Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Secret Life of Pets"

This short is in response to a challenge about the secret life of pets. What would our pet's secret life be? Hmmm.....

"Hey, Sky."


"How are you this morning?"


"Me, I'm tired. Jarom was up at 2:00 again. He's nine years old, you'd think he could sleep through the night. How are you doing on food?" Todd checked the parakeet's food dish. "Still looks okay. But you've pushed your water bowl out again. That's the third time this week."


"Yeah, okay. Look, I'm gonna refill this, but you gotta stop pushing it out."


"Smart alec."

Todd filled the water container and pushed it back into place. "You know, Houdini pushed that out the very first day we got her. We put the cage in our room, came back ten minutes later and she was flying around. That's how she got her name; she was a great escape artist. We had to keep her wings clipped just in case. At least with you we don't have to worry about that. You don't leave your cage even when we leave the door open."


"Well, I gotta go to work. Have fun."

Sky watched as her Ward left the kitchen. She hopped to the front of the cage and tilted her head to one side, listening for the tell-tale signs he had left the house. When she was sure he was gone she hopped over to the water container.

"Houdini was just plain stupid," Sky thought. "You never leave the cage when the Wards can see you."

She pushed on the water dish. It hardly budged. Sky sighed. When Adam-Ward filled the water dish he only managed to get it half full. Dad-Ward was more careful. The heavier dish was very difficult to push. Sky was forced to make several attempts before she succeeded in pushing the dish out of place. It fell to the floor, splashing water every which way. Sky waited a few minutes, listening carefully. Sometimes one or the other of the adult Wards would still be in the house long after she thought they were gone. When no one came running, she used her beak to lift up the plastic piece that fell to cover the hole left whenever the water dish was removed, and then slipped out of the cage.

It was only a short hop to the kitchen table. Jarom-Ward had eaten cereal for breakfast. It seemed her subliminal suggestion was still working: there was milk spilled around where his bowl had been. Dad-Ward thought Jarom was just messy, which was true in a way. Sky's suggestion would never have worked had the general tendency not existed already. There was a large quantity of milk today. That was good. Last night's incursion had been particularly harsh, severely depleting the arcane shielding. Without a fairly substantial reinforcement spell the shadowlings would break through.

Sky hopped over to where the spill was and wet her claws. Taking a deep breath, she began a very complicated song. As she sang she traced an intricate design on the table top. It took almost an hour, and she was close to being hoarse when she was done, but when she stepped back to look at her handiwork she was pleased. Everything was just as it should be. Only one more step.

Careful not to disrupt the pattern lines, Sky hopped to the centermost point of the design, and then focused her chi. The chakra responded and a third eye opened on her forehead. Using her Sight as a guide she infused the design with her life force. It drained her reserve tremendously, but when she was finished the rune web radiated protective energy. It was finished. The spell was active. The shadowlings would gain no entry tonight or many nights to come.

Exhausted, Sky returned to the cage. She felt like napping, but knew she had to eat if she wanted to replenish the chokata she had spent on the spell. She ate the millet out of the food mix the Wards provided her. She was tired of millet, but the artificial color on the other pieces would harm her balance, so she avoided it. When she had finally eaten her fill she flitted up to her swing and drifted to sleep.

She was awakened by the sound of the back door opening. Dad-Ward came in and set down his things. Sky game him a welcoming, "Chirp!"
"Hi, Sky," he said. He took a look at the table. "What a mess! Not only did Jarom spill his milk today, he played with it afterward. I've told him a million times...." He continued to mumble as he left the room.

Sky gave a satisfied chirp. Jarom would catch some grief, it was true, but his dreams would be safe from the shadowlings, and that was what really mattered.

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