Something In The Night
"Come on. Wake up. Vivi is is the road. I don't know if she's hurt or not."
"Is Little Darling awake?" Daddy asked as he released the headlight from my bicycle, the quickest flashlight available. "Where is Vivi?"
"A block that way. She's in the road."
"Crate up, Ilsa," he told me.
"What? I'm coming with you!"
"Crate up!" he commanded. I cannot deny a command. To do so is to destroy the pack hierarchy. In times of trouble, our survival depends on the hierarchy. Daddy is the boss. I complied.
I waited for what seemed like a long time. Finally, I heard Daddy outside, and I whimpered for him to let me out. He came for Little Darling first, and he woke her up. In the middle of the night. She started crying. Something was wrong. Maybe he had forgotten me, and maybe I could help. I did not want to question his authority, but I couldn't stand it any longer. I scratched the front grill of my crate. "Let me out!" I pleaded.
At last, Daddy opened my crate, and he sat down with me and Little Darling. I've never seen a human look like that. Her eyes had water pouring out of them. I licked her face and then I snorked Daddy's armpit. He had been working. He smelled like he does when we work together or ride my bike.
I sniffed his legs and feet to find out where he had been, his shoes smelled like grass and blacktop. I smelled my pal Vivi on his arms and chest. "Where is she?" I whined.
Daddy went to the front door and retrieved my lead, and I slipped my head through my working collar. He took me outside. I found Vivi in a flash. I'm a search dog, you know. The scent was overwhelming, all urine, and poop and.......blood. She wasn't moving. A shiver went down my spine and I felt my hair rise. I couldn't control that. My tail curled upwards. I did my best not to growl. This wasn't right.
I licked at her face and feet, but my friend would not get up. Daddy sat down on the concrete beside me, and told me to sit, and then to lay down. The concrete was very cold. Daddy placed his hand on my head, and he scratched me underneath my chin and behind my ears. I placed my head in his lap. "We will always search, but we might not get to rescue," he said. Then he began to cry.
I have never seen my daddy do that. Mommy and Little Darling were still crying inside the house, but I could not cry. Daddy tried to say something else, but he couldn't. His voice broke. I nuzzled his chin and licked his cheek. Then he got it out. "You're a good girl Ilsa," he said. I already knew that. I nuzzled his chin again, and he scratched me behind my ears for a long long time.
There was a chill in the wind, and as Little Darling's sobs subsided into sleep, I heard the trees rustle over our heads. Dry leaves fell around us. I sat up. Ears forward. Eyes straining against the darkness. Snork! Alert. This is not a drill. I have a job to do and something is out there in the night.