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They’re feuding. Have been for months. Next time, the dog gets a bullet.

She ruffles Baxter’s fur – watch it buddy – but one whiff of sheep and he’s over the fence, ears pinned, nipping at lamb rumps.

The gunshot splits time. She finds Baxter in undergrowth, blood soaked and stiff. That same day, her husband leaves her with two under two.

Word gets around. Winter bites. The neighbour appears, unbidden. He stacks wood in her shed, unloads hay for the horses.

Thought you could use it.

Rain pelts down.

She ruffles the puppy’s fur, and puts the kettle on.


Second place in Vocal Media Microfiction challenge, 2023.


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