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Promises to Keep

The wind slashed like an arrowhead even there at the back of the cave, fifty feet deep into the earth.

If Pete had known a blizzard was coming, he would have stayed home, made do with the food he had. Would have saved himself the guilt, too.

“Stop looking at me,” he commanded into the darkness. He couldn’t see Millie’s eyes, but he knew they were trained on him.

The dog groaned, and Pete heard her plop down on the hard floor. She had tried to tell him before they left that something wasn’t right. He should have listened.

He took another bite of the rabbit. Out five days, and less than ten pounds of meat to show for it. He’d starve if they didn’t get moving soon.

Millie whined. She was up again, pacing.

“There ain’t enough for both of us.”

The dog fell silent, and Pete knew she was sitting there, head cocked, waiting.

“What the hell,” he said finally, tossing the last of the meat in Millie’s direction. “We’re both going to die out here, anyway.”

Millie gulped the food, then walked toward Pete, nails clicking against the rock. She curled around one side of her man, rested her head in his lap. Snuggling up would help with the cold. Probably wouldn’t help enough, though.

It was already a three dog night, and Pete was down to just one after Billie ran off chasing a bird just before sunset. When she wouldn’t answer Pete’s calls, they’d had to move on. Find shelter.

“Stop looking at me,” Pete said now, knowing Millie was staring up at him with those mournful eyes again. “She’ll be fine,” he lied. “We can’t go back out there tonight. It’s too dangerous.”

He stood as he spoke. They were going back out.

Published inFlash Fiction

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