Polly's pages (aka 'Donna Williams')

Ever the arty Autie

The Escapee – story of a bear, a dog, and a painting.


Once upon a time a 9 year old girl had been stimming in the garden.  Thirty feet away, an excited black curly haired retriever/kelpie cross bounded about happily, looking like a cheery harmless grizzly bear.  The dog had no name for it was only visiting.  It belonged a man who’d gone on holiday and was being looked after in respite care.  But the 9 year old didn’t care, for anything friendly was a friend. 

And colored cloth waved in the breeze from a string clothes line suspended between the shed and the house.  It made colors against the white of the house.  The dog tore the waving colors from the line, one, then another, happily pulling the colors to pieces and going back for more.  The girl squealed gleefully for it was such a happy sight.

Then the back door swung open and the world changed.

An adult emerged, a wooden bat in hand.  The dog ran.  The adult called it.  It cowered and looked to the girl.  She had frozen.  It whined in terror.  Blow after blow crashed onto the dog as it yelped and it’s fur turned wet and it’s blood was burgundy against the black curly fur.  It tried to stand but its legs were broken.  It’s face was smashed.  The girl was commanded to watch or it would happen to her.  Then the bat was brought down and broke the dog’s back and it collapsed like a rag doll, splayed on the ground, one of its paws almost covering its smashed face.

The girl was sick but didn’t even dare vomit.  She didn’t scream.  Only the old woman in the laneway pleaded for the dog’s life.  But that never stopped a psychopath high on the adrenaline of murder.  When she was commanded to help bury the dog the 9 year old couldn’t move.  But someone did, someone not her.  She had dissociated.  The dog was buried in the corner of the garden, under the willow tree at the far left hand corner by the back fence.  That night the someone who had helped bury it laid in a prison bedroom, unable to say a word.  In that back garden other selves would sit and swing and swim and play.  And one would stare at the willow tree in silence.

The reality was so overwhelming it was painted into an alternative reality in a painting named ‘If‘.  When that 9 year old returned during a PTSD episode and finally screamed as her now safe home derailed into that back garden like a train crashing from the past through the present, others visited.  One lit candles and paid homage.  One retrieved a hidden painting from 15 years ago of the dog, the bear dog, laying in its blood and placed it by the candles.  One painted a goodbye picture to the spirit of that dog, called The Escapee showing the 9 year old flying into the sky with that dog.  Three days later all of the others placed a statue of a bear on the altar that had been made for all the dead animals, in honor of that nameless dog and invited its spirit to a safer place of rest.

Donna Williams.

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