He lay down, with his nose to the warm coals and his eyes leveled between his forepaws, straight at the closed tent-flap. He meant to keep awake, to watch, to be ready to slink off into the forest at the first movement there. But a warmth was rising from out of the gray ash of the fire-bed, and his eyes closed. Twice—three times—he fought himself back into watchfulness; but the last time his eyes came only half open, and closed heavily again.
And now, in his sleep, he whined softly, and the splendid muscles of his legs and shoulders twitched, and sudden shuddering ripples ran along his tawny spine. Thorpe, who was in the tent, if he had seen him, would have known that he was dreaming. And Thorpe’s wife, whose golden head lay close against his breast, and who shuddered and trembled now and then even as Kazan was doing, would have known what he was dreaming about.
In his sleep he was leaping again at the end of his chain. His jaws snapped like castanets of steel,—and the sound awakened him, and he sprang to his feet, his spine as stiff as a brush, and his snarling fangs bared like ivory knives. He had awakened just in time. There was movement in the tent. His master was awake, and if he did not escape—
He sped swiftly into the thick spruce, and paused, flat and hidden, with only his head showing from behind a tree. He knew that his master would not spare him. Three times Thorpe had beaten him for snapping at McCready. The last time he would have shot him if the girl had not saved him. And now he had torn McCready’s throat. He had taken the life from him, and his master would not spare him. Even the woman could not save him.
Kazan was sorry that his master had returned, dazed and bleeding, after he had torn McCready’s jugular. Then he would have had her always. She would have loved him. She did love him. And he would have followed her, and fought for her always, and died for her when the time came. But Thorpe had come in from the forest again, and Kazan had slunk away quickly—for Thorpe meant to him what all men meant to him now: the club, the whip and the strange things that spat fire and death. And now—
Thorpe had come out from the tent. It was approaching dawn, and in his hand he held a rifle. A moment later the girl came out, and her hand caught the man’s arm. They looked toward the thing covered by the blanket. Then she spoke to Thorpe and he suddenly straightened and threw back his head.
“H-o-o-o-o—Kazan—Kazan—Kazan!” he called.
A shiver ran through Kazan. The man was trying to inveigle him back. He had in his hand the thing that killed.
“Kazan—Kazan—Ka-a-a-a-zan!” he shouted again.
Kazan sneaked cautiously back from the tree. He knew that distance meant nothing to the cold thing of death that Thorpe held in his hand. He turned his head once, and whined softly, and for an instant a great longing filled his reddened eyes as he saw the last of the girl.