Tired and grumpy from traveling, Scree was pleased with the new turn of events. The children were now in his element. He knew the boy would invariably set out to explore the woods surrounding the house alone or with just his sister for company, Scree would find it easy to dispatch either one or both of the children. The fact that this house, unlike the one in the metal and stone city, was surrounded by a forest and lit by nothing but pale moonlight at night would make it easier for the boglin to put his evil plan into action. The old man, who Scree assumed was a relative based on the way he beamed at the children as well as their mother, would be no threat. Scree was quicker and far more cunning than any old timer who might get in his way.
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From his hiding place in the low branches of an elm tree, Scree watched as the children’s parents drove away. Even better, without their parents around the two brats would be even more vulnerable. He watched the girl walk into the house, her arms full of suitcases and bags, while her little brother called to the dog nosing around the trees ringing the property. Upon closer look, the mutt was making a straight line for the very tree Scree was huddled in.
Fearful of being seen and arousing the wrath of Lord Riktus, Scree clambered up the elm’s limbs to a higher seat. He held as still as possible to avoid being spotted by either the mutt or it’s brat of a master, hot on the four-legged beast’s heels.
“Chuck, get over here. We have to go inside and check out our new room. It’s just a squirrel or maybe a blue jay. Leave it alone. And I mean now!”
At the stern command from his master, the dog stopped at the base of the elm, a growl still in his throat. He turned to the boy then to the tree looking up and emitted a short bark as though begging the boy to look. Scree pressed himself even more tightly to the tree trunk, attempting to blend in with the shadows at the higher reaches of the elm’s branches. The boglin was confident the mutt couldn’t possible see him through the branches and leaves and then realized it was the animal’s sense of smell that was giving him away.
“I said now, Chuck! Come, I mean it. I’m ready to go inside. Come here boy.”
The dog barked again, looking at the boy first and then the tree, laying his ears back as he barked at the treetop once more. Fed up the boy strode up grabbed the dog by his collar and tugged.
“Chuck it’s just a squirrel, nothing to be afraid of. Let’s go inside. Be a good boy and come on.” With that the boy led the hairy beast away, much to Scree’s relief. He would have to find a way around the dog in order to get to the children. Scree smiled at the cruel thoughts that came to mind. He had never liked dogs.
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