A short story about friendship


By Len A.Hynds

It was a perfect day, as I walked slowly along the footpath, the sun directly overhead, its’ warming rays shining like spotlights through the foliage of the overhanging trees. The sunspots reflected a million times on the ripples of the gently flowing stream, moving away from me as it curved away into the distance.

Wild flowers were growing along the banks and in the hedgerow to my left, on the other side of which I could see the perfect apple trees in an orchard, its fruit so colourful in red and yellow. This was such a perfect place I thought, and in wonder I could smell the flowers, which I knew to be impossible, as I had lost my sense of smell years ago. Heidi my sons dog which I was taking for a walk, spotted a moorhen in the stream, and went to jump in order to chase it, I called quickly for her to stop, which she did, but realised that the words had emerged from my mouth before I had put my thumb to my throat for me to be able to utter the words. Without vocal cords, and breathing through a hole in the neck, that is really the only way that I could talk, but the words had emerged so easily. I knew that some people who had lost vocal cords could speak by controlling air through the stomach, but it takes years of practice. I put the lead on Heidi, as she was still keen to show me her swimming skills in the stream, against that dangerous moorhen.

I thought about dear Heidi, a much maligned beautiful lady Rottweiler, who loved her family dearly, and of all the times we had looked after her when my son and his family were away on holiday.

It was with a sudden shock, that I remembered she had died some eight years before of cancer, and this dog could not possibly be her. But it was and I was taking a ghost dog for a country walk. I stopped to try and fathom things out, and Heidi sat beside me licking my hand. I tried to think of when she first appeared to me on that day, but it had all started on that footpath beside the stream. I forced myself to think of earlier in the day, and all I could think of was the vision of myself driving my car, when something very large came out from a side turning, and I knew it was going to hit me. It was a complete blank from that moment on until I was taking dear Heidi for a walk in those beautiful surroundings.

Nervously I felt at my throat for the white medical bib, but it wasn’t there, and there was no breathing hole in my neck. I was stunned. I opened my mouth and said “Heidi”, looking down at her. It was my old voice! I felt inside my shirt for the bulge in my chest and the pacemaker had vanished as well. I seemed to be able to breathe easier, and my whole body felt different.

I realised what had happened earlier in that accident, I had not survived, and Heidi was leading me somewhere. It was with a very strange feeling that I continued along that path.

We came to a very ornamental gate on the left, and we entered slowly, to see a man sitting apparently waiting for me. I said to him, “Is this heaven?” He smiled and said, “Yes, you are most welcome, we have been waiting for you,” I asked about Heidi and he said, “No I’m sorry, we don’t allow pets here.” I explained that she had been dead for several years, and he replied, “Yes, I’m sorry, pets are in limbo outside.” I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving Heidi a second time, so together we walked out of the gates, going goodness knows where.

We suddenly came to another gate and we went in. A pleasant young man said, I’m glad you made it, this is the real heaven.” I said, “Why do you allow them to be there.” He said, “We find them useful in screening those who would discard their best friend.