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Is this where we post stories?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I write a little bit, or used to. So is this where we post our stories?

Here's a short I did.

by Cinder\t

\tSilence filled the darkened corridor. A soft glow from a light at the end of the hallway reflected dully off the rows of silver bars. The last visitors had left hours ago and the night shift was long settled into their routine.

\tAn old-timer sat close to the bars, staring vacantly into the night. He'd tried napping, something he'd always been good at, but sleep's peaceful veil unkindly eluded him. He'd have to wait it out this time.

\tThe new kid next door was restless.

\t"Can't sleep either?" the old-timer asked him.

\t"I can't stand this being cooped up," he answered. "How long have you been here?"

\tThe old-timer smiled. "Too long...not long enough."

\tThe kid settled against the wall that divided them, close to the bars. "What's that supposed to mean?"

\t"It's almost the eleventh hour. Tonight's my night. They'll be coming for me."

\t"Are you sure? Maybe you'll get a reprieve."

\t"They're few and far between, young fella. But don't you give up trying, because it does happen. Not for me, though."

\t"It ain't fair," the kid said.

\t"No, it ain't," the old-time agreed. "One day I had a life, a family. The next, I'm out on the street scratching for a living. It can happen to anybody."

\tThe kid released a heavy sigh. "My own family turned me in."

\tThe old-timer shook his head. His throat was dry, so he got himself a drink of water, then returned to the bars. "I hear it's not so bad, practically painless."

\t"What do they do?"

\t"Lethal injection. One pin prick, then you go to sleep. I can think of worse ways to die."

\t"It just ain't fair," the kid repeated.

\t"Oh, I can't complain. They treated me square here. A full belly and a warm safe place to sleep is more than some ever get. They take care of your body afterward, too. Cremation." He smiled. "If you get a chance to see the sky tomorrow, look for me, kid. I'll be that puff of black smoke chasing clouds."

\tA door at the end of the corridor opened and closed. Unrelenting footsteps drew near.

\t"Remember kid, don't give up. Stand up when they talk to you. Look 'em straight in the eye. Smile a lot. Be friendly. You never know, it might just be your ticket out of here."

\t"Good luck," the kid said, reaching through the bars to the old-timer.

\t"You too," he whispered.

* * *
\tThey took the old-timer to the end of the corridor, and through a second door, which they closed behind them. Minutes later they returned and took the kid too.

\tAn employee removed the newspapers from the bottom of their cages, then dumped the litter pans and food bowls. After wiping the cages down with bleach, the employee lined the floors with fresh newspaper. Tomorrow they'd be full again.


I know, not very cheery, is it.
post #2 of 11
Man, this is great!
post #3 of 11
No it's not cheery - but it is honest. A lot of folks who don't neuter should be forced to read this and similar articles. Excellent piece of writing. Thank you for sharing that touching story.
post #4 of 11
Wow, this has so much impact and with your shocking twist, absolutely hits to the heart of this very sad reality. You're such a talented writer, and I really respect the way you're using this to promote awareness. This is a story that will really get people thinking! Thank you for sharing it!
post #5 of 11
Yep, great story!! Not a cheery subject, but one worth sharing all the same.
post #6 of 11
Originally Posted by sarahp View Post
Yep, great story!! Not a cheery subject, but one worth sharing all the same.
absolutely! thankyou for sharing
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thank you for taking the time to read The Eleventh Hour. I appreciate your comments. I realize it was a somewhat dreary view of shelters, a supposed place of refuge, so I'm going to add this futuristic vision I had of a similar scenario. It may make you feel better or worse, but truthfully, I wouldn't put it past us.


\t"Next stop, Valley Shelter," a robotic voice announced over the loudspeaker.

\tMary Seven stood and moved toward the sliding doors. She held the small tow-headed boy's hand on one side, the Springer Spaniel's leash on the other.

\tA buzzer squawked as the trancity flightrail's doors snapped open. "Valley Shelter, yellow glidewalk. Apparel district, red glidewalk. Residential block, green . . . ."

\tMary stepped onto the yellow tract that minutes later delivered her to the front of the twenty-five story Valley Shelter building. She steadied herself with a slow deep breath, then hurried inside, boy and dog trotting obediently alongside.

\tFrom the front desk, a lavender-haired receptionist with four inch matching fingernails eyed her with distaste. Shelter employees were supposed to be nonjudgemental, yet their snooty looks were as automatic as the doors.

\t"Can I help you?" the clerk asked.

\tMary knew the routine. She'd been here once before five years earlier. They'd tried their best to make her feel guilty then, and they were no doubt going to try again. The key was to answer the questions, give them a donation, then leave as quickly as possible.

\t"I just can't keep him any more," Mary said. I live in a small downtown apartment with no yard, no balcony. My salary barely covers the rent."

\tThe clerk rolled her eyes. "I see."

\t"His name is Benji."

\t"Any behavioral problems?" she asked.

\t"Oh no, none whatsoever. He's extremely well-behaved."

\t"Uh huh. Medical problems?"

\t"He's never been sick a day in his life." Mary smiled, pleased that she'd provided Benji with such a good home the past four years.

\tThe boy and the dog sat quietly while she completed the profile and surrender agreement. Visitors leaving the adoption wings exited the main floor elevators, each regarding Mary with the same disgusted look. Self righteous *******s. Did they think this was easy for her?

\tThe dog rested his head on her knee. She massaged one silky brown ear between her thumb and index finger while his round black eyes rolled upward, holding her hostage. The little boy drew spaceships on a fingercolor board provided by a shelter volunteer.

\tMary handed her debit card to the clerk. "Of course, I'll make a donation."

\t"Minimum amount, patron or supporter?"

\tShe looked at the floor, answering softly. "Minimum."

\tThe clerk swiped the card, frowned and pushed it back across the desk. "We don't find homes for most of them, you know."

\tMary nodded.

\t"Turn in on number four," she blurted over the speaker.

\tMary waited until the attendant arrived to take Benji. She knelt and hugged him, looked for the last time into that beautiful face, so innocent, so unsuspecting. She gave him a quick kiss. "You be good now, you hear."

\tThe attendant walked Benji to the end of the corridor and through the double sliding glass doors. They stepped into an elevator and were gone.

\tShe'd miss him. It wouldn't be easy for awhile, but it was the right thing to do. The responsible choice.

\tMary and the dog hurried outside onto the glidewalk to catch the next flightrail home.

post #8 of 11
You write very well. They are very creative -- and heart-rending.
post #9 of 11
Goodness what a surprise ending! Your writing is wonderful. Keep those stories coming - they are really great.
post #10 of 11
The first one all too sadly true. I just wish they actually walked the green mile that easily.

Nice writing. Are you published?
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thank you. A dozen or so years ago when I was serious about my writing I published a few articles and short stories. But writing is hard for me, very time consuming. The words don't flow easily, as I see yours do.

Probably my best published piece was a short story in Alfred Hitchcocks Mystery Magazine called The Watchdog. It's also in Canine Crimes II. How about you?
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