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?”
"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."
“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.
She seemed determined not to notice that it wasn’t behaving like ground was supposed to behave at all. I guess the snot had had enough of her smugness, because suddenly it stole both of her legs at once and threw them toward the sky. Mom fell in that way where she hit all the parts of her body on both sides at once. She started to say a bad word each time she whacked another part on the floor, but interrupted herself with a new bad word when a different part smacked the hard snot.
“You mean to say you've been leading me into mortal peril this whole time without telling me?” “I guess. But angels or not, you can't not do something just because it's dangerous. If danger can find you anywhere, then you might as well try something epic. Otherwise you're bound to have a season-ending injury vacuuming or something, and where's the cool story in that?"