Tibby’s Howl of Freedom
“I can’t find Tibby?” a rattled 10 years old girl named Rica said to her mother Britely who was cooking in the kitchen.
Together they frantically ran out of the apartment, down a flight of wet stairs and outside where Rica last saw her dog.
“Which way did she run?” Britely said.
“She saw a black cat, started to bark, and then,” Rica paused to catch her breath, “Tibby jerked and the leash slipped from my hand. I’m sorry momma—I’m sorry!” Rica began to cry.
Normally, Tibby would have been walked on the lawn adjacent to the apartment much earlier in which this single mom lived with her daughter and their eight year old lhasa apso, named Tibby. The break from the torrential storms that lingered over Miami at eight o’ clock at night would have been enough time to walk Tibby, however, this time had shortened. She was lost and a pending shower of storms with higher winds provoked Britely to go back inside their home to search later. A teary-eyed Rica squeezed her mom’s waist as Britely scoped the area, called Tibby’s name once more and consoled her daughter to their apartment.
Tibby, a golden-coated canine was in chase of this black cat, a bombay that busted from the heat of Tibby’s bark and ran to a nearby park called, East Park. She pursued the bombay around the play area for children, over the puddled basketball court and next to a fence with a small, but broken opening. Tibby’s collar was caught on the fence, the bombay stopped and hissed, Tibby growled, wrestled with the fence. The bombay raised its right paw with a crooked claw then hissed and missed as a silky silhouette streamed in front of Tibby’s eyes from a distant street light near the park. Tibby reversed, became untied and continued to run after the bombay. Her leash and collar were at the far end of the park, attached on the fence which was beginning to be concealed by leaves.
Tibby had been to the park before, but never on this side of the fence so she traversed the dense foliage of this foreign land. She walked on damp leaves of black olive trees which draped the bank of a pond with a layer of tropical droplets aglow in the full moon. The beam of light had begun to bounce at times with lines of sporadic lightning for the eye of the storm was closing in fast. Windswept tree rain adhered to her wooly coat as she continued her search for the bombay. At first, the only sound Tibby heard was when her paws pressed on the broken palm fawns and the chime of the rhyme of the trees in the busy breeze, but then she heard voices…
“Listen, I’m going to make this land perfect,” said a turkey vulture on a stump near the fence.
“You’re not going to do anything but scare animals—of all kinds. Then this place will be one land of one species…which is your intention,” said a blue heron on the sandy bank.
“Oh great, another trespasser!” the turkey vulture said.
“Leave the dog alone, everyone is welcomed,” the blue heron responded.
“Who brought you, the bombay? This cat is always restless Why can’t he be content instead of causing trouble?” the turkey vulture said as he shook his head.
“What is your name?” asked the blue heron with his wings opened.
“What kind of name is Tibby?” the turkey vulture said.
“My ancestors are from Tibet so my family named me ‘Tibby.’”
“Great…just what this land needed, one more migrant mutt,” said the turkey vulture as his voice elevated to a flock of turkey vultures atop the black olive trees; rocks of squawks descended from the branches in approval.
“She was chasing me.” This voice bypassed the busy breeze. Everyone looked around then the bombay appeared next to the blue heron. The turkey vulture lowered his head and the blue heron raised his beak. Tibby stood on all fours with beady eyes and a bark to start the chase again. The bombay acknowledged her intent: “Relax sister, chill out. The chase is over. Here we are friends, brothers and sisters in arms.”
“You know, before you arrived,” the turkey vulture said with a stare to the bombay, “we were having a healthy discussion.”
“No sir, you were talking and we, in our attempt to philosophize your futility, were listening,” the blue heron said as his flock, the bombay’s brethren, and a variety of animals from the middle of the trees to the bank erupted in revelry.
An argument matched the fast, moving storm and all the animals took shelter. After the thunderstorm passed, the full moon illuminated the land between the fence and the pond mostly from the many turkey vultures who vacated to other trees.
“It is somewhat of an inspiration, wouldn’t you agree,” the blue heron said to the turkey vulture, “we as a group can withstand the notions and your poisonous potions of exclusion to stand on this land for every being.”
“I’m leaving, for now, because I can brand my land anywhere,” the turkey vulture said as he flew away with a large number of his faction.
Some turkey vultures stayed and were acknowledged by the bombay, “Every being is welcomed.” A show of appreciation filled this parcel of land as Tibby joined with a howl.
It was this familiar howl that led Britely with her daughter to stop at the entrance of East Park and shout, “Tibby.” Tibby turned her head twice and began to bark, but stopped to recognize her new friends: “Thank you for supporting me.”
Tibby met her family at the fence with her tail wagging because she was no longer dragging the idea of a foreign land, for the reason that all the land was free.
Tibby’s Howl of Freedom was a Writers Digest 24 Hour Short Story Contest Entry: 1/24/16