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by SSpark
Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2265839
When you end up being too late, but get another chance.
TOO LATE FOR FLOWER
Word Count: 951

It's not that she's a rebel. Well, she does tend to be a little rebellious - but that's not why her entry didn't make it. She totally forgot about the rules.

When her daily quest to conquer the Writer's Cramp prompt revealed the opportunity to revisit one of her favorite stories using an inside-out perspective, she jumped at the chance. The fact that she only had a couple of hours to write, edit and submit the entry was no deterrent to her. No way! She knew Flower's story too well; she was right there with him when it happened.

Writing the opening was no problem. She could easily imagine what must have gone through his head as he was torn from his front yard and whisked into what had to have seemed a parallel universe. How would you feel if you were just a baby, and were stolen by a crazy man whose crazy wife kept pulling your hair and whacking your nose? Her fingers flew across the keyboard as she sat, eyes closed, imagining how the poor guy felt.

One minute the baby was minding his own business, rummaging around the old log in his front yard while he waited for his mom to come back and the next, the world went black and his legs refused to work. Something must have happened to his head, too, because he became dizzy and couldn't get his bearings. He felt as if his world was being turned upside down. And it was.

"Getting into Flower's head was not as hard as I thought it would be," she proclaimed. "He must have been so confused, getting kidnapped and thrown into a box in a car with a bunch of humans of various shapes and sizes, who didn't even know he was a boy!"

For some reason, he had been dubbed Flower by the little humans in the back seat, but the girl's name wasn't even the most humiliating part.

"What is happening to me?" Flower cried, only the people in the car couldn't understand him. The woman took out a comb from her purse and started trying to pull out the burrs covering his fur.

"Ouch!" Flower yelped as a particularly stubborn burr was being ripped from his hide. He tried with all his might to climb out of that box. He had no idea how he would do it, but he had to escape!

W H A C K went the comb to his nose. "Now you just calm down and let me get these 'ol burrs out of your fur, little guy," the woman said. "I'm just going to smooth it out. You don't want to be seen looking like a wild animal, you know! You're going to love being part of our family; we'll take good care of you."

His fur was all smoothed when he realized the car was no longer moving.

The woman lifted him up, stepped out of the car, and held him close as four squealing kids surrounded them yelling, "Let me see! Can I pet her?" almost in unison.

Then, "Move over! It's my turn!" screamed one, and "You move over, it's MY turn!" cried another.

"You kids stop it right now, or I'm going to put her back in the box and spank every last one of you right here on the street!" commanded the woman, whose voice rose above them all. Flower then realized she must be the mother. Only mothers could order quiet like that.

The next thing he knew, Flower was walking down an unfamiliar sidewalk, tethered by a pink collar and leash, to the woman. Why did they think he was a girl? Every now and then the woman would stop to talk to first one shopkeeper and then another. He kept his nose low to the ground, sniffing everything he could, trying to find any trace of his family. He never did.

The excitement had died down a little, when the woman picked him up and carried him into a small, bright room. Then she handed him, very gently, to another man - not the man who drove the car. That man turned him upside down, pushing him here and there, around his privates. Flower was just about to protest when he heard the other man exclaim to the woman, "Yes, ma'am! Baby skunks CAN spray - and they're worse than adults because they don't know when to stop!!!"

When Flower woke up, his head felt a little strange and his bottom was kind of sore. But the woman was holding him tight, cradling him in her generous arms, slowly rocking back and forth, and they were on the road again. That's when Flower knew they were on the road home, to his new home, with his new family.

"No one reading this will believe it's a true story," she said out loud, to herself. There was no one around to answer. She glanced at the clock. "All right," she said, "I have plenty of time to edit. She edited and left, edited and left - edited the story, and left to let it sit. Finally, as the clock read 11:52am, she knew she had to act fast to get the story in on time. Seven hundred seventy one words; she was under the max and would slip it in just under the wire.

"Upload to portfolio, make the entry . . . " she exclaimed as she flew to the page. "No! Wait! What?!?" Her time had run out. The contest was closed, had been closed almost an hour. Her clock read 11:56. The judge's clock read 12:56. WdC time is Eastern.

She forgot to follow the rules.







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