grabbed her empty water dish. I commenced to walking down to the river to refill it when I heard the sickening sound of splitting wood. Dad was near the river standing near the mangled parts of a downed tree. He stood with his legs somewhat parted, firmly planted onto the ground. He wasn't wearing a shirt and I watched the muscles in his back tense and bulge as he raised the heavy ax over his head and brought it down in a blur. The ax struck a piece of wood with a loud THUNK and the wood fell to the ground in two, evenly sized pieces. He stopped for a moment and rested the ax against the chopper block to watch me as I knelt down by the river to refill the dish.

"Is that damned dog having her puppies yet?" he asked.

I shook my head and raised the dish from the river. The clear, icy river water sloshed from side to side as I straightened my knees.

"Well, you tell me when she does. I'll have the gunny sac ready," he indicated to the old, hemp Idaho spud sac he has tied around his belt.

I swallowed hard and quickly walked up the embankment back to the camper. Ginger was breathing hard but seemed to be sleeping. I carefully placed her water next to her food and sulked up the iron steps into the camper to find a bucket of soapy, luke warm water waiting for me on the counter top. I began washing the plastic, sectioned camping ware when my mother came into the camper. She ran her callused, overworked hands through my soft, blond hair and pulled my hair back out of the wash water.

She gently kissed the back of my head and whispered into my hair, "I know that it upsets you, honey. There is little I can do to stop him. You know how he is."

A small tingle went down to the base of my spin and I suddenly turned on her in a wave of sudden fury. "You could stop him but you wont! You don't want those damned puppies either!"

My mother's face filled with pain and anger. I knew that she really didn't have the ability to stop my father, he was just too powerful but I felt that she should at least try.

"What would you have me do? If I go out there and try to stop him he'll just get pissed off and end up taking it out on me or worse, onto you." Mother unconsciously touched her broken, swollen lower lip. "To prove a point he'll probably end up just killing Ginger instead. Is that what you want? Do you want Ginger to die?"

I tried to think of something to say but my voice choked out and instead I screamed, "NO!" and ran from the camper sobbing loudly.

That evening, as the sun was setting and the mountain air was starting to turn frigid, we all sat around the campfire for warmth. I had eaten my meal of fire roasted hot dogs and baked beans without saying much. Now I pulled my sleeping bag around my shoulders and listened to the song of the river. Its current was a relaxing melody but the knowing of its force made me think about baby puppies and how they would be unable to live against the chill and torrent of the water.

My mom came from the camper, carrying a lantern she had lit while she put food away. I watched her stop momentarily to peek underneath to check on Ginger before making her way to the fire. She stopped behind my dad's lawn chair and leaned over to whisper something into his ear. She looked at me with the request of forgiveness in her eye but said nothing to me before turning and walking back to the camper.

I watched her momentarily but felt Dad's prying stare. I moved my eyes to gaze into his and saw them dancing with mockery.

"What do you know," he said with a crooked smile. "Looks like I won't have to drown the puppies after all."

He stood up, belched and rubbed his tummy before striding towards the river to pee in it while whistling a happy tone. I was dumbfounded. Did he change his mind? Knowing that it was unlikely for my dad to miss an opportunity to bring pain onto the innocent and helpless, I grew a little afraid. Did something happen to Ginger?

I pushed the heavy sleeping bag off my shoulders and slowly walked towards the camper. The sun was setting, bathing the entire campsite in a golden red. As I reached the camper, I saw movement underneath and sighed with relief. At least I knew she wasn't dead.

Careful to avoid being detected by Mom, I sank to my knees and rested my head on the ground to gaze into the darkness. I made out Ginger's form; she was sitting on her side, her head between her legs licking away at the afterbirth that bubbled out of her. I grew excited. She was having her puppies! Ginger stopped licking for a moment and I saw her body contract as she pushed. The bubble of afterbirth got larger and suddenly the butt end of a puppy came spilling out. I smiled with instant joy but what I saw next terrified me. Ginger licked the puppy at first, as any new dog mother would, but then brought her teeth down onto the small, slimy red and white body. I heard it squeal and the sickening sound of breaking bones that resembled the sound that wood makes when it was being split for firewood. Ginger was eating her puppies.



The next day Ginger was no longer as swollen as before and didn't spend all her time under the camper anymore. I tried to stay away from her as much as I could, knowing the horror that happened to her babies.

"Mom," I asked later that afternoon. "Why did Ginger eat her puppies?"

My mom gently stroked my hair. "Honey, it just wasn't the right time or place for her to have them and she knew it."

The rest of the camping trip went by smoothly and without incident. I was no longer concerned about the puppies and didn't think much about what had happened to them. Somehow it was easier for me to accept the fact that Ginger ate her own children than it would have been if my dad had murdered them.



by on May. 24, 2009 at 11:35 AM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
tornintwo
by on May. 24, 2009 at 1:08 PM

 Ummm.. My gut reaction ? I wanted to puke..L.O.L.

Which means..It was very detailed and visualizing what you have written was not a problem..

I wouldnt nec. say I liked it..Subject matter..(I love animals..I just got a new puppy..6 weeks old) but it was well written and easy to get into.(the ending was a tad shocking). ew.. but good..(smile)

Celtic_Dragon
by on May. 24, 2009 at 1:11 PM

Not all literature has a happy ending. Especially in short stories.

Quoting tornintwo:

 Ummm.. My gut reaction ? I wanted to puke..L.O.L.

Which means..It was very detailed and visualizing what you have written was not a problem..

