When I was five, I insisted on renaming our dog, Twinkle.
It didn’t matter that she already had a name – mother had named her and her own dog after a play she liked – but I had always likened her to the shining stars up in the midnight ocean. The name stuck and though they thought it was preciously silly of me to name her after a lullaby, I felt it was what she wanted, or rather; close enough.
Not quite, but, almost as if I could hear her thoughts, close enough.
Maybe, it was her eyes. Dark and deep with waves of chocolate, she seemed to stare at me as if conveying a message only I could understand. Her expression was always soft, warm and more motherly than my own mother.
Others had told me she never responded when called with her previous name but when you called for her with the ‘right’ name, she would turn her golden head, eyes meeting yours, her tail dancing with approval before taking gracious steps towards you.
Gracious, she was that, too. Quite unusual for a stray, they said. She’s just trained proper, father would say. Except that was a lie I would come to find out.
She never barked nor growled which I thought at first to be counterproductive for a guard dog because unlike the others in the area, who would intimidate newcomers or intruders stepping foot into the house, she would lay low, eyes on the new presence but her own almost dissipating into the background. She didn’t look scared, just seemingly apathetic, as if she didn’t want to be noticed, not yet.
Sometimes she stayed where she was, seeing no harm or danger. Others, she’d stay close to me, pacing back and forth in front of my bedroom, pretending to look for a good spot to lay down but I saw something in her eyes that looked ready to bolt out the door, taking me with her. How, I didn’t know, but my imagination did not care for such details back then.
There were the occasional visitors who came into the study right across my room and father always left the door ajar. When I was young I thought he was just forgetful but looking back it seems it wasn’t for me to watch the conversations I couldn’t understand, it was for someone else. In those instances Twinkle would leave the room altogether.
I was too far away to understand the conversations that unravelled in front of me but I did notice when father would look across the hallway to catch my gaze, a flash of panic in his eyes before it ignites into a flame as he turns to the associate with a dangerous look. He would utter something under his breath that I never quite caught but she did.
Stay, I had always thought that was my voice, aimed at my companion but it would have the opposite effect. She would stand, nonchalantly, at first, but as she nears the door there’s a sharpness in her step. I always left my door wide open, but somehow, it would close with the faintest whisper of a click and I didn’t know why but I was rooted at the spot, forced to blink in confusion. Not a second later, my mind would suddenly be swayed into focusing on reading my book or playing with my toys and I wouldn’t come out of this trance until both my father and Twinkle would enter the room, calling me for dinner.
I didn’t know how long each hazy trance had been but I knew it didn’t happen more than three times. After those times, I always felt Twinkle gaze on me with apologetic eyes. But it would take one more occasional visitor for the tables to turn and it would be me left feeling sorry, along with the bitter taste of regret.
I had just turned 11, no longer a kid though not yet grown, but I must have gotten old enough to resist it; the order. I battled with my mind, sweeping up after the suggestions to close my ears and ignore the scuffling behind the closed door. My body was heavy but I regained control soon enough, feet threatening to keep me grounded, hands shaking with a fervor I didn’t know I had. I almost gave up on the struggle if it weren’t for the squeal that pierced my ears, followed by a bang. Their was a shot of pain in my head but I knew at once that it wasn’t mine.
It pulled the weight of the trance off me and replaced it with another, something I couldn’t fight off; dread. My heart raced and I grabbed for the door.
When I looked across the corridor, eyes brimming with unshed tears that refused to fall, I was met with a pair of eyes that twinkled with a secret. There was red smudged on her ears, her fur more wild than I had ever seen and her mouth set in a thin line of grief but it seemed as if she was about to talk.
But it didn’t happen. Instead she bent her head low and walked the long hallway without looking back. All I could do was watch her until she made the turn to go outside.
Father stepped out of the study then, pale and shaking but his eyes softened and he seemed to have taken the responsibility to shed my tears for me.
I’d told my friends that she had gone missing and faked the tears. I had to feign worry, grief, loss – when in fact, I knew she’d be safe wherever she was and it would be a fool’s idea to harm her. Whenever I looked back, I try to regain some kind of understanding of what happened but it only leaves me more confused.
Any memory, any feeling that had passed during that time seemed like it belonged to someone else. I couldn’t comprehend or make anything out of the events that had happened but it wouldn’t matter because I wouldn’t be able to recall the scenes for longer than three seconds. It would slip out of my mind like a mist of smoke I couldn’t grasp.
Until today, I had struggled to remember her name. But now, I looked up at two black pools, deep and dark with waves of chocolate that twinkled like the shining stars in the midnight ocean. The strangest thing was, she had no fur, no pointy ears, no snout with a button of a black nose.
She stood on two legs, clothed in black and her golden hair was tied tight in a messy ponytail. She looked almost human.
I say, ‘almost’. Although she looks the part, she had the air around her that told you otherwise. Celestial.
Come to think of it, she never looked fully canine, either.
“–you run?” Her eyebrows knit together, the smudges of dirt looked dark on her pale skin, deep lines on her forehead as she looked down at my abdomen. I follow her gaze and winced as I sit up, a wound ran across my side but it didn’t feel deep. “Can you run?!” She repeats.
I nod, only slightly dazed with the pain shooting up my spine. There were shouts in the background, things crashing, the faint sounds of siren coming closer. She held out a hand and I took it in mine, pushing myself up with her help.
And then we ran.
Yeah… I write long drabbles.
This was just an experiment using a prompt from The Daily Post. Today’s one word prompt was Twinkle and I was inspired by the dog I had in my childhood who was actually named Twinkle!
I never really liked the name Twinkle but I remembered she used to wag her tail whenever I sang the song Twinkle, twinkle little star. It was adorable and so we changed her name to that. She did go missing, sadly, but this was a nice write, remembering her features and her personality with added fantasy themes.
I really didn’t know where this was going but I’m kind of proud. I will probably try some more daily prompts as I’ve enjoyed this one so much! Check out posts by other blogger here.
Missing Twinkle, JY