First encounter

The whistling started again when the creature decided to make its move.

Anna watched as two white paws, attached to very short and stubby brown legs, emerged from a bush. Above the legs was an equally short, white-tipped brown tail. Was the creature backing out of the bush?

The animal continued to whistle, removing the rest of its fairly short body from the bush. It seemed very dog-like, except for the ears. The ears reminded Anna of her Aunt Isabell's cat, smaller and pointed as opposed to large and floppy like those she had seen on other dogs. 

The dog-thing continued to backup towards Anna, whistling away. As it drew closer, she could see some sort of vapour floating about its feet. 

It's a dog right? Anna thought.  A dog that walks backwards, sounds like a kettle, and ... produces steam?  

The creature didn't seem to notice Anna as it continued straight towards her. It whistled away happily until Anna poked it with her stick.

The whistling stopped. The creature tilted its head in confusion.

"Well, what have I backed into this time?"

The sound of a very human voice coming from a very non-human being startled Anna. The branch, her protection, dropped to the ground with a very large *thunk*

The dog-thing ponderously began to turn its body around. It almost seemed to struggle with facing the "right" way. Anna remained silent, frozen as it completed this maneuver. It finally stopped turning, sat back on its hind legs, and looked up at her. 

"Did... did you just speak?" Anna's voice trembled as she addressed the creature.

The animal stared at her for a few moments, then craned its neck to the side as if trying to see behind her.

"You're not my stump."

The End

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