This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a dog in the desert. Why is the dog there? Who else is involved? Is there a deeper metaphor you can make of the desert? Go where the prompt leads!
We are told to write what we know, and I am not a dog person. I’ve never owned a dog though both my children and their families now do. I’m currently trying to complete a story for this year’s Story Angels Anthology that has ‘Tales from the Bark Side’ as its theme. It took me ages to get a story started and I hope I can complete it to my own, and the judges’ satisfaction. Fingers crossed.
The last time Charli included a dog in the prompt, I didn’t submit. This time I’ve followed the prompt into the desert with Australia’s own native dog. I’ve gone for a type of information-packed free verse, not really a flash fiction, but there I went. I would’ve liked more time to work on it. Perhaps I still will. But this is it for now. I hope you enjoy it.
wild dog of this vast land
of forest, scrub and plain
no stranger to the desert
with golden fur and quiet white feet
a bushy tail and pointed ears
and long sharp teeth
Australia’s largest mammal carnivore
been here 4,000 years or more
with howls that rip the night asunder
call the pack in
or warn intruders away
marking territories with body scents
curious but shy
beautiful but dangerous
lean and mean
do not coax it in
be ever wary
treat with caution
lest you become the dingo treat.
I think the Azaria Chamberlain story in 1980 made the world aware of the Australian dingo. It was a story that rocked the nation, not to mention its effect on the family. Although dingo attacks on humans are rare, they do occur, particularly if campers welcome them to their campsites and feed them, particularly if they are hungry and particularly if campers do not treat them with sufficient caution and respect. They may look like domestic dogs, but they are not domestic. They are wild. As recently as a week ago, a young girl was attacked by a dingo on K’gari (Fraser Island). However, many more people die by drowning and car accidents than by sharks, and even fewer by dingoes. Be cautious but not afraid.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.
Note: The collection of stories made in response to the previous prompt Impossibly Blue, including mine, can be read at the Carrot Ranch.