Penny, p.15Hal Borland
“It was so real, I had to go look on the porch. She came back and came to the door and barked. You’re sure?”
She brought her coffee and sat down across the table from me. “She was older. The puppy look was all gone. She looked sad. And then she saw us—we let her in—and she was Penny! Dear, bouncy Penny, tickled to death to see us.” She sighed. “Don’t you ever dream about her?”
“No. But I’ve heard her barking several times. Up on the mountain.”
“When was this?”
“Oh, every now and then. The last time was a week or so ago.”
“You didn’t tell me.”
“Well, the first time I heard her she turned into a barred owl. The next time she turned into a great horned owl. Then she turned into a fox. The last time she just turned into the wind, I guess.”
She nodded, understanding.
Nothing more was said about Penny till after supper that evening. Then Barbara said, “I think I’ll call Sybil.”
“Tell her about your dream?”
“No, I just want to ask if she has heard anything. Anything at all.”
She called and they talked ten or fifteen minutes. Then she came to the living room where I was half asleep in the big lounge chair. I roused and asked, “Well?”
“No word. Not a thing. She simply vanished. Sybil said everyone knew Penny, for miles around, and she would have heard if anything had happened to her. Somebody would have told her.”
“Did you tell her about your dream?”
“No. But Sybil said she keeps waking up in the middle of the night, thinking she hears Penny bark. ‘I go to the window,’ she said, ‘and I look and look. But Penny isn’t there. I miss her,’ she said. ‘I just hope she found whatever it was she was looking for, somewhere.’”
“Well,” I said, “I guess that’s that.”
We sat silent, and I thought I heard something, turned to listen. After a moment I said, “The wind. Just the wind.”
But Barbara went to the front door and turned on the porch light. She stood there looking, and after a minute or so I got up and joined her. The big maples across the road were still bare, but their buds were beginning to swell. Beyond them the river glistened in the beam from the floodlight that shone on the driveway and on across the road. You could see down that tunnel of light into the darkness of the night.
Barbara said, “I hope she and Saint Pat have a good time together.”
“Or she and Rusty,” I said. “A dog needs a boy.”
About the Author
Hal Borland (1900–1978) was a nature writer and novelist who produced numerous bestselling books including memoirs and young adult classics, as well as decades of nature writing for the New York Times. Borland considered himself a “natural philosopher,” and he was interested in exploring the way human life was bound to the greater world of plants, animals, and natural processes.
All rights reserved, including without limitation the right to reproduce this ebook or any portion thereof in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of the publisher.
Copyright © 1972 by Hal Borland
Cover design by Mauricio Díaz
This edition published in 2016 by Open Road Integrated Media, Inc.
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Hal Borland, Penny
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