Barnabus waited in the dead, dry grass. The crisp air held the smell of decay and the gloom of shorter days. Everything was gray and faded.
Up ahead Barnabus spied a strange creature, tall, narrow. It stalked through the overgrown stones, making strange noises to itself, noises Barnabus half-recognized but couldn’t make much sense of.
Barnabus edged closer.
Barnabus froze, wary.
Then Baranbus realized the noise wasn’t directed at him. Relaxing somewhat, he continued on.
Barnabus reached the overgrowth as the creature started making its way out. It saw Barnabus and froze. It was afraid. That was all right. Barnabus smiled. See? Nothing to fear. Just a fellow explorer like you.
The creature didn’t move.
So, Barnabus sat. He’d learned that sitting and waiting was the best course of action with these sort of encounters.
Time passed. Finally the creature took a step forward, then another. Slow, measured. It wanted to run but was holding back. Barnabus cocked his head to the side. Even by strange creature standards this creature was strange.
It stopped within an easy reach of Barnabus and started poking at a large metal object.
Barnabus got to his feet and closed the distance. Taking a chance, he nosed forward and ran its tongue across the creature’s skin. Warm, salty, smooth.
The creature stared down at Barnabus, eyes wide. Its mouth eased into a shaky smile. It made more strange noises, directed at Barnabus. This time, Barnabus understood.
“Nice doggie,” the creature said.
Barnabus licked the creature again. He was a very nice doggie indeed.