Angel Without Wings by Billie Atamer - HTML preview

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I gazed at the fields of cornflowers, somehow it gave me a strange sense of freedom. On this silent little road in Turkey, I was definitely in another world. I passed an antiquated stone and wood lean-to covered with magnificent blue morning glories. But nothing I had ever seen, could surpass the fields of wild poppies, it took my breath away. They seemed to dance, nodding and tossing their vibrant heads in rhythm with the warm, gentle breeze.

     I became so absorbed in the grandeur that I hadn’t heard Tommy come up the road. But, there he was, right beside me. I touched his head. How had he found me? I had walked quite a distance.

     We stood there for . . . I don’t know how long, soaking up the natural beauty of the countryside. I looked into Tommy’s dark brown eyes and said, “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.” Tommy cocked his head. He didn’t think we were in Kansas either, I thought.

     I looked at my watch. I’d been walking for over an hour.  Tommy either knew a short cut or had followed me closely since I began my walk.

     “Let’s go home boy. Jack will be worried about both of us.” I turned around and started the long journey back, stopping only a short time to pick a small bouquet of the beautiful poppies.

     After I rounded the bend, fifteen or twenty feet ahead, I saw the pack of wild dogs that we’d been warned about, rummaging through an overturned garbage can. I instinctively, dropped my arms from the running position and held them close to my body. Someone had once advised me never look a dog in the eyes, for this is a sign of aggression.

     Tommy moved between me and the pack of eight, or ten dogs. I held my gaze straight ahead, and continued to walk at normal speed. It was too late to go back, or take a different route. Somehow, I knew I had to show no fear, but my heart pounded loudly enough to awaken the entire town. I knew that running would be the worse thing I could do.  I felt the warmth of Tommy’s body as he brushed against my leg.

         One dog in the pack growled and bared his sharp, pointed teeth, alerting the others.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the hair along his back raise up into a straight line.

        The other dogs followed suit and began to growl deep within their throats.  They moved slowly in our direction.  Their matted fur formed a line of spikes that trailed down their backs onto their tails. It took every bit of courage I had to stop myself from breaking away from Tommy and run.

       Tommy left my side for only a few seconds, lashing out at them, growling, barking and 

barring his sharp teeth.  The pack backed away. 

        Tommy came closer, pushing me to the other side of the road.  We both looked straight ahead, and walked at a normal pace.

        The leader of the pack, a grubby, matted-hair mutt, suddenly broke into a run and headed straight for us.  His powerful jaws aimed at Tommy’s legs.  Tommy barked and snarled until the wild dog backed away. 

        I picked up speed, not running, but walking faster.  If only I could get to the stone house up ahead, we would be safe.

       Quickly, I looked back at Tommy.  He had the wild dogs in retreat.  Although they still barked and snarled, they made no attempt to follow.

    When I reached the small stone house, no one was there.  It probably belonged to farmers already at work in the fields.  I sat down on a small wooden bench and raised my hand to my face. I was dripping wet.  I could still hear the dogs bark, and for the first time, I began to tremble.  What would have happened if Tommy hadn’t been there?

      The barking slowly tapered off, then silence.

       I laid my head in my arms and tried to control my breathing.  I felt hot breath on my bare legs.  It was Tommy.

      Tears formed in my eyes as I reached out to touch his head. “You saved my life,” I whispered softly. 

    “Tommy,” I whispered, “You’re not a dog at all, are you? You’re my guardian angel.” The tears I was holding back flooded my face.

       I hugged his neck, being careful not to touch the spot where the stitches still matted with dried blood.

       I never told Jack about the encounter with the wild dogs.  Although I never walked in that direction again, I felt secure where ever I went, if Tommy was by my side.

     Tommy and I walked together for the next two months, on small twisting roads, picked flowers and enjoyed the brilliant sunshine that flooded fields of corn, cotton and tobacco.

      By now, the other dogs along the road followed wherever we roamed. I felt like the Pied Piper of Turkey. 

