Brutal

It stormed the other night. Mini hurricane near the Illiana border (which is not a hurricane area, being in the midwest and not really that close to Lake Michigan). It was terrifying driving through it. But I got home, took several deep breaths in the garage, sincerely thankful to be alive and home, and went inside. Suni didn’t come out to greet me and I panicked. Found her set up in my son’s room. He said she’d been cowering in the corner of his room from the storm. Of course I had removed her thunder shirt a couple days before as the wound on her side finally- after a month- healed up. It helps a lot with storms.

But she wouldn’t eat dinner. Normally this is normal for her, but all her pain medication is in the chunks of canned food, so I sat down and fed her from my hands.

It brought up a powerful de ja vu, where I bent my head to hers and asked if she remembered, that we’d done this before? And it was so hard to not break. So I picked up her dry food and continued to hand feed her, like I’d done long ago, and she wagged her tail and ate what I offered, like she’d done back then as well.

She was four months old when I brought her home from work. She’d finally gotten over a horrible case of parvo. I thought for sure we would lose her. She also succumbed to mange really bad and had lost all her hair and a couple layers of skin. She looked like a little piglet! After I brought her home, she broke out in ringworm. We all got it- myself, the boys, the other dogs.

I hate ringworm.

But I owned my house, had children and stepchildren and other dogs to properly socialize her and prove that pits were good dogs, and mostly, I lived outside Denver, which had passed a pit bull ban a couple weeks earlier. I wasn’t going to keep her. I already had two dogs, I did not want a puppy, and terriers are not my preferred breed.

Four months old, and she was smart! She knew how to get to me- through my three year old son whom she attached herself to (he’s still, at 14, her favorite person), and my shepherd, who was my second in command and absolute top dog in the house. She far outranked the husband, too.

Even so, I couldn’t handle three dogs. Suni got better, and my coworkers introduced me to the adult daughter of a long-time client who was interested in adopting her. It sounded solid, they vouched for her, Suni seemed ok with her, and I couldn’t find a reason to say no.

At the end of that week, the woman called me on my cell phone to tell me that something was wrong with Suni. Her boyfriend had poisoned her. I told her to meet me at the clinic and dropped all my shopping and ran. I brought the woman back into surgery with me where I triaged Suni and put in a catheter while waiting for my boss to arrive. The more the woman talked, the more I started to listen. She kept going on and on about this crazy ex-boyfriend, and I yelled at her. I’d very clearly stated that Suni was not a guard dog at our initial meet. She then went into other very concerning things regarding her grandchildren, and then repeated how scared she was to return home, sure this boyfriend would be waiting for her. By then, I needed her gone. I convinced her to go to the police and they’d keep her safe.

I brought Suni home and had her set up in my kitchen on IVs. We weren’t sure what she was given, though the woman had mentioned vicodin a couple times. Later that night, a detective called me on my cell. Small world, we knew each other, as he and his wife had brought in an orphaned kitten a few months prior that I had bottle fed and adopted out. But he told me that the department was pretty knowledgeable about this woman as there’d been issues in the past, and that she was the one to poison Suni.

Suni was terrified of her food bowls for a week and wouldn’t go near them. What the hell did that woman do? I don’t know. But I sat on the floor and fed her by hand for that whole week. After that phone call, the first time I fed her, I’d looked at her and promised ‘That’s it, you’re mine. You aren’t going anywhere again.’

She has been such a good dog. Suni, (also-spelled-as ‘sunny’, but I rarely do things normal) because that’s always been her demeanor, from a two-month old pupy who spent over a month in my clinic fighting to live, while we did everything in our power to keep her from her original owner (in which we obviously succeeded- though not for her three siblings or the other dogs he brought in later) to now. Life is good, even when it hasn’t been. She can’t use her leg now, but she’s still running and she’s still wagging her tail and rushing to greet me when I come home. Twelve years later, and she’s the only dog I have left. And we’re heading back to how we started.

 

Like a Woman anthology

Anthologies are a great experience! This is open to both male and female writers for any who may be interested.

Steamdragon's Lair

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Like a Woman: An anthology of speculative fiction inspired by women, would like to invite authors to submit stories for publication.

All submissions need to be in the speculative fiction genre and reflect the theme- like a woman. This includes fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, horror, steampunk, dystopian, etc. If you’re unsure, please feel free to ask.

Submissions need to be between 3,000 and 7,000 words in length, but we will consider stories which are a little shorter or longer. We prefer good stories over precise word counts!

We would love submissions to be aimed at a largely adult audience, but if your story has broad appeal, that’s great too.

We’re not looking for stories with erotica, but mild sex scenes are fine. We would also prefer stories not be overly gorey.

We’re open to submissions from both women and men, as long as they’re well-written.

We will not accept stories…

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Mini-Interview: Nameless

Author Olga Godim interviewed my character in ‘Breath Between Seconds’ for our upcoming release of Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life, a fantasy anthology about lost heros!

Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life

bubble_knightinterview3Our IWSG anthology, Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life, includes 12 tales of heroes lost or fallen, struggling or bewildered, living in fantasy worlds or in our own. Some of them agreed to have a mini-interview on this blog.
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My next guest is a nameless young woman, a lieutenant from Lesleigh Nahay’s story Breath Between Seconds.

