Acknowledgements: Special thanks to Claire and Antonia, my beta readers/confidants. Their patience and expertise made me look good J
Feedback: Constructive AND destructive comments welcome:
A small unwrapped box lay on top of a coffee-stained desk. Sea-green eyes carefully examining the round shaped pendant, which bears a dog’s silhouette.
She continued to read the letter.
The team expedition is doing great, we found so many artifacts. We’re having a blast despite all the work.
Hope you’ll love your souvenir. We’ll send more news for you from Mongolia.
Putting the pendant around her neck, Shane walked to the bathroom, checking her appearance in the mirror.
Her brother Gene and his wife Eka were archeologists, working on a digging expedition in Mongolia. Walking back to the living room, Shane threw away the box and kept the letter in the drawer.
She looked at the picture that was sent together with the letter. Her brother Gene was an older, male version of herself. Except for his light brown eyes, he had similar tousled blonde hair and smile. His arms lovingly encircled a shorter, darker woman with straight black hair. Her Native-American heritage was clearly shown with the prominent sharp cheek bones and her piercing dark eyes.
Gene you lucky devil, she mused.
She received the package from Mongolia this morning. Shane shuddered remembering the sleazy FedEx guy that was trying to hit on her.
Yawning, Shane rubbed her face tiredly. Why am I so tired? She yawned again.
Trudging towards the bed, she landed on the soft mattress face first, groaning. One eye peeked at the alarm clock.
Oh well, maybe just a little nap.
A couple of minutes later, Shane was fast asleep.
Hmm…smells like grass, and I can hear the birds chirping… and it’s warm…
One eye peeked opened.
What the hell? Where am I? Looking up she realized that she was lying under a willow tree.
She was at a park. Some kids running past her, screaming and laughing with each other. There were several single people sitting and lying upon the grass enjoying their picnic.
She headed to the streets, straight to the sidewalks.
Something wasn’t right. She was moving too fast, and everyone seemed bigger and taller. EVERYONE, even a little girl that looked about 5 years old in a cute dungaree who stopped in front of her, holding an ice cream to her face.
“Ice creeeem…” she giggled. Shane smiled at her antics. Cute, she thought.
Suddenly, a larger hand snatched the ice cream, and Shane was surprised that she yelped.
“Jamie! Don’t do that!”
“But mummy…” the girl sounded that she was about to cry. The woman just sighed and picked her up.
Shane moved again, expertly dodging around people on the sidewalk. She passed a pet shop and stopped, looking through the glass at the kittens playing around with each other. One kitten spotted her and tried to sniff her through the glass.
Aaawww, they’re adorable, she thought. She looked at her reflection on the mirror, and froze.
It wasn’t Shane Whitworth face she was looking at, it was a dog, with its tongue lolling out from its mouth.
She turned around, and stared at a wagging tail.
What is going on?? How did I… She stopped and tried to remember something. Package… Mongolia… pendant… went to bed… The pendant! That’s it! She looked at her reflection and panicked. The pendant wasn’t around her neck.
Shane shouted, or at least she thought she shouted.
Amanda turned around, eyes darted to the other side of the street, locating the sound of a howling dog. Her eyes finally landed on a Golden Retriever, turning in circles in front of a pet shop.
Throwing her empty cup of mocha to the nearby rubbish bin, she crossed the street, carefully watching for incoming vehicles. As she approached the dog, it was banging its head on the window mirror.
I gotta wake up. WAKE UP SHANE! WAKE UP!
“Hey there…” the head banging stopped. Shane turned to look at the dark hair woman, who knelt down. Blue eyes looked at her with affection, hand reached out tentatively to her.
“It’s okay, I’m not gonna hurt you…” Amanda scratched the dog’s ears and neck, when she noticed the clear green eyes.
Shane followed the tall woman home, or rather was dragged home by her.
Amanda picked the wailing dog up and walked straight to her car, much to the amusement of the onlookers.
In the back seat of the car, Shane tried repeatedly to fall sleep, hoping that she would wake up as her normal self again. She failed miserably, her senses remaining fully alert. The fresh smell of the woman’s perfume and her deep alto voice singing softly to the radio were driving Shane nuts.
Well, in a good way…
Amanda glanced at the dog through the rear-view mirror, who cocking its head to the side, staring at her.
Cute, she mused. Still… those eyes. How many times do you find a stray dog with green eyes?
“We’re here.” They had arrived at a beautiful, modern house. When they went inside, Shane noticed the neat interior but lack of furniture. White-tiled floors and white-painted walls made the environment airy and spacious.
She stopped and looked at the big boxes stacked at one corner of the room.
That explain the lack of stuff… hmm… either she’s just moved in or moving out…
“Come here doggy…”
If Shane could roll her eyes, she would. Yet, she found herself slowly padding towards Amanda.
Must be this doggy body, she huffed. It automatically follows commands!
“Come here…” Amanda sat in front of the dog, and tried to make Shane lifted her front paws and body, at the same time peering down on the lower parts of Shane’s anatomy.
What are you doing woman??? Shane tried to wiggle out from the woman’s grip, huffing, growling.
