Read part of Chasing Chipmunks
by Rebecca S.W. Bates
An elusive smell woke me from fitful dreams, and it sure as heck wasn’t turpentine and squirrel.
Snapping to attention at my guardian’s feet, I surveyed the mountain meadow before us. My people fanned out with their easels and umbrellas under the rising light of morning sun. I furrowed my brow, bristled my fur, and twitched my nose as I counted each one. A dozen humans, check. They were all here.
But I didn’t relax.
“What’s the matter, Boy?” said Arlene, my person. She paused her paintbrush in midair and glanced down at me.
My ears pricked up, stiffening into two pointy flags. I sat up and bared a tooth. A sharp one.
Arlene squinted at the horizon and said, “I don’t see anything.”
Of course she didn’t. She couldn’t help it that she’s a little slow on the uptake. I loved her anyway.
Which was exactly what made me nervous. It was in my blood to serve and protect, and her failure to observe only made my job that much harder.
From the easel next to ours came a snorting laugh. “He probably sees a chipmunk.”
I beg to differ. Firstly, why would I waste my energy on those pipsqueaks? And secondly, what did this interloper know? She’d set up her gear too close to ours, invading our space, which I’d clearly marked. Besides, Ms Gate-Crasher usually brought bean sprouts for the picnic portion of our paint-out. Ugh.
I could go for some lunch.
It wasn’t lunchtime yet, darn.
Arlene turned back to her canvas. “Go back to sleep, Boy. Relax. It’s okay.”
Nuh-uh. Something was out there. I could feel it. The air shimmied around me, leaving me with a coat of willies, not unlike that fancy stuff they spray on me at the groomer’s.
I stood up on all fours and shook, but the willies didn’t shake off.