Sunday Writing Prompt, May 30, 2021 – Shape-Shifter

I just had to reblog this captivating short story from Maggie. Great to read something so original and inventive.


This is my first time participating in the Sunday Writing Prompt hosted by MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie. Today’s prompt is shape-shifter.

The Rules:

  • The style is completely open; poetry, prose, even a single sentence…Go where the prompt takes YOU!
  • Keep your submission to 500 words or less.
  • Post it on your page, and TAG it Sunday Writing PromptSWPMLMMMindlovemisery’s MenagerieAnd be sure to leave a link or pingback in the comment section below.
  • Feel free to use my photo for inspiration, or as your own cover image.
  • Please have your submissions in by the END OF EACH FRIDAY (Pacific Standard Time). Every Saturday, I will post a “standout” piece in a post entitled, SATURDAY SPOTLIGHT. Bear in mind, it will be based on my personal opinion. If you are not chosen, that does NOT mean your piece was not…

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Guest Post: Abbie Johnson-Taylor

I am very pleased to bring you a fictional short story from published author and blogger, Abbie Johnson-Taylor.

SINS OF THE FATHER (Fiction)

by Abbie Johnson Taylor

“Where were you last night?” I asked my son, once we were settled at the kitchen table with coffee and store-bought cinnamon rolls. He’d shown up, unannounced, and I knew why.

He stared down into his coffee. “Like I told Carrie, I was at the hospital late with a patient. But she didn’t believe me. She let me slip into bed with her after I got home last night, but this morning, she kicked me out. She didn’t even fix me breakfast.”

I gave him my iciest stare. “Carrie called me at midnight, saying she couldn’t reach you on your cell. When she called the hospital, she was told you left at eleven. She was worried. I felt I had no choice but to tell her about your father.”

“Dad? What about Dad?”

“You’re just like him. So, who did you go to bed with last night instead of Carrie?”

He sighed. “Remember Jamie, that sixteen-year-old girl who had a heart transplant? I told you about her last week when we all had supper together.”

“You had sex with your sixteen-year-old heart patient?”

“No! Of course not! I’m not that stupid!” he spat. Then, with a sigh, he said, “Lydia was her nurse. We went out for a drink or two after Jamie died. One thing led and…” His voice broke, and he hung his head.

“Well, I’m sorry about your patient, but I’m not surprised at your behavior. It was the same way with your father when he lost a client.”

“What do you mean?”

“He was defending a man convicted of murder and sentenced to death. For years, he fought to stay the execution. At the end, a female paralegal worked with him on the case. The night of the execution, your father came home very late. I figured he had to tie up some loose ends or something after the man died. But when he slipped into bed next to me at three in the morning, he smelled of booze and sex. Apparently, he hadn’t bothered to shower after the act. In the morning, when I confronted him, he told me the truth, and I forgave him.”

“Okay, so, why didn’t you tell Carrie that? This is the first time I’ve ever cheated on her. I promised her it would never happen again. She’s the only one for me but…”

“The paralegal wasn’t your father’s only conquest. Things were fine for a while. Then, someone else came along, a secretary, another attorney. Once, it was a client’s wife. Each time, he confessed and said it would never happen again, that I was the only one for him. I didn’t want to leave him because of you and Debbie. My own parents split up when I was eleven, and I vowed my children would never be in the same boat. But now that you both are grown with your own lives…”

Not looking at his face, I stood, picked up my plate with my untouched roll and carried it, along with my full coffee cup, to the sink. As I disposed of the contents of the plate and cup and rinsed them before putting them in the dishwasher, he said, “That explains why your suitcase and purse are here by the back door. I thought you were going to a writers’ conference or something.”

I slammed shut the dishwasher door and turned to him, hands on hips. “When Carrie called me last night, frantic because she didn’t know where you were, I invited her over, and we had a nice visit. We’ve gotten along so well since the two of you were married last year.”

“I know.”

“Your father had yet another late night, and she was gone by the time he came home. Anyway, we decided to strike out on our own. For now, she’s invited me to move into your apartment with her. Eventually, we’ll find a place where we can each have our own space. I saved some of the money I made from book sales, and Carrie is removing, from your joint bank account, the income she’s made so far from her physical therapy job. That should be enough to support us for now, and my new book will come out next year.”

A look of shock crossed his face.

