I STARTED WALKING TOWARD Sunpack when I stopped. for a second. Something didn’t feel right, but I couldn’t put my paw on it. I took a few more steps when I noticed what was wrong. My front paws weren’t touching the ground. I looked down.
Uh-oh. I thought. I look like an up-walker.
I panicked and thought about what Sunpack would think if I waltzed into camp looking like an up-walker. They would most likely attack with no second thought.
Without a second thought, I turned around, thankful that I hadn’t left the five pines yet, and ran as awkwardly and fast that I could with the up-walker paws. I ran until I couldn’t really breathe. By then I was almost to the Rickety Path, the path where the up-walkers would be in the foreign animals.
I slowed and walked across, thanking Lupus and Nightpack that there were no foreign animals. I soon arrived at the end of a long row of up-walker dens.
As I walked down the row, I studied the dens. Each one was different than the others. I noticed that the up-walkers payed me no attention as I walked up the row. Although, there was one up-walker that was watching me.
“Hi, I’m Petunia. Are you lost?” An up-walker came up and asked me. How could I understand them? “What’s your name? I can help you.”
“Li — ” I started but then stopped and quickly thought, what would Rose do? Rose! “My name is Rose,” I told Petunia.
“Nice to meet you, Rose,” She said. “I have a friend up a few houses who would love to meet you. She loves all new people who come to this part of Williston.” I must have looked confused because Petunia said, “Don’t worry Rose, Sunny is really nice and she’ll take you under her wing!”
“Is she a bird?” I asked. It was valid, for only birds have wings.
Petunia laughed. “No silly! Sunny is a person like you or me. It’s just a phrase. Now come along.”
I followed Petunia down to the house with the up-walker who had been watching me earlier. Petunia talked with the up-walker for a few moments before looking at me.
“What?” I asked dumbfounded. The up-walker laughed. “Name’s Sunny!” Cheerful one. “I hear your new to Williston. Well, I’ll be happy to show you around. What’s your name sweetheart?”
“Rose,” I said as calmly as I could. “And I’m not new, I’m from a little camp a little ways from here called Sunpack.”
Sunny went blank. Petunia looked confused and asked, “Sunpack? I’ve never heard of it.”
“It’s near where I came from all those years ago,” Sunny said. How did she know where Sunpack was? I got a little nervous, or I must have looked nervous because Sunny dismissed Petunia and took me inside.
“Look here soldier,” Sunny said sternly. “You can’t go around telling people your from Sunpack, okay? To them, that world doesn’t exist. So outside of this home, there will be no Sunpack, Valleypack, or Shadowpack. Am I clear?”
I nodded fearlessly. “Why Not? How do you know about those places?”
Sunny shook her head. “It doesn’t matter. On a different matter, how many moons are you? Your probably not quite an in-training, so four, five moons?”
I stared, more shocked that anything else. How did Sunny know so much about the packs and how they work? “About two moons,” I eventually told her. It was Sunny’s turn to be shocked. I didn’t think she was expecting that. “I’ve answered your questions, now here’s a few of mine. How do you know about the packs? How do you know about the rankings? Who are you really?”
“That’s a lot of questions young pup,” She said. “But I don’t have to answer them. Let’s just say, I have my secrets and soon, you will have yours.”
I already liked her, even though I knew pretty much nothing about her. She wasn’t going to say anything about her past, just like I wasn’t going to say anything about mine. No need for them to know who I am. I thought. I will respect Sunny and her decisions, if she respects mine.
“One last question,” I said. “And please answer truthfully.” Sunny nodded her consent. “I will respect your decisions, if you respect mine. Deal?”
“Deal,” Sunny replied. “I think you just found yourself two friends Rose.”
“Petunia and me,” She responded so matter-of-factly. “I trust Petunia with most things, so you’ll have to trust her as well. If you want to stay here.”
“You mean I can stay?”
“Of course! We’ll tell the town you’re my cousin or something.”
Cousin is a foreign concept to me. I thought. But I’ll go along with it, if I don’t want to be found out.
With that idea, Sunny and I went out around Williston and got me situated with everything I was going to need to fit in.