Billy chapter 2
Billy missed Tom's kind, soothing voice that made him feel safe. He dreamed of his pillow where he would lay between the table and stove. Tom would talk to him as he cooked, washed dishes or drank his coffee, as his read the paper at the table. Billy's food bowl and water were close to Tom's chair. He missed the warmth and the sounds of the fire in the cook stove and the meals, oh the meals. Toms cooking odors making his mouth water. He would sit at the old farmer's side as he cooked knowing from time to time he would be tossed a goodie from the meal being prepared.
When Tom sat down to eat, Billy would make his way to his food bowl. After the evening chores were taken care of, Billy would get groomed. More conversation, Tom telling him how pretty he would look after he was done. When his friend was done the grooming ceremony, he would get up and shake a bit. Then lay down at Tom's feet. The dog watched Tom's every move he made around the house, following him from room to room. Finally, the kitchen light would go out, which meant bedtime. He followed making his way behind the old man as he slowly made his way up the stairs to the second-floor bedroom. As Tom prepared himself for bed, Billy sat there by Tom's bedside looking up at his friend as the old farmer went over a list of things that needed to be taken care of tomorrow. Tom always summed the bedtime conversation.
“Billy old boy, we're going to have a busy day tomorrow, so we best hit the hay, what do you think?”
The bedside table drawer would open, Billy got his night time goodie and a pat on the head. Tom's large warm hands held his head for a bit scratching Billy behind both ears. Another loving pat on the head, the bedside lamp went out, a sign for Billy to hop on his large pillow that was his bed, circle a few times and settle down for the night. Placing his head between his paws, his eyes would close slowly, as he listened to the old farmer's breathing begin to slow and deepen. Billy missed this routine, his home and Old Tom.
The last time he had seen his master they had finished the morning chores; then went to town. Tom had woken up that morning earlier than normal. The night before, he felt it hard to breathe at times, his chest was sore, it seemed tight then would ease off. The pain had woken him up several times during the night, he should see his Dr. he thought. So he planned to give him a call sometime that morning and set up an appointment for his yearly check up. Tom mentally chalked it up as his age or moving bags of feed into his barn from the day before, more than likely he had just pulled a muscle.
Billy followed him as always down the stairs. After coffee and Billy's morning breakfast. Billy was allowed to herd the sheep for a bit. Separating them into two groups of 6. Then from one pen to another that Tom had built as a training area for the dog, an exercise he had loved since he was four months old. Billy watched the sheep’s movements keenly, he could predict their next move, but waited to hear for Tom's whistles and calls directing the sheep where his master wanted the group placed. Billy's ability of not spooking the sheep by getting too close to them gave him a tremendous edge over other dogs. Yes, Billy and Tom were the perfect team. They held many wins over the last two years that Tom had entered and had plans of taking the coveted master sheep trials for the second year that was coming up this summer. The morning exercise as Tom put it was knocking the edge off of the dog's limitless energy. The morning duties included stopping at the hardware store, the drug store for Tom's prescription. Then on their way to see his son Tommy for lunch.
Billy had been patiently waiting behind the wheel of the half ton for the farmers return. He moved back to his side of the cab as the door swung open. Tom tossed the white bag of pills on the dash of the truck as he closed the door. He looked over at Billy patted the collie on the head and started the truck. Tom was thinking of the rest of his day that lay ahead of him. He did have a lot to do today and needed to stop off at the bank after meeting with his son. They had just pulled onto the highway when Tom felt a numbness moving up his left arm. He flexed his fingers a bit and it lessened. He remembered he needed to call his doctor for that check up. The sharp pain was back but this time it was very different. No jabs from heartburn, no numbness in his arm. This pain was unrelenting pressure on his chest and continued to grow by the second. He felt as if he were being sat on by an elephant. The pain grew more intense. Sweat began to bead then trickle down his brow. Tom grabbed his chest as if trying somehow to pull the weight from it.
The truck swerved crossed into the oncoming lane of traffic. A horn sounded, the truck's mirror clipped a car. Tom saw the terror on the woman's face of the oncoming car as they made contact. Desperately trying to maintain control of the half ton. The ice packed road made it hard to slow the truck down safely to regain control. He turned the wheel hard to the right in his effort get back on his side of the road. Hardly able to breathe now, the old man was gasping for breath. He hit a speed sign the passenger side mirror exploded, the debris left behind on the side of the roadway. He looked over at his dog now on the floor of the truck. Billy jumped back on the seat, unsure of what was going on. The dog was shaken but was otherwise okay.
