Sunday, February 15, 2015

Chapter Six Revised


Chapter Six: Out of the Cave

A few days passed and the numbers of daily visitors dwindled.    Then baby’s father would leave during the day and return each night with food for the young woman.  While the father was gone women who were camping nearby would visit and sit with the young mother, their joyful chatter filling the cave.  To his relief, no one paid any attention to the little dog, except each evening when the young mother would leave a few scraps of food for him.

Then a day came that the father bundled up the family's meager belongings and he, the young mother, and infant left the small cave.  The dog felt alarmed.  He could not bear the thought of that infant being away from him.   So despite his fear of the humans he committed himself to follow them, albeit from a safe distance.

The family crossed the courtyard where so many had camped only a week ago.  All of those people were now gone.   The goats grazed, not expressing any gratitude towards having their stable returned to their use alone.  The burro also was gone, so the young family walked.  They opened a small gate and headed down the alley towards the street.   With his wound fully healed and feeling healthier than he had in weeks, the dog followed them easily, jumping the stone fence and into the alley.

Although it was day, the streets were almost empty.  Normalcy had returned to this small town.  With all the "out-of-towners" were gone, the smells returning to normal.  The young family walked down the street expressing greetings to those they passed.  No one seemed to bother with the dog that followed.  No one hollered at him, shooed him away, threw a stone or tried to hit him with a broom.   But the dog barely even noticed this difference, so intent he was on following the family.

They entered the market place and stopped at various booths.  Women cooed over the infant held by the young mother.  After looking upon the face of this child the women would become very animated and happy. It was as if joy radiated from this baby onto all that looked upon him.   The father bartered for a few items while speaking and laughing with some men.  The dog watched from behind some clay jars, never taking his eyes or nose off of the baby.

A slight chill swirled around the dog and his hackles rose.  He could smell nothing, but sensed something wrong.  The humans did not seem to notice; but absent mindedly pulled their robes a bit tighter.  The humans continued to speak to one another but the dog could sense something he could not place in any part of his memory.  It was something cold and sad, yet angry and hot all rolled into one.  He approached closer to the family.   The mother noticed him and smiled.  No one had ever smiled at him before.  The dog relaxed and continued to follow the family through the market place.

***

A shadow swirled in the air currents warmed by the sun’s light.   The shadow grinned a crooked evil grin as it passed above the young family shopping in the market.  The shadow swooped and swirled into a nearby tent.  It approached a larger shadow clinging in the corner of a tent’s roof.  The shadow bowed as it spoke, "Master Slubgob!  I have been all the way to Rome, carrying your message to our Father from Below!  He was pleased with your message, just as you said he would be!"

The older demon smiled an ugly crooked smile.  Pride bubbled up within him.  The Father would reward him well, of that he was sure.  "Young Screwtape, you did well.  What else did Master tell you?"

The younger demon replied, "He said to watch over the Son of Man but do not approach Him.  The Enemy's spirit will be strong around this tiny worm."  Screwtape looked at the soft pink flesh wrapped in blankets in his mother's arms. "I cannot understand what is so important about this----this--- tiny worm."

"Insolence!"  Slubgob lashed out and struck Screwtape.  "You are a student of the scriptures, are you not?!  This is He whom the Prophets spoke.  A boy, born of a virgin, in the house of David, in the city of Bethlehem!"

Screwtape was embarrassed by the rebuke, but now filled with understanding.  Then pride bubbled up within him as he realized the great significance of their find.


Chapter Five (Revised)

PART II

Chapter Five: Evil Lurks

 

In the deepest corners of the cave, shadows come to life, taking the form of two demons, invisible to human or animal.  The demons drifted about, inspecting the living creatures below, especially the newborn infant.   As the demons approached a soft protective glow, unseen by the living, grew surrounding the child.  The glow was repugnant to the demons, expelling them back to the dark recesses of the cave.   After the initial shock of the experience wore off, the older demon began to smile crookedly, exposing but a single tooth which dangled from his upper gums.

 

"Ahhhhhh, Master will be so pleased” the older demon continued to smile as he clung to the shadows.  He pointed excitedly to the infant laying in the manger closer to the entrance of the cave. "Look, young Screwtape, we have found the birth place of the Son of Man, the one about whom the prophets wrote."

The younger demon looked at the tiny human, puzzled at what interest the Master could possibly have in this newborn.  He had no wealth, no power, why, he was born surrounded by animal dung!  There was nothing that the young demon could see of importance, but he was an obedient demon and nodded in agreement with his mentor.

