Daily Archives: April 30, 2023

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A Bone to Pick

April 30, 2023 by in category Quill and Moss by Dianna Sinovic, Writing

Claire was lost in her thoughts when Mason crunched on something in the weeds. 

“No.” Claire tugged at the leash, trying to pull the Lab back to her side. “What have you got?”

The dog kept his head down, not allowing her to reach the object, and growled.

“Mason? Give it,” she commanded. But still the dog worried the thing.

Whatever it was, it couldn’t be alive, she decided. Most likely a bone, but you never knew with a dog. She didn’t want a mess back home, when the object Mason had disagreed with him.

“Let’s go.” Claire tried again to separate the dog from his newfound fetish. Mason lifted his head and shook it, then responded to the pull of the leash. He wagged his tail as if to say, Aren’t you proud?

Protruding from either side of his jaws was a length of deer leg, stripped mostly of fur and skin. A strong whiff of decay floated up, making Claire scrunch up her nose.

The trail through the woods behind her house often crossed paths with the narrow routes made by white-tailed deer. It wasn’t unusual for Mason to flush out a doe or even pounce on a fawn hidden in a clump of wild grasses. 

“No,” Claire said. “You can’t bring it.” 

The dog pranced around her, and each time she tried to snag one end of the leg, he moved away from her. 

Giving up, she turned toward home, and the dog followed, still grinning in that canine way with his prize in his mouth.

It was a lot like her brother, Duane, and his endless stories about their childhood, unearthing a past she had done her best to bury. A past now thankfully down to the bones and a little skin. The meat—the core of what had happened—had rotted away, as long as she didn’t go looking for it. 

Duane knew only the good side of their father. And with the funeral in two days, she would steel herself to listen to the well-wishers and keep her mouth shut. Let her brother do all the eulogizing. She’d told him she didn’t like talking in front of a crowd, and he’d believed her.

Back at the porch steps, Claire pulled her house keys from her coat pocket and bent to unclip Mason’s leash from his collar. The dog dropped the deer leg into the flower bed and looked up at her with a whimper.

“Good dog,” she said, and dipped into another coat pocket for a biscuit. “We’ll leave it out here.” Mason trotted onto the porch with her, eyeing her hand for another treat.

If only discarding the past were that simple, she thought. Still, she could try.

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