I decided to write a list of different prompts to try and broaden the topics I write about, the prompt for this oneshot is:
'Walk the dog'
If anyone has any ideas of words/phrases I can add to my prompt list, I'd love to hear them in a review!
Brian reached down and unclipped the lead from Scampi's harness; gleams of light bouncing off the shiny metal in the morning sun. He glanced down at his watch; mindful of the time. It had become routine for him that every time Esther went away, he'd walk the dog in the woods every morning. The change in scenery had easily woven into his schedule, and the ease at which it had made him question why he had never thought of it before. Ever since he had discovered the ancient skeleton, he had become fascinated with the premise of being so close to many undiscovered mysteries. The pooch took off for a nearby tree, running circles around the tall, thick trunk. He wound the lead around his hand and followed Scampi as he ran through the trees searching for his newfound friend. He made his way through the leaves and branches cluttering the thin footpath through the trees.. Twigs broke under his step, leaving behind a trail of broken wood. The browns and golds of autumn covered the forest, not allowing any glimpses of green to shine through with the exception of the few evergreen bushes and trees dotted throughout the land.
His voice echoed through the trees, bouncing off each trunk as his eyes scanned the landscape for his dog, but he had no luck. The chestnut colour of his fur perfectly blended in with their surroundings, making him much harder to locate. As the breeze began to pick up, he pulled his coat closer around himself and pushed his hands further into the deep pockets at the front of the coat.
He spun on his heels to find the origin of the familiar voice echoing back towards him. He walked towards his friend as she stood in front of a few of the evergreen shrubs. He walked towards her with a huge smile on his face.
"Good morning Brian. How are you?"
He reached down to clip the lead back onto Scampi's harness before turning his attention to the woman standing in front of him.
"Alice! I'm good thank you, how are you?"
It had been a few months since he had last seen the professor. She wrapped her scarf around her as the breeze began to nip at her neck. He shook her hand as he greeted her, excited to have a catch up with her.
"I'm good thank you Brian. How is the rhododendron doing? Did Esther like it?"
He chucked to himself as he thought about the small potted plant Alice had kindly given him a year prior for his wife, knowing she loved the flowered plant. It had soon outgrown the terracotta pot it had been potted into, and had to be moved outside to join the many plants Esther had planted over the years.
"Esther loved it. We even had some lovely purple flowers this year."
His mind went back to the day Esther had left for her break. She had prepared all of his meals like usual, colour coding the tupperware containers in the fridge with a chart telling him which day each colour represented. He already knew everything as her mini-breaks were as often as once every couple of months. She knew that he had memorised the routine by now, but it reassured her to explain it before she left every time, so he let her. It made him smile just as much as it annoyed him to hear her going through the watering schedule for the garden, and the cleaning he needed to do. She had written out strict instructions on how often to water the plants; especially the rhododendron. She loved that plant dearly. Each time she glanced out of the kitchen window whilst doing the washing up, a large smile overtook her face as it reminded her how much her husband loved and cared for her. Esther had become overjoyed when the first purple bud appeared at the bottom of the bush. She had dug the camera out from the kitchen cupboard, taking photos as the buds that followed began to bloom. She cared for the plant as if it was her child. The flowers had remained for only three weeks or so, but it was a wonderful three weeks. Esther had begun behaving like an overexcited child in a candy shop, dragging Brian outside whenever another flower had bloomed. The blooms gave her a wonderful mood and not even one of Brian's antics could foul the mood. He had pondered why he hadn't got her a rhododendron years ago if this was the effect it had on her.
Alice shot Brian a smile; she was extremely happy that her kind gesture had been the cause of someone's happiness. She hadn't seen Brian for months after her research had been completed. The first time they had met, she had discovered a lot about Esther, and she was clearly very important to Brian. She had considered Brian a friend, after the few meetings they had had back in the woods in the following couple of months after discovering the 600 year old skeleton together.
"I'm checking up on an ongoing research project by the students. Planting native species. There has been a decline and now is the last chance before the weather gets too harsh."
She pointed down at where her students had planted a variety of young native plants and wildflowers. They lay in sections, separating the different species. A camping chair sat at the end of the roped off area, with a clipboard and camera sat on top of it.
"How's it going?"
He walked over to check out the young plants in the ground; keeping Scampi on a tight leash after how he had behaved with the plants in his garden. Scampi had dug up any previous attempts at growing Esther's favourite flower shrubs, so she had taken no chances with the rhododendron. Brian had been enlisted to create a little picket fence enclosing the plant using the tools that had previously sat unused on the shelves in his shed.
"It's a little too early to tell at the moment but I'll let you know in a few weeks. We actually had one spare plant. Would you like to take it for Esther?"
She pointed down at the small pot of bluebells next to her chair. She reached down and picked the pot up, offering it to Brian. He smiled in appreciation and took it under his arm after switching Scampi's leash to the other one. He spun his wrist around to glance at the little face on the other side, revealing the time to be almost 8.30.
She shot him a concerned look, not knowing why he had begun to panic. It was as if he had sensed her questions and provided her with the answers before she had even asked.
"Sandra wants me in for 9 and I still have to take Scampi home. She'll kill me if I take him to the office."
Alice let out a laugh before shaking his hand goodbye and she watched him stumble back through the woods to head home. Brian allowed Scampi to pull ahead, leading the way out of the wooden maze.