The shot rang out just after the clock struck twelve. Even though I was half expecting it, I still jumped at its closeness, goose pimples pricking my arms. My husband, exhausted after a long day’s harvesting, turned and groaned. “That should shut them up for a while” he said, before yanking the quilt back onto his side and falling asleep again.
I had my doubts. “La saison des amours” was upon us and dogs from neighbouring farms had convened for the festivities. Flossy, la principale concernée seemed to revel in the attention, but as always, fended off all amorous intentions. This didn’t stop her, or the others from howling all night in the courtyard, just below the farmhouse. My father-in-law, I imagined, had fired his gun from the bedroom window, aiming at the stars in a futile effort to enforce a bit of peace and quiet.
Calm ensued for a few minutes and I started to drift. A small tentative bark broke the silence, then nothing. Then in chorus, the racket started again. The pack, it seemed, had now moved to the pear orchard just in front of our house, where the party would be continuing. Other dogs in the neighbourhood added their vocal participation and all my hopes of sleep began to fade.
Resigned, I looked at the snoring heap beside me, hoping that the barking wouldn’t wake him, then I shoved my head under the pillow and yanked the quilt back onto my side again.