It was the second time in a week that the loud, booming sound of a horn… or something like a horn, was heard all around the city. And not just this city, but several around the world. People from all over were posting videos of the strange sound from the sky. Several news stations had segments about the odd occurrence, but no answers yet as to what it was. Strange sounds or not, life goes on, and Mary was running late for work.
The subway was the usual hustle and bustle. Mary couldn’t help but giggle to herself overhearing all the theories about the mysterious sound from the sky. The lady in red was sure the Biblical rapture had taken place, and we were all living in some seven-year tribulation. The spikey haired teen had read over the internet that it was aliens communicating with one another, readying themselves for the takeover of earth. However, most people believed it was the Government trying to distract us from…” something”.
Mary arrived at the Animal Shelter about 10 minutes late. “Sorry Steve.” She said with a grimace and she hurried past her boss. This was the second time in a week she’d been late and was trying to avoid the inevitable talk about the importance of being on time, responsibilities, yadda, yadda, yadda. “Hey”, Steve began, “Did you hear it again this morning? That weird sound?” Mary let out a small sigh of relief, she’d much rather talk about that than her attendance issue. “Yeah, you should hear all the crazy things people are saying about it” Mary said as she quickly got to work cleaning out the cages. Steve gave a nervous nod. He genuinely looked scared over it.
Mary continued with her tasks when something caught her eye. A new prisoner, as she called them. A large dog, tan and white in color, with what appeared to be scars all over his body. But that wasn’t the strangest thing, it was the muzzle he was wearing. “Why the muzzle on this poor guy?” Mary yelled out to Steve. Steve walked towards her with a puzzled look on his face. “Well, he came with a note that said not to remove it, he’s a biter, and needs to be put down. I just found him out there less than an hour ago, which is strange because I was here and didn’t see anyone bring him to the drop off.” Mary looked at the dog sitting in the corner, shaking. She loved animals and hearing the words “put down” made her sick to her stomach. She kneeled in front of his cage and he immediately came to her, brushing his body against her hand she’d placed on the cold, thick, metal wires. “He doesn’t seem mean at all” Mary said while gently scratching at the dog’s short fur. Steve sighed. “We aren’t going to take a chance on it Mary” he began. “We can’t save them all ya know? The Vet will be here in about an hour.” Mary flashed him a dirty look and shook her head. “It’s wrong to not even see for ourselves Steve” she said in a demanding voice. Steve started down the hall, “I gotta run to the store before the Vet gets here and grab a few things Mary. Don’t take that muzzle off!” He gave Mary a stern look and walked out the door. Mary scoffed and looked back at the dog. “You’re not mean are you sweetheart?” She said while still scratching his side that was pressed against the wires. She looked him over curious about all the scars on his body. She thought maybe he could have been one of those poor fighting dogs. She concluded that he must have some Pit in him, his face looked just like one.
After a while, she stood up, realizing she had a ton of work to get too. As she started to walk away, she heard a soft whine coming from the dog. She looked back at him and was struck by his eyes. They were a beautiful amber color. He stared at her with fear and sadness as if he knew what was coming. “No Mary, don’t do it” she said to herself. She couldn’t take her eyes off the poor guy. She slowly lifted the clasp on the gate and walked inside his “cell”. He walked over to her and, just like with her hand, pressed his body against her legs. At that moment, Mary decided she was going to prove to Steve this dog was no biter. She sat down on the floor and called the dog to her. He came quickly, tail wagging, and for the first time since she saw him, he didn’t look afraid or sad. She began to take off the muzzle when suddenly, all the dogs started to howl and bark. “What the hell?” she thought, as she looked around to see if someone was there. The dog moved closer to her, nudging her hand. “OK boy” she said, still looking around to see what all the commotion was about. The barking and howling grew louder and more intense, and for a moment, Mary thought maybe it had to do with what she was doing, but that was silly and didn’t make any sense. Mary finally found the clasp holding the muzzle on, and with one click, it fell to the ground. Silence filled the shelter. Not a sound. An eerie feeling overcame Mary and she found herself staring into those amber eyes. He sat motionless, staring back at her. She felt the ground beneath her begin to tremble and could hear things falling off shelves in the distance, but she couldn’t move. She was fixated on the dog. A cloud of dark gray smoke filled the cell, but she could see the dog clearly. He was no longer sitting, but standing a few feet from her, still staring into her eyes. Mary heard voices coming from within the smoke but couldn’t make out what they were saying. Tears began streaming down her cheeks, “What have I done?” she quivered. Then she heard it. That same loud sound she’d heard earlier that morning. It was coming from the dog. Mary grabbed her ears in pain and could feel blood pouring out of them. She tried to stand but couldn’t because the ground was still violently shaking. The pain was more than she could handle. She lay on the floor in the fetal position crying and begging for it to stop. The smoke was now surrounding her. She couldn’t see the dog anymore, just darkness.
