Bradley walked along the pitted grey-stone road of the Armenian Quarter, down some steps and into the bazaar. It was a colorful place decorated with everything a tourist could possibly want, from bags and scarves to t-shirts and toys. Earrings, necklaces and rings holding Roman Glass sat proudly displayed alongside silver and gold lions, replicas of the city, candle holders, picture frames and jewelry. Showy raqs sharqi outfits with their bright and decorated fabrics hung next to rugs and shawls. Shofars made from ram horns sat in baskets while those made from horns of the Greater Kudu hung from up high on the walls or were kept in cases alongside menorahs, hanukiahs and crucifixes.
He stopped to examine a camel carved from olive wood as though he had never seen such a thing before. But he felt like he was being watched. In a crowd of people it wouldn’t be strange to be the subject of someone’s wayward glance yet this was different. He looked up to see if it was the manager of the shop but he was busy selling an American kid a hookah. After looking around, he found no one in particular staring at him. Then he looked down and nearly recoiled as though he’d seen a snake. A sandy colored dog stared up at him with large dark eyes. The ears were tall and slender, pricked and held upright and the face was longer than the ears with a muzzle just as pointy. After a moment of staring at one another, the dog opened its mouth, as though in a happy smile then trotted under the table displaying the olive wood camels. The last thing to vanish was the long tail with its silky strands of fur. Bradley crouched down and looked under the table but the dog was already gone. He jumped up and flicked his gaze in every direction but found no sign of the dog.
The manager of the shop noticed the erratic behavior and approached him, “May I help you, my friend?” he said with a thick accent.
“Do you have a dog?” Bradley asked, still glancing around.
“Dog? What you mean? In the olive wood?”
“No,” Bradley said with a scowl. “An actual dog, I just saw it.”
“No dog, my friend. Not here.”
Bradley continued walking, heading deeper into the Armenian Quarter, following the endless rows of shops, turning corner after corner while inconspicuously looking for the dog.
Taher opened one of his journals and showed Heather some of the sketches he’d done of the striped hyenas he’d studied throughout his career.
“This one,” he tapped the page, “I saw her recently in the Negev. I have seen her several times and feel confident that we will be able to radio-collar her.”
“I’m so excited, my first excursion,” Heather said with a grin.
“The Bedouin guides I’ve hired know many of the populations and where to find them.”
“Wonderful,” Heather whispered, staring at the drawing of the female striped hyena from the Negev.
As though he’d appeared out of thin air, Bradley suddenly emerged and sat down in a chair at the small table. Heather and Taher both looked to him. His expression was concentrated as though he was lost in worried thought.
“Are you all right?” Heather asked, closing the journal.
“I saw a dog,” he said.
“People have pet dogs here,” she said. “It’s fairly common.”
“No, not a pet. It showed up then was gone. No collar, no leash. No one else saw it…”
“Are you sure you don’t want to go to a doctor?” she asked.
“I’m fine. It’s not my head. It looked like a… it’s a breed… starts with an s…”
“Samoyed? Shiba Inu? Schnauzer?” Taher questioned.
Bradley shook his head rapidly.
“Shih Tzu, Sheltie, Schipperke?” Heather asked.
“No, please be quiet, let me think,” he said, agitated.
Taher and Heather stopped talking.
“Saluki!” he said. “Like a small saluki but the ears were up and pointy.”
“Not a saluki then,” Taher commented.
“I said like a saluki,” Bradley emphasized, somewhat annoyed.
“Right, well, I’d better be going,” Taher said, standing from the table and collecting all his journals, binders and maps.
Heather stood beside him and helped him put his belongings in his pack. “Sorry,” she muttered. “I think it’s the jetlag.”
“No worries,” he replied. “I have to get going anyway, want to make it to Ashdod before it’s too late. My girlfriend’s been yammering on about me being gone on our anniversary again so I need to do something tonight to make her feel special.”
“You’d better treat her nice,” Heather said, sympathizing with his girlfriend.
“I always treat her nice,” Taher said with a grin. “Bradley, it was good to finally meet you, I’ll see you in a couple days, right?”
Bradley didn’t reply. He wore the same concentrated scowl as before so Taher said goodbye to Heather and left for the Zion Gate.
“There are a couple synagogues we can pass by on our way out of the Old City, if you would like?” she offered her brother after watching her friend leave.
Bradley didn’t say anything. He just abruptly stood from the table and began following after her in sullen silence. She didn’t really understand why he was upset about seeing a dog. As far as she knew, he loved dogs. He had a dog back home. But he wasn’t acting right at all and she began to contemplate forcing him to see a doctor.
He stayed up late that night, examining books he found in the apartment, books about Jerusalem. Some were guide books, others were historical. He felt connected to the names and places and knew he needed to go back to the Old City.
Heather found Bradley still sitting at the table amongst the books when she woke in the early morning.
“Did you even sleep?” she asked from the kitchen while putting a kettle on the stove to boil water.
“I did,” he said, distracted. “A few hours.”
She walked out of the kitchen and leaned against the wall. “I’m going to go check a few censor cameras in the Judean Mountains, see if I caught any pictures of Apollo and Delphi.”
“Apollo and Delphi?” he asked, looking up.
“The striped hyena pair I’ve been tracking for a few years now, I’ve talked to you about them many times before. You don’t remember?”
“Must be the jetlag,” he muttered, looking back to the books.
“Okay,” she scoffed. “Are you coming with me?”
“I don’t think so. I will go back to the Old City and walk around. I want to revisit some of the places we saw yesterday. I want to stay a while and watch more. We were in such a hurry yesterday.”
Heather stared at him. He was acting so strange. This was not the brother she remembered.
“I’ll be fine on my own,” he said.
The kettle whistled and Heather stepped away to make her tea. While she poured the boiling water over mint leaves, she heard the click of the door. Nearly dropping the kettle, she darted out of the kitchen and found her brother gone. He had already left.