Sometimes when an author writes a book, there are sections of the story that end up on the cutting room floor. They are back-story, or too much information, or slow the pace of the story. But also sometimes they are very interesting snippets about one or more of the characters.
In "Dogged Pursuit", one of my werewolf books, the elderly couple is absolutely convinced Dwyer is their long departed black dog, Shaggy. Why would they think that? I can't tell you what happens to them, that would spoil the story. But to write the book I needed to know the connection. It never ended up in the actual story, but they loved Shaggy and this is why...
It was a bitterly cold winter’s night and Cora Ainsley was rocking newborn Sally to sleep by the fire when Fred heard a noise at the door.
He hurried over and switched on the porch light but couldn’t see anything.
“Who is it, dear?” asked Cora.
“No one there. Must be the wind.”
But he heard it again. A soft whining. He opened the door and looked out. No one. And not really much wind either, although it was damn cold out there.
Something damp touched his slippered foot. Fred looked down and saw a tiny bedraggled ball of black fluff standing on four very wobbly little legs.
“Oh my goodness! Who are you and where did you come from?” he asked picking the tiny puppy up and quickly shutting the door behind them both.
Fred hurried back to the fire and gently put the pup on the rug in front of it while he went to get a towel to dry it off. “Although a handkerchief would likely be big enough to do the job,” he laughed to Cora.
Dark liquid eyes shone lovingly at the man as he rubbed the tiny fur ball dry, and a rough red tongue licked his hand in gratitude.
“Likely someone will come looking for him tomorrow,” warned Cora as the pup snuggled to sleep on Fred’s lap.
But no one came looking for him, and when the Ainsleys asked around the neighborhood, no one reported a lost pup either, so he stayed.
His coat remained a solid black color but shaggy as if it needed a trim, so Shaggy became his name. And he and baby Sally were inseparable, although he grew much faster than she did.
“I swear that dog is smarter than the average person,” Cora and Fred would say to each other at least once a week.
About eighteen months later, Shaggy and the toddler Sally were playing in the backyard as Cora was hanging out the laundry.
Suddenly there was frenzied barking, and sounds of splashing. Cora dropped the clothes in her arms and turned and began to run to the lake. But Shaggy was there long before her, the baby’s diaper gripped between his teeth as he dragged Sally from the water.
By the time Cora arrived, red-faced and puffing with exertion and panic, both dog and baby were sitting happily on the ground, huge grins on their faces.
“I swim. I swim” laughed Sally. Shaggy’s big red tongue lolled out of the side of his mouth as he grinned at Cora.
“Shaggy, Shaggy, how can I ever thank you? The baby would have drowned before I’d gotten there. If it wasn’t for you…” her breath hitched.
Shaggy just grinned, his dark liquid eyes showing he would always be there for the family he’d chosen as his.
Copyright Berengaria Brown 2010.