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DogStar, by Beverley Wood and Chris Wood
IBSN: 1-896095-37-2
The dog heard the distant cry of a ship's whistle...and a boy's soul
Dogstar, the book, Chapter 2 - The Dog (Patsy Ann)

The dog lay curled in sleep at the sunny corner of a wooden deck. Its long white muzzle ended at a black nose, tucked warmly under a skimpy white tail and two not-entirely-clean white back paws. Short white fur covered the barrel-like chest.

Under the fur, the dog's pink hide twitched. Whuffling noises emerged from under the tail and paws. Stubby legs jerked and eyelids fluttered as it followed something low-to-the-ground and scurrying, something smelling of cat or rat, down the backstreets of its bull terrier dreams.

Suddenly, the white head jerked up and beady dark eyes shot open, catching a ray of sun. Pinpoints of light danced in the black pupils, like stars in deep pools. Sharp white ears pointed to the sky. Black nostrils flared and twitched.

The dog stood and gave itself a short and businesslike shake. The deck it was standing on was a wooden platform, from which a ramp led down to a boat basin, visible over a low wooden rail.

An alert canine gaze passed over the boats of every size and kind that lay at its feet. It lingered for a moment on a human figure, small and spare in the distance, as it stepped from a teetering dock onto a weatherbeaten old sailboat with two bare masts.

The dog's impassive gaze lifted again, until it was looking out over the tops of the two great breakwaters that protected the little harbor, to where a wide channel of white-flecked water led into the distance. On either side, steep walls of bare mountain came down to embrace the channel between high green banks. The white ears turned and twitched.

A moment later, the dog turned away from the water and trotted off the platform. Head down, thin tail straight out behind it, its short legs scissored back and forth in a blur beneath its barrel-shaped white body. As it followed a path along the edge of the boat basin, it looked like a dog on a mission.

A few minutes later, the dog's progress brought it to a built-up area with stores and sidewalks and people. Several of them bent to greet the hurrying dog, extending a word or a treat. But the dog was not to be dissuaded. It carried on with scarcely an upward glance, leaving behind a string of puzzled-looking humans with food in their hands.

At length it came to a stop in front of an opening between two storefronts. The narrow, dirt-paved gap led away into musty darkness. The dog stopped and turned its thick white head to left and right, beady eyes scanning the sidewalk ahead and behind. Satisfied, the dog vanished into the dark alley.

Moments later it emerged back into bright sunlight. Across a small park, diamonds danced off the deep blue-green water of a long, narrow ship harbor.

The dog chose a terrier-sized patch of sun that warmed a corner of the sidewalk and lay down. Its back legs stuck out behind, and the deep roman muzzle dropped to rest on forepaws stretched out in front. The dog breathed a heavy sigh and settled in to wait.

Dark eyes gazed intently down the empty channel.

Continue to CHAPTER 3...


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