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I cannot describe to you my sensations on the near prospect of my undertaking. It is impossible to communicate to you a conception of the trembling sensation, half pleasurable and half fearful, with which I am preparing to depart. I am going to unexplored regions
-Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
I am conscious that it has been some time since I have written. I assure you, reader, I have not been idle. It sometimes happens that protecting Man and Woman, smelling who has walked in my neighborhood streets, and defeating my toys in battle consumes all of my time, and I must put these greater considerations before my writing. I do find, however, that I now have some time to return to my neglected writing, and to you.
I find that my writing often helps me to form necessary resolutions and to understand the whorl of thoughts that, from time to time, threatens to overwhelm me. I will confess, Reader, that though I am strong, I sometimes experience that cold, shrinking sensation: fear.
Last night, I felt fear, and it made me feel like a tiny puppy once more, casting me into that place of vague terrors and certain ones which seem to loom large and threatening. Against these, as a puppy, my bark seemed too shrill, my claws too small, my body too tiny, my teeth too much like little needles and not enough like the strong, adult teeth I now possess.
Sometimes, I just want to curl up in my kennel and bite a toy to feel that comforting resistance between my teeth and shut out the world.
Last night, I heard the coyotes.
I had been visiting Mr. Bailey and Woman’s parents with Man and Woman. I’d played with Remy, Woman’s sister’s dog, and Mr. Bailey and had become exhausted. I was sleeping in the car, waiting for Woman and Man to come out of the house and drive us all home.
Then, I heard it.
The night was suddenly full of howls and yips. The sounds cut right through to my bones, through to my puppyhood nightmares and the sounds I little understood during my puppyhood in Alaska. The half-remembered sounds of wolves in the night, driving back from Woman and Man’s friends’ home in the woods outside of town…
One of the coyotes emerged from the dark. I ducked down instinctively, hoping she did not see me. She looked like a ghost in the eerie glow of the outdoor lights.
I felt like a puppy again, hiding, and too fluffy and innocuous to defend myself and my family.
I was instantly awake in the car, and listening, my ears straining toward the eerie howls. I could not understand them fully; their accents were foreign to me. I did hear snatches of their dark songs which made sense to me…I heard my name. I heard Edgar’s. I heard Mr. Bailey’s. I heard Maggie’s. I heard the chickens clucking nervously and carefully, giving nothing away: “cluck, cluck cluck.”
I trembled. Who was I to stand against the forces Edgar had hinted at? Why were these coyotes focused on those dogs I loved? I closed my eyes and remembered the first day with Woman and Man, and wished myself back to that innocent puppy, happy and warm in a towel on Woman’s lap as Man drove me to my new home.
I heard our names again in those chilling howls, and I remembered that that puppy had not been fully helpless. He had, even then, a will to fight, and the desire to defend. He had, even then, been preparing for the scenes I now faced.
I was hesitating now, on the brink of this new knowledge and this new fight, but I had it in me to do what was necessary to protect my family and friends–Edgar, Mr. Bailey…Maggie…and Woman and Man, if the coyotes dared to involve them.