Tag: dog

A Short Tale About a Lot of Things

Jane sat up in her bed as her mom started to leave the room. “Wait! I need another story.”

Her mom turned with a sigh. “Jane, it’s time for bed. I already read two stories. My voice is tired.”

“I’ll tell you a story.” Jane patted the bed. “Come sit down. Please? It’s a short story. You’ll really like it. Pleeeease?”

With a smile, her mom sat on the edge of the bed. “All right. As long as it’s a short story.”

“It’s going to be short.” Jane cleared her throat. “Once upon a time…”

“Oh, it’s a fairy tale,” her mom interrupted. “Which one?”

Jane frowned. “It’s not a fairy story. There aren’t any fairies. It’s a story about a lot of things. Just listen. No talking.”

“Okay. I’m sorry I interrupted. Please continue your lots-of-things tale.”

“Once upon a time there was a ladder…”

“A ladder?”

“Listen!” Jane looked upset.


“Once upon a time, there was a ladder. It was green and tall and lived on someone’s back porch for when they needed to pick apples or climb on the roof to fix things. If they didn’t need it, they didn’t really look at it, so they didn’t know the ladder was really an alien…”

“An alien?”



“It was an alien. It was studying people and animals and houses and back porches. One day, it was done studying everything, and it was ready to leave. What the ladder didn’t know was that someone was watching. The family dog saw the ladder was going to leave, and he followed him when he left, because the dog was really an alien, too.”

“Wow. I wouldn’t have guessed that.” When Jane frowned, her mom looked embarrassed. “Sorry. Keep going.”

“The dog was an alien, and he called his friends at home to tell them about the ladder alien. But he didn’t know that someone was watching. It was the tree.”

“Was the tree an alien too?”

Jane rolled her eyes. “Of course not. That would be silly. The tree was a dinosaur.”

“Really? Wouldn’t people notice?”

“No. She was in disguise.”

“How did that work?”

Jane shrugged. “It was a big tree. The dinosaur was waiting a long time and watching. When the dog left to follow the ladder, the tree followed the dog.”

“He didn’t notice?”

“He was an alien. He thought some trees could move. And really, some trees can move. So, he wasn’t wrong. Except this wasn’t a tree, really. It was a dinosaur.”

“What kind of dinosaur?”

“Velociraptor. Let me finish!” After her mom nodded, Jane continued. “When the ladder was going to get beamed up on the spaceship, the dog and the dinosaur went too. They wanted a ride home.”

“I thought the dinosaur wasn’t an alien.”

“She wasn’t. Dinosaurs are from earth. They just moved somewhere else. They come back to visit sometimes. The dog and the dinosaur both needed a ride because they lost their spaceships.”

“How did they lose their spaceships?”

“A wizard stole them. He lived in the house they were watching, but they couldn’t get in because of a force field. The ladder didn’t know he was a wizard that stole spaceships. Good thing he hid his spaceship in invisible space.”

“Or nobody could go home.”

“Right. Because the dog and the dinosaur waited a long time to try to get their spaceships back and the wizard’s force field was too strong.”

“Why did he need spaceships?”

“He collected them. He liked them. They’re like big sparkly rocks.” Jane pointed to her windowsill. There was a line of pretty rocks she’d found on various adventures.

Her mom nodded. “That makes sense. What happened next?”

“They went home. The wizard was mad the tree was gone. He planted a new one and used magic to make it grow fast. The end.”


Jane grinned. “I told you it was a short story.” She fell back onto her pillow with a giggle and pulled up her covers. “Good night!”

“Good night, Jane. Will you tell me another story tomorrow?”


Gingerbread Peril

Once there was a little old woman who was baking a tray of lovely gingerbread aliens. After they cooled, she piped icing onto each little alien, making sure that they had three eyes and ten limbs and rainbow freckles. Just as she finished the last freckle on the last alien, the whole tray of cookies sat up, jumped out of the pan, and slid down the legs of the table.

The little old woman stood up so quickly that her chair fell down behind her with a thud. Unfortunately, the aliens were already at the front door. They slipped through the mail slot one by one before she could catch them.

She threw open the front door and ran down the first three steps in her slippers. The gingerbread aliens had all disappeared. “Come back,” she called to her empty front yard. “I need you for the bake sale. The choir needs new robes.”

But the gingerbread aliens did not come back. They hid under the rose bush until she went back inside. Then they crept around the edge of the yard and through the picket fence. The first alien frosted was the oldest of the group, so he was in charge and led the way.

They passed a yard with a wire fence. Behind the fence, a big black dog barked loudly. “Come here, little cookies,” he said. “I am hungry, and I think it’s been a million years since I last ate.”

“What good would that do us?” the oldest alien asked.

“What else are cookies good for?”

The gingerbread aliens all scowled with all three of their eyes. The dog took a step back. The aliens kept walking. “We are not here for bake sales or feeding dogs,” the oldest cookie said as they left.

“Then why are you here?” the dog asked. But the gingerbread aliens were all gone. “Come back,” he called. “I’m so hungry. Come back!”

But the aliens did not come back. They kept walking.

The oldest alien led them to a stream. A fox was sunning himself on the bank. He stood up as they arrived. “Do you need a ride across the stream? I could carry you on my back.”

The gingerbread aliens conferred in a murmur. “What is the cost?” the oldest cookie asked at last.

