The devil woke up one morning and found that her hellhound had been replaced by a parrot.
Today's image comes to you courtesy of the talented Natalie Whipple. About a year ago, I won Natalie's "Dark and Stormy" contest, in which we were challenged to break one of the supposed rules of writing and start a story with the weather. I recommend following that link to see the Honorable Mention and 2nd & 3rd place prize winners, but here's my winning entry for your convenience:
A poet once wondered if the world would end in fire or ice. He spoke of desire and hate.
If I could meet that poet, I would tell him that the world can end far less dramatically. It can end under a perfect blue sky and fluffy white clouds, unmarred by excessive heat or cold. It can end with indifference, with a man who woke up on such a fine day as this and said that he no longer wanted to be married. Who looked at me with empty eyes and shrugged when I asked why. Who had so little interest remaining that he packed only a few changes of clothes, leaving behind books, music, photos, computer files, furniture, money.
In an effort to provoke either love or anger, I grabbed Ninja, said I was keeping the dog. The man who was everything to me eyed the small black dachshund, who had indeed been his pet first, and said that was fine. Then he closed the door gently behind himself.
I wanted for it to pour rain, for the sky to turn shades of black and gray, for thunder to rage, for lightning to strike—him or me, it didn't matter. But the sweet breeze kept blowing, the clouds drifted, the sun shone. It hurt even more knowing that the weather was indifferent as well.
I had a choice of prizes, so I delayed cashing in my winnings for quite a while until I knew which one I wanted, ultimately choosing to receive one of Natalie's awesome full-color anime-style drawings based on a short story of mine called The Devil's Parrot. (And yes, that's the first line of the story as the caption under the drawing.) Natalie apologized for her own delays in getting this sketch to me, but I think it was well worth the wait. The story itself is currently on submission to various lit magazines, and I'll let you all know as soon as it finds a home.