The Great Outdoors

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For only being back in La Push for two days now, I still haven't seen the beach. Cooper and I have been stuck inside grandpa's old house unpacking since we landed on Friday.

Every time I bring it up uncle Beck reasons it off with "You start school in a few days. I'll take you on an easier weekend."

Bored out of our minds with no internet or friends or car, Cooper and I have been getting a bit stir crazy.

"You're up early." Uncle Beck comments, glancing up from his paper at the table as I exit my room with Tucker trailing after me. The family dog has been sleeping at the foot of my bed every night.

"I'm gonna take Tucker out for a walk." The sun is not even up yet, but I'm desperate to get out of the house for a bit.

"It's raining." Uncle Beck simply adds, his subtle way of approval instead of insisting me to go back to bed.

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The sound of my rubber rain boots squishing against the muddy backyard reminds me how I have to get use to how it's constantly raining in this side of Washington.

Heavy drops of water drum against my yellow rain coat, the occasional fat drops landing on my face. I don't mind, the sound of rain plummeting down against the earth is soothing. I didn't realize how much I missed the little things about La Push, like how the reservation always smells like those rainy day candles, but better.

Tucker, who doesn't usually need a leash doesn't seem to mind the rain either. The golden retriever's blonde fur darkens to a deep marigold under the down pour as he sniffs at the tree trunks. The backyard is a tight space, no patio or grill, just a small clearing with mowed grass. At the edge of the property is nothing but thick woods.

It's not the dry desert mountains I'm use to hiking back in California, but at least there's no mountain lions. Mindlessly running my hands against every damp bark of a tree I pass, going deeper into the forest till the house is out of sight.  Weak golden beams of sunlight begin to break through in between the trees, adding much needed light to my path. I try not to think about how tomorrow is my first day of school or how I'm starting late in the school year. Summer is barely three months away.

I try to be in the moment.

I shut my eyes, suck in a deep breath, and let the rain fall against my skin. My eyes tear open at the sound of Tucker's whimpering. My heart painfully leaps up into my throat, a nervous sweat breaking across my body. Not too far ahead of us, a gigantic wolf stares the dog and I down. It's so massive, it's monstrous looking. It's black fur is as black as pitch darkness. The wolf is impossibly still, it's yellow eyes not even blinking.

"Holy shit," I choke out, not recognizing his high and small my voice is. I don't know what to do. So paralyzed with fear, I don't even notice the rain anymore. My mind doesn't even race with panic, it just comes to a crashing halt, nothing but a hysteric heartbeat pounding so hard it's echoing in my ears.

"Get!" A deafening gun shoot bursts through the silence. I don't even know when I landed against the ground, by the time I realize I'm in the mud my ears are ringing. "Get out of here!"

Risking a glance, I pull my head up to I try to see if I got mauled or shot or both. A big hand pulls me back up to my feet by a fistful of my muddy rain coat. I stumble into uncle Beck, who shoots another warning shot into the sky from grandpa's old hunting rifle.

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"Add bear mace to the grocery list." My clothes are completely soaked through, even my bra straps are dripping wet.

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