Chapter 41 - Verbal Diarrhea
We stayed under the cover of trees as we went through the forest. It was darker under the trees for awhile. Alan knew his way, and shortly we were on a fire road that was winding down a ravine. He smelled awful, like sour iron and burnt hair. I could see some missing patches and could smell the blood that was still leaching from some of his wounds. Apoc lay in the trailer next to me and was so still my heart jumped because I thought he was dead. I checked him and he was still breathing. How he was able to sleep through all this bumping, was beyond me.
After awhile Alan slowed down when he was sure he had put miles between us and the wreckage. He pulled off the fire road and onto a small forest track not wide enough for a car. He stopped behind a copse of trees that would block sight from the fire road.
Alan got off the ATV and almost fell catching himself on the rear rack. He looked pale as a sheet.
“Sorry guys I gotta rest for a minute.” Alan pulled a bottle of water out of the rack and helped himself.
Apoc appeared to still be asleep. I was worried about him. I tried nudging him and whining, I even tried licking his face again, but even that got no response. Without hands there wasn’t much I could do. I climbed out of the little trailer and felt better on the ground. My feet felt like they were buzzing from the vibration from the road.
“How ’bout some h2o?” He set a camp cup on the ground and poured some water in.
I lapped it up.
Alan ruffled my neck and shoulders. “Good girl. Drink up. We got a ways to go, since we’re going the long way down the mountain.” He glanced over at the trailer. “How’s your friend doing?” I have to admit I was a little jealous that he stopped stroking me, and was going over to Apoc, but I was worried about him too. He carried over the cup, filled it, and carefully set it down near Apoc’s snout.
I climbed back into the trailer... yes all by myself. I nosed Apoc. Alan stuck his fingers in the water, and dripped a little on Apoc’s nose. Apoc roused a little, and then he smelled the water. He leaned up, and began lapping the water... some into his mouth and a large amount everywhere else. Alan refilled the cup with an eye on Apoc. Again Apoc downed the water. The third time Apoc finished, he licked his nose, and settled back asleep. Alan took the hint, and downed the rest of the water himself. He pulled out a first aid kit and sat down to change some of his bandages. I wished I could help. I jumped down to sit near Alan and watch.
He had filet cuts deep along his forearms, precision cuts all in a row. These had scabbed over for the most part. It was the cuts on his hands and fingers that still bled because he opened them back up with each movement.
Alan saw me watching him, he smiled and started chatting quietly. “Never thought having three older brothers would come in handy. I played, possum, as my dad called it. Pretended I passed out from the pain, actually didn’t have to pretend much, it hurt pretty bad. And that woman... she seemed to get off on it somehow. And she reminded me of my aunt a little which was even more creepy. And she was waaaay to intelligent to be DHS, I’ve dealt with them before. She said that you two were the personal pets of a foreign national and that he is extremely well connected.” He stopped and listened for a long moment to the trail, then turned, and looked at me.
“Well one way or another I don’t think we need to keep this on you.” Alan reached out and gently fumbled with the collar. My neck was instantly cooler. I’d forgotten it was there, but I felt lighter, freer without it.
Alan stood and stared down at the trail. “Sure wish you could talk. Wow, I can only imagine the stories you could tell. Course’ maybe you wouldn’t want to tell them, especially not one letter at a time. So can you understand everything I’m saying now?”
“So what breed are you?”
I wrote in dirt with my paw. Alan squatted down to read what I was writing.
“Mix? You’re a mix. Or a mutt? Yeah I believe that... course aren’t we all if you really think about it. Nobody is really ‘pure’ anything. Not really - you go back five generations and you wouldn’t even believe what’s in your family tree.”
“So do you know what breeds you are mix of...? Maybe a wolf mix? Or something else from the Canis family? Maybe you’re foreign?”
I shook my head.
“Ah so you’re local? Now we’re getting somewhere. Are you from here? From America?”
I nodded. And began to write again.
“Human? You’re human? What?!? Part human? What part? More like a part something else. What the fuck? You don’t look human? And if you’re human how come you have legs like a dog and face like a dog and you’re covered in hair? And you can’t talk? Right?”
Alan was on a roll and the questions were coming like a flood. I wasn’t sure that I was nodding or shaking my head to what, but I did my best.
“Wait a minute, did they transplant your mind into a dog?” Nope.
“DNA? They modified your DNA? Wow. How is that even possible? But your body and legs... Well that would explain the weird shape. Whoa.” He sat down hard on the ground next to the ATV, his eyes were big and his mouth hung open in shock. “What a mindfuck! So are you like a clone? Where did you come from?”
“A lab? What lab? Secret. Ah of course, so then those weren’t DHS agents? Hey, I was just trying to do right by you. I told you I’d help you before... so that’s what I’m doing. They are going to find us though.” He pointed at the ATV. “This thing has an RFID tracker. It’s supposed to help prevent theft and to help locate a ranger if they are lost or injured. We need to get you onto another mode of transportation and get you the hell away from here. Hey did they put a tracker on you too?”
I showed him my scar.
“Subcutaneous... nice. But how did you know to take it out?”
I looked at Apoc.
“Whoa, he’s a person too?”
‘Don’t know’, I wrote.
“Whaddya mean you can’t speak dog or wolf or somethin?”
I shook my head.
“This is like a vast government conspiracy... I have an idea, but we’re gonna have to be sneaky.”