by Lovina 🐕🦺
Katie takes her dog for a walk on Halloween night
|Halloween night. And a full moon. Lovely. No way Alex was going to be denied his evening walk. It’s not like he cares how many crazies are out as long as he gets to wander among them. Katie let out a deep sigh and reached for the leash. She usually enjoyed walking at night, so quiet and peaceful, and most everyone too afraid of her dog to give her any grief. Alexander the Great, Alex for short, a purebred German Shepherd and the perfect protector, fearless as his name implied and big enough to strike fear in the hearts of any troublemakers they happened across.
Stepping out into the dark, Katie took a deep breath of the cool night air. Autumn is such a beautiful time of year, the colors and cool evenings calmed her soul. Looking around as they started down the street she could see that there were still a couple of teenagers about even though it was after 10:00 pm. They made it to the bike trail without incident and started their two mile walk along the path that wound gracefully through the woods and ended at the other end of their street, one nice big circle.
About a quarter of the way through Alex stopped, his nose intently sniffing the air, his tail straight out, and then he growled. Katie looked around as a sense of unease crept over her. No shadows moved, no eyes glinted in the dark, yet, something didn’t feel right. She looked down at Alex, he appeared much larger, every hair he had standing on end, making him look statically charged and making her very nervous. Suddenly, the dog spun around and stared into the night behind them. Then he whimpered. Now Katie was scared, all of her nerves on edge as she turned to look back the way they had come. Nothing. No sound, no movement, just the black of night with its many shadows.
Has to be some of those teenagers trying to scare her. She tried to tell herself that anyway. One problem with that scenario though; a couple of kids would never cause Alex to whimper. Obviously the dog was very unnerved, of course, that knowledge did not help her state of mind. Alex started to back up, heading away from the direction they had come, as he alternated between growling and whining. Katie unconsciously mirrored his movements, not thinking about it, only trying to see into the blackness, trying to see what Alex saw. Suddenly the dog turned and pulled her along at a jog, constantly checking behind them as he made his way along the familiar trail, trying to get Katie to move faster.
Alex came to a sudden stop. Katie, so intent on searching the darkness around her, tripped over him and had to do some creative acrobatics to keep from falling face first into the concrete. Once she righted herself and stood next to her dog she noticed he was intently staring into the woods on their right, pushing his body into hers, his entire frame trembling. Fear seeped into her bones as she scrutinized every shadow, every dark hiding spot.
She looked down at her dog just as he started moving his head to the left, stopping with his nose aligned with the path in front of them. Whimpering, Alex put his head down and tucked it between his shoulder and her leg. Katie realized then that she was shaking as much as Alex was, feeling that fight or flight instinct boiling to the surface. The moments slipped by as she tried to calm herself, to think clearly, knowing panic could have devastating results.
A man’s silhouette appeared at the curve in the trail ahead. Katie wasn’t sure if that was good or bad. Checking on Alex’s posture didn’t help as he seemed to be trembling even more, his head still tucked safely away. As the shadow rounded the curve she could see a big man, broad shoulders and a long stride. She reached into her pocket for the pepper spray she always carried. Keeping her hand in her pocket she flipped the safety switch and poised her finger on the button, ready…hopefully.
As the stranger drew closer Katie took one last desperate look around, and not seeing anything, she focused on the man. He had his hands in his pockets, his head down, appearing not to notice her. Aware that it might be a ploy, she remained alert and ready, waiting. Alex, shaking so badly now, she feared his heart would give out. Not only that, but he was disrupting her balance. Fear gripped her heart as the man drew even with her, but, then he passed, not even glancing her way.
“Excuse me, sir?” she wasn’t sure why she called to him.
He stopped just a couple of feet behind her. “Yes?” His voice was a nice deep baritone, smooth and enticing.
“Did you see anything along the trail? Hear anything?” Tears of terror welled in her eyes as she waited for his response.
“Nope, nothing at all."
“Thank you," she responded, trying to keep her voice even. The man turned and continued his journey. It was Katie’s turn to whimper as she looked down at her terrified protector and tried to think of what to do next.
Slowly Alex raised his head, sniffing the air. He looked around them, searching the night, as his trembling abated. Suddenly he stood and started down the path, sniffing here and there, acting as if nothing had occurred.
Liam watched from the woods, this time downwind on their left. His eyes glowed red as he remembered her scent. His soul mate. The elders had said he would find her and that he would know when he did. He hadn’t believed them. But now, now he knew, deep in his heart he knew. He was glad that he had prepared small stashes of clothes here and there for emergencies, even though he hadn’t bothered putting the shoes on. Not that it mattered. She had been so stricken with fear she didn’t notice his bare feet. It had taken a lot of energy to change into his human form on this night, but he had to get closer, to breathe her in.
Liam jumped down from the large tree stump landing silently on his paws. He needed to hunt now because he would need his strength later. Of course, the dog would have to be taken care of first…