Hazel’s Fiery Friend

by Sarah Elyse Pfeffer

Hazel missed Jug.
Jug was her Pug.
She’d had him since she was three.
Last week he died,
Now he was buried beside
The big jacaranda tree.

Mum said,
“We all love Jug.”
And gave her a hug.
“He’ll always be here in your heart.”
Dad said,
“Come play with me,
And chasey, wild and free,
I’ll even give you a head start!”

Gran said,
“Let’s draw Jug.”
And they pictured the Pug
Full of mischief and smiles.
Ben said,
“Let’s sing a tune.”
And ‘neath the tree they crooned,
Remembering Jug for a while.

Teacher said,
“Let’s read a book.”
And they quietly looked
At stories about feeling blue.
Preacher said,
“Let’s pray
For God’s comfort today,
And for His Hope to carry you through.”

Waking today,
The sky was grey,
The yard was empty and still…
Then something flashed by—
A light from the sky,
And landed behind the next hill.

Shoes in a pair,
Quick down the stairs,
Find the binocs on the floor.
A hat and a drink,
Hug Dad by the sink,
Then Hazel was out the door.

Over the fish pond,
Under the palm frond,
Creak! Goes the rusty gate.
Past tall trees,
Past buzzy bees,
“I hope I’m not too late!”

At the top of the hill,
She circled until
She spotted a strange glow:
Down at the creek,
With feathers and a beak—
Was it a bird? She had to know.

Hazel ran very fast,
Then slowed down at last
And tiptoed close to the creature.
It looked like a dove,
But it glowed from above,
With flames that were lighting its features.

“Wow!” She breathed.
Her face was wreathed
With a smile of wondrous delight.
The dove seemed familiar,
But she felt bewildered:
How could a bird be alight?

“I’m Hazel,” she said.
The dove turned its head,
Its eyes were warm and gold.
It fluttered up high,
Then to her surprise,
It spoke, melodic and bold.

“Your tears called to me,
They pooled in a sea
That sparkled with memories deep.
Your beautiful heart
Is missing a part;
Lost moments are stored in the Keep.”

A gust blew her hair,
Then the dove was right there.
Sending warmth from her feet to her heart.
It sang a call
And she was suddenly small;
The dove beckoned now, eager to start.

Hazel felt scared,
Not sure she dared
To venture into the sky.
“Do not fear.
I am here.
Together we will safely fly.”

Hazel grabbed hold,
And with a streak of gold
To the distant forest they flew.
In the mountain’s shade
Was a hidden glade
With a tower of silver and blue.

Stairs circled wide
Around the outside,
Leading to doors of glass:
Each room in the Keep
Held memories sweet
That shone eerily as they passed.

At the very top
They came to stop;
The door opened without a key.
Rainbow threads
Stretched down to their heads,
Hazel wondered what they could be.

Like it knew her thoughts,
The dove then brought
One of the strands around:
“Each thread you see
Is a memory
Once lost, but now is found.”

The thread was cold,
At her touch it dissolved,
Misty shapes appeared with a glitter.
The air filled with giggles
And before them there wiggled
A proud Pug mum and her litter.

They rolled and jumped,
Tiny tails thumped,
Hazel joined them down on the floor.
She laughed aloud
As she saw through the crowd
Her Jug-Pug, a puppy once more.

Pulling each thread,
She filled her head
With memories of Jug over years.
Acres of love
Sent from above,
Bringing joy and happy tears.

Hazel saw:
Balloon chases,
Park races,
Karaoke together before bed.
Splashing in puddles,
Long, warm cuddles,
Cloud gazing, head to head.

Hours passed,
Until at last,
With her heart bursting full,
One thread to go:
It had a bright glow!
Deep breath and she gave it a pull.

The memory Jug
Was on a rug
Barking with all his might.
In front of Jug
Was a soft toy Pug
Covered in dribble and bites.

Jug kept going,
He wasn’t slowing,
He defended against the invader!
Where the toy was sent
He excitedly went,
Still barking many days later.

Mum and Dad
Went a bit mad
From all of the endless noise.
So the soft toy Pug
Was taken from Jug,
To a cupboard full of old toys.

Hazel smiled.
It had been a while,
She’d forgotten the soft toy Pug.
Her heart overflowing,
They must now be going
To find this memento of Jug.

As the memories finished,
The mist diminished.
The dove’s flames were a gentle glow.
“Thank you” she said.
The dove dipped its head:
“With each storm, the flower grows.”

On the flight home,
Hazel was shown
Some undiscovered treasures:
A platypus paddle,
Some wild cattle,
And a cave to explore at her leisure.

Back at her room,
The dove sang a tune,
Hazel grew back to normal size.
She found the toy Pug,
Gave it a hug,
And wiped some tears from her eyes.

“What is your name?
Will I see you again?”
She said with a hopeful face.
“I’m Para: always near,
If you call, I’ll be here,”
Said the dove with gentle grace.

A warm embrace,
Feathers to face,
Then Para the dove took flight.
In a blink it was gone.
On the sill there shone
A feather, glowing with light.

About the Writer

Sarah Elyse Pfeffer is a self-confessed science nerd and book worm who loves nature, chocolate and making everything rhyme, all the time. A follower of Jesus, Sarah is married to David and is Mum to three really cool kids. They live in Brisbane, Australia, in the midst of a mischievous menagerie of marvelous mammals… and a lot of chickens.

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Photo Credit: “Pug” by Jaime González, Flickr.com. Modified by Veronica McDonald.

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