Wolf Girl Wednesday: Vacation

Have an original Wolf Girl short story!  Here is Part 1 of “Vacation”

Ahhh, vacation!  No Saxa glaring at me when I walk in the door 30 seconds late to relieve her for the in-town route, no Saxa glaring at me, period.  Just me, my dog…and my watchdog, Cassie.  Niamh, my best friend, had lobbied for a visit to what she called “back home” when she heard I had a week’s worth of vacation time coming up.  I had just about decided to split my vacation up and spend part of the time in New York with her (the thought of spending any amount of time in a big city anymore made my skin crawl), and then spend the rest of the time camping somewhere.

Then, Cassie announced to me that she was coming with me.  I argued, I pouted, I whined, I stormed out of her trailer and then slammed the door to mine, but it did no good.  She wouldn’t budge.  I suspected her father, the mayor, was behind the announcement, but Cassie wouldn’t give me the confirmation.  I was sure that her father didn’t want his prized Queen of Wolves wandering around the country by herself.

That meant that New York City was out.  I wasn’t ready to introduce my childhood best friend to my Wyoming best friend, and I could already hear the jealousy in Niamh’s voice when I’d mention hanging out with Cassie or visiting the Sunflower Spot, Cassie’s coffee shop.  I knew Niamh would be disappointed, and there was no way I was telling her exactly why I wouldn’t be visiting New York City this summer.  Maybe I’d be able to sneak away closer to Halloween to see Niamh.

Somewhat to punish Cassie, and because I remembered how beautiful it was as a child, I decided to head to the wilds of West Virginia.  Cassie was used to the dry, flat lands of Wyoming.  West Virginia was full of trees, humidity, and mountains.  It also had some of the wildest, most beautiful National Parks in the nation.

I began to count down the days, and after work every day I worked through a giant to-do list:  booking a campsite, checking my tent, packing food, clothes, and everything Lacey would need for a week in the woods.  The car got an oil change, a tire rotation, and new shocks.  Lacey, my rescue Malamute, whipped herself into a frenzy all week, convinced I was going to leave her forever.

Finally, vacation day arrived.  Cassie helped me load the car, and brought us mochas from the Sunflower Spot.  Soon, we were on the road, squinting into the bright Wyoming sunrise.  Lacey sat behind my seat, panting happily that she hadn’t been left behind in her crate or with Isolde Grimhilt, the lady who owned Happy Acres and watched Lacey for me when I needed it.

The car trip took us a little over a day.  We stopped overnight at a KOA near St. Louis, and then arrived just before sunset at a little campground near Gauley River National Recreation Area.  I’d dreaded having a traveling companion, but it turned out to be a good thing:  Cassie was able to help out with the driving, and it was nice to have someone to talk to on that long stretch of I-80 though the boring flatness of Nebraska.

I stepped out of the car at our campsite and took a deep breath of the fresh, piney air.  Our site was near the back of the campground with plenty of trees around.  The campground was fairly empty until the weekend, and I was able to finagle a private spot for the two of us.  I opened Lacey’s door and she darted out, ready to mark and sniff every tree within a half-mile radius of our car.  “Stay near Lace,” I said sternly to the retreating black and white butt.

As Cassie and I pulled out the tent and began to set it up, I heard the growl of a motor and the crunch of tires on the gravel that paved most of the roads in the campground.  I brushed back a lock of my black hair and sat back on my haunches.  “The lady on the phone told me we’d be the only people back here,” I complained as the noise got closer.  Cassie shrugged her shoulders and continued to hammer tent pegs into the packed earth.

“Maybe someone’s just exploring or lost,” I grumbled to myself, annoyed. A non-descript tan sedan pulled into the parking spot of the site next to ours.  “So much for privacy.”  The door of the sedan squeaked open, and a familiar head emerged from it.

My mouth gaped open.  “Niamh?” I said, shocked.  “What are you doing here?”

“Cassie invited me,” she said simply, grinning at me.  I couldn’t help it, her smile was infectious and I grinned back.

“But you hate nature!”  In seventh grade, our parents had sent us to the same Girl Scout camp.  Niamh had made it two days before demanding to be sent home.  She sat in the office of the camp director for six hours, refusing to move, until the woman finally relented and called Niamh’s parents to pick her up.  Niamh shrugged her shoulders and shuffled her high heel clad feet slightly in the dust.

“I’ll…deal, I guess,” she said, brushing an invisible spec of dirt off of her burgundy suede jacket.  “Sometimes you make sacrifices to see the people you love, Ansley…” I could tell from the accusatory tone of her voice that she felt I should have been the one to sacrifice and not her.

I looked between Cassie, who was trying to play off being innocent, and Niamh, who was looking around at her surroundings with a mix of wonder and disgust, and knew I was in for quite a week.

 

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Published in: on August 22, 2012 at 3:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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