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THE HOWLING DOG

that was no dream

By Margaret BrennanPublished 2 months ago 5 min read

THE HOWLING DOG

That was no dream

Living in a wooded area, in a cottage that reminded her of the smaller cottage where he lived as a boy, Alysse and her husband, Jonah enjoyed the nature around them.

When they met, she was a city girl who enjoyed spending weekends in the country camping and painting the various nature scenes. He, on the other hand, was born and raised in a small cottage in the woods, not too far from where they now called home.

Waking each morning to the sound of birds chirping, to falling asleep to the croaking of the bullfrogs in the nearby pond made each day special and filled with wonderment. She fully understood why his mother loved it so much. Only, she didn’t fully understand the depth of his mother’s love and understanding of the woods and the things in it.

“Jonah, where do you think the birds go when the sun sets? Do they have a special home or just land on any close tree for the night?”

Jonah looked at his wife and smiled as he said, “Alysse, are we going to go through this again? Instead of asking me questions I can’t answer, why not write them down and then make up a story to go with each thought?”

Alysse laughed and hugged her husband. “That’s for Trina. She’s the author in the family, but you have a point. I’ll make notes of my whacky thoughts and send them to her. I’m sure she’ll come up with something.” He left the kitchen and walked toward the back of the house where she knew her husband was headed.

Trina was their twenty-four-year-old daughter who left the woods for the draw of the city lights. While she loved the woods as much as her mother, they would not help her along the way to her goal of becoming a famous writer.

Alysse picked up her coffee mug and took a sip of the hot, delicious liquid and sighed. She turned as her oven dinged – a signal that her freshly baked blueberry muffins were finished baking.

Allowing them to cool on the counter, she walked towards the large room at the back of the house that Jonah called his home office. She stood for a few seconds at the doorway and looked around at the stacks of papers, booklets, and the vast array of computer equipment situated neatly and efficiently throughout the room. Her eyes then rested on the handsome gray-haired man who sat at one of the computers and seemed to be engrossed in some kind of photo editing program.

She approached him, leaned and wrapped her around his shoulders and asked, “Jonah, do you ever miss the city?”

His hands reached up and grasped hers. “I thought, for the first few weeks when we moved out here that I might. I can do my job anywhere so that was never an issue, but I began to feel closed in with the noise, the hustle and bustle, and all the people. Everywhere I turned, looked, the hum became a cacophony of sounds all bundled together. There was no peace. Besides, it reminds me of when I was a boy. So, to answer your question, no, I don’t miss it in the least and to add to my answer, I don’t look forward to the drive back there when my job takes me there. Well, let me correct that. I don’t mind the drive when we can combine work with spending some time with Trina. That’s always a plus.”

Alyssa kissed the top of his head and she slowly pulled away from his embrace. “The muffins are ready and after we eat, I’m heading out. Remember the meadow painting I started a few weeks ago? I’d like to work on it a bit more. I’m almost half-way through it and want to look at the site from a different angle with the sun coming through the trees.”

He rose from his chair. “I know you weren’t happy with the painting. You said something about the way the sun hit the wildflowers. Or rather, didn’t hit the flowers.”

“That’s right but before you woke up, I took a walk around the house and noticed how the sun was beginning to stretch across the area I chose for the painting. I had an idea that it should shine in that area perfectly sometime around eight o’clock. I want to give it a try.”

Jonah reached for her hand as they walked towards the kitchen. “Since it’s not quite seven, before I dive into those delicious muffins you keep forcing me to eat (and he laughed as he said that), I’ll carry your equipment to the spot you choose. Then, we’ll come back for breakfast.”

“You’re such a softy,” she said.

Back in the kitchen, they sat at the table he’d placed near the front window of their cottage. Alysse reached for his hand and said, “Jonah, I had the strangest dream last night.”

He looked at the worry in her soft blue-gray eyes.

“Tell me,” was all he said as he prepared to listen intently.

“I dreamed we were in the bedroom and almost ready to turn out the lights when I heard a horrible, crying howl. It sounded like a wolf baying at the moon, but it wasn’t a wolf. I approached the window to close it a bit more afraid that whatever it was, might try to jump into the bedroom. As I placed my hands on the window to ease it down, a large dog raised its head up from the bushes. It looked right at me with eyes that seemed to be a glowing red color, then it raised its head up and let out a very aloud howl. Not once, but three times. Then it slowly sunk back down into the bushes. I watched it slowly walk away. It completely unnerved me and maybe that’s why I awoke this morning around five. That’s why I got busy making the muffins. Baking gave me something to do.”

He rose from his seat and eased himself down next to his wife of forty years. As he placed his arm around her, he pulled her head onto his shoulder and sadness filled his heart. He knew what the howling dog meant. He just didn’t know how to tell his beloved Alysse.

“I have a great idea,” he said trying to bring life back into the conversation. “I’m going to call Trina and see if she’s free for company this weekend. Let’s go visit our daughter.”

She smiled and eagerly said, “Jonah, that’s a wonderful idea!”

Jonah knew he had to prepare their daughter. This might be Alysse’s last visit to the city.

Yes, Jonah knew what the howling dog meant. He also knew what Alysse didn’t say.

That was no dream!

Short Story

About the Creator

Margaret Brennan

I am a 77-year old grandmother who loves to write, fish, and grab my camera to capture the beautiful scenery I see around me.

My husband and I found our paradise in Punta Gorda Florida where the weather always keeps us guessing.

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Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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Comments (1)

  • Murali2 months ago

    Great Work!!

Margaret BrennanWritten by Margaret Brennan

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