The older demon’s eyes never strayed from the newborn.  Absentmindedly he wiped a foul drool from his chin and spoke softly, "Go and tell the Master we have found the Son of Man" the older demon instructed.  The younger demon left immediately, sliding in the shadows in the roof of the cave.  As he passed over the humans the woman and man pulled their blankets tighter across themselves, reacting to an unexplained chill that traveled in the air.  The mother felt a protective urge to hold her baby.  As she did, the baby began to nurse and the mother relaxed.  The older demon shifted in the shadows in order to keep the infant in his view.

The dog sensed a presence moving about the cave that he could not understand.  Something in the shadows, but he could smell nothing, see nothing, hear nothing.  He did not like this presence and the hackles on his back rose.  He moved a little closer towards the baby feeling a need to protect.   The man and woman saw the young dog, but did not seem bothered by his presence, believing him to be part of the stable.  The dog was fearful of the couple, but this pull he felt towards the baby was stronger than his fear.  He needed to stay close to this newborn, knowing he would lay down his life for this tiny human.  The dog settled into an alert, but restful position, head held high, all focus on the newborn.  The mother returned the infant to his make shift cradle and smiled at the dog who kept watch.

As night gave way to the wee hours of morning the dog was stirred from his guard.  He smelled the approach of men, lots of them.  He could smell the filth on men that had been in the fields for days.  Their smell intermingled with the smell of sheep and goats.  The dog knew the sheep and goats were not with them; he did not smell any herding dogs with them either.  He sensed that these shepherds that approached were not a threat to the baby, so he allowed his fear of them to override his impulse to guard the baby.  The fear pushed the dog deep into the cave.  He was able to watch everything that happened, but he could not be seen by the men.

The men entered the cave, falling to their knees, their heads touching the ground before the newborn which slept in the manger.  From their knees they raised their hands and faces upwards, speaking words towards the sky.  Then the men returned to their feet.  They were smiling and tearful and spoke joyfully with the man and woman.  The dog’s ears perked as he noticed a change in the baby.  There was a warmth, or a glow, radiating from the newborn, filling the stable.  The humans did not seem to notice as one group of visitors left and others came in.  Group after group, shepherds came to the newborn, repeating the same strange behavior.   This lasted the remainder of the night and by the time dawn broke, all of the shepherds had left the stable, returning to their fields and duties.

With the sunlight beginning to stream into the cave, the goats left to graze.  The baby was sleeping soundly in the manger and the man and woman slept on their blankets on the floor of the cave.   The dog was hungry and his hunger urged him to leave the cave in search of food.  But he was drawn to the infant.  He approached the infant sleeping in the manger and he felt a warmth flood over him.  There was no more limp, no more pain, and no more hunger.  All of those things were replaced by this warmth.  The dog knew then and there that he would never leave this baby.   And with that resolution, the dog curled up under the manger, facing the mouth of the cave protectively and fell asleep.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Chapter Four (Revised)

Chapter 4: A Miracle

The man was busy, laying blankets on the ground and shooing away curious goats.  He did not take any notice of the dog that hid in the shadows.  The woman was panting as the pain increased.  The dog could smell her anxiety growing.  

Then the dog smelled two more humans coming.  The dog was nervous; he only knew abuse and neglect from humans and avoided them at all costs.  And now he was trapped.   He pressed himself into the darkest corners of the cave, trying to be as small and invisible as possible.

The two new humans came in and rushed to the side of the woman on the ground.  They cooed softly to her but barked at the man, who left the cave.  One woman held the crying one's hand, while the other approached the back of the cave.  Would she discover him?  If she discovered him, would she beat him?  But she went to the water, picking up the basin and taking it to the woman in distress.   They gave her a drink, and dipped rags in the water to mop the crying woman's brow.   The dog could not see what they were doing, there was one woman on each side of the crying woman and they were blocking his view.  A third woman entered the cave and positioned herself behind the woman who moaned with pain.   She raised the crying woman off the floor slightly holding her in a tight embrace.  She spoke soothing words to the woman and rapidly to the other women that blocked his view.

Then he smelled a rush of fluid coming from the woman, and he winced when she moaned loudly from her pain.   The fluid smelled of blood and urine...and something else.   The woman groaned in pain as she sat partially upwards pushing against the woman that held her.   The three women tending her were calm, using tones of comfort and encouragement.   This lasted another half hour when suddenly the woman's body lifted and she yelled out then collapsed back.   There was a moment of silence...then...a cry...a baby human's cry!

