Synopsis: Luke, an intelligent, 89-pound yellow Labrador retriever, has an odd ability to understand human conversations and actions. When Luke discovers that Sara Colson, his owner’s girlfriend, is hiding a secret and soon disappears, the dog uses all of his skills to help reunite them. Through clues that he provides to his master, Ashlundt Jaynes, Luke is the catalyst bringing the two lovers back together. But this is only the beginning of the challenges the three must face. Ashlundt, who suffers from a tormented past, doesn’t understand how the conditions he places on those around him, prevents him from finding happiness. Luke, knowing how to give unconditional love, helps them stay together and overcome a series of life-changing events. In the midst of it all, Luke is spiraling into blindness!
At the heart of Luke’s Tale is the story of two lovers and their struggle with unforeseen disillusionment to build a lasting relationship – as told through the eyes of the loving furry creature who is devoted to them beyond all reason.
Excerpt: Prologue – September 15, 2015
The world is darker today. Not because I’m blind. My world is always black. But this day my heart is broken.
I sit for a very long time next to the door. I long for her smell of fresh cut flowers, her touch and her gentle voice. I visualize her face. I see the fullness of her lips and the deep compassion in her dark eyes. She is the most caring human I’ve ever known. I long for her comforting arms around me.
People come up and pet me. One nurse offers me a bowl of water. I remain aloof, not wanting to be distracted in case… in case there’s some word. She couldn’t possibly be capable of being with me now.
Bay leaf and ocean scent assault my nostrils as I feel Ashlundt pass by into the ER. I stretch my nose toward him, searching for some sort of hope. I feel his desperation as he hurries past me with two words, “Stay, Luke.”
My stomach growls. I suppress the hunger. It doesn’t matter now. In trying to push away the anguish, my mind wanders back to when Sara left us. I was younger and not blind. She wanted to protect Ashlundt from the pain of her cancer. She must have known that he wouldn’t be able to cope with her being sick.
I’m not sure what makes him tick. It has to have something to do with his brother’s surfing accident. He blames himself to this day. Maybe that’s why he can’t cope with illness or imperfection in those he’s supposed to love. I once was his golden boy. We went everywhere together. Now, my blindness has pushed him further away from me.
I still feel Ashlundt’s athletic strength every once and a while. He’ll brush his large hands over me, and I can visualize his big frame and angular face bathed in his long, sun-lightened hair. I wish he knew how to cope with my blindness. It’s hard not to take it personally.
I wish I could cope better with my loss of sight. I’d always been a watcher. It must be part of my Lab nature. What scares me the most is that I can’t observe my humans, or help them now. Sara has always depended upon our unspoken bond. Ashlundt is another story. I’ve been through tough times with each of them, and I’ve had to be more like that human detective, Sherlock Holmes, than a dog for them. I am the product of a broken relationship.
It’s long past my evening meal when I feel Sara’s presence. I hear nothing but the despair in her voice. “Come, Luke.” She takes me by the collar and leads me to the car.
I sit in the backseat and slowly lay down. I know what has happened but can’t bare thinking of it. She is silent, but her pain is unbearable and palpable in the air. I think back to how Ashlundt pushed her away, even when he finally discovered she was sick. I fought so hard to help him try and win her back…
I’m jarred back to reality as the car stops. I hear the door open, then the backseat door. Sara whispers, “Let’s go inside, Luke.”
Slowly, I follow Sara into the house.
She says nothing as she fixes my kibble and leftover chicken, then leaves the room. My greatest fear has been realized.
After sating my hunger, I go to find Sara in her bedroom. She is lying across her bed in silence, tortured and bereft. Even though I’m not usually allowed on the bed, she says nothing as I crawl up next to her and place my head on her hip. I give out a whimpered cry of sorrow.
We lie together in silence for a long, long time. I have to go outside so badly that my bladder hurts, but I don’t dare leave Sara. She is so cold. I move closer to her, wanting her to feel my warmth, the warmth that Ashlundt should have offered. Time passes. My stomach begins to growl and adds to my discomfort, but it doesn’t matter. I will not leave her.
Sometime later the phone starts to ring. It must be morning. All those distraught voices leaving messages of sorrow on the answering machine. I crawl up to her face, pressing my nose on her cheek to see if she is asleep. Her hand softly touches the top of my head. “It’s okay, Lukey. Thank you for staying with me.” A ragged sigh escapes from her and is joined by my own.
Still we remain motionless. I think back to the chain of events until I started going blind. But, I’ve gotten way ahead of myself. I need to go back to the beginning so that you understand how we arrived at our darkest moment in time.
Meet the Author: Carol McKibben currently writes from the heart of a dog’s eyes. Often telling her stories to Labradoodles, Basset Hounds and any stray that happens by, it wasn’t long before people stopped to have a listen as well. Now Carol writes for people and speaks to large audiences, dogs included. Carol was a magazine publisher for more than 20 years. She began a new career in freelance writing and editing in 2007, as well as working with other authors to realize their dreams. She also has published a Memoir, Riding Through It. Visit her at www.carolmckibben.com.
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