Chapter 29 - Down Dog
The canoe was drifting further away and I couldn’t see Apoc anywhere in it. I worried. Had he been shot and fallen in?
The wolfhound did everything he could to try and convince me to let him go. I was terrified of letting go too early and having the wolfhound come back, but just as scared that Apoc needed me and I was unable to see or help him. As the wolfhound used up his air he became heavier and heavier. With my short arms and legs engaged, I was unable to keep my head above water. I took a breath and held it.
It took minutes drifting into the current before he stopped his struggle. I was filled with an incredible sadness all of a sudden. I knew it was not the wolfhounds fault. He was trusting his owner to do right, to save him. My legs ached like fire when I finally let go... they felt as if they were locked in that position and had rusted over. The skin of my inner thighs burned like the worst “Indian burn”, but the cold water quickly numbed that fire. I bobbed back to the surface, the canoe had drifted further downstream.
I looked back but could no longer see the tents and small beach, only a smudge of smoke in the darkening sky. I paddled furiously for the canoe. My legs feeling numb. My limbs didn’t work as I remembered them. And they certainly didn’t move through the water as I remembered. It seemed like the canoe had found a current that I couldn’t seem to tap into. After the strain of holding the wolfhound still... now they were straining to somehow push more water.
Without realizing it, I whined in frustration. Apoc’s head popped up in the canoe.
He was alive. My heart leapt.
I swam harder. He watched me glancing back at the side of the river. Night had fallen and the shoreline was becoming a mass of dark greens and blacks. The moon had not yet risen high enough to shine down into the ravine.
Finally, I was close enough to see Apoc’s eyes. They shimmered in the boat, fixed on me. I felt a rock go past under my foot. I was tiring. Slowing and my tanks were empty. I would continue to swim but it would get weaker and weaker until, I too sank beneath the surface. Just then the canoe scraped against a rock, and it’s forward momentum lost, I whuffed into the side of the canoe. I didn’t have the energy to even throw a leg over the side. I tried to hook my head over the side.
Teeth around my neck lifting. My legs scrabbled desperately to get into the canoe... the teeth tightened. I froze in fear, had he reverted? Then I was lifting again. First my torso and then re-positioned and dragged the rest of me in... along with a fair amount of water. But we were aboard, both of us. And we were away from the hunter for the moment.
Something dragged alongside of the waterlogged canoe. It was the body of the wolfhound, that passed us spinning slowly in a lazy circle. Apoc looked at me. I couldn’t meet his eyes.
Now I was a killer too.