2021 February Flash Fiction Challenge: Day 14

Write a piece of flash fiction each day of February with the February Flash Fiction Challenge, led by editor Moriah Richard. Each day, receive a prompt, example story, and write your own. Today's prompt is to write about platonic love.
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Halfway there! Let’s all take a deep breath and check in. How are we feeling about what we’ve already written? How do we feel about what we’ve yet to write? Are you doing anything to celebrate your participation in the challenge?

Personally, I’m very much enjoying this daily writing. Am I loving everything I’ve written? Absolutely not. But am I still having fun and creating a daily writing habit? You bet!

Flash Fiction Challenge

In some places in the world (including where I live), today is Valentine’s Day, generally thought of as the day for celebrating romantic love. But what about all the other kinds of love out there? Today, let’s write about love of the non-romantic variety.

Remember: These prompts are just starting points; you have the freedom to go wherever your flash of inspiration takes you.

(Note: If you happen to run into any issues posting, please just send me an e-mail at mrichard@aimmedia.com with the subject line: Flash Fiction Challenge Commenting Issue.)

Here’s my attempt at writing a platonic love story:

Man's Best Friend

The Dog looks out the window. He spends a lot of his day doing this, chin resting on the windowsill, toy discarded at his feet. Not much goes on in the neighborhood without him knowing about it. Even now, there are people on his sidewalk. Not as much as there have been recently, but still, they’re out there.

The Dog lets out a growl, a soft rumble straight from his chest. He cuts himself off, glancing back over his shoulder, waiting for a reprimand that doesn’t come. He’s alone in the room.

The Man used to sit near the window at a wide, flat table, eyes trained on the bright box in front of him. Sometimes, he’d talk to the bright box. Sometimes, the bright box would talk back. This was good for the Dog, because the Man never left the house. The Dog would sit at the window, eyes on the world, and the Man would sit at the bright box, fingers clacking against parts of the box. Sometimes, he would even convince the Dog to lay in the bed and give him long scratches down the thick fur at his spine. Or the door would ring, and food would come, and the Man would shuffle a little onto the floor for the Dog to enjoy.

These were the best days. The Dog couldn’t imagine a better day, unless they were to go to the park, maybe. But time with the Man was always wonderful. The Dog couldn’t remember a time when he and the Man weren’t pressed into each other’s smells. It was better when they were together. The world was more exciting and made more sense.

But now the Man has been leaving the house again. The Dog cannot make sense of it. There is no real rhythm to when he will be here and when he will leave. Some days, the Man will sit at the bright box; some days, he will get up when it is still dark, and he will put on his shoes, and he will leave, and he will not be home until the sky is dark once more.

The Dog has had worse days, but the ones where the Man is not home are pretty bad. He feels like a toy with its stuffing pulled out, lifeless and limp and no longer fun.

But he still has the window. A bird lands in the tree right outside, and he barks once, a warning. The bird squawks, offended, and flaps away again. The sun sinks lower. The dog feels tired, but resists the call of his bed, of the couch. He will wait. He has to wait.

Soon, lights appear at the end of the street. They pass the other houses, slowing down, pulling closer to the house. The Dog watches, his body tensing. When the Man appears, the Dog’s tail thumps against the floor.

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