There were tears and laughter among the women.   The first woman no longer groaned in pain or smelled like fear and anxiety.    The lady loosened her grip on the first woman, lowering her gently to the floor.   The helping women gathered the newborn in their aprons and smiled widely, speaking rapidly.   One woman poured oil from a small earthen vessel and rubbed the oil on the newborn’s skin.  The oil had a deep woody scent reminding the dog of the scraggly trees on the hillside.    

One of the other women gathered the blood and fluids from the birthing of the newborn into her apron and walked out of the cave into the early night.      She returned soon thereafter rushing behind the man who had brought the first young mother to the cave.   The young mother sat on the blankets nursing her newborn as the three women clucked at the man, seeming to want him to leave.  But he would not.   The young mother spoke, softly to the women.   There was much discussion among the women, but when the young mother spoke again the other women left the cave, leaving the young mother and man alone with the newborn.  The man spoke softly to the young mother and the two began to laugh and cry softly.  He kissed her on the forehead and looked at the newborn resting in her arms.   

From the shadows the dog lifted his nose into the air and sniffed.  His nose twitched as he surveyed the new smells in the cave.  He sensed nothing unusual about the man and woman, but this infant was simply unlike anything he had ever smelled before.   The newborn smelled human, male to be specific,  but yet more than just human for it also smelled of ....joy.     The dog emerged slightly from the shadows, curious.  How can a human smell of ....joy?

The dog felt himself drawn to this newborn that smelled of joy.  A scent of warmth and peace radiated from the baby.  He pulled back into the shadows as the woman moved.  The woman swaddled the infant tightly in the aprons she had removed from her body.   She laid him down in the hay of the goat’s manger.   The goats didn't mind as they were bedded down, chewing their cud, no longer concerned with the intruders of their domain.

The man and woman tended to their personal belongings and did not notice the dog limping from the back of the cave towards their baby.  The dog could not help himself, the closer he came to this baby, the stronger and bolder he felt.    The baby filled him with joy, a greater joy than he had ever known; even from when he was a pup snuggled with his mother. 

He limped closer and began to feel as if the entire world was falling away into the background, leaving only him and this baby.   The dog was at the manger.  At this moment he no longer knew he was in the cave, that he was hungry and injured, that there were humans very close by.  He only knew that he had to see this baby, sniff this baby, and touch this baby.  He had never touched a human before, but as he stood as tall as he could and looked down on this baby he was struck with....love.    The baby could not clearly see him with his newborn eyes, yet somehow sensed he was there. 

The dog stretched ever closer, gently touching the cloth that tightly covered the newborn.   At the instance of contact there was a warmth that washed over the dog and the cave seemed to glow brilliantly.   The dog pulled back, just slightly and everything came back into view.  The goats were still chewing their cud; the man and woman still busy tending their belongings.  No one had reacted to the glow; no one else had seen it.  

The dog felt he should retreat before the humans saw him so close to their baby.   He turned and trotted back into the safety of the shadows of the cave.   Just as he reached the depths of his safe haven he came to a sudden stop....he had trotted?!?    He suddenly realized he was standing on all four legs, not three.  There was no pain!  He inspected his wound with a sniff and a lick.   Just moments ago on his left hind leg was a gash and fur caked with blood.   But now....it was healed!



Chapter Three (Revised)

Chapter 3: Unexpected Guests

His belly full, and the sun beginning to set, it was time for the dog to return to the cave that sheltered the goats.  It was warm, there was fresh water and he felt safe in the cave.  As he limped to the end of the alley and closer to the street he was puzzled with what he saw.   More humans!  Not only were the streets full of weary travelers, but they were sheltering along the sides of the street against the buildings and throughout the market place.

To the left of the dog was a woman who laid out reed mats for her family to sleep on as a man made a small fire in a clay bowl.   Two children were snuggled against each other, sleeping.  They carried scents that the dog had never smelled before; different even from the other out-of-towners.

As the dog looked around he saw other family groups doing similar things.  Some sleeping on mats, others warming their hands over small fires, still others were breaking bread.  They were smiling and greeting each other politely.    Some children played quietly together while sitting against the stone walls of the buildings.  Others slept.

