Thump, thump, thump thump!
Startled awake, my head shot up and my eyes popped open. It felt like someone had poured gasoline into my eyes sockets and lit it on fire. Blinking back the tears, I nervously glanced around at my surroundings. The room was dark, except for a sliver of moonlight that peered in through the window and illuminated the clock, which said four-thirty in the morning. My floppy ears stood almost straight in the air. Like two small parabolic sound dishes, they scanned the house for any suspicious sounds but came up negative.
I let out the breath that I had been holding and let my body relax for a moment. With my eyes closed, I sucked in a lung full of fresh air, then blew it out.
“Strange. Must have been a dream,” I whispered softly, not wanting to wake Mommy and Daddy.
I climbed to all four feet and turned in a circle a couple of times, before dropping back into my soft cushy bed and settling in for a few more hours of shuteye.
My gaze fell on Mommy, who was laying on her side facing me, her mouth hanging open and drool sliding down her cheek.
“Thank goodness, she doesn’t know what she looks like when she is sleeping.”
The words came out of my mouth in a hushed tone, but the giggle that ensued didn’t. It was enough to disturb her, but only enough that she rolled over and buried her face into Daddy’s back.
I let the sounds of early morning filter through the air. There was a cricket or two outside just under the window singing a relaxing melody, which was occasionally accompanied by the three maple trees on that side of the house and they danced in the spring breeze.
The noise startled me, sending my body into a tizzy of tight muscles and frayed nerves. Of course, I did what any self-respecting labrador-pitty mix would do … I dove under the covers and prayed I would be spared.
Slowly, the stairs squeaked one at a time. I could feel the beast drawing closer. It had always been moments like this that I could count on my best friend Rapi, but tonight, I was all on my own. The orange cat was with his girlfriend singing to the moon in her backyard … much too far to come to my rescue.
Peeking out from beneath the covers I was able to see that Mommy and Daddy were still sound asleep.
“Please! Please, don’t eat them,” I whispered.
My heart leaped into my throat. Two small triangles began to rise from between Mommy and Daddy. I remained hidden under the safety of my blanky as the two-object climbed higher into the night air.
“No! No,” I mumbled.
A moment or two passed before I was able to make out that the triangles were actually ears, and worse yet, they were attached to a monstrous head, which stared back at me through eerie glowing eyes. It sprang from the bed towards me, filling me with a sudden urge to pee my bed.
The familiar voice was scolding the beast. That voice. Where did I know that voice from?
“Go back to bed!”
The image of a slightly chubby grey and white cat took shape in my mind. It was my nemesis, Bella. But who was she talking to? With as much stealth as possible, I shifted around so that I was facing the direction of the one-sided conversation. I was on the verge of peeking out at them when a scuffle broke out, followed by the sound of a chase.
“Get away from me you brute!”
Bella’s scream echoed throughout the upstairs, followed by an uncomfortable silence that stretched on for a minute or two. I held my breath, trying to decide what to do.
I gulped, then closed my eyes. The noise had sounded like a lifeless cat colliding with the ground. Though we never got along, I was going to miss Bella. Thoughts of how she met her demise raced through my mind but came to a sudden halt.
I had heard a floorboard squeak. Anxiety-ridden, I trained my ears in the direction of the noise, only to hear some shuffling, then another board groaning. The beast was not satisfied with devouring one oversized cat. It wanted more. It shambled its way closer and closer, then came to a stop right in front of me.
I bit down on the edge of my mattress to keep from screaming, then burrowed as far under the covers as I could before covering my head with my paws in hopes it would be enough to convince the monster that nothing was underneath the blanket.
It dropped something on the floor, then in one fell swoop latched on to my blanky and yanked it off me, leaving me naked and exposed.
“Please don’t eat me,” I begged.
When I opened my eyes there were four legs, covered in tan hair standing directly in front of me. Nervously, I raised my gaze taking in the length of the long appendages, until I saw its broad chest.
“Please,” I pleaded.
It had been a good life. I had no right to complain about it. I was loved. Besides it was the least I could do for Mommy and Daddy. The decision was made, I would give my life to save theirs. I worked up the courage to gaze into its monstrous face. My mouth fell open and my tongue drooped out.
“What’s up Old Lady!”
I blew out the lung full of air I had been holding onto and shook my head in disbelief.
“That’s my name, ask me again and I’ll tell you the same,” the adolescent dog barked with glee.
“Quiet, you will wake Mommy and Daddy,” I whispered with as much authority as I could muster.
“Humpf! You are no fun Cindee!”
Having chastised me for being a stick in the mud, he swooped down and scooped up his ball in his mouth, and leapt up onto the bed.
“No! Mylo, stop! It’s four-thirty in the morning!”
The tan labmix turned, cocked his head, shrugged, and resumed coarse towards Daddy, the ball still firmly tucked inside his jaws.
Friends, you heard me. I warned him. I think everyone knows Daddy is grouchy when he must get up in the middle of the night.
I watched Mylo with a new sense of shock and intrigue. He moved with a clandestineness I had not seen before, slinking his way towards the head of the bed until he was standing right over Daddy, who was sound asleep on his back.
The dog began to toss the ball into the air and then snatch it in his mouth. There was an impression of smugness about Mylo, which he wore proudly on his face.
“Mylo! Mylo! Stop don’t do this!”
He ignored my urgent whispering and tossed the blue ball with the plastic spikes even higher, then caught it with ease. He glanced over at me, his lips curled into a smile, then he did the unthinkable.
He let go of the ball and watched as gravity took hold and did its thing, dragging the ball on a downward trajectory with …
… Daddy’s face!
Daddy shot right into an upright position, just like my favorite wrestler, The Undertaker.
I grabbed my blanky, threw it on top of me, and turned away to face the wall. Mylo was doomed, but I saw no need for me to go down with him. I mean I told him not to do it. You heard me tell him, right?
“Wakey wakey chrome dome!”
Oye vey! Does that dog have a death wish? I closed my eyes and covered my ears, hoping it would brace me sufficiently for the upcoming explosion.
Daddy bellowed so loudly his voice carried throughout the house waking Mommy in the process. I couldn’t resist the urge. Mindlessly, I swung back around and was shocked to see Mylo sitting there wearing an expression of disbelief.
“It is four-thirty in the morning! Go back to bed!”
To emphasize the point, Daddy jumped from the bed and pointed rather vigorously to the empty mattress next to me. The one where Mylo belonged.
The tan dog dropped his head and traipsed back to his soft cushy pad, then unceremoniously threw himself down on it.
“What did you say Mylo?”
I watched with mouth agape while Mommy covered my adopted brother. To my surprise, the events of the evening ended just as quickly as they had begun. I looked over at Mylo and the irony of it all set it.
The tan pooch was fast asleep while the rest of the house was wide awake at four-thirty in the morning.