“There’s a dog,” Sam told me.
I looked around. “Where? Not in here, surely!”
“No, silly,” he said. “At home. A dog. A hot dog—or that’s what she looks like, anyway. Like a big red hot dog. Her name is Sandy.”
“So I should be on the lookout?” I asked.
“Probably, but she’ll only be able to get to you if you get too close when you’re outside the cage,” he said.
“Is she not friendly?”
“She killed a cat.”
“Because she could.”
I wasn’t encouraged by that. I now had to face the fact that I would be unwelcome with the only animal in the house. I didn’t want to live like that, knowing that one wrong move could end with me being eaten. I also didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in a cage.
Sam seemed to know what I was thinking. “It’s a fact of life for all of us,” he said. “We’re potential food for whatever is above us on the food chain.”
“Only humans kill without justification,” he said then. There was a deep sadness in his voice that I didn’t quite understand. I wondered if that was how his life on earth ended. He said he didn’t know, yet he seemed disturbed by this.
I decided not to ask.
“We’re home,” Sam Number One said.
“How can you tell?” I asked, forgetting for a moment that he could come and go in ways that I could not.
He gave me The Look. “I peeked, Bird Brain.”
“Her name is Sandy,” Sam One told me.
She really did look like a big, fat sausage—a sausage with a head, a long pointed nose, and long, floppy ears. And a tail.
“What are you two doing here?” she asked, looking up at us.
“We live here now,” I said defensively. I didn’t like the way she was looking at me—like I was already on a bun.
“He does, I don’t,” Sam One said. “I’m just visiting.”
“Chicken!” I told him.
He flapped his wings and made clucking sounds. He did a lousy chicken.
“If you ever come out of that cage, I’ll have you for lunch,” Sandy warned with a low growl. Then she turned and walked away.
“Nothing like a warm welcome,” I said.
“She’ll get over it,” Sam One told me.