The challenge over at Chuck Wendig’s Terribleminds blog this week is a pick five. The idea, pick five words from the ten words offered and incorporate them into a story.
Seems pretty straight forward right? Well until you run across the choice of words. I opted for not choosing, i stead I allowed dice to choose for me. This is my list of five words: Djinn, Hermit, Lollipop, Hound, Acid
I warn you ahead of time, I travelled down the bizarro rabbit hole on this on.
Hound on the Hill
Dax the hermit, sat high on the hill. The sun rose just past the tree line, his day about to begin. But still he sat, little to do and far too much time to do it in. His thoughts lingered around noon to thoughts of his hound and where it might have gotten to during the day. But that wouldn’t be for a few more hours. Instead he spent the morning on the hill, lost in thought.
This wasn’t something he thought much about anymore, but it all started a few years ago. The years before his life of solitude with little to think about but his dog, Fred. When did he name his dog Fred? Who names a dog Fred anyway? And there it was, his mind off on the wild tangents of the morning.
And like the circle of a lollipop that you lick to find the gooey center, he found his way back to the strange thoughts of the morning. They had nothing to do with Fred, though those thoughts fought to include themselves from time to time.
Really it was more a simple exercise, a morning meditation if you will, that he liked to do. Every morning when he started his day, he looked out over the tree line to watch the sun rise up and greet him. Every morning. Without fail. He could set his watch to it, if he still wore one.
As the warmth from the sun baked the lingering effects of the acid from his brain he realized he still hadn’t gotten to the point of his morning rumination. Fred bounded through the tall grass to join him at the top of the hill and at this point he realized his morning was shot. Dax stretched out his legs and lay back on the grass.
Clouds passed swiftly over head as the sun rose higher in the sky. He rolled over and stroked Fred. “Have you ever thought about it?” he asked. “Fred, have you ever wondered about the passage of time?”
It wasn’t the answer he expected, when Fred licked his face. As he rubbed his shirt to dry his face his thoughts turned again to the instigation of the whole thing. The bottle, he rubbed his shirt across it to shine the dull metal. That was the day everything change.
Changed, he thought. Change. He thrust his hands into the pockets of his jeans and pulled out fifteen cents. Change. He needed change for the bus. That was a bad day. “Where was I?” he asked Fred. Fred didn’t answer, but looked at him with his head cocked to the side.
“Oh ya,” he said. “That damn bottle.” He quickly patted up and down his body. “Now where the hell did I put that thing?” Fred barked a response but Dax shook his head in disagreement. “That tone is most unhelpful.” He stood and scanned the area. “Are you sure you saw it over there?”
Fred proceeded to lick himself clean, clearly done with the conversation.
Dax stumbled to the cave. The few hours of sitting cross legged on the hill cramped his leg muscles. The opening was deceiving. He had spent a week in the past packing mud bricks together to create a smaller opening for the cave. It kept larger predators out of his home. Inside the cave was much larger than the outer doorway led on.
When Dax turned his back on the rest of the world so long ago, he gave up much of the world’s trappings, but not everything. His meager worldly possessions found a home inside the cave. Minor things, inconsequential, but they allowed him a sense of order and stability.
A frying pan and a couple white plates with silverware sat on a shelf he built into the wall of the cave. He had chiseled it out with a sharp stone. The stone lay next to his bed in case he needed it at night to protect himself.
The bottle though, the bottle that fit on a shelf by itself, this was his treasure. In all the days, months, years, he had lived here, alone in his cave, with Fred to keep him company, he held on to this bottle. Beaten and dented, the outer shell tarnished a mottled grey, the bottle could hold no value except to him.
Dax removed the bottle from its shelf and rubbed the grimy metal with the palm of his hand. The dust and dirt on his skin added more to the surface of the bottle as he grumbled at the smear. He pulled up the bottom of his shirt and used it to polish the grime from the side of the bottle.
Smoke billowed from the top of the bottle then a flash of light sparked through the cave. When his eyes cleared, Dax saw the djinn, the bottle dweller, a short man with a black pointy beard and lavender skin.
His voice wheezed like a soft breeze. “I was in the middle of something,” he said. “This better be important.”
“I was talking to Fred…”
“I have told you about that damn dog.” The djinn interrupted him. “And you wonder why they call you a mad man.”
“Well, I was talking to Fred. And he said, well, not in so many words really. He said that this is all your fault.”
The djinn rolled his eyes. “Every so often you get this wild idea that the dog can talk,” he said. “We’ve gone over this time and time again. Now go back out to your spot on the hill and watch the sunrise.”
Dax looked at him, his head tilted to the side. “Woof!” he said then turned and walked out of the cave.
“Every damn time,” the djinn said. “He starts to wake up and think he is something more than a dog.”