October 4, 2016 | Posted in WooFPAK Heroes

WooFDriver whistles. The sound is sharp and piercing. It seems out of place in the forest, where everything is quiet, where the only sounds are made by the raging bear. “We need to go, guys. Mush! Mush!”

The last word is almost frantic. Fear hangs heavy in the air, this horrid smell. Jag trips over his own paws in his attempt to get turned around. The WooFMobile is running under it’s own power now, which gives the husky dogs a bit of a break. They can move quicker, only having to worry about their own speed and power.

Jag looks over his shoulder, only to realize that the bear is chasing after them. The creature is remarkably quick considering its size, lacking the finesse of the team of dogs. Branches, bracken, and ferns all fall prey to the predator’s massive paws. She ducks her head and plows down everything in her path, solely focused on getting rid of the creature’s before her.

“Come gee,” bellows WooFDriver, yanking the wheel for the all terrain vehicle. It spins around a full one hundred eighty degrees to the right, and the dogs follow suit.

Moments like this, it’s when the dogs are really tested. They know that getting out of this forest is the only solution to the problem, and they know that trusting WooFDriver is one of their only options.

Chase barrels forward. His paws kick up a thick branch. It snaps behind them, twisting up in the rigging. The lead is pulled tight, sending him barreling sideways. “No, no, no! Going down, guys!”

Jag lurches forward. It’s less of a step and more of a hobbling leap. Princess and Zarro follow suit, trying to use their own rigging attachments to get Chase’s paws back under him.

“Easy boys,” shouts WooFDriver. “Haw! Haw!”

They swing to the left. It helps get Chase’s paws back under him. The bear slams her side into a low hanging branch, stumbling down onto her front legs.

“You okay, Chase?” Zarro calls, glancing at the younger dog.

Chase’s tongue lulls out of the side of his mouth. “Fine. Just – how deep into this place are we?”

Princess shakes her head. The words are sharp, terse. “Don’t know. Think WooFDriver’s got a plan?”

“He’s always got a plan,” counters Jag. “Right now, I think it’s just run!”

Run turns out to be the best option. The bear is lost in her rage and fury. She is determined to catch them, but she doesn’t have the same stamina as the husky dogs. They twist and turn through the trees, forgoing any semblance of a path. It’s nothing but a mad dash, guided with barked out words, drowned out by the hum and roar of the WooFMobile.

Slowly, the bear starts to fall behind. The creature is massive, but she’s not in good shape. Gray fur streaks the outer edges of her eyes, and her age is clear in her haggard, staggering steps. “Get out,” she bellows. “Get out of here!”

“We’re trying,” screams Princess, and the words come out as a lone howl. “We’re trying! Just give us a chance to leave!”

“You shouldn’t have come in here,” says the bear. “You shouldn’t have come in here!”

There’s no reasoning with the bear. Grief and rage clouds her judgement. She shakes her head, long strands of spittle fly out of her mouth. Several of her fangs are yellowed with age.

“Almost,” says WooFDriver. “Come on, guys. We’re almost out of here!”

“Almost,” echoes Jag, the words little more than a pant. “Almost out! I can smell the others. You guys can smell the others too, right? We’re almost there. We’re almost there!”

Light floods through the tree tops now, as they grow thinner. The edges of the forest aren’t so thick. It’s easier to run here, giving the dog’s even more of an advantage over the rapidly slowing bear.

Then, with no warning, the beast of a predator stops. The bear’s flanks are heaving. Her fur is matted with streaks of sweat, white and startling. “Go,” she growls, the words little more than harsh air heaved out between bared fangs. “And tell others not to come here! This is my home, and no one is welcomed here. Not any more! Not ever again!”

The dog’s don’t quit running. Not until the forest is long behind them, not until the Jumbo Jet is rising out of the distance. Even when they do finally stop, Jag can’t get his heart to quit racing, can’t get his hackles lowered.

“Betsy was right,” he says, voice low and rough with exhaustion. “There is a monster living in those woods.”

 

Katelynn E Koontz – Author