“Did you hear that?” I questioned Malcolm. We were both reading our pads in the living room, the windows and doors open to allow the gentle cross-breeze through. It was one of those early evenings where the work was done and the day was wrapping up. Malcolm had poured us each a glass of an Australian Malbec to sip as we read. Fat cat was sprawled on her back, paws in the air. Dolce was gnawing on a bone and Amore was wandering the perimeter.
“WTF?” Malcolm heard the loud chirring noise this time. My eyes flew to the ceiling. The large vigas up high will crack and groan as the house settles but this screech was different. This sounded like it was coming from the guest bedroom and it was louder than a mouse.
“What do you think it is?” I asked.
“No idea!” Another loud squeak was heard, along with a heavy thud.
“Do you think it came from down in the guest room?”
“Why don’t you go check?”
“You go check! I’m not going down there!”
SCREEEEEECH! THUMP! THUD!
Crap! This time the screeeeeech reverberated between the living room and guest room.
“It’s coming closer!” I whispered to Malcolm. “Do you think a critter came indoors?” We’ve had a few varmints brought in by Gordita and the girls. A couple of times a bird has flown in via the fireplace chimney. This screeeeeech wasn’t human. It brought the hairs on the back of my neck straight out. My reptilian brain was flashing danger, danger. Another screeeeeech came from under our large picturesque windows in the living room. Followed by a thump and a thud. It was coming closer.
“Where are the girls?” I did a quick head count. Gordita was still on her back, paws up, unperturbed by the noise. Still intent on her bone, Dolce was uncaring of our panic. Where was Amore? Dear god, where was she? With the doors open, Amore had been in and out. Had she been attacked? Coyotes roam fairly close to the house, could she have been lured out from the safety of our portal?
The hairs on my arm were on full alert. I slowly backed up, inching towards the garage. When my back hit the door, I reached for the knob and slowly opened it, sliding my arm through the crack to grab a nearby shovel. Any weapon was better than nothing. Malcolm headed to the portal to find Amore.
SCREEEEEECH! THUMP! THUMP! THUD!
I raised the shovel in attack mode.
“Megs! Come out here!” Malcolm whispered from the portal, his index finger raised up to his lips, silently telling me to keep quiet. I tip-toed out, shovel in hand. Malcolm had stepped off the brick portal and was leaning around the corner of the house. I peered around him, my heart beating out of my chest.
And there was Amore.
Chasing after lizards.
As they climbed up the stuccoed sides of our house.
The screeeeeeching noise was Amore jumping up and raking her paws along the outer walls. Her strong claws scraping the stucco as she reached out to snag a lizard. Imagine a large canine taking vertical leaps against the solid structure of our house. That was Amore. Her whole body stretching upwards as she sprang into the air. Her focus solely on the lizard. Her paws screeeeeeching against the wall as she slid back down to the ground.
The thumps and thuds was her 100 pound body sumo wrestling with the same barrier of wood and stucco. I lowered the shovel, my heart rate slowing, my panic subsiding. The movement attracted Amore’s attention.
Eyes shiny and bright, tail wagging in pure, unadulterated joy, Amore had her catch dangling from her muzzle. Amore had tagged her first lizard.
Thank god it wasn’t a snake.