"Something's not right here," I stated the obvious.
"Looks like a trap," Sal returned.
Bernie heard it first and ran toward John.
That courageous dog knocked John down just as the incoming explosion hit.
Sal got her shield up and I returned fire, giving them what they gave.
Then it got quiet, too quiet.
I turned around. Sal had tears coming down her face, and she didn't dare to let go of her shield. Bernie and John were both down, twisted on the ground and blood showed on both Bernie's fur coat and John's jacket. Who's blood, I couldn't tell from here.
Only a split-second look. Because more incoming explosives filled the air around that dome.
"I've got to get these two out of here."
"Go ahead. I'll be with you shortly."
I felt them phase out.
And then I let my anger out for real.
John felt something out there. But he didn't worry about it. With Bernie standing guard, he knew any human soul approaching would be sensed before they could get within a hundred yards of his cabin.
But what he felt wasn't human - or wasn't recently. And that is what got him up, out of his comfortable writing chair.
Two steps and he was at the door. By reflex, he grabbed his ball-cap off the row of hooks near it.
The summer moon shone brightly. And showed a reflective glint off all light-colored surfaces. The black-and-white border collie Bernie opened his eyes at the silent opening of that cabin door.
John just nodded at him. So Bernie rose on his four legs and sniffed the air. His ears perked to detect any sound out of the ordinary hoo-hoo's of owls and scurrying feet of night creatures.
"What do you sense, Bernie?" John's thoughts sent clearly to the dog, a talent he'd been refining with someone nearby who could help him master it.
"Nothing. What did you feel?" The black-white collie still was at alert, all senses tracking anything out of the ordinary.
"A once-human. Someone I've met before." John looked first down the overgrown driveway and then to the cow-path trail some visitors liked to frequent.
Bernie started, pointing his hears and eyes down that path. Then he relaxed, and smiled as he began panting. "Yes, they seem familiar. Not that we've met, but they know you."
John relaxed, and came over to Bernie to scratch his back. And wait.
Soon the moonlight showed two female forms coming down that wide cow-path. One tall and dark, the other shorter and dressed in a white, long gown. It would be some time before they got into enough light to make out their faces.
The girl in white was being supported by the taller woman, as she having some difficulty walking.
It wasn't Jude or Sal, thought John, as I'd recognize them by now - and they most often just shifted right inside the cabin or to the porch outside. Walking anywhere wasn't normal for them.
This mystery pair stopped for a moment, as the smaller woman dressed in white seemed to crumple slightly. The tall woman bent to support her for the minute she needed, then they both straightened and continued toward us.
John thought to turn on the porch light, but reconsidered. This nearly-full summer moon was more than enough, and the porch light would make everyone's eyesight limited if they did. Those two women were having enough trouble walking as it was, without having to peer at the path in front of them against the glare of the porch light...
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