The Coyotes are back but this time they are much further away. Warrior Girl doesn’t care. She’s at the window and growling at them, a low, fierce, ominous sound that carries unspeakable violence in its tone. Lucas slips off the bed soundlessly and into the blackness. I can hear Sam lurching to his feet, struggling to get airborne, and I hope he can at least stand up by the time it’s over. The coyote pack isn’t moving closer to us. They’ve heeded the warnings and death threats from Lilith and…
The sound of the trash can outside being upended is unmistakable. Lilith explodes in fury and Lucas’ bray is a second behind. I’m up and have the shotgun in my hands as soon as the room clears which happens in a millisecond. Even Sam is on the go. The long black and feeble veteran feels as if there might be one more fight, one more war, and he’s afoot. They’re in the yard. They’re in our damn yard!
I always keep the flashlight where I can put my hand on it without looking. I chide myself not to open fire until the coyotes are Southeast of the house, so I won’t have a stray pellet hit the road. I’m out of the front door with the shotgun raised but finger off the trigger, finger off the trigger, keep the flashlight off, the dogs are losing their minds, oh hell what if one of the dogs, or all of the dogs, goes over the fence, look behind you dammit, barrel up, barrel up, finger off the trigger, light on and…
A limb has fallen out of a tree and knocked the trash can over.
Damn. I’m breathing heavy. Oh. Hai. I’m naked. The two together usually means I’m having a pretty good night, but this isn’t it. I’m barefoot. I’m pretty sure this isn’t how the Marines respond to a full alert at night. I hope Lewie Puller isn’t reading this.
I go back inside and there are no dogs. They’re still snuffling and woofing outside but the tension level has dropped way down. The shotgun goes back into the corner and the flashlight gets turned off. There’s as much chance of me going to sleep right now as me having a virgin birth at the moment.
Lilith has returned to the back of the property to scold the coyotes, long distance, and Lucas tosses out a word or two on the subject. Sam’s hoarse whisper of the bark barely lands inside of the house. Everyone comes in at the same time, which means this war thing is bring at least the L Hounds closer together. Lucas takes this all in stride but Lilith is delighted with the results. She leaps up on the bed and wants to cuddle now, wiggly and with legs flailing the air, belly up for rubbing.
I want to get up and write but turn the light off and let the adrenaline drain from the dogs. Lucas alerts on an owl’s cry and Lilith goes to the window again. Sam doesn’t move. As much fun as it was, the night is growing chilly and it is still a couple of hours before we’re supposed to be up. I can’t sleep. Lucas curls into a ball and snores. Lilith steps over me to sleep beside Lucas and soon she’s asleep as well. The owl and I trade thoughts of rodents and just as I begin a dream that involves a long wooden ladder, the alarm clock sounds off.
So what have we learned here tonight? If the coyotes sound like they’re a mile and a half a way, that means they haven’t sent a commando team in to raid the trash can, not that there will ever be any food thrown away here.
It’s going to be a very long day.