October 4, 2016 | Posted in WooFPAK Heroes

WooFDriver is leery about the woods. It’s all in good sense, and something that Jag completely understands. Every patch of maple that they pass seems to hold all manner of monsters, all manner of creeps. At night, the shadows are impossibly dark, and during the day, the light seems far too bright.

They drive, for the most part. After the second bridge, there’s nothing but open trail for a while. It’s pretty, but not calming.

Jag sits with his nose pressed against the window. It leaves wet streaks over the glass. “This is turning into a lot of work.”

From the very back seat, Princess scoffs. “Do you mean to tell me that you don’t like being chased by angry bears?”

“I think she had a reason to be angry,” says Chase, lightly. He stretches out on the middle seat of the Jumbo Jet. His muzzles rests against his paws, tail still save for a slight twitching at the end. “Did you see that scar?”

Princess snorts. “We didn’t give it to her!”

“But someone did,” says Chase. He’s one of the youngest in the pack of husky dogs, but he’s got the most open mind of them all. “And I think that would be enough. I wouldn’t want to be around any humans if they hurt me that badly. I don’t think I’d want to be around humans if they hurt one of you like that. It would be really awful.”

The silence that settles over the car, then, is heavy and stiff. Even the scenery outside can’t hold sway of their minds, for they’ve all seen the animal control truck go past their house, and they all remember the way their alleyway friend had shied away from the light.

“It would be,” says Zarro, softly. “I wouldn’t want anyone to come into our yard, whether they were bad or not.”

Princess snorts again, but there’s no real venom behind the sound. “I just don’t get it.”

“Get what?” Jag finally tears himself away from the window.

“Any of it,” answers Princess. She sits up, hooking her front paws on the back of the middle seat. “That whole business – look out!”

The last two words come out as a loud bark. Chris slams on the breaks, hard enough that the squeal. A thick furred white malamute stands in the middle of the road. She doesn’t move, even when the front fender of the Jumbo Jet comes dangerously close to her.

Chris curses, slamming his palm against the steering wheel. They stopped so fast that his open bottle of Pepsi went tipping sideways, spilling sticky brown soda over WooFDriver’s pants.

WooFDriver flings open his door. “Where did that come from?”

“I don’t know,” breathes Chris. “It wasn’t – she just ran out into the street!”

The malamute doesn’t move. Her eyes are crisp blue. Jag’s heart skips a beat at the sight of her. It feels like he’s looking at something from a dream, this long lost vision of something that he doesn’t really know.

Jag presses himself as close to the window as he can get. “Woah. What’s that dog doing out here?”

The passenger side door is left open. Jag knows that he isn’t supposed too, but he scrambles into the front seat – past Rhett’s grabbing arms – and out the door. The pavement is rough beneath his paws. He races forward, past a slow-walking, sweet-talking WooFDriver.

Jag skids to a stop a few feet away from the malamute. “Who are you?”

For a long moment, the dog doesn’t say anything. Then, she turns around and races off the road, into the nearby field.

“Jag,” shouts WooFDriver. “Come here! C’mere, boy!”

Jag knows he should listen. He almost does, looks over his shoulder at the car, at his people, and at his pack. But then the wind rustles through his fur, and that feeling pushes at the back of his mind, and he takes off, too, giving chase to the white furred dog.

 

Katelynn E Koontz – Author