Long, long ago in a land far far away, we built one of the first homes in a new subdivision. It was isolated; with no other homes in sight or nearby, with a pond on one side with its resident alligator and a constant presence as an egret waded along the edge searching for small fish.

The subdivision was on a small island in the middle of the marshes with the river on one side of the island and a small tidal stream and marsh separating the hummock from the mainland. It was a quiet and peaceful place far from any city lights and the house sat way back from the road between the marsh and the pond, hidden from the road by the surrounding pines.

It was the season for afternoon and evening thunder storms and the quiet of the night was interrupted by the almost continuous booming and the flash of lightning, rain pouring down and the pine trees creaking as they swayed in the wind with the occasional crack and crash as an upper limb broke away and fell to the ground.

We had just gone to bed that night when we heard it, someone or something beating rhythmically against the front door either with their fist or some muffled object, a deep and repeated thump, not hard like a club or branch, not hard like the butt of a rifle, but regular and persistent.

Since the house was so isolated I had added a switch in the master bedroom for the outside flood light during construction and so immediately turned them all on, but the sound continued, bump, bump .. bump bump .. bump, bump...bump...

I threw on my robe, picked up the pistol from the nightstand and the flashlight, and went to the front door. Peaking out the windows beside the door I saw nothing, yet the sound continued, bump, bump .. bump bump .. bump, bump...bump...

With the gun in my right hand I opened the front door with my left to find ...

a five ninth scale Newfoundland sitting on my stoop, soaking wet, his tail beating rhythmically against the door frame.

As soon as the door opened he turned about, looked up at me and then walked in and curled up on the rug in the living room and went to sleep.

We awoke the next morning to the sound of his tail beating on the bedroom door. As soon as I opened the bedroom door he turned and walked down the hall to the front door, and I let him out. He stayed around the house all day showing no desire to leave and we figured he was simply a stray. We took some pictures of him and asked at the other houses on the island as well as on the road leading in from the mainland, but no one said that they new who's dog he was.

We took him to our vet, got him a checkup, found he was in good health and so "Buck" joined our family.

About two weeks later he disappeared.

We searched and after a couple days spotted him playing with a little kid. When we asked where he found "Buck" he told us the dogs name was "Jupiter" and was his dog. His parents said they had gone on vacation and left "Buck/Jupiter" with a friend but when they got home the friend said "Buck/Jupiter" had run away.

We told them about "Buck's night time appearance" and they thanked us for watching out for him.

After that, about every month or so, "Buck/Jupiter" would show up at our house. At first we called the owners and they would come get him but within an hour or so he would be back.

Eventually we all decided that he just wanted a change and so for several years he would show up, we'd call them so they would know he was okay and he'd stay with us for a week or so then leave.

Some years later we bought another house and moved.

I always wondered if the new folk in our house too heard that bump in the night and how they reacted to it.