Excerpts from Chance’s Diary

Submitted into Contest #23 in response to: Write a short story about someone experiencing their first winter.... view prompt



Day 1

Dear Diary, 

In my dreams I move like the wind through a crispy bright world that I cannot remember when I wake. 

Mama says not to worry. They are ancient memories our family is born with. I will understand someday. 

I’ve got my doubts.

Day 90

Dear Diary,

Every day the world below the blue is more green than gray and brown. The sunshine warms my back and my head when Mama takes me out. Most of our great extended family seem happy with this change, but Papa mourns especially when he warms himself in the sun and watches me play. It bothers Papa that I am not a boy. He keeps saying I was his last chance. He is too old to have sons now. 

Mama says that I am enough as I am. 

I doubt it.

Day 91

Dear Diary,

Today I joined the juniors while Mama and Papa went to work. I’m not a baby anymore. I don’t like it. 

Mama says I’ll get used to it. 

Not likely.

Day 120

Dear Diary,

Cousin George has been taking my food ever since I started eating with the other juniors. Today I lost my temper. I grabbed hold of his ear and I bit him as hard as I could. The food dropped out of his mouth and I gobbled it up. I thought his brothers might come after me. 

Mama says it will be ok. 

I doubt it.

Day 121

Dear Diary,

The days are long, too long for playing all the time. When the sun is highest and hottest, we nap. The heat builds up on my back and the top of my head and I roll around trying to get cool. Also, I don’t want to sleep because George and his brothers might come after me. 

Mama says the days will cool and not to worry about George. 

Doesn’t sound right to me.

Day 122

Dear Diary,

It’s been two days since I bit George. Nobody came after me and George leaves me alone. 

I hope it will last, but I doubt it.

Day 180

Dear Diary,

The nights are short and cool. We gather to sing to the moon. Tonight I tried to sing with the elders, but Uncle Pat gave me the evil eye so I stopped. I really want to sing. 

Mama says someday I will lead the singing. 

I doubt it.

Day 210

Dear Diary,

This morning I was playing with the other juniors while Mama and Papa were at work. Cousin George called me bossy. I was surprised. I’m not bossy. I just have lots of ideas. Matt called me pushy. Pretty quick they were both after me. I don’t really know what happened. I felt, I don’t know, intense maybe. I just wasn’t putting up with them anymore. I turned on them. Next thing I knew, Matt ran off and George was on his back begging for mercy.

Mama says everybody has a place and once everybody knows his place, we’ll all be happier. 

I doubt it.

Day 240

Dear Diary,

I am as big as little Aunt Minnie now, half-grown. I’m bigger than most of the juniors. 

Something keeps niggling at my brain. Something is missing. I don’t know what, but something is missing from my world.

 Mama says someday soon I'll see a world bright and shiny and I will know exactly who I am. 

I doubt it. 

Day 250

Dear Diary,

The trees out past The Fence are turning brown and gray and the world was crunchy cold this morning. I was restless. Energy was just sparking out of all us juniors. The Fence had always been the edge of our world. We ran and jumped at The Fence. The next thing I knew my jump landed me near the top of The Fence. I clawed my way up and over. 

Freedom! Joy! No Fence could hold me anymore! 

Such a world! I danced with butterflies. I pounced on a turtle who didn’t seem to care. I tried to catch a bee buzzing around a pink flower. 

I raced back and forth next to the fence urging the juniors to jump, but none could get so high. A new part of my brain started making a plan. I dug and dug under the fence and pretty soon the juniors were through the hole and running with me. We chased each other and then we chased whatever moved. We swam in a river and tried to catch fish. We found berries on bushes and with a little practice we learned to get them into our mouths without getting scratched by the barbs on the branches

I kept looking for the thing that was missing, but I couldn’t find a clue.

At dinner time we went back through the hole and Teacher was waiting for us. He kept looking at me like he knew I was the one who dug the hole. I looked back at him and laughed. I thought, “Yeah, I know that you know that I dug the hole, but you won’t ever guess that I climbed The Fence too!”

