What about Jenny?
It was dark and cold. The wind howled through the trees as the fabric of the tent fluttered and popped. I was alone and knew that Jenny was also alone in her tent not 100 feet away. I couldn’t sleep. Too much danger. Too much… alone.
I slid back into my sleeping bag and felt my body heat start to generate warmth against the loosely quilted goose down. I was glad now that I had brought the roll of foil bubble wrap and flattened it under the sleeping bag. I relaxed onto my side with my back toward the nylon.
I felt something pushing against my shoulder. It bumped against me over and over. I slowly pulled my hand from the sleeping bag and pushed against the nylon tent.
IT PUSHED BACK… AGAINST MY HAND! SHIT! I jumped back and watched it push into the side of the tent. I hit it with the open palm of my hand. I heard scuffling outside… and then just the sound of the fluttering tent.
I pulled the sleeping bag up to my neck. The warmth felt good, in fact, there was sweat on my forehead. I dared not close my eyes as I continued staring at the side of the tent for the next attack. A bear? Yes a bear. They have been seen in these mountains. What of Jenny? The bear could have taken her? With the sounds of the tent and the wind, I may not have even heard her scream?
I crawled from the sleeping bag, toward the zippered door. A sudden strong gust blew the side of the tent against me. I pushed my hands against the side to keep it from tearing the stakes from the ground.
IT PUSHED AGAINST MY HAND! I pounded against it with my fist! IT PUSHED BACK OVER AND OVER! As I changed hands it bumped the other. Once I hit its teeth with my knuckle. Then it went away.
I sat and waited listening for sounds of movement outside. Only the wind… and the fluttering of the tent. I was shaking, partially from the freezing cold… and maybe the thought of becoming a bears snack. I slowly reached across and found the tab of the door zipper in the darkness. I had to know what was out there, and if Jenny’s tent was still standing. I slowly slid it up about six inches. . ZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz!
A black nose and white teeth squeezed through the tiny opening.
“AAAAaahhh!” I jumped against the back of the tent almost taking it down. The head raised quickly as the zipper continued to open. A large German Shepherd lept across the tent and laid on my sleeping bag. It wagged its tail as if asking to stay. After I caught my breath, I pulled the zipper back down, and focused the battery lamp on the dog. It laid its head down and looked up at me as if showing submission.
“You’ll have to sleep at the bottom! Move over!” I climbed back into the sleeping bag and rested my hand on the big dog. At various times through the night, she licked my hand.
In the morning I made instant oats on my small alcohol burner, and shared dried beef with the dog in the warmth of the tent. I packed everything into my back pack and went outside to drop the tent. It had snowed last night after I went to sleep, and the mountain was silent in an odd sort of way. As I walked down the mountain the dog stayed right behind me. The only sounds were the crunching of the snow, an occasional snap of a stick, and the heavy breathing of the dog.
We got down the mountain to where we were seeing green again and the snow had turned to mud and weeds. We stopped to rest on a fallen tree, and again shared my dried beef. She watched my facial expressions as she wagged her tail.
But what about Jenny?
I had this dream and went quickly to my keyboard before I forgot it. It was three-o-clock in the morning. The majority of my published and future books start as a dream.
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Once away from shore, I kicked on the chart plotter and located the salt pond. I locked my manual autopilot onto the course and checked it for the first half hour against the chart plotter. With everything in order, I turned off all the electronics except the running lights and the VHF. My batteries were old, and I used them conservatively.
I had an old radar detector from the eighties that chirped like crazy if it got hit by any ship radar for several miles. I got it from someone’s trash for free. I plugged it into the twelve-volt outlet.
I brought a pillow and blanket from below deck and put on my vest and tether. I wrapped the blanket around my body and lay down on the cockpit cushions. I dropped my face into the big feather pillow, and I could still smell Riki’s perfume.
“I’ll be so happy when my memory fades,” I said to the sailboat.
The KoKo Plant
A Pomeranian with roots.
I was walking through the woods and noticed a dog ahead of me sitting on the ground.
It was KoKo! She looked hurt. I walked over to her to find that she was buried from the shoulders down in the ground. Something didn’t look right. Her eyes were seeing me but not moving and focusing as fast as they normally did.
“How did you get buried in the dirt”? I said to her. She turned her head away from me as I rubbed her ears.
“Something is weird here.” I was starting to get concerned and reached down to the side of her head and raised her lip. She had her normal white teeth. Her eyes slowly moved down to see what I was doing. The ground around her had not been disturbed, and leaves had drifted against her body. I started poking around in the dirt to see how deeply she was buried.
“What the Hell!” I started digging with both hands trying to find her legs as she watched me in silence. After getting a ditch dug all around her I realized there was no biological body below the dirt.
“What has happened to you girl?” I grabbed her shoulders and gently lifted her out of the ground.
“ROOTS! She has roots!” I said in confusion
She continued watching me and acted as if she felt no pain.
I wrapped moist dirt and leaves around her roots, gently held it all together in my arms, and slowly walked back to the house. When she saw the house come into view she tilted her head back and licked my face. I found a towel, wrapped the roots, and set her in the kitchen sink while I hunted for the right sized flower pot.
“That one’s nice. It is not to heavy and has handles on two sides” I planted her in it with some premium potting soil, and set her by the patio door. I heard a tiny growl.
“Oh yeah girl! There are your squirrels!”
Later on that evening I moved her over by the couch while we were watching TV.
“Here’s a potato chip KoKo.”
Crunch, Crunch, Crunch.
I poured my melted ice into her pot.
“Bedtime!” I said as usual.
I saw her ears tweak up, so I picked her pot up and set it in the middle of the bed and went to sleep.
We decided to move forward on the sailboat’s deck. Each event was getting shorter due to our increased sensitivity. By the time we got to the anchor locker, even a gentle touch was a bit too much. She had her hands on the bow rails with the jib sail as a backdrop to starboard. The big orange sunset glowed dead ahead of us, and the grey freighter to port was long gone.
I held her hips in each hand and indulged sensuously between them. There was no stopping now. I reached around and below her chest, located a nipple, and squeezed it painfully as I humped faster and faster.
Our screams of electrical ecstasy echoed across the ocean. I let myself fall back into the jib sail. Berlin clung to my naked body with her head buried in my neck. She wasn’t letting go. I felt her body experiencing waves of tremors as the aftershocks slowly faded.
We were less than a day from our channel, and our thoughts shifted to burying the evidence. The digital photos were all on the computer, and the toys were all sterilized and back in the bottom drawer. The photo from the yacht club was innocent enough. The painting was on its way to Germany, and any bruises or sore spots had healed and were being tanned.
As we got within four hours of Key West, Berlin started gathering her clothes, packing everything and putting them in her cabin. She also changed the sheets in the master cabin and added them to the laundry bag (pillowcases) containing the towels and wet swimsuits. She packed all of my things too, and she found the bowl of jewelry in the head.
“Louis, do you want me to pack your jewelry, or are you going to wear it ashore?” she asked as she admired the ring.
“Just pack it. Thanks!” I said.
She was admiring the salt pond ring in the sunlight and watching the colorful fireworks that reflected like a disco ball onto the bathroom ceiling. She slipped it on her finger. Then she turned and looked at it closely in the mirror. She felt an electrical shock as she saw her own eyes glow green. She screamed.