Have you ever had a moment in your life when you are so scared that you can’t move? When the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end; when you’re afraid to turn around, because you don’t want to see the thing that’s just about to grab you. You know that time when you wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom or get a drink, and you’re not quite sure what it is, but you’re sure, no positive, you saw something in the dark. Now, picture that moment in your mind. Think real hard to conjure up that moment in your mind and let that fear coarse through your body. Let the hairs of your neck stand up on end and close your eyes. No silly not that long, because then you can’t read the rest of the story. Okay, never mind, don’t close your eyes at all just think about that moment. Now imagine that you’re out in the middle of a land that you’ve never been before and it’s dark. The mist has just come up over the ridge and is sliding gently down into the valley you’re standing in. The moon is full, but clouds cover it so it has a reddish hue to it. Then think of the low growl a dog makes. That real low grumble in the back of their throat that lets you know they mean business. Then it gives off a howl that chills you to the very bones and makes your knees knock together. You’re so scared at this point that you the only thing you really want to do or can do is to fall to the ground in a little ball and sob.
When the howl shrieked through the valley that’s exactly how Musaafir felt. Thankfully he had a little more bravery than you, because he didn’t fall to the ground, ball up like a little child, and start to sob. Or it could be that he had already made a bad first impression in front of Alex and a little voice (that’s mine) told him to stand strong and not cower. Still, he did start to shake and he struggled to not show the fear, besides the chattering of his teeth, of course. “Get in here quick,” Alex hissed. She grabbed his arm and pulled him inside. “The hounds are out. They haven’t been out for a long time.” She started to pace back and forth with her first finger tapping her chin. She stopped and said, “Maybe.” She started then shook her head. “No, that can’t be it.”
“What? What is that thing?” Musaafir asked as he looked to the door.
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Alex tapped her chin exactly two more times then turned and looked at Musaafir straight in the eyes. “What did you do?” Alex smelt like sweet jasmine and it washed over Musaafir like a warm spring breeze. Musaafir couldn’t help but forget all his fears and the really real danger that stood only a couple of hundred yards away. (Now, you might say a couple of hundred yards really isn’t that close, but I think that it’s all about perspective and how fast an individual or in this case a steam hound can run).