Standing in the door was a brown, bristly-furred mutt of a dog looking at me with a head cocked to the side in confusion.
I let out the deepest of breaths. The dog strode up to me, tensed with caution.
I reached out my hand and the dog gave it a friendly lick.
I interrupted the dog’s eating of my old microwave macaroni and cheese to check its raggedy collar. The dog’s name was Jimmy and he came from an address in the town of Glacier (the village of about 200) that was up the hill from the farm.
I didn’t know what to do. The dog was a sweet, sweet creature that kept licking my elbow who looked exactly like my childhood dog, Buster. I wanted to help him, but I also knew I was only supposed to go down into town if I was starving to death and I had food left for at least a few more weeks. No one was supposed to know I was living in the cabin and my face could be in the news involved in the killing of the man in my house. I had shorn my hair down into a close crop to try and make myself look different and taken out my nose and eyebrow studs, but it probably wasn’t enough.
The only thing I could think of to try and help the dog was to try and direct it back to where it came from. I led Jimmy out of the cabin after he finished eating in hopes he would take off in some direction, but he didn’t. He just peed on the side of the cabin and looked at me with hunger in his eyes.
I combed the woods behind the cabin until I saw what looked like a little carved out trail with fresh paw marks punched into the crunch snow. I whistled at the dog until he came and followed me down the trail.
The fresh paws continued deep into the forest until it was nearly dark all around me beneath the cover of the tall trees. I considered turning around, but Jimmy stopped every time I did and just looked at me. I pressed on.
After a couple more minutes of swift walking, a clearing started to appear in the distance ahead. A few more steps revealed the clearing was carved out by a large, square cabin, the lights inside it on, creating a glow in the dark of the woods.
I stopped at a safe distance from the house and thankfully watched Jimmy trot past me. He got to the end of the trail, which was at the edge of the woods, where the cabin’s backyard started and turned back to me.
“Go, go, go,” I whispered to him.
Jimmy’s sweet eyes lingered on me for a little bit longer before he turned around and headed toward the house.
The sweet relief that washed over me when he scampered away disappeared when I turned, looked up and saw the red light of a security camera towering above me.