[Story] Story a Week 4

[[ Prompt: The Afterlife ]]

Banjo awoke in a sunny field, the grass soft and warm beneath him. It was speckled with little flowers and he could smell their light, sweet aroma carried on the hint of breeze. Not far away, he could hear the gurgle of a stream over rocks, the promise of fresh water. But there was something odd about it. For one thing, he wasn’t wearing his collar. His collar was important, it had his name on it in case he should get lost. He’d never been without it, only when he was having a bath. Was he having one now? He didn’t think so. For the other, more distressing thing: his human was nowhere near. He couldn’t see her, or smell her. She would never leave him alone like this. It had to be some mistake. Even when she went away from the house, her smell was still there. Banjo tried to remember back to what had happened before. He remembered riding in the car with his human, wrapped in a soft towel. She had held him on her lap. It had hurt a lot then.

Looking down at his paws, Banjo realized that they no longer hurt. The ache that had crept into his joints over the years was gone. He hadn’t just forgotten it momentarily — it was gone. He gave a little jump to test it, then a larger leap, then he bounded over the grass, his tail aloft like a flag. He felt young and strong again, like he could run for a hundred years. His human would be so pleased! They could go for hikes in the forest again, sniff all the strange plants and animals. He especially liked it when she gave him water out of his own special bottle. It somehow tasted better than the bowl water. Imagine all the adventures they could have again! Lately he’d just been too tired, too sore, to walk for very long. Banjo had to find his human. She’d be so worried about him.

At the edge of the forest, Banjo paused. He recognized a familiar scent, though it seemed more faint than before. He raised his muzzle to sniff, searching for it. Sitting on the top of a fallen log was the cat, Sophie. His tail started to wag, but then he remembered and his expression grew suspicious.

Hello, said Sophie. I’m glad you’re here now. You’re going to love it here.

Banjo glanced around, warily. Where is here?

I don’t know what it’s called, the cat continued. But there are a lot of animals here. It’s always warm and no one is hungry, and no one hurts. Look! She swiped a paw over her head. Banjo remembered that she’d been missing an eye. It was there now.

But how— Banjo said. He remembered now. She had grown ill over the space of a few weeks. The human had been very upset. If that cat had been hiding here all this time, Banjo was going to let the human know about it!

Follow me, said Sophie, hopping off the log. Her tail curled up into a little question mark. They crossed the little stream, Banjo stopped to drink the water. It was fresh and cool and clear. The cat led them to a larger clearing, where animals of all sorts played and rested in the soft grass. Dogs and cats, horses and goats and birds. Some of the animals, Banjo didn’t even know the names for. No one growled or hissed, no one seemed scared or upset. Banjo had never seen such a thing.

It all seems very nice, Banjo said, looking around. But where is our human? I want to see her.

Sophie’s ears perked. Oh, this way! She said, and dashed away again. Banjo hurried to follow. The cat led them to a still pond, surrounded by lush grass and chirping frogs.

She’s in there? He asked.

On the surface, said Sophie. The reflection.

Banjo was doubtful, but he leaned in to look. He gave a little gasp as he saw a vision of his human, at home in her house. His expression fell. She looks sad, he said. I want to go to her. She needs me.

You can’t, Sophie said gently. But she won’t forget about you. I promise that. I know she still thinks of me. And you can see her here whenever you feel lonely.

That’s not the same, Banjo said. He touched his nose to the water, and the image shivered and faded away. I want to see her now!

We have to wait. All of us do. That’s why we are here. Over there — the cat nodded to the north — is a place where you will be together again. At least that’s what everyone says. I’ve never been myself. We have to wait for her.

Banjo looked to where Sophie had showed him. A rainbow illuminated the sky overhead. All right, he said. I will wait too. They returned to the clearing with the other animals.

 

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[Art] Custom FunkoPOPs – Banjo & Joker

I don’t think I will get to writing today, kids are off and I’m so anxious watching the election news I don’t think I could focus. I did finally finish up my custom dog POPs though (they were almost done). These guys were essentially just repaints, although I did alter the ears on Joker’s to be flopped down.

Banjo (orange shepherd): German Shepherd base
Joker (merle): Husky base

 

[Art] Custom Funko POPs – Dogs

These guys are basically just straight repaints, except I cut the ears off the Husky and made them folded over. They are going to be Joker (our current dog) and Banjo (my late dog). After several layers of base coat I think they are almost ready for detailing.

doggepops

[Story] Story a Week 36

[[ Prompt: A story from an animal’s perspective.

