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“What are you guys doing?” I asked the dogs. “You’re crazy!”

The black dog, Chrissy, then barked at me with her head held high, so as if to respond.

“I think we need to go find food – what do you skidunkles think?” I continued, creating a new word.

The black and white dog, Collie then barked, lowering her snout as she did, and I rose to make my way to the door, hearing the dogs rise from their beds behind me. The white dog, Rebel, ran over to me, his head straight up as he stood by my leg and gave a foreboding whimper that perhaps should have been a sign to me. Ignoring this, I turned to look at the other two dogs. Each of them, with their frazzled, wild fur that stood like a that of a hunter, even though they were quite far from being great hunting dogs – they were far too rambunctious and frantic for that. Still, we were always able to catch something and so, grabbing my bow and quiver from by the door, we departed into the cool, mid-afternoon air.

The sky was a dusky shade of blue as I moved between the town’s houses. The ‘town,’ however, was really much more of a random gathering of people, running from something that they couldn’t remember. We had all built homes in a dusty clearing, but well knew that tomorrow the deck could be cut and reshuffled, pushing us somewhere else. Our homes were set out on the sand-filled plain like dice haphazardly positioned on a table after being rolled. The orange, dust-filled air filtered through my lungs as I made my way to the woods, followed by Chrissy, Collie and Rebel.

At the edge of the forest, I looked into the trees and felt a certain sort of pity for myself, the town and a world that would let such circumstances exist. Between the trees, I saw the limited light filtering through the trees like water through a sieve. The trunks of the trees, dark in the shade of the forest, blocked most of my view of the deep woods and so, stepping around the first tree, I began to make my way into the forest, the dogs running out ahead of me.

I tried to tread lightly over the crunchy leaves of the forest as I moved forward, arrow at the ready, held in my bow like a catapult, pulled back and ready to fire. I heard Rebel barking deep in the woods and assumed a faster pace, slipping between the monstrous, awkwardly shaped trees. My booted feet fell on the crunchy leaves like premonitions of a ringing bell, tolling the nighttime. As my foreboding steps continued to fall, I felt a shiver cross my chest as if I had been splashed with cold water. My muscles twitched in uncertainty and I then looked up.

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