The dog looked down the street and around the market place.  It was as busy as any time in the daylight!   But it was a different kind of busy.   The venders were not calling out for people to buy their wares.  The venders were not even there!  Other humans, strangers, were camping under the awnings where business was generally conducted.    The dog looked in the other direction at the buildings up and down the street.   He noticed that they were all lit with oil lamps and he could see humans in almost every window.   The buildings were full of people, the market was full of people and the sides of the street were full of people.  There was no way the dog could hide in the shadows to get back to his cave; there were simply too many people.  He would have to go into the road.

The dog nervously left the alley, moving as quickly as he could.  The limp slowed him some, but fear motivated him to move quickly.  He was surprised and relived that the people seemed too busy with other business to pay him much attention.   He made it back to his alley entrance without incident.

The dog limped quickly down the alley.  There was a family making camp there as well!  A man slept on a mat as a woman nursed a baby.   Two young children slept on mats between the man and woman.  There was another child.   A toddler that wobbly approached the dog, arms outstretched.   The dog recoiled and fear again pushed the dog quickly to the end of the alley and he jumped painfully through the break in the fence in a rush to return to the cave.

When he cleared the fence he was startled at what he saw here.  More people!  There were clusters of people in the courtyard behind the building where the cave was.  Not many and they were close to the building.  The dog pressed in close to dark shadows of the rock face and limped to the cave.  He was relieved that no humans were in there.  The goats were back, chewing their cud and paying him no attention.   The dog went to the back of the cave to the water source.  It was cool and refreshing as it seeped from the rocks and collected in the basin.   He lapped until his thirst was quenched.

The dog returned to the dark corner where he had slept the night before.  There was fresh straw.   The dog scratched it towards the recess and then made several turns upon it before he settled down.  Then he tended to his wound.  His fur was still caked with dried blood and dirt.  He attempted to clean it by licking the fur to soften the area and then nibbling at the matted hair to remove it.    The dog had removed most of the caked blood and dirt exposing the pink wound beneath.  It was seeping and stung as he licked at it.    A half hour later the dog was exhausted and fell asleep.
******
The dog was startled awake hours later by the sounds of humans approaching the cave.  He pressed into the recess as much as he could; hoping to be undetected.  He could smell humans, and a burro.   The burro stayed outside the cave, and began grazing, but the humans entered the cave.  The dog could only see one, a man, struggling with a large bundle carried in his arms.    The dog cocked his head as he realized it wasn’t one human he saw, but two.  His nose told him there was both a man and a woman, and the woman was....injured?  She smelled of stress and fear.   The dog could not see the woman at first, because it was the woman that  the man was carrying in front of himself.  She was bundled in blankets and laying across his strong arms, whimpering in pain.   The man gently laid the woman down on the ground.  She grimaced and moaned with a great pain that was coming in waves.  She would cry between the waves of pain and the man spoke softly, stroking her hair as he tried to comfort her.




Chapter Two (Revised)


A slice of sunshine lit across the dog’s face, gently rousing him.  There was a crispness in the air as the early morning sun flooded the dark cave with light.  As the dog stirred awake, he quickly realized he was alone.  The goats had gone to pasture.  The dog began to stretch, but pain ripped through his hind leg from last night’s injury.  He rose awkwardly on three legs and hobbled over to the water bowl.  He lapped as the cool water refreshed him.

The dog knew a human would likely come in to clean the goat's shelter.  The smell of urine was strong.  So the dog knew he would have to find another place to hide during the day.   He limped out of the small cave and moved through the rocks and grass along the rock face wall.  The dog returned to the gap between the rock wall and the stone fence and slipped through back into the alley.

Hugging the shadows in the alley, the dog worked his way towards the street.  There were so many new scents and sounds, indicating that even more people had come into town overnight.   The dog’s stomach pulled inward, painfully with hunger.  The smells of food wafting from the streets into the alley caused him to drool.  He wanted to run to the delicious smells with all his heart, but the smells of the people made him anxious.  The dog licked his nose, calming himself as well as improving his sense of smell.  He smelled dried fish and goat meat, spices, cheese and dates from the market place.   The smell of food overwhelmed him and the dog felt an urgent need to leave the safety of the alley.


The dog hesitated as he glimpsed at the street from the edge of the alley.  He had never seen this many people in his town, even at the busiest times.  A wave of anxiety passed through the dog.  He knew that people did not like dogs, except for herding dogs who worked hard to maintain their low status in a human pack. The dog would have to maintain his distance while searching for food.

