It took Mutt precisely seventeen seconds, trotting back and forth with her nose to the ground, to pick up Johnny’s scent from the T-shirt Kate held out to her to where the boy smell from it led into the bushes.

From A Grave Denied, the thirteenth Kate Shugak novel:

It took Mutt precisely seventeen seconds, trotting back and forth with her nose to the ground, to pick up Johnny’s scent from the T-shirt Kate held out to her to where the boy smell from it led into the bushes.  It took them forty-six minutes, Kate on the four-wheeler with Mutt loping ahead to track him down to his camp in the entrance of the Lost Wife Mine.  Kate didn’t know what that was in regular time but she felt she’d aged at least a year door to door.

Mutt got to him before Kate did and by the time Kate killed the engine and climbed off Johnny was prone beneath an onslaught of sandpapery tongue.  “Off!  Help!  Mutt!  Yuk!  Get off me!”

Mutt backed off, tail wagging furiously.  Johnny got up and brushed pine needles from his jeans.  “Traitor,” he told Mutt.  She heard what he meant instead of what he said and woofed again.

“Good girl,” Kate said with a laudatory scratch behind the ears.  “Go ahead.  You’ve earned it.”

In response to a signal Mutt launched herself into the brush and flushed a bunch of rabbits from a peaceful browse.  She wasn’t really hungry but they didn’t know that and scattered in a starburst of white tails.

Johnny was the first to regain his composure.  “Would you like some coffee?”

Kate, now that she could see Johnny had not, after all, shot his eye out with the thirty-ought-six, decided firstly that Johnny could live, and secondly that she must retain rights to the grownup in this situation.  As such, she would not lose her temper.  She chanted that six or seven times to herself and when it finally took replied, “Sounds good.”

Kate_Cover_13

Chatter Kate Shugak Uncategorized

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