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I forgot to buy Keaton’s food. My brain must have been mistaken, I had never once left out my dog’s food before.
I shot up from my couch, and bounded over to the kitchen, where three paper bags were still sitting quietly unpacked. My hands started rummaging through the first one. Two bags of lettuce, a bunch of bananas, a bottle of orange juice and a bottle of cranberry juice. The next one had a gallon of milk with two packs of ground beef, along with a large container of protein shake powder. And the third one was stuffed to the brim with bottles of Snapple, S’mores Poptarts, and two boxes of Frosted Cheerios.
But no dog food.
I turned to Keaton, who was now holding his ruby head straight up in the air, curiously focused on me as I had disturbed his nap by jumping off the couch so quickly. My king charles spaniel wasn’t even a year old. 10 months to be exact, and I had been taking care of him since he was 6 weeks old. Barely pushing 20 pounds, he was so long and skinny that it almost made you wonder where that weight was coming from.
“Hey, I’m going to have to run back to the store really quick, I forgot your food.” I said apologetically.
I wasn’t sure why I always talked to him like he would respond, but it was a small way to comfort myself during the time I spent in my one bedroom apartment alone. I grabbed my keys and windbreaker off of the kitchen table, and Keaton bounded over to me, jumping up to put his front paws on my legs. It was his own way to say “c’mon stay and play with me”. I gave him a hearty head scratch, his bright blue collar covered in Superman logos jingling as his mouth dropped open to release his excited tongue. After giving Keaton a parting glance I started my walk down the hallway to the elevator. The elevator seemed almost like it was waiting for me as it's doors shot open immediately as I hit the down button. The doors closed and I realized that I had forgotten to lock my door as I left.
It will be fine, no one will even be in the hallways at…
I checked the time on my phone, it read nine o’ six.
Exactly, it’ll be fine. But the store closed at nine, I’ll have to hope the employees are still cleaning and would be willing to let me make a quick purchase.
I lived in an apartment building with generally elderly couples and younger families. If anything I was one of the few people who lived alone. Regardless, he thought of Keaton being alone with an intruder a doorknob turn away wouldn’t leave the back of my mind. I tried to leave that worry behind as I strolled out of the elevator outside to my car. Turning my gaze towards the sky, I saw the moon, in full form.
I have to hurry.
A light drizzle began to fall as I quickly ducked into my car. My hope was that enough clouds would form to cover the moon and buy me some time. It was a fairly new prius, my only quarrel with the steering wheel that naturally pulled to the left. The grocery store was less than a ten minute drive from the apartment building. I cruised through the quaint rows of homes surrounding my building, and the rain began to come down harder in a more moderate fashion than previously.
As I pulled into the parking lot I noticed that there were only two other cars remaining, but that meant that at least there was a chance at being let in. I made sure I had my wallet and phone, then I climbed out of the car to be greeted by a wall of brisk, cold air. I hurriedly shuffled my way up to the front of the store, trying to hide myself from the gaze of the rain with my hands. The sign that illuminated the front of the store hummed and flickered as I approached the sliding door, that surprisingly opened when I came near. I expected that I’d have to knock to gain entry so this was a pleasant surprise. There was a sort of weird electricity in the air, something that I couldn't put my finger on. It was just an eerie shift from when I was outside 10 seconds ago.
Not a single worker was in sight, but I initially assumed that they must have been in the back of the store finishing up their last few tasks for the night. I briskly cruised about halfway down aisle 6 to see that there were only 3 bags of the dog food I normally buy remaining. I decided to only buy one bag for the time being, and as soon as I did I heard the scratching clicks of whatever was on the other side of the metal shelves separating the aisles. My feet brought me to the end of the aisle before my brain stopped me. A door to the back of the store hung open, only halfway however on account of the mangled corpses of the workers. The two workers lay in a heap of blood and torn clothes, a puddle of blood was forming so large that it must’ve stretched to at least 5 feet in diameter. All of a sudden my eyes came to notice the giant paw prints that left the puddle, and went into the aisle next to me. I saw a flash of reddish-brown fur, connected to a giant paw with claws at least the size of my middle finger. Its gurgling breathing turned into a low growl. A heavy paw full of bone white daggers slammed against the shelf. That was my cue to leave.
I took off began my panicked sprint back down the aisle heading for the front of the store, not knowing what I was going to do next, I just knew I had to distance myself from that thing over there as soon and as much as possible. About five strides in I whipped my head around to the left to see how close that creature was to me. Even as surprised as I was to see it directly next to me, the only barrier protecting me from it was the metal shelving, and it was still keeping up for me to the inch. Another five strides and I was out of the aisle, heading for the front door.
I felt the claws in my back before I saw it. The creature pinned me on my stomach, and I could feel blood streaming from my nose. From the weight on my back it seemed even larger and heavier than I could have guessed. I lifted my head to see the cascading wine tinted river I was creating, then I was dragged by the back of my jacket and tossed onto the concrete directly in front of the store. The fall had left me in a sort of haze, rendering me almost completely helpless. only gave me 2 seconds to recognize his blue Superman logo embroidered collar before he tore me to shreds.