Jace was out hiking in the mountains one morning when, out of nowhere, a dog appeared, tongue lolling as if it had been traveling a while and was thirsty. It was a shaggy mutt, with one blue eye and one brown, but seemed friendly enough as it rushed up to him and whined, then whirled and trotted away.
Mystified, he stopped, and the dog repeated the movement: race up, turn, and run away a few yards. Eventually, the light dawned. “Oh! You want me to follow you!”
So he did, and after half an hour of hard going off-trail, the dog led him to a man collapsed under a tree. After that fast walk, Jace’s tongue was lolling too, and he wanted a drink, but he hurried over and dropped to his knees beside the man, the dog at his side. He was lying on his back, eyes closed.
Jace touched his shoulder. “Are you okay?”
He smiled and said, “Good dog,” then sat up and plunged a knife into Jace’s chest. Jace, his mouth a perfect O of shocked surprise, fell over and died.
The man removed Jace’s backpack, then searched his pockets and took a wallet and keys before dragging him to a nearby ledge and rolling him over the edge. Jace fell fifty feet into a patch of prickly brambles and wasn’t found for over a year.
That night, the man and his dog drove to Jace’s house in a box truck—the address was on the driver’s license in the wallet—and stole all his valuables. The next day, he found Jace’s bank password on the laptop he’d taken and systematically cleaned out his accounts.
Moral of the story: Not all dogs lead you to someone in trouble.
Word count: 297