He’ll Do

 

The new hay-bringer was a handsome one. Calm posture. Wild mane. Warm eyes.

The others hung back as Bella stepped forward to inspect. Molly, heavy with foal, nickered a soft warning, and Bella swished her tail in understanding. Yes, she, too, was expecting, but she was not afraid.

She advanced to within a hoof-kick-space. He stayed put, unperturbed.

He carried no fear smell. No twitchy legs. No mouth yells.

Bella lowered her head some, and he held out his hand for a sniff. Sweat. Musk. Iron. Grass. Faint carrot smell.

She shook her mane, and he laughed and reached into an opening in his leg coverings to reveal an orange section of the vegetable. Offered it on an open palm.

Bella nosed it, lipped, chewed. Good.

She approved.

She tapped her hoof and felt the air shift behind her from tension to curiosity.

He’ll do.

Perhaps he even has apples.

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

 

Digging To China

KeithKreates250

Photo: Keith Channing

 

“Winter is the best for digging!”

Icicles hung from Snout’s whiskers, and his tail wagged excitement. The cookies-n-cream dog had two settings: asleep and overexcited.

It was exhausting.

Dumbo yawned. She stood under the dubious cover of a naked tree, and tried to make the least contact between her paw-pads and the frozen ground. Soon enough their human would stop staring into the hypnotizing rectangle, realize that he can do the same thing indoors, and “Cum’eer” them home. All she could do in the meanwhile was endure.

A bird took flight from a branch above her head and a pelt of snow plonked right onto Dumbo’s back. A shudder traveled from the tip of her nose to the end of her tail, shedding snow as it went. Now she was wet as well as cold. Stupid bird didn’t even have the decency to pick a different tree limb to launch itself from.

Dumbo hated winter.

She hated rain. And ice. And snow. And hail. And wind. And any type of weather that didn’t come with a built-in dry spot to sun herself in, preferably without any flying insects or pull-on-your-ears baby-humans or a housemate that believes the only kind of recreation befitting a dog is one that involves digging smelly things out of the ground.

She should’ve been born a cat.

Cats don’t have to go out in all weathers just to relieve themselves, and no one expects them to sniff others’ butts or follow orders or look happy about it. It was beneath a dog to be envious of a feline, but there it was.

“Come dig!” Snout barked enthusiastically.

“No thanks,” she muttered.

“You’re wet already, might as well have fun!” the smaller dog almost disappeared into the white mounds, paws tunneling in double speed into the frozen substance on the ground.

The human looked up, smiled, and pointed the hypnotizing rectangle at Snout’s behind, before checking the contraption, and raising it again in Snout’s direction.

Great. Mini-dog images. It meant they’d be stuck outside for another era. Who cares if the tip of Dumbo’s tail was ready to fall off from the cold.

“Come dig!” Snout yipped. “There’s stuff underneath here. Who knows what we’ll find!”

Dumbo yawned again and licked her chops in irritation. Go dig yourself to China, she thought, and stay there, too … see if I mind.

 

 

 

For Keith’s Kreative Kue #250

 

Numbered

number10 AmitaiAsif

Photo: Amitai Asif

 

‘Twas the best of the betters

The coveted spot

In the field,

Where the corn rose in sunshine

And worms did not stay

Concealed.

He fought hard for the privilege,

Beak and claws he had

To wield.

As the count of days rose

His calls echoed less

Even keeled.

Yet he hoped that the home

He’d claimed for her

Still appealed.

 

 

 

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Number

 

 

One With The Herd

wildebeesta KreativeKue249

Photo: Keith Kreates

 

It was never about the things he wanted to do.

It was never about where he wanted to go, what pasture he preferred, which direction he wished to head.

Conformity. Yeah, he knew all about it. How it was the only way to herd.

Still he found small ways to rebel: He’d lie down when others were grazing, chew his cud while the Head Honcho was patrolling, turn his backside to the wind when it went against every custom to do so.

“You will get yourself kicked,” his mother, who has long given up on instructing him but still couldn’t help herself from trying, lowed in his ear.

“Or eaten,” his sister, grown and soon to mother her own, added.

Their mother’s eyes were sharp horns of disgust at the sacrilege. One did not talk about becoming prey where one was already primed to be the hunted.

He shrugged and refused to turn his nose into the wind, though he could not control the small twitch of his ears, flattening to try and discern danger.

The cows, one young, one old, left to graze at the edge of the parched field.

He remained with his head petulantly bowed, feigning disinterest in any thing ahead. He’d been born to the herd. Without it, he’d be dead.

But it did not mean he had to be one with the herd.

 

 

 

For Kreative Kue #249

 

 

Darn Yarn – Take #2

(You aren’t seeing double, this is a second helping for Crispina’s latest Crimson’s Creative Challenge – jotted in response to Shona, who wrote in the comments to my first attempt: “And there’s your next prompt — to have the alpaca speaking!…” And I thought to myself, Oh, how fun, let’s! So, here it is, Shona — this one is for you …)

 

She never did like the whole thready business. The fascination the two-legged had with locks of her hair.

Yet there they were, shearing it, bathing it, pulling it through nails, spinning it into thin ropes lacking any fluffiness, hanging it on sticks they cluck together to make some form of net to then cloak themselves with and strut about in, reverently wearing what had been atop her skin.

It’s quite uncanny. Then again, they do seem to worship everything about her: They house her. Feed her. Protect her. Cater to her (almost) every whim. They openly fawn over her offspring (not that she could blame them that particularity — the young ones do pull on one’s heart-strings).

Odd beings, are the two-legged, in how they wrap something else’s hair around their bodies, bizarrely mesmerized by fleece.

Then again, perhaps in their nakedness, all they can do is have her reign supreme.

