The strongest smell is roses. Buster knows he and master are getting close to the rose lady’s house. Bacon! Buster thinks. His chin gets wet at the thought.
With every step the smell of roses grows. Yet so does that new smell -- the bad smell. He feels a thumping inside him, and continues walking at a very easy pace.
“You better be right about this.” This voice is deep, raucous, and Buster can hear it much more clearly than the first voice. Buster knows along with that first unfamiliar voice, this one comes from the car.
Where is it! Where is it! Buster speeds up.
Buster feels a light pressure on his neck, straightens his head, and walks again at an easy pace. He hears a loud screeching sound, and now Buster smells burning rubber.
“I’m sure they’ll be here. He walks here every day with his dog.”
“You better be right or…” Buster hears a sound like flick, and, for a brief moment, he smells fire. Then the fire is gone and he smells funny smoke. Master hates the smell of funny smoke.
“I am… I am…”
“Ya better be. The boss takes the stand at ten tomorrow morning and…”
“We're gonna get 'em. He should be right around..."
The voices stop. Buster looks back at master, and master smiles at Buster. “Good boy,” master says, continuing forward.
Assuming master hears the voices too; Buster puts his head up, and increases his speed until the pressure around his neck gets tighter. He slows down, looks up at Master, who's now scowling.
Why is master unhappy? Buster looks forward and walks at an easy pace. He also smells roses and bacon too, but barely notices. The car is getting closer, and all Buster wants is to get master to safety. Why is master unhappy?
Buster smells strangers and creatures and artifacts unknown to him. But the pressure increases around his neck as he wanders to inspect these.
“Speed up!” The raucous voice says, louder this time. The car whirs louder and louder, and the smell of car fumes and funny smoke gets stronger. The bad men are coming right at master. They want to harm master! They want to harm master!
Buster tenses up, and then increases his speed. He's certain master will follow along, but the hold on Buster's neck tightens. Buster’s panting now, and he can feel a thump, thump, thump in his chest.
Buster stops and turns to look up at master, who reaches down and slaps Buster on the snout causing Buster to wince. Then master motions Buster to follow him as master starts forward at a very easy pace.
“There they are," the raucous voice says.
“Right there! See! See!” It's the soft voice. “Tike is right there! See! See! I can see the mutt.”
Buster stops on a dime, and master stumbles over him, falling hard on his hands and knees, spewing up a cloud of dust. Buster jerks to the left, away from the oncoming noises, until his neck snaps back, and his black, furry form slams to the ground, sending a puff of dust billowing into the air. An audible squeak escapes his throat.
He can feel pain on his side, and the pressure in his neck is excruciating. Ignoring all this, he clambers to an upward position and makes a noise louder than any noise he's ever made. Master's now up on his feet, holding the leash with both hands. Red stuff is oozing from scrapes on master’s legs, and master is ignoring this as he tugs at the leash.
“Ah, right on schedule; just as we planned. Get the creep!” the human with the raucous voice shouts.
Buster shudders, and then stiffens as the pressure on his neck tightens again.
“Come along boy,” Master says, and Buster nearly topples over before his legs catch up with his upper body, and he's scurrying alongside master again.
Buster sniffs and sniffs as he never did before on these walks. His head is high and at attention, and an eerie growling escapes his clenched jaw. His head aches. Now the pressure on his neck tightens, and his head's pounding.
Master says, “What’s wrong with you today, boy?”
Buster knows what master wants, but Buster doesn't care. Buster lets out a series of barks.
“Settle down, Buster! SETTLE DOWN!”
With a mighty force, Buster rushes forward, running fast as he can, breaking master’s grip on the leash. Buster rushes to the woods, craning his neck often to be certain master is following him.
When master is shielded behind the trees, Buster stops and looks back at the path. A big yellow car zooms off the black surface, spewing up dust where master and Buster walked mere moments earlier.
The bad smells linger in the air, and then disappear, as does the sounds of the car.
Master is safe! Master is safe! Buster rushes to master and licks master's hand. Master hits Buster, who winces.
As master flings the leash around Buster’s neck, tightening it just so, master’s smell is strong. He has a glare Buster hasn’t seen since a time long ago.
Buster neck jerks as master steps away, forcing Buster to walk alongside him. Buster walks at a very easy pace. The smell of roses is going away. Buster walks with his head high, tongue lolling from one corner of his mouth, panting. His chin is wet. Going home! Going home!
Back at home, master puts Buster in his sleeping place. Buster tries licking master, but master pulls his hand away too fast, slamming the door as he leaves. Buster lies down atop his blankets, sets his snout over his front paws, and waits for master to return. His stomach is growling.