Dog’s Instinct

Photo by Ahmed Adly on

imone wrapped her arms around her body as she crossed the hall to the living room. She grabbed her shawl and tossed it over her back. Rubbing her hands together, she gazed out of the glass wall to the misty sunset, the sun slipping behind the mountains. It was a beautiful view, yet she didn’t like to see it from the inside of her home. She didn’t like the house at all.
Simone’s wife, Andrea, had picked the glasshouse sometime after getting married three years ago. She was tired of living in a condo near the city center; she wanted to have “space and serenity.” Andrea had consulted with a realtor and had addressed her consulting firm on her not being on call regularly, yet to Simone’s dismay, it was not true. Andrea was in the office more often than not, and at that moment, she was there now.
Turning back to the dining area, Simone cleared some of the dinnerware she had placed on the table an hour ago for her and Andrea to have dinner together. She had ended up eating leftover pizza in front of the TV; the pasta a la vodka was forgotten. Simone remembered Andrea’s call and the argument that Simone started. She couldn’t help it, even though Andrea sounded quite tired and had mentioned wanting to be home; she was tired of the late nights alone in the cavernous house.
As Simone placed the unused dishes back into the kitchen cabinets, she was bumped from behind. Yelping, she spun around. Olive was sitting on the kitchen floor and had her tongue out.
“Olive, you silly dog! You startled me!” Simone said, and she scratched behind Olive’s ears.
“Come on; we have Bridgerton to binge-watch.”
Olive whimpered and lifted a paw at Simone.
“I know you miss Andrea. Me too. She’ll be home soon. She said that once she finishes with her meeting, she’ll come right away.” Simone said.
Olive began walking towards the foyer.
“Olive! Here how about a biscuit?”
The Staffordshire Terrier pricked her ears at the mention of biscuit and returned to Simone. She tried to snatch it from her hand, but Simone pulled it away.
“Uh uh, you’re coming with me. We’re going to cuddle together and watch TV.”
Olive followed the biscuit in Simone’s hand to the sectional leather sofa. They settled in by flicking the TV on, snuggling with a wool throw, and having Olive’s head on Simone’s lap. Complete darkness settled in on the glasshouse. The shadow of the mountains and forest could be seen by the light of the backyard spotlight and the eerie light glowing out from the pool.
Simone found herself nodding off. She glanced at her watch; it was 10:41. Rubbing her eyes, she peered around to the foyer. She wasn’t sure if she had heard the door; she glanced at the entry and didn’t see Andrea’s purse on the buffet table or her car keys. Leaning her head back, she ignored the TV and closed her eyes.
Simone and Olive were startled awake by a thump from upstairs. The Staffy whined and hopped off the sofa. Simone slowly got to her feet. She glanced out at the glass walls and clasped her hands. Olive sauntered to the spiral staircase and peered up. Simone stood behind Olive and did the same. The sound didn’t return.
Olive began to whine again as Simone took the first step. She hushed at the dog and took another. Wiping the sweat off her hands on her pullover, Simone gripped the railing and scampered up the rest of the way. Olive trailed behind her, and as they reached the second floor, Olive walked past Simone into the middle of the hallway. With five rooms on this floor, it would take a while to figure out where the sound came from.
Simone sighed and opened the first door. It was a library curated by Simone, a condition that she had asked of Andrea when they first applied to purchase the home. She found solace in the library, a sanctuary where she could write her columns on art for the ezine she worked for or her novels. Now the library felt like a tomb, quiet and uncanny. Simone spun the dimmer next to her and scanned the room and its corners. Nothing seemed out of place. Olive sniffed the floor and then strolled out of the library.
Closing the door behind her, Simone paused to listen. Not a sound was heard. The following three rooms, the gym, the office, and the guest room, didn’t appear to have anything out of place. Olive pushed past Simone as she walked into the master bedroom. Usually, she would have been greeted with a sweeping view of the mountains and treetops; yet the view was devoid of light and vista. Olive stopped in front of the walk-in closet and stared. Simone’s heartbeat accelerated; she felt the urge to turn back and run. Shaking her head and arms, she gradually made it to the entrance. Quickly, she flipped the light switch.
A bench stood in the middle of the closet surrounded by shelves of shoes and purses on one side and two long rows of clothing on the other. It smelled like wet earth. Simone stepped in and jumped. With her hand to her chest, she glanced to the right and saw herself in the wall mirror.
“Damn,” Simone mumbled.
Olive sniffed the shelves and pawed at something on the floor. Simone walked over and knelt to see what it was. Crumpled dirt was scattered, causing the beige carpet to stain. She rushed to the master bathroom and grabbed a towelette. After moistening, she returned to dab at the spot. She searched the other parts of the carpet. It seemed as if there were other areas in the bedroom stained but were wiped clean.
“I’m going to have a talk with mommy about this. It looks like she walked across the carpet with dirty shoes and then tried to clean it so that I wouldn’t get upset. I told her having beige carpet was a bad idea.” Simone said as she patted Olive on the head. “Thanks for noticing it, Ollie.”
Simone tossed the towelette into the dirty clothes bin. Getting back to the hallway, she noticed that the door to the gym was slightly ajar. That’s strange, I’m pretty sure that I had closed it behind me. Olive sniffed the small space between the door and threshold. As Simone approached the door, Olive pushed it to get in. It swung open and Simone gasped as something dashed towards her. Staggering back, she took another look and realized that it was a curtain billowing in the wind from the open balcony.
“Andrea! Why do you keep leaving this balcony door open?!” Simone said out loud.
Olive padded onto the balcony and Simone joined her. It was a cool night and Simone tugged the shawl tighter around her. The smell of pine and dampness filled her nose. Back in the hallway, she heard the front door. She picked up her pace and dashed down the staircase; Olive jogged by her side. As she reached the foyer, she realized that Andrea wasn’t there.
Olive whined and sniffed at the door. The dog followed a sniffing trail to the second living area. She stopped short and began to growl. Simone tensed and peered into the room. It was utterly dark; she struggled to locate the wall switch. Olive refused to step any further into the room but continued to growl. Simone flicked the switch expecting something to come out; she squinted.
There was no one there. She studied the room with its garish furniture and tall sculpture. Simone didn’t like hanging out in this room unless there were guests.
“Olive, you need to stop scaring me. This house is already creepy as it is at night.” Simone said, and she pulled on Olive’s collar.
Suddenly, Olive pulled away from Simone’s grasp and barked towards the living area. Simone was surprised by Olive’s behavior. She had never seen her act that way before. Does this crazy dog think that there’s an intruder? It can’t be possible because we have the best security money can buy. And who the hell is going to come out here to rob us?
“That’s it. You’re going outside to cool off.” Simone said as she pushed Olive out the front door.
The Staffy whined as Simone closed the door on her. Simone went back to the first living room and turned off the TV. She stretched and yawned. Glancing outside, she noticed Olive staring at her, the dog’s hackles up. Simone paused, and her flesh bumped. The hairs stood out on the back of her neck as she sensed a presence behind her. Simone spun around as a hand grabbed her throat. She could hear Olive’s muffled barks as the hand squeezed tighter. Blackness danced at the corners of her eyes.
Simone peered at the exposed arm, there was a tattoo on the light skin. It was a skull with a dagger clenched in its jaw. Before Simone succumbed to darkness, she remembered she had seen that tattoo. It belonged to a serial killer that she had seen earlier in the news. The same one that Andrea had warned her about during their argument.


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