He spends more time here than I do, Rex, this faithful retriever that comes to this shore every morning, before dawn. I come to remember Paul and the joy he found when hunting with his dog.
He always saw so much more in Rex than as merely a retriever. They were companions, best friends who spent many hours hiking the trails near our home, but it was those trails that brought an end to their companionship.
The day that Rex came home alone, whining, was the worst day of my life. His anxiety could mean only one thing. Paul most definitely had suffered some sort of mishap. I immediately went to my neighbor, Tom, and asked him to accompany us on the trail. I knew that Rex would lead us straight to Paul. And, he did.
Paul lay at the bottom of an embankment, thirty feet below the trail, on his back, splayed across a large boulder. There was no sign of life, yet also no way to reach him immediately. I waited there with Rex, frantically, while Tom went for help. It was several hours before a rescue team reached Paul’s body. By all signs, his death had been instantaneous. I was devastated by the loss of this man, whom I loved so much.
Ever faithful, Rex waited at the top of the cliff. He even accompanied Paul to the ambulance at the head of the trail.
And now, every morning, he lies on the lake shore, waiting for Paul’s return.
This my response to Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction Challenge #24: Moonlit night, with the painting Moonlit Night, by Ilya Repin. The word count is 256. As always, Jane’s critique is welcome.
**As Jane has wisely pointed out, I originally used “wait” (waiting) twice in the last sentence, so I’ve changed the first to “lie.” After all, it’s been said that one should “let sleeping dogs lie,” so, of course, waiting dogs should lie, as well!
Image source: Wikimedia Commons