Monday, November 30, 2009


Emily snapped awake at an alarming sound—“Yipe! Yipe! Yipe!” She grabbed her pink Hello Kitty blanket and threw it off. “Butterball!” she yelled and then she clasped a tiny hand over her mouth. She didn’t want to wake her parents. The old box springs of her bed creaked as she swung her legs over to the floor. Her bare feet padded along the cold, dirt covered linoleum in the kitchen. She quickly reached the laundry room’s familiar smell of dusty, dirty, laundry lint. She heard an eerie, mournful sound that stopped her in her tracks.

"Hoo-hoo hoooooo hoo-hoo."

She answered the call. “Who, who, who?” She opened up the laundry room’s back door. The night air was crisp, illuminating every star available with a crisp clarity. She thought about the dangers of the dark; how her parents were always telling her not to talk to strangers. Dog in trouble or not it would be better to go. With a hand still on the cold brass doorknob she headed back inside.

“No!” said something outside in the darkness. “It's, Hoo-hoo hoooooo hoo-hoo!”

“Who, who, who?” She said nervously, making sure to not let go of the doorknob in case she had to quickly shut the door behind her.

“No, child, don’t go anywhere, I want to talk to you!” The owl followed his statement with another "Hoo-hoo hoooooo hoo-hoo." Suddenly a dark shape thumped on the wet grass in front of her. It leaped ungracefully to a top of a patio chair and teetered there. “Well, I won’t be attacking your dog tonight; I seem to have hurt my wing very badly.” He wrapped his razor sharp talons around the back of the chair to keep from falling off.

Emily giggled with delight and said the first thing that came to mind. “Oh! You’re a bird!” And then she put on her serious face. “What do you mean attack my dog? Where’s Butterball?”

The owl puffed out his chest “I beg your pardon. I am not just a bird. I am a Great Horned Owl.” The owl turned his head slightly and stared into the distance with his large yellow-orange eyes, while whistling a guilty tune. He cast the little girl a cautious glance.

She frowned, while taking a step forward and pointed at him. “You look guilty like you did something.” She looked hard into the night at all visible areas. She looked under the backyard trampoline and at the old, wooden shed, leaning over, with wet pine straw on top, with its fragile roof about to cave in. “Where’s butterball?” she said again.

“I didn’t do anything,” said the owl hastily.

“Butterball? Where are you?” she said and her voice trailed off into the night. At the sound of his name the little dog yipped again. “I can’t see you! Where are you?” She sighed and addressed the owl. “You know where he is and you’re just not telling me!” She wrapped her arms around herself and turned back inside. She grabbed the large handle of the outdoor freezer, located in the laundry room and yanked its door open; the cold breath of the freezer hit her in the face and she grabbed an item in a white wrapper. Plastic crinkled as she timidly uncovered the chocolate covered vanilla bar on a stick.

“What’s a Butterball?” said the large owl. He shook his one wing that did work, but winced in pain as he tried to move the other.

“You know where he is?” She said frustrated, cracking off a piece of rich dark chocolate with the side of her teeth. The cool of it washed though her mouth with its intense creamy, chocolaty flavor and she took another bite.

“Do you care about your dog?” asked the owl. The cold metal of the patio chair was beginning to hurt the center of his feet and he shifted around to get more comfortable.

“Of course I care about my dog!” She was careful not to use the word ‘Butterball’, because she didn’t want to make him yip with distress again. Solid rings of brown from the ice cream bar surrounded her mouth now and she licked at it.

“I think you missed some,” said the Owl, shaking his head. There was a long silence and then...“I swooped down from an Oak and dive-bombed your dog Butterball. He ran into his doghouse. I lost control and accidentally pushed the opening of his doghouse against the fence. The grass is wet and it slid and now he’s stuck in the doghouse. I see you mistreating him all the time.”

Emily stared at the ground and thought very hard. “I don’t know what mistreat means!” and she stomped her feet, near tears and threw down the leftovers of her ice cream. “I’m going to go get my dog!”

She stepped a cautious foot down a cold stone step. It was a scary step because she knew it was cracked with many holes in it and very large rats came in and out at night.

“Wait a second!” said the Owl quickly.

Emily looked down and hopped back up a step. “Did you just see a rat?”

“A rat? No. If I saw a rat I wouldn’t be perched up here right now. Mistreat means your dog is going to die, because you do not appear to love it. You do not feed it and you do not bring it in from the cold during the winter and you do not bring him inside at night to protect him from dangerous animals like me.”

Emily crossed her arms again. “You said your wing hurts very badly. How about, you promise not attack my dog and I will promise to call the animal doctor to get your wing fixed.

“Look, said the owl,” and his eyes glistened, large, yellow and beautiful. “How about you stop mistreating your dog. Meaning that you will feed it and bring it in from the cold during the winter and you will bring him inside at night to protect him from dangerous animals like me. I only go after pets no one seems to care about.”

“Okay,” said little Emily. She stood back on one foot looking at him curiously. “I like those horn thingy’s on your head,” and she pointed at the top of her own head, “they look neat.”

“Thank you,” said the Owl. “After you free your dog can you still call the animal doctor?”

Emily put a fist in front of her mouth and let out a big yawn. “When I wake up in the morning, I will call.”

“Sounds good to me,” said the Owl.

