With our legs and a little help from The Witch, we had everything we needed to get to the dooms. Once mom realized that when the answers are inside of you, you don't have to follow anyone else's rules, the freedom fell into her legs and she started jogging. It didn’t matter if she got sweaty, because she had been wearing the same clothes for four days anyway, and already smelled like the stray humans in The City who camp in the dog bathroom.
There's a reason that Mom and I don't like easy peasy trails as much as we do the badass ones, and it's not just because I like to brag. Mom doesn't turn around and talk to me as much when we're not in danger, and it's like we're on different adventures.
Mom says that mountains and canyons tell the story, both about how they were built and how they are fading away. But the story of the mountains in this part of the desert doesn’t make any sense. The lines of their puppyhood are all twisted in unlikely ways, and the mix of rocks and colors are like the unbelievable details in a liar’s story that all seem like they came from somewhere else and don’t fit together. You can’t trust mountains like these
When we got back to the swishy butt crack rocks, there was a problem. This morning there had been little puddles at the bottom of the crack, but now the puddles filled the bowls in the rock like pools.
The mountains bulged roundly out of the ground like a pair of stretch pants. The air was dry, but a different dry than the sharpened and clean dry of the desert. This was a sticky, rustling, itchy dry.
"This sure is beautiful, isn't it, Mom?" I asked. I wasn't quite sure if it was beautiful, so I was hoping she'd tell me. These mountains didn't do all the inspiring gymnastics of the really tall mountains that blocked the desert. They were kind of nubby, and their only trick was to trip and fall right into the ocean with a little splash.
I understood why a runner would want a buddy if they couldn't smell their way around a marathong course, but I didn't understand why there weren't a ton of other people fighting over who got to visit Michigan.
The higher we hiked, the more we could see. Low down in the valley the view was mostly just of the slides that humans had built to catch and release the water that came off the freeway, but the higher we went we had views of the freeway itself, and the ugly stripes that humans had cut into the rock to keep the mountain from jumping onto the freeway. "Maybe you can use your imagination," Mom suggested.
"No!" Mom said slowing down like she wasn't sure whether to start running or fall on the ground herself. "Nononononono!" she groaned. Dr. Remy's Dad handed Mom Remy's leash and started running toward the man. Remy and I could tell that the humans were scared, so we were scared too. Mom's movements slowed down even more until she froze, and so for now Remy and I froze and waited for something to happen.