The Proposal (part 26)

Zoe followed Ayn, whining, and then turning to run excitedly back down the hallway.

Ayn jogged behind, laughing, and nearly running into the beastie at the doorway to the sitting room. “What is it?” Ayn asked, the laughter dying in her throat.

The sitting room was lit.

“Dad?” Ayn called. “Why didn’t you tell me—”

The room was empty.

Zoe emitted a low growl from the back of her throat as Ayn stepped further into the room, resting a hand on the raised fur of the beastie’s back, that mirrored the hair standing up on the back of her own neck.

Zoe backed out of the room and went to stand at the front door, growling, and looking ready to attack.

Ayn ran back to the study where she’d left her phone. Her fingers shook so badly it took three tries before she touched the right icon that would get her through to her dad. “Come on, Dad,” she fumed, walking back to the hallway. “He’s not answering, Zoe,” she said.

The beastie was on the floor beside the front door now. Alert, but not growling. Ayn hit the “stop” button and tapped Mearzt’s icon. Her friend answered on the fourth tone.

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