Tell me about yourself—name, profession, home, family, the usual.

Why? Who would care about me?

How did you end up in this crazy adventure your story talks about?

Adventure? There is a war. Death and blood and battle for the last eight and a half years. It is my honor to defend my House in its endeavors to make us better and stronger. My House wishes to increase our holdings for the benefit of its people. The area in question lays vacant. Its inhabitants are gone. Dead. Why leave its…

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Attachments

2017 is heading in a bad direction.

2016 didn’t end much better.

For the pets in my family.

My sister was supposed to fly in for a visit in November, when her 6 year old cat suddenly crashed. The diagnosis turned out to be colon cancer. Oddly enough, this is what our grandmother died of. Weiwei died just a couple of weeks ago. Only six years old.

In December, my cousin began texting me that her dog (also around 6 I believe) had suddenly gone paralyzed. She took Coco to the neurologist, who ended up needing spinal surgery!…..a couple days after my cousin’s father was hospitalized for back surgery! But Coco (and her people!) recovered quickly and without incident 🙂

And now it’s my house’s turn. A couple of days after Christmas, my 15 year old pit started limping, and my whole being plummeted. I knew that it wasn’t an injury, and given her age, I was terrified with the alternative: cancer. It goes with her history in a way. Every time I’m prepared to take her in for a dental, she blows a leg. She’s had cruciate surgery in both knees already. I thought we were safe this time. But no. Front leg.

As I no longer work in a veterinary clinic, and as I recently moved to this area, I had to figure out how to find a veterinarian. That sucks. It really does. I do not like being on this end of things. The vet we went to took X-Rays, but wasn’t sure. I was able to have them emailed to me, and showed them to veterinarian colleagues, who both suspect cancer as well. I haven’t told my children yet, and she and I are going to another vet on Tuesday. Over a month on pain medicine, and her limp has increased. And I’m afraid.

suni taking a break

I’ve already been watching my eighteen year old cat like a hawk since last summer, when I was sure she’d go. Several masses sprouted up on her, and then they opened. She no longer looks like the picture below, which was only two years ago. Only two years! Seeing how much she’s changed is very disheartening. She no longer grooms herself, and has lost half her weight by the looks of this picture. I wasn’t prepared for that.

Masses on cats are bad. Talking my sister through things was very personal, as I was silently going through the same decisions with my own cat: when is it enough? When is it clear that their death is going to be a long time coming, and that their pain is only growing; when do we know to say that it’s time? I had it planned, her humane endpoint, but now I’m forced to rethink it, and make myself be a tech and not her person, and rely on what my intuition is trying to tell me. And so she has a vet appointment as well now. An ‘I don’t know what to do’ appointment. I sought out some familiar comfort by finding a cat’s-only clinic, even though it’s across the border in Illinois (it’s not that big a drive). How are there no cat clinics in Indiana? I so miss my Colorado people right now.

dec-2014-009

I have dealt with this in my career for the last 18 years, and yet to face it personally, all I can think is indecision. And fear. Lots of fear.

But I Can’t

I’m supposed to be writing my cheerful cover release post about my upcoming anthology (which I’m truly, genuinely thrilled about), but I can’t. Actually, I’m supposed to HAVE written my cover release post. I’m a week behind.

But I can’t. I’m glued to my phone, watching my world unfurl. Watching my children’s world, their future, unfurl. I was not this heartbroken or upset during 9/11. And I was both then. I was terrified, holding my six month old and thinking we were going to go into WWIII. Now he’s fifteen, and while I can no longer hold him, I am more terrified. WWIII is actually closer now than it was then.

I may write fantasy, but I live and breathe in a real world. I can even distinguish fact from ‘alternate fact’ from lie from make-believe. And I love my make-believe. My house is covered in dragons and a few unicorns, and I am highly prone to daydreams and hearing the banter of voices that aren’t mine reverberate through my head sometimes non-stop. Yet my real-world persona exists in a science career.

My small department is made up of women. Women with an education- of varying degrees and experience- in science and medicine. And we serve a larger department of scientists; of which, maybe 1% is American. The rest are from everywhere: Romania, Sweden, India, China, Ireland, varying Arabic nations, Vietnam, Africa. Sometimes, it may take three of us to decipher someone’s broken or mislearned, or heavily accented English. I told my son to skip Spanish as a High School language and seek out Mandarin, even though he’s part Mexican. Many days I wish I spoke Mandarin.

I hear talk of visas, of visa trouble, but honestly, I really don’t care. My life is richer for working with such an amazing group of vastly different, yet remarkably similar people. They embody Chicago. They represent our entire melting pot of a country.

I watched the live feed from today, and my thoughts went to them. Same as it did the Monday after the election. Same as it did during the end of the campaign, especially while working with visiting medical professionals from France and Germany and the UK. These people are devoting themselves to the advancement and improvement of our health, with US bragging rights, and what does my country do in return? Attack the scientific community, put a gag on the sharing of data, and now put into physical and visible effect, the attack of a specific demographic of people. To attack one of us is to attack all of us.

I am so ashamed of my government, yet watching the immediate response of my people, I can also feel growing pride.

#NoMuslimBan

#epluribusunum

#resist

L. Nahay's Blog

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