I already have several animal characters but I chose to write from the perspective of my beloved dog, Banjo. Some of this is invented, as I don’t know his circumstances before I got him, but I do know that he was thin and found on the streets. ]]

Most of all, I remember being hungry. It seemed my belly was never full. I took what I could, but it wasn’t easy. There were others like me, lean with hard eyes and sharp teeth. I know there had been a time before that, a time when I had a soft place to rest, and food to eat, but all I can remember is the hunger. It’s not cold, usually, but it does rain. I do my best to keep dry, but that’s not easy either. When they catch me, it’s almost a relief. The place that they take me is cold and hard, and it smells of fear, but it’s dry and there is food to eat. There are others there, too, refugees like me in their barred cages. Some have a similar story to mine, others don’t seem to want to talk at all. The one in my cage with me is like that. His face is peppered with age, and bears at least a dozen scars. He never does tell me what happened. He just disappears one day. There are stories about where they go, but they seem too nightmarish to be true. I know that some of them leave. People come every day and walk the hallways, and sometimes they take one of us with them. I don’t know how they decide. I don’t know why they don’t choose me. I’m not sure where they go, but it has to be better than this place. I can feel the fear start to close in around me the longer I stay. It has a way of getting to you, no matter how strong you think you are.

She comes one day in the winter. Even though it’s raining, I am outside. I let my silent cage-mate rest inside. She walks slowly, deliberately, looking in every cage in turn, assessing us. For what? I don’t know. But I can tell that she is kind. I want her to take me away from this place. She pauses outside my cage, kneels down and extends a hand. I am wary, but I approach it and sniff cautiously. I like her smell. It’s nice. My tail wags, tentatively. She turns to leave, and I can feel my hope fleeing. But the other person comes with the keys. She unlocks my cage, puts the leash on my neck. It’s okay. She is crouching, extending a hand to pet me. I sigh contentedly, and lay at her feet. It feels right, and good.

They put a paper on my cage. I don’t know what it says. I don’t know if I will see Her again. One morning, my cagemate is gone. I don’t think any people came to take him. I don’t know where he went. She comes back again, a few days later. This time they take me out of the cage. They put a leash on my neck. She stands at the desk and writes papers. She strokes my head and my ears. It’s nice. I am still wary, but hopeful. I don’t believe She would do anything bad to me. We go into a car. It’s strange at first, but She helps me get in. There are so many smells that my head is spinning. The world rushes by in a blur of excitement. We stop at a place that has food. My mouth waters but I do not take it from Her. I don’t have to. She gives all of it to me. I devour it without chewing, and it is the most delicious food I have ever eaten.

We go to another place, a wide open field. She holds my leash and talks to me. Her voice is soft and kind. I let my tail wag a little. I trust Her already. We walk together for a time, there are so many new smells and I investigate them all. Then She takes me to a house. There’s a yard with soft grass, and a new bed for me to sleep in. She feeds me food from her hand and I take it gently though I still feel that emptiness in my stomach. It goes away eventually. We lay beside each other on a couch, She under a blanket and me on top of it. We watch the television and She strokes my side. She tells me that She has always wanted a dog just like me, and my heart swells. I am home.

[Story] Story a Week 31

[[ Prompt: A story set at sea

I used the characters from my 2005 NaNo story, except here Hraavik is much younger, a pup on his first sail. I had intended this to be longer but oh well 😛 ]]

Hraavik swallowed hard and stared at the horizon, willing back the queasiness that crept into his belly. The last thing he wanted to do on his first sail was to get seasick. He could only imagine the laughs and jeers that would follow that, some chieftain’s son he would be! Fiske was the one who had noticed his discomfort, but instead of laughing, he’d told Hraavik to watch the flat line of the horizon. He also suggested eating clay, but only as a last resort. It didn’t sound any more pleasant than being seasick to have a belly full of clay. Slowly, he thought he felt the feeling recede, but it was still there, lurking just out of sight. Hraavik prayed that the waves would be calmer today.

His father hadn’t even wanted to bring him along, though Hraavik was nearly fully grown. He was tall and lean, and would no doubt fill out more, but he was older than many pups on their first sail. It was actually his mother who had talked Tarnahk into bringing his son along, another fact that Hraavik hoped never got out to the rest of the clan. Maybe they already knew. At night, when they gathered around the fire to eat, he felt like an imposter. The others laughed and teased each other, but not him. He wasn’t really one of them, not yet, until he’d proven himself. And even then, was he only here because he was the chieftain’s son? They could resent him for that, too. He wished there was another pup aboard, but he was the only one. Vali had gone with the other ship, and Kjeld had broken his leg earlier in the spring, and was still mending.

They raided the little fishing villages along the coast, but they had little to make it worth their time. They were poor to begin with, and had already been subject to looting by every ship that sailed this channel. Hraavik knew from the crew that they were headed west, which meant an extended crossing. If he wasn’t accustomed to the rocking of the waves by then, he might have trouble. There were said to be islands along the way, but they were small and scattered. It would be purely luck if they happened across one.

