December 21, 2019 | Posted in WooFPAK Heroes

WooFDriver gives in, because he’s good like that. He can tel that something’s wrong, and he can tell that the dogs know what’s wrong. So rather than just leaving the whole pack there with the Pit Crew, he leaves only Princess and Zarro. They’re the two behaving the best, acting the most calm.

“We’ll keep an eye on them,” says Princess, when she catches Jag’s eye. “You just deal with whatever’s out there.”

“Something dangerous,” says Jag, lowly. He tugs at the leash again, just to show that he hasn’t fully calmed down. He’d sooner slip his halter than stay out here and not try to figure out what’s happening.

“Easy,” says WooFDriver, running a soothing hand over Jag’s skull. He scratches behind one ear and Jag leans into the touch, tail giving a few reluctant thump.

Princess sits down, tilting her head to the side. Her eyes are remarkably blue. “You need to be careful out there. I can tell this is more than a fire. You know that. We wouldn’t be feeling this way if it was just a fire.”

From his spot near Guy, Zarro pipes up, “especially because it’s not a fire that we have to go through. So it’s not the fire. It’s something in the fire.”

“I think it’s the missing girl,” says Chase. He gives an antsy little spin, reaches back over his shoulder to gnaw at the lead a moment. “I bet it’s the missing girl. Those kids started this fire, and then they left, and they left her. And that’s what’s wrong. They left her, and something’s happened.”

Jag looks back to the bike, still leaning by the tunnel. “I think you’re right. I just hope we’re able to help.”

WooFDriver lets the two dogs lead. He has their leads hooked to the wrap on his own chest, so there’s no way that the dogs can pull out of his hands. He’s wearing his jacket, but he also has a scarf with him, ready to pull it up over his mouth and nose if need be.

The fire isn’t that bad. At least, not out here. The air is hot, and it smells enough of smoke that it makes Jag and Chase wrinkle up their noses.

“I can’t smell anything through the smoke,” admits Jag.

Luckily for them, Chase is the best tracker out of the entire pack of husky dogs. So he bumps his shoulder against Jag’s and says, “don’t worry, Jag. I’ve got this.”

He parts his mouth, so he can get a better scent. Then he puts his head to the ground and starts leading the way. The further away from the Pit Crew they go, the more uneasy it’s clear that WooFDriver becomes. Jag might not be able to track the girl, but he can smell the fear scent coming off of WooFDriver and it’s enough to make him question this decision.

He’s not a wild dog.

He should be able to ignore his instincts.

Right?

Just because they said something’s wrong, that doesn’t mean Jag has to listen!

And yet here he is, dragging his most beloved human towards a fire that is fast growing bigger. The heat is enough that Jag is panting. He stops walking.

Chase nearly trips over himself. “What’s wrong?”

“I think we need to go back,” says Jag.

WooFDriver says, “I don’t see anything, guys. You’re going to have to be a little more specific than this.”

Chase snarls. He turns, tugging on the lead again. “We’re not going back. Her scent is really, really strong. We’re almost there! We can’t – Jag, we can’t leave her! Come on, please, just a little further!”

“We have to think of WooFDriver. It’s getting more dangerous out here,” says Jag.

Chase, whines, pulling at the lead again. WooFDriver moves forward, giving him more room.

Chase says, “we have to do this. You could have stayed with the others! You can’t change your mind now! Not until we find her, and we’ve almost found her! Just – keep moving, Jag, come on!”

“A little further,” says Jag. “A few minutes. That’s it. We have to put WooFDriver above this whole mess.”

Chase narrows his eyes. “I’m putting them both exactly where they need to be. He would want us to help this girl .That’s the kind of person WooFDriver is. Don’t start trying to use him as an excuse, just because you’re scared.”

“I’m not scared,” starts Jag.

Before he can explain himself, WooFDriver wipes at his forehead with his jacket and urges them forward.

“A little longer,” says Jag.

Chase turns and goes back to his tracking without a word.

 

Katelynn E Koontz – Author

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