Summer Series: Student Writing Sample [High School]

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This summer we will feature a writing sample from a student in each grade as we all enjoy a beautiful summer in West Michigan! Please join us each week to read these fantastic teacher-submitted examples of excellent writing!

Guard Dog
By Skyler Maitner

I dialed the number for a third time hoping that he would answer. My nervous fingers scrambled on the old, peeling paint of the windowsill. The sun high in the sky shone in my eyes as I listened to the annoyingly loud phone dial.

“Hello, this is Rob, how can I help you?”

“Dad it’s me. I know I’m not supposed to call your work number but this is important,” I replied frantically.

“What’s wrong?”

“King got off of his leash and Kyle Isn’t home to put him back, will you please call him and tell him to come home?”

My fingers gripped the landline tightly as I watched my neighbors pitbull run circles in his yard, barking vigorously.

“Sky,” countered my father, “Kyle is busy at work, just go over there, grab his leash, and put him in the garage.”

I glanced out the window and took in the size of the dog. King’s strong shoulders came up to my abdomen. His back legs were built with muscle, allowing to jump up and over me if he pleased. Although I had been around the dog numerous times before, the idea of getting pinned to the ground by an overly hyper, 90 pound dog was very unappealing, Especially when seven year old me was just about equal weight to the dog soaking wet. However, even that was the least of my problems.

“Dad you don’t understand. There’s this guy parked in Kyle’s driveway, and king doesn’t seem to like him.”

“What do you mean?”

The glossy back sedan was parked askew in the driveway. I watched as the man I never met before strode with purpose up to King. King was trained to protect his home and the people inside, therefore strangers in his yard didn’t suit him too well. The man’s shoulders were hunched forward as he stormed up to the dog. The stranger had a determined look in his eye, but hiding behind that were wisps of arrogance and fear. King continued to bark as the man got closer to him, rearing up. The man thrust his hand down towards Kingts head, most likely to grip his black fabric harness. King growled and froze, watching his movements. The man snapped his arm back up to his side, startled by the dog’s actions. He turned on his heel and started at a full sprint back to his vehicle. A mistake on his part. With a few long bounds, King lunged forward and caught the fabric of his blue jeans in his mouth, tearing a strip off. The man stumbled but continued to run before making it inside his closed vehicle.

“Nevermind I think he’s leaving now. Please still call Kyle though, King’s too big for me to grab.”

“Okay I will, just let me know what happens, alright?”

“Yes Dad.”

I hung up the phone and looked out of the window again. I was shocked to find that the man hadn’t driven away, he was just sitting in his car, almost like he was waiting for something.

King sat like a statue ten feet from the sedan, watching him. I began to get a sinking feeling in my stomach, but I wasn’t sure why.

King’s interest in the man lessened as the pitbull went to walk around the side of the house. However the car still stayed stagnant in the driveway.

I left my bedroom to return the landline to its charger in the kitchen. As I walked through the living room, I checked on my own two dogs, just to be sure that they weren’t freaking out after seeing King outside. When I returned to my bedroom window, my stomach dropped. In the short amount of time that I had left, two police cars now were parked in the street. I watched as two officers from each vehicle approached the house. My hands began to shake as they strategically walked up to King in a pattern that was meant to trap King against the side of the house. I frantically ran back to retrieve the phone and dial my dad’s number. My hands shook the the extent that even holding the phone was difficult for me.

“Hello, this is Rob-” He answered one more.

“Dad, Dad you’ve got to get Kyle to come home there’s police here and- ‘

‘Slow down! What are you even talking about?”

“There’s police here and Kings guarding the house and he’s scared and I don’t know what

“There are cops there? Okay I’m going to call Kyle again. Just stay where you’re at, all right? I’ll call you right back.”

The line went dead as I pulled the phone away from my ear. I continued to watch the scene across the street unfold in front of my eyes. King was backed up against the house, the hair of his back raised in a line, barking to the point where his voice was becoming hoarse. One of the officers took another step forward. I could see panic and fear mixing in the dog’s eyes. King lunged forward to find an escape from the trap the police officers before him had set.

The officer in front took the advance from the dog entirely differently, and he quickly drew the pistol from the holster at his hip. The officer held the gun just below his chest, aiming the barrel directly at King. His second hand was braced against the butt of the handle, his legs were separated and slightly bent to find firm grounding. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I sat helplessly, too shocked and scared to do anything other than watch.

King took another step.

I saw it before I heard it.

King’s face recoiled back first, then his body fell to the ground in a heap. Blood specks flew out from his mouth. Less than a second later, the loud crack of the gunshot reached my ears. Despite the distance, it felt like the gun had been fired off directly next to my ear. The world around me felt as though I was underwater, the noises around me were long and distorted. Slowly it came back to normal, like somebody was holding a fast forward button on a remote to my life. The ringing of my ears dominated all other sounds around me.

I screamed out, tears now a steady flow down my face, gasping for breath. My chest ached as I slowly fell on my knees, sobbing openly.

The officer returned to firearm to his holster and stared down at the dog momentarily. The police turned around to go back to their vehicles to file a report. My eyes were locked on Kings bloodied body in the grass. Flecks of blood painted the previously perfect white picket fence behind him. The man that was earlier locked in his sedan, now stood calmly in front the the officers, flailing his arms about as he pointed to various places around him.

As I looked back at king once more, I noticed the tiny rise and fall of his chest cavity. He was still breathing, very much alive and very much in pain. King was later subject to intensive surgery. The bullet shot through his front teeth and down his throat, causing to lose his ability to bark. King pulled through just fine, however I do not believe that afternoon will ever be erased from my memory.

Skyler Maitner is a graduated member of the Class of 2016 and this short story was submitted by twelfth grade English teacher, Aaron Brossiet.

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