By Chella Courington
Muriel was six, and Cal two.
He looked like a black and white Border Collie with thick, almost curly, hair that shed everywhere from the bathroom mat to Muriel’s candy cane sheets. His eyes were pale blue, sometimes glowing in the dark. But his furry ears, the right erect and the left floppy, were Muriel’s favorite.
She liked to hold each between her thumb and index finger, lick it like a lollipop, her tongue wetting both sides before she slid it between her lips. Her teeth gently bit into the velvety flesh, his fur tickling her nose. He squirmed and whined but never barked, letting her suck and bite until her mouth grew warm and tired. Her muscles twitched.
This was their Saturday activity, the day her dad played golf, until Muriel’s mother walked into her daughter’s room one April morning and caught Muriel and Cal behind the sheers. Their silhouette like two of Camille Claudel’s nudes. He on his haunches, she leaning over.
Pulling the curtain back, the mother stood staring. Muriel slowly released Cal’s ear.
“What is wrong with you?” her mother shouted.
Cal lunged at the mother’s waist. His incisors ripping her floral skirt.
He was gone the next day.
Muriel kept biting.
Chella Courington is a writer and teacher whose poetry and stories appear or are forthcoming in numerous anthologies and journals including SmokeLong Quarterly, The Collagist, and The Los Angeles Review. Her novella, Adele and Tom: The Portrait of a Marriage, is available at Breaking Rules Publishing. (chellacourington.net)