Fortunately, Thomas knew he probably wouldn’t hit Hannah again, given she’d gone a different direction, but he couldn’t be so sure he wouldn’t hit something else. The night was covered in clouds, and the road leading down to his neighborhood had no streetlights, so his visibility was severely limited.
As a precaution, he rode slowly, watching any shadows that appeared to move, ready to slam on the brakes.
He was about half a mile away from the residential area he lived in when he heard something approaching in the bushes near the sidewalk. He also thought he heard some sort of growl, but assumed that it was simply the wind rushing past his ears.
Something was definitely following him through the bushes, however, he could hear that very clearly. Whatever it was, it wasn’t even trying to be stealthy. It sounded as if it were, instead, trying to step on all the branches and leaves it could possibly crush, like a drunk walking through a china shop.
Then he heard a bark.
It was just a dog. A sick dog, it sounded like, but a dog none-the-less.
It barked angrily at him. He could see it’s eyes gleaming from the bushes every now and then, caught by the dim light of the moon.
“Good dog,” he said to it.
Then it lunged at him.
It narrowly missed the rear tire of his bicycle.
Thomas pedaled faster as the dog started trotting after him. Then it broke into a run, jaws snapping at his back wheel. It was growling and barking now, a deep, angry sound from deep within it’s barrel chest.
The clouds passed over the moon, and the silver light broke through, shining down on the town of Riverside.
Thomas gagged at the sight of the dog.
It’s flesh seemed to be rotting off the bone in many places. He could just see the ivory colour of bone exposed on the animal’s front legs and around it’s ribcage, as well as pink, raw flesh surrounding these exposures. It’s brown fur was matted with blood and dirt, and missing entirely in some places, showing only bloody, fibrous muscle.
He noticed one of it’s claws torn up to it’s wrist, merely a tendon still attaching it to the dog’s paw. It flopped loosely around as the dog chased him.
Then he noticed the animal’s face. The entire left side of the beasts head was raw meat, pink, red, and rotting away to partially reveal the skull around its eye, which was falling out and lolling uselessly. Even worse was its mouth. The left side of it’s face ended with a torn cheek, leaving no support for the lower jaw on this side. Instead, the jaw hung down at a forty-five degree angle, it’s tongue swinging down toward it’s bloody neck.
He could see that the creature was still somewhat able to move the jaw, but it only swung closed on the right side where the cheek muscle was still intact.
Drool flowed freely from the dog’s broken muzzle, collecting in the fur around it’s shoulders and neck.
Thomas pedaled as fast as he could, trying desperately to escape from the rotting animal. It then struck him that this must have been the thing Kaitlin had been talking about a couple days ago.
If it looked like this before, why hadn’t she called the cops? The animal looked like should have been dead, and for a long time at that. Yet here it was, chasing him like it had as much energy as a puppy.
It was times like this he wished he had a cell phone.
No matter how fast he seemed to pedal, when he looked back the dog was always right behind him, biting at him with those broken jaws.
He was on the outskirts of his neighborhood now, approaching the first houses.
Should he shout for help? He’d be waking people up, but that seemed rather favorable against be eating alive by a rabid dog.
But he did not scream for help.
He glided down the sidewalk, the dog hot on his trail, growling and spitting at