One Scary Night

by Connie Cassidy

Niles, the hero, does it again!

Not for those with adrenaline pumping and hearts racing! I swear I may never sleep again. And I may have to rethink this watch dog thing. When they do what they’re supposed to do, it’s enough to give one a heart attack.

I had settled in for the night with a good book and the TV on for company. The dogs were all in their beds (or mine for Noodle, he doesn’t have his own bed) except for Niles who seems to prefer sleeping in the backyard until I make him come in after the news. I’d left the back door partially open so that he could come in earlier if he wanted.

I’m not sure who sounded the first alarm, but suddenly all 5 of them were barking like I’ve never heard them bark before. Shrieking at the tops of their lungs would be more like it. I’ve had them bark at a lot of things over the years, but this was different. There was definitely something more than a “critter in the yard.”

My first instinct was to hide under the bed, but that’s dang near impossible with a water bed, so I took a deep breath, held it and then I tiptoed down the hall toward the living room. The first thing I noticed was that the motion detector spotlights were on — NOT a good sign. By this time Keegan was throwing himself at the picture window, Quincy was Rooing and Niles was barking like he might take someone’s head off at any second. That was almost enough to send me back to my room for another try at hiding under the bed.

When I finally found the courage to peek around the corner I saw a man standing in my flowerbed, peeking back at me. EEK!!!! But I quickly recognized the uniform and the BIG flashlight as those of one of St Joe Township’s finest. And then I saw the others. There were three of them in my yard.

Of course, all kinds of thoughts ran through my head… “Who’s been hurt?” “Is there a fire at the studio?” “What the H*ll is going on?” I gathered my wits and zipped to the garage, at least I knew better than to open the front door as I’d have had dogs spilling out into the yard and I do believe that in the frenzy Niles, Noodle and Keegan might have hurt someone.

Once I got the garage door up and was face to face with these young men (I swear they all 3 looked to be about 19) so that I could hear them above the dogs, I got the story. They’d been called to the gas station because the young gal working had seen some suspicious looking characters in the parking lot. By the time the cops got there, they were gone, but while giving the area a sweep, they’d noticed my slider was open and were concerned for my safety. They had visions of finding me held hostage (or worse) by these unsavory characters in my own house.

I explained about my old dog. I didn’t go into detail about him being on a steroid and needing more frequent trips outside during the night. But I did assure them that I was fine and that I’d button everything up tight. I thanked them for their concern and watched as they drove around back to check out the field behind my place. I just knew that the dogs were all going to go sailing out that open door before I could get it closed and the neighborhood would be treated to more frenzied barking.

One of the men checked out my double gate quite thoroughly. I watched him shake it, check the padlock, check the bungie cord that keeps Quincy from forcing the two gates apart and I guess he finally decided that it was secure. I must confess that I waited until they were gone and then zipped out and checked it myself, just to be sure. It might look secure enough to a cop but as a Greyhound owner, I needed to see for myself.

The excitement should be over, but Noodle is absolutely convinced that there is something out there and he’s still barking his fool head off an hour later. Even if I could relax enough to consider trying to sleep, I can’t get him to shut up and come inside. I’ve tried to go collect him and he manages to stay just out of reach in the darkest part of the yard, of course.

Maybe I’ll just make a pot of coffee and keep watch with him.


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