Lena got the scar on her forehead after a gust of wind shattered the big front window. At the time, she lived on a street that rode a coastal ridge just south of San Francisco. Most of the year, the entire region was blanketed in fog. Sometimes it flew in on howling winds that turned her umbrella inside out. Other times, the fog curled in and around the houses slow enough that Lena felt she could outrun it.

It was here that a dog lived its entire life behind a fence on the corner lot. His sharp, deep bark would echo around the neighborhood. Sometimes, Lena and her friends could hear his howl from the top of the water tank about a half mile away. In the cool mist, they’d dangle their feet over the edge and tell each other stories about wolves that ate children who wandered through forests. On those grassy, windblown hills the fog was Lena’s forest.

Once, Lena peeked through a large knothole in the dog’s fence and saw his nose twitch near the opening. As she thought about petting him, Lena touched the scar on her forehead and felt the smooth lines where the gash had been threaded together. She didn’t remember the glass exploding or hitting her in the face. She didn’t remember the pain as it etched a trail across her skin. On stormy days when Lena was stuck inside, she put her scar against coolness of the window as she watched the bushes and trees lash the wind.

Even though the dog’s gaze made Lena uncomfortable, his golden eyebrows made her half smile. It gave her just enough confidence to put her hand through the hole, just far enough that her jacket began to bunch up towards her elbow. When Lena felt his warm breath on her wrist, she reached out and touched a bit of fur. A moment later she felt a hard pinch, and she yanked her hand through the hole. Splinters bit into her skin. The dog’s nose slipped from her view.

Lena’s heart pounded as she walked to the sidewalk and sat down on the curb. She cradled her wrist. It was a tiny wound really, more of a scratch. Lena shivered as a moist breeze hugged her ankles. She looked up and watched the white wall slide down the street towards her corner. She’d been told not to go near the dog and now her stomach felt pinched. So, she sat and waited for the wind to shift.


© Jan Joe and Born in the year of the dog, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jan Joe and Born in the year of the dog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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