February 19, 2019 | Posted in WooFPAK Heroes

The fog swirls around their paws. It’s thick enough that Jag can’t see what he’s walking on. Even the beam of the flashlight doesn’t appear able to cut through it.

“This place is awesome,” says Chris.

WooFDriver is quick to agree. “It’s really incredible. Sometimes we come out to places like this and just – wow, it sure is something else, you know?”

Chase bumps his shoulder into Jag’s. “I think that they’re right! Can you imagine if we just weren’t ever able to see this sort of thing?”

Jag tilts his head to the side. “What do you mean?”

“Like Legacy,” explains Chase. “He’s lived his entire life in that one small town. I mean, and the forest next to it, but it’s basically the same thing. It’s still all been in one place. He’s never gotten to run through caves or visit places like – like that one place! With all the sand! And the red rocks!”

Princess makes a happy sounding whuff. “That was California, Chase. And…I think I know what you mean. If WooFDriver didn’t take us places like this, we wouldn’t ever know they existed. We wouldn’t even know to miss them.”

“I don’t miss caves,” says Jag, but he’s only being half serious. Over the years, they’ve had a few rough encounters in caves. Sometimes, strange things happen in them and it’s hard to explain later on. Other times, they come across particularly unhappy animals who would have liked their cave to remain human-less, thank you very much.

The comment gets a doggy chuckle out of all the members of the WooFPAK. Jag’s paw brushes against a particularly large stone, and he starts picking his steps out more carefully.

At his side, Chase says, “I don’t know. I think caves are neat. This one isn’t that neat, but some of them are. Like the cave with the stars!”

“Those were worms,” says Princess.”

“Worms don’t glow,” counters Chase.

Princess gives a fond roll of her eyes. Their adventure in California is one that they all greatly enjoyed, despite the trials that had come along with it. “Those worms glowed. Come on, Chase. You don’t really think there were stars inside of a –“

She’s cut off by the very distinct sound of a firework going off. Despite knowing what the sound belongs too, it’s still loud enough and sudden enough to send the dogs scrambling back.

“Easy,” says WooFDriver, dropping down onto his knees. The WooFPAK crowds around him, Chase very nearly clambering into the human’s lap. “Easy, guys. It’s okay. Nothing to worry about.”

Rhett makes an irritated sound at the back of his throat. “Bet you anything it’s a bunch of teenagers out messing around.”

Chris asks, “isn’t there a fire warning today?”

Guy frowns. “With the rain we had yesterday?”

“I don’t think it rained in this area,” says Chris. “I’m pretty sure my weather app said that there was a fire warning today.”

“People are idiots,” says WooFDriver, as another sudden crash fills the air. Where ever the fireworks are being set off at, it’s got to be very close to them.

Jag flattens his ears against his skull and tries not to cower. It feels a little bit like his heart is trying to pound out of his chest. He knows that this is silly. Rationally, he knows that this is silly.

But irrationally, the sound is loud, and sudden, and unpredictable. Irrationally, he can’t see where it’s coming from, and the fog in the cave is very, very thick.

Zarro, who has never really minded loud noises, raises his hackles and takes point. “You guys want to make this a short trip?”

“Yes,” says Jag, without hesitation. “I really, really do.”

 

Katelynn E Koontz – Author

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