“Tim, I love you, but I’m extremely disappointed in you. I thought I’d raised you to be a better man than your father, but this sort of thing must be in the genes. I’m just thankful you haven’t had a chance to get Carrie pregnant yet.”

“She can’t get pregnant,” he blurted.

“That’s no excuse.”

His face reddened. “I’m not saying it is.”

At that moment, his father walked into the room. Eyeing us with a curious expression, he said, “Tim, what are you doing here? Leah, what are your suitcase and purse doing by the back door? I don’t remember you saying you were going out of town.”

Turning to him, I said, “And where were you last night? No! Don’t tell me. I already know. I don’t need to hear for the umpteenth time that she means nothing, that I’m the only one for you. Well, if I were truly the only one for you, you wouldn’t need any of those women.”

He looked aghast but said nothing.

“I’m sure Tim will be glad to explain why he’s here. All I can say is like father like son.”

I picked up my suitcase and purse, marched out the back door into the garage, got in my car, and drove away, not looking back.

***

Abbie Johnson Taylor is the author of two novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir and is working on another novel. Her work has appeared in Magnets and Ladders, The Weekly Avocet, and other publications. Please visit her website at: https://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com

Please use the link above to discover more about Abbie and her writing.

Photo Prompt Story: Sergeant Evans

This is a short story, in 600 words.
It was prompted by this photo, sent to me by my good friend, Antony.

Even with the old air mattress, the ground felt hard and cold. Matt was used to that though. The ground in the Falklands had been hard and cold, and the weather had been horrible too.

There was a time when he had been a fit young man. Maybe not that academic, but sporty and strong. The Army had been a natural choice. No concern about qualifications, just a desire to serve in uniform, and to do his best. They gave him a place to live, good meals and medical treatment, and more importantly, a sense of belonging.

By the time of the Falkands war Matt was twenty-two years old, and a proud soldier in The Welsh Guards. Off they went to recapture the islands from the Argies. The first real war since Korea, they told him. He was a corporal by then, and proud to wear the stripes. He was also married to Glynis, and father to young Rory.

At the start, it was a bloody catastrophe. The Argies had been underestimated, especially their air force. The landing ships were both hit, and on fire. This was the first real action for Matt, and his only thought was to get ashore, and get some payback. As it was, they went in with the Marines against Sapper Hill, and that’s where his best mate Spence got it. Matt carried him back under fire. Almost a mile to the aid station, only to be told Spence was dead when he got there.

They gave him the military medal for that, the MM. And when they got back to the barracks in Windsor, his commanding officer presented him with the medal. He got promoted to Sergeant too. Looked better in the press release, he reckoned.

But Glynis was pregnant, and he knew it wasn’t his. A bingo caller, she said. Just the once, she said. He didn’t hit her. He was too angry.

Though he found the bingo caller, and he did hit him. A lot. Six months in prison, and a dishonorable discharge from the Army. That was worse than the jail time.

Glynis was gone when he got out. She took Rory, and moved in with the bingo caller. Matt got a halfway house, and rehabilitation in the community. He had lost the only job he ever wanted, and was marked as a violent criminal, living in a halfway house. When the horrors of the past loomed large in his dreams, the doctor put him on tablets that dulled his mind. Matt tried the Army. He asked for help. But he was now a ‘violent person’, with a criminal record. Nobody cared about such people.

Maybe move to London? They had work there. Security Guards, bouncers at nightclubs. He was still fit and strong then.

But he was too heavy-handed. He pushed when he should have talked. Hit hard when he should have pushed. Put someone in hospital when he went too far.

He was too angry, so they let him go.

The Military Medal had to be sold, the only thing that had ever meant something. But the money from that lasted less than a month. At least it bought him the tent, the inflatable mattress, and the sleeping bag. Matt rubbed his stubbly chin, thinking. How long ago was that now? Twenty years, at the very least.

If he got across the road to Macdonalds before it was busy, he could have a wash in the toilets.

And that friendly African guy might give him a free coffee, and some stale hash browns.

My Pen To Publish Competition Entry

A new short story from Stevie Turner! Check out the link on her blog.

Stevie Turner

There’s a new short story on my Amazon Author Page, which I have entered for this year’s Pen To Publish competition on AmazonIN:

Keith, a previously happy husband and father, learns that to save his marriage he has to rid himself of Damon, his alter ego who suffers from a chronic sex addiction. However, the path to redemption is not always easy…

If you want to take part, you have until March 10th to submit your previously unpublished manuscript. Good luck!

