carry you down into sleep: Gracelynn


Loholt clutched the tennis ball in his hands and held it against his chest like it was something precious. Mortimer looked up at him, his dark eyes huge and imploring and his whip-like tail wagging happily. He was so excited he couldn't stay sitting. Every time he tried his bottom popped up again so he could perform his little wiggle dance.

Throw, throw, throw!

The prince smiled, his familiar's words echoing around inside his head. He swapped the ball over into one hand and threw it as hard as he could across the lawn. It didn't go as far as he had imagined it would, but his disappointment was abated somewhat as the ball caught the slope and started to roll. Mortimer took off after it as a gallop, his too-long puppy legs whirling like windmill paddles.

Glancing over his shoulder at his nanny, Loholt considered her. She was sitting with a couple of the castle guards, deep in conversation. Every few seconds she'd giggle and tuck a strand of her dark hair back behind her ear. She wouldn't mind if he chased the ball too, surely?

He set off after Mortimer as fast as his legs would take him. Half-way down the slope he tripped and rolled the rest of the way. Once he got over the initiation shock of his impact with the ground, Loholt started to enjoy himself the rest of the way. He came to a natural stop at the bottom. Almost immediately Mort came snuffling in his ear.

"Gerroff, Mort!" Lo giggled, pushing the Borzoi's head away as he uncurled himself. He dusted the grass clippings off his trousers and shirt as he scrambled back to his feet.

Again! Again! Mortimer enthused. He bounded over to the ball, picked it up and dumped it at Loholt's feet.

"Okay, okay," Lo conceded through a giggle. He picked up the ball and threw it again, putting all of his strength into it.

The ball sailed over the castle wall.

Mortimer skidded to a halt just before his long collided with the stonework.

Oh no! the borzoi thought sadly.

Loholt gazed up at the wall. It was far too tall to climb. He sighed and wandered up behind his familiar. He set his hand to Mort's head.

"Sorry, boy," he said in the most consoling voice he could muster.

And then the ball came sailing back over the wall and landed at their feet.

Boy and dog exchanged puzzled looks.

"Hello!?" Loholt called, as loudly as he could. "Thank you for giving us our ball back!"

photo by SheltieBoy at flickr.com


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