“This is Maximus.” said a small Glen of Imaal Terrier, tilting her head toward the St. Bernard. “And I am Skye. You’ve met Apollo. We are the navigation team. What’s your name?”
“I’m...uh...Splash.” I replied.
“Oh! You must be the new Omega. Hi uh...Splash!” she said to me.
“Oh, so you’re the funny one. I get it.” This was my extremely dumb comment.
“Yeah, I guess you could call me that.” she replied, grinning in an attempt to mask her laughter.
“This is my sister, Nora.” she said, as a slightly larger Glen of Imaal terrier walked by. “She’s a Howler, and proud of it. Don’t mind her bragging. She was Omega once, just like everyone else in this pack.” she went on, looking as if telling dogs everything she knew was second nature. I stared, astonished, at her last sentence.
“So you’re saying everyone in this pack was an omega, including Stonewolf?” I asked, unconvinced.
“Yep. Everyone. Believe it or not. Even Stonewolf was the omega once.” she said. She talked to me in a chipper way in which gave me a nice tingling feeling from my paws to my ears. I laughed in a nervous sort of way, really feeling embarrassed from asking such a stupid question. “Don’t worry. Happens to me all the time.” she said to me, as if she was reading my mind. I looked down at my paws, still embarrassed, doing the stupid smile that I do when I’m embarrassed.
“ So what exactly does a navigator do? The little, wrinkled, dog thing seemed pretty excited about being on the team.” I asked.
“Apollo? His breed is called a Pug. Yeah, he was always bored with just fluffing bedding and staying in the cave. He loves adventure. Okay, first question second. Navigators run about the woods finding rivers to drink out of, ideal hunting spots, possible places for new dens, that kind of stuff.” She replied cheerily. Soon it was my turn to eat. Since it was a good hunt, I selected a small squirrel. That was all I would need as Omega, since I had easy jobs such as replacing bedding. I took the extra food to a storage area and then plopped down next to another dog of my breed. She smelled strangely familiar, yet I didn’t know why…
“Splash!” She shouted once taking a deep sniff. “Everyone, this dog is a hero!” She announced to the pack, dropping her meat. “I would have lost a paw to a Growler if it wasn’t for him!” She sat back down and licked the last scraps of meat off the bone that she dropped.
“What’s a Growler?” I ask, trying not to sound dumb.
“Oh, Splash! You and your city ways.” she grinned at me and her tail was thumping lightly on the dusty ground of the Food Room.
“I… I know what they are, I’m just… uh… testing if you know.” I replied. Urgh! There’s that stupid smile again! I had a faint and blurry memory at the mention of saving another dog’s life. Two, actually. One felt familiar, like it had already happened, but the other was mysterious and had no detail.
“It’s a Mountain Lion. You know, like the one you scared off by barking REALLY LOUD?!” She said, trying to jog my memory.
“Uh, yeah. Sure.” I say. She laughs and starts gnawing on her meat bone. I felt like I didn’t belong in this pack, even though I had to admit, it was a nice pack. I dropped the leg of the rabbit that I had been eating and escorted myself down a tunnel, which was dimly lit by fireflies, to the Main Cave. I walked outside to be greeted by a calm, cool breeze, not on anyone’s list of things expected for an Alaskan winter, but still quite pleasant. I smelled and heard the snow crunching beneath my paws, the sky above me dotted with stars. But there was something else there, too. I turn to see the beagle named Squirt trot up behind me, almost sinking in the blanket of white.