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Photo Prompt Story: Black Widow

This is a short story of 1,110 words. It was prompted by the above photo, seen on Sue Judd’s blog.
https://suejudd.com/

“More tea, Scott?”
She leaned forward with the teapot, ignoring the shake of my head that indicated I didn’t want any more. Joe had told me to contact her, said it would be a human interest story, and lapped up by our readers. I hadn’t expected her to agree to see me, especially as the news of the body being found had only been on last night’s telly news. But when she answered the phone, her voice went all silly and girly.

“The Herald you say? Oh yes, I would be happy to give you an interview, everybody around here reads our local newspaper. Shall we say two in the afternoon tomorrow? That will give me time to make myself presentable”.

I didn’t have the heart to tell her I wouldn’t be bringing a photographer, though I did ask if she could find a recent picture of her husband we could use.

She had crossed and recrossed her legs so many times, I was now presented with a ridden-up skirt and an unwanted view of far too much leg, given her age. When I had asked her age for the piece, she had adopted a strangely coquettish expression.

“My, you journalists have to always add someone’s age, don’t you? Well I am happy for you to put down that I am sixty-two, as long as you don’t want to see my birth certificate”.

She smiled so wide when she said that, the wrinkles each side of her mouth formed visible cracks in the powdery make-up covering her face. It reminded me of ice inside the windscreen of my car in the winter. I pushed on with the interview, asking her why she had waited so long to report her husband missing.

“I wasn’t expecting him home at any given time, Scott. He had planned his trip meticulously, Justin was a very meticulous man. He had said that he would walk the whole of the first day, then stop at a bed and breakfast before completing the rest of the forest walk the next day. He might even stay a second night, if it got too late to get a bus home. He didn’t drive you see, he had never learned how to. He said he didn’t have a lot of time for cars, though he seemed happy enough for me to use one to get our shopping from Sainsbury’s. So I went to see my friend Rosemary, and stayed over after we had too much wine. When he didn’t come home the second night, I wasn’t concerned. I didn’t call the police until he didn’t show up for dinner the next evening”.

I asked how long they had been married, ignoring the fact that she had slipped off one of her shoes, and was casually adjusting the nylon covering her toes as she looked across at me as if she would like to eat me for breakfast. Could this woman really be flirting with me so blatantly? She was much older than my own mother.

“Seven years, Scott. It would have been eight in June. We married late, you see. I had been married before, but Justin had never married. I think he wanted company after his mother died. He never showed any interest in me in THAT way, if you get my meaning”.

I got her meaning, and she continued.

“He was my third husband, Scott. My marriages seem to have been blighted by tragedy. Andrew was my first. The brakes failed on his MG sports car one afternoon. I used to tell him he should never have done his own car maintenace. Then Stephen, oh poor Stephen. He insisted on using that old ladder to fix up a new television aerial. I warned him it wasn’t safe, and said we should get someone in to do the job. But he wouldn’t be told”. And now Justin. How was I to know he would fall over a tree root, and fracture his skull? Lying there for almost four days until he died of exposure. So awful”.

She adopted a stylised expression of grief, looking much like a bad actress in an amateur dramatic group performing in a village hall.

“Things were fine until he retired. Then he became obsessed with keeping fit, as if he wanted to live forever. Hiking, power-walking, woodland walks, he was hardly ever here. And he became extravagant too, which was most unlike him. Four hundred pounds for a pair of binoculars that hung around his neck. I don’t think he ever even looked through them. Then two hundred dollars for a small red backpack that came all the way from America. One hundred and seventy for special hiking shoes, then almost three hundred for hiking boots needed for bad weather, or so he said. His last big purchase was his high-visibility walking outfit, bought to replace his old camouflage gear. That cost over five hundred pounds. Can you believe that, Scott?”

I checked my notes, and asked her why he wasn’t wearing the high visibility clothing when they found his body. It occured to me that the search and rescue helicopter might have spotted him earlier, if he hadn’t been wearing camouflage clothing and lying on top of his red backpack.

“Well he had tried it out the day before in Beulah Woods, you know, just up the road from here. But when he got home I noticed mud splashes on the trousers, so of course I threw the whole outfit into the washing machine. He was none too pleased when it wasn’t dry the next morning. So ungrateful”.

