(finally decided on a title)
“Great Dan. I was telling Di that’s quite a dog.”
The father regarded Raven. Raven did not take her eyes off of Bloor but she was aware she was being watched. It didn’t make her nervous.
“I guess so. She seems friendly. The girls liked her.”
Bloor drifted towards his curb. His eyes danced over all four of them, seeking something. Raven rolled her shoulders, limbering up. In case.
“How are you, Beth?”
The older girl didn’t look up from her cellphone. “Fine Mr. Bloor.”
“Well Steve, gotta get inside, get the new dog settled.Take it easy.” The father, girls and Raven began walking back towards the bungalow. They went around to the back of the house and the father unlocked the door. Di showed Raven around the first floor:kitchen, dining room, living room, den. In the den a corner had been cleared and a dog-sized mattress laid out. It was next to a hot air vent. Raven chuffed in appreciation.
Back in the kitchen Di poured water and dry dog food that the shelter had provided in two bowls and laid them out. Raven made short work of them and felt the post feeding drowsiness creep over her. Beth had disappeared up to the first floor. The father was tapping on the computer in the den. Di climbed onto the couch and turned on the TV. Raven ambled over, feeling full and happy. She lay her head on Di’s knee and the little girl scratched her head. She patted the couch and Raven jumped up next to her and lay over her lap. Di chuckled and her hands wound through Raven’s hair, kneading and scratching. Raven slept.
Later that night, Raven rose from the couch. Di had been carried upstairs by her father some hours before. It was very late or very early. The lights in the house were all out but Raven did not need them to know that Bloor was out there, watching the house. She scanned the street. She could not see him, but that was not surprising. She could smell him. Metallic, cold and hurtful. He was somewhere on the ridge above the street. She swiveled her head, seeking him with her ears and nose. Slowly he faded from her awareness. When she was sure he was gone, Raven put her head down and went back to sleep.
Over the next few days Raven became accustomed to her life with Di, Beth and their father, His name was Sam. The family lived on Avery Street, and the ridge above them was part of Highland Park. Di and Beth would walk Raven through Highland Park and occasionally Raven would scent Bloor among the trees. He kept his distance, though.