The Short Story of Ony
by Jessica Mayo
A complex woman went out for a walk one fine summer day. Trouble found her whether she looked for it or not, which she admittedly, intentionally sought out at times. On this fine day, she had only good intentions for the world as she pumped her arms with each stride. She took great pride in her long legs and fast pace.
2000 more steps, she noted as she glanced down at her pedometer. Sweat dripped from the side of her face and down her neck. Enthusiastically, she sped forward only aware of the power in her legs.
The walking woman did not think of her pesky daughter who begged her to “try and be aware of your surroundings”, the self-defense class she always meant to take, or that she might make a tasty victim for a bad man or animal, alike. Instead, she focused on the swing of her hips and legs when she caught something in her peripheral vision.
She turned to see a muscular dog with white foam flecking from the sides of a mouth filled with sharp, white teeth charging towards her. The woman froze with a pounding heart. She had just enough time to think defensively, you are not getting my bad leg.
She stepped back with her bum leg and braced herself, when the dog abruptly stopped in front of her and started wiggling its bobbed tail. The dog inched closer and nudged the woman’s hand. She couldn’t stop herself from petting the dog’s head. The dog stared up in gratitude with a pair of golden eyes that understood and accepted.
“Ony. You stupid mutt, get back here!” a shirtless man covered in tattoos yelled in an evil voice. He threw down a glowing cigarette into the uncut grass and slowly walked towards the woman and dog.
“She likes you,” the man sneered at the woman. “You are lucky, the last time she got out, it didn’t go so well.”
The woman felt her throat with her free hand, relieved it was still intact, and willed her beating heart to slow itself. She rubbed the dog’s ears with the other hand and the dog leaned against her bad leg.
“She’s a sweet dog. Did you say her name was Oni?” the woman asked.
“Yeah, short for Fel-Ony. Get it?”
The man leered at the woman with blood shot eyes and searched her face for judgment. He took a step closer and the dog cowered while the woman quivered in fear. Once again, her heart pounded in her chest and she froze.
“Felony, what a unique name,” she laughed nervously as he continued to stare suspiciously at her.
The man grabbed Ony by the scruff of her neck and she whimpered. He nodded to the woman and dragged the whimpering dog across the uncut grass and disappeared behind a tall, wooden fence.
The whimpering changed to cries which faded as the woman resumed her walk, still in need of 1800 steps.
Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal, and The BG News. He has also worked as a professional writer and editor in the medical publishing industry for several years. For the last 15 years Richard has also taught literature and writing at the secondary and post-secondary levels. He works much of the time with at-risk students.