Gus sat in the living room watching the late edition of Sportscentre on TV. His collie, Reveille, slept soundly at his feet.
A scratching sound echoed faintly through the cold air return vents in the dining room. Reveille woke with a start and growled softly. Her ears were alert.“Quiet,” said Gus. She moved into the kitchen with her head low. Her growls increased into gentle barks. Her focus fixed on one vent in the dining room. “Reveille, settle,” said Gus, following behind her into the dark room. Gus turned on the lights. A mouse froze in place by the vent. Reveille lunged at the tiny creature in a torrent of barks and snarls. “You’re gonna wake the whole house,” said Gus, matching her volume. The mouse darted for a vent across the room, Reveille in frantic pursuit. Gus was desperate. He could already hear the stirring of people upstairs. He turned off the lights. The whole room went black. Reveille crashed into Gus. The force of the dog knocked Gus into the china cabinet. The cabinet toppled over onto Gus, Reveille retreating back into the living room. The last thing Gus heard were the shouts of his wife. Gus regained consciousness in the hospital room. It was quiet. He was alone, but Sportscentre was muted on TV.