Reddit Writing Prompt #24: Playing Dog

You are a teenager living with your single parent, a mad scientist. It’s up to you to clean up after the many messes left behind. – Noy2222

“Sit,” Melinda said, firmly staring down the ‘dog’. “Sit. I said sit.

The ‘dog’ snarled at her. It was the size of a draft horse, pitch black, with teeth like knives and eyes like a devil. Also: a pair of leathery wings, a barbed tail, and according to her father, the ability to breathe fire.

Melinda didn’t care. Compared to a lot of her dad’s monstrosities, this thing was a kitten. “Sit,” she repeated, holding the flank steak in front of her. Behind her back, she held her backup plan, in case things got too out of control.

The ‘dog’ opened its mouth and took a deep breath. Melinda saw fire crackling in the back of its throat, and acted fast. She brought the spray bottle out from behind her back and squirted a stream of water into the beast’s mouth. It recoiled, gagging and retching, the fire quenched. “I said sit,” Melinda said again.

“You know, just once I’d like him to make something innocent,” Melinda said while the ‘dog’ relieved itself on a tree. “Something simple. Like, a cat that acts like a dog. Or the other way around. But no, it’s always gotta be something ridiculously deadly.” The ‘dog’ put its leg down and started pulling on its leash. The tree it had been lifting its leg onto had caught fire. “And of course you have flammable pee. Why wouldn’t you?”

Melinda hit the small fire with her squirt bottle, while the ‘dog’ strained against its leash to keep going, leathery wings itching to fly. “No,” Melinda said, squirting the ‘dog’. It recoiled from the water, and growled at her again, but Melinda didn’t let herself feel threatened.

Nobody stared at them as they passed on the street, though the ‘dog’ looked ready to snap at a few people. Melinda Ottostein taking her father’s abominations out on walks was a fairly common sight, and a giant winged dog was a lot better than most of Doctor Ottostein’s monsters. There was still a support group for people who had been accosted by the pack of giant tarantulas that the Doctor had trained to act like large, affectionate dogs made out of nightmares.

Melinda wasn’t sure what he had been thinking when he made that. Then again, she was rarely sure what went through her father’s head. He was brilliant, yes, but a bit unhinged. Okay, a lot unhinged. In fact, there weren’t even any hinges at all. Her father was more like a sliding door. Melinda was bad at metaphors, but very good at taking monsters for walks.

They made it to the dog park and back with only minimal casualties, and all of them were squirrels who suffered heart attacks after seeing the ‘dog’. The house was built like a castle, because something about her father’s chosen career made him immensely worried that there was one day going to be an angry mob calling for his blood, and he wanted something defensible. The gates opened at Melinda’s approach, and she led the ‘dog’ back to the basement.

“In,” she commanded, pointing at the thick-barred cage. The beast growled, having had enough of taking orders from a sixteen-year-old girl. Melinda repeated herself. “In. You’re not going to do this, are you? Okay, fine.”

She reached into her pocket and retrieved a dog treat. She tossed it in the cage, and the ‘dog’ charged after it, base instincts outweighing its desire to not be caged. Melinda slammed the door shut and turned the key in the lock. “Good boy,” Melinda said. “Or girl, or whatever the heck you are.”

The beast threw its shoulder against the bars of the cage, barking like a piece of artillery. Melinda hit it with the squirt bottle again.

One thought on “Reddit Writing Prompt #24: Playing Dog

  1. This is the first story I’ve seen where you write as a female. Good for you! I love the mad professor even though we don’t meet him. Also the sliding door metaphors and the tarantulas. Don’t quite get the ending….again, you’ll have to explain to me. So4ry about being a bit thick. Blame old age! Many thanks for sending these, I do enjoy them. Love, Oma


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