Her cold wet nose, shivering in my face is her communication. The male GSP bounds across the dark room the moment I sit up. I can’t see him, but I hear his footfalls like giddy blows to the carpet. I groan.
The Hub and I have a rule. First one to hear the dogs is to take the dogs outside. It’s an unfair rule, really. They are, after all, his proclaimed fur-babies. But the Hub has to get up in two hours to drive the Fed Ex van to Spokane to pick up the overnight packages that are to be delivered out and about Sandpoint. Never mind that I also get up at 4 a.m. to cook him eggs and bacon.
It’s 2 a.m. and I’m sloshing across deep snow to find the perfect spot for the female GSP to pee. Not any spot will do. I’m barely dressed–no socks, bare feet in the Hub’s boots, pj bottoms and a fleece jacket. Not something I’d want to be seen in, but who’s going to see me at this hour in Elmira, Idaho? All I want to do is go back to bed so the fewer layers to disrobe, the quicker I can slumber.
The male yanks his leash hard and I go down like a shot elk. The snow gives way beneath me and I discover how deep it is and what it is like to flounder in shaved ice. Don’t panic. Not yet. You know, the deluded phrases we repeat like prayers to climb a steep hill or exit a tight fix. I’m drowning in snow and somehow, I still have hold of the leashes that are poor lifelines.
First, I stop thrashing. Panic has only buried me deeper in the pile. Second, I try to roll to my side. Once I’m successful, I try to press up, but my hand punches deeper into the snow. What is this bottomless frozen pit? Like a side-winding Arctic crab, I punch, pull and crawl until at last I press down on a harder frozen patch.
Amazingly, the two GSPs so determined to pull me down, are uncooperative in pulling me back up. They dutifully stand by, not sure what their human companion is doing exactly. Maybe they are trying not to laugh. Maybe they are afraid they’ll go down in the snow soup, too.
Upright and missing a boot I return to the porch and enter my house with the relief of having survived something catastrophic. Ice is inside my scant clothes and chunks of snow trail behind me as I stagger upstairs to the bedroom. Dogs lie down on their beds in tight circles and the hub asks, “Did she pee?”
I’m tempted to throw the snowball that has somehow gathered in the crotch of my pjs, but I refrain and say, “I fell.” His response? A slight intake of air followed by the snore of a peacefully sleeping man.
So, 2 a.m. adventures it is for everybody.
January 21, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a 2 a.m. story. Crazy things can happen after the bars close down, even if you never go to the bar! You might, drown in a pile of snow or wake up to find a black bear in your kitchen. Well, those are northern Idaho 2 a.m. stories. What’s yours?
Respond by January 27, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!
The Night Guard by Charli Mills
Slim’s body slackened in the saddle. He jerked awake, hearing a voice in the darkness.
“Don’t fall asleep during the Dead Time, Slim. The Devil might scatter the herd.”
Slim stiffened. Not at the superstitious nonsense, but the fact Father McAdie caught him dozing on night guard.
“It’s a quiet night, Father. Cattle are bedded down easy as lambs beneath twinkling stars.”
“Tis for you to watch the cattle. For me to tend to Kincaid’s flock.”
Slim grimaced at the flash of flint. It was 2 a.m. and Father McAdie was launching into one of his long pipe-puffing sermons.
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