"MISSING DOG - REWARD" read the sign.
Looked like the old recluse down the road lost his dog. I didn't even know he had one, at the time. I figured I'd keep an eye out, I had two small terriers of my own and I'd hate for either to go missing.
Of course, that's about the time cats started going missing, too. Since we live kind of out of the way, we figured a coyote or bobcat might be coming into the neighborhood.
Only after a few bodies were finally found did we start to worry. Not just killed and partially eaten, but literally shredded into bloody messes. I feel for the poor kids that found the first one.
I'm pretty sure that's when I started seeing something. Mostly late at night, as I turned out my porch light - something large and dark in the shadows, and a growling. Seemed to me it was some kind of wolf, so I told the cops.
Bought myself a shotgun and loaded it up, too. Set right next to the door.
When one of the schoolkids went missing the panic started. We don't have much crime in our town, and we all know each other, well, except for the old guy up the road, nobody really sees much of him.
They found her bike and backpack, finally, not too far away. Lots of blood but no body. And animal tracks. We were sure we had a renegade wolf, or a pack. The cops patrolled all the time and we all carried guns.
It got old man Santos first. His wife said he went outside with his rifle when he herd growling, she heard shots and screaming. She says she saw something huge, black, like a giant pit bull, all red eyes and dead black fur. She's in a hospital now, poor thing. They said it was from the shock of seeing her husband torn apart.
Well, I know better now. It was the damned dog that did it, sent her insane.
I was up late, all my lights off, one shotgun in my lap and another next to me, sitting near the window. We were all afraid to go out, even the police were scared. That's when I saw something I'll never forget - out of the old recluses house came a tall man in a business suit, carrying a pitchfork and glowing red. He had horns, big one. And I swear I heard him say, "Here, doggy doggy". I ducked down, but I think he saw me.
Nobody believed me. Everyone said I was seeing things, had too much beer or something.
Eventually the State troopers told us it was a wild wolf and the local police could handle it. They were wrong.
It came by my place 3 nights ago, and sat on my lawn. I got my shotgun loaded with slugs and unloaded both barrels into the thing, and all it did was sit there, a hellish smoke coming out of the holes that quickly closed. It smelled of brimstone. The eyes.. my God, the eyes. And the teeth, so many, so sharp.
I swear it's the recluses dog. And I swear that the man is Satan himself.
And I think he knows I tried to kill the dog.
Tonight I'm sitting here, with all my lights on. Both shotguns loade with double-ought, ready to go. Nobody believes me, nobody will help me. I know he's gonna come, for payback for shooting his dog.
I hear growling. And a knock at the door...