The pain sharpened. Tom let out another moan grabbed his chest with both hands. Tom knew he was going to black out. He jammed on the brakes of the truck. With its brakes now locked up, the half ton spun around in the center of the highway the truck became a curling stone clipping several cars as it turned a 360. His last thought was of Billy, then darkness.
Cars swerved to avoid the half ton. One left the road. Another skidded safely to the roadside then stopped. The truck slid into a light pole snapping it off at its base slamming the old farmers head against the driver side door window shattering it. The passenger side bag exploded into the collie sending him hard against the seat with its pressure. The steering wheel bag exploded keeping the unconscious farmer from further injury. The truck came to rest against the trunk of an old Elm tree. The dog was shaken. He ducked under the deflating air bag. He had been coated with its powder stinging his eyes. Disoriented he began whining and barking, as people gathered around the truck.
He growled when someone opened the door of the cab. A man talked to the dog softly.
“Easy now fella, I'm just trying to help, that a boy,” the man said.
Billy backed off a little but continued to bark loudly. The stranger felt Tom's neck for a pulse then placed him back in an upright position. Billy went over and sniffed Tom then licked at his face. Billy would not allow anyone near Tom again. He began snapping at hands trying to reach into undo his seat belt. Ten minutes had passed. Soon sirens were getting louder more people were milling around the cab and once again Billy growled snapping at an EMT’s gloved hands as they cut Tom's safety-belt. They slowly removed the unconscious farmer from his vehicle laying him on a backboard. The dog jumped out of the cab of the truck and went to Tom. Billy began once again barking at the attendants, grabbing their coats tugging at them, to pull them away from the old farmer. He managed to pull one of the EMT's that was kneeling by Tom to the ground, tearing his parka. The medic managed to push the dog free then returned to his duties. The old man's face was covered with the air bag residue, blood and bits of glass. The EMT. Finally had enough of Billy's interference.
“Would someone please get this God damn dog off me?” He said.
A tall man, Mathew Billings, waded through the onlookers asking them to please stand back, so the Medic's could do their job. He reached in pulling the dog back by his collar ending his interference.
Billy unable to free himself from the man's grip struggled wildly. The large man just picked Billy up in his arms deciding to place him in his car, tossing him in the back seat. Billy turned quickly on the seat as the car's door slammed in his face. He began to bark wildly scratching at the window. Billings turned and shouted at the dog to stop and lay down. He turned leaving the dog in his car. Billy reluctantly did as he was ordered but continued to whine.
Mathew was a retired police officer with 30 years on the local force and was used to this kind of thing. He surveyed the accident scene quickly. Billings went to the cars that had been struck by the truck asking passengers if they were okay. If they needed treatment of any kind, to please remain at the side of the road until things were sorted out. They would be asked for statements and please be patient.
Two police cars arrived on the scene and a second ambulance. The officers took over the accident scene. One setting flares, redirecting the traffic, the other began his investigation of the scene. He began taking measurements and pictures. Billings took a shop broom from the wrecker that had just arrived. He began to sweep the glass and bits of plastic and metal off to the side of the road enabling the officers to open a lane to traffic allowing the cars once more to pass slowly through.
The crowd began to thin, as the Ambulance team drove off with Tom, as a second wrecker showed up at the scene. After a few words with the local police force, he had asked if anyone had the man's address. Billings handed over Old Tom's wallet that one f the EMTs had removed from Tom's pocket. The officer wrote down Tom's address and phone number. With that Billings returned to his car. He drove Billy over to the SPCA in town. They were closed on Saturdays at noon. He sat for a while thinking of what to do. So he thought he would just take the dog for the day to his place, contact the hospital and check to see if family members would take the collie.
Billy paced in the back seat, then jumped up in the front with the driver. Billy looked out of the windows looking for Tom. Mathew pulled into his yard. Billy began to pacing once again in the front seat whining wanting out of the car, wanting to get away from this stranger. Mathew talked calmly to Billy, who just sat looking at him in a nervous pant waiting for the door to open. He was told to stay and the dog did as he was told until Mathew Billings was out of his car. Billy slowly got out. He stood for a second sat down. He was getting his bearings. Mathew turned to enter his house and told the dog to come. Billy looked up at him then darted out of his driveway crossing a field and was soon gone from sight. There was little Mathew could do now. He regretted not getting a rope to restrain the dog. As he watched Billy cross the field, He had to smile a bit, he was thinking. It was the first time he had lost a detainee.