My eyes shoot open, and the first thing that I see are the big blue-grey eyes and drooling tongue of my German Weimaraner puppy, whose wagging tail is thumping against my legs.
I let out a slight groan at being pulled out of my ‘dream’ because of a dog, Piper whimpering softly while her long spindly legs get tangled in my duvet.
She had been my seventeenth birthday present five weeks ago, but she was strictly forbidden by my parents to sleep inside in case she decided to go on a chewing spree as puppies tend to do. How she got inside is a mystery to me and I decide to risk the slight chill in the air to put her back outside before my mom wakes up and has a fit.
I get out of bed and pad out of my room, walking down the passageway while I rub my arms, wondering why it’s so cold in the house. I shuffle into the kitchen, Piper on my heels as I head to the backdoor.
A strong blast of cold air makes me look up, only to see that the backdoor is wide open, the one side of the door handle looking like it has been severed clean off. Piper whimpers again, backing up to hide behind me. I frown, my forehead wrinkling as I slowly step forward, trying to peer around the corners of the doorframe.
My parents always make a definite effort to make sure all the doors are locked before going to bed, so this is a major concern for me.
I take a deep breath, and walk through the door into my backyard, barely able to make out the wall cornering off our swimming pool which separates me from the rest of the garden.
I run my hands along it, my ears perked up and ready to alert me of any sounds but it’s not my sense of sound which freaks me out as much as my sight, when as I round the end of the wall I see a large person squatting with his back to me on the fence bordering us and our neighbours.
My gasp causes the person to swivel around, tilting their head to the side before jumping off the wall into the next backyard, disappearing into the night.
I turn around and run for my life for the second time that night, not stopping until I am inside, have locked the door behind me, checked the other doors as well as the windows and then jumped back into my bed with the duvet pulled over my head.
I focus on calming myself down, breathing in through my nose and exhaling out again through my mouth. The silence is interrupted by the sound of paws and nails scampering across the tiles of the passage outside my room before I hear them scratching against the carpet of my bedroom.
I feel a cold, wet nose poke my legs before I sense a long tongue licking at my exposed toes.
Shoot, in my frantic safety-check I had forgotten all about my dog. I sigh, deciding that both of us can benefit from a little company tonight as I lift my duvet up off my head, patting my bed next to me.
Piper jumps up onto my mattress, walking to the end of my bed before laying her body over my feet like a blanket. A big yawn shows off her canines, and then she closes her jaws and puts her head down over her paws.
I yawn myself, placing my head down against my pillow and before long, a slight snoring can be heard from the bottom of my bed. I pull my duvet up to my chin, and stare at my ceiling...I know for certain that only one of us will be getting any sleep tonight.