I failed miserably with this one. 334 words. And I’m still not particularly happy with it. Oh well.
I’m waiting for the day the dog doesn’t come anymore.
The first night he arrived at my back door I assumed he was hungry and wanted food, but instinct told me not to let him in. He set off my reptilian brain—the panic button of the amygdala. By morning he was gone.
The next night I decided to leave out a little plate of hamburger meat. I wasn’t certain he’d be back, but I imagined if he were hungry it might be nice to find a small meal. I stood behind the door and waited. The sun sank and splintered behind the trees, and I heard crickets tune their raspy stridulations, setting the pace of the night—an organic metronome. Darkness bloomed in my backyard. I waited.
An hour went by, maybe more. I didn’t see him walk up. The eyes do funny things in the dark. He was standing at the door, staring at me, the untouched plate of meat directly beneath his feet.
This went on for weeks.
I’ve never owned a dog, but I know dogs pant. They don’t stand fixed for hours without shifting their feet, or sitting. He doesn’t sit, never opens his mouth. I haven’t seen him blink. He simply waits at the door, presumably for hours, then leaves at a certain point—daylight? Who knows. I don’t wait to see him go.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m being silly, and should let him in. Maybe if he scratched at the door, or barked. But he only stares. His eyes are black obsidian, two stones rooted and immovable, terrifyingly stubborn. When I first looked into them it was like peering into the forest at night, out beyond the glow of my warm home, where the light ebbs on the shore of darkness and dies.
Something is coming. I wish he would tell me.
I wait for him every night now. He comes and stares at me and I stare back at him until I’m too tired, my eyes spotty with night-blindness, and I have to go to sleep.