“Wake up! Someone is trying to break in!”
I opened my eyes just in time to see a vanilla-colored paw smack me across the face.
“Cindee, I am serious,”
I lay there for a few moments with my eyes closed, praying the puppy would go away and bother the cats instead. I was about to dose off when the cool wetness of Mylo’s nose brushed up against my cheek and nuzzled into my ear. The sensation was too much. Try as I might I was unable to stifle the rising giggle.
The crazy mutt shouted right in my ear. I flew to my feet and glared down at him.
“That was not cool” I growled and was about to continue with my chastisement, but an aggressive sounding rattle came from the kitchen, bringing my tirade to a halt before I even had a chance to get it going.
The little vanilla labmix gazed up into my face, his eyes meeting mine, only his peepers were showing signs of severe stress. The clanging was growing a little more intense now and it had my attention as well.
I broke eye contact with the puppy and peeked out into the kitchen only to be thwarted by the dining room table obstructing my view. I craned my neck as much as I could to try and get a better look, but that didn’t work either.
“Well,” Mylo asked, still standing there looking up into my face.
“I can’t see anything. We are going to have to get closer,” I said.
There must have been a pained sound to my voice because the puppy seemed to be feeding off it. The normally stoic little guy was doing his very best to hide behind me, but truth be told, he wasn’t so little anymore, and so, he wasn’t really that well-hidden.
“Follow me,” I whispered.
Doing my best to look inconspicuous I pressed my body against the sofa and took in a deep breath and held it. Ever so slowly, I began to edge forward with Mylo tucked closely behind me.
I could sense that I was nearing the end of the sofa, so I quickly formulated a plan in my mind that would take us along the wall. True it was the long way around, but still, I felt safer this way.
I took a step, then stopped to sniff the air. Nothing. I took another step.
I jumped into the air and dropped to my tummy at the sound of the squeal. Wide eyed, I searched the room.
“Watch the tail you clumsy oaf,” a deep voice called from behind me.
“Snake,” Mylo howled.
I turned in time to find a crooked orange tail flipping and flopping on the floor. Tracing it with my eyes I soon discovered its owner curled up under the sofa.
“Quiet Cindee, I am trying to hide. Someone is breaking into the house,” the cat scolded me from his hiding spot.
“We know. We heard it too,” Mylo said, agreeing with the cat’s assessment.
“It sounds like it is coming from the kitchen,” I informed him.
“Yeah, we are going to check it out, you wanna come with us,” the beagador puppy asked.
“No thanks, I think I will just stay here instead of waltzing into a certain death trap,” the cat answered, roundly turning down our invitation.
“Fine, you scaredy cat,” Mylo barked.
“Better to be a scaredy cat that a dead cat,” Rapi answered before tucking his tail in and burrowing deeper under the sofa.
Out of nowhere, a loud roar began to form outside accompanied by insistent tapping and scratching at all the windows. My heart was pounding away in my chest like a jack hammer breaking up concrete.
Just when we thought things could not get any worse the front door swung open, then slammed shut. My stomach leapt into my throat. Everything started to spin.
“It’s just the wind,” Mylo howled.
His voice sounded so far away and distorted, like one of those old-fashioned vinyl records that Daddy likes to listen to, only one that was warped. My legs trembled, then everything went dark and I crashed to the ground.
“Maam? Maam? Are you okay?”
I felt the sweetest most gentle kisses on my cheeks. That Mylo can be so loving when he wants to be.
My eyes slowly opened. The sky was the most vivid blue I had ever seen in my life, not just the sky, the grass and trees were a beautiful shade of green and the road. Oh my gosh, the street was an incredibly vibrant shade of … of …
“Yellow?” I mumbled hoarsely.
“Oh, thank goodness you are okay!”
I lifted my head and came face to face with a scruffy haired black Cairn Terrier or was it a Yorkie? I often got those two confused, but no matter, what is important is that there was this strange dog staring at me, and I didn’t like it.
I leapt to my feet and barked at the strange little creature.
“Who are you and why are you hovering?”
This whole situation was a bit unsettling.
The little guy tilted his head to the left and looked into my eyes with a compassionate stare.
“Hi friend! I just want to make sure you are okay. Is everything alright?”
I opened my mouth to speak, but words didn’t seem to want to form, so I nodded my head instead.
“Good! I was just wandering down this road and happened upon you sprawled out unconscious. I have seen this type of thing before, and just wanted to make sure you were okay.”
“Yeah, I am … um … okay. Who are you again?”
“Oh yes, so sorry, my name is Toto,” the dog said, mildly embarrassed at his faux pas.
“Toto, um, right,” I said, still feeling a little bit out of sorts.
Beautiful place, roads made of yellow brick, dog named Toto. Something seemed oddly familiar about all this, but I just couldn’t put my paw on what it was. A moment passed in silence, then another. Toto sat in front of me waiting for something, then I realized.
“So sorry. My name is Cindee, pleased to meet you,” I said with my paw extended in introduction.
“Same,” Toto said.
The dog glanced around at our surroundings then nodded towards the west.
“C’mon, Cindee, we gotta get going. It’s not safe being out here in the open.”
“Not safe? Why?”
“C’mon, I will tell you on the way,” the Yorkie, um, Cairn, oh heck, whatever it was, said.
With that we started off at a trot. I was hopeful we wouldn’t maintain this pace for very long, because truth be told, I am not in the best shape.
