An uncomfortable silence quieted every pal’s breathing. There was nothing left to say. None of my friends could look at me. I couldn’t look back at any of my friends. Forbi’s betrayal confused them and hurt me deeply – but it didn’t really surprise me. I flattened my ears against my head and with a trembling voice said,
“Your betrayal hurts my heart, Forbi. I did not attack Duchess. I understand that you don’t want to be my friend and I’m sorry for that, but I don’t deserve to be accused of hurting Duchess. This is the last time I will defend myself against these false charges. I would like all of you to leave my backyard now, please. I need to be by myself for a while.”
Never before had I asked my friends to go, to leave me alone. I’m a dog. I like to have my pack around me all the time. Leola flew gracefully up and down, hovering over me. Sympathy and sadness shimmered in her eyes. Nervously, Ryan skittered across the top of the fence to the big cherry tree on the corner and jumped high away, turning his back on the conflict he didn’t have the skills to cope with. Oliver pulled himself completely inside his shell with one last disappointed look in my direction. He called out just before vanishing inside,
“This mess will get sorted out, Sasha. The truth will be known soon enough.”
Only Forbi and I remained. He stared at me for a long moment. With his tail flashing triumphantly, he slipped through the fence and trotted home.
I dejectedly wandered into my house, threw myself into my bed and fitfully napped. The warm summer afternoon passed sluggishly. Dreams skittered across my mind, filled with betrayal, dark shadows and scary noises. I replayed over and over in my dreams my hotheaded split-second decision to race off into the dark after the attacker.
I jerked awake, afraid the attacker was now after me. Settling back down, I rolled onto my back, paws up the in air, and wondered why all this had happened. Why did I have be the one to solve the mystery? I didn’t want to be the hero, but I knew in my heart it had to be me. Duchess could solve the mystery in a few seconds if she was here. But she wasn’t here. Her injuries are too severe. Diana said she will need many days to recover at the emergency vet hospital.
I really, really didn’t want to be the hero – the one who put their fur in danger to save the rest of the pack. I wasn’t sure I could do it. It’s true, I have a fearless heart and will protect my friends with my life. But, this mystery is too big, too dark, too scary, even for me.
Forbi’s treachery and deliberate betrayal of me with our friends, his twisting of Oliver’s story so it sounded like I was the villain, meant only one thing. I must be the one to discover what is out there in the dark – what kind of creature was capable of such violence. I have to put aside my fears. I have to solve this for Duchess. I have to solve this for Cherry Wood Lane. I especially have to solve this for myself.
Yet, deep in my heart I knew I couldn’t solve it alone. I needed help from pals that believed in me. I needed Leola and Ryan. I needed their skills and special talents. Only with their help could I solve this mystery before Duchess returned. When Duchess is finally able to come home, she must know that the neighborhood is safe for all of us once again.
I needed them to believe in me. With resolve burning inside me, I rolled over, jumped out of bed, sent my tail up high on my back to show my fierceness and got busy.
Based on what you just learned in today’s post, the Pals would like you to:
- Retell our story so far – in your own words.
- Ask us any question you have about the story. Go ahead, it’s always OK to ask us questions. We like them.
Leave us your thoughts and answers to these questions in the comment section below. We promise to read every single comment and will even answer some.
Paw & Wing & Tread Hugs