Mama says Teacher knows everything.

I doubt it.

Day 251

Dear Diary,

No more Fence climbing and freedom excursions with the juniors. Now I go to work with the elders every day and it’s exhausting. I have to stay at the back. I get glimpses of the green world but about all I get a good view of is butt. I really don’t like that. I really, really want to be out front.

Mama says someday I will, but I doubt it. 

Day 270

Dear Diary,

Papa doesn’t go to work with us anymore. He watches us line up and get ready to go. He groans a lot and his legs are stiff. He is grouchy. Teacher spends time just sitting with Papa. I tried that, but it was boring. 

Work doesn’t tire me out like it did, so sometimes I chase George around. It’s not much fun because he just gives up. 

Yesterday Teacher gave us the most amazing things. He calls them bones. They taste like food but they last longer in the mouth. A bone demands total attention. George and the other juniors skirmished over their bones, but nobody tried to take mine. Good thing, too, because nobody was getting that bone away from me!

Mama says there are other wonderful things in this world. 

Better than a bone? Highly unlikely.

Day 300

Dear Diary,

During the night I opened my eyes. The world was white and it glistened in the light of the moon. It was wonderful! I couldn’t keep my feet on the ground. All of a sudden I was strong, fast and whole. I ran like the wind and dove and rolled in the fluff. I bounced. I caught pieces of white fluff on my tongue. I got a mouthful and mushed it around my teeth.  I sang loud and long and the others woke up and even the elders ran and sang clouds of song to the moon with me. This is the world I was made for. 

This is who I am-- Husky. 

No doubt about it!

Teacher joined us. He pulled a sled from a shed. The elders got even more excited now. Except for Papa. He pulled himself to the gate and watched the Teacher’s every move. So did I.

Teacher got us all in line and harnessed. I wasn’t last anymore. I was right behind Mama. She was the leader. The sleigh slid easily over the snow.

Then came the greatest revelation of all! I was one and many. I was part of the team. I could pull with the best of them, and together we raced over the trail. We streaked across the open land,  blasted through the black shadows of the trees, ran as fast as the eagle flies all the way around the lake, and skidded back and forth across the ice before the sun came up. When we got back we all sang, even Teacher!

Pull-over-the-snow is what I do. 

It is what I was born for. I know it with every fiber of my being, with every breath.

I am Husky!


Day 340

Dear Diary,

I haven’t had time to write because I spend all of my days working. Teacher has separated us into two teams now. I lead one team with some of the elders and George. It is a big responsibility. Teacher’s son guides us.

The other team is all elders and Teacher guides them. Teacher and the elders always win when we race. Teacher calls them his Iditarod team. I want to be on the Iditarod team.

Mama says someday I will be.

I doubt it...not if they keep winning.

Day 345

Dear Diary, 

Work makes us all get very, very tired, almost too tired to eat, but when the moon is full and sometimes when it’s not, the wonder of our snowy world sparks deep inside us and we sing.

Once I was sure I heard the world sing with us. 

Mama says that is the song of the ones who have gone before us. 

How silly. Nobody can get ahead of us. No doubt about it!

Day 360

Dear Diary,

The Iditarod team was gone for days and days. When they came back they slept and slept.

My team still goes out every day. We work our way across drifted hills and up icy mountain faces and across streams clogged with slush. We are powerful together! The snow is soft in places and sometimes we flounder in it. It’s fun for a while, but Teacher’s son gets impatient and hauls us back on the trail pretty quick.

When we got back from work today Teacher did something really strange, he hitched us up for a second run. It was really exciting because Teacher put me in line with the elders this time. This is my kind of day! 

Teacher lifted Papa into the sled. 

Mama said this would be Papa’s last work. Soon we would sing him to the ancestors. 

I doubt it. 

Nobody would want to leave a world so crisp, so white, so clean, so snowy, so Husky. 

January 10, 2020 22:21

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