I wouldnt nec. say I liked it..Subject matter..(I love animals..I just got a new puppy..6 weeks old) but it was well written and easy to get into.(the ending was a tad shocking). ew.. but good..(smile)


kylesmommy2008
by on May. 24, 2009 at 1:33 PM

hmmm....  

          

tornintwo
by on May. 24, 2009 at 1:51 PM

So true :) Like I said..It was good..When I began reading I was like..Yay.. expecting something light... good,just not what I was expecting..My reaction to it shows it was discriptive and I could "feel" it..That means really good... I love to read, and often "lose" myself in a book..whether it be a novel or short story...I'm sorry if I gave the impression I didn't like it, It was just darker than expected..

Yikes...I'm repeating myself..:)

Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

Not all literature has a happy ending. Especially in short stories.

Quoting tornintwo:

 Ummm.. My gut reaction ? I wanted to puke..L.O.L.

Which means..It was very detailed and visualizing what you have written was not a problem..

I wouldnt nec. say I liked it..Subject matter..(I love animals..I just got a new puppy..6 weeks old) but it was well written and easy to get into.(the ending was a tad shocking). ew.. but good..(smile)

 


Leopardmom
by on May. 24, 2009 at 2:29 PM

Yes it is very good.

Celtic_Dragon
by on May. 24, 2009 at 3:42 PM

I'm glad it stirred up some emotion, even if it wasn't a good one. It wasn't a very good incident, after all.

Quoting tornintwo:

So true :) Like I said..It was good..When I began reading I was like..Yay.. expecting something light... good,just not what I was expecting..My reaction to it shows it was discriptive and I could "feel" it..That means really good... I love to read, and often "lose" myself in a book..whether it be a novel or short story...I'm sorry if I gave the impression I didn't like it, It was just darker than expected..

Yikes...I'm repeating myself..:)

Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

Not all literature has a happy ending. Especially in short stories.

Quoting tornintwo:

 Ummm.. My gut reaction ? I wanted to puke..L.O.L.

Which means..It was very detailed and visualizing what you have written was not a problem..

I wouldnt nec. say I liked it..Subject matter..(I love animals..I just got a new puppy..6 weeks old) but it was well written and easy to get into.(the ending was a tad shocking). ew.. but good..(smile)

 



tornintwo
by on May. 24, 2009 at 6:03 PM

I'm sorry..My Dad would have NEVER been like that..My GRANDMOTHER on the other hand delighted in the torture of a little kids' emotions..I was on the receiving end till I got big enough to fight back or buried the memory..I'm sorry you had to go through that kind of crap too!

Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

I'm glad it stirred up some emotion, even if it wasn't a good one. It wasn't a very good incident, after all.

Quoting tornintwo:

So true :) Like I said..It was good..When I began reading I was like..Yay.. expecting something light... good,just not what I was expecting..My reaction to it shows it was discriptive and I could "feel" it..That means really good... I love to read, and often "lose" myself in a book..whether it be a novel or short story...I'm sorry if I gave the impression I didn't like it, It was just darker than expected..

Yikes...I'm repeating myself..:)

Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

Not all literature has a happy ending. Especially in short stories.

Quoting tornintwo:

 Ummm.. My gut reaction ? I wanted to puke..L.O.L.

Which means..It was very detailed and visualizing what you have written was not a problem..

I wouldnt nec. say I liked it..Subject matter..(I love animals..I just got a new puppy..6 weeks old) but it was well written and easy to get into.(the ending was a tad shocking). ew.. but good..(smile)

 


 


savedbygrace316
by on May. 24, 2009 at 6:25 PM

Very good mama!  I read a lot of short stories and other writing (SO is a creative writing major and I keep up on his work load for fun).  I'm not sure about a title.  I think it should be something that doesn't make sense til the end.  I'll think for a few and if I come up with anything then I'll be back.

CafeMom Tickers
Celtic_Dragon
by on May. 24, 2009 at 6:34 PM

I was thinking maybe Not the Right Time or Chopped Wood, but I'm not feeling it with those two. . .

Quoting savedbygrace316:

Very good mama!  I read a lot of short stories and other writing (SO is a creative writing major and I keep up on his work load for fun).  I'm not sure about a title.  I think it should be something that doesn't make sense til the end.  I'll think for a few and if I come up with anything then I'll be back.


Celtic_Dragon
by on May. 24, 2009 at 6:36 PM

Not all women are maternal and in our grandparents' time, it was expected that women get married and have children even though children were not right for them. The crap like this happens.

Quoting tornintwo:

I'm sorry..My Dad would have NEVER been like that..My GRANDMOTHER on the other hand delighted in the torture of a little kids' emotions..I was on the receiving end till I got big enough to fight back or buried the memory..I'm sorry you had to go through that kind of crap too!

Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

I'm glad it stirred up some emotion, even if it wasn't a good one. It wasn't a very good incident, after all.

Quoting tornintwo:

So true :) Like I said..It was good..When I began reading I was like..Yay.. expecting something light... good,just not what I was expecting..My reaction to it shows it was discriptive and I could "feel" it..That means really good... I love to read, and often "lose" myself in a book..whether it be a novel or short story...I'm sorry if I gave the impression I didn't like it, It was just darker than expected..

Yikes...I'm repeating myself..:)

Quoting Celtic_Dragon:

Not all literature has a happy ending. Especially in short stories.

Quoting tornintwo:

 Ummm.. My gut reaction ? I wanted to puke..L.O.L.

Which means..It was very detailed and visualizing what you have written was not a problem..

I wouldnt nec. say I liked it..Subject matter..(I love animals..I just got a new puppy..6 weeks old) but it was well written and easy to get into.(the ending was a tad shocking). ew.. but good..(smile)

 


 



Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)