 

 

 

 

Dogged Dobbie

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Photo: Keith Kreates

 

“What’s he doing?”

Martha shrugged.

“What’s in there?”

She tilted her head at him, and he demurred. She was clearly occupied. She had a bone to pick and he knew that if he pushed her with one more question she’d snap his head off. Or try.

He wasn’t going to let her try.

He moved closer to his friend.

“Dobbie?” he asked the headless figure. Did she snap his head off already? No, there was a tail wag. He didn’t think Dobbie would wag his tail if he didn’t have a head. He’d be too sad. No sniff. No lick. No yum.

“What’d’ya doin’ in there?”

The tail paused, then gave a halfhearted, one-sided sway. A sign?

“You stuck?”

Hesitant then enthusiastic wag.

“How’d you get stuck there?”

There was probably no way to wag an answer to that. Not to mention that Dobbie found a way to get stuck just about anyplace. Between the legs of a chair. Under the bed. With a garbage bin over his head. …

Max sniffed. There had to have been some food up there. Dobbie never could resist anything gobbleable. Max sniffed again. Traces. It’d be all gone by the time Dobbie realized he should’ve planned a way out before he stuck his head in.

Dobbie’s tail wagged in half-regret, half-plea.

Max sighed.

“Hold on, Dobbie! I’ll get Com’eer!”

 

 

 

For Keith’s Kreative Kue #246

 

 

On Guard!

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“How long will he be this way?”

“Dunnow,” Plucky shrugged. “But let’s get this done before he loses concentration.”

“I wanna waive something in front of his eyes. He looks so hypnotized!” Shimmer shifted excitedly from foot to foot. This was so thrilling!

“Don’t you dare!” Plucky’s hiss almost made actual sound. He bobbed his head in an effort to contain it. “Let’s get to it! Blue is good but even he can’t keep this up forever.”

Shimmer nodded distractedly.

“Coming or I go it alone?”

“Coming, coming…” Shimmer nodded and sighed in one. She didn’t want to miss anything. She wanted to see everything! She wished she could be in two places at the same time. She tore her eyes off of the dog, whose nose barely twitched and whose eyes never left the cockroach that was held in the blue-gray pigeon’s beak, just out of the canine’s reach. Blue was so courageous!

Plucky was already on the move. Shimmer stepped behind the brown bird’s sparse tail feathers, trembling with suppressed flutter. This was her first heist.

The window was open. The dog had forgotten a biscuit on his cushions. They were going to sneak into the room and steal it.

 

 

For Keith’s Kreative Kue #245

 

Gregory Green

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Photo: Keith Kreates

 

“You have to save me!”

She looked at him, filed her nails, and licked her lower lip thoughtfully. She said nothing.

He hated when she did that, pretended that she didn’t hear him, or that what he said wasn’t even worthy of a reaction. Sure, he leaned toward the dramatic, but that didn’t mean his feelings didn’t count!

“Daisy!” he breathed, “I know you heard me.”

She tilted her head in his direction, her nails continuing to move as if of their own volition. Truth is, sometimes he wasn’t sure they didn’t. Have their own volition, that is. These things could come at you uninvited and without warning.

“I’ll give you my special treat …” he begged. Defeated. He loved his Sunday treats.

At that she deigned to flick her lashes in his direction. She knew she won. She always did. Her patience outpaced his excitement. Every. Single. Time.

“I’ll see what I can do,” she purred.

He breathed. It was as good as done.

Once Daisy got her claws into the yarn, he would be spared the indignation of being made to wear another stupid knit thing. It took a full year from the last St. Patrick’s day for the others in the dog park to stop calling him Gregory Green.

 

 

For Keith’s Kreative Kue 234

 

 

 

Horse Lord

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Photo: Mongolia; Anudariya Munkhbayar on Unsplash

 

The floods had culled the herd. The fires cleansed the land of dead, returned the grasses to the dirt, where bones lay, staring at the sky, unbleached. They will not be interred.

A falcon soared above their heads. It dove and disappeared, its freedom deferred, its sight hidden under the dark small caps it let have drawn over its vision in a servitude preferred.

The stallion whinnied. The yearlings, cocky and too young to know better, had cantered up ahead. They stopped at the sound of his impatience and turned about as their obedience stirred. But the mares and foals kept close on dancing legs. The smell of smoke still in the air rendered them simultaneously docile and quick to bolt, their reason blurred.

He knew why that was. The two-legged that had fled, have returned. And the smoke curling from the nostrils of their leather dwellings rose, awakening dread.

 

 

 

For What Pegman Saw: Mongolia

 

 

Heads Up

Photo from Morguefile

 

“I never got a chance to get ready!” Tuttie moaned, trying helplessly to wriggle so her mane fell as it ought.

“Shush! I’m trying to watch.” Tussock grumbled.

“Tuttie, your tuft looks fine!” Tilly quipped.

“No, it doesn’t. It’s all blowing in the wind.” Tuttie retorted. She was ever so particular about the way her threads flowed.

“Of course it would move,” Tussock bristled and tried to stand in attention as the clouds flew on the breeze. “When has it ever not been windy here?” Tuttie was annoying, but it irritated him even more that Tilly always perked up to soothe her fussy sibling’s fronds. She should get s spine instead of bowing to every mood. And why did he have to get planted right between these two, anyway?

“You in the periphery, stop swaying like a bunch of leaflets and stand up taller.” Topknot’s voice meant business. “Heads up now. It is almost time.”

The assemblage quieted. It was time for the sun to cross the horizon at the top of the tallest tree. A yearly passing when their ancestors’ fluff could climb aboard the golden orb’s mighty ship, and be carried to their eternal rest beyond the sea.

 

 

 

For the Sunday Photo Fiction prompt