Entry #4: SHADOW by Rita Vetere

After finishing up the late shift at work, I gulped the dregs of my coffee before heading home. At just after midnight, I locked up the deserted building and made my way across the silent emptiness of the parking lot, carried along by a chilly blast of late-October wind.

            I was halfway to my car when I saw it. The wolf-like dog that emerged from the shadows beyond the parking lot was black as coal, its fur spiked and matted. The sight of it moving purposefully through the empty lot raised my hackles. My trepidation only increased when the animal came to a stop next to the driver-side door of my car. It lifted its massive head, training its red-rimmed eyes on me.

I stopped in my tracks, not ten feet from it, eying the animal cautiously. No domestic dog, this. Collarless, it had obviously been roaming wild for some time, probably riddled with fleas, possibly rabid. The menacing look in the dog’s bloodshot eyes caused fear to rise in my throat like battery acid. The animal remained perfectly still, marking me with its strange eyes, daring me to make a move.  

            In the absolute silence of the deserted lot, I could hear its hot, panting breath. I imagined its razor-like incisors at my throat, the rancid smell of its breath in my face. Sweat began to trickle down my back, despite the icy wind that made my eyes water. The showdown continued, neither of us moving. Saliva dripped from the dog’s mouth as it panted with impatience. I tried to slow my racing heart and mounting panic, knowing the animal could sense my dread.

Seconds ticked by, and I knew I had to act before fear immobilized me completely.  Reckoning I was closer to the passenger door and could get there before the dog was able to travel around the car, I took my chance.

            I almost made it. My fingers grasped the door handle, just as the hound came tearing around the back bumper like damnation. It sprang at me, leaping into the air on powerful hind legs, its teeth bared, a low growl deep in its throat. Too slow, I raised my arms to protect my face, closing my eyes against the sight of its slobbering mouth and sharp fangs. I felt its mangy fur brush my face as it swept by me, heard its ferocious growl of attack.

            From behind me, someone screamed in terror. Unharmed, I opened my eyes and spun around. The dog stood over the supine body of a man, his open jaws at the man’s throat. On the pavement nearby, the blade of the attacker’s knife glinted in the moonlight as the animal continued to hold the mugger at bay with its deadly maw.

Five minutes later, I watched as the police summoned by me led the gibbering thug to a flashing cruiser. I looked with fresh eyes at the now-docile dog panting at my feet. Opening the car door, I issued an invitation. The dog scrambled in, licking my hand in passing. He’d emerged from the shadows to protect me, and Shadow is the name I gave him before taking him home.

–  End –


3 Responses to “Entry #4: SHADOW by Rita Vetere”

  1. 2 Aaron Johnson
    October 28, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    An imaginary display of fear, courage and hope.

  2. 3 Angie Nuzzi
    October 31, 2008 at 12:14 am

    LOVE IT!!!!

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