Those of you who subscribe to my newsletter will know that I put a short story in each issue: one I write specifically for my newsletter. In February, I asked the newsletter readers to tell me what they’d like to see in the April newsletter, and the story I drew from the replies was one about a rescued dog and the love and bond that is formed between him and the rescuer.
That story is percolating at the back of my brain, but it got me thinking about the times I’ve used pets and other animals for my characters to relate to; a creature with whom they can be themselves.
How about you? Do you have animals in your stories? How do you use them? Please share an excerpt from a current work-in-progress in the comments.
Mine is from A Raging Madness, which is back from beta readers, requires a restructure in the last third and is currently burning a hole in the corner of my otherwise occupied brain.
The carriage way turned onto the village road. She kept to the side, ready to hide in the ditch if anyone came. Alone, in her shift, and still dazed from the drug? Being returned to the Braxtons would be the best she could expect from a casual passer by, and the worst… She shuddered. She had travelled with the army, worked as her father’s assistant, been Gervase Melville’s wife. She knew the worst that could happen to a woman at the mercy of the merciless.
A soft whicker caught her attention. Falcon’s Storm. He was a lighter shape above the hedgerow, stretching his neck to reach his mistress.
“Storm, my sweet, my champion.” She stopped to fuss over him for a minute that stretched into a timeless pause, crooning nonsense about having no treats in her pocket for she lacked a pocket. He lipped at her shoulder and her hair, but showed no offence at being denied the expected lump of carrot or apple.
“I missed you, too,” she assured him. “If only you were old enough, dearest, you would carry me away, would you not?”
He was solidly built for a two-year old, but so was she, for a woman. He could not take her, and she could not take him. She walked away with a deep sigh. He was the one thing in the world that was solidly, legally, beyond a doubt hers; her only legacy from the swine she had married, born of her mare, Hawk of May, and Gervase’s charger.
But if she took him, how would she feed him? And if they were hunting for a woman and a colt… No, she could not take him with her, and for the same reason, she could not open the gate and set him loose. He would follow her, for sure.
She could only pray that the Braxtons would leave him to the care of old Jake, the groom, or sell him to someone who appreciated him for the future champion he was.
Storm followed her to the corner of his field, and called after her until she was out of sight.