This is such a stirring scene. I recall hearing that single woof from our snug house that night, and wondering what it meant. Professor Sidler and I are so grateful for those dogs and their fearless mistress.
Leeli made her way downstairs in the quiet of the house. She knew there were wounded Hollowsfolk in most of the rooms and didn’t want to disturb them. When she reached the bottom floor she heard the murmur of voices and the clink of dishes being cleaned in the kitchen. Oskar stood at the door and smiled when he saw Leeli.
“Leeli! I’m glad you got your rest. It was a day to write about, I say!” He bowed, which made his swoop of white hair flop from his bald head. When he straightened, the white strands stood up like a plume of feathers until he palmed them down again. “Someone is here to see you.”
He opened the door and Leeli stepped out into the cold night. First she saw Thorn O’Sally standing beside Kelvey and their father, Biggin. They smiled proudly at her, then stepped aside so she could see beyond them.
Dogs had congregated in the front yard of Chimney Hill—it seemed that every dog in the Hollows had come. They sat at attention, tails wag- ging furiously, though their faces were grave. Baxter limped forward and barked once. Hundreds of dogs answered with a single woof.
Leeli smiled so wide her lips cracked and she grunted with pain. Baxter cocked his head and whined at her in answer. She stepped down from the entrance and moved through the dogs, patting heads and scratching behind ears. There were so many that they made a pool of warmth in the cold night.
“I don’t know dogspeak half as well as you, but it was pretty clear they wanted to see you real bad,” said Biggin. “They wouldn’t leave us be until we marched straight here from the houndry.”
“They’re waiting for orders,” Thorn said.
“And they’ll only take them from you, Miss Wingfeather,” Kelvey added.
“I don’t know what to say.” Leeli stood in the sea of dogs and looked to Biggin for help.
“Tell them what they’re supposed to do next,” he said.
Leeli felt one of the dogs licking her ankle. She knelt down and found Frankle, the rowdy pup. Leeli clapped her hands and he jumped into her arms. She stood up with Frankle as still as a sleeping babe in her arms and looked around at the Houndry Corps, feeling a pleasure that made her proud and humble all at once.
“We fight back,” she said. Then she whistle-clicked the same words in dogspeak.
Frankle raised his head and howled with all his might—which wasn’t much. The rest of the dogs joined him. Their howls rose into the night and the Hollowsfolk who were awake to hear them were glad.
—From chapter 24, “Visitors at Chimney Hill.”
What scene this week stirred your heart, or made you laugh, or just felt right? Share it below in the comments! Then join us in the forum for bibes and friendship. There’s been a flurry of activity this week. Here are a few good conversations to get you started: Andrew’s sly sneakery; fruit (FRUIT!); ridgerunners and trolls; Turalay; guilds; sadness and lament; recipes; and the hope for a Wingfeather CD. 🙂 See you there!