Sundays With Ingrid
“Come on, boy,” Ingrid said. She got her jacket from upstairs and opened the slider.
He came out and shook himself the way dogs do when they’re wet, which he wasn’t, of course. “Know any tricks?” she said.
He pressed his head against her leg.
“That’s not a trick.”
Ingrid picked up a twig. At the mere sight of a picked-up twig, Flanders would have been springing up and down and barking his head off. This dog didn’t seem to notice. He was looking at nothing in particular.
“Here’s a stick,” Ingrid said, waving it before his eyes. She flicked it backhand about ten feet away, right in front of him. “Go get it. Get the stick.”
His mouth opened and his tongue appeared. He gazed off into the middle distance. That was it.
“Come on,” Ingrid said. She walked over to the twig, picked it up. He stood beside her, watching. Watching her do the retrieving, you could almost think, like he was the one doing the training. You could almost think that, but not if you looked at his dumb face, which reminded her of Nigel Bruce, who’d played Dr. Watson to Basil Rathbone’s Holmes. Ingrid had all the videos.
“Smell the stick,” Ingrid said, holding it close to his nose. He averted it slightly, a strangely delicate movement, like an aristocrat who’d been offered a pastrami sandwich.
“Go get it,” Ingrid said, throwing it again. She pointed.
This time the dog ambled off in the general direction of the twig. He came quite close, actually stepping over it, before making a sharp turn and heading into the woods.
He kept going, past the oak with the split trunk where she and Ty had built a tree house, now in disrepair, around a bend and out of sight.
“Hey. Come back here.”
Ingrid ran after him, not her fastest, no way she could run her fastest, still sore all over from the night in the woods. And the woods were the last place she wanted to be right now.
“Dog!” She didn’t even know his name. “Come here.”
Ingrid tore along the path, back in the damn woods. Up ahead she caught sight of him squatting, the lower half of him all urgent and straining, his head in the clouds.
But he didn’t stay. As soon as he was done he took off again, trotting in his clumsy way, like that beer-belly guy who jogged past their house every Sunday.
“Come back, you moron.”
But he didn’t. The stupid jerk got all the way to the big rock before Ingrid caught up with him. He’d come to a stop, was just standing still, almost alert-looking, sniffing the air.
“Move an inch and you’re dead,” Ingrid said.
The dog turned his head backward in her direction, one of those weird angles dogs can do.
“I mean it,” Ingrid said.
A man stepped out from behind the rock. He was very big, with broad shoulders and a barrel chest. The dog saw him and wagged his scruffy tail.
“Just who are you planning to kill?” the man said.
Tags: Echo Falls Series
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