The coyote had appeared again, and the turtle was nervous. The weather was cold and he was spending fewer days outside, but he had spotted the coyote while sunning the other day. The coyote was trouble, that was a sure thing. He mentioned it to the dog, but the dog was old and tired, and merely huffed and rolled over on his side. The man never saw the coyote, who was clever enough not to be seen.
The turtle waited by the window during the day, and again the coyote appeared. “Look, dog!” He called out, “He’s there, on the hill!”
“And we are in here, where it’s warm. What’s the problem?” The dog barely moved his head to look up at the turtle.
“You’re a turtle, just hide in your shell and you’ll be fine.” The dog rolled onto his other side.
“He’s up to something.”
“Then ask him and find out what.”
“I can’t, he’s outside.”
“Well then I guess we’ll have to wait and see.” The dog rolled over onto his stomach and huffed again. The turtle crawled down from the window, onto the couch, and down a stack of rocks to the floor. The man had given him a safe enclosure outside, but it was much too cold at night. The turtle headed for his tank on the other side of the house instead, making his way through the kitchen slowly. The man spotted him from the table and picked him up gently.
“Headed for bed, buddy?” The man carried the turtle over to his tank and set him inside, “There you go.”
The turtle went for a swim, then settled up on the rocks to sleep.
That night, after the man and the dog had gone to bed, the turtle heard a noise. The house was dark, but when he peered over the edge of his tank he thought he saw a shape moving. Something giggled in the darkness and he leaned forward to see better, losing his footing. He tumbled into the water and by the time he climbed out again the shape was gone and it was quiet.
The next morning he tried to explain what he’d seen to the dog, who just ate his breakfast without concern.
“I’m telling you the coyote was in here.”
“That’s impossible, little turtle. He couldn’t open the door.”
“He was in here, I heard him laughing.”
“Just relax turtle, there was no coyote in my home. I would be the first to know.” The dog heard the door opening and went to greet the man. The man was carrying a tree, and he propped it up in the corner.
“Now I just need to dig out the decorations, huh boy?” The man patted the dog on the head and went into one of the other rooms and returned with a big plastic box. He opened it and starting pulling out tangled strings and wires.
“What’s he doing?” The turtle was distracted from his worries by a string of lights that the man plugged in. They light up in different colors and blinked, until he unplugged them again and started untangling everything.
“It’s something he does every year, he brings in a tree and puts pretty things on it for a while.”
“Well the coyote will probably mess it up when he sneaks in again.”
“The coyote is not sneaking in, you’re just going crazy, turtle.”
The turtle couldn’t sleep the next night, and sat on top of his rocks waiting. There was no noise, and he was beginning to wonder if he had imagined it, when a paw appeared over the edge of his tank, bopping him on the head. He tried to snap at the paw but it disappeared. The turtle struggled to peer over the edge of his tank quickly and caught a glimpse of what looked like a fuzzy tail disappearing into the other room.
“Dog! Dog! He’s in the house!” The turtle cried out. He heard the heavy pawsteps of the dog making his way into the kitchen.
“There is no one here turtle, stop shouting and go to bed.” The dog grumbled.
“But the coyote was here! He hit me with his paw!”
“You probably dreamed that, now go back to sleep.” The dog padded away again, ignoring the turtle’s protests.