Something startled me out of deep sleep, and I pushed the button on the alarm clock—3:17. The series of high-pitched yips sounded again and I knew—Carl! Bounding out of bed I took the stairs two at a time. As I neared my office, the distress call broke out a third time. I flipped the light on and saw Carl on his side, his eyes closed and his paws beating the air.
“Carl! Wake up!” I rested my hand on his side.
His kicking slowed, then ceased. Corgi eyelids hesitated, then opened.
“It was only a—it was only one of those things that happens at night. (Carl didn’t like me to use the word, “nightmare.”)
At first his expression stayed blank, then the corners of his mouth lifted to their normal position. “A night—thingy?”
“Yes, a dark thingamabob.” Then it occurred to me. “Carl, were you using the computer to read one of my novels.”
His face turned sheepish. “Well, I couldn’t get to sleep and I thought reading one of your manuscripts would do the job.”
From anyone else, this might have been a slam—but not from Carl. “Which one?”
“‘The Boy Who Couldn’t Dream.’”
Carl’s head dipped. “Giants.”
Of course I had often warned Carl about reading potentially scary books late at night. But there was little point in bringing that up.
Carl said, “Is that book coming out soon? I like it—except for the bigness issue.”
I thought of telling him my soon-news. Instead I only hinted. “Not that one.”
Carl livened, his tail stub wiggling. “Tell me.”
“Soon, Carl, very soon.”