One of my goals for 2020 is to write more, which includes new short stories. This story is less than 900 words and was inspired by the writing prompt: “Every day when you return home from work, your dog greets you by bringing you a seemingly random item, which will turn out to be useful throughout the day. One day, after a particularly stressful day of work, your dog greets you with a sword at his feet, happily wagging his tail.”


Olivia flopped down on her fluffy, purple beanbag in her living room. She let her whole body soak into the seat as she let out an exhausted sigh. The lights automatically dimmed a little to create a relaxing space. She tapped her purple star necklace, and it projected a 3D holographic sphere.

“Hey, networker, what’s on my schedule for tonight?” Olivia asked.

“You have nothing on your personal calendar,” the networker spoke in a cheerful tone based on her favorite movie actress. “However, there are several events happening tonight that may be of interest to you, including a new art exhibition at Sky View Museum.”

“Na, I think I want to stay inside tonight. I’m peopled-out.”

“Would you like me to start you a hot bath?”

“Maybe later. I want to sit here and do nothing.”

“As you wish.”

The sphere disappeared as Olivia’s dog, Shadow, rubbed his head against her beanbag and then under Olivia’s hand to be petted, which she did. She rescued Shadow a month ago at her job when a clothing rack fell him, trapping him until she freed him. It was a crazy day that day as demons, skeletons, a giant three-headed dog, and all sorts of weirdness rampaged the mall. She named the dog Shadow not only because he had black fur, but because he had a shadowy glow to him and he could blend in with the darkness to the point that one could only see his purple eyes. Olivia tried to find his owner but had no luck.

Shadow had become family to her and, in a strange way, somewhat helpful. Every morning before Olivia left for work, Shadow would bring her an item that would end up helping her out that day. She had no idea how her dog would even obtain some of the things. One time, Shadow brought her an extra lunch that she gave to her coworker, who happened to forget their lunch. Another time she was gifted a healing cut spray for when she ended up hurting herself while demonstrating a hoverboard. Some of the gifts had helped in odd ways, like a buy-one-get-one-free meal coupon for when her lame date ended up ditching her with the bill. Shadow would even sometimes bring offerings in the evening, like a bottle of wine for when her friends came over for game night that she completely forgot she was hosting. 

“I don’t suppose you got a cocktail for me tonight, buddy,” she said as she scratched Shadow’s back.

Shadow barked and then ran off around the corner, out of sight. A moment later, Shadow came back, dragging a silver sword. Shadow took his time as he avoided scratching the wall and floors with the sword. Olivia sat up. She did not own any weapons. The dog lowered the sword by her feet, wagged his tail, and barked at her. 

Olivia picked up the sword and inspected it. She could see herself with her long, curly purple hair in the blade’s reflection. She resisted the temptation to test the blade’s sharpness. It looked dangerous enough.

“You’ve never given me a weapon before, Shadow,” Olivia said as she stood up, nervous at what may happen that would cause her to use a sword. “What do you expect me to do with this?”

Shadow barked and led Olivia to his leash by the front door. Olivia grabbed the leash, and as she was about to put it on him, she realized he had her sunglasses in his mouth.

“It’s dark outside. I don’t need those.”

Shadow dropped them by Olivia’s feet. She went along with the request and put the sunglasses on after wiping them off with her t-shirt.

Olivia opened the door to be surprised by her neighbor about to knock. Her neighbor’s snake hair was on the fritz, hissing uncontrollably, biting themselves, and even herself.

“Oh, thank goodness you’re wearing sunglass,” her neighbor said in a relived panic. Gorgan snakes cannot turn a person into stone if they’re wearing sunglasses. “I must’ve eaten something I’m allergic to because my snakes are going crazy. You don’t happen to have a silver blade?”

Olivia nonchalantly raised the sword. “Will this do?”

“That’s perfect! Will you cut the snake that’s the reddest for me?”

“Isn’t that going to hurt you?”

“No, I’ll be fine, and my hair will grow back. Ow,” her neighbor explained as another snake bit her cheek.

“I don’t think I can cut off just the red one.”

“Don’t worry. Silver tends to cause the non-irritated snakes to retreat when you get it close.”

“If you said so,” Olivia said as she raised the sword, taking her word for it.

From the presence of the silver, all of the snakes retreated in defense except for red one as it stood tall. Olivia slashed the snake off in one clean cut. It hissed and withered away as husked skin. The rest of the snakes relaxed.

“Thank you so much,” her neighbor thanked with a big hug. “How about I get you a drink as a reward.”

Shadow barked. Inside his mouth were a pair of coasters. 

Story Artwork by Tin at Design Pickle. Get a discount off your first month of Design Pickle via this affiliate link, which full disclosure, I earn a small commission as a discount for me as well.