Chapter Seven

The gate to the backyard stood in front of me, mocking me, beckoning me to summon all my courage and enter at my own risk.  The only thing encouraging me to forge onward was the two people standing with me. 

To my left was my shelter, my comforter, my Mommy.  She was the definition of strength, or at least I used to think so, but after last night she was still looking a little pale and tepid.

To my right stood my rock, my bestie, Rapi.  Any animosity we had for one another vaporized the moment we watched the light explode and knock Mommy unconscious. 

Together, the three of us stood as one, a tower of quivering mess, each waiting for the other to find the fortitude to push the wooden gate open.  I glanced at Rapi and I was certain he wasn’t going to do it.  One side long look at Mommy revealed she didn’t look like she was in any sort of mental or emotional state to be doing this either. That could mean only one thing, it was up to the dog who is afraid of her own shadow.

I took one timid step forward and already I was fighting the trembling in my legs.   One last look at the flimsy wooden gate left me feeling like I had no choice but to throw my front paws against it and push it open.  I gathered myself up and prepared to spring full force ahead.

“What’s going on here?”

I let out a yelp and fell forward on my face.  The deep voice sounded both menacing and familiar. By the time I had regained my balance Rapi and Mommy had already swung around to face the intruder.

“What are you doing here Nate?”

Mommy didn’t sound like her normal self at all. The sing-song was gone, and the words were all strange, almost like she was talking underwater. My eyes flew to her face which was now even paler than it had been when we had started this day.

“I could ask you the same thing.”

Nate’s voice was even and natural as he took a step toward us.  Mommy didn’t hesitate to retreat one step back to keep her distance.  I could smell anger, but even more troubling was that the scent of fear was even stronger. 

“How did you find us here?”

She stood taller; more defiant.  The air crackled with discord, so much so that Rapi had withdrawn to hide behind Mommy.

“Oh, Sarai, you are so cute and a little naive too.  You didn’t think I wouldn’t see your application for Buffalo University?  And let’s not forget that you are Brazilian!  You South Americans can’t seem to control how loud you get when you get together, especially with that Cuban Nadine!  You honestly didn’t think I could hear you discussing your future?”

His jaw had tightened, and any semblance of calm was about to vanish.  Nate drew another step closer, only Mommy didn’t move this time,

“Who is Nadine,” Rapi whispered.

“It’s Chester’s mom, now be quiet,” I snapped at my friend.

Mommy’s eyes narrowed and her cheeks grew crimson.  I looked on nervously, keenly aware of her shallow breathing and trembling hands.

“Just go back to your cute little model in New York and leave us alone!”

Her words were hoarse and filled with vitriol.  Anger was pouring off her in waves of heat.  He responded by taking another step toward her.

“I told you that was a mistake Sarai, you are the one I want to spend my life with.”

“Sure Nate, until the next little thing in a skirt crosses your path!”

“That’s not fair Sarai.”

“You know, sometimes life isn’t fair, you sure taught me that!”

He met her rage with a sinister grin and then extended his hand toward her.  She slapped it away then darted to her left avoiding his sudden lunge at her.

My instincts took over.  With my hair standing on end and my lips curled up to show him my teeth I leaped between the two of them and stared him down.  Nate took a step to the right and I followed suit.

“Do you think I am afraid of this poor excuse for a watchdog?”

He jabbed his finger toward me and began to laugh.

“Go,” I snarled at him with the fiercest growl I knew how to make.

“Vai embora! Just leave Nate … please!”

I didn’t have to turn around to know that mommy had broken down and burst into tears. A sickening feeling took shape inside my tummy. Nate was right.  If push came to shove I would run away.

“You heard the lady, get into your car, and leave!”

Nate snapped his head over his shoulder to see where the deep commanding voice had come from.  Standing at the end of our driveway was a tall muscular man holding a wallet with a badge in one hand and a leash attached to the largest Siberian Husky I have ever met in my life in the other hand.

The dog’s muscles were tense and straining, his eyes locked on Nate, who had turned to face him. It was obvious that this dog meant business.  It was also unmistakable that Nate wanted no part of him. 

“We are not done with this discussion Sarai,” Nate huffed in Mommy’s direction.

“Now,” the officer barked.

Nate held his palms up at shoulder level and began a slow withdrawal down the driveway, making sure to not turn his back on the dog who had begun to growl at him. After taking a wide berth around the Husky, Nate dashed towards his blue Mustang and wasted no time speeding off.

“Are you okay, ma’am?”

“I’m fine, thank you, officer,” Mommy answered with downcast eyes.

“Ben, please, and this here is Dash,” he said nodding toward the husky.

“Nice to meet you, I’m Sarai,” she answered extending her hand.

“We live in the green two-story,” he said nodding down the street and accepting her hand.

“I’ll keep that in mind in case I need more protection.  Is it okay,” she asked motioning toward the husky.

“Oh sure. Say hello Dash!”

The dog let out a deep bark and held a paw in the air waiting for Mommy to shake it.

“My gosh, he is so smart.”

“And handsome,” I said, making sure to get my two cents in. 

© Copyright 2023 H. Scott Moore

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About THe Author

H. Scott Moore, a native of Western New York State, grew up enjoying the rhythm of life in the changing seasons. One day, he became intrigued by his dog, Cindee, and what she might be thinking and feeling.

Inspired, he set out to create a world that combines his passion for animals and his curiosity about the natural and supernatural worlds. The result is a space where we can travel with Cindee and her friends and enjoy their adventures too!

When he is not working or creating, H. Scott likes to spend his time on the trails with Cindee, Mylo, and his wife Simone.


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