Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Concentration (07/24/08)
- TITLE: The Other Side Of The Fence
By Dolores Stohler
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“Nope, nothing on that side of the yard,” she finally acknowledged. “Better try a new stance.” She trotted nimbly down the side of the fence to the far corner where the chain links ended and wooden boards took over. Here there was a sizeable hole she’d squeezed through many times on the last leg of her journey back home to her people. From here she could see the rest of the yard, including the deck and garden. But her small heart sank when she saw the beast lying near the door, long tongue drooling, head reclining on massive paws. His eyes were closed but he wasn‘t asleep.
“Hrmph, doesn’t fool me,” she snorted. Her thoughts beat a quick tattoo across her brain. “He’ll be up and at me faster than a hornet if I try to cross the yard just now. Boy am I hungry--missed supper last night due to that crazy pup. Puppy!” Her brain screamed denial. “How come they call that black monster a pup? He’s bigger than the dogs they used to have. Now I got along fine with Jill and Jake. They knew me as the senior member of the family. Respected my seniority, that‘s what. How dare this ignorant pup challenge me now, running me out of my own back yard.”
With great indignation, Isabel lifted her plumy white tail high in the air and trotted with purpose across the neighbor’s yard in the direction of the bird feeder. Here she lay down in the dewy grass and resumed her concentrated stare, this time eyeing the tiny birds busy at the feeding station. She’d caught a bird once before. She might catch one again were she nimble enough. Watch and wait, that’s the ticket.
Time slipped by as she watched and waited an opportunity to catch a bird. But when all the birds had flown and none returned to feed, she acknowledged failure. Rising slowly, she stretched her pretty calico form across the grass, being careful to stretch each leg. Then Isabel meandered over to the patio, seemingly with lazy ease but tense as a wire inside. She sprang with grace and speed to the roof of the patio, then down to a section of wooden fence where she could view the deck and the loathsome dog. But he wasn’t there. Her eyes grew big as she looked around
A series of sharp barks and growls made her ears prick back and her fur stand on end. Isabel doubled up and let out an ominous hiss but the dog kept coming. Heart thumping, she stood her ground even when the dog reached the bottom of the fence and leaped up to catch her. She was ready to scratch, if necessary. Again and again the black dog jumped, but not far enough to catch the cat.
“Well, what d’ya know? He can’t jump this high; he’s too big and clumsy.” She felt a rush of superiority as her terror diminished. Now a new thought struck her. She’d go around to the front door where the dog named Moses (what a name for a pup!) couldn’t reach her and she’d scratch at the door ‘til it opened.
As she crossed the neighbor’s roof, a broad grin spread across the white of her face and her green eyes gleamed with pleasure. “Now, Isabel,” she asked herself, “what does it take to best a dog? There‘s a formula, I think--keep your eye on the problem, maintain your focus and don‘t let fear get the best of you.” Feeling smug, she sat down on the front porch, moistened a paw and began to wash her pretty face.
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