Haiden and the Hound
Written By Nelson Holmes II
This story takes place after Frankiemania and may contain spoilers such as the continued existence/presence of characters.
Haiden Jet smiled as she played with her new friend. He was funny, and nice, and patient. What’s more, he liked to explore. He was neato burrito. Today Haiden was playing in the backyard of her new home. She liked the new home; it had a huge backyard. There was a forest, and a shallow pond, oh and Haiden liked the stream too. If she looked really closely, she could see tiny people waving at her from the bottom of the stream.
Haiden’s Grammy told her that she could play anywhere in the yards as long as she stayed inside the fence line. Haiden preferred not to have rules, but Grammy lets her play all day in the backyard if she keeps them. There are several people that live in Grammy’s backyard. They are usually nice but sometimes they try to make her break the rules. Friend Hugh though, he helps her remember what Grammy says.
Today Haiden and Friend Hugh were playing in a little wooded area. She was making daisy chains. Haiden loved making daisy chains. Friend Hugh showed her how to yesterday. Or perhaps longer ago, Haiden didn’t worry about time like her mommy did. As Haiden was looking for a more daisies to add to her chain she heard a small woof. She looked around to see where the woof came from. Haiden liked puppies.
Another woof caught Haiden’s ear and she turned to see something walk into a cluster of trees. Friend Hugh had gone to the house to get some water. Haiden knew she shouldn’t wander off without Friend Hugh, that was one of the rules. What if puppy gets lost? Haiden wondered. She decided Grammy would want her to help a puppy more than wait for Friend Hugh. Into the cluster of trees, she went.
As she walked into the woods, she attracted the attention of some of the people-bugs. Haiden knew they had a different name, but she couldn’t remember it. The people-bugs weren’t always nice to Haiden. At least, they weren’t at first. Grammy had a big talk with the people-bugs after Haiden came to the house crying one time. Grammy used some really big words were talking to the people-bugs. Haiden loved words. They held such power. Often, she struggled with the right words when she needed them, but she stilled loved words. Especially when she got to learn new ones.
The people-bugs were friendly this time. Haiden decided to ask them what their real name was. “Excuse me, people-bugs? What am your names?”
“You know we can’t tell you our names silly.” The people-bugs sang to her.
People-bugs can be frustrating. What was the rule again? Haiden stood for a moment trying to remember. “People-bugs, what am you called?” Haiden thought that was the right way to ask.
“What do you want to call us?” The people-bugs asked teasingly.
Haiden decided the people-bugs weren’t going to help. Maybe later, when the people-bugs were feeling nicer she’d ask again. Or she could ask Friend Hugh what they were called. Friend Hugh knew a lot. Another woof brought Haiden’s attention back from her thoughts.
“Puppy?” Haiden called out questioningly.
“Woof, woof.” A response came out.
“Puppy hungry? Grammy has food. Come eat with Haiden and Friend Hugh.” Haiden spoke to the source of the woofs. A few seconds later a peculiar animal approached Haiden. It was long and skinny like a stick. It’s head was shaped like a diamond when Haiden tried to draw one. It’s nose and chin were pointy-ish. Haiden couldn’t remember the word for it, but she saw a fireman use a tool that looked like the puppy in a tv show once. She decided to call him a fireman puppy.
“You look like a fireman puppy. Can Haiden call you fireman puppy?” She asked.
“Woof. Woof.” The fireman puppy hopped up and down.
Haiden wasn’t sure what that meant, but the fireman puppy looked happy. If it was happy, she would call it fireman puppy. Haiden looked around to find the way back to Grammy’s house. She suddenly felt scared. As she had talked to the people-bugs she’d forgot to pay attention to where she walked. Now she wasn’t sure which direction to go.
Friend Hugh had warned her not to trust the people-bugs for directions. He said ‘it wasn’t in their nature’ to give good directions. Haiden was learning about the different people in Grammy’s backyard. For some reason one group had some things in their nature, and others had different things. It could get confusing and frustrate Haiden. She had to learn lots of rules for different people. But, Friend Hugh also made the new people learn Haiden’s rules. That way its fair. Haiden nodded to the conclusion of her train of thought.
“Can fireman puppy take me to Grammy? Or friend Hugh?” Haiden asked as she slowly held out her hand to fireman puppy. Aunt Em Lee had shown Haiden how to offer an open hand to new animals. ‘Only small animals, and when you are with an adult and they say it is ok.’ Her Aunt had said. But there was no adult around to ask.
Fireman puppy yipped twice and started to walk away from Haiden. After a few steps it stopped and turned towards her. It yipped twice again before walking slowing. Every few feet it would stop and check whether Haiden was following or not.
It seemed to Haiden that they walked for hours before the exited the trees. The animal had led Haiden to the spot where she had left. Haiden saw her discarded daisy chain. Haiden knew how to get back to the house from here. She squealed in delight as she thought of showing Grammy her new friend.
“Fireman puppy follow Haiden to food.” She smiled as she spoke. She took a few steps forward before turning around to see if she was being followed. The little critter followed her all the way to the house. Friend Hugh was waiting for her.
“Haiden, where have you been?” Friend Hugh asked with a grumpy voice.
“Friend Hugh mad? I didn’t break any of the rules!” Haiden asked before stomping her food firmly.
“I didn’t say you had.” Friend Hugh’s voice softened as he continued to speak. “Grammy and your mommy Sarah want you to be safe though. That is why they want me to be with you when you play in the backyard.” Friend Hugh looked sad for a moment, “And I didn’t get to go on your adventure either.” He pouted a little.
“Oh, I hadn’t thought like that. I’m sorry Friend Hugh. Would you like to meet fireman puppy?” Haiden said before showing Friend Hugh the critter following her.
“Goodness, I haven’t seen one of you in a long time. Haiden where did you find this creature” Friend Hugh asked. Haiden could hear excitedness in his voice.
“In Grammy’s forest. I didn’t even go to the walls. I promise.” Haiden’s voice started to get upset.
“Oh, no, no, no, Haiden that isn’t what I meant. I know you are a good girl and keep your promises. I haven’t seen one of these in a long time. I don’t remember what they are called though. Hmm, maybe Grammy will know.” He motioned for the other two to follow him in the house.
As he shut the door, Friend Hugh remembered something. “Oh wait, I do remember that these little ones like to eat axe handles though.”
A note from the Author
I am invested in writing characters and perspectives that don’t often get a lot of space in storytelling. This short is told from the perspective of Haiden Jet who is neurodivergent. Behavior and speech patterns may seem different to some readers but they reflect the experiences of parenting neurodivergent littles, and being neurodivergent myself.