There was no break in the foot traffic in the town street.  Humans of all kinds were walking in the streets, most on foot, some on the backs of donkeys, and a few others in carts pulled by thin horses.   There were men leading their families while carrying sparse belongings on their backs.  There were soldiers in the street barking orders at the townspeople and new comers.  There was no way the dog would be able to cross the street in the daylight with all these humans.  He had learned that the hard way.  The dog sniffed and licked at last night’s injury, trying to muster up his courage to leave the alley.   The smell of breads baking brought his attention back to the street and the dog began to drool again.

The scent wafted in the current, swirling around the dog, finally enticing him from the alley.  The dog saw a tall pile of baskets in at the edge of the alley where it joined with the street.  Silently the dog slipped behind the baskets.   The dog worked his way slowly limping; hiding behind baskets, clay jars, and tables following the scent of baking bread towards its source.

After a slow navigation, the dog emerged from under the last table.  He was very close to the source of the smell.   He hoped maybe someone would drop a piece of bread, or carelessly toss a half-eaten piece onto the street near him.  He waited for a several minutes.  Many people came and went, but no pieces of bread fell.   Famished, the dog would try to go around the building into the alley and behind the building.  Perhaps there would be trash, burned bread or some other wonderful meal.

Just as the dog left the safety of the table to cross the doorway and dart into the alley, a man emerged.  The man yelled at the dog and tried to kick him.  Luckily the man missed as the dog scurried back under the table.   The man continued to yell and the dog pressed against the wall of the building.  A stick poked under the table trying to find the dog but his luck continued to hold as the harsh blow missed him.  Just as the man was about to strike again, another man approached.  The two men started to talk and then began to walk away.   The dog shuddered and curled up under that table, his hunger forgotten.   Trembling, he began to lick at the wounds of his hind leg to soothe himself the way his mother would when he was a tiny pup.  As the dog calmed down, the suns glow settled upon him coaxing him into slumber.

******

"Shoo!  Shoo!"
The dog was startled awake by the noise of an angry woman.  She pushed the table exposing the dog.   The woman shook a broom at him forcing him to scurry across the door-step and down the next alley.  The woman continued to yell at him as he limped as quickly as he could down the alley.   When she seemed satisfied with the distance he had put between them she went back into the building. 

In the alley the dog’s stomach rumbled.  He had not planned to fall asleep under that table, but the warmth of the sun against the stone building, had made sleep irresistible.  His stomach groaned again painfully, reminding him of his current goal.  He licked his nose and sniffed the air.  He could still smell the bread, but it was not freshly baked as it was this morning.  As luck would have it, the alley he was chased into led to the back of the house that had been doing all the baking.   He could smell burned pita bread, falafel and leban at the end of the alley.

The dog limped to the back of the stone building and came to a stone fence.  There was a gate and fortune held again, as he discovered the latch was not secured.  The dog nudged the gate open with his muzzle and sniffed the air cautiously.  He did not smell any dogs or humans nearby.  He spotted a wooden barrel near the back door.  He limped towards it, aching for its contents.  However, with his injured hind leg he could not balance himself well enough to reach the top.  

The dog was feeling frenzied now, as he had not eaten in two days and the delicious smells were overwhelming him.  The dog leaned back and then pushed his shoulder with all his weight and strength and toppled the barrel.  It made a clatter and the dog knew he must be quick.  He gobbled down a falafel and then grabbed a pita bread and limped quickly back into the alley.  He pressed into the shadows holding his bread tightly in his jaws, drool running and hanging from his lips.  He could hear the woman enter the yard from the stone building.   She looked around the yard, picked up the barrel and pulled the gate closed and secured the latch.  When she returned to the house, the dog relaxed enough to eat his prize.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Chapter One: Shelter (REVISED)


A dog with no name limped deeper into a dark narrow alley, pressing his injured body against the cold stone wall.  He tried to disappear into the safety of the shadows, hoping he was alone as he examined his left flank.  The slice in his hide had stopped bleeding, the fur caked with congealed blood and dirt from the road.    The dog tried to put weight onto his left hind leg then yelped in pain.  It throbbed but he summoned up the courage not to whimper.

The dog was confused by the recent increase in the numbers of people entering this quiet little town.   From the alley the dog looked at the buildings across the way.  He could see people in every window and crowding the doorways.  They even filled the cobblestone streets and were becoming impossible to avoid.   By their strange smells the dog knew they were travelers from great distances.   They carried on them scents unlike any he knew. 