Suddenly, everything stopped. The noise was gone, the earth stood still, and the dark smoke dissipated. She looked around the cell for the dog, but he was gone. “What the hell just happened?” she thought. “You’ve done a great deed.” A voice responded. Mary knew she hadn’t said that out loud, and frantically began looking around for the person behind the voice. Outside of the cell stood a tall, thin man. Nothing about him stood out, except for one thing, those amber eyes. “I know you’re confused Mary, but it’ll all be OK”, the man began. “You’ll be rewarded with a quick, and painless death. I can’t say that for billions of others.” Mary could feel herself trembling, her heart racing so fast she was certain she was on the verge of a heart attack. “Why? What?” Mary thought. “Shhh” the man started. “None of that matters to you now. You have such a short time left, spend it wisely my dear.” The man walked into the cell and knelt, smiling down at Mary. She felt his hand rub the top of her head, and with that, he turned, closed the gate, and left.
A short time later she heard Steve calling out her name. “Thank God! Steve, I’m in the last cell help me please!” she said frantically. Mary heard his footsteps growing closer. She finally felt some relief from this whole crazy ordeal. “Mary?” Steve repeated while looking all around the shelter. “I told you I’m in the last cell!” she yelled anxiously. “You better have kept the muzzle on that dog Mary.” Steve said sounding irritated. Mary wasn’t the least bit concerned about that knowing everything she had to tell him. Finally, she saw Steve looking in at her. “What took you so long?” she said, happy to see him. Steve gazed in for a bit, then shrugged his shoulders. “Well…at least she didn’t take the muzzle off. Maybe the sound scared her away.” Steve said, as he turned and walked back down the hall. Mary couldn’t believe it, he just walked away. “Are you blind or something Steve! What’s your problem?” She yelled out to him. Steve looked back, “Stop your whining boy, you won’t feel a thing” he said. Mary sat there angry and confused. Was this a joke he was playing on her? In the distance she could hear Steve greeting the Vet.
“He’s back here.” Steve said as they walked back to the last cell. Mary saw them both peering in at her. “Funny! Very Funny!” Mary began, “But I really think I need to get to a hospital Steve after what just went down here.”
The Vet opened the gate and walked over to Mary. She could feel him put something on her….it was…a leash. “Come on boy, let’s do this” the Vet said leading her out of the cell.
Mary finally realized what was going on. She began pulling at the leash and thrashing about as much as she could. “It’s like he knows or something” the Vet said, pulling hard at the leash. “It’s me Steve!” Mary screamed, but realized her voice was only in her head. Mary fought for her life pulling as hard as she could opposite of the room they were leading her too. Both men had to pick her up and place her on the cold, steel table, and strap her down. “This was it.” Mary thought. There was nothing she could do now to stop this from happening. Her thoughts drifted back to what happened in the cell, to having no answers as to what’s going on, what’s coming for everyone. Fighting was pointless now.
She could feel the first needle prick her, it would be over in seconds. “There’s something odd about this dog doc” Steve began. “When he got here, he had amber colored eyes, and now, well, they’re blue.”