Johnny Wolfe carries his dog Sindra in a vial that he keeps in his pocket. He carries her out of loyalty. He carries her out of guilt. He carries her because there are no more dogs in this world. And he carries her to connect to her feral nature, so that he might take her inside himself and feel her animal wildness.
Johnny’s life is in shambles. His sales career at Bulldog Enterprises is on the blink. On his way to work one day he comes across a colleague who is killed by a dog. But with dogs now extinct, how is this possible? Going through his colleague’s dead body, Johnny discovers the colleague is carrying a rather sizeable sales order. Figuring “he’s dead, I’m not”, Johnny decides to place the order as his own.
Except he can’t figure out what product the colleague is selling. As he gets closer to understanding the product, Johnny starts to realize it has more and more to do with why the dogs might be returning, and why they’re so angry.
Then he starts to wonder if maybe the dogs know more about him and Sindra, and if maybe they’re angry with him.
Johnny stepped into the hall and looked down it. "Who’s there?" he whispered.
His words echoed in the silence, and no one replied.
Johnny turned back to the failed printout. The roll of paper it had spit out flopped from the tray like a dried tongue lapping for water. He walked the hall and tipped his head inside Jackson’s door.
"Who’s there?" he asked.
Again, no answer.
Johnny stepped into the office and rounded the desk. He stared at the monitor. It winked Print Job canceled. Resume?
Johnny pulled the mouse across the computer screen. His heart wheezed empty. He minimized the print request, and saw now, the JPEG was no longer on the screen.
Johnny sat and leaned back into Jackson’s chair. His back ached. He brought the print request back into display and clicked Yes. The icon disappeared, and then popped up again, mockingly. Print Job canceled. Resume?
An itch crept down Johnny’s forehead. It burned like a thousand heated needles being pushed into his face. The computer screen stared, quiet and empty, and in its silence he heard panting. He opened up the Evergreen folder on the desktop once more, but the spreadsheet–it too had been erased. And now he felt certain―he heard panting, and the panting came from the corner of the room.
Johnny tipped the desk lamp. The light outlined two extended ears, the gleam of salivating teeth, sitting obediently alongside the conference table.
Author: Jim Ringel
Genre: Literary Horror
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Release Date: 13th May 2014
Jim Ringel lives in Boulder. When not writing fiction, he can be found hiking, biking, and skiing in the Colorado mountains, or sitting still and meditating at home. He also does a lot of reading, and is a long-standing member of Denver’s Lighthouse Literary Workshop.
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