“I’m sorry I have to send you out in this weather, Arf, but I need to stay here and do the best I can to get Mr. Sanders’ fever down. I’m worried about you, but I have no choice. I also know you can find Rex. Just be careful.”
Once outside, Arf stood still a moment in an effort to get his bearings. He knew Rex had gotten away anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour ago. He and Mark had done the best they could to check on the poor horse as often as possible, but Mark was preoccupied with taking care of Grandpa John, and Arf had been trying to help him find stuff. At least he had eaten and he wouldn’t starve to death.
It was mid-afternoon when Arf left the cabin. It was still raining hard, but the wind had died down…for the moment anyway. He looked for hoof prints in the little bit of wet dirt that wasn’t covered by pine needles, but they had all been washed away. Deciding to go in the direction he thought Rex would have gone, he found the road and began to follow it, hoping Rex had done the same thing.
Arf was worried he had made the wrong decision when he heard the sounds of a frightened horse in the distance. It sounded like it was coming from about a mile away.
Arf stopped and listened to pinpoint the direction the sounds were coming from before leaving the trail and weaving his way through the trees.
Why did Rex sound so distressed, he wondered. Was he hurt?
Back at the cabin, Mr. Sanders’ fever was getting dangerously high and bathing him with a cool cloth didn’t seem to be helping much. There was no way Mark was going to be able to leave him even if Arf found Rex and brought him back to the cabin, soon. He was wishing he had told him to go all the way to town and try to get help. Neither option seemed good. Not good at all.
Poor Biff was beside himself with worry.
Annie: I know you’re really worried, Biff, but Grandpa John is going to be as good as new before long. Mark will make him better. I promise.
Biff: Why is he sleeping during the daytime? Is he just playing dead? I know how to play dead and sometimes I fall asleep….all I can say is, “woofta.”
Arf found Rex who had caught the reins of his bridle in a dead tree. He figured he must have lost his rope somewhere. As he worked to get the poor horse loose, he made a decision. Arf knew Grandpa John was really bad off and he and Rex were closer to town than they were to the cabin. He decided to free Rex and chase him into town where he could find help for both of them. Steve must have sensed that Arf might need something that would help convince a human he needed help. Someone would surely recognize whatever Mark had written on the frisbee he had given him to carry.
Arf: I think Mark was hoping I would sense the right thing to do and do whatever was the fastest way to get help. He said not to lose this frisbee and I won’t.