“It all started back in Kansas. My Ma, and I got caught in this horrific windstorm that sucked us up into the clouds and over the rainbow …”
“I was in a windstorm too,” I barked.
Toto continued without missing a beat. I listened to this dog go on and on with his story, while I sucked in some of the freshest air my nose has ever sniffed. It was so delicious I almost wanted to eat it.
“… and there was this nasty witch chasing ma and her friends, something about wanting ma’s shoes?”
Toto had finished and was glancing up at me waiting for a response. I must admit, that was quite a tale about tornado’s, tin men, scarecrows, wizards, and lions. It was obvious to me this dog had too many anise seeds for breakfast, because he was tripping. They should make a movie about this crazy dog’s stories.
“Ah ha ha ha ha!”
I quickly dropped to my tummy, and covered my head with my paws, fearful of the cackling coming from overhead.
“Look,” the Terrier, er, Yorkie, um whatever it is, said pointing towards the sky.
Reflexively, I glanced up. A witch riding a broom zoomed off into the distance, leaving behind a message in smoke. It said, ‘Surrender Dorothy’!
“OMG, you aren’t imagining this are you?”
Toto scowled at me.
“Sorry. What are we going to do,” I asked?
“We gotta help Ma,” he barked out in a high-pitched scream.
I didn’t like this. Not at all.
We had been running at full speed for an hour now, and my tummy was cramping up something terrible. Toto had been charging forward, as if instinctively he knew where we were going.
The sun had given way to darkness, and we were currently in the midst of a forest. It wasn’t one those happy ones that Mommy and Daddy takes us hiking through. No. This forest was filled with dead trees, their naked branches reaching up for the sky like the bones of a thousand dead souls.
Each step forward was a journey in courage. The oaks creaked and groaned, but that wasn’t the ominous part. Somewhere out there creatures were howling as though they were being tortured by the devil himself.
I was ready to turn and run for my life when a large stone structure rose in the distance, casting a shadow of doom across the landscape.
“We should leave. We don’t belong here.”
The words were mine, but the way they quivered in the air made them seem otherworldly.
“No, we can’t Cindee. My Ma is in that castle, and she is in trouble!”
I wanted to help. I really did, but I didn’t think I had it in me. I opened my mouth to say something but shut it again at the sound of the witch’s cackle cutting through the night.
“Ring around the rosie, a pocket full of spears! Thought you’d be pretty foxy, didn’t ya? Well, the last to go will see the first three go before her. Ah ha ha ha.”
Toto and I looked at each other. That laugh had sent a chill up my spine. The black dog turned and sprinted as fast as his legs would take him.
“Hurry Cindee, hurry!” he called over his shoulder.
“Oh, why?” I grumbled, then took off after him.
We flew down the path and up a steep embankment then down the other side. By some miracle, the soldiers had left the gate wide open. Toto raced through it without a second thought. I on the other hand followed behind, but all I could think about was all the horrible things that were going to happen to us.
“How about a little fire Scarecrow?”
The green faced meanie’s cackle spilled down the stairs, cluing us in on which way to go.
“This way Cindee,” Toto said with a nod.
“Mommy, I miss you,” I howled.
Together we dashed up the stairs, bursting through the door just in time to see the green faced monster light the Scarecrow on fire.
“Oh, oh, oh, it’s burning,” the strawman cried out while trying his best to blow out the flame.
I felt sick and couldn’t look any longer. I was about to plop to the ground, but before I had a chance the young girl grabbed ahold of a bucket then …”
Cold water smacked into my face. I tried to inhale but thought I was going to drown.
Another bucket of water slammed into me.
“Wake up Cindee! Cindee, wake up,” a deep latin voice bellowed.
“Quick, another bucket of water Mylo.”
“Will do Rapi,” Mylo called back.
“Wait, wait, I am awake,” I howled.
The big orange cat connected with a vicious slap to my nose.
“Hurry Mylo,” the cat screetched with a thick Spanish accent.
“Stop! Stop Rapi, I am awake!”
“Sorry, are you okay Cindee,” the puppy asked.
“I am fine Mylo, but while I was out, I had the wildest dream!”
Rapi and Mylo sat and stared at me open mouthed as I regaled them with my adventure with Toto. Rapi began to shake his head as I neared the end of my tale, but Mylo was still engrossed.
“Wow, Cindee! That is crazy. It’s too bad we don’t know how it ended,” the puppy said, his voice dripping with disappointment.
“I know, but really, at all seemed so familiar to me,” I agreed.
“Oh, for goodness sake, follow me,” Rapi said with a scowl.
We followed the chubby cat through the dining room and kitchen until at last we were in the family room. Rapi grabbed the remote and began to punch the buttons until at last the television came to life.
A lion roared, then a young girl appeared on screen. My mouth fell open.
“Mylo, that girl is …”
“Dorothy,” Rapi cut me off. I was a little perturbed but continued.
“and the dog, that is …”
“Toto,” he interrupted me again.
“Hey, how do you know all this Rapi,” the vanilla-haired puppy asked.
“It’s a movie called the Wizard of Oz,” the cat laughed before walking away to leave Mylo and I behind.
“Humpf,” I grumbled.
“At least we can see how it ended,” Mylo whooped optimistically.
“Yes. Yes, we can Mylo!”
We fell silent and settled in to see how my dream ended.