NaNoPrep 2017 Day 4: The Dog and the Wardrobe

by voh on October 14th, 2017

The wailing wouldn't stop. She was trying to sleep but it would just. Not. Stop.

She'd never been allowed to have a pet by her parents. Something about how she wouldn't take care of it properly and they'd end up having to feed it and clean up after it. She'd cried and screamed the last time she tried, but they hadn't relented. No pets for Leila. A heartbreaking result for a 12-year old.

She'd gone up to her room to be alone and sad, when she found it. In the back of her wardrobe.

She was going through a box of trinkets in there, when she noticed a faint light cracking through the back of the wooden wardrobe. She got up and checked behind it, but it was just dark, no light at all. She went back to the front and pulled the clothes out so she could see better, throwing them on the bed. It was a faint, bluish light. She put her hand on the back of the wardrobe and felt that it was cold. She shivered.

Then she pushed.

The back of the wardrobe gave way and her arm disappeared into it. After pulling it back in a reflex, she gasped. Her hand was really cold and slightly wet.

She knew what to do. She grabbed one of her winter coats from the bed and put it on. She looked for her mittens and found them underneath a pair of jeans. She pulled them on and stood in front of the wardrobe.

She nodded to herself and took a deep breath. Then she walked into and through the wardrobe.

She was blinded, but felt snow hitting her face. When her eyes had adjusted to the bright light, she could see that she was out in a forest, covered in snow. When she looked back she could see where she had entered, a crack in a big snow-covered tree.

When she turned back towards the forest, she noticed 4 sets of foot prints in the snow and decided to follow them. Evidently, she wasn't alone here.

She turned to see whether she could still see the exit, nervous about continuing much further, and saw that she was about as far as she dared to go.

Then she heard a voice.

"Hey! Hey! Human!" it yelled enthusiastically. It sounded friendly.

She turned around to see where it was coming from and she saw a dog running up towards her, tongue hanging out of its mouth. Its fur was golden with bits of snow clinging to it.

"Hey, you," Leila said, crouching down to greet him.

He ran up to her and tried to lick her face, but Leila stopped him.

"Calm down, boy," she said.
"Okay!" the dog said and sat down, his tongue still hanging from his mouth.

Her mouth clenched and her eyes went wide.

"You can talk?"
"Yup!"
"Like, you can actually talk?"
"Yup! Dogs talk!"

She let herself fall backwards into the snow, landing on her behind. The dog cocked its head to the side.

"Are you okay?"
"Yeah, just, dogs don't talk where I'm from."
"Here we do! My name is Sim!"
"That's an... Interesting name, Sim."
"It's short for simple! My friends named me!"
"Oh.. Well, you seem to be really friendly. Nice to meet you."
"Yes! Wanna play?" he said as his eyebrows shot up.

She looked back at the door and considered it for a second, but she knew she was going to say yes. She got up and grabbed a nearby stick.

"Stick okay?" she asked.
"Stick great!" Sim shouted as he got up and turned around a few times in pure energetic enthusiasm.

She threw the stick and Sim darted after it, little puffs of snow coming up every time his paws pushed off.

They played together for about half an hour, when Leila knew that she had to go back.

"I have to go, Sim."
"Okay. You'll be back?"
"I'll try to be back tomorrow, okay?"
"Okay! I'll be here!"

She gave him a hug and went back to the tree entrance. After she'd gotten back, she saw that while she'd been gone for about an hour, only a few minutes had passed here.

Over the years following that first trip, she went over to see Sim nearly every day and they grew very close. Her parents didn't even notice that she stopped asking about getting a pet, but they did notice she was much easier to deal with, even though she was becoming a high-school teenager.

She learned about his family, about the society he lived in while she wasn't there, something about witches and grand political schemes, but all she cared about was playing with her pet. Her friend. A friend she could talk to, even if he hardly seemed to understand and usually just barked an "Okay!" at whatever moment seemed to allow a response. But it helped her cope with a great deal of things.

But then she turned 16. She was changing, and her visiting Sim had become less frequent as a result. She'd spend that time with friends and sometimes even on dates instead. Sim became less of a priority.

He had noticed and asked about it, but she found it difficult to explain why it was, and by the time she realized, she couldn't. She didn't want to hurt him. He had gotten sad about it, but he was a loyal dog, so he would be there every time she was. And then, for a very long time, she wasn't there anymore.

So tonight, the wailing just wouldn't stop.

"Come plaaaaay, Leilaaaaa"

Silence.

"Come oooooon, it's been weeeeeeeks"

A sigh from Leila. She stared at the ceiling and made a decision.

"LEILAAAAAAAAAA I MISS YOUUUUUUUUUU"

She covered her head with her pillow. Tomorrow she'd talk to her parents and get rid of the wardrobe.