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Awake (Chapter 10)

Chapter 10

He was a good boy. There was no doubt. He licked the wounds he could reach, but some were hard to get to or had been wrapped up in that stuff by the human girl that Leader liked. She was okay, but the young boy in her pack gave better scratches.

Leader gave the best scratches though. Not only that, but Leader had opened the scary death box when Cato couldn’t breathe. Cato had paid Leader back by killing the night birds in the dark place, though.

Cato didn’t know why the other humans hadn’t accepted Leader as their alpha as soon as he had. The human had been surprisingly capable, plus he smelled less scared than the rest of them. Even when Cato had been hurt by the big scary thing with the smelly mouth, Leader had finished off the thing rather than make noise and lose water out of their eyes.

But, Cato was a good boy. Leader had said so many times since then.

Leader was sitting across the bright-hot-light that he’d made. He mumbled something to Cato that Cato didn’t understand completely, but Leader was getting better at talking and he thought he got it on his second try. Cato got up and walked over to Leader and sank down to the ground next to him so that Leader could pet his head. Cato was a good boy, and humans sometimes needed a good boy.

How could they not. Humans only had two legs and were too slow. They seemed to not be able to smell anything, and their ignorance about some things was surprising to Cato. Still…they could make bright-hot-lights on cold days, at least humans like Leader could.

Cato thought of his old leader then, the one that had put him in that box with no air. When he came out, he couldn’t smell him anymore. There hadn’t been any of the old smells at all and that had been scary.

The old leader used to take him to practice biting the man in the fake skin. He liked that, but it was hard work and afterward they would go to the place with all the sand and the big water. There had been smaller versions of the stinky-mouthed things that had bitten the boy who gives good scratches and Cato would chase them. That was hard work too, but it was important. In this new place there must not be very many like Cato to chase the stinky-mouthed things, because they were allowed to get way too big. Now they attack nice boys. Cato had smelled the boy's wound. It hadn’t smelled good. That was sad. Cato let out a low whimper as he thought of the boy and Leader patted his head to make him feel better. He also mumbled something that made no sense, but Cato wiggled his short tail to let him know it was okay.

Leader and Cato had gone back into the dark place that had none of the old smells, but it was okay now because he had built one of the bright-hots that kept the night birds far away. They had found more water and food that had no smell, but Cato didn’t mind. He was far too tired to go looking for real food, and it was nice to lay next to Leader while they waited to feel better.

Those big mean boys had hurt them both, and Cato was angry that he hadn’t attacked them when he first wanted to, but Leader didn’t give him any of the words. Maybe no one had ever taught him the words.

Cato decided that he would protect Leader from the big mean boys even if he didn’t give one of the words because Cato was a good boy. His tail wiggled at the thought.



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