The dogs wriggled with excitement at the mention of a walk through the golf course. There was usually a sighting or two of deer, foxes, or other wildlife unlucky enough to have Juneau pick up it's scent. This morning was no different. A herd of deer were grazing along the edge of the woods that surround the golf course. Juneau took off like a shot, but of course he was no match for the graceful leaps and bounds of the deer, and they were well out of sight within seconds. Not one to be despondent about losing the chase, Juneau returned to the task of ferreting out squirrels and other small animals while still on the look-out for the big prize such as a fox or raccoon. Jenny, true to form, labored along beside me, her extra weight slowing her down.
Our morning stroll came to an end a short time later. I gathered the dogs in, wiped paws and put on collars, and told each of them what well behaved dogs they were. Once inside, I sat down at the kitchen table for my morning ritual of coffee and the New York Times crossword before changing from my walking-the-dog gear to my work-out gear. After a quick energy bar for breakfast, I gave the dogs a treat and told them to watch the house while I went to the gym. I turned on the radio for them and walked out the door.
At the gym I had a pretty good work-out. I ran a couple quick miles, pleased at having beat my previous record time. Then Shaun, my trainer, set about to completely annihilate any thoughts of ever raising my arms above my head again by giving me a strenuous upper-body work-out. Although it felt like torture at the time, I was thankful for the opportunity to train with her.
I was still feeling the after effects in my biceps as I pulled back into the drive-way. I raised the garage door and pulled into my usual spot. As I headed around the rear of the car, I was careful not to step in the wet tire tracks, as I didn't want to have to take my shoes off upon entering the house. I looked down to step over the second track and noticed a wet footprint.
'Well that's odd...' I thought to myself. My inner alarm bells were starting to clang. I knew I purposely stepped over the wet tracks. I went for a closer look at the footprint, and hesitantly placed my sneaker-clad foot into the print. I was much longer and much wider than my shoes, and obviously belonging to a man. I suddenly regretted that I had signed up for a photography class at the YMCA instead of the self-defense class.
I tried to quell my rising panic by thinking rationally. It wasn't Bob, I knew that for a fact as I had just gotten off the phone with him while in the car. It definitely wasn't any of the girls; not only were they at school, but their feet were not that big. I tried to recall anyone else that might have access to our garage door codes. Dave the Orkin man, but he only comes April through October, it couldn't be him. Besides, his truck was not in the driveway. Frank, the dry cleaner delivery man, knows the code, but he only comes on Monday and Thursday. Today is Wednesday, so it couldn't be him...
As I went down my mental list of potential workers who could know the door codes, I suddenly had another realization: The dogs weren't barking. Every time I come home I am greeted by my two barking, wagging, yipping dogs. I can usually hear them as soon as I exit the car. Today, however, there was nothing.
The hair on the back of my neck started to rise and my panic was palpable. Who the heck had been here? Where did he come from and why? Where were the dogs? And then the thought that gave me the chills - was he still in the house?
Flashbacks from '80s slasher movies were zipping past my line of sight. Half bodies stuffed in cabinets, blood dripping from the ceiling, body parts laying forgotten in the wake of mayhem. I could almost see Micheal's mask, Freddy's knives, and Leatherface's chainsaw. I quickly thought of my neighbors who would possibly be home in case I started shouting bloody murder... I couldn't think of any...
I got control of my panic and quietly crept into the kitchen, senses tingling and adrenalin pulsing through my veins.
I saw the dogs on the back porch and relief spread over me like a warm blanket. Someone had put them outside, but they were okay. I let them in, but they gave no hint of who had put them out there. They didn't appear any worse for the wear, and there was no indication that the person was still in the house.
I racked my brain for an explanation. Who would put my dogs outside but not harm them? Then it occurred to me that as I was driving into the subdivision someone honked their horn. I didn't recognize the vehicle so I dismissed the thought all together. Suddenly I put the pieces in place.
The slasher that came into my house
So, needless to say, I am not dead. Nor am I in pieces. I will tho, in the future, try to remember that when I am drinking wine and making plans for people to stop by, I NEED TO WRITE MYSELF A NOTE SO THAT I DON'T SCARE MYSELF TO DEATH!!!