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This post is a day early, tomorrow being Christmas Day and all. I’ve been silent this past week, but I hope this story will be enough to fill in the blanks.

fudge-stuffed-rottie

The Night Before Christmas

By Ronel Janse van Vuuren

Zoey cried softly, clutching the black-and-brown soft toy to her chest. Even while her nightlight showed that there wasn’t anyone else in the room, she was still frightened.

Only Emmy had been able to keep the monsters away. Only Emmy had been able to bring calm to her world.

She wiped her tears off on Fudge, the stuffed animal that was a weak representation of the friend she’d lost.

When Emmy had sprained his ankle last month, she’d thought that they’d be swimming again by Christmas. Instead, he was euthanised barely a week ago. The sprain was the result of something far worse than tumbling off the couch. Bone cancer. It had started in his ankle.

Zoey choked on more tears. She’d spent every Christmas with Emmy. They’d start the morning by taking pictures together and then they’ll open their presents. Emmy always got biltong.

Tears flowed silently down her cheeks as she watched a photograph of her and Emmy from her last birthday. The candle in a number eight was skew as was the party hat on her Rottweiler’s head. They looked so happy together.

Her heart ached.

Soft mewling sounds drew her attention. Sniffling, she sat up. More soft noises came from outside her bedroom door. Zoey climbed out of bed. Fudge looked at her disapprovingly. Ignoring the stuffed Rottweiler, she opened the bedroom door.

The mewling became louder. Zoey followed it to the living room. Fairy lights decorated the tree. It shone so brightly that she could see everything in there.

Including a small crate with a big red bow on it. It was the type of crate one would keep a cat in to take to the vet. Or a small dog.

Howling made Zoey rush to the crate. She knelt down and opened the cage-like door.

And a Rottweiler puppy darted out.

‘She’s eight weeks old.  Your aunt Daphne brought her this evening,’ her mother said from somewhere behind her.

Zoey watched the puppy and the puppy watched her.

‘What are you going to call her?’

The puppy slowly walked up to her. Zoey held out her hand and the Rottie licked it. Immediately Zoey felt warmth spread through her. It chased away the cold pain she’d been feeling ever since Emmy had left.

‘Hope,’ Zoey answered.

The puppy licked Zoey’s hand, liking her name.

emmy-pic-and-words

I hope you enjoyed this story. More realism stories await you in 2017. This story wasn’t exactly what I’d planned for this Christmas, but seeing as Emmett was euthanised because of bone cancer last week…

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