Phantom – Friday Fictioneers, August 2015

Copyright Madison Woods

Mitzi dragged the soggy panda bear across to her basket, curled up and attempted to suckle it once more.

“Damned dog’s at it again,” muttered Joe, “thought you were getting her spayed.”

“Leave her alone, it’s her hormones,” said Sal, absently.

After Joe left for work, Sal washed the dishes, made the beds and then, unable to wait any longer, hurried down the street to the pharmacy, the unquenchable flame of hope flickering tentatively once more.

Later she lay on the settee, staring at the ceiling.

Mitzi padded cautiously across the floor, and gently nosed her panda onto Sal’s lap.

Pure schmaltz from me this week, I’m afraid.  If you crave something a little grittier, then here’s the link to the story I submitted last time this photo came around:  Rochelle is indisposed, so the Friday Fictioneers will have to gather around her virtual bedside for the next few days, offering solace, soft food and comfort.  Hope you’re feeling better soon Rochelle, and ready to enjoy your family next week.

About Sandra

I used to cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and wrote fiction and poetry. Now I live on the beautiful Dorset coast, enjoying the luxury of being able to have a cat, cultivating an extensive garden and getting involved in the community. I still write fiction, but only when the spirit moves me - which isn't as often as before. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
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74 Responses to Phantom – Friday Fictioneers, August 2015

  1. micklively says:

    Childless longings picked up by the bitch?
    Clever piece Sandra.


  2. gahlearner says:

    Good dog knows how to comfort. You write excellent ‘Schmalz’. The first story is scary. 🙂


  3. This would work for almost anything.. childlessness or Oxycontin! Well done.


  4. Moving piece. Let’s hope it happens for her one day.


  5. ansumani says:

    Touching tale of canine empathy. I wonder why ‘bitch’ is a bad word….


  6. ceayr says:

    I think you are way too hard on yourself with ‘schmaltz’.
    A bit teary, perhaps, but still a strong piece.


  7. Indira says:

    Touching story Sandra. Going to read previous one.


  8. bykimberlylynne says:

    Dogs know, don’t they? Schmaltz or not, I liked it.


  9. Great piece, so much left unsaid but understood.


  10. paulmclem says:

    I love the ending. There is a real art to open ended stories – some people just don’t give you enough to go on, but you have. Excellent.


  11. Well done. Not schmaltzy at all. Your story portrays a great deal of hope and camaraderie.


  12. Of course I liked it, human suffering over the body’s betrayal … Were you channeling me?
    ha ha
    I wish my writing had your range.


  13. elmowrites says:

    If it’s schmaltz, it’s the good kind. Never apologise for adding variety. …And I love Mitzi!


  14. Sad story well written.


  15. Miles Rost says:

    Oho! I see what was done there! We just talked about this in my latest Short Fiction class!

    Quite a good job. Very sneaky!


  16. storydivamg says:

    Great work, Sandra. I like this one better than your first response to this photo, but both are excellent bits of writing. I appreciate it when those who have been playing for a long time try a second story for an old prompt. Every picture has so many tales to tell. No sense letting them go to waste.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail


  17. Awww… bitches are a girl’s best friend (not diamonds). What a lovely bitch and what a lovely story!


  18. Oh, this is so sweet. My first dog used to comfort me when I was sick.


  19. Animals always now. Great story.


  20. Dear Sandra,

    I identified with her anxiety and disappointment for years ago I went through similar feelings. I could use that dog now. But I’m happy that I have friends near and far who are comforting. I hope this makes sense, as I’m in a bit of a fog.

    Good story as always.




  21. draliman says:

    A dog will always know and provide comfort. Great story!


  22. This is so touching Sandra. She could feel empathy for Sal. Loved it.


  23. I love the imagery here. I enjoyed it as always!


  24. Tessa says:

    Nothing wrong with schmaltz! I loved it!


  25. Amy Reese says:

    Animals always know and they know how to comfort. I thought this was great. I’m sure Sal will be thrilled with the filthy panda. 🙂 Off to read the gritty one now.


  26. rgayer55 says:

    I kept waiting for someone to die, or at least the panda getting ripped to shreds. Can’t say I’m disappointed though. I believe you could write an instructional manual on how to fold a napkin and we’d find it captivating. I’m in awe of your talent.


    • Sandra says:

      Hmmm… how to fold a napkin, particularly if someone’s dusted it with ricin and then cut the phone lines… Thank you Russell, I’m very flattered. 🙂


  27. Hey, I waxed poetic, myself. Like the moon, this photo effected us in strange ways!


  28. Since I have 3 daughter, I could identify with the dog feeling the hormones of her mistress.
    This is such an interesting approach to the photo prompt, Sandra. I’m always intrigued by your writing. Exceptional story …!!! 😎


  29. Taygibay says:

    And to think I just gave away my teddy bear for the week.
    Very nice one Sandra!

    Good day, Tay.


  30. Margaret says:

    A really engaging picture of pain and isolation – the dog has so much empathy while the husband seems totally oblivious to her suffering. Not schmaltz.


  31. Nan Falkner says:

    Dear Sandra, Great emotional story and dogs to try to comfort when you are sad. They are such sweet pets! Nan


  32. liz young says:

    Poor Sally. My younger daughter was Sally for years, then IVF worked!


  33. At least the dog understood. Poor woman. Good story, Sandra. Although both your stories were good, I preferred this one. Well done as always. 🙂 — Suzanne


  34. Gosh, that’s a painful read. So much not said but beautifully iterated through the actions of both Sal and Mitzi. It just demonstrates in a very simple way how powerful showing is over telling. Well done.


  35. BobiJo says:

    Only thing more heartwarming than a compassionate pet, is one offering to share her panda with you!


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