<<<Chapter 1: Zoe<<<
He went round and round – not because he was chasing his tail, but because there was no space for him to do anything else. He was at the bottom of a vertical shaft that was no more than two feet in diameter. Right in the middle of it was a puddle of dirty water. It had rained last night.
Cubby tried to figure out the place. The circular dirt wall went up and above his small frame, until it opened up to show a small circle of the gray sky.
When he had fallen, he had yelped. Not deliberately. A thirty-feet fall could make a grown-up yelp like a pup – and Cubby was indeed a pup.
Later, he had barked and even howled. Terriers weren’t the best in the howling department, yet he had tried.
Nothing had worked.
They were gone. They had left him behind.
But Cubby couldn’t fault them with it, could he?
He had jumped out of the trailer when they had stopped the car by the side of the road. Mom wanted to take a picture for her blog and dad had popped the hood to check the coolant in the engine. Cubby had jumped out of the trailer, so that he could stretch his limbs.
OK. He was lying.
In fact, he had stolen that stretching-the-limbs expression from a TV Grandma whose name he couldn’t remember. Truth be told, he had spotted a squirrel and he wanted to chase it.
By the time he had turned back, the car was gone!
At first, he thought that chasing the car wouldn’t be a big deal, but after running a couple of miles, he had realized that he was wrong. There was a huge difference between the power packed by a 75 HP engine and a 0.5 DP dog.
For the first time in his life, he felt miserable and hungry – but he was an optimistic and resourceful pup. He saw some rats and geckos and his vermin-hunting genes kicked in. An hour of hunting was followed by a sumptuous dinner. That had made him smug.
He could survive on his own, couldn’t he?
He didn’t need those humans, did he?
His thoughts had rudely interrupted by the ground beneath him that gave way and sent him tumbling into a dark hole in the ground.
Now, almost thirty feet below the surface, sitting tight against the dirt-wall, Cubby reflected upon the last two days.
In his litter, he was the last to be adopted. The emotional bond that he shared with his adoptive family was minimal. There was a strong chance that his absence would be discovered only after they reached the motel where they had booked themselves a room for the night. So, even if they did come looking for him, it won’t be until tomorrow.
If they came looking for him?
It was a big “if” that appeared to be to a gigantic, impossible to solve “IF” to three-month old Lakeland terrier pup, who could do nothing but wait for fate to take its course.
Cubby coiled himself up, rested his chin upon his front paws, and sighed.
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Somewhere else in the woods, an eleven-year old boy opened an old leather-bound notebook that had once belonged to his father.