Last night I was exhausted. Yesterday was long and involved a lot of driving. It also involved visiting in-laws and then an overcrowded shopping mall with a chaotic underground parking system. I know I ate something when I arrived home but I can’t remember what. After maybe 30 minutes of watching some movie on YouTube I said goodnight to my wife and took my tablet to bed.
I got into bed and discovered that my eyelids were too heavy to read, so I closed the Nosleep page and put on some Gregorian chant instead. As usual, my Jack Russell terrier, Mr Growley, snuggled up next to my leg and I gently stroked him as I lay back and let my mind drift away to medieval madrigals.
There were quite a few arguments between my wife and myself in the early days about letting the dog sleep in the bed. I’d grown up with that being normal, and she’d grown up believing dogs should be on a chain in the yard. Over the years, though, she’d gotten used to it and, although she wouldn’t admit it, she most likely felt the same amount of love, comfort and security which I did by having an overly affectionate, hyper-vigilant terrier sleep next to her at night. While he was no match for our late bull mastiff in terms of dealing with potential threats, he was an incredible alarm dog and responded to the slightest out-of-place sound, which the mastiff would have generally slept through.
So, you can imagine my concern when the ball of fur and teeth I was stroking started growling. I stopped stroking and tried listening for what he could hear. However, the music was too loud and dogs have a much better sense of hearing than we do. Mr. Growley growled again and I felt his compact hairy body tense up next to mine. Something was really bothering him as he wasn’t making his usual yelpy bark to let me know a car was passing or the like. This appeared to be something much more serious.
“What’s up boy? What can you hear?” The room was completely dark apart from a tiny light coming from the tablet. Mr Growley shifted hard against me and his growl grew deeper and longer. I gently rubbed his back, now spiked with heckles. I was beginning to get creeped out. Maybe he could see something I couldn’t? It’s always freaky when dogs and cats stare over your shoulder and this felt like that.
I adjusted my position in the bed and strained both my eyes and ears to pierce the darkness. What the hell was he sensing?
I almost jumped out of my skin when I felt the dog sit bolt up right. Mr Growley let out a horrible sounding mixture of growl, bark and whine, something I’ve never heard him do before. If he was scared, and Jack Russells are rarely scared of anything, then I knew I should be damn terrified. I made one last effort to calm him (and also myself) down. “Come on boy, it’s okay, it’s only the wind or a car…”
“Who are you talking to?” My wife called from the living room, where she’d remained watching the TV.
I didn’t want to alarm her about the dog’s nervous behaviour so I decided to play down my concerns a touch. “I’m just talking to Mr Growley. He must have heard a car passing and was trying to protect us….” I stroked my faithful companion and hoped that was all he was getting psyched up about.
“But Mr Growley’s with me on the sofa in the living room. Who are you talking to?”
I suddenly felt quite sick, there in bed in the dark and my hand resting on… something… growling ever more nastily beside me, it’s heckled fur brushing against my naked thigh…