Short story excerpt: ‘Sammy’s Butterflies’

The following is an excerpt from my short story “Sammy’s Butterflies,” which appears in the 2018 anthology “Florida’s Emerging Writers”. Hope you enjoy reading it!

Sammy, I’m coming. 

Driving across the bridge on an autumn day, there are mountains ahead with a blanket of blue sky and clouds.  

Kind of takes forever to cross this bridge. Dear God, I thought this fleece was warm enough, even with the heater on in the car— Sammy misses his butterfly collection, I bet. Must be lonely where he is. 

On the floor of the passenger’s side, in a case, lied 16 bodies. Blue, purple, red, orange, yellow, big ones, small ones – immortalized in a glass case. I reached the end of the bridge and the roads ahead will wind and wind and wind up. Don’t want to make too sharp a turn or drive too fast. I love this drive, love the autumn scene, love the colors out there.

Orange, red, brown of both the butterflies, – dead butterflies – match the leaves on the ground and across the mountain.  

Surrounded by colors, surrounded by nature, surrounded by autumn; Sammy is now surrounded by this all the time now. Sorry Sammy, I’m delayed, but I’ll get there soon don’t go anywhere.  

Winding road, leaves. Winding road, leaves. 

Eighteen years, then Sammy’s gone. Connor hated dogs; he had to announce this on our second date and reminded me again at our wedding reception. Before going to the reception, thank God we thought to get married the day before, we drove to the pet shelter. Met Sammy there, a beagle mix scurrying around in his kennel. I thought, cutest thing ever! The first apsect I noticed about him were that his eyes resembled chocolate kisses. They were like that before cataracts clouded them. We adopted him that day and brought him to the reception.

“This is my wedding gift to you,” Connor said. 

How dare he see Sammy as an object, something that’s given as a gift!  

Sammy’s buried with other dogs now. He was more than a dog. Inside, he was a real live boy. An old boy who walked with a limp, chased butterflies wherever he saw them, down the street, in the park, in the field.

The cemetery up ahead. 

No one is on the street, good. Some privacy with him without anyone disturbing us. 

I had hung his butterfly collection in our living room. Every morning he would trot in there, draw his eyes toward the same spot on the wall where the collection hung, and leap toward it. I would take the case down. He would tap and sniff it, but I never opened it. 

The space in this car is tight as I reached toward the case. If anything happened to it, Sammy’d be so disappointed. 

The problem with going to a graveyard is you’re surrounded by dead people. Those are the most useless types of people: dead people who don’t do anything. They’re just like Connor. 

Who was he to have an opinion on anything? Why does he have to blow $800 on heating repairs in our house when he could have used that money for Sammy, or to adopt some more dogs? Why can’t Connor be more thoughtful like, like, like a dog?  

About Teresa Edmond-Sargeant

Teresa Edmond-Sargeant’s short stories have appeared in several publications including the “Demonic Anthology” series, “Thrill of the Hunt: Buried Alive,” and 121 Words. She’s releasing her first short story collection in late 2020.

In her spare time she enjoys reading, shopping, traveling, working out, volunteering, and filling her mind with useless factoids worthy of pop culture trivia games. Visit her Amazon Author Page and her website.