What my barks had pinned to the spot, and now Mom’s eyes were stuck to, were a trio of creatures that weren’t quite horses, and weren’t quite cows, and weren’t quite bunnies. “What are they?!?!?!” I whined. “And can I please scatter them like bowling pins?”
Now here we were again, and a truck so fat that we had to step off the trail to keep from getting squashed was stealing our peace and darkness. When the truck’s cockpit passed through my spotlight, I saw a lady inside waving. If Mom’s face hadn’t been hidden behind the light, the lady probably would have been ducking for cover rather than waving.
"Do you know what they use buoys for?" "They're like road signs but on water, right?" "That's what they want you to think," she said, her voice turning hollow and haunted. "Buoys are like gravestones, they mark where there's a dead body underneath."
“And what puts the zoomies in?” Dogs get the zoomies when our pack is all together and then a door opens. But what do people get zoomies for? I thought about the things that made Mom look forward to a big run. “Isn’t it because they only sell Peanut M&Ms in Share Size?" I guessed.
The path they made seemed like nonsense when you looked at all the pieces together. As it got hotter, I was sure it was all devious Witch trap, and that soon she would push us into an oven, just like Handsome and Griddle.
“Well…” Mom thought for a minute about whether she expected a Witch to know more or less than God, and then decided that it was probably best not to say. “Fine, we’ll check it out,” she said to make a good impression on New Witch.
But my brain couldn't come up with ideas because it was busy realizing that all this time I'd been following Mom, she hadn’t known where we were going any better than I did. Mom wasn't the alpha, The Witch had been the alpha this whole time! It was a lot to take in.
As we climbed higher, the stark naked mountains exposed more and more of themselves. Mom stared with her mouth hanging open as they revealed the private cracks and scraggly bits that more modest mountains hide under trees and meadows, but when she tried to take pictures, they came out too graphic and messy under such a harsh, unblinking sky.
Whenever Mom decides that something won’t be as bad as she thought, that means that it is definitely going to be worse than expected. Pretty soon, the road got serious, making grinding, popping and crunching noises under The Truck’s big paws while Mom and I bounced this way and that inside the cockpit. Now I knew how the wet food felt when Mom tried to get it out of the can without using a fork.
“Oh! I just realized, trails are a lot like life! I should write a story about that!” I said, thinking about what it would be like to brag about winning best in show in the Pulitzer writing competition. “Um, I think that one’s been done before,” Mom said. “Really?” I’d thought it was pretty clever, and it surprised me that somedog was smart enough to think of it first.