Monthly Archives: February 2015
Posted by Laurel Wanrow
It’s been a week of edits, and not on a story with dogs in it, so it took a ‘like’ on my Facebook page–for the guinea pig excerpt–to remind me I promised to post a dog excerpt.
The last door opened into a dimly lit and mostly empty room. Two bowls sat inside, food and water. A box of dirt had been placed to one side. The surface of it was disturbed and the smell made its use obvious. The light of the hall shone almost to a mound in the back corner. It moved.
I pressed Eve aside, pulling the door to protect us.
She blocked it open. “I sense no hostility, aggression or opposition.”
The animal got slowly to its feet and stepped from the shadows. Eve’s fingers pinched into me, but the pain was nothing against the swirl of confusion surrounding the familiar animal. The big dog had been… I shut my eyes, reaching for the image.
Eve released me. I grappled to dismiss my churning memories, opening my eyes to the unbelievable sight of her stroking the wiry hair of the wolfhound’s head and unlatching the chain from his collar.
I rushed after her. “Be careful! We don’t know—”
“I know. This is—” She eyed me in an odd way, then shook her head. “D’dair,” she swore. “He shouldn’t be locked in here.”
Dead Air—the unique curse they used on this planet. Her tone indicated something was seriously wrong. She ushered the stumbling dog toward the door of its prison. His gait was stiff and awkward, the poor beast, but he came directly to me and pressed his head against my thigh. Familiarity flooded me. Elusive threads of memory wove forward. This dog had a name, I was sure of it.
“Quinn? Help me rub his legs to get the circulation going. Once we’re back, Evangeline will take proper care of this boy.”
The barrage of images compromised my concentration. I shook them off and dropped to a squat on the other side of the dog. “Evangeline?” I repeated.
“Right, the Evangeline you met probably didn’t seem the type, but that wasn’t her true personality. Our Evangeline has a gift with animals. It took her no time at all to correct the husbandry problems on Zeffir.”
Zeffir. Where Eve worked. If I kept my focus on her and her conversation, I wouldn’t dissolve into my confusing past. “I did notice the agriculture on the island was top notch.”
Eve massaged the dog’s thigh. He was leaning into me as much as I was leaning back. He poked his nose to mine, making a soft rumbling sound. The prickly fur, the sloppy tongue, the intelligent eyes staring steadily at me. He seemed so familiar…but why?
“Humph. Why are you getting the thanks when I’m the one doing the work?” Eve grumbled, but she was watching closely. “Here, turn him.”
The sturdy canine frame shifted when she pulled him, but the dog danced around until his broad face was in mine again. He whined. Smoothing the gray hairs of his muzzle back to the black ones on the crown of his head, I stared deep into his dark orange eyes. A memory came…a desperate cross-leap, the dog pushed against me—no, leading me—with someone—was it Graen?—forcing me through the Conducer, but the dog—
Like in my memory, the wolfhound jerked forward, his ears perked. Footsteps sounded. Together Eve and I tripped to the threshold. I intended to close the door, but the wolfhound slipped through with a growl. “So much for hiding.” I peered around the doorjamb.
The dog cantered to meet the single guard, who dropped bowls similar to the ones at our feet. The man lowered his face guard and reach for his stun sword.
I bolted forward. “No!”
My appearance was enough to make him hesitate. The dog leaped. With well over a hundred pounds of force, those huge paws struck the man’s shoulders and down he went. The dog bounded on. At the top of the stairs he turned to stare, as if summoning us.
We ran. The guard rolled to gain his feet. I shoved him down again and raced past. The wolfhound yipped and descended the stairs. I followed with Eve just paces behind me.
Thud! Someone tripped and fell.
I whirled. Eve sprawled motionless on the tile. The guard lurched up, shoving the stun sword before him. “Unless you want the same, freeze!”
The first chapters of Passages, a science fiction romance, are available to read here. The novel isn’t published–yet–but three author friends have SFR novels coming out in February, updates, available on Spacefreighter’s Lounge. Sorry, not sure about their dog content.