 

     One day, a small red rooster followed us for a short distance.  What a sight we must have been!  My walks in Florida were never this exciting.  When the entourage grew too crowded, Tommy ran ahead, then disappeared, only to surprise me by coming from behind, his tail wagging.

      We knew every poppy field in Alacati, and because poppies last only one day, I picked a fresh bouquet each morning.

      Tommy watched and waited as I roamed farther and farther into the fields, in search of the largest poppies I could find.

     As the days slipped by, I grew more and more attached to Tommy.  Of course, it was out of the question that I’d to take him back to America. He was not a housedog and would be miserable in our small apartment in Florida.  I never mentioned it to Jack, but he knew how close Tommy and I had become.

      Tommy slept at my feet each night when we sat out in the garden and enjoyed the warm evenings. We drank strong, sweet Turkish tea, and ate the sinfully delicious Baklava that our neighbor made to perfection.

 

      Our days in Turkey slipped by much too quickly. Jack had completed his assignment with glorious under water photos of the city that lay safely hidden from the turbulent world at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. One, of the many photos Jack took revealed the head of a gold colored dolphin, partially hidden by two huge broken stone pillars, guarding it from the eyes of a world it no longer lived in. Since no one in the tiny village knew the name of the ancient underwater city, Jack christened it, ‘Castle of the Golden Dolphin’, and the crew agreed.    

  

       The night before our departure, while packing for the long trip back, I heard a commotion from the porch. Jack was speaking to someone on the front porch.  His voice was loud and anxious.

      “Kate,” Jack shouted from the bottom of the stairs, “Tommy’s been hurt.”

      I dropped the clothes I was packing  and ran down the stairs.

      “What happened?” I asked, trying to catch my breath. 

      “Tommy was attacked by a pack of wild dogs.  For some reason they turned on him and reopened the wound on his neck. He’s lost a lot of blood. The neighbor’s  called the vet; he’ll be here soon.”

      “I want to go to him,” I cried, fighting back tears.

      “No, you stay here.  You’re much too emotionally involved with Tommy.  You can see him after the vet leaves.”

      I knew he was right.

      After we finished our supper, Jack went to see what he could find out.  I washed the dishes and turned the living room lights on.  The front door opened and closed.

     “Jack,” I shouted, “how’s Tommy.”   

     “Well, the vet said he’s got a fifty-fifty chance.”

     “He’s going to make it Jack.  I’ m sure of it.”

      “Sure, honey.”  Jack took me in his arms. “Tommy’s resting now.  The vet said Tommy would sleep through the night.  He’ll be back tomorrow to check on him.”

     “I’m going out to him Jack,” I whispered.

    “Shall I come with you?”

      “No.”

      I walked out into the hot sticky night.  The air was heavy with the fragrance of Jasmine that surrounded the garden.

      The neighbors kept a light on for Tommy.  I knelt down and touched his motionless body.  He was unconscious.  The bitter taste of fear formed in my mouth, as tears streamed down my face. Deep within me came a soft whimper, like a small child.              

     I noticed Tommy’s legs twitch, as if he were running.  I remembered our long morning walks, when we gathered the beautiful poppies.  I could almost see his head gesture, as if to say, ‘this way, there’s lots more poppies over here.’

     “Tommy I’m leaving tomorrow,” I whispered, wiping tears from my eyes, “But I’ll be back.  When you see the poppies in the fields, look for me, I’ll be back . . . I promise . . . I promise.”

     The next morning Tommy was still asleep when we left, but we had already said our good-byes.

     The trip home was long and dreary.  Thoughts of Tommy clouded my mind, and I prayed he would survive.

     When we arrived home, I called to find out how Tommy was.  My heart sank when I learned Tommy had died.  Sobbing softly, I laid my head on the desk, knocking several books to the floor. When the tears began to fade, I looked down at the books scattered on the floor beside me.  I saw a red, dried, poppy, caught between the pages of the book I had brought back from Turkey.  Then I knew . . .  Tommy wasn’t dead . . . because . . . angels don’t die.  And someday, sdeszw3omewhere, I am sure, we will meet again.

   

                                                                The End

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