“Terach, wake up.”
“I’m awake.” Terach squinted at Kerem’s flashlight. “What’s going on?”
“Nothing. That’s the trouble. It’s too quiet.”
Kerem ambled to the other side of the guard tower. A slight breeze whispered down the rows of drooping vines. Their shadows fluttered in the moonlight, making them seem alive. The fruit was ready to harvest. It was the time to be vigilant. Shomer lifted his head and gave a low “gr-r-r-r.” Kerem scanned the fields but saw nothing unusual.
“I don’t like it.”
“Don’t like what?” Terach scratched his back against the guard house wall.
“I’ve just got a strange feeling.”
“Well, I have a bored-of-your-worrying feeling.”
Kerem worried about Terach. Being an employee of the king, with job security and a good retirement, was enough for him. He didn’t care about the king’s vineyards. Terach looked up as another breeze swished through the leaves. A shadow on the far side caught his attention.
Kerem gave Terach a nudge with his boot. “Let’s walk the perimeter. I think I saw something.”
“Ahhh, Man. It’s just a rabbit or something.” He leaned his head back, eyes still closed. “I’ll wait here for you.”
“Come on!” He nudged Terach again and untied Shomer’s leash. The dog pranced around—alert and ready for action.
Their rhythmic strides were interrupted only by Shomer, sniffing around a gopher hole. As they turned the corner on the back side, the dog tensed—his fur bristling on his back. “Gr-r-r.”
Kerem stopped. He peered along the shadowy path ahead. The silhouette of a craggy rock looked like a giant’s head waiting for its next victim. “Come on, Boy!”
The dog obeyed but continued to growl.
Terach laughed. “What a wimp! He’s afraid of shadows!”
Kerem’s heart pounded. “He’s never been before.”
Terach pulled out a cracker. “Come here, Boy. Here’s a treat. This will help you not be afraid.”
“What are you doing? What if there really is danger? He won’t warn us; he’ll lick us—looking for a treat!”
“Don’t be such a ridgepole! Do you always follow every itty-bitty rule? Loosen up at bit, Man!”
Kerem stared at Terach playing with Shomer. Maybe I am just being paranoid. Maybe I worry too much.
They continued around the edge of the property. The night was warm and bright and the air filled with the sweet scent of ripe fruit. All was well.
The next night, Kerem had been on duty for an hour before Terach finally arrived with Shomer. “Where have you been?”
Terach settled against the wall. “Oh, I had to give some new guy directions. We got to talking about the king’s land and all. He seems like a nice fella. “
“Really? What’s his name?”
“He didn’t say, but we’ll probably see him around.”
The night was colder than usual, and clouds hid the moon. Kerem pulled his hat over his ears and paced back and forth to keep warm. Something’s not right. I just know it! He wished he felt as relaxed as Shomer and Terach—dozing side by side. Shomer isn’t worried, probably I shouldn’t be either.
Kerem walked to the other end. Something caught his eye over near the big rock. A light? There it is again!
He grabbed Shomer’s leash. “Terach! Terach! Wake up! There’s something over by the big rock.”
Moving double-time to where Kerem saw the flickering light, they slowed, but all was dark. Shomer didn’t growl or bark. In fact, he was sitting near Terach, nuzzling his pockets for a cracker. Terach gave him one. They were about to turn back when Kerem heard a “snap” amid the grapevines. He shone his flashlight into the fields and illuminated a face.
“Hey! Who are you? Come out here where we can see you!”
Terach laughed. “It’s the new fella! Man, you really are lost! What are you doing in there?”
The man raised his arm to shield his face from the bright light. “I thought I could take a shortcut through here. Sorry if I scared you.”
Terach slapped the man’s shoulders. “Sure! I’ll even walk a ways with you.” He turned to Kerem. “See, it was nothing. Doesn’t the king say we’re supposed help those who are lost? Go on back to the tower. I’ll be along in awhile.”
Kerem turned, but then noticed the broken vines, stripped of their precious fruit. I knew it! He bent to release the dog from the leash and whispered, “Shomer, sic’em!”
Kerem – a vineyard
Terach – a wild goat
Shomer – a watchman
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