Cradles the Brain: A Book of Short Tales

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Hope Is Spelled S-H-O-O-T-I-N-G S-T-A-R

I lay in bed, tears seeping through my closed eyes. I thought of all the people who had left me in my short life. I thought of how I was shunned, forgotten, and abandoned by so many that I had come to believe were like family. Some of them were my family. My body warm under the covers, but my heart cold from the pain others had caused me.

I heard a light thumping noise coming from the garage, which my bedroom was next to. My three dogs were crated in there for the night so they wouldn’t freeze, and I knew what the thumping meant. It continued for a few minutes. My grogginess and exhaustion caused me to hesitate, but finally I went out into the garage. Kraig, my youngest, was sitting up in his crate, the other two were curled up and asleep.

I let out Kraig, thinking he would rush through the side door into the backyard and into the dog run where he could do his business, but he just sat in his kennel and looked at me. I reached in and petted his soft head. I called him out of the kennel and opened the side door. We walked down the side of my house together, him walking a little slower than I. We made it to the gate of the dog run, which was open, and Kraig stopped and just stood there in front of it. He was looking to the other side of our backyard. I looked, seeing nothing, but knew that he was looking for mice and cats, which we had a problem with. I heard a noise from the other side of our house, and I knew that it was probably just the neighbor’s pesky cat. I crouched down next to my fury best friend and petted the coarse hair on his back. He was really a beautiful dog, with a short but strong stature, big floppy ears, and brindle fur that would make any dog jealous.

He finally sat down, but he was still looking in that same direction. I looked in that same direction and heard a noise, sort of like a *fesh*, like when you light a fuse and it burns quickly. Coming from the direction I was looking, something bright orange flew across the sky. It looked like a ball of fire, and it was the most wonderful thing I had ever seen. I looked down at Kraig and said, “I don’t know if that was a bottle rocket, a satellite, or a shooting star, but it was beautiful.” I quickly made my wish, something that pertained to the reason I had been crying.

I knew that whatever it was, it brought me hope. I figured it couldn’t have been a bottle rocket because I heard no screech and it flew horizontally across the sky. But then again, I had never really seen a shooting star in the seventeen years I had been on this Earth.

I walked Kraig back to the garage even though he hadn’t done his business. I thought it was odd that he wanted out but didn’t do anything but sit there outside the dog run. It was like he knew something was going to happen, and he wanted me to see it. I went back to bed with a new idea that maybe the world wasn’t so bad, and I hoped that my wish would eventually come true.

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