She sat down with a cold beer, grateful to be off her feet after a long day. It was hard work being a Walmart greeter. It had been nice to chat with Colleen, even if she was an uppity bitch. You always had to be on your game and be polite as a Walmart greeter, even to the people that tried to shoplifters and people that didn’t know how to dress. I mean, the other day a woman walked in with her sweat pants pulled up to her boobs instead of wearing a top and she wasn’t wearing a bra. Horrifying! But she was used to dealing with bitchy people on a daily basis.
Her three little dogs, little tiny tea cup poodles were nowhere to be found though and she was slightly worried. They always greeted her at the door with excited little barks of joy, wagging their little tales, smiling with their happy pink tongues. She had called out to them when she came home, hoping to hear their little paws on the hardwood. They hadn’t come.
She called out to them again: “Mr. Jingles, Baserville, Cujo, where are you? Mommy’s home.” Moira got up, taking her beer with here and went in search of her dogs. She didn’t have far to look. She found all three dogs staring out her bedroom window that looked of the front of the building.
Moira walked to the window and looked at her dogs. She had never seen them so still. They all sat looking out at something in the street. “Darlings, what is it? What’s the matter?”
Her husband, had he been alive today, would have said there was something funny going on. Edward had been gone for the past ten years. She had gotten the dogs shortly thereafter to fill the void. Edward had always said that dogs and cats were tuned into something that humans weren’t. And right now, she knew that this was what he had been talking about.
“Darlings, what is it?” She said again. She walked towards the window and the shadow became clearer through the glass. She saw Colleen on the ground, her body bloody and dead, and right next to her was Roswell, that drunk man that lived in the basement.
“Oh my god! I have to call the police, I have to call them!” She wondered why she was talking out loud. She ran to the phone and dialled 911, letting it click through. “Thank you for calling Wall Mart, how can I direct your call?”
“Oh, I’m sorry! I dialled the wrong number!” She hung up and dialled again, letting it ring through, breathless with fright. The phone clicked and someone picked up. “Animal Protection, is this Moira Davenport?”
“What? I’m sorry I was trying to dial out-”
A man’s voice cut her off. “We got a call about three four dogs in your dwelling that were found slaughtered, can you tell us about that, ma’am?”
“What? No there’s a dog out on the lawn, my dogs are fine.”
“Are you sure about that ma’am? Can you check for us, please?”
“Of course I can, they’re right here, but I really should let you go I-”
“It will just take a moment.”
“Yes, all right.” Moira was flustered, her heart was beating a mile a minute. For some reason, call it intuition, for the first time in her life she didn’t want to near her dogs. Something about their stance frightened her-however she loved her dogs more than anything, except for her husband. “Just a moment, please.”
She walked toward them and reached out to touch Mr. Jingles. He was her little favourite, would never harm a soul. All he wanted was a belly rub. “Mr. Jingles? It’s Mommy, sweetheart.”
Moira reached out to pet him and (since he was a gentle soul) was surprised when he bit her. The other two dogs, Cujo and Baskerville, turned and she saw the all three dogs were snarling at her, their teeth in a vicious grin that she had never seen on them. They stood on her hope chest that she had filled with things and trinkets that Edward had given her. They barked at her, and all three watched her with gleams in their eyes that transformed their faces.
Why did she name one of them Cujo? Sure, Mr. Jingles lived at the end of The Green Mile, but that wasn’t no ordinary mouse. And Cujo? What had she been thinking? A vicious St. Bernard that goes crazy and tries to maul a family? She was such a poopy head!
“Nice babies, what’s wrong with you? It’s Mummy my sweetums. What’s the matter?”Her heart was in her chest and she could actually taste her fear. It pulsed through her and she thought she could actually taste her fear-it had coppery taste, as if her mouth had filled with blood. Is that what fear really tasted like? “Nice babies, who wants a cookie?”
The three small poodles leapt at her, growling as one. Mr. Jingles finally got a bite in, but he didn’t just bite her, he hung on as if for dear life. Cujo chose this moment to leap and lunge for her throat. He backed away with a scream and finally shook Mr. Jingles off. He hit the wall and came down snarling.
Edward’s voice spoke inside her head: “It’s time to stop behaving like a Wall Mart Greeter and get your ass moving! Put something between you and those dogs! You gotta move honey bunch!”
“I don’t know what to do!” Moira said out loud. She hadn’t heard Edward so clearly in years.
“Yes you do, now go on! You have to move now!”
Moira clutched her hands and whimpered. She was frightened still. Outside her window, the dog, Roswell, got to it’s feet. Diane watched something that couldn’t possibly be taking place and clutched at her neck.
All three of her dogs turned to the window as Roswell moved closer, moving swiftly now. “Help me Jesus, help me!”
On the table, a voice spoke from the phone receiver. “There’s no Jesus here to save you.” It spoke in what could only be described as a dark hiss, as if his voice were full of shadows. “What will save you now, bitch?”
“Please go away!” She clutched at her neck again harder this time which was good for her as, at that moment, the impossibly alive Roswell crashed through her window. Her dogs, her precious babies, went for her legs and her arms, but Roswell went for her throat. He flew through a shower of glass that looked like diamonds falling.
It latched on with teeth that sunk into the skin of her hands. Instinctively, she released her hands from her throat throwing them away from her, sending Roswell flying. Apparently, he didn’t have all of hit reflexes back.
“Get moving Honey Bunch! Don’t ask questions, don’t wallow, just move, go out in the hallway and make sure you close the door, go find someone, anyone.”
She nodded, even though he wasn’t really there, even though he was only a voice in her head. She turned and ran, slamming her bedroom door behind her. Roswell let out several loud barks and she heard the breaking of wood. Diane let out another scream, and moved faster.
She was at the door and turing around to close the door when she saw all three of her dogs. They were all snarling, their faces filled with rage and teeth. She shut and locked the door just as one of her doge hit the door, followed by Roswell. He cracked the door on the first try and she was reminded of Jack Torrence from The Shining. “Wrong fucking book!” She said. It was the first time she had sworn in ages.
“That’s the spirit!” Edward said. “Now find someone! Get inside! Get safe!”
She stuffed the keys in her pocket and knocked on Giles door next door. He didn’t answer at first, so she kept knocking. Dian’s clothes were wet with blood and she could hear the dogs through the door. “Help! Giles! Open the fuck up! Open the mother fucking door!” She didn’t swear as a Wall Mart greeter, so this was somewhat thrilling to say. It worked. Giles, the super of the building, opened the door.
“Sorry, I was listening to music what-” He got a good look at her. “Moira, what’s wrong? What’s going on?”
“I’ve been asking myself the same question! Now move out of the way and close the door!” She pushed past him and slammed his door closed. “Can anything get through this door?”
He could see her fear and looked frightened himself. “No, that door is metal. Had it put in years ago.”
“Good, we’re going to need it.”
She heard her apartment door break on the other side of Giles’ metal door. The dogs were dispensing with biting at it like they had at her door but instead were throwing themselves against it. After five tries, they were silent. Moira heard Roswell’s claws clip down the hallway, where she had no idea, as long as it was away from her.
Silence filled the apartment. Finally, after a moment, Giles spoke: “What the fuck was that.” It wasn’t a question. It was a statement of amazement.
Moira considered for a moment before she answered. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.