Chapter 15Mature

As he left the tiny closet, his mouth felt a bit dry, making him lick his lips. Sneaking into the kitchen, he filled one of the sinks again and took several long drinks.

With his ears moving around to listen to the sounds around him, he soon heard what sounded like tires pulling to a stop behind him. Looking at the clock, it was only 4:35. His flesh crawled under his fur, even more when he heard the engine stop running.

Even though he knew he had enough time to run, Alex began to quiver. Staying silent, he whipped around and left the kitchen on all fours, Bailey doing a fast retreat from him towards the front door. “Bailey, come back here.” His dog ignored him even though he saw his ears swivel to listen to him. Letting the situation go, he stayed focused on getting to the guest bedroom.

As he crossed the doorframe, the front deadbolt unlocked and his mother was quick to call for him. “Alex, are you home?”

Swearing in his head, and his nerves frozen stiff, Alex went for the window, opening it as quietly as he could. The metallic sounds of scrapping sounded as he did so but he was soon able to open it enough to climb outside. The rush of scents from miles around assaulted him again, making him breathe through his mouth until he adjusted to the sensation.

“Bailey. What’s wrong?” Hearing his dog whine a bit after that phrase, Alex’s heartstrings felt a tug. Shutting the window behind him, he had to think of where he could go with the least risk of exposure. His thoughts immediately went to the forested area across the street.

His mother wouldn’t see him if he ran under the bay window. Hell, if he ran fast period. Alex dropped to all fours again and made his way to the patio, the sunlight giving him a nasty, nagging feeling of someone, somewhere, watching him.

The dropped leaves he passed along the way filled his nose with scents of plant decay, making his head swirl a bit. For a second, he started having regrets about not telling his folks about this right away. They would likely have come around faster than his friends would, even if this did end up scaring the hell out of them.

Taking a second to listen and make sure he was alone outside, Alex set his sights on the cage near the garage. Standing up on his hind legs, he crossed the yard and reached it, once again concealed. His arms and front paws were ready to make the jump as he began to crouch. Leaping a few feet from the fence, Alex grabbed the edges of the wooden barrier and threw his weight up and over.

His legs almost went higher than his body and as he began to fall, he put his arms out to absorb what his legs could not. A successful landing in the grass followed, and he was off again.

The End

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