The Devil Runs Fast
by Ute Carson
Southern Pacific Review, January 2013

They climbed over the stone wall of our gated community. During the day the thefts were minor, garden tools left in the yard, a bike leaning against a garage and even my denim jacket tossed on a bench. But after dark cars were the target and the ones with alarms sounded off through the night. The police increased patrols but never caught any of the stealthy burglars. We were fed up with missing hubcaps and broken car windows.

Terriers are fiercely loyal and ferocious in pursuit. Our gray Cairn Princess was no exception. She growled at strangers and tore after kids who took a shortcut through our garden. She was also fond of our old truck which had pulled many a horse trailer with her riding shotgun on the lookout seat.

We hatched a plan. One night we bedded her down in the locked truck before going to bed ourselves. As the moon was about to fade with the first light of dawn, her unmistakable yelping had us racing to the blinds. We peeked through the slats without turning on a light. There we saw shadows flitting by. One was clearly human with a bag slung over his shoulder. The other was a small gray ghost, close to the ground and running fast as a little devil. Neighbors flipped on porch lights as the barking chase continued. My husband laughed, "This time they broke into the wrong vehicle."

Our courageous warrior returned a few minutes later, a sandal in her mouth. She vigorously wagged her tail. We don’t know if she had pulled the shoe off the frightened thief or if he just lost it as he fled. But Princess slept the remaining morning hours at the foot of our bed, her trophy between her paws.

- ~ -