“Urrgh… Will you stay still?” Amanda sighed. The dog stepped back and barked. Amanda was about to crawl forward and reach out to the dog, but stopped when the dog slowly stepped back again. On all fours this time, Amanda slowly crawled forward. Again the dog slowly retreated. Playfully, Amanda lifted her right hand, watching with amusement as the dog lifted its left back paw, ready to step back.
Smart dog, Amanda mentally grinned.
Sneaky Amazon, Shane mentally grumbled.
“Come here…come here doggy…” The dog reluctantly stepped closer.
Slender hand scratched the furry chest, and Shane automatically lay on her back.
Hey that feels good…
“That’s a good doggy,” Amanda playfully cooed at her. She proceeded to scratch the belly.
“Aha! You’re a girl.”
It had been three hours since Amanda found the dog on the street.
Three hours since Shane went to take a harmless nap, and woke up as a dog.
Shane was going crazy. This is one helluva of twilight zone, and all because of that damn pendant, she thought grumpily.
Still… She stared at the tall figure, who was busying herself in the kitchen.
Shane’s head jerked up when she sniffed something delicious.
She trudged towards the dining table.
“Hope you like chicken,” the tall woman set a bowl on the floor.
Shane snorted. Who doesn’t like chicken? She trotted towards the bowl and dug into her food.
“Hmm…I should take you to the vet tomorrow.”
Her ears instantly perked up. Oh no…
“What should I call you?”
Don’t you dare name me!
“Mercedes?” Shane stared at the twinkling blue eyes.
You’re kidding right?
They both heard the doorbell and the unmistakable thump of a box hitting the front porch. Abandoning her meal, Amanda walked towards the front door, Shane padded closely behind her.
As the door was opened, Shane couldn’t believe her eyes. It’s that sleazy FedEx guy from this morning!
“Afternoon,” the man leered at the tall figure under the blue shirt and long legs that were covered by skin-tight jeans.
“Afternoon…” Amanda muttered.
She silently signed the electronic pad, almost jumped and instantly stepped backwards when the man leaned closer.
“Hey!” Ignoring the annoyed woman, the man peeked his head inside the house.
“So… What’s with the boxes? Just moved in?”
Amanda shoved the pad back to him. “Just go okay?” she angrily said.
“Relax lady,” he smiled smugly. “I’m just trying to be friendly.”
Shane bared her teeth and growled. The fact that she could growl fiercely now made her feel good. She had really wanted to growl at him this morning when he tried to hit on her, but it just wouldn’t have had the same effect.
Shane snapped at his leg. He yelped, and ran back to his van.
“Good girl Mercedes!” Amanda gave the furry head a kiss, “Ohh… I'm falling in love with you now. I should keep you…”
Shane sighed inwardly.
This is not how I want a woman to fall in love with me.
“God, I'm sleepy…” Amanda yawned, chuckled when the dog yawned too. Lying down on the couch, she motioned the dog over.
“Come here girl…” the dark-haired woman tried again, smiled when the dog slowly made her way toward the couch.
“Up,” Shane was half-lifted and now she lay on top of Amanda.
“Let’s took a little nap shall we?”
How the hell am I going to nap like this? Shane groaned. Yet, minutes later, Shane began to doze off.
“Umm… what…?” Shane’s eyes flew opened and she stared at her surrounding in the way only someone who has just woken up can do, until she realized that she was back in her room.
Instantly she sat up on her bed.
It was just a dream, thank god… She fingered the pendant on her neck, and hastily took it off. Putting it on the end table, she sighed.
Sorry Eka, don’t think I’m gonna wear that anytime soon.
Her eyes darted to the alarm clock.
2:00 p.m.? Wow I slept too long…
In another neighborhood, a figure woke up from a slumber, when she realized that her companion was nowhere to be found.
Two weeks later, Shane had quit thinking about her strange experience. She finally had the guts to wear the pendant again, convinced that the pendant wasn’t really cursed nor did it have magical powers.
It was all a dream.
Pulling her car up into her driveway, Shane noticed a tall woman unloading boxes from a blue truck across the street.
Hmm, new neighbor… She narrowed her eyes, and devilishly grinned. A very gorgeous neighbor… have I seen her before?…
Carefully balancing the groceries in her arms, she tried to unlock the front door, when a puppy running towards her, barking.
“Hey there cutie…” she stared into the big brown eyes of the Labrador Retriever, its tail wagging excitedly.
“Mercedes!” The puppy ears perked up. Shane raised her eyebrow. Mercedes? A familiarity struck her. Nah, must be a coincidence.
“Sorry about my dog, didn’t mean to disturb you.”
“No its okay, he’s cute by the way…”
“It’s a she actually,” the tall woman extended her hand, “I’m Amanda Lyeton. I just moved from across town.”
“Shane Whitworth.” She tilted her head to the side, “Would you like some help unloading your truck?”
When Amanda smiled at her sweetly, Shane knew she was hooked. “That would be great.”
Clearing her throat, Shane stammered, “Well… I… I… just let me put these inside first.”
Shane and Amanda became fast friend. When they spent time together, both could feel themselves being drawn closer to one other. They took things slowly, content to wait to see where their hearts led them.
Shane never told Amanda about her weird ‘doggie’ dream, and Amanda never told Shane that she reminded her of a peculiar dog she found on the street. Both agreed that it was best to keep some things to themselves.
Although there was that time Shane and Mercedes chased the sleazy FedEx guy around the neighborhood…
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