Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “starts with ‘m’.” Use any word that begins with the letter “m” as the subject or theme for your post. Enjoy!

Note: I just want to remind readers that the rules for SoCS include: No editing save fixing typos and not much in the way of planning what one is going to write. I feel that necessary to whine about state, especially when doing creative writing for SoCS. It is kind of pointing a finger at Linda and exclaiming, “It is her fault.”

Master was late in coming home. It didn’t matter, she would stay there, in her assigned spot until he walked through the door, and depending upon his mood, possibly after. The large entryway was growing dark quickly, as the winter sun dove behind the mountains so early these days. Cold silver light through the sidelights became cold darkness. It would stay dark, as she was not permitted to turn the lights on for the greeting protocol.

The northern cold crept inside in so many ways. There was a niggling of a draft that tickled the soles of her bare feet, making her flex and wiggle her toes instead of being demurely still. The thermostat should be set a little warmer for when the nights plummeted to the single digits, as ankle and wrist cuffs, collar and leash didn’t provide much warmth, and they were all she was allowed to wear. The worst was the beautiful, restored and polished hardwood floor. It was cold, bare — and hard. It didn’t take long to be in a kneel before her knees complained of the unforgiving pressure of the floor while the rest of her complained of the cold. For the thousandth time she reminded herself to suggest an area rug, although she knew Master preferred the aesthetic of the expanse of clean, clear wood in the foyer. She sighed. It could be worse. The period house could have had a tile floor.

Her nose itched. She brought her hand from behind her back and rubbed her nostril, and then she went back into her formal kneel, which was legs together, feet tops flat on the (cold) floor, butt resting on lower legs, spine straight, hands behind at the small of her back, eyes forward, leash on with the chain hanging between her breasts. That nose scratch lead to an avalanche of twitches. First it was the nose. Then it was the cold on her feet. She squinched up her face. She shifted ever so slightly from one side to the other to relieve the pressure of the floor on her knees. Her hair was pulled back, and the ponytail tip was tickling and bugging her back. She shook her head. A stray piece of hair decided to fall forward into her face, so she blew upwards, causing the hair to float momentarily and then return in her face. She blew again. And again. Finally she just reached up to put it in place.

She sighed loudly. This was not the frame of mind, let alone position, that she should be in. No Master wanted to be met by a fidgeting pet. Who knows what annoyances he had faced during his work day. He expected and deserved to have his loving girl in proper protocol, a calm light for him, a reassuring constant.

The old clock ticked loudly, marking the passing time. She was not in submissive mindset. She needed to be. He could spot it in a nanosecond if she wasn’t, and she didn’t want to disappoint. Disappoint, that was the worst! The clock hand made a short click as it moved subtly backward right before it made a louder click to progress forward to the next minute position. She closed her eyes and used that noise to focus. The house was still. Except for the clock noises at each minute the only other sounds were the occasional scraping outside of a bare branch in the slight wind and her own breath. She settled into that, her breath. Forgetting her knees, the cold, that damned hair, with her inhale she heard “soooooo” and with the exhale “hummm.” Soooo, hummm, soooo, hummmm. All of that time spent in meditation in Honesdale should count for something. Soon she had calmed, and she changed the mantra to “For” on the inhale and “Master” on the exhale. For…Master. That’s why she was here, on her knees. For…Master. She had prayed to be given this chance. For…Master. This was her purpose. For… Master. This, this was home. For… Master. She was so grateful.

Time stopped while it also moved forward, such is the miracle of meditation. She was startled by the sound of the doorknob clicking. The door burst open, letting in a blast of frigid air that slammed into her bare body. She didn’t care. He was home. “Good evening, my Master,” she said with a smile and warmth in her voice. He snapped on the light, and she blinked hard against the contrast. Shutting the door behind him set off another current of cold air that rushed over her. He pulled off his gloves and stuffed them in his pockets. He kicked off his boots and set them on the tray next to the door. They were wet with snow. Without a word he walked past her, hung his coat on one of the hooks, flicked the lights back off and strode down the hall into the back part of the house.

She remained. So Hum. So Hum. For Master.

She didn’t know how long she stayed there. He must have had a bad day, as she hadn’t even gotten a nod in greeting. He hadn’t even looked at her. Had she done something wrong? Was she being punished? She wracked her brain, going over everything that could have possibly caused annoyance. She listened as she heard clattering from back there. It sounded like he was moving between rooms. She ignored the screaming in her knees, fought the urge to hug herself and rub her hands up and down over her arms to warm herself. She kneeled. She fretted. Was he preparing for restraints? For a flogging? For leaving her there, in the foyer?

“PET!” He called.

He didn’t have to say it twice. “Yes, my Master. Coming.” And she was on her feet. She allowed herself a full body shiver, a little kicking of one foot and then the other to get the circulation back, but then she padded down the hallway towards him. The leash handle dragging between her feet as she went, the chain make a gentle clinking sound. She also smashed that piece of wayward hair back into place as she walked. She stood, as taught, in the doorway to the room where he stood with his back toward her, without entering. She simply said, “My Master.”

He turned, spreading his arms wide. In one hand was a steaming cup of hot chocolate with a ton of her favorite marshmallows on top. In the other was a quilt. He stepped aside, and there was the beginning of a lively fire in the brick fireplace. “Come, pet, tell me about your day while you warm me up.”

She moved quickly to his side, taking the cocoa as she did. He moved to pillows in front of the fire and motioned her to join him under the quilt.

For … Master.

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