Author Topic: All the Joy That's Left in the World  (Read 912 times)

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Offline TakeWalker

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All the Joy That's Left in the World
« on: May 13, 2004, 04:27:34 pm »
I posted this a while back, and just got around to revising it. It's vastly changed from the original, thanks to some feedback.  Now I want to concentrate on the way I've put the story forward, setting the scene as well as the mood towards the end.  Feedback is desired.

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I'd been there three hours, the shirts weren't selling, and I was damn hot.  My suit didn't smell too good, either.  

"I'm takin' five, Todd," called Steve, my friend who owned the WearWolves, Inc. stall.  "Hold tight, I don't think these are goin' anywhere anytime soon.  Half an hour more, and I'm closing up."

I nodded, my suit's red velour tongue flopping up and down.

The news of a timely departure was caffeine to me; suddenly the heat and weight of my Siberian Husky costume were lifted from my body.  The sounds and smells of the city's annual Heritage Festival came alive to me once more, and I let myself get caught up in them.  I pranced out into the middle of the street, rolling onto my back for the fairgoers passing by.  They would laugh or 'aww', then proceed on their way, faces smiling and hearts a little lighter.  A few shied away nervously, but I expected it.  I'd even told Steve when he asked me to dress up and help advertise his wolf-print shirts that the reaction would be mixed.  I'd also told him he should have found a wolf.

An elderly couple passed by and I sat up and begged for them.  The man laughed, shaking my outstretched paw.  As they walked away, I felt a small hand press against the back of my leg.  Looking down, I saw a small five-year-old... well, child, I thought it might be a girl.  She was petting my leg, her face a Van Gogh of pure joy.

"Fuzzy!  You're soft an' fuzzy!"

I knelt and started to rub her hair gently in return.  A giggle usually reserved for exultant infants burbled forth from her mouth.  If not for goofy eyes and shaggy fur, my smile would have matched hers.

"Silly doggie!"

I couldn't help it.  I rolled over onto my back and began kicking my leg as the girl scritched my belly, laughing all the time.  I didn't notice Steve had returned until he stood over us, smiling wryly.

"Looks like you've made a friend," he chuckled.  He squatted down next to the kid, smiling his entrepreneur's I'm-gonna-sell-you-stuff grin and asked, "Where's your mom, honey?  Maybe she'd like to buy a shirt..."

"Mommy!"

The girl didn't stop rubbing me, but I did stop kicking as a statuesque woman wearing a frontier-era costume and a milk-curdling frown came over and demanded, "What are you two doing to my daughter?"

"Mommy, look, a big doggie!  He's cute!"

"Ma'am," Steve began simultaneously, that same grin on his face, "we're out here today selling..."

"Innocence!" she shouted, cutting him off.  The girl tensed up immediately, rocking back on her heels.  "Get away from him right now!  Right now, do you hear me?"

Innocence stood up, backing away from me, eyes dark and downward, hands fidgeting behind her.  Her mother whirled on Steve.

"And you!  How dare you try and use my daughter to peddle me your wares!"

Taken aback, Steve could only stand with his mouth slung open, a hand raised limply in an attempted gesture.

Innocence walked desolately to her mother's side.  "Mommy, what about the doggy?"

"Innocence, I want you to stay away from him," the mother scolded, her voice harsher than a thorn dragged across bare skin.  "People like him are child molesters, mark my words young lady."

"He'll molester me?"

I was frozen.  Why does this child understand that word?  Suddenly, I wanted to scream, to leap up and whisk this child away from her horrible mother, to take her to a place where all she would have to be is a happy little girl...

"That's right," she said, turning to me.  "Now you stay away from my daughter, do you hear?  Both of you ought to be ashamed of yourselves!"

The girl sniffed.  Steve moved wordlessly back to his stall.  I lay there like a furry rug as the woman shook her finger violently at me.  The pendulous motion held me immobile, invisible fishing lines spreading through the air from its tip, pinning me to the ground and tearing my skin with their hooks.  Sweat rolled down my face into my eyes.  And I did feel ashamed of myself.

"Come, Innocence, we're going home."

They turned and left, the girl looking back over her shoulder as they strolled back down the street.  It might have been me she was looking after, I couldn't be sure.  I was certain I saw something glint on her cheek in the afternoon sunlight.

"Hey..." Steve offered after a long pause.  "I-I'm sorry, man..."

I just shook my head, telling myself I couldn't speak while in character.  I stood, not bothering to brush the dirt and leaves from my suit.

And all the joy that was left in the world crawled into my heart and died.

Offline Blade Dance

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All the Joy That's Left in the World
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2004, 09:59:00 pm »
'<img'>  Excellent story Take Walker! Very impressive how you described the scenerio from the dogs point of view. I'm impressed! The ending was fantastic, it gave meaning to how a dog would feel after having a finger waved at it.

Excellent, Excellent!
~Jahmus~ The Jedi Fur

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