The whining wakes me up. Puppies have tiny bladders. I lay awake in bed, not moving, willing him to fall back to sleep. I think of the hoot of the owl earlier today. I answered it jovially. He was not amused. I was excited to tell my neighbour about the owl.
He warned me, through missing teeth, “He can carry that puppy of yours, tear it up and eat it raw.” I shudder. He’s a no-nonsense farmer. Tells it like it is.
I’ve put my large black umbrella by the door. I pick it up as we make our way to the porch, down the steps, and into the yard. I’ve put my puppy on a leash and stay near to protect him. I feel foolish with my large black umbrella opened on top of us both, but I don’t know what else to do. At least it’s too dark for my neighbour to see us.
I hear no night noises, no scuttling about. My imagination gets the better of me. I fear the owl is hunting, and his preys know it. My puppy has done his business and is puppying around.
My senses are suddenly on high alert. I dive and pick up the puppy, my umbrella tilted forward as I bend down. It gets ripped from my grip and flies to the sky in an angry fluttering. My puppy is trembling in my arms. I sense the umbrella gently drifting to the ground, black on black.