A Taradiddle: The Dog Tales #4 - By Lillow Mi

Howlers Will Howl 

    It was a dark and stormy night and the moon was full. Spike was out back howling with Alley and his friend Rover when Fido first arrived. Fido appeared between lightning flashes and seemed to glow in the light of the moon, whenever it showed through the violently roiling clouds. You could hear banshees and angry ghosts wailing all around, like being inside a tornado. Spike loved this kind of weather and stood tall, his long Sugfissel tail flapping in the wind, howling with raucous gusto. Alley, who usually sat on top of the wall for these howlfests now sat in a protected spot against it, keeping out of the wind, watching, and adding a yowl from time to time. Being a black Cat he was somewhat difficult to see but you could hear him okay. Rover stood baying his soulful renditions beside and a little back from Spike, keeping his eyes closed against the wind but opening them wide whenever a lightning flash occurred. It was amazing! But all that glorious symphonic howling stopped when Fido appeared. Even the wind stopped and a lightning flash fizzled out halfway down. Now the full moon showed her face, thrusting the simpering clouds aside and making Fido really glow. 

   “Hello,” Fido said quietly. He could be heard now that all the racket, er symphonic harmonies have quieted.   

   Spike, who'd been leaning into the wind, had fallen over when it quit and was now standing up brushing himself off. He was scowling but stopped when he saw how much Fido was glowing. “Who're you?” he asked. Then looking around, “And what happened to our storm?” 

   Fido smiled. He was a small unassuming Dog of Scottish descent and his smile was engaging. “I'm Fido from beyond way over there and I couldn't help but notice your storm and its curious sounds.” He looked around. “It's a calm moonlit night everywhere but here, yet you're all howling up a storm. I just had to look. Why was it stormy?” 

   Spike shrugged, “I dunno. Just seems to happen when we howl.” 

   “It's part of our charm,” Alley added from the darkness. 

   “How come you glow?” Rover asked. 

   “It's part of my charm,” Fido answered smiling, “but really, I don't know. Maybe we all glow in moon light?” 

   “Wow, that's cool!” Alley said, sticking his paw out into the moonlight and watching it glow. 

   “Yeah, guesso,” Spike said sadly as the clouds dissipated. “But can ya howl?” 

   Fido smiled, stood tall and throwing his head back let loose a howl of flowing beauty with hints of pleading angst intermixed with joie de vivre and the triumph of victory. A soft breeze swirled around, dancing lightly to his howl while his glow seemed to increase. Everyone watched with wide eyes and gaping jaws. When he was done, he sat down and smiled. 

   “Yeah, guessat's okay,” Spike murmured with a worried look. 

   “Oh my gosh!” Alley purred, “That was fabulous! Best howl I've heard . . .” He stopped at Spike's angry look. “I mean it was swell. Not, of course, what we're used to, but uh, it was okay.” He ended with an encouraging smile. 

    Rover just watched, standing back with a concerned look. 

   “So can I join your howl?” Fido asked. 

   Alley was grinning and nodding yes as Spike answered, “Well, I dunno. We are professionals after all. Can't just take on anyone 'at comes along. I mean . . .” 

   “Sounded pretty good to me,” Rover said from the side. Spike looked over with a surprised look. “Real nice actually,” Rover continued, glancing at Alley who seemed pleasantly pleased and was nodding yes. 

   “Real nice?” Spike said quietly. He was realizing that Fido had sounded good. Real good. “Well, okay then,” he continued gruffly. “I guess you can join us.” Then he stuck his head up, “But always remember, I'm the boss. The head howler, you hear?” 

   “Of course,” Fido said, grinning wide. “You're the leader.” Spike briefly looked embarrassed but when the howl continued it was the most beautiful and least disturbing howl they'd ever done.        

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