When a Dog Howls

Amy and I flipped through Black Cats & Evil Eyes to find headers that inspired us, along with my Story Cubes. This came out of a 5-minute sprint that combined the prompt, “When a dog howls, death is near,” and the image I rolled, “speech.”

Teddy is the worst.

I actually have the statistics to prove it. In the last year, I’ve dog-sat every canine within four blocks of my parents’ house, and I’ve kept a detailed journal for every obsessive, control-freak owner. For my own part, I’ve gotten ten stitches, about $3,000 in mad money, and a lot of data on the neighborhood dogs.

And, as it turns out, Teddy is the worst.

Today I’m keeping an eye on him because his owner Sarge is out of town, seeing his sister. I check the tracking app I created for my dog-sitting business. So far, I’ve suffered through one sneezing fit, three attempts to charge me out the back door, and two howl-fests.

Sarge claims Teddy hates being bossed around by anyone other than Sarge; I’m sure that what Teddy really hates is me.

He starts howling again, which I take to mean he doesn’t like me sitting in Sarge’s armchair. “Shut up, Teddy,” I snap without taking my eyes off the Cardinals game.

“Sarge may not be here, but Death will not simply skip his house,” Teddy shrieks back.

My finger is frozen on the Volume Up button. The announcers start to roar.

I manage to push my jaw closed and wrestle the volume back down. I turn to stare at the Chow-huahua in disbelief.

“Did you just…speak?”

“Death is near,” he intones.