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Marcus Grant | Managing Editor

A low rumble of the car’s engine played in tune with the radio as Jackie and Tonks headed deeper into the mountains. The summer air had a slight chill to it. It came in streams through the cracked windows of Jackie’s hatchback, throwing the braids in her hair around. She reached a hand out to Tonks, running her fingers through his soft, spotted fur as he looked outside. He was growing restless. They would need to stop soon.

It had been a few weeks since Jackie left her small hometown in western Oregon, deciding she needed a chance to get away for a bit. Her parents were worried. “How will you afford this?” “You just want to sleep in your car?” “This is very impractical, you know,” they told her time and time again, as she fixed her car up for the trip. She didn’t really have a plan and she didn’t really think she needed one. And Tonks was excited for the trip - it wasn’t often that he saw much more than the forest they lived in.

Jackie pulled the car over, hopping out to look at the view. It was dry and sandy and the grass nearby tickled her legs but the sun was hanging just over a pair of orange rock formations, turning the sky a bright pink as it began moving lower. The GPS did say they were nearing a national park. Tonks jumped out, looking around for something to play with, his energy built up from a long day in the car.

As night began to set in, Jackie got to work setting up her tent, allowing Tonks to sit in the open trunk of her car. Quick to stir and quick to tire. He lay sprawled out in a pile of dirty clothes and some old blankets. She’d have to stop at a laundromat sometime soon.

After the tent was up, she sat on the ground, letting Tonks’ tail hit her in the head as he napped, looking up at the stars. It’s nice to be away from people, she thought to herself. And the stars are so beautiful out here. She decided to grab her camera, hoping to get a few good shots to send home to mom and dad. Of Tonks. Of the mountains. Of the stars. Even of herself, though she looked slightly worn from putting up the tent.

“Come on, big guy.” She patted Tonks, trying to get him to move from the car to the tent. He did, looking up at her groggily. “Oh, don’t make that face at me.”

It was quiet inside the tent. Only the tune of crickets mixed with the sound of her dog's low snores. “Maybe we should invest in getting an RV so I don’t have to set up the tent every night.” No response. Not like she hadn’t expected that from the tuckered dog. “I guess you don’t care anyway.” Tonks didn’t care. Or at least he didn’t as long as he was with Jackie. And she felt the same.

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