TITLE: Fault Lines
GENRE: Contemporary upper middle grade
Even though I’m only stepping from bed to closet, my dog trails me like a detective on a stakeout. I pull on my black turtleneck. “Lie down, baby. Go to sleep. You’re not coming with me.”
Barney wags his tail so half-hearted you might think a breeze blew it -- if not for the fact it’s 35 degrees and pitch black outside, and the house is locked up tight. My dog is the only one who senses I’m up to no good.
“You’re all right,” I try to tell him, stroking his head, but he’s not fooled easy. He’s smart. That’s why Dad picked him. Labs make great bird dogs, he’d said last Christmas Eve as my new baby Barney trotted around the foyer with that giant red bow around his neck. We’ll go pheasant hunting next fall.
It’s fall now, feels like winter but it’s fall. And there won’t be any hunting -- at least not for pheasants. Soon there won’t be any Barney. Already there’s no Dad.
I open my bedroom door with Barney’s nose at my hip. It’s pointless to tell him to stay, so me and my shadow go to the hall closet where I slide a bar of soap in my pocket. Then we head down the stairs, and Barney’s tippy-toeing behind me instead of clopping ahead like normal. I know he’s thinking if he follows close enough he can just slip right out the front door when I go, but it won’t happen.