Leashed

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The tree outside Jenna’s bedroom balcony shivered in the early night’s breeze as she lay on her bed. “Jenna!” her dad barked. “I think Delia got out again, can you go get her?”
Jenna got up to obey. “And grab a flashlight,” he added. “It’s getting dark.”
“Delia!” Jenna cried out. Since adopting the year-old Daschund, it had been a constant game of hide-and-seek. “Delia!” the cul-de-sac echoed as Jenna ventured further into her neighborhood.
It was her fifth guess after trying several un-answered front doors— the house parallel from Jenna’s with the middle-aged man who had just moved in. He answered almost instantaneously.
“Yeah, I think she’s in my backyard,” he answered with a slight grin. “You can look if you want,” the door creaked fully open. Jenna walked past him, his hot breath skimming the back of her neck as she migrated to his back porch. It was dark, the sky nearly indistinguishable from the earth.
Suddenly the ground beneath her vanished. Jenna tumbled into pitch black. Disoriented, she spat out the soil that had softened her fall. Then Jenna remembered the flashlight tucked into her grey sweatshirt. Her lips quivered and she let out a chilling gasp as the flashlight illuminated dismembered yellow-brown human carcasses, dog corpses—Delia. Her bloodied torso contorted into an unnatural arch in a dirt corner. Jenna reached towards the remains before a thud followed by a rigid pain emerged from the back of her skull. Jenna’s world slowly faded to black again.





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