The novelty began to wear out on the second day, eating their dried meat and salted fish for supper, and a tiny bit of wine from their casks. Hraavik missed the smell of the forest, the feel of the ground under his feet, and his soft comfortable bed, piled with warm furs. Here he slept on a hard bunk, surrounded by the rest of the crew. They were loud and they smelled, even as they slept. Hraavik willed himself to accept it, told himself that they had so in turn, he must as well. There would be gold and riches, not to mention all of the stories and the sense of belonging with the rest of the clan. And, Hraavik hoped, he would prove himself to Tarnahk. He would no longer see him as just a pup, but a full-blooded varg, worthy of respect.

Hraavik had never been happier to see land when they spotted the island three days later. It looked large enough that it might hold some wildlife, and his mouth began to water at the thought of fresh meat, hot and crispy from the fire. The crew was excited too, unloading the supplies quickly before they spread out to explore. The shore was rough and rocky, but the ground became softer further in, and trees blanketed the island and protected it from passing storms. They were not the stoic evergreens that Hraavik was used to, but thin and flexible, so they might bend in the winds. Unsure where else to go, he followed the small group that his father led. No one protested, so Hraavik assumed that it was all right. They had never been very close, even when he wasn’t away. Hraavik felt that his father saw him as more a necessity than a son, someone to carry on his bloodline. Even then, Hraavik always thought he saw disappointment in his fathers’ eyes, though he was never sure why. He was as capable as any other pup in the clan. But maybe that wasn’t enough, maybe he had to be more than that. He just wasn’t sure how.

Fiske shouted down from a rocky pillar, waving his arms. Hraavik perked his ears, and they all looked to see. It was a nest, filled with eggs bigger than Hraavik had ever seen. Fiske cradled one in the hook of his arm, making his way down the slippery rock. He passed the egg off to Tarnahk, and went back for another. It was huge, as large as Hraavik’s head, it seemed. Just that one would feed several vargs, and there were more. They all watched intently as he scooped up a second. He couldn’t carry more than one at a time.

Suddenly, the air split with a keening cry and all at once, they were aware of what it was — the nest’s owner, and she was angry. Her enormous wings seemed to blot out the sun as she descended onto Fiske, her hooked beak and black talons lashing out in fury. Hraavik could hear the crisp snap as her beak closed on the air, but he was sure that she wouldn’t miss for long. Fiske was trapped with her there, unless they could distract her — Tarnahk shoved the egg into Hraavik’s arms. He was surprised by the warmth and weight of it. Helplessly, he held onto it and watched.

The chieftain hefted a rock from the ground and hurled it toward the bird. The others watching did the same. Most of them struck, but clattered down harmlessly. Still, she narrowed her eyes and stared at the vargs, giving Fiske the time he needed to scramble down the side of the rock. Tarnahk drew his sword then, gesturing the others back toward the camp. Hraavik looked uncertainly at the egg. Should he bring it back? The mother was already furious, would she abandon her attack if it was returned? But there was no way he could get it back up into the nest. He laid it down on the ground and hurried after the others. He could hear the huge bird overhead, the flapping of her wings stirring the air. But as they reached the camp, her fury seemed to subside, and she turned around to return to her nest. Hraavik had no idea how she would get the egg back up there, or whether the chick inside would survive. And there would be no eggs to eat tonight. The mender set to work cleaning and bandaging Fiske’s wounds. At the very least, they would have a tale to tell around the fire during the winter.

 

[Art] OCtober – Day 6

Kind of another werewolf, but Hraavik is actually a dog! He’s the main character from my 2005 Nano story, “Eishundr”. Basically they are dog vikings, it’s explained in the story! I actually got the idea for it from a very vivid dream, I wish I’d have dreams like that more often. I need ideas for this year!

Hraavik is another one with black fur, so I opted not to color him so the detail would show better. I’ve thought about finding someone who can actually draw armor and stuff to illustrate it, but first I’d have to edit it, and that’s scary 😛

hraavik

[Art] OCtober – Day 4

Oh no, my furry shame! But she’s a cute character and I wanted to draw her. This is my dog character, Shenandoah. Back in the olden days of the internet, they had MU*s, which were multi-player online chats but text only. A lot of these were set up for RP and I spent a lot of time in those. She was my character that I used, I also drew her to represent myself in a lot of cartoons and comics and doodles and such. Sometimes she was anthro (on two legs with clothes) then. If you search you can probably find some drawings I did of her without too much trouble, haha. As a character, Shen is quite a bit more naive and innocent than I am. She is a cross between a collie and a husky/malamute/x? sled dog.

shen