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Secret Lives

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Diefenbaker was waiting patiently, staring into Turtle's tank. He was a hunter par excellence and he knew the advantages of stillness. He cocked his ears, feeling the distant vibrations of Ben and Ray returning from whatever human endeavors that had occupied them for the last few hours. He was happy that his pack had returned home, but Dief was wily and refused to be distracted. He met Turtle's beady red eyes, silently daring him to pull his disappearing act again.

The door slammed shut behind Ben and Ray and Dief's nose twitched as the smell of pastries wafted in with them. His stomach growled hungrily and he licked his muzzle in anticipation. He inhaled slowly, mouth open, tasting the scent of cream-filled donuts, croissants, and cheese danishes, while keeping his eyes firmly fixed on Turtle. He would not fail this time.

“Diefenbaker,” Ben called. Dief couldn't hear, exactly, but there was nothing wrong with his whiskers. He could feel the sound of his name. “Dief.”

He shook his head and flicked his ears forward, trying to ignore the temptation of the pastries. Abruptly, he felt unnaturally drowsy, barely able to keep his eyes open, almost overwhelmed by the need to sleep. The fur of his ruff stood straight up in the danger-sign and he fought to stay awake. He growled at Turtle, not fooled by the innocent reptile smile that he wore. Dief wasn't sure what Turtle was up to, but it couldn't be good. He growled again, barking once for good measure.

He was taken by surprise when Ray grabbed him by the scruff and pulled him away from Turtle's tank. “I've told you repeatedly, furface, no eating of the turtle.” Ray bullied him into the kitchen, away from Turtle and whatever evil turtle-plans he had. A plate with a single cream-filled donut was placed on the floor in front of him, a blatant bribe from Ray to leave the turtle alone.

Dief looked up at Ray, trying to judge how far he could push his pack-mate. “Take it or leave it, mutt.”

He looked back at the turtle tank, whuffing in surprise when he saw that Turtle was no longer in his tank. Of course the turtle would disappear the minute Dief took his eyes off of him. He eyed Ray suspiciously, wondering if he'd been affected by Turtle's otherworldly abilities. Dief was absolutely sure that Ben wouldn't have let Ray bring home those pastries without some anomalous power exerting its influence over him. Pastries were filled with strange things like fat, sugar, empty calories that Ben disliked intensely.

Well, it was too late, now. Turtle had left do whatever malevolent deeds he had planned. There was nothing to do but wait for his return and try to catch him in the act. He gobbled the donut down in two bites, barely pausing to chew and lick his muzzle. Dief laid down on the floor, the spot chosen to give him a good view of Turtle's tank. Next time, he vowed, drifting off into a pastry-induced sleep. Next time.