The Prompt Project’ are posts that are essentially a way for me to exercise my creative muscles, without all the pressure that comes from writing my WIP for example.
I post what I write on the spot, I don’t impose a word limit or time it, just go with whatever my brain spits out for as long it keeps up the momentum. I’ll literally see prompt, write and then post the results.
Today’s prompt is:
Ears pricked up as Mark slumped down in his chair. That was all he could see over the edges of the dog basket. A pair of patchwork colours ear and thin, whippy tail thumping against the wall. He sighed and the ears pricked higher.
The tail began thumping in earnest, before a little face popped up over the edge of the basket. He’d picked her because of her unusual coat, like a patchwork quilt sewn together by someone who was drunk. Even her eyes were mismatched, one blue, one brown. The little mutt stood up form her basket, stretching her lithe body lazily before ticking across to his armchair, tail waving madly as she stared hopefully into his face.
Mark sighed again and stood. “Come on Ragdoll.” She danced her way to the front door and he followed her, gingerly picking around the rubbish all over the floor. Discarded cans, takeaway containers, clothes and general detritus were everywhere but Ragdoll didn’t seem to mind too much.
It was already dark, Mark hadn’t realised what the time was. He took a moment to breathe in the night air while she sniffed a gatepost. When did he last go outside? He must have walked her yesterday? An involuntary smile quirked the corners of his mouth as she took off, ears bouncing, feet trotting happily as she followed her nose up the road. Not content with his sad, plodding pace, she kept glancing back with plaintive eyes as if to tell him ‘keep up’, before revving up a little as far as the lead would allow, always dropping back with a disappointed huff and shake. Mark upped his pace, surprised by how much the feeling of having blood pump faster in his veins woke him up, shaking away some of the fog clinging to the corners of his mind.
When they rounded the corner into the park he was struck by the ethereal beauty of the small lake, the curving path, silvered by the moonlight. It was so beautifully blissfully quiet. Ragdoll has chewed up his headphones and Mark suddenly regretted how angry he had gotten with her. Would he have experienced this if she hadn’t? No. He couldn’t remember the last time he went out and just existed in his own head, with nothing blasting into his ears. She had no patience for his introspection, however, a dragged him on, darting from bush to bush, ear pricked, tail high. All there was to hear was the soft tick-ticking of her claws, her snuffing in the undergrowth, the wind in the trees and the slight ripple in the water as the breeze picked up. Beautiful. How could something so every day be so beautiful? How had he never seen it before?
Ragdoll promptly ruined the whole moment by rolling in pile of duck shit.
“Great.” He muttered. She just looked at him, tale wagging, eyes delighted, with shit smeared all around her face. Despite himself, he felt a grin spread across his face. “Alright but you’ll regret that we get in, it’ll be a bath for you my girl.”
Washing her was a nightmare. She somehow contrived to cover him in shit as well in the process of getting into the tub. So he ended up getting under the shower with her, even though his clothes were on. Once he’d finally managed to get shampoo through her short, spiky coat and rinsed her off, he let her jump out of the tub and run mad around the bathroom. He then stripped his clothes and washed himself. When was the last time he had showered? When he was done, he used the only clean (ish) towel to dry himself and used one of the ones from the overflowing hamper on Ragdoll. He let her out of the bathroom to run around like a loony in the flat, while he grabbed the hamper, chucked in her dirty towel and the one he’d used and took it straight to the washing machine. He would have to wash the clothes she got shit on separately but he might as well do the rest first. Then he tackled the bathroom. She’d made such a mess that he had to clean everything, the tub, the floors, even the walls in places.
By the time that was all done and he’d returned to the living room, Ragdoll had gotten into the old food containers, cardboard and mouldy food was everywhere. She immediately ran to her basket, watching him with a baleful, innocent expression. Mark didn’t have the heart to tell her off. It wasn’t her fault there was food everywhere. Sighing, he grabbed a bin bag and began gathering up the rubbish. It took four bin bags to get it all. Afraid that she would get into them if he left them in the flat, he took the bags straight outside. Upon returning to the flat he was confronted with state of the floor now he could see it. Ragdoll was innocently wandering around, licking up interesting crumbs and spiting the ones that did not meet her standards back out as she went.
She slunk away to her bed, watching him reproachfully as he brought the hover out. She did not approve of the hoover and quickly scarpered to the bedroom. When he was done, Mark looked around with satisfaction. He could sort the kitchen tomorrow, no need to run before he could walk. A thumping tail greeted him from his bed.
“Cheeky bugger.” He muttered, ruffling her head as he flopped down beside her. Ragdoll snuggled up beside him, her heavy head on his chest. Mark sighed, feeling his eyes flutter with tiredness. He was surprised to discover that he was tired. Not fatigued. Not collapsing into bed as dawn broke with exhaustion. He was tired. Ragdoll’s breaths turned slow and steady and he just lay there in the dark, listening. He absently ran his hand through the fur on her head, stroking her floppy ears.
“I’m sorry I’m a rubbish human for you.” She huffed in response and wiggled closer to him. “Your human’s not been doing too well. That’s why he got you. And today, he went outside, he cleaned, he showered.” Tears lined his eyes and Ragdoll seem to sense the emotion welling in his chest and turned her head so she was looking up at his, mismatched eyes starring into his. “So that’s what you are.” He whispered in awe. “You are my way back. You are my reason to get up. My reason to keep breathing. For you, I have to better and I promise to take care of you. Maybe I’ll learn to care of myself as we go.”
Ragdoll licked him, huffed a sigh in his face and settled back down for a snooze, as if to say ‘shut up and go to sleep, stupid human’. So he did. It was the first time Mark had slept through the night in months.
I honestly didn’t exactly know where I was going with this when I started. I just had this picture in my head of a dog looking up at a human and I wanted to try a capture some of the love for a dog and the love they feel for you.
Enjoyed my writing? Follow me on the links below so you can see when a new post comes out, as I will posting sections of the big story I am writing.