“Shelby! Come, Shelby!” called Kitty and Eva Armstrong in unison to their golden lab puppy. Shelby bounded over, his drooling tongue lolling out of his mouth and his ears perked up in the air. Kitty and Eva were 9 year old twins.
“Good boy, Shelby!” giggled Kitty, wrapping her arms around the excited puppy.
“Let’s see if he’ll fetch the tennis ball!” said Eva in her soft voice. Kitty nodded eagerly and tossed a ball to the other side of the backyard. The ball bounced along the ground and rolled to a stop next to the twins’ swing set that their dad, Andrew Armstrong had made.
“Fetch, Shelby!” called Kitty. Shelby cocked his head and raced after the ball, barking happily. The ball was next to the twins’ swing set. Shelby skidded to a stop, picked up the ball, and ran back, dropping it at Kitty’s feet.
“YAY! Good dog!” cried Kitty.
“Girls! It’s dinner time! We’re having your favourite: sausages!” called Kristin Armstrong, the girls’ mom. Kitty ran into her mom’s arms, hugging her tight.
“We taught Shelby how to fetch, Mommy!” Kitty cried. “He can actually do it!” She bounced up and down excitedly.
“That’s great! But did you two do your homework? ” said Andrew as he came out of the house carrying a sizzling frying pan.
“We don’t have much in Grade 4, Daddy!” Eva said, giggling.
“Andrew! Keep the sausages on the stove!” laughed Kristin. Andrew hurried inside. “Wash your hands and then come to the table, okay?” she said, turning to her daughters. Kitty and Eva nodded and hurried inside. But little did they know the gate was still open; swinging, swinging in the breeze.
Randolph Hale grabbed his worn book of crossword puzzles and sighed heavily. His back ached as he sat down on his rocking chair and opened the crossword book. Randolph looked around him at the room: one chair, one small table and a few books on a little bookshelf. His only cup, plate and set of cutlery were on the table from dinner still, but he was too tired to wash them. The wind blew through the house, sending Randolph’s old curtains blowing in the air. Ginger, Randolph’s cat, meowed at his feet, rubbing her soft fur against Randolph’s wrinkled old legs. My only friend, thought Randolph sadly. A window flew open and there was the sound of someone coughing outside. Randolph jumped.
“What was that?” he asked Ginger, but she only replied with a soft purr. Randolph shook his head and went back to his crossword. What’s a 4 letter word for sphere starter? he thought to himself, scratching his stubbly chin, and he didn’t think of the open window again.