The fox smiled, showing off his sharp teeth. “I would only eat a few of you. Maybe five or six.”

“No.” The cookies turned and started walking alongside the stream.

“What else are cookies good for?” the fox called after them. But the gingerbread aliens were gone. The fox laid back down with a huff and fell asleep.

The cookies eventually reached a bridge. At this point, their many feet were crumbly and their icing was sticky. “Just a little further,” the oldest said.

But, as they reached a bridge, out jumped a troll. “Anyone who crosses my bridge must pay a toll,” he said.

“We won’t allow you to eat any of us,” the oldest gingerbread alien said. All the cookies glared fiercely.

“Trolls don’t eat sugar. That’s poison to us. I want gold or meat.”

The oldest cookie pointed further down the bank in the opposite direction. “Like that?”

The troll turned. He squinted. “Like what?” But when he turned back around, the gingerbread aliens were gone. “Come back. You didn’t pay the toll,” he bellowed. But the cookies did not come back.

They were already across the bridge and walking through the meadow on the other side. They darted towards a metal lump leaning against the fence on the far side of the meadow. It looked a bit like two large cake pans stuck together.

As the cookies approached the lumpy metal thing, they disappeared one by one, oldest to youngest. And then the lumpy metal thing rose in the air and disappeared.

Two doughnuts were inside already and began passing around paperwork. “How did it go? Did everyone make it back?”

The oldest gingerbread alien sighed. “Yes, but I would recommend scrapping the randomizer. It’s far too risky. I don’t think the camouflage potential is worth the risk. How long until this wears off?”

“Tomorrow somebody is going to have a batch of cookies back. And two doughnuts.”

The gingerbread alien sighed. “Well, maybe she’ll have something for her bake sale after all. I’m just glad it won’t be us. Cookies lead a hard life. Everyone wants to eat them.”

“Sure,” the doughnut said. “What else are cookies good for?”

Doorway to Another World

After a week in the new house, John was finally starting to feel at home. All of his favorite things were unpacked, and he knew where the best grocery store was. As he brushed his teeth and looked out the window at the sunset, all seemed right in the world.

But then he saw the light shining around the door of the shed. Was there even a light in there? He tried to remember. All he could dredge up from the depths of his memory was a dark, empty space where he shoved the lawnmower and rake and such, planning to deal with them later.

“Honey, the light’s on in the shed,” John called over his shoulder.

“There isn’t a light on in the shed,” his wife called back.

“Yes there is. Come and see.”

His wife came in. “You have toothpaste on your shirt.”

John looked down and wiped at his shirt with the side of his hand. “Never mind that, look out the window. We need to go turn the light off in the shed.”

His wife looked out the window. “We don’t need to. There isn’t a light to turn off.”

“Then what’s that? You can see it, right?” John dropped his toothbrush in the sink. “Of course you do. If there’s not a light, maybe someone’s in there with a flash light. Do you think they’re stealing the lawnmower? I’ll get the dog.”

Moments later, John was dragging his unenthusiastic dog towards the shed. “You need to bark or something to scare them, Adams.”

Adams refused to cooperate, and John had to hope that his presence alone would be scary enough for any intruders. He coaxed Adams a little closer and threw open the shed door. He blinked.

“I told you there wasn’t a light on in the shed.” His wife leaned in and looked around. “It doesn’t really need one.”

John found his voice. “What is this?” He looked around. Just beyond his lawnmower and rake and a box of odds and ends, there was a field of soft purple flowers that stretched out to distant blue mountains. Giant bees flitted from flower to flower in the light of the two suns high over head.

Turning around, the newly familiar backyard seemed dark in the twilight compared to the bright sunlight streaming from the shed. Was there a field of flowers in his shed yesterday? How did it even fit in there?

“It’s a doorway to another world.” His wife smiled. “Isn’t it lovely?”

“You knew about this? When did it get here? It wasn’t all sunny and flowery when I put the lawnmower in.”

She laughed. “Of course not. Time works different there. It’s slower. It’s been night there most of the time we’ve lived here. I thought you knew. Isn’t this why we bought the house?”

What? “Of course not. I liked the big yard. Adams needs space to run around. And the living room was just the right height for my tallest bookshelves. I’ve never even heard of doorways to other worlds. What other worlds are there?”

“But we met in that lovely cafe on that world where everyone was purple and only had one eye. The one with the great band?”

John frowned. “I thought it was a costume party, and you and I were the only ones who weren’t in costume.”

“And our third date? Atlantis?”

“I thought it was an interactive aquarium.”

“And when you met my parents?”

John dropped Adams’ leash, and the dog ran back to the house. “You aren’t from this world?”

She laughed. “Neither are you.” She pointed to the horizon.

John turned. There were three moons. Were there always three moons? “Three? That’s not right.”

“It is for here. How did you not notice?”

John looked into the shed, at the flowers and bees and mountains. He closed the door. He looked at the three moons and then turned away. “Let’s go in the house. I guess I’m not very observant. Why don’t you tell me more.”

When they bought the new house, John thought that he was turning a page in his life. But that night, walking into a house that no longer seemed familiar at all, John realized that he didn’t even know what page he was on. Or where the book was. Was there a book?

Life was about to get really interesting. And this time, John would make sure he noticed when it did. Just as soon as he figured out where he was living now.