'Mid Pleasures and Palaces
Kirk looked at the gun and at the animal. The claw had been drawn away from Loren's shoulder and again it was poised, ready. "You keep it, Harry," he said.
"Oh, yes. Of course," Loren said. There was a moment of silence as Loren stuck the pistol absently into the waist of his ragged cloth covering, beside the knife. The three of them waited then, Kirk, Loren, and the animal.
"Eddie?" Loren said finally. "Are you ready?"
* * * * *
Kirk felt himself smiling in the direction of the animal. He remembered when he was a small boy, going by a house where there had been a mongrel with a flat head and large teeth. He had smiled at that animal as he was doing now. The dog had sensed his fear in spite of the smile.
Loren was standing up slowly, and the animal's head swayed in slow circling motions.
"All right?" Loren said.
Kirk glanced at the man, saw the wild, nearly va