The dogs have taken to needing a middle-of-the-night trip outside. I pull a jacket over my pajamas, slip my feet into my Dad’s Bean boots, and stumble outside to stand at the edge of a very dark woods with two easily distracted hounds. Our outside flood lights barely illuminate areas close to the house; the dogs prefer to do their business in the dimmer places. It’s the season of dry leaves, and fitful winds. We are down to just a few night singing bugs.
I try to block scary images, concentrate on getting dogs to task, when they suddenly freeze, noses up. Rufus’s fur bristles. We three run, me barely holding on to the leashes, into the garage.
I have no idea what they sensed. I always look back at the woods as I lock the door, half expecting shades gliding like Ring Wraiths over the grass. I do not sleep.