The backyard was large, because their new house was at the edge of town, where the lots were large. This made the commute to the university longer for Peter and Amy. But the trade-off was that Anja had room to play with Danielle, which both of them loved to do as soon as Danielle got home from school. Peter liked the chain-link fence, not for its beauty, of course, but because he could see long distances through it. Even though there was little risk of anyone—or anything— sneaking up on their home through the open fields beyond the fence, Peter liked the idea of both Anja and himself being able to see that far.
So it was that the Wheelens spent several months getting “all moved in” to their new house. Naturally, their moving was different than most people’s moves, since it meant replacing just about everything they’d had in their old house. In the weeks that followed, the family established comfortable routines and habits. Enough so, in fact, that they’d just about lost all of their anxieties about the disastrous adventure that destroyed their home and nearly cost Danielle her life.
That was, until Danielle’s nightmares came back.
“Well, girl,” she whispered to Anja. “Should I tell them? Mom and Dad, I mean. I suppose they’d want to know that I’m having creepy dreams again. But I hate to do that. It’ll ruin Mom’s day. Maybe her whole week. She’ll get pretty upset, you know?”
Anja kept quiet and wagged her tail back and forth through the moonlit stripes on the floor.
“OK. You’re right,” Danielle continued. “That will be up to her, whether she freaks out or not. Dad always helps with that. Although he probably won’t like the news much, either.”
Anja licked her mistress’s hand encouragingly.
“Good girl!” Danielle patted her dog gently. “It really is too early to get up. I’m crawling back into bed. Come on, Anja!”
Moments later, Danielle was breathing quietly, straight as a post along the edge of her bed. Anja was happily sprawled across most of the bed, her breath warming Danielle’s neck.
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