‘I could do with a change of scenery’ Luna decided.
For the last two hours they moved at a nice steady pace but she was tired. Too much racing in my life, was her verdict as she trudged along. April was a month she loved, snow plentiful but the sun was warming up, adding a glossy glamorous touch.
‘I could do with lunch’ the idea landed in her head hours before lunch was due and it wouldn’t budge, ‘it’s probably bloody chicken stew again.’ That certainty didn’t stall her longing for lunch, it made it harder for her to concentrate on the path ahead of her.
Snow swirled gently about her face. Luna never thought of stopping. Stopping was a sign of weakness and that would never do. Today’s team leader was two years older. His gruff manner hid a gentle heart. He was the most experienced of the team.
Like a soft veil snow speckled her face and body. Luna lowered her head, hunched her shoulders and plodded on. ‘Hopefully this will get worse, we may have to stop.’ She smiled. Then lunch would be early. A rest would be appreciated.
On they went. Snow was kicked up as they sped along searching for a place to shelter. At last they heard the cry, ‘Stop, here will do.’
It wasn’t too soon for Luna as with head bowed and tongue protruding she stood panting, waiting for the mushers to come and release her and the rest of the team from the sled.
It was near the end of the second day of sled racing. Luna was upset she wasn’t lead dog again. But today’s lead dog was a sheep in disguise in her mind.
‘If that eejit slams on the brakes once more I’ll ram into him.’ Luna cast a wary glance back at their Australian Musher. Rob’s face was hidden but from the set of his broad shoulders she knew he was not pleased. Yesterday they were leading, today they were struggling to keep third place.
‘And it’s because you put butt face in front of me. I should be leading.’ Hunching her narrow frame she leaned into the wind pulling on with the rest of the pack as her mind mulled over the problem of how to get that useless lump to pick up his pace.
When they stopped for the night, they were right beside the leading race team. Luna couldn’t believe her luck. Her blue eyes sparkled in the firelight as she talked loudly to Ollie beside her. He opened one eye and closed it again wondering why she was talking rubbish about Bandit’s fear of a mascot.
‘Bandit is scared of everything,’ Ollie thought as he fell asleep.
Luna prayed the team of dogs listening to her were as stupid as they looked.
It was a cold crisp morning as they set off at four o’clock. The first place dog team left minutes before Rob’s team. The prize money was big but the prestige for the winning team would be huge. There was a cold glint in Luna’s eye as Bandit pranced by her whispering, ‘guess I must be doing something right to have stolen the lead dog from you!’
Lunar turned her head and with a brisk shake of her coat snow flew in his direction.
They set off at a gentle pace. It was apparent Rob was putting in more effort than Bandit. ‘If I had my way, you wouldn’t be on this team,’ he roared in frustration wondering what had led him away from golden beaches and luscious babes to this frosty wilderness. Bandit was the owner’s pride and joy. Everyone else believed the dog to be useless.
Luna’s eyes were fixed on the path before them. The snow was soft. The first place team tracks were right in the middle where it was softest. Bandit had some sense and was on the higher hard packed snow. ‘Good, ‘ she thought, ‘they won’t be able to make much progress. We will gain some ground here.’
Rob was shouting encouragement and abuse at Bandit in an effort to get him to move faster.
Rounding the next bend they spotted the back of the first teams sled. With a howl of rage Bandit woke up. The other dogs had trouble keeping up with him. Snow was shooting from the side of the sled as Rob applied the brakes every now and then in an effort to keep the sled on the track. ‘Are you a lunatic or what? Why now?’
They were closing in on the winning team by the second. She and the others in the team could see the reason why. They would have been howling with laughter but they were too busy huffing and puffing as they attempted to keep up the pace.
It was a surprise to the lead team when Rob’s team came charging by them on the downhill run into the finishing line. There was only two individuals who were fully aware of the reason for the chase, one was Luna and the other was Spats, the fat ginger cat who was the other teams mascot who for some peculiar reason had sat at the back of the sled instead of under the covers at the front.
Ollie congratulated Luna when he was able to breathe again. “You are one smart dog. I thought you said, Bandit was afraid of cats.”
“I did and lucky for us those dumb dogs believed every word I said.”