Dog Walker II – Chapter Three

Dog Walker II – Chapter Three

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Fergie the greyhound barked furiously at a goose. The goose, which wore a yellow raincoat and matching floppy hat, didn’t react since it was made of stone. Ben laughed.

“I don’t think he’s a threat, Ferg.”

The other greyhound, Stoney, drooled as he panted, standing at Ben’s side. They were all the way around the block from the dogs’ apartment. Ben had decided to go left instead of right at the corner, to change up the walk a little, and Fergie was royally spooked by all the new sights and sounds. Stoney was his stoic, unflappable self, though a lot slower than Ben would like. He was getting old. Ben had added ten minutes to his daily schedule to account for Stoney going up and down the stairs. Speaking of…

“C’mon, dogs. We gotta head back.”

Fergie gave up on the goose and stepped forward. Stoney didn’t.

“Let’s go, Stoney.” Ben tugged on the leash.

Stoney squatted to poop, smack in the middle of the sidewalk. He actually hadn’t gone yet, which was unusual for a greyhound and especially abnormal for Stoney. Ben whipped out a bag and slipped it over his hand.

Darkness burst forth from the dog’s bowels, a liquid nightmare, a colossal and nameless blasphemy against nature, endless in its torment and destruction, the likes of which Ben had never seen and would not soon forget. He and Fergie could only stare. When it was over, Stoney trotted past them and tugged the leash towards home. The loathsome puddle slowly expanded.

Ben frowned at the wildly insufficient plastic bag on his hand. He shoved it back in his pocket.

“Maybe it’ll rain.”

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Dog Walker II – Chapter Two

Dog Walker II – Chapter Two

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Det. Jake Bolland had a look of defeat as he took down the landlady’s statement, which involved the words “private property” and “gross negligence” and “sue your ass” at an alarming frequency. The firefighters hosed down the last of the flames. The video store was now a hollowed-out, charred husk. No sign of the spiders remained.

Ben sat on the curb, swiping at his phone, looking for a car to drive him and Toby to class. The nearest one was ten minutes away. Toby was curled up in a ball next to him, napping. Sarah sat down on the other side.

“Is he gonna be ok?” Ben nodded to the cop he’d rescued, drinking coffee under a blanket on the back of an ambulance.

“He’s alive. I think you got him out before the spiders got into his guts, but we should probably have him looked at.” Sarah pulled out an envelope. “I’ve got something for you.”

“No,” Ben shook his head. “Sarah. We talked about this. I can’t take money.”

“It’s not taxpayer money,” Sarah said. “Me and the other cops who can see this shit put it together.”

“This is all my fault. The demons have been running rampant since I yanked Toby out of Hell. I left something open. They’re here because of me.” Ben pet Toby. The dog glanced at him then continued sleeping. “I shouldn’t get paid for that. You guys do most of the work, anyway.”

“Cool, you’re right. But also, shut up. Take it.” She forced the envelope into his hand. “Buy a vehicle. You’ll be more useful. What are you doing Friday night? My cousin sells used cars, I can bring you there, get you a deal.”

“I can’t, I have a, uhh…” Ben found it difficult to make eye contact with her. “…date.”

“What?!” Sarah smacked him. It hurt. He rubbed his arm. “Look at you! Who is she?”

“She’s a dog walker.” Ben smiled. “We work together.”

“That is your type. Are you sure you want to go down that road again? The last dog walker you fell for stabbed you and Toby to death.”

“She was nice to me after that.” Ben said, shrugging.

“Do you like her?” Sarah said. “This new one?”

Ben thought about it for a moment. Toby got up and stretched, yawning.

“I have no idea.” Ben said. Toby walked past him, heading for something on the other side of Sarah.

“You know how I know if I really like a guy?” Sarah pulled out her phone and messed with it. “I text him something funny and then, the moment I zone out, I look at it again to wait for the dot-dot-dot that says he’s typing back. It has to be unconscious. That means I can’t think about anything else. Shit, I’m calling you.”

She hit the End Call button. For an instant, she saw Ben’s phone screen change in his hand.

“Did you make a Batman signal with Toby instead of a bat and set it to show when I call you?”

“No.” Ben said, quickly pocketing his phone. “Yes. Whatever. I’m allowed to enjoy this a little.”

“You dweeb.” Sarah laughed. “You should’ve made it the Onislayer. The dog makes it look like I’m calling Toby and you’re his sidekick.”

A car horn honked right next to them. Toby was in the front seat of a dinky blue hatchback, paw on the steering wheel, standing on the lap of a very confused driver.

“Certainly no truth to that.” Ben said.
 

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Dog Walker II – Chapter One

Dog Walker II – Chapter One

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The landlady took a long drag from her cigarette. She leaned against the windowpane and watched the sun set over the funeral home across the street. There was a chill in the air. She held her matted yellow robe closed. Behind her, Shrek and Donkey each raised one eyebrow and flashed a smug grin.

Every inch of the storefront window was covered in faded movie posters, mostly for kids movies and big-budget sequels from a decade earlier. The small sign on the glass door read:

EAST WEST VIDEO
CLOSED
THANK YOU
FOR 22 YEARS

A brown Cadillac pulled up to the curb. Det. Sarah Martinez stepped out of the driver’s side. She gave the store the once-over, then pulled her badge from the inside pocket of her sportcoat and flashed it at the landlady.

“Ma’am.” she said. “You called about strange noises?”

Det. Jake Bolland, Sarah’s partner, went directly to the store window without acknowledging the woman. He peeked in-between the posters, stroking his neatly-trimmed mustache.

“Repeatedly. I live upstairs.” The landlady glared at Jake. “The other two have been in there for three hours.”

Sarah pulled a walkie-talkie off her belt. “Adam four, code four. Respond.”

“I can’t be doing this all day,” the landlady said. “I work the night shift tonight. I’m supposed to be asleep right now.”

No response on the radio. Sarah shook her head.

“They’re in the store?” Jake turned to the landlady. “Have you checked on ’em?”

“After the sounds I heard this morning?” She tossed the cigarette butt into the gutter. “I’m not going in there.”

She went in the door next to the video store entrance and up the stairs to her apartment. Sarah and Jake exchanged a look.

 

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