Sally’s Story for Wednesday Stories 5/17/17
by Sally Stackhouse
Harry opened his daughter’s favourite bedtime reading book. A story by a new children’s author, it contained pictures and was perfect for a five year old. His daughter snuggled under the bedclothes, one arm outside the cover, her hand resting on his tummy, the other arm cuddling her soft toy. Harry began reading:
‘I can’t tell you my innermost thoughts. I’m a dog.’
Holly looked at her pet. ‘You may not be able to talk to me out loud but I can hear you.’
Pongo licked her hand as acknowledgement that he had heard her too. ‘We can’t tell any grown-ups.’
Holly nodded in her five year old wise way. She blinked and brushed her fringe back from her eyes. She scooted up on to the sofa snuggling against the arm rest, her legs bent underneath her. Holly took a few minutes thinking as hard as a five year old could.
She knew she was different. She could sometimes hear other people but she was more aware of the thoughts of animals.
Last summer her mum and dad had taken her to the zoo. They’d met her cousins, aunt and uncle there and had a lovely day. Her cousin, Samuel, was eight years old and a bit bossy. He wasn’t very nice and made fun of the chimpanzee.
Holly started crying. She tried to explain to her dad who had lifted her up for a cuddle that Maisie didn’t like people laughing at her. Her dad didn’t understand and said she didn’t know what the animal felt. Holly started to say something but then kept quiet as Maisie told her it really didn’t matter, people and children often laughed and made fun of her. She said she really missed her family in Africa but was afraid she would never see them again. Holly was inconsolable until they moved away to the picnic area and started their lunch.
It started to rain so they decided to spend some time inside the butterfly house where it was very warm and dry. Her mum told her the proper name for the butterfly house was lepidopterarium. Holly laughed with her mum as she tried to say that really long word.
Zamphira told Holly that butterflies didn’t like being cooped up and not free to fly where they wanted to. She also said that the noise of chattering hurt their antenna and the vibrations from feet gave her a pounding migraine.
In the car on the way home Holly asked her mum what a migraine was. Mummy told her it was a very bad headache and then asked how she knew that word. Holly looked out of the car window and pretended she was ignoring her mum, she couldn’t say a butterfly had told her.
Pongo woofed. He wanted to go outside. Holly put on her favourite blue boots, got her toy elephant, he wasn’t real so she couldn’t hear him talking. She took Pongo in to the garden, her mum waved to her from the kitchen window. Holly could see her talking on the phone.
Pongo and Holly reached Clyde’s hutch, Holly opened the door and Clyde pounced out on the grass, his nose twitched and then he looked in Holly’s eyes, ‘give us a cuddle, little girl.’ Holly gasped, it was the first time she’d heard Clyde talk. ‘I’ve been waiting for my chance.’ He seemed a bit gruff to Holly. Pongo ran round jumping and barking at both of them.
Mum called them back in to the house. ‘We are going out in a few minutes, so can you get Pongo’s lead, please.’
They walked up the lane, Pongo telling Holly all sorts of things as she laughed and giggled all the way, her mum smiled happy to see her daughter enjoying life. Little did she know what was really happening.
They stopped for a few moments to look over at the fields. In the distance was the most beautiful horse Holly had ever seen. Pongo said his name was Nelson and when she was older she’d be able to understand ‘horsespeak.’
Pongo said Nelson was waiting for his mare who was over the other side of the hill, he was keeping a lookout for any other stallions who might be around.
‘Mum, what’s a stallion?’ Holly surprised her mother with another word she didn’t think her five year old knew.
‘Well, it’s a grown up man horse,’ she replied and that seemed to satisfy Holly’s curiosity.
Harry looked down at his beautiful girl, he glanced up to the doorway and smiled at his wife. He closed the book and carefully extricated himself from his daughter. He tucked her in.
‘I didn’t get to the end of the book but then I never do,’ he whispered to her.