I strutted into the ignored yard of a family. The mom worked full time and had two high school kids. Julie was pretty swamped at work, and trying desperately to save for both her kids' college educations and her retirement. She longed to spend more time traveling and taking photographs. She loved to travel on her own since it meant she would meet new folks. Meeting new people brought her true joy.
Sarah was like her mom. Not quite as warm with strangers but really put herself on the line with the things she loved, especially sports. She was always named captain and everyone relied on her to be the ultimate team player. When I knew her she was 14 years old and still liked being the tom boy she had been as a young girl, although she longed for someone to talk to her about what it meant to become a woman. She was nervous, scared of it and Julie was too distracted to notice.
The one Julie did pay attention to was Andrew. He was a mystery to her. He was the oldest at 16 and kept that crazy, hyperactive energy of his 7 year old self. Julie kept rationalizing that each year he would calm down. He never did. He loved watching old science fiction movies on television and building models of World War II airplanes. He hated school and being with his peers.
The day I appeared, Sarah and Andrew were literally on the floor of the kitchen beating each other up. Sarah had a bloody nose and Andrew had a scratch on his cheek that would've made a cat cringe. I watched them from the kitchen window, having reached up my front paws into the planter full of dried dirt and even drier remnants of flowers. I always had a hard time getting used to the body I was in at the beginning. My last one had been a club kid in Wales in the 1990's. My favorite was as a turtle during the French Revolution. But after being in human form, I needed to remember the front appendages weren't hands.
They both stopped fighting and opened the door. I started licking her nose then went to his cheek. They forgot the fight and found me some chips. While stale potato chips weren't my idea of an ideal meal, that was all they had.
"We've got to get him real food" said Sarah.
"Mom won't go for this" said Andrew.
She got a look in her eye. "I bet she won't notice the dog for days. Let's not even ask."
So they pooled their money and Andrew ran down to the corner store to get dog food and a collar. They agreed that the unused rope for the clothing line would make an appropriate leash.
"I think her name is Crow" said Andrew after I ate a bowl of food and drank water.
There was a pause. Great, he thinks, another fight. His shoulders start to rise.
"I like it" his sister nodded.
My first task was complete. I had them united in a common effort. Taking care of me. And I hadn't used any magic.
It took Julie three days to notice me. And while I had calmed things down between Sarah and Andrew, there was still that simmering tension. Sarah made friends easily and Andrew wishes he could too. He feels his little sister has and gets everything. And Julie just didn't notice.
But she did notice when I needed to go for a walk. She told the kids to take me to the park across from the corner store. Sarah brought a ball to throw and Andrew had me on the leash. I did the pull really hard thing I've seen other dogs do. I kept forgetting the slobbering tongue part but I new at being a dog. I was going to be with this family for a while so I would have some time to get it all down.
We got to the park and Sarah saw one of her teammates with her golden retriever-poodle mix. Sitting on a bench was another girl Andrew recognized. Sarah ran off with her friend to kick a ball, leaving Andrew alone with a tennis ball, me and this really weird looking dog also wanting to play ball.
"That's a beautiful dog" said the girl. "Where did you get her?"
"Uh" he looked at the ground "um.... she found us."
I walked over to her and nudged her leg. "What's her name?"
"Crow" as the other dog kept jumping on Andrew.
"Because she is so black?"
"I'm Teresa's sister, Collette. You're a junior right?"
The dog nearly knocked him over. "Right."
"Look why don't you give me the ball and I'll throw it. I think my dog is going to eat you if he doesn't get a chance to chase it."
Andrew grinned as he sat down on the bench.
I played along until I realized he wasn't going to join in. So after Collette threw the ball I ran in the opposite direction and knocked her over.
"CROW!" shouted Andrew. He ran up to me and shoved me off. Collette laughed as he helped her up.
"Now we know what it takes to get you up. Your dog has to maul me."
Andrew apologized, shot me a grateful look, then joined in throwing the ball. He and Collette talked.
This was an easy one. Andrew got his bearings and started leaving Sarah alone. He hung out with Collette, not in a romantic way but as friends. It was a relief to see him feel comfortable with another person. Sarah too started talking to Andrew. Asking him about his day, learning about him as a person.
Getting Julie to notice either of them was trickier. A year later, I had to do something drastic.
I ran in front of a car.
Once I'm freed from a body I only have one day to see what happened. Julie woke up. She brought her crying children into her arms and hugged them. Kissed the tops of their heads. She asked them about me, what was special about me and then started to hear what was special about them.
She stopped dreaming about meeting the perfect strangers in far-away lands. She pulled close the strangers in her house.
So now I'm back in the stars. It is where we go to recover and listen. We listen to your wishes. We have been since time began.
I'm playing Jen in Michigan's Writing Game. Go to a brand new website, The Writing Game, to read all of our stories. The ideas and characters for my story came from Capitol Lady. This is what she wrote for the story:
Black Lab- named Crow, with the power to heal, a grant wishes to worthy people.
Owner Julie - 40 something woman, 2 kids and a full time job in heath care. Loves computers, photography, quirky fun loving, happy go lucky, never met a stranger because she talks to everyone.
Sarah - Daughter of Julie, same traits as mom but not quite as out going. Loves and is good at sports, a tomboy of 14 trying to find her way in the world
Andrew - Son of Julie,16 yr old hyperactive, tv/movie enthusiast. Loves science fiction and building models. At home very out going but a recluse in the
conflict-Sarah and Andrew hate each other as siblings can, Sarah is outgoing and makes friends easy a trait that Andrew wishes he had. Andrew feels that Sarah has everything and gets everything.
Crow wants to heal everyone but can't her powers are limited to healing only 1 worthy person a month. She If she chooses someone in her immediate family she can't use the power again for 2 years. If she has healed a person she can't grant wishes to them. she can't be bribed and if she uses her power for evil it is taken from her.
This was fun and definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone. Feel free to tell me never to do this again. But I won't listen. I'm a Writing Game junkie now. Jen, can we do this next week?