Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer: Beyond Words or Woofs #amwriting #flashfiction #dogs #homelessness


Thanks to Priceless Joy for hosting FFftAW.

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Credit: Fandango


The trails meander through the river valley park where the city erected unique benches made from verdant trees felled to create park pathways. At night Paul and his four dogs inhabit a particular bench. They rest their tired legs and pant joyfully, cooling off from the hot humid summer days, during the night.

However, in the winter the dogs huddle against Paul, absorbing each other’s heat. Paul doesn’t have much in his tattered backpack. Only a oversized bottle of water, a bag of dog food, a couple of protein bars, and thin blankets for the dogs. But one night the ice creeps up frosting Paul’s beard. It’s -45 degrees Celsius outside and the homeless shelters are full.

Despite layers of clothing Paul trembles and his teeth chatter; he can’t sleep in this miserable blizzard. He’s terrified the dogs will freeze to death — they’re his family and all he values in the world. He covers them, wrapping them in blankets before spreading the sleeping bag across them all. Their fur is frosted over and he keeps rubbing them with his gloved hands to keep their bodies from stiffening.

Suddenly, a light shines, blinding Paul in the treacherous cold, then his body heats as if he were sitting out on a beach in Mexico on the perfect hot day. The dogs peer up at him from the white sand, wagging their tails. Paul and his dogs have moved on and exist in a place beyond words or woofs. They’ve left cruelty behind.


©Mandibelle16. (2018) All Rights Reserved.

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18 thoughts on “Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer: Beyond Words or Woofs #amwriting #flashfiction #dogs #homelessness”

    1. Hehe I started writing and knew it would be a sad one. What I was exploring was whether it was more sad that the dogs passed on or that Paul the homeless man died, the dogs being his family. It’s like the movies, massive collateral damage but don’t kill the puppy. But don’t be sad PJ, the place they all go is so much better and they will never be cold or hungry again. Thanks for reading. I’m hoping to read everyone’s stories tomorrow 🙂

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      1. You’re welcome. They get to Heaven so it’s better than how they were treated on earth. They shouldn’t be left out in the cold at -45 no matter how crammed the homeless shelter.

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    1. Aw, didn’t mean to make you cry. At the end it’s okay they go to Heaven, the man and his dogs. That’s why the end is a beach like in Mexico with the perfect temperature, where being too cold or too hot, doesn’t effect them anymore. Where no one tells them there is no room on a freezing night. Thanks for visiting 🙂

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    1. Thanks for the article that’s awful. Seems like a lot of corruption and not enough caring for those truly with no place to go. Ironically, if you come here in spring when it rises to these temperatures some guys pull out their shorts. It feel so much warmer than -25 to -40 as an average Mid-Nov to March or April can be. But when spring arrives even those small temperature feel warm. But imagine where you live it’s mostly very hot. I hope that the cold spell is over and that the govt is more adequately prepared to light fires, have shelter etc there. The image of an infant freezing to death is haunting and inexcusable no matter where.

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      1. Hopefully it shall be pleasant by mid Feb. The night temp is still around 6C but the chilly winds from Himalayan foothills increase the misery.
        It is the unfortunate poor & homeless who suffer the most but then with a population of 125m these form a large number and true numbers of those suffering are just a matter of conjecture.
        😦

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ah, I did not think about it being so close to the Himalayan’s. Of course, if not everyone counts as a person b/c of poverty than the actual numbers aren’t known. Very sad to know I will pray for these people. Thanks again for sharing.

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