Playing the Muse Wars again this month… Take the image supplied, add one thousand-ish words, shake and pour.
As far back as she really cared to remember, her name had always just been Bitch.
Somewhere in the back of her mind there was an unpleasant sensation that came and went, ebbed and flowed. It reminded her of fly buzzing in a corner unseen, the very sound of it swollen and blown; and it was ignited by the gravel rash sound of the man of her house calling her name…
Sometimes. More often it was the sight of his other girl that stirred it, that annoying frantic fly blown with irritation. His other girl, haughty and confident, sure of her place. When he took the two of them out walking together she often heard the man of the house joke to casual acquaintances, neighbors tending to their gardens, that he never played favorites. Every time, in the guffawing symphony of laughter that followed, she was sure she saw his other girl look at her and smile serenely, eyes bright blue and teeth far too canine to call her pretty.
He never played favorites. Of course not. Not that anyone would see as they walked the neighborhood block on sunset, his girl… and his bitch.
The neighbors didn’t see what happened once they returned home, once the padlock snapped closed on the eight foot gates. It was, indeed, just as the man of the house said– he did not play favorites.
This was, after all, no game.
Noone but the three of them knew what happened once the gates were closed. The girl and the man had eyes only for another. Laying together on the lounge in the comfy, warm indoors; they either did not hear or paid no attention to the bitch outside, crying pitifully in soft mews.
One was inside, the other out. One ate only the best broiled steak marbled with wagyu fat, the other the scraps from the table. While one was pampered, bathed regularly and groomed immaculately; the other was washed only on the rare occasion that she needed to be taken in that horrible, noisy car for unavoidable medical attention. That had only happened once, and she had been so terrified of the bright lights and loud noise and vivid red blood spouting from a deep cut that required stitching and a tetanus shot, obtained on a rusty piece of tin half hidden in the dirt of the back garden; that she had been unable to protest, incapable of making even the slightest noise…. and she had been very, very careful ever since.
They were different, obviously, the two females in the man’s life– that much was evident by looking at them. Time and time again she had pleaded silently with her eyes, why? What makes us so different? Only once had she been able to make him understand, and his answer was unsatisfactory. “That’s just the way it is, bitch. Two’s company. Three’s a crowd.” And that gravel rash laugh again, amplifying her confusion.
But really, in the grand scheme of things, it hadn’t taken long to train the bitch to stop pleading with her eyes, to stop asking that damn ‘why?’ question over and over again. The man of the house knew her weak spot, he knew exactly how to hurt her and make her think twice before she questioned her place in the pack. Casting big, sad puppy dog eyes in his direction had little effect.
It was simply a matter of leaving her at home when he took his girl on their evening walk around the block. His human companion was not well, he’d tell the neighbors. But his dog, his favorite company… as they could see, she was just fine.
She was, too, and she knew it. She looked back down the street, teeth bared, seeming to smile serenely.
While the man’s wife… his bitch. She stared out at them through a tiny gap in the eight foot fence.