I am starting a new series in an attempt to post more of my fiction on this blog. The goal is to post a snippet or chapter from a work in progress (not published yet) here on the blog every few weeks. This week I decided to post the first chapter from The Adventures of Zelda: Pug and Peach. Pug and Peach (the third in the Zelda series) officially launches on September 2, but for those who want a sneak peek, here you go.
The Mouth Game
I jump on Lucy’s bed and curl up under the covers with her for the night. I close my eyes and let the exhaustion take over. My pug body is tired after a long day of playing and chasing my brand new sister. My sister is my Christmas gift. She was the best gift ever—making me the happiest pug on the planet. She is a Boston terrier, and her name is Peach.
Peach is a little bigger than I am, with tall, pointy ears, droopy lips, and a pug-like smashed face. Peach doesn’t have nearly the number of wrinkles I do. She is dark, brindled-brown with patches of white, including a white stripe down her head to her nose, and a small peach spot on her nose. I think that’s why she is named Peach. Although she is a good-looking dog, Peach is not as pretty as me, especially since she doesn’t have a curly tail. Her tail is short and a bit crooked. Honestly, I don’t really care what she looks like; I am just excited to have a canine friend.
When I open my eyes the next day, light shines through the window, and the spot next to me is empty. Lucy is awake already. I stand and stretch—my body isn’t used to all this exercise during the cold season. I hear movement downstairs as I go through my morning round of sneezes.
My family is gathered in the living room and eating breakfast. I see Peach nestled in a spot between Lucy and Hannah on the couch. Lucy is laughing as Peach repeatedly licks Lucy’s face. I feel a pang of envy rip through me, but I ignore it and walk into the kitchen.
I smell bacon!
Nate is cooking in the kitchen, so I sit patiently next to him. If I stay calm, I am sure he will give me a piece of bacon. But it is so hard to remain calm when bacon is at stake. I sit and stare. I can’t see the bacon, but the smell is overpowering.
“Zelda, quiet,” Nate says. I sit again. I didn’t mean to bark, but I couldn’t help it. Peach wanders into the kitchen.
“Hi, Peach,” Nate says. “Do you want some bacon?” Peach trots over to Nate and starts leaping into the air.
She is springy!
“I think that means yes,” Nate says, laughing. I inch closer to him. He better not forget about me. Nate grabs a piece of bacon. I do my best sit and stare at Nate with my bulgy, brown eyes.
“Good sit, Zelda,” he says. “Peach, can you sit?” Peach continues to leap for the bacon while I wait patiently like the model pug that I am.
“No, Peach,” he says and tries to get Peach to sit.
How long will I have to wait?
Finally, Peach sits, and Nate gives her a piece of the bacon.
“Good girl, Zelda,” he says and gives me the remaining bacon. I scarf it up in a second.
“Okay, that’s it for now. You’re free,” he says. I walk to the living room. Peach follows.
I find a comfortable spot on the couch next to Lucy. Peach jumps onto the couch and squeezes into the spot next to me. I look at her, and she nips at my face in a playful manner. I bite back, aiming for her mouth, but she shifts out of the way. I try again; this time she opens her mouth as mine approaches. We lock mouths, attempting to maneuver our mouths over top each other’s.
We shift and squirm as the game continues, trying to get an advantage. Peach ends up upside down on Ben’s lap. I jump on top of Peach, confident that I have her mouth cornered.
“Mom, what’s happening?” Ben asks. I snap at Peach, but she dodges to the right. I pause for a moment to listen.
“They are playing, don’t worry about it,” Hannah says.
Oh, good. Hannah understands.
While I am distracted, Peach nips for my neck. I jerk backward just in time.
“They seem like they are trying to hurt each other,” Ben says.
“No, this is how dogs play. If they were trying to hurt each other, you would know,” Hannah says. “Although this is a funny game they are playing.” I go in for the final bite.
I have her mouth!
“It kind of seems like they are trying to figure out whose mouth is bigger,” Ben says. Hannah laughs.
“It does,” Hannah responds.
I have Peach’s mouth for only seconds before she wiggles her way out of the hold. But the moment of victory supercharges me. I leap off the couch and sprint around the coffee table, into the dining room, sliding as I go, and back to the living room. I jump to the couch and give Peach a quick nip, urging her to follow my next move. I leap again, but this time I run up the stairs and away from the slippery floor. I hear thumps behind me, and I know Peach is following. She catches up to me quickly, and I run under Lucy’s bed. She’s unable to fit, so she stops and barks at me. I lie on the floor panting for a few minutes. Peach keeps barking.
“What’s going on up here?” Nate asks. He walks into the room. Peach stands on her hind legs and licks his hand. I crawl out from the bed.
“Oh, hi, Zelda. Come on, let’s go downstairs,” he says. We follow him downstairs to the living room. I see an open blanket.
“It looks like they are done playing the ‘Whose Mouth Is Bigger’ game,” Ben says.
For now, but we will play again.