We left the main trail and followed the footsteps and rock piles back to the secret passageway that would take us back down the cliff. The only problem was that the trail disappeared as if by magic. We found a pile of rocks wedged under an overhang like it was trying to tell us something, but we couldn't figure out what. We went back and forth over the same 1/10 of a mile of trail over and over, and couldn’t find anything trail-like anywhere; no packed-down snow, no shoe prints in the sand, no rock piles, not even a long stretch without things to climb over.
As we climbed higher, even the mountain we were on started to grow a little stubble of white dirt. It was funny to see the spikey desert plants and tumbleweeds sticking out of the white dirt like that. There was even white dirt as we came down into Roadrunner and Wily E Coyote country where cracks became canyons and the white dirt made the mountains look more like wedding cakes than muffin tops.
Mom and I turned back around to see that one of the odd humans was moving only his mouth while the rest of him stood still like a statue. “Mom! Quick! This guy found gold, but I think he’s a disabled person. I bet if I bark a lot to create a distraction, you could steal all the gold from him and then we could run away with it and he couldn’t chase us because of his disability. Then we’d be rich! On the count of three. One… two...”
Because I'm a marathong coach, I know a loser's attitude when I hear one. I hadn't even had a chance to get bored and fall asleep yet. She jumped back on the dreadmill and ran another couple of steps, but it still sounded wrong, like the lub-dub in Mom's chest instead of her regular feet beat. After only a couple of seconds she stopped the dragon inside the dreadmill from roaring and sat on our bed. "I think it's really hurt," she said.
"I know that bridge!" I said. "Bodie lives on the other side of it!" "No, you're thinking of the Golden Gate Bridge," Mom said. "This is the Bay Bridge." "What the heck are you talking about?" I asked. "I recognize it." Mom can be so think sometimes. 'Tourist,' Mom muttered.
Thomas is my friend, I guess, but we don't have much in common. He's not a good runner like me. He has a real long body, but short little legs so he walks like a caterpillar and Mom and I have to walk slow so that he can keep up. He's never been camping, didn't go to puppy school, and is unemployed, so we don't have much to talk about. Mostly I just pretend he's not there, and I'm not sure he's noticed me yet either.
It all started with a smell. It smelled like camping. Then one day the sun came up and I discovered that someone had gone through and erased the world. All the nearby stuff was still there, but anything in the distance had been erased leaving nothing but a smudgy grey-white in its place. Around the same time, the people started disappearing off the streets.
I know you guys aren't going to believe me because you think that humans and dogs can't live at this temperature, but this morning it was FORTY-TWO DEGREES when Mom and I went for our run this morning. No, I swear, it CAN get that cold in real life!