A rather inconspicuous dog, the kind you pass on the street every day. Straggly white fur with large brown spots, a nicked ear, and mange in some places. Usually, you don’t care for these things, and you content yourself with thinking, “Poor thing,” before heading off.
At first you think it’s stopped to take a dump – blasted things, pooping everywhere. You recall the stench of stale dog shit as it hardens on your porch, and get queasy out of reflex. The stench is stuck now, burned into the back of your throat, making you gag.
The second you open your eyes, the dog is closer – still with its tail of matted fur in the air, ass raised towards you, staring you in the face. It’s strange, because the smell of stale poop in your head made you stop dead in your tracks. You can’t quite explain it, how the dog seems closer, until it takes a step back.
And another, and it gracefully continues walking backwards, towards you.
And right past you.
You’ve had dogs your whole life, and never have you seen such a behavior. It sends a chill down your spine as the dog’s grisly fur brushes against your shin, and you freeze.
You debate with yourself as to whether or not looking at the dog’s face is worth the potential nightmares, and feel a cold feeling begin to grow from your belly. It’s the kind of feeling you get when you know you’ve just been caught doing something you shouldn’t have been, one of regret and fear.
It’s not worth it, you decide. You shake the chill from your bones, and turn the corner to your street. It’s dark – darker than most nights, like the moon and the stars had all decided to sleep in.
The darkness mutes the world around you. You see the leaves of the old mango tree rustling in the wind, but hear nothing. You feel gravel and sand crumbling underneath your shoes but hear nothing.
Your house is silent, and even from the outside you can tell that nobody’s home. It’s not unusual for everyone to be out at this hour, so it doesn’t bother you too much. You do as you always do, digging around in your bag for your house keys, and reach over to unlock the front door, only tonight, the key won’t work.
No matter how hard you try, the key refuses to go in, and shimmying the doorknob out of frustration, you’re surprised to find that it’s not even locked. You mentally scold yourself for being an idiot before a wave of panic overcomes you. Why is the door not locked?
You enter the house, and the brightness of the light in the living room blinds you. Has it always been this bright? Has this room always been so white? The walls are blinding you, and the marble floor seems to be more reflective than usual. You feel a headache coming on, and you drop your bags into the armchair sitting by the door before making your way to the kitchen.
The sight in the kitchen makes your heart jump. You see your family sitting around the table, dead silent, emotionless stares on their faces. A wave of panic washes over you, and for a moment you consider that it all might be a prank. You laugh at yourself for falling for it, until you realize that it’s too quiet.
Everything is silent. You open your mouth to call out to your mom, but no words come out. You yell at the top of your lungs, but not a peep is heard.
Finally, you grab your brother’s shoulder and shake it, and his head slowly turns towards you, that same expressionless stare on his face. As his eyes rest on yours, they suddenly widen, and his mouth drops into a gaping scream. You stare right down his throat but you hear nothing, and you look around the table and notice that everyone – your mom, your dad, your younger sister – are all staring at you with that same look: eyes widened to tearing and mouth gaped open in a muted scream.
It takes you a second to react before you finally muster the strength to run up to your room, banging the door behind you. You jump on your bed and bundle up in your sheets, tears rolling down your face, and you wait, afraid to even blink, until you can see the sun rising through your window.
When you walk back downstairs, everyone is gone. You can hear yourself sobbing and you can hear the heavy breathing escaping your lips. Outside, the sun is showering the streets with a warm glow. As you step outside, you hear the scraping of feet and see a dog walking up the street, its tail with matted fur in the air. It notices you and gives you a sideward glance before continuing on its way.
You sit on your porch, a sinking feeling in the bottom of your stomach. Your neighborhood is dead silent, and all you can hear is yourself, thinking, chipping away, crumbling to pieces. You hear your stomach growl and harsh, ragged breathing. You hear the wind howl, ruffling the leaves of the surrounding foliage. You hear yourself sigh with resignation.
As the sun sets, you see the dog, its tail in the air, walking backwards down the street.
Catharsis - Write about a character experiencing a metaphysical realization about their greater sense of self.
Mordant - Describe a setting in which the environment becomes increasingly caustic to its inhabitants.
Specie - Write an interaction between a man and an animal, describe their communication or lack thereof.
Broken - Write a scene in which your character experiences a break-down, mentally or physically.