THE NEXT DAY, Foofer and Rainee took off for their daily run on the beach. They always made a quick stop at the nearby cliff to see Rainee's other family, the majestic Puffins Lord Posthaste and Lady Boadecia, and then they would race along the sand and bite at the surf.
This time they ran along further until they came to a clearing under a bluff. They saw an old, deserted house with splintered shingles, broken windows and overgrown weeds in the yard. Foofer and Rainee looked up at the looming house, wondering who left the structure in such a state of neglect.
"I don't remember seeing this place before," Rainee mumbled.
"That's because we've never come so far on the beach before," Foofer said.
"Whatever. Let's go."
Foofer shook his head. "No, let's go peek into the house. It doesn't seem like anyone lives there, so maybe we've found ourselves a fun place to romp around in."
"It looks spooky," Rainee shuddered.
"Nonsense," Foofer scoffed. "It's just an old ramshackle."
Both of them looked up at the house again, and were surprised to see a white face in one of the upper windows. Steam from the creature's breath fogged a small corner of the window, but Foofer and Rainee could still see its dark eyes so stark against the white.
"It looks like a dog," Rainee said, fear in her tone. "Why is it looking at us like that? Are we trespassing on its turf?"
Foofer stared back at the white dog in the window. Foofer's hair bristled, and he stood with his back legs far apart. This was his protective posture, but otherwise he was very still and watchful.
"Foofer, did you hear me?" Rainee asked irritably.
"It's a dog, but I don't know why it's staring at us," Foofer finally replied. "Maybe it lives alone in the old house, lonely for company."
Rainee was uncertain. "Then let it come out here. I don't want to go into that house, it gives me the creeps. Bark at the dog, tell it to come to the beach."
Foofer was annoyed by Rainee's skittishness, but he did as she asked. He looked up at the white dog in the window and started to bark. Foofer's bark was deep and awesome. It always sent a shiver down Rainee's spine and hurt her ears. Foofer sounded like a giant among giants, his voice commanding attention and rumbling a great distance.
The dog in the window turned its head away briefly, as if it was looking at someone from behind, and then it stared out the window again. It gave a few short barks, its breath fogging the window once more.
Foofer shook his head. "She can't leave, her owner won't let her."
"It's a she?" Rainee asked.
"So she says."
"Where is her owner?" Rainee exclaimed. "What human would live in a house like that?"
"I'm going in," Foofer said firmly, turning to look at her. "Stay here if you like."
"No way," Rainee said quickly. "You're not leaving me alone. I'm going with you."
FOOFER & THE GHASTLY GHOST ©2011-2017 Deborah O'Toole. All rights reserved.
"Foofer & the Ghastly Ghost" may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the author. "Foofer & the Ghastly Ghost" is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental.