Ambrose lay outside the door, waiting quietly to be let in. He had no idea how long had he been there but it felt like forever. It was so cold outside. The rain was strumming its first few chords against the chill pavement while the wind blew its vicious beats against the windows of the house. There was something coming for him, he could sense it. It made his shoulders tense and the hair on the back of his neck stand up. A lifetime of instinct told him to flee, to hide, to get as far away as possible before it found him. I should run he thought. Something made him stay.

This is a safe place Ambrose thought, I’ll be safe inside. He looked around him at the familiar surroundings. The deck and the banister of the old Queenslander home, the faded couch he’d spent so many summer afternoons on, passing the time in the sun. It all looked so foreign in the dark. He snorted defiantly and tucked his head against his chest.

A flash of lighting over the horizon made him shiver. It wouldn’t be safe out here much longer. He had to get inside. Ambrose knocked gently against the door. Nothing was stirring on the other side. The house was silent. Whimpering softly Ambrose lowered his head again and closed his eyes. It was useless, he wasn’t coming. Ambrose had spent his whole life with the man inside and now here he was, alone in the dark.

Thunder boomed in the distance and Ambrose let loose another whimper. He had to try again, he couldn’t give up now. He rapped again at the door, his limbs shaking with fear and urgency. Desperately, he scratched at the door, forcing himself against it with all his strength. He was almost screaming now, a hopeless howl torn loose from his throat and lost to the wind. The door stood strong against his attack as the thunder clapped mockingly at his efforts. His body shook and his throat ran hoarse with his guttural shouts.

From the depths of the house a light flickered into life. Ambrose ceased his assault and listened hopefully to the soft patter of feet approaching the door. Despite his fear Ambrose could feel a lightness enter him. This was it, any moment now and he would be safe.

Andrew was dreaming of the ocean when the noise woke him. All that banging and bustle on the porch, it had to be Ambrose. He pulled a loose cotton robe around his shoulders and started towards the front door.

‘Every time,’ Andrew muttered to himself. ‘It’s just a damned storm, Brosie. Nothing to be scared of.’ He pushed open the door and looked down at the silhouette of his dog huddled on the porch. ‘Come on, get inside you big wuss,’ he said.

Ambrose unfolded himself slowly from the ground and looked up sheepishly. He trotted past the man and into the hall, his tail wagging happily.

Andrew shut the door behind them. ‘Go on then,’ he said. ‘You can sleep in my room.’