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Snow has arrived!  You can imagine my excitement, reader, when Woman and Man invited me out into the yard to sniff and play while they shoveled the driveway.  I was so invigorated–the bracing bite of the winter wind–the soft, cool snowflakes…  I investigated all of the smells and observed the neighbors carefully as they shoveled in their own yards.  When Man threw snow up into the air with his shovel, I caught it in my ferocious teeth, impressing him.  Snow always brings me back to my puppyhood days in Alaska, where it snowed often and created lovely drifts for me to burrow into and leap onto.

After all of this time in the great outdoors, I was exhausted and ready for repose.  No sooner had I stretched out on the carpet to doze, than I heard a scratching at the door.  Edgar was here again!  I quickly ushered him inside and we greeted one another happily.  He looked out the window after he entered.

“I need to see if I was being followed,” he said.

I told Edgar what Maggie had told me and what I had heard the chickens say, and asked if it could be true that the cat in my building was a spy.

“Yes, Humphrey.  I think it is very possible.  We must speak softly and I’ll exit the way I came in and hope that she doesn’t see me.”

I acted the perfect host and supplied Edgar with food and toys and water.

“Humphrey, I know I have been rather mysterious, and I know that I have frightened you with stories of danger.  I wanted to tell you more of the truth of what happened to me.  It all started shortly after I ran away from home.  I saw something I wasn’t supposed to see.  I saw coyotes holding a meeting with a group of domestic dogs and cats.  It was out in the woods…they were making plans…no one would ever think…

“Anyway, they saw me, and I had to run for my life to escape from them.  It took all of the agility which has been passed down from our mother into your blood and mine.  The network of coyotes and pets is wider than I had ever suspected.  The coyotes here must be looking for me.”

“But Edgar,” I asked him, “What do they hope to accomplish?  Why would these pets and wild beasts work together?”

Edgar sighed.  “That is what I have been working to figure out.  This is big, Humphrey.  Some things I guess, some I have discovered, some I merely suspect, but still, I do not know all.  Keep your nose and ears open.  Mr. Bailey’s property is a hot spot for coyote activity, and I think the cat in your building is in league with them.  Let me know what you find out, but be careful!”

Edgar would not leave until I had promised caution in all things.  Just before he left, I remembered one thing I had wanted to ask him:

“Edgar…you and Maggie…how do you know each other?”

He paused and looked back over his shoulder.  “Maggie…” he sighed.  “She’s an old friend.  She helped me when I was hiding out in the woods from the coyotes near her property.  She–” but he was cut off.  We both froze, our ears the only mobile parts of our bodies, swiveling toward the noise of a cat settling on the welcome mat at the other door to the apartment.  We heard a soft hiss.  Edgar and I looked at one another, and then he left.

As for me, I went to the other door and lay there, listening to the cat.  I let out a low growl and heard her answering hiss.  I wasn’t sure what she had heard, or even if she was truly spying on me, but I wanted her to know that I was fierce.

I hope that real love and truth are stronger in the end than any evil or misfortune in the world.

-Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

via litquotes.com