Winter knocked on the door of the tall house.
In the forest all was lost except the tiny puppy. The starving dog found a home in the old kennel left by an owner who had moved after the land was sold by the Duke.
The hunting dogs at the Palace were prepared for the annual event that would see horses rip past snowy trees and disturb the fallen snow until fresh snowflakes formed.
Ice hung in the air long enough for the Princess to walk to find her pet dog. It had been a Christmas present her parents wanted to keep secret until the kennel door sprung open. The dog looked in pain, having sat in loneliness, the puppy was uncertain that he wanted to meet a new owner. All the Princess wanted was a pet she could love and make friends with. The Palace was lonely at Christmas until the carol singers arrived.
Everything had gone well that morning as the turkey was ready on time and the glasses of fizzy drinks were over flowing making the grown ups merry. Bright, shiny iced biscuits were passed around and the Princess knew all was well as she smuggled one under the table to feed the brand new doggy.
She was not completely alone. Ever. The muffled sound of ‘Good King Wenceslas’ rolled out over the land with church bells ringing in the distance. The performance of a well-tuned chorus reached its climax. Everyone around the table decided it was time to leave the bright candied fruits to hear more. They wanted to welcome the distant singers into the house.
As soon as the front door opened the dog bolted.
The tiny puppy ran fast and furious until it could see the Palace no more.
The Princess could not breathe. She lost a friend. She welcomed the carol singers. When she caught herself trying to inhale it was painful.
The leader of the Christmas hunt said they would find the puppy. The search would continue until the dog was brought home. The horn tooted the signal to the hunt dogs but the horses stood firm.
The Princess believed their promise.
The forest was dark, empty and silent.
The little puppy dog was eating the only food it had ever liked, the raw curing bacon in the old poachers house. The delicious smoky meaty treats that lay about the old house were all his to enjoy.
The sound of the horn of the hunt grew close. The puppy had eaten his meal. The room felt cold under his paws. He missed the fire the Poacher would light every evening. The tail of the puppy dog started to wag.
The hunt was coming his way.
The puppy thought of the little lost biscuit that still stood on the floor under the feet of the Princess. It looked shiny, colourful and bright. All about the forest it started to snow. Snowflakes covered the tracks of the hunt as it approached the poachers house. Two voices spoke out –
– Not in here. Try the woodshed.
– Woodshed’s locked.
The puppy dog tried to escape. The door of the poacher’s cottage had been blown by the wind so hard it had jammed closed. The puppy scratched, the little dog yelped and he barked out but to no avail.
Suddenly it broke.
Two tiny fists belted open the door. There stood the Princess. Her hands were cold. The puppy felt a feeling he did not understand but hoped he would know again. She ticked his belly. True friendship.
The Princess had dropped the biscuit for him to find under the chair. She had no one to talk to around the table of adults and felt better for knowing she had a play pal.
Upon his hind legs the little dog danced. The Princess giggled
-To the banquet to share caviar and clementines!
The dog remembered now why he had escaped a life with the rough old poacher.
There were new foods for the little dog to enjoy.
She had come by herself through the snow to find the dog.
The dog felt love.
Preview my new ebook here!
Enjoy other stories about the Countdown here and below
JED’s PlayhouseThe year in blogging weirdness at the playhouseShort…but not always so sweet10 Reasons I’m Excited It’s DecemberThreewheelergranLISTINGRandom MusingsSmallish rantsMad Meandering MeWeekly Writing Challenge: Countdown