November 13, 2018 | Posted in WooFPAK Heroes

The storm passes a few hours before morning, and dawn rises on a town that is very wet and a little worse for the wear. As soon as he feels it’s a decent hour, WooFDriver gets on the phone, trying to contact someone over the missing child – and within a few hours, a beat up red Sedan is pulling up behind the small convoy of vehicles.

The woman that gets out looks just like the child, plus thirty years. She is frazzle haired and wide-eyed and makes a shriek that’s borderline delighted when she catches sight of the girl. “Amanda!”

“Momma,” echoes the girl, but she doesn’t relinquish her grip on Legacy’s neck, where she’s been for the better part of the morning. If anything, she clings to the old stray that much tighter. “Momma, he saved me!”

The woman nearly trips over herself in her haste to get to her daughter. She drops down onto her knees, hard, and Jag winces. “That had to hurt,” he says, ears flicking.

Princess lets out a small, soft chuff of laughter. “I don’t think she cares about that too much.”

“Probably not,” agrees Jag. He smiles when the woman wraps her arms around Legacy and Amanda, pulling them both into a tight, sob-wracked hug.

Chase makes the most pleased sound that he can manage. “I’m so glad for them!”

“It’s nice to see a family reunited,” says Zarro. “I’m glad that WooFDriver found the mom.” His gaze is warm when he directs it at Chase. “And you. You did good last night. I wouldn’t have found them in that storm.”

Chase shakes his head, hard. “No way. The only one that should get that sort of praise is Legacy. I mean, look at that! He found that girl and he stayed with her all night! It was way better than my dream!”

The other members of the WooFPAK choose not to ask about the dream again, writing it off either as an anomaly born from old instincts or simply as something that is uniquely Chase. Instead, they crowd around each other, rubbing sides, bumping heads, and watching as the humans talk.

In the end, the mother, Tabby, insists on treating everyone for lunch. They stop at a little bistro with outside seating and she buys everyone their own sandwich, including the dogs. Amanda sits on the floor with them, curled up against Legacy’s side, and falls asleep in a matter of moments.

Legacy leans forward best that he can, voice dropped low like he’s sharing a secret. “Did you hear what Jim said?”

“That he ordered extra pickles?” Chase cocks his head to the side, a piece of pastrami hanging out the side of his mouth.

Princess, dryly, says, “I don’t think that’s what he means.”

“Oh.” Chase’s tail thumps lightly against the ground, sending up a small cloud of dust. “Then nope! I sure didn’t!”

Legacy looks first this way, then that way. He even glances up, as if worried that the birds might swoop down and steal away his words. When the old stray finally decides that there’s no one around to spoil the moment, he says, voice light and wary, “he says they might want to adopt me!”

Princess’s face lights up. “That’s amazing!”

Jag asks, “why don’t you look happy?”

“I haven’t had people in a really long time,” says Legacy. “What if I do something wrong?” And then, even more concerned, “what if Jim’s wrong and they don’t want me? Or if they take me home and then decide they don’t want me?”

The husky dog’s share concerned looks.

Legacy admits, “I don’t want to go back to how things have been. Your humans have been really nice. I want nice humans like that.”

A heavy silence settles over the group. In the end, it’s Chase that swallows back the last of his sandwich and then gets up, moving to sit on the side of Legacy not currently occupied by a small human. He says, honest as he can manage, “that girl loves you. You saved her, and now she’s going to save you.”

No one dares echo the thought.

They don’t want to have to be wrong.

But Chase has a good feeling. Like last night, but better.

So he bumps his head against the side of Legacy’s shoulder and promises, “they’ll take you home and love you forever. Trust me.”

And Legacy, against his better judgment, does.

 

Katelynn E Koontz – Author