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January 3, 2010
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Molly had a permanent smile fixed to her face.  It was just part of who she was.  Sometimes this angered Rachael.  She could be crying on Molly's shoulder and her companion would still be beaming away like an idiot.  

Rachael was always scornful when books talked about dogs knowing how their owners were feeling.  

'Molly never has a fucking clue!  She's just in a constant state of 'Happy'!  She's the least empathic animal on the planet.  I swear, her internal monologue is just 'I'm a dog!  I'm a dog!  I'm a dog!' on loop.'

Once Rachael had held Molly's tail down to try and stop it wagging.  Molly had grinned at her, good-naturedly and the four vertebra at the base of the tail had continued to wiggle side to side.  

Rachael and Molly spent a lot of time together on the front porch.  They would survey the garden and listen to Rachael's parents scream at each other inside the house.  Sometimes a parent would join them afterwards and say something like 'sorry you had to hear that, champ.  It must be tough on you.  Geeze!  That mulberry is getting big!  We'll have to cut it back soon.'  Molly would radiate contentedness.  'I'm a dog!  I'm a dog!  I'm a dog!'  

One day Rachael's mother told her to pack her things.  They were going to visit Rachael's grandmother in Ohio for a 'girl's weekend'.  

Rachael didn't want to go.  She hated visiting relatives.  They talked over her head about sore feet, dietitians and how Rachael's breasts were starting to grow at last.  

Rachael said goodbye to her father with a quick kiss and to Molly with a belly-rub.  Molly pulled a stupidly blissful face and her leg convulsed with pleasure.  'I'm a dog!  I'm a dog!  I'm a dog!  Its good to be a dog!'  

'See you Tuesday, Boof-head.  You keep an eye on the mulberry for me.'

Rachael never saw Molly again.  When they arrived in Ohio, her mother sent for their things.  Her Grandma didn't have a garden so 'of course we can't get the dog sent up, Racheal!  Please don't keep asking me about it!'  

Six months later her dad came to visit.  He brought her an ipod nano and a big poster of a band she had never heard of before but he thought she should get into.   He beamed at her.

'How's Molly?'

'Aren't you glad to see me?'

'Not really.'

'Molly's gone to live with a new family.  I've been working long hours and without you there to walk her Molly was really lonely.  She'll be much happier now.'

'And you didn't think to call me and ask how I'd feel about this?'

Rachael stared at her father's fading smile.  'He's trying really hard' she told herself.  She went out to lunch with him and didn't cry or yell the entire time.  It felt like she was trying to hold all the atoms of her body together.   Her father pulled out a digital camera and asked her to smile.  She did.  'Is this what being a grown-up feels like?'  Rachael wondered.   

That night, Rachael dreamed she had big, floppy paws and a long tail and a nose which wanted to follow everything.  In her dream her father flung his arms around her and cried into her big, shaggy shoulder.  'You don't understand!  You don't have a fucking clue what its like!' he sobbed.  'I'm a dog!' thought Rachael and beamed.
Story six of seven.

Thank you for all the support, kids. Much appreciated.

Posted to :iconthewrittenrevolution:

I feel this is a different style to how I usually write. I was aiming for a sort of picture book style but with 'grown up' content. I'm curious to know if the dialogue flows smoothly. I slotted it in to the paragraphs in a manner I don't usually try.

Thank you!
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Daily Deviation

Given 2010-03-20
Let Smiling Dogs Lie by *Halohid had me completely hooked, and that's really saying something these days. What seems like something lighter, ends up having a very deep meaning. It's a great read, that I think deserves more attention. ( Suggested by bekkia and Featured by StJoan )
:iconhalfgeniushalfwit:
As always, I find myself admiring your ability to swiftly (yet still gradually) flesh out characters and establish relationships between them.

Regarding this story in particular, I was struck by the relationship between Rachael and her companion, and their respective feelings. Beginning the tale with a mild resentment for Molly's emotional impermeability, Rachael eventually finds herself having to feign a similar level of contentment to hold together the relationships she has left. The loss of innocence here is deeply touching, and lead me to bond with this character more than such a short piece would normally enable me to.

Regarding your style of writing, I find the detached third-person narrative to work especially well. You frequently give us valuable snippets of your characters' thoughts, the brevity of which keeps the narrative flowing. You also do well to cover a broad span of time without sacrificing the insight of individual moments, such as Rachael's thoughts when smiling for a photo.

In summary, I feel your talent lies particularly in your ability to understand what is important to your characters, and to then relate it clearly to your audience, conveying it in an unhurried and uncluttered manner.
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:iconjonpc042:
Jonpc042 Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2010
This is beautiful. I love the way you develop the girl into an ever more complex contrast to the dog, until, at the end, you link the two in one powerful stroke. It makes me sad, but in a good way. Thanks for sharing, again!
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:iconhalohid:
Halohid Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2010
Thank you! I'm planning to turn this into a picture book with the help of a beautiful artist friend of mine.
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:icongyspygrace:
GyspyGrace Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2010
I love your work. Your stories are very entertaining. I love how you can create a fully real character in such a short piece. You're so talented!
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:iconhalohid:
Halohid Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2010
Thank you very much! I find incredibly short pieces so exciting to write because you must be so very on the ball to use every word to your advantage. And because it is such a massive ask to expect people to meet and connect to a character in so few words!
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:icondailylitdeviations:
DailyLitDeviations Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2010
Congratulations on your Daily Deviation! You have been featured in an article here: [link] celebrating DLD features that go on to achieve such great success. Please :+favlove: it to show your support and to congratulate others who share your title of DD-recipient!

Keep writing and keep creating.
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:iconhalohid:
Halohid Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2010
Thank you!
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:icondailylitdeviations:
DailyLitDeviations Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2010
It was our pleasure :)
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:iconcopy-neko:
copy-neko Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2010
god. i'm getting addicted to your writings. you are a very skillful story teller.
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:iconhalohid:
Halohid Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2010
Thank you very much! I am very happy to hear that!
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:iconraspil:
raspil Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2010   Writer
Brilliant visualization and emotion in this piece. I liked it very much.
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