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The Basset Hound (1981)

A short story I wrote in high school, 1980-82 or so.

The Basset Hound

The Basset Hound leisurely trotted down the center of the railroad tracks. The sky was vast, pale, and blue, and curved down an left and right to meet the green lines of trees in the forest. The wind was dry and brisk and smelled of pine. The only sounds were the few sounds of the forest, the wind rushing past his long, drooping, soft ears, and the clicking of his toenails on the rocky gravel between the planks in the tracks.

A hawk soaring over caught the corner of his eyes, and before his brain had time to recognize and identify it as harmless, curiosity or instinct or fear gave him a small jolt into running. Normally, he  have just have increased his speed for a step or two until the signal “slow down again—false alarm” reached his legs. But, as in most dogs, his life was very simple and moment by moment.

The new heat and invigoration felt good, so he kept running. He increased his speed even more. The heat and the fantastic sensation of sucking, almost viciously, the delicious air into his lungs, along with the engagement and thrill of the perfect and ecstatically painful act of running, caused him to run faster and faster,

The heat was building up. The planks rushed past, and he was breathing in quick, desperate gulps. The roar of the wind grew louder and louder, too loud. A sub-conscious feeling crept into his awareness; the running didn’t only feel good, it had some other purpose also. but the dog was so involved in running, breathing, and enjoying life that he paid no heed to the intuitive little signals being given to him,

There was a pounding all about, and then something definitely went wrong, too strong to be ignored. In the midst of this rare and strange experience, a whistle could be heard in the background. As he cocked his head instinctively to place the source and identity of the out of place sound, the train, with a thundering, cataclysmic climax, came rushing over him.

[Dedicated to Fernando Muñoz]

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