Being a stray, the dog had never trusted people.  He avoided the people and the people ignored him and that relationship suited the dog just fine.  But now there were so many people it was difficult to avoid them, making it harder to find food and shelter.  The dog licked at his injured flank and recalled how earlier this evening he had tried to run across the street to a dependable source of food.  The dog dodged one group of travelers but did not see the oncoming horse pulling a heavy laden wooden cart.   The dog could not dodge the horse's hooves quickly enough.   He was struck, clipped by a hoof, and tumbled between the horse and the cart it was pulling.   The wheel narrowly missed him and the dog scrambled back off the street towards the dark alley.  Injured and scurrying away he heard people shouting but they did not follow him.
The dog could not go back to the streets.  He could not return to his usual shelter by one of the outer gates of the town.   The dog would need to find shelter close by.  He sniffed the air.   Cool air from the hill above drifted from the back of the alley towards the dog.  It did not carry the scent of humans. The dog limped deeper into the alley looking for shelter.  To his left was a large mound of rubble, he would not be able to cross that, not with his injured leg.   To his right was a fence of roughly laid large stones that set the boundaries of the yard for the small stone house that edged the alley.  He sniffed and limped along this wall.  He could not jump over it in his condition, so hoped he could locate an opening.  He could smell a current wafting from further along the fence.  This smell was different than the alley or the street, and it was at a low level, so probably not coming from over the wall...it was hopefully indicating an opening in the fence, an opening hopefully he would be able to squeeze through. 

As the dog limped along the fence line, the smell became stronger.  After a moment the dog recognized the smell Goats!  There were many goats throughout the town and the dog knew where there are goats; there is shelter, bedding and water.  

The dog felt his luck turning as he saw a gap in the fencing where it met a large rock face.   He sniffed cautiously through the opening to be sure there were only goats on the other side.  He did not want to meet up with a herding dog, or worse, a human.   All he could smell was goat.  Reassured he wedged himself through the opening, pressing and scraping his injured flank.  As he stumbled into the well grazed paddock, he held in a yelp, not wanting to alert anyone that he was there.

The dog surveyed the paddock.  To his left was the rock face and beyond it a steep hill with no vegetation.  To his right was the back of the buildings that lined the streets of the little town.  Some of the buildings were seemingly stacked one on top of the other and merged with the rock face in the distance.  Immediately in front of the dog, the ground was rocky and dry and what little grass he saw was brown.  The short scrubby trees were stripped of their leaves, except a few dry brown leaves dangling at from the highest branches.  He did not see any goats, but his nose knew they were nearby.  He could also smell that a human--a male--had walked through recently.  The dog hoped this meant a final check on the goats and that the man would not be back until the break of dawn.  He did not smell another dog, a good sign for him.

The smell of the goats grew stronger as the dog limped along the rock face to a dark opening.  It appeared at first to simply be a cave.  But as the dog got closer, and the smell of goats stronger, the dog realized this cave was the shelter for the goats, and for him.  The cave’s opening was wide, but narrowed the deeper it went.   Once inside the cave grew smaller and darker.  The ceiling was lower than the outer edge of the cave.  It appeared that it was carved out by a human.  Most likely the rocks scratched out of the cave’s wall were the same ones used to build the fencing....at least they smelled the same. 


There were several goats in the cave. Most were bedded down, huddled together, chewing their cud; three goats were standing at a wooden manger pushed back against the cave wall, pulling at the hay left by the human.  There was coarse straw on the floor for bedding.  There was no watering trough, but the dog could hear a dripping sound near the back of the cave.  There must be a spring behind those walls, the dog thought, smelling the coolness of the water.  The drippings from the rock were collecting into a stone basin placed on the floor.  That is what I needwater.  The goats paid no attention to the dog as he lapped up the water.  It was as if the goats were used to dogs....not a good sign.  But the dog was tired and would deal with other dogs in the morning if he needed to.  The dog found a dark corner, a bit of a deeper recess in the back wall of the cave.  Some straw was pushed against it and the dog, limping, made several circles on the straw creating a bit of a nest.  This would help to hold in his warmth.  As the dog lay down, he surveyed his surrounding once more before falling asleep.  As he drifted off, the dog sensed his world was changing but he did not understand that this change would impact the entire world.