Emily walked across the cold grass to the doghouse. “Mr. Butterball. You get to sleep with me tonight okay?”

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Zombie Dinner


Britney was sitting up in bed watching iCarly.
Her bedroom door opened. “It’s time to turn off the T.V. and go to sleep,” said her Grandmother. You have a big, long day of school tomorrow.”
“Yes, Memaw,” said Britney. She lay down on her squeaky bed and pulled her purple and pink princess’s blanket up to her chin. She thought about her mother who had died in a bad car accident last Halloween, exactly one year ago. She wiped a small tear from her eye and waited for a little bit. She lifted up her bedroom window by its cold glass and climbed out.
She could see the steam of her breath in the chilly dark night. Britney was wearing her pink Hello Kitty pajamas and a fuzzy blue sweatshirt. She crossed her arms and shivered. The roses in her grandmothers’ garden were red and swirly looking in the white moonlight. She pulled a tiny pair of shiny silver scissors out of her sweatshirt pocket and clipped a Rose. As she held it between her fingers a thorn stuck her thumb. “Ouch!” said Britney. I poked my finger!” She sucked on her finger for a second wincing in pain. The blood tasted nasty.
She walked down a dirt road, through a dark tunnel of moss covered trees. A church steeple came in to view. She reached out and touched the rusted, black gates guarding her mother.
Britney found her mother’s headstone. As she knelt down on the grave the rose fell from her hand. She carefully picked the flower back up but some of the petals fell softly to the ground. “Oh no! I hurt my rose! I should make it better!” She shut her eyes hard until they hurt. “I can make a spell like Alex on my favorite show ‘Wizards’.” She quickly made something up. “This thing on the ground, so harmed and hurt, come back to life, so I can…” She thought hard, but couldn’t finish the spell.
Britney heard a sound like roots being pulled. She looked next to her mother’s grave. Something very long like a big, dirt anthill rose slowly out of the ground. The dirt moved aside and there was a sound like an old wooden door slowly creaking open. She gagged and coughed at a smell like old spaghetti and then held her nose. A zombie sat up in a rectangle box and he brought both of his arms up. He turned his head towards her and let out a long moan, “ahhhhhh”
Britney could see where his eyes and nose should be but they were just empty black sockets. He had no lips and he had a wide toothy grin; many scars covered his dry looking gray skin. “What did you do to your finger?” He said in deep gravelly voice. “I can smell the blood on it and it smells very good.”
“How can you smell with no nose? Never mind, it doesn’t matter. I’m sorry I bothered you sir. I’m going to go now okay?” Britney said to the scary looking zombie. He moved a little and some of his white hair fell out. Britney got up and ran like the wind.
“Come back! I’ve been asleep for years and I’m very hungry,” said the zombie. He climbed out of the coffin and walked with a bad limp, dragging his foot sideways.
“Oh no!” She yelled back at him. “Please go away! I didn’t mean to wake you!” Britney stopped, closed her pretty light blue eyes and turned around. She wanted to help the man, but she was so scared.
Britney said the first thing that came to mind. “You want to come over to Memaw’s? We can heat up some fried chicken from last night?”
“Memaw’s? Who’s Memaw?” asked the old man while making a scraping sound on his chin with his bony fingers while thinking. He slowly kept walking towards her, dragging his back foot.
“That’s my Grandmothers,” said Britney while backing up, trying to keep a good distance.
The old man sat at Memaw’s shiny, round wooden table in the kitchen. “It smells like Spicy Cinnamon and warm baked Apples in here,” said the zombie.
“That’s freshly baked Dutch Apple Pie that my Memaw made last night,” said Britney. She tucked her hair behind one ear and opened up the oven, while looking cautiously back over her shoulder.
He put his delicate bony elbows up on the table. “That fried chicken sure does smell good. Looky here, why don’t we pop you in to the oven instead? I’m sure you’d be tasty to.”
Britney quickly spun around putting one hand on her waist. She scowled at the zombie with her radiant blue eyes, while pointing her finger. “Now see, I don’t want you saying anything like that. You be nice.” Britney opened up the oven again and turned sideways, so she could watch him, while getting the chicken out.
“I was only kidding,” said the zombie. He picked up a big fat greasy piece of chicken out of a pool of grease and bit in to it. The meat hung from his teeth. He put the juicy leg down and helped the rest of it back in to his mouth with the tips of his fingers. “It’s kind of hard to eat without lips and a tongue.” He finished the leg and then looked up at her. “Now what?
Britney shrugged her shoulders. “Go home I guess.”
“Can I take the rest of the chicken back to my grave?” He said, grabbing the bowl of fried chicken.
“Sure.” Britney rose up her arms and stretched and yawned. “I’m so sleepy. I need to go back to bed. I guess I shouldn’t have gotten out of bed in the first place.”
“The grave or I mean bed, is the safest place to be. I would recommend staying put. I know I am going to.” The zombie got up to leave, carrying his yummy fried chicken.
“Hey wait!” said Britney. She brought out her hand for a second and then brought it back. His hands looked to scary to shake. “Can you give my mother a hug?”
“Sure, I’ll see what I can do,” said the zombie. He turned around. “If you see me again, you don’t have to be afraid. I would smile at you if I could. I just don’t have any lips to do it with.”
Britney smiled at him, waved goodbye and then shut the front door.