Chapter 4: Cairn

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Chapter 4

Cairn



That afternoon, I knocked on the door to Abigail's home. There was no answer at first, and I thought about ringing the doorbell. Just when I was about to, I heard some movement from inside.

"Get back Keto!" Abigail shouted from inside.

The door was pulled open, revealing a massive, fluffy, gray-and-white dog. Behind him stood Abigail, trying to get in the front.

I fidgeted awkwardly. "Hey-"

My words were cut off as the dog leapt up and placed his front paws on my chest. The force knocked me backwards, where I landed on my butt in the grass. The massive animal sprung at me and started licking the front of my face aggressively.

"Back, Keto!" shouted Abigail, managing to pull him back by the collar. She pushed Keto into the house and then slammed the door before he could escape.

"Woah." My heart was racing.

She offered me a hand and helped me off the ground. "I'm really, really sorry. He gets excited about new people. We don't get mail anymore because he chased the mailman down the street."

I laughed awkwardly, but the image in my mind was quite frightening. "Is he safe?"

She giggled. "Yeah, he's perfectly safe. Just playful."

Smiling unsurely, I looked back at the door, expecting someone to barge out and talk to us, or at least peer through the window to see where she'd gone.

"My aunt and uncle aren't home," she said, reading the expression on my face. "They left this morning. I forget where."

"Alright."

"So what's this movie you're so excited to see?" she asked

I felt that hot feeling rise to my cheeks again. "I kinda sorta lied. I don't know if any movies came out. I just wanted to... um, get out of the house."

She grinned. "You could've just said so. I'd go anyways. I like spending time with you."

"Thanks," I said. "I mean, you're welcome. I mean... good? I don't know."

Abigail laughed so hard after that she wasn't watching where she stepped. She tripped on an uneven spot in the sidewalk and fell forward. I stepped in front just in time, catching her on my chest. The contact sent butterflies through my stomach and I felt weak.

"Thanks," she said. "It would've been your fault if I fell, anyways." She hit me teasingly in the shoulder.

"My fault?" I shook my head, trying not to smile. "I believe you're mistaken, miss."

"I believe I'm correct, sir."

<><><><><>

The movie ended later than I had anticipated. My plan was to drop Abigail off at her house, but she insisted on walking back alone.

"How come?" I asked.

"I'm not even going home tonight. I'm spending the night at a friend's house."

"Which friend?"

She shrugged. "Whoever will let me stay."

I was confused, and certain that it showed on my face. "You don't know where? You're just gonna walk until someone invites you in?"

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