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datatime: 2022-12-01 02:09:57 Author:gsqLYLZq

Now and then the house creaked with ordinary middle-of-the-night settling noises.

"Somebody out there?" Travis asked, getting off the bed, pulling on his jeans.

Because Travis was not much of a drinker, three beers were enough to insure against insomnia. He was asleep within seconds of putting his head on the pillow. He dreamed that he was the ringmaster in a circus where all the performing animals could speak, and after each show he visited them in their cages, where each animal told him a secret that amazed him even though he forgot it as soon as he moved along to the next cage and the next secret.

Travis found him at another window in the darkened living room, studying the night on that side of the house. Crouching beside the dog, putting a hand on the broad furry back, he said, "What's the matter? Huh?"

Travis could see nothing threatening on the front lawn or on the street. Then a thought struck him, and he said, "Are you worried about whatever was chasing you in the woods this morning?"

Einstein nuzzled and licked Travis's hand as if reassured and grateful. But he looked out the window again and issued a barely audible whimper.

The sky was clear. The air was warm. With vivid green spring growth, the trees looked fresh; they stirred in a breeze just strong enough to take the searing edge off the hot sunlight.

Travis had to coax him back into the bedroom. There, the dog wanted to lie on the bed beside his master, and in the interest of calming the animal, Travis did not object.

"Well, I don't think it is," Travis said. "I don't think you understand how far north we've come. We had wheels, but it would have, had to follow on foot, which it couldn't have done. Whatever it was, it's far behind us, Einstein, far down there in Orange County, with no way of knowing where we've gone. You don't have to worry about it any more. You understand?"

"Well, I don't think it is," Travis said. "I don't think you understand how far north we've come. We had wheels, but it would have, had to follow on foot, which it couldn't have done. Whatever it was, it's far behind us, Einstein, far down there in Orange County, with no way of knowing where we've gone. You don't have to worry about it any more. You understand?"

Einstein nuzzled and licked Travis's hand as if reassured and grateful. But he looked out the window again and issued a barely audible whimper.

Travis found him at another window in the darkened living room, studying the night on that side of the house. Crouching beside the dog, putting a hand on the broad furry back, he said, "What's the matter? Huh?"

Now and then the house creaked with ordinary middle-of-the-night settling noises.

Engine purring, tires whispering, a car went by on the street.

As Nora strolled past the well-kept houses, the vast majority of which were in one style of Spanish architecture or another, she looked at doors and windows with a new curiosity, wondering about the people who lived within. Were they happy? Sad? In love? What music and books did they enjoy? What food? Were they planning vacations to exotic places, evenings at the theater, visits to nightclubs?

Einstein whined again and shuddered.

The sky was clear. The air was warm. With vivid green spring growth, the trees looked fresh; they stirred in a breeze just strong enough to take the searing edge off the hot sunlight.

Now and then the house creaked with ordinary middle-of-the-night settling noises.

Wind murmured and moaned in the bungalow's eaves.

Wind murmured and moaned in the bungalow's eaves.

"Are you worried that it's still after you?" he asked.

Einstein nuzzled and licked Travis's hand as if reassured and grateful. But he looked out the window again and issued a barely audible whimper.

Einstein whined again and shuddered.

"Well, I don't think it is," Travis said. "I don't think you understand how far north we've come. We had wheels, but it would have, had to follow on foot, which it couldn't have done. Whatever it was, it's far behind us, Einstein, far down there in Orange County, with no way of knowing where we've gone. You don't have to worry about it any more. You understand?"

Exhausted from the emotional as well as the physical exertions of the day, Travis was soon asleep.

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