You just never could call this one, could you? I had to sit here with my fingers hovering over the c&p buttons until it was time to post this.

No wonder, too, for both Neil’s and Chris’s entries were excellent this week. Chris did so much, so well, with sense of smell, which is a very under-used sense in writing. Neil captured something we’ve all felt at some point, and from our unique position as writers. Well done, gentlemen.

But, as always, there can be only one winner. And this week, that winner is:

Chris Blanchard, @BlanchardAuthor

We always enjoy a good Chris piece around here. It’s below for everyone to enjoy. Congratulations, Chris, and see you next week.

He curled up into a ball as she came close. He didn’t like her, or the smell of her. She was different. Strange. She smelled of grapes and dirt. He wanted to smell familiar things, like trees and deer, fresh rain in the forest. Not this strange, dry place, or this strange woman.

“Oh, look at you,” she said in a pleasant voice. “Are you playing at being shy? Or are you afraid?”

Afraid? He was not afraid! He turned back to face her, ready to hear the shocked gasp he always received when people saw his face for the first time. Instead, she smiled.

“There,” she said. “You are only shy then. My name is Mara.”

She held out her hand to him, not like people normally do, to shake hands, but flat and palm up. He realized she was letting him smell her. A real smell, not just a sniff. Tentatively, he reached his snout forward and sniffed. He smelled more dirt and fruit, not just grapes, but he also smelled… kindness. It was an unfamiliar smell. But, pleasant. He liked it, so he rubbed his nose against her.

“We don’t see many of your kind around here,” she said, “But I know of dog-men. I imagine that it’s been tough for you. But, you’ll be welcome here. You should know that our blacksmith is a dog-man. Maybe he knows how to get in touch with your family. Would you like that?”

He shied back again, but smelled the truth on her breath. Others? Like him? He didn’t even know such a thing was possible. He believed he was a freak, like his old master told him before he escaped.

“Come,” she said gently. “At least let me feed you.”

Food. That was a call hard to resist. He stood and nodded. She smiled and lead the way. Maybe things were going to get better after all.