Presence in the Darkness

It’s 3:30 am; I’ve been asleep for less than an hour. Suddenly there’s a presence beside the bed. My eyes aren’t open yet, but yet, I know its there. Am I dreaming? I can feel it. I know I can. In fact, I can really feel it! Almost like a hot breath pulsating against my skin. The room is pitch black. The motion sensing night light in the corner across the room is off. If something were moving in the room, the light would surely be on. But, in the blackness beside the bed, I just know something is there.

It’s a very eery feeling. My wife is fast asleep on the other side of the bed. I can hear Amos stirring on the floor in his bed at the foot of our bed. When I went to bed, Jasper was sound asleep on the floor in his favorite spot next to our bed on my wife’s side.

When we were first married, and we first bought our house, it was very quiet in the house. My wife would wake me up in the middle of the night to tell me that she thought somebody was in the house. I’d have to get up and check all the doors and windows before she could go back to sleep. In 1995, when we got our first golden retriever puppy (Cody), who was always tuned into the sounds of the house and the neighborhood. He would frequently pop up in the middle of the night to growl at something and then go back to sleep. After Cody arrived, I would only have to look over at him when my wife would wake up because of a noise. If Cody was sleeping soundly, there wasn’t anything to worry about.

Jasper and Amos both learned to guard the house before Cody passed away. So, to this day, if there’s a sound in the house that shouldn’t be there, Jasper and/or Amos will sound the alarm. If they’re quiet and sleeping, then there’s really nothing to worry about.

Everybody is clearly asleep, so there’s nothing to worry about. But still, something is there. And I can’t see anything in the pitch black. Quickly, I reached under my pillow and pulled out my $2, fits-in-the-palm-of-your-hand LED flashlight and my cell phone. I don’t have a clue what possessed me to pull my cell phone out, but I did.

And then I stared blankly into the blackness beside the bed. Turning on the flashlight, I quickly discovered that I wasn’t imagining the presence, THERE WAS SOMETHING THERE. Standing ever so patiently; totally motionless; waiting for something.

Jasper standing on the floor beside the bed, watching me sleep.
Jasper standing on the floor beside the bed, watching me sleep.

“Jasper! What are you doing here?” “You were asleep.” “What do you want?” He stands there motionless. “Did you do your business before bed?” Nothing. Could have been a statue. “Do you have to pee?” Tail wags. “Do you want to go out?” Tail wags faster. “Jasper, it’s 3:30 am! I gotta get up in 2 and half hours. Go lie down.” He starts to wander away, and I turned out the light. Moments later…I can feel it, he’s back. I turned the flashlight back on: Jasper puts his front paws on the bed; pushes his nose into my face. Now it’s 3:45 am. Jasper is more insistent now. “Okay.”

I got up, threw on a bathrobe…its cold outside….downstairs, disarm the alarm, open the back door; Jasper trots out into the cold night air, he gets to the end of the sidewalk, stops and looks back at me.

“Well, go on, go do your stuff.” Jasper just looks at me. Just great! Out I go, barefoot and wrapped in a flimsy bathrobe, into the 40-degree (F) night air. I walk to the end of the sidewalk, pet Jasper on the head and point at the yard. “Go on”, I say. Jasper trots over to our prized rose bush, lifts his leg for 3 seconds, puts it back down and returns to the sidewalk. That’s his way of telling me, “Yep, Dad, I know what you want. But I don’t need to go.” Argh!

It’s now almost 4 am. I’m cold. I’m outdoors when I should be sleeping. Jasper wants to go back into the house…and in he goes. The back door opens into the kitchen. When I reach the kitchen, on my way back to bed, Jasper’s pointing the bag of Old Roy meaty dog cookies.

Now I understand. In the wee small hours of the morning, I can be pretty dense. Jasper didn’t want to go out. Jasper remembered that the night before when I went to bed at 4 am, he got a cookie before bed. He didn’t get one tonight. And he wanted it.

“Jasper, you’re spoiled!” I grabbed two cookies, locked up the house, turned off the lights and headed back upstairs to bed. Jasper sat patiently on the floor next to the bed and waited. He always gets his cookie just after I crawl into bed. That’s his signal to settle down for the night, it’s time to sleep. But I cannot give Jasper a cookie without giving one to Amos, else we’ll repeat the “go out” routine with Amos in the next 30 minutes.

Amos hopped up on the bed to eat his. Jasper devoured his on the floor, and then hopped up into bed between my wife and I. He likes to sleep with his head on our pillows where he can look out the window at the head of our bed. His body stretched nearly the length of the king size bed, and he was happy.

Jasper, You’re Spoiled.

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