Sunday, February 22, 2015
First 5 Pages February Workshop - Levy Rev 2
Sheri S. Levy
YA- (10-14) Contemporary
(Note - Sheri has a publisher so she is not posting a query)
On the hour, my eight-week-old Labrador woke with bouts of squeaky yelps. My legs swung over the edge of the bed as if on autopilot, sending my frizzy hair across my face. I collected the mass into a ponytail and staggered across the hall. “Colton, I’m coming.
Flicking-on the overhead lights in the laundry room, I blinked and Colton ducked his head. “Hey, little guy. I’m sorry you’re lonesome.”
His wispy, black tail whipped back and forth as he strained to set his short, front legs at the top of the baby gate. Like a prize fighter he tried again, and again, until he collapsed on the floor, whining.
I climbed over the gate, sat, cradled his-plump body, and buried my face in his fuzz, inhaling his toasty puppy smell. Two years ago during a school assembly about service-dogs, I had a brilliant idea. If I became a Puppy Raiser, I’d have puppy after puppy and never another old dog. But this plan had one flaw. I never thought about getting attached.
Yesterday, I had an eighteen-month-old qualified service dog, Sydney. Today, I mended my heart by choosing to train again. Tonight, anxiety filled me-
We stared into each other’s eyes. “Are you going to be waking this often, every night?” Colt’s ears drooped and I stroked the velvety softness. Memories of Sydney flooded my thoughts. When his family moved away from South Carolina, Syd became my first six-month old-puppy, already trained in his basic needs, and slept all night.
But Colton was a blank slate. And-I’d be his first, and only, foster momma until he turned eighteen months old.
His warm, chocolate-brown eyes melted the cracks of my heart.
I surveyed the newspapers covering the floor, scrunched my nose, and shook my head. If I had known how much work was involved would I--? I sucked-in my cheek. Yeah! I nodded. I’m almost fourteen.-I’ll figure this out! I wadded up the messy papers and spread new ones on the swirled beige and rust colored tile floor. “All done! Let’s go outside.”
After a quick romp with the sensor light going off and on, I placed him and a handful of kibbles inside his crate. “Night-night. Ple-a-s-e go to sleep.”
His face lay in the opening of his crate, and he fought to keep his eyes open.
If I could get a little more sleep, it’d be an easier day. What I am I thinking? It’s already ! I pictured chasing Colton in the muggy air, teaching him new words, cleaning his messes, and then snuggling together. Before long, the sun leaked under my eyelids.
A whiff of coffee jolted me out of bed and told me my parents were up. Was Colton still sleeping? Twisting a curl tickling my neck, I scurried into the kitchen, and scanned the room.
Mom leaned her head. “Hey, Trina. Sounded like a rough night?”
I nodded, rubbing my face. “Yep. Is he still sleeping?”
Dad set his coffee cup down. “We heard you two all night, but we promised to stay put.”
Grabbing her purse, Mom said, “Dr. Mayer called early this morning and needs my help at the clinic. She has a sick dog coming in. Since I was up, I played with little Colt. When he wakes, he’s all yours!
“Wow! Thanks for the help.” Before finishing my cereal, howls pierced the silence. I rolled my eyes, grinning. “Okay. I’m back on duty!”
# # #
In the yard, Colt’s ears raised at the clunk, clunk, of Mrs. Brown’s golf cart driving up the path to her paddocks next door. As I collapsed in the shade, Colton stared toward the clatter, and for safety, scrambled over my crossed legs. I whispered in his ear. “Mrs. B is bringing in the horses. You’ll get to meet her soon.”
He looked toward the hidden racket, lost interest, and charged through the woods. The sun simmered overhead and brought a wilted pup onto my lap. I carried him to his crate, and he crumpled into a small heap. “Whew--Finally!”
I bounced into the recliner and texted my once again best friend, Sarah, since we’d patched our friendship while on vacation.
Instantly, she texted. “How’s Colton?”
“Too much to text. Meet me in 10!”
Sarah texted three smiley faces.
I threw-on yesterday’s clothes and rushed up the path to the old oak tree, anticipation bubbling through my veins. I needed to see Chancy, the barn-schooling horse. Heather cared for her while I was gone, and I worried she’d decide to buy her.
Seeing Sarah arrive in her fresh, cute outfit and her blond-hair French-braided, I tucked loose strands of red-hair into my ponytail. She looped her arm through mine, and jabbered about Peyton’s texts, her first time boyfriend from our beach trip. We inched forward, me nodding and smiling. I had made friends with his brother, Chase, and might have shared about our texts, when a grumbly, loud noise like a cement truck grew closer and interrupted our conversation.
Sarah squinted. “What’s that noise?”
“Sounds like a big diesel truck. Let’s get closer.” Behind a wide tree trunk, we spied the silver-gray, dually-truck pulling a white two-horse trailer with matching five gray-hearts interlocked along the sides. “That must be the new boarder. I forgot she was coming today.
The truck shifted, grinding its gears, and slowed onto Mrs. Brown’s drive.
Sarah screamed over the noise. “Do you know how old she is?”
“Mrs. B said she’s in the ninth grade.” As the commotion lessened, I added, “And, she’s supposed to be a REALLY good rider!”
The engine turned off, and a tall, dark-skinned man leaped from the driver’s side. At the same time, a long-legged, skinny girl in black riding pants and shiny black boots stepped down from the front passenger door. The sun shined on her round brown face, poufy bangs and ponytail, and flashed on her dressage whip waving in the air as if it were a sword.
We froze behind another tree.
The girl’s harsh voice boomed through the trees, “Dad, why’d you stop here? You’re too close to the barn. What the?--”
Without saying a word, her father opened the trailer’s top half doors and latched the panels to each side. From the rear of the trailer, a stately, black horse kicked and neighed. Standing on opposite sides of the trailer, they each pulled a clip out of the lock and set the ramp on the ground.
The girl climbed in a side door to untie the horse. He put one hoof a couple of inches behind, and then took another step. With a frantic snort, he blew air from his nose and lurched forward.
She screamed at the horse. “Knight, walk. Get-off-the-trailer.” Her whip slapped at the air. “What’s wrong with you?”
Without warning, the horse threw his head and bolted backwards down the ramp. The whites of his eyes showed as his head shook, wildly. White foam lathered his shiny chest.
Her voice raised an octave. “Dad! He’s getting away.” Then she shrieked, “Move!-You’re no help!”
Holding my breath, I clutched Sarah’s arm.
The father rushed over and pulled the whip from the girl’s hands. “Morgan, Quiet down. You’re frightening Knight. Give him a chance.”
She jerked the lead line. “Knight, you stupid horse. You know better.”
I scrunched my face, shook my head, and huffed, “Oh My Gawd! I could never be friends with someone who treats her horse like that. What’s she doing at my barn?”