Brian had not noted the animal’s approach. Rather, it had appeared as though materializing from thin air, or rising from the sands. It stood a few feet away, watching him. Brian didn’t feel scared, not this time. His breath caught not out of fear but out of surprise. The dying sun glinted off the ebony coat of the panther, while its blue eyes reflected the glare of the rising moon behind him. It stood, making no sound, head high, expectant.
“What the hell do you want?!” Brian said.
The panther turned, took a few steps and stopped. It looked back at him, waiting.
“You want me to follow you, pussycat? Is that it?” Brian said. “Well, you can go wipe your ass with a cactus leaf.”
If it could have been possible, Brian thought he detected a look of amusement pass over the big cat’s features.
“Get outta here!” Brian said. “I’m not playing anymore. I’m done.”
The panther moved off at a walk, its muscular shoulders rolling. It paused, looking back.
“No,” Brian said.
The panther stood, watching him.
“Leave me alone!”
The panther waited.
“Yeah?!” Brian stood. “Okay, fine. You want me to follow you? I’ll follow you. Dave says you’re my spirit guide. Well, how about you guide me to whoever sent you. I got a few things I’d like to get off my chest.”
The panther moved off again. “Okay.” Brian started after it. “Let’s do it. Once and for all. Somebody’s got some explaining to do.”