The dead bird sat on Brance’s pillow, head tilted at an angle that made him believe that it was even less pleased to be there than he was to have it. The feathers around its neck were ruffled in all directions, one wing was bent and half open beneath it. A trail of loose feathers wandered across the rest of the bed. Kelb sat between the twisted blankets, nose on his paws, looking proudly at Brance.
Brance took a deep breath, half-smiling. “I don’t want that,” he said.
Whistling for Kelb, he motioned the dog down from the bed. Kelb didn’t move.
“Elthe,” Brance ordered. Kelb stayed exactly as he was, and Brance strode forward and grabbed him, one arm around his chest, the other around his middle. Kelb was too big now for him to pick him up, but he gave him a good pull and Kelb and the blankets started to slide off the bed.
“You,” Brance said, and gave another tug. “Are a guard dog. Your job is guard me. Your job is to bite mean things that might hurt me.” He paused to look at Kelb’s face, which was tucked up against his shoulder as the dog tried to pull himself back onto the solid ground of the bed. “I think the bird was probably not plotting to kill me.”
Kelb growled lightly, barked and nipped at Brance’s hand.
“Your job is not to feed me, buddy!” Brance said.
Brance let go, and instantly grabbed the blanket in both hands. He yanked and Kelb tumbled to the floor with the blankets and sheets coming down over his head. Brance jumped onto the bed, raised his hands over his head and shouted, “King!”
Kelb shook himself loose.
“King!” Brance declared again. Grinning he leaned down to look at Kelb. “And the first thing I’m doing is demoting you from head of security. The second, is banishing the bird.”
Kelb tilted his head.
“Yeah…” Brance straightened and put his hands on his hips. “Maybe I should reverse that…”
My friend, Kathryn asked me to write a story where Brance was given a gift. This was not the first thing to come to mind, but it did amuse me the most.