She leaned forward and placed a hand on my thigh. This woman had no concept of invading personal space.

“Now how about a slice of cake? I made it myself, a delicious Victoria sponge”.

I declined her offer of cake, but she left her hand on my leg, I could feel the heat coming from it through my trousers. I asked for the recent photo, and she gave me one taken at their wedding. I guessed that seven year old picture would have to do, and stood up, telling her I had everything I needed. I was never so pleased to get out of a house, I can tell you, and by the time I got to my car, I had started to wonder if she had put anything in the tea.

On the drive back to the paper, I wondered what Joe would think if I asked for a front page feature, and a big headline.

I thought ‘The Black Widow’ sounded about right.

Tiny Story: The Confessions

I am reblogging this post from Shaily in my new series of ‘A Reblog Offer’

Short Stories | Fish-eye Perspective

The Prince kissed the sleeping Princess anxiously over and over again. Nothing happened!

His Squire let out a breath of relief, and said meaningfully, “I told you, she needs True Love’s first kiss!”

“I just needed to try. If the world’s most beautiful woman can’t make me fall in love with her…”

“It’s alright. Nobody would know. We can report that the Princess was dead.”

“I would know,” he slumped down on the floor next to the bed in defeat.

The Squire, now anxious, reminded him the urgency of the situation, “Let’s get out before the dragon regains consciousness.”

“And go back where? To my parents? Who sent me on a quest to become Dragon fodder? They knew I could never marry her.”

(Hesitating) “Nobody needs to know we survived the quest… We can go away; buy a farm… I can help you run it. It will be a hard…

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Tiny Story: The Silence

I am reblogging this post from Shaily in my new series of ‘A Reblog Offer’

Short Stories | Fish-eye Perspective

“Hey Girl!”

(Silence)

“What’s wrong?”

(Silence)

“I hope you did not give in to your mother’s threat. She thinks marrying a man will ‘cure’ you. But if you can’t bear the touch…”

(A gasp and silence)

“Look, I know! The entire group knows and we are okay!”

(A sigh and silence)

“I have a spare room if your mother doesn’t understand.”

(After a long silence) “Can you call an ambulance, fast?”

-Based on a true story

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Guest Post: Shaily Agrawal

Something different from book promotion, today I bring you a guest post, a short story from my Indian blogging friend, Shaily.
Shaily Agrawal is an Instructional Designer with a love of telling stories. This is her first Science fiction.

Shaily is a fully-engaged blogger, and a real part of our community. Please take some time to read her story, and perhaps visit her blog to find out more about her and her work.
https://fishinthetrees.home.blog/

The Phlebologist

2266 AD.

This assignment was a bad idea. The signs were evident right from the beginning—not sure how I missed them all. Maybe, the gold in sight had blinded me with its glare. Now I could do nothing but freak out inside this dark place, waiting for someone to return for me.

I wish I had missed that call from Mikhael, my employer, six days back. He had called me back from my vacation for the fourth time in a row. If I could spit venom, I would have killed his hologram that grew from my watch.

“You better make it worth my time. I’m killing my vacation for you. Again.”

But he knew exactly how to pacify me. “Petra dear, the client promises to weigh you in gold.”

With those golden words, he had all my attention. Nothing motivated me better than money. Love I had too much of—being a tall, curvy blond—and stopped counting after my 25th boyfriend.

“Can’t tell you the name for obvious reasons, but the client is a giant in the Blood Test industry. They own thousands of laboratories across Earth with the annual turnover of several billion dollars. They are looking for information about…”

“…Sangue Heder Labs,” I finished his thought. He nodded.

“Of course! The fastest-growing laboratory chain on Earth…I assume, our client is looking for the ground-breaking technology that diagnoses the complete list of diseases, including Cancer, from a single vial of blood, that too within minutes.” He nodded again.

The breakthrough was nothing short of a miracle and was all over the papers last year. By providing general health check-ups at unbelievably low rates, they had wiped out the smaller competition in a matter of months. Now, even bigger competitors were struggling to stay open.

“I’m on it. I’ll have results in a week or less. Keep that gold ready.”

Day 1

My internet search was the first sign that I should have backed out.

