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Awake (Chapter 19)

Chapter 19

His side hurt, and he couldn’t put any weight on one of his front legs. Cato had always tried his best not to do falling. He didn’t like falling. Especially for as long as he had when the bad thing threw him off the cliff.

Cato had felt angry when he’d awakened to the thing attacking his Leader. Angry at the lurking bad-eyed thing for sure, but more angry at himself. He knew how important it was to keep Leader safe in this strange place. He’d failed to investigate the area like he usually did, and what’s worse, he’d fallen asleep.

He didn’t know if Leader was still alive. He doubted it. The only thing that had kept him from dying after his long fall was the tangled vines and plants, as well as the sloping ground that took some of the force out of the landing. Now he was scared, and hurt and alone. This place was dangerous.

He could smell the Lurkers now that he knew what to smell for. When it had been atop Leader he smelled its musky scent and recognized it now for the faint smell that he’d smelled since they’d left on this trip. It was stronger here though, at the base of the cliff. Especially in that direction away from the sun. The sun that never moved. This place was like the visions he sometimes had upon sleeping, but he never hurt this bad in them, and he usually was chasing something small like a rabbit or squirrel that he rarely caught, but that would be so satisfying to crunch when he did.

Cato looked around him worriedly and had to keep himself from whimpering with worry as he searched the nearby shadows for one of the Lurkers scary eyes. He still remembered one looking at them. Maybe it was the same one that attacked Leader. Cato had just been brave enough to kill the Lurker then, then maybe Leader would be safe. He told himself that if he’d had warning he would have attacked the Lurker differently, and had better success, but the truth was that the thing was big, and strong. Far bigger and stronger than either he or Leader.

The loud thing didn’t make the Lurker’s head turn bloody like it had with the stinky-mouthed lizard, and that also scared Cato. There was a lot about humans that Cato didn’t understand, but he’d learned to respect the things, especially the loud things. But the Lurker took it from Leader and broke it.

Cato growled at the memory. He would be more brave this time. He had to be. He would not accept that Leader may be alive and that he was not there to help. He had to help. He sniffed the air and growled again, then limped forward.

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