The weekend came all too quickly. I even had money, but I knew better than to spend much of it.
Except that Lugenia had vanished. I wasn’t sure when it had happened, but it must have been overnight, while I was asleep. Maybe she had decided to slip out and go to a shelter.
Or back to Carlos. Not knowing which, I frowned a bit. And headed for the sub store, even though it wasn’t my shift.
I found what I was looking for there. The firehound was curled up in the toaster oven.
“Psst,” I whispered.
It raised its head.
“Care to help me find somebody?” I had a bic lighter on me. I didn’t activate it, just showed it to the beastie.
That was enough. It jumped out of the toaster, bounced off the countertop, and landed next to me. I’d snagged a pair of, to be blunt, Lugenia’s underpants, but I made sure I was out of there and nobody was looking to see me show them to what was, to them, thin air.
Or maybe not. I thought I saw a more solid hound outline as it sniffed at them, then set off down the street. I definitely saw a wagging tail. With flickers of flame around it. Well, if it was enjoying itself. I just hoped it wouldn’t do anything stupid when we found Lugenia. “You’re not to hurt her, okay? We’re making sure she’s safe.”
Safe might well be something Lue was not right now. But I moved through the street, trying to look casual about it. If the dog was visible I hoped a leash was as well, I didn’t want to be arrested for something that stupid. Your hellhound is off the leash.
I found that funny, but I knew I couldn’t actually laugh. I covered it with a fake cough and kept moving.
The hound was leading me into northwest. The bad part. That didn’t bode well. Could still be a shelter, but I was sure now that she had gone back to him. And could I stop her? Was it even my business to?
I didn’t know. I’d never dealt with anything like this before; and I was pretty sure I really hadn’t, as opposed to just not remembering it. What did you do with somebody who both wanted and didn’t want to get out of a situation?
You kicked their butt. Or you let them screw up and waited for them to beg for help. I wasn’t sure which to do.
I wasn’t…I was just a kid. Whatever else I was, I was pretty sure that part was genuine. So was Lugenia. The hound stopped, barking silently, outside a scruffy rowhouse with nothing in the garden. If anything was being grown here it was probably pot.
No. If Carlos…I’d settled on that as a temporary name, not wanting his real one…was on pot, he’d be much nicer.
But yes, she’d gone back to him. I studied the house and then, not sure what to do, turned and walked away.