Her team approached a fork in the trail. "Gee, Handsome! Treker, gee!" The husky leaders tugged in their nylon harnesses. With help from the swing dogs, Toolik and Ranger, they took the right fork, followed by Pepper and Trouble. Moments later, the lead dogs dropped out of sight. The sled rushed through the trees as if pulled by an invisible force and Claire's pulse tripped with excitement. Tightening her grip on the handlebar, she leaned into the turn.
The trail straightened and the head of her team reappeared. An instant later, she saw Daisy, running right wheel position in front of the sled's brushbow, raise her tail. Sugar, running left wheel, followed suit. The solid white husky sisters were usually too modest for such a display, unless they sensed something out of the ordinary. Claire looked the length of her team and realized that almost every one of the dogs was on alert, strides sharp, eight pairs of ears tilted forward.
Claire's heart accelerated as she scanned the trail ahead. There had been very few run-ins with moose this winter, but the danger was always present. Dumb and aggressive, a moose would do its best to kill an entire team rather than give up the trail. She felt for Matt's .357 magnum revolver in the small bag beneath the handlebar. He'd insisted she learn to use the handgun and carry it whenever she took the dogs out. The idea of shooting at a living creature made her stomach churn, but if it came to defending her dogs, she liked to think she would do it without hesitation. And she was an accurate shot.
Her dogs followed a bend in the trail and Claire rode the drag between the runners, hoping to not crash into whatever waited for them around the corner.
It was Dillon's dog team, coming from the opposite direction, tangled in the brush at the side of the trail.
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