August 10, 2017 | Posted in WooFPAK Heroes

When they pull up in front of a house, the road breaks from dirt to gravel. There’s something distinctly modern about it; the building might be made from logs and hard, dark wood but it’s a pre-packaged sort of thing, ordered from a catalogue and built hardly two years back. The rustic charm that enveloped Donna’s home is gone from sight.

A silver Sion sits in the driveway, a cop car parked just a few feet in front of it. The sheriff leaning against the cop car looks anything but friendly. His uniform is stained with dirt and grease, face hard from days spent out in the sun. He’s scowling, too, and looks none too happy when Donna and the WooFPAK come pulling up.

He meets Donna just outside of her old truck. “I didn’t know you were bringing company. Turning this into a real circus, now?”

“A circus?” Donna makes a great show of looking around. “Funny, I thought those needed to have clowns. It doesn’t look like your deputy is here.”

“Donna,” warns the sheriff.

“Ryan,” interrupts Donna. She waves her hand over her shoulder, gesturing at WooFDriver. “These boys are passing through here. They found a deer and brought it by. That one’s doing some sort of video shoot, so I thought he might want to come by and see how I did things.”

Ryan says, “this isn’t a show and tell stage, Donna. Some of us are actually trying to work.”

“And what a grand job you must have,” says Donna, sarcasm practically dripping from her tongue. “That you spend your time shooting scared coons.”

Bluebell’s head pokes up from the passenger seat of the truck. The window is rolled down part way. She’s parked just on the left side of the Jumbo Jet but still has to raise her voice to be heard. “See? He’s not good at being a hooman. It’s all about speed with him, see? It’s all about speed, and that’s not how hoomans are supposed to be. He thinks we’re rotten. Rotten, can you imagine? I’m not rotten! And I bet that coon in there, it’s not rotten either!”

Dryly, Princess asks, “have you ever met a raccoon? They’re basically all rotten.”

“No,” insists Bluebell. “They’re smart! You’ve never lived with a coon, I can tell. I have, you know, and they might not be the nicest things but they aren’t rotten. It’s like having a big cat in the house, only the cat is smarter than the hooman’s, and it’s got thumbs like a hooman. My hooman, she knows that coons can be smart, and they can be sweet, and they don’t deserve to get stuck in a house somewhere just ‘cause they’ve gotten stuck by a couple of hooman kids!”

“Is that why we’re here?” Jag sits up tall as he can, trying to push as much of his head out the window as he can. “We’ve never seen any nice ‘coons before. They’re always getting into the trash if it’s left out.”

Bluebell says, “that’s because they’re hungry. They just want something to eat, and then they realize that it’s an easy meal. Sure, a lot of them can be really mean. But a lot of you wolves are really mean, too!”

Jag has long since given up on trying to convince Bluebell that he’s not a wolf. The rabbit is convinced that any dog-like form must be a wolf. Instead, he says, “I guess so. What’s she going to do?”

“My hooman tries to get the animal out. If it’s hurt, it gets to come back to our house.”

“And if it’s not hurt?”

“Then my hooman finds somewhere to put it where everyone is happy,” answers Bluebell. Her nose is twitching.

The group of humans vanish into the house. Chase asks, “think we can follow them?”

Princess snorts. She stretches out on her seat again. “What, with a raccoon? If you want too, you’ve got a few chunks of stuffing missing from your brain. Don’t you remember the last time we got into it with a coon?”

“He wasn’t there,” says Zarro. “Remember? You’re talking about when it got into the yard, right? He was out with WooFDriver, somewhere.”

Princess snorts. “It doesn’t matter. He should know better than to want to go near a raccoon. They’re filled with parasi- “

She’s cut off by a loud, deafening crack. Princess jerks to her paws. All eyes snap towards the cabin-style house.

Jag demands, “was that a gun?”

Bluebell slips back into her car, vanishing from sight. “I told you,” she says. “He’s real bad at being a hooman.”

 

Katelynn E Koontz – Author