The Black Dog

This is a short about a relationship with a killer

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1. This isn't love

It’s been years. She still hasn’t seen me. I thought she might have caught a glimpse of me once or twice but she simply ignored me. I’ve slowly been getting closer and closer, taking small pieces of her without her even noticing. She was very beautiful, my Annalisa. Long blonde hair, silky and straight, eyes as blue as the oceans surrounding Greece. They almost sparkle in certain light. Her small frame is so delicate, her skin as pale as a porcelain doll. That was before I met her, before I ruined her life.  Her skin became ghostly, her smile died and her eyes ceased to shine. She began to hide from the world, from her friends and family. They all say I don’t exist, that I’m just a figment of her imagination; little do they know just how wrong they are. I’m like a storm that only stops when there is nothing left to destroy. They have many names for me in the wider community; the most common however, is the Black Dog.  From the moment I arrived in this world I knew what I had to do, what was expected of me? Yet sometimes it’s hard to stick to the rules.

 

Over the years Annalisa has had her moments, she has been hard to catch, running faster than I ever could. I have found that the most effective tactic of catching her is to lie, and wait in silence, in Darkness.

 

Darkness and I are good friends, and she is always around to aid in my task, although there have been times where she has accidentally aided Annalisa without even realising it.

 

My job is a constant hunt, a big game of hide and seek. My work will be complete when there is nothing left. I just need to catch her for long enough to finish the job, as it is not something that can be done immediately. I hide in Darkness, slinking through her long, smooth curves dancing around me like skilled ballerinas, never missing a beat.  Annalisa is sitting slouched over a table, eating some sugary cereal she hates. She doesn’t know that I’m here, not yet. I slink closer, moving around furniture and stepping over piles of clothes and week old rubbish. Her hair is greasy and in a messy bun. I’m sure she hasn’t changed out of those clothes in a few days, a college sweater that used to bring her so much joy, now it means nothing.

 

Every now and again I am able to see through her eyes, to better understand how much my work is affecting her. A couple of weeks ago it was bright and full of colour, she was running the fastest I think I’ve ever seen her run. I lost sight of her. For months I couldn’t find her. Then one day something went wrong. She stopped running and I found her. She was at her front door and there were two large men wearing police uniforms. Her mother had been in an accident and had passed away. Perfect. Everything is grey. She was lying on the floor tears streaming from her perfect pool-like eyes, screams piercing her lips like a- thousand daggers. I didn’t even have to be quiet, her screams masked my footsteps and I got her. A big chunk, right out of her chest. A lump of flesh, blood and bone in my mouth. Her beating heart, so loud I could hear it and see it from where I was standing. I went in for another chunk but as I lurched forward, she stood up. I missed. I failed.  Something, someone helped her and she got away, again, not by running, she was being carried. 

 

I lost her again for a little while, but this time she kept dropping pieces of herself. I’m not sure whether it was on purpose or just clumsiness. It was like following a breadcrumb trail, and eventually it lead me right to her. There is nothing better than seeing the scars all over her body from where I’ve left my mark. Whole pieces of her just completely missing. Even considering, she still runs and continues to fight. I admire her for that; soon she will be nothing but a memory. She’s even stitched up the hole over her heart, not very well, but she’s tried.  I move behind the cabinet in the dining room, still out of her line of sight.  I could see she was hurting, this time however I wasn’t sure what it was about. Not that I care. I have one objective and whatever is going on, it’s helping me out. I moved away from the cabinet. Away from Darkness’s sleek curves and into the harsh light.  She looks straight at me. No, she looks through me. For the first time, I’m left puzzled, unsure of what my next move should be. Normally I see fear. I thrive on her fear, it makes every piece I rip away even sweeter than the last.

 

Suddenly, she stands. Every instinct within me tells me to get her while I can, that now is my chance. I can finally end the game. Yet I stand still, frozen in place. Something is telling me to watch, and wait. She takes us outside. We haven’t been outside in weeks. She stares at her car for a second but decides to walk. I follow her, only a few metres behind. I’m not sure where she’s going but I know she’s not trying to get away.  We walk for what felt like hours, down dark alley’s and eerie parks. Past businesses full of my future victims, we walk. Until we come to a bridge, we stop. I stand behind her, stiff and unsure. What’s she doing? She sits right on the edge, staring out at the water below. I can see her thoughts, floating around our heads, like clouds in the sky. Her legs, dangling gracefully in the still air all a round. It makes sense now. It’s not one particular thing this time; it’s everything. All mixed together into one big mess. The words start to spin, around and around, forming a large storm over her head. Directed right at her.  She starts to cry, and the storm grows bigger, closer. It’s going to take her, its going to push her over the edge. I can’t let it, that’s my job, my one purpose. I can’t let these words steal my one victory.

The words surround her, cloaking her body in streaks of black and white. People walk past her on the street beside the bridge and see a girl in thought, not a girl at war. In this second, it has become my job to save her.

 

I push my way into the storm, every word hitting my skin like a sword, shaving away parts of my fur. Every step I take forward, a word pushes me two steps back. Pain, ringing in my ears. I see her, still sitting, beaten and bruised. Her golden locks swirling around her in a knotty mess. I jump forward locking my teeth around her shirt, slowly dragging her back from the edge, away from the storm. With every pull, the storm becomes smaller. Every inch away from the ledge, it becomes weaker. Until, it’s gone.

 

I unlock my jaw and step back. For a second, she doesn’t move. She lay frozen on the ground. The silence between us, so heavy I can almost feel it weighing me down. Until, she speaks. Not only does she speak, she speaks to me.  Her thread-like frame rises from the ground, like a phoenix from the ashes. She looks me in the eye. “I knew you’d come.” Her voice soft and frail, almost being lost on it’s way to my ears. “I knew you’d protect me, you always have.” I didn’t understand. I was the cause of her pain. Why did she think I was protecting her?  “You’ve always been there, through all the painful times, just watching. Waiting. Protecting me.” She said looking at the ground beneath her. Yet again she had me stumped. She looks at me again, her lips pressed tightly together almost in a straight line. Her arm moves up, her hand reaches out. I move away, and then stop. She reaches her fingers out and presses them lightly on my muzzle. It hits me, like a wave of emotion. I see all of her pain, every time she has stopped running. Every time I have caught her. I don’t see myself however. I can feel my presence but it is masked by her hurt, her pain. It’s warmth, when her whole body is cold and shivering. She doesn’t see me as a threat but as a friend. Even when I tore out her chest, she didn’t see me. She felt the pain, but not where it was truly from. This is it. This is my moment. This will be the sweetest revenge of all. She won’t realise until it’s too late.

 

“Of course I came. Like you say, I’ve always been protecting you.” I speak slow as I move away from her hand. “Come Annalisa, sit with me”, I tread slowly towards the edge of the bridge once more and sit quietly, waiting for her. She follows and perches herself down. She looks at me, I look at her. She is very beautiful, even after everything; nothing can take that away from her. It’s not enough to save her however. “May I tell you something Annalisa?” I look out at the water, the sweet water. “You have always intrigued me, you were such a fighter. So many have simply given in. You have always fought on, I admire that” She turns to me “This is because I knew you were there behind me, making sure I was okay. “  I grin, my teeth bloody.  This is it, one rip at her throat and she’s mine, my only task complete.  I look back at her ready to make my move when she wraps her arms around me. This time, she grins. “Foolish dog. Gullible dog.”

 

We fall. Wrapped together in a painful, jumbled mess. Not only has she outsmarted me; she has taken my victory from me. I admire her. We fall as friends.  

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