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It was fortunate that the house that blocked them was surrounded by a fence; otherwise the huge mastiff that came barreling toward them in the dark might have committed more mayhem to the pair of already bruised and bloodied travelers. Duvan and Gabrielle screamed simultaneously and began to run away from the dog and into the woods. They did not get far before one of them fell, taking the other down in an instant. As they lay there with arms over their heads cowering in fear the question of who fell first and brought the other crashing down with him was purely academic; they lay quaking wishing for nothing more than to be home safe and sound.

“You will be the death of me, Gabrielle!” Duvan hissed as he rose and helped her to her feet.

The lights from the house came on and a man appeared on a second floor deck, his booming command of, “Churchill! Be quiet!” silencing the dog in an instant.

“That is one well trained pooch,” Duvan whispered in Gabrielle’s ear. “With the lights on I can see much, much better but I don’t think he can see us. Come on,” he added, helping her to rise and walking slowly with her to the edge of the fence.

The next house had a trampoline, what appeared to be a guest house that was a scant ten feet from the tree line and then a hot-tub. After that there were just three more yards that they quietly made their way through until Duvan said, “I think I see the streetlight for the ballfields. We’re almost out of the woods.”

Gabrielle turned her head toward him and asked, “Really? Now?”

He chuckled in response and said, “When I get scared I make jokes. I don’t think I’ve been this scared since the Sandinistas came around.”

“You’re old enough to remember the Sandinistas?”

“Barely. Once when I was very young they came to my abuela’s. Everyone was frightened because her son, my uncle, had been a Somoza man. They took him away and never have we seen him since.”

“Good Lord, how terrible. How old were you?”

“As I said, very young. Not quite three, but I remember. This way and then we will have both even ground with the ballfields and some light from above.”

There was a well-worn path between the ballfields and the backyard of the house that abutted it. The way through the woods was dicey but after that the path home would be easy to navigate, or at least that is what the duo hoped for at any rate.

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