In a universe connected tightly through the Universe Wide Web, celebrities can’t sneeze without someone publishing it. Yet, hardly any information existed about the most successful lab chain on Earth. All I found was that the Sangue Heder Labs were owned by Marco De Rossi, the youngest member of a multi-billionaire family. In 2099, his family was one of the first to move to Proxima Centauri B, the closest habitable planet. They traveled on the legendary Spaceship Noah’s Ark, which was loaded with seeds of all kinds and pairs of all variety of animals in the cryopreserved state. Most of them survived on Proxima, unlike Earth, populating the nearly empty planet in the next 200 years and became a wildlife preserve and favored travel destination for the super-rich celebrities around the known universe. But the family declined to share any pictures publicly throughout its 500 years history on Earth and Proxima, a practice Marco De Rossi seemed to have kept alive till date.

His company was equally elusive. Sangue Heder Labs’ website stated an address on Proxima as headquarter. They mentioned using an “ancient technique” to diagnose diseases from the blood. But there accuracy was up to three decimal digits. Was it possible with anything ancient?

Next, I contacted the patent office, off the record, only to find nothing. Sangue Heder Labs hadn’t patented the “technique”. Or maybe they couldn’t, if it really was ancient. To check whether there was any ‘ancient’ technique offering diagnosis through blood, I deep searched medical sites from Earth and Proxima, but to no avail. Some Proxima health resorts offered ancient healing through local herbs, animal extracts, and solar heat but there was nothing about diagnosis through blood.

The pictures left me wondering how it would be to live on a planet where trees still grew in forests and not pots. Someday, maybe I will too.

Day 2

The next day, I moved to Plan B, looking for the employees of Sangue Heder Labs on Social Media. Employees are a treasure of information. There is always someone complaining about their job and technology challenges. But soon, I realized that they probably had some employee agreement barring them because I found no one.

With a couple of days gone, I decided to contact them personally. Everybody has a price tag: some talk for money, others for ‘love’. But the contacts from the Earth Employee Benefits organization could not dig out a single email, address or phone number since both the organization and its employees were ‘foreign’ and protected by the inter-planetary laws.

I should have stopped then but my reputation as the best Industrial Spy on Earth wasn’t for nothing.

Day 3

I decided to catch an employee during a lunch break and strike a conversation. A couple of drinks and an attentive listener can loosen a tongue easily. Usually, they begin with the rant about too much workload, bad managers and difficult clients, and, with careful steering, can easily overstep the line of discretion and divulge their technology without really knowing.

So, I donned a brunette wig and boarded my trusted faded-grey copter—both common and anonymous. Blonds and stylish rides draw a lot of attention and blending in with the crowd was imperative for my job. I flew to the biggest Sangue Heder Lab and parked in the overcrowded rooftop parking of the Food Court next door. I sat down next to the biggest window and could see the reception of the lab through the glass wall as I ‘worked’ on my palmtop.

The receptionist was a tall gorgeous man with red hair, and suddenly I wanted to visit the lab just so that I could look at him closely. I shook my head to clear it. Where did that come from? A couple of lab technicians—different races but just as breath-taking—collected blood samples. Are all Proxima natives like that? Does fresh air and unprocessed food make you look like Roman Gods?

I waited at the cafeteria all afternoon. The Food court was busy but none of its clients were Lab employees, only the patrons nursing their pinpricks and their attendants. The closest couple was discussing the blood results they had received via email within a couple of minutes of tests. The stream of patients coming for tests never ceased, and nobody came out for lunch. The organization was probably ordering food and drinks for its employees to stop them from leaving their desk to eat. I gave up at midnight.

The facility was the biggest and busiest, so I decided to try at a smaller facility the next day.

Something wasn’t feeling right about this assignment—probably the fact that most of the clientele belonged to the low-income societies. They wouldn’t have been able to afford these tests if it wasn’t for Sangue Heder Labs. They all could have died without a diagnosis.

Conscience pricked me for a short moment.

Then it passed. I could see myself luxuriating at the Proxima resorts, looking like a Goddess, with fresh air and unprocessed food, and preferably with a boyfriend from the same planet.

Day 4

On day four, I took the Airbus to a different city and haunted the streets outside a different facility of the Sangue Heder Labs, on my uber-expensive featherweight ecobike. It was ideal for following people. When needed, I could simply fish it out of my purse, unfold it and get going at a moment’s notice. It removed the need to switch between following on foot or rush to the parking area to retrieve my coptor first.

I had planned to follow any employees out for a coffee or stroll, and meet them ‘by chance’. When the female receptionist ventured out alone late evening, I saw an opening, but as I drew closer, I had an urge to walk over and touch her skin—so flawless that it glowed in the moonlight. Considering I am straight…

By the time I had collected my wits, she was gone and returned shortly with an icebox. The opportunity to strike a conversation had passed. I was exhausted and left for the day.

Day 5

Next day, I tried another facility. While I waited for the employees to walk out to a close by cafe for a break, I searched the employees online by uploading the pictures I had taken the day before. Nothing. One of the pictures resembled one of the war prisoners from the First World War, but I wasn’t interested in ancient history right now.

No employee came out all day. At midnight, they closed the facility and all of them walked out together. I followed from a distance, hoping to catch one of them once they split-up at the Airbus station, but lost them once they turned into a dark street.

I should have given up then, considering the next move was too risky. But I was nothing, if not pig-headed.

Day 6

Now that I had tried everything else, I moved to Plan C—entering the facility. The plan was simple in theory. Get in close to closing time, hide behind something until the place closes up, and spy around after it is empty of people.

Simple…in theory.

In reality, it is too difficult to hide my 5’8” frame in a lab. Huge head offices are simpler with too many unused rooms to hide in, but labs are quite small with less number of rooms and usually no cover. I had seen it before. At that time, I had walked back out pretending I was looking for rest rooms, because Trespassing is a crime. Getting caught could earn me jail time, and my pictures in the news as an Industrial Spy could kill my anonymity and career.

So, I saved it for the most difficult and most paying cases. This one definitely qualified as both.

I had deliberately waited till Sunday, a public holiday, and chose the busiest close of the day hours to ensure that the facility was packed with people to give me the much-needed cover and more time to hunt for information, in case I didn’t get a space to hide.

Three technicians were collecting samples of fifteen patients at a time with three to four minutes between batches. With 75 patients ahead of me, I had 12-15 minutes, if I did not get a cover (which seemed like a greater probability). The hidden cameras in my earrings were already capturing footage. As soon as the technicians took samples from the people in the front, I quietly left my place.

I pretended as if I was looking for the washroom and, stealthily, slipped inside the door with the “Employees only” sign. The short lobby ended in a hall—no cover. I had a couple minutes at the most before the technician came out for more samples and discovered me. I should have turned back right then but the lure was too strong—I was a bat, blind and focused on the target alone.

I peeped in the hall. It looked like all offices. The room was bustling with activity and sounds of chit-chat. Several employees sat on comfortable chairs with the latest Palmtops. Some of them used huge Wall screens with virtual keypad holograms floating close to their fingers. Small racks of labeled blood vials sat atop a drinks table in the middle. There was no microscope in the sight to test the blood. The gray-haired man closest to me had just finished filling a blood report form on his Wall screen and sent it to the patient’s email.

I focused on him as he picked a vial, excited to finally know the trade secret of Sangue Heder Labs.

He took a long swig of the blood, swirled it in his mouth and started filling the blood report form.

I let out a tiny gasp.

Suddenly, all the eyes in the room zeroed on me. The gray-haired man I had been concentrating on was suddenly behind me and had blocked my retreat. His canines grew. I think I fainted.

I remember hearing a voice from afar. “Set her aside for dinner, Luke. We are trying to concentrate on work here.”

Now I lay inside my coffin, probably six feet underground, complete with fangs and all. Having tried unsuccessfully to claw my way out for a couple of hours, now I wait for them to come back for me. I hope they might give me a job too as a Phlebologist.

A Question Of Communication

This is a fictional short story, in 170 words.

Something’s not right.

It feels different, wrong.

How do I tell them though?

Maybe if I eat a lot more, they will notice?

That didn’t work, so I will try drinking too much instead.

No good, they just gave me more to drink.

I know what to do. I will walk around in front of them, try to get more attention.

Didn’t help, they just gave me a toy.

Tomorrow, I am going to go home early. Just walk off in the direction of the house.

That seemed to work. Caused a bit of a fuss. Got more cuddles.

It’s still not right though, and I wish I knew what it was.

Panting hard got me noticed. That woke them up.

But not enough to do something about it.

Perhaps if I breathe really, really fast, they will do something.

Finally! And now I am in the car.

I can only hope they are taking me to get help.

Dedicated to Ollie, who cannot tell us when he feels ill.