Landon’s Plaintive Howl

Tell us a scary story, Hu-Dad.

Tell us a scary story, Hu-Dad.

The plaintive howl pierced my sleep, bolting me upright in bed. The clock glowed 1:15, the only light in the room.

The howl rose again outside. Landon’s voice. Shrill. Sad. Lonely.

“But that is impossible,” I think. “Landon is inside. Everyone is inside.”

I search the dark bedroom. Frankie sprawled on the blankets beside me. Typhoon stretched across the floor. In the crates at the foot of the bed, Kiska sleeping upside down. Qannik softly snoring. Cheoah curled into a ball.

But Landon’s crate? Shadows. Dark shadows. Only shadows. I don’t see Landon.

The howl screeched again. Angry? Upset? Hurt?

No dog sleeps outside at night at Chez Herd. Too many wild creatures roam our mountain. Too many threats. The dogs are not even outside during the day unless I am home to monitor their safety.

How had I fallen asleep and left Landon outside? Inexcusable.

I leapt from the bed, raced through the house, and opened the sliding glass door to the deck. “Landon,” I shout.

A mournful howl replies. But the deck is empty.

With a flip of a switch, floodlights illuminate the yard. Shadows. Only shadows.

I eradicate the shadows with the 920 lumen flashlight. The light can flush out rabbits hiding in the grass in the darkest corner of the yard, a necessary precaution before releasing Typhoon in the morning. But in this dark, it shows only an empty yard. Nothing moves within the confines of the fence.

A shrill howl comes from the woods just beyond. Loud. Mournful. Unmistakably Landon’s voice.

How did he get out? Is he hurt?

I race to the bedroom, grab a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Before racing outside, I take one last look toward Landon’s crate and spy his baby blue eyes blinking in confusion. “Why are we awake in the middle of the night?” those sleepy eyes ask. He had been curled up tightly, his black coat hiding his body in the shadows of his crate.

The coyote’s howl rose in the night, its voice remarkably like Landon’s, though Landon slept soundly in comfort right where he was supposed to be.

I crawl back into bed, sleep slow to come. In response to every howl outside, I sit and study Landon’s sleeping form, tucked away.

But six dogs safely slumber in our bedroom, the wild world outside, while the human sits awake.

Only I could get into trouble without being in trouble!

Only I could get into trouble without being in trouble!

Hu-Dad posts short stories on his website – and a new story appears today. Visit to read Magic 8 Ball!


  1. Debbie and Ruby on April 21, 2021 at 7:59 am

    It does strike fear into your heart when a Husky is missing. Such a relief when they are found.

  2. Jean B Burkhardt on April 21, 2021 at 7:56 am

    Although this post is about 4 years old it’s STILL scary to read. I also was thinking Landon had somehow gotten outside but poor Hu-Dad trying to go back to sleep after the ordeal! I’m so glad all the Herd was safe and sound.

  3. Mom 'n Ebby on May 24, 2017 at 3:52 am

    Mom ‘n Ebby say: So glad it WASN’T Landon. THAT is scary. Is his howl really as shrill as that of a coyote? Have you ever done a video of the “Herd” in full chorus? Would love to hear that. Meanwhile, happy that all was well, and that Landon was right where he was supposed to be.

  4. Zoe on May 22, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    Ok this was awesome but I was sure he was in the woods … my heart was in my throat I can only imagine how you felt

  5. Jan on May 22, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Love the story, Love to read about Huskies but could never own one of these escape artists

  6. Juno's mom on May 22, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Have had a few of those missing husky moments. The fact that they’re not that good at coming when called makes for heart-pounding searches. I wouldn’t have been able to go right back to sleep either.

  7. DJ, Cierra & Maggie on May 22, 2017 at 9:37 am

    Whew! Now that my cardio workout is done, I guess I can get ready for work. So happy everyone was safe and snug in their beds! ❤????

  8. All Things Collie on May 22, 2017 at 9:36 am

    So glad he is on! I got very worried there for a second!

  9. KJ Pierson on May 22, 2017 at 9:08 am

    lol This was a good story for my morning wakeup! I was thinking you might have had a stray husky wander by wanting to join the herd though!

  10. Pat and Rebel on May 22, 2017 at 7:57 am

    Wow! So glad to learn it was not Landon outside. I would not have been able to get back to sleep either after that scare. Glad all are well and safe.

  11. Lori on May 22, 2017 at 7:32 am

    Whew!!!!!! My heart was racing!!!! Love happy endings ❤️

  12. Laura Yager on May 22, 2017 at 7:09 am

    Phew! I thought for sure Landon had escaped. Having Huskies I know they can be slippery…. never a dull moment​ with fluffy bottoms!

  13. Laura Yager on May 22, 2017 at 7:06 am


  14. The Painter Pack on May 22, 2017 at 7:05 am

    You are such a good writer!!! Love the suspense…the danger…the willingness to sacrifice yourself…your sleep for the pups!!! Next time, tell it from Landon’s POV….LOL….that would be glorious!

  15. vincent porrazzo on May 22, 2017 at 5:12 am

    Good story and quirky ending.

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