The black night carried countless stars that hung peacefully high above. The thin linen curtains danced gently in the early spring air as it pushed through the demolished windows. Lyn shivered, as she sat among the shattered glass strewn upon the wide pine floor. The quorum of police had left. The evening’s frantic pace had begun to slow.

Lyn replayed the scene, each time hoping for clarity and understanding. 

The sound of the front door splitting as it opened with force. Elvis wildly barking while he charged from the kitchen. Chaotic screams filled the house, some were hers. There were two, possibly three of them, forcing their way into her home. Out of nowhere, Nathan was there. His sizable frame corralling the uninvited group. Arms and legs intertwined. The smacking of fists meeting skin cut the night like lightning. Elvis tearing at pant legs as he defended,  side by side with Nathan. Then, almost as quickly as it began, they retreated. Fleeing into the night, sending rocks hurtling through the porch windows.

Within an arms length Nathan was crouched stroking the neck of the elderly labrador leaning into him. Breathing gently now, Elvis’s years and achy hips did nothing to slow his rage a few hours earlier. Nathan’s presence wrapped Lyn with comfort as she trembled with a cup of tea between both hands. Faithfully he had protected her and her home. Courageously, he had turned back the invasion. Her thoughts drifted back to last winter… Without him, what would have happened.

Last October, following years of consideration Lyn decided to rent the room on the 3rd floor. There were dozens of interested would-be tenants. It would have been easy to choose the first applicant, a young corporate professional who wouldn’t be around much and had reliability with the rent. It would have been easy to select the beautiful graduate student, whose affluent parents were willing to pay a year’s rent up front. It would have been easy to choose from the bevy of other desirables. Nathan was a non obvious choice. Lyn had felt a deep calm emanating from him. Elvis, always discerning, was taken with him instantly. After quick inspection, he sat and gently wagged. He spoke openly of his past. Tortured at times, filled with struggle and piled with rash decisions. He had paid his dues, learned and earned another chance. He was on a better path and was dedicated to keep moving forward. Despite friends and family advising her to choose any number of other options, after thoughtful deliberation, Nathan moved in just after Thanksgiving. 

This is my first pass at a submission for the Writer’s Workshop in response to the prompt

“measure twice, cut once”

3 thoughts on “Nathan

  1. This is wonderful, Ian! I am so happy you decided to step out of your comfort zone. I love your use of the dog, Elvis, as a thread in the story. It humanized Lyn and gave a solid foundation to her decision to take a risk on Nathan. Her trust of the dog’s intuition and how that intuition pays off are powerful themes. I can’t wait to watch this story evolve!


  2. Pingback: WRITER’S WORKSHOP I, Week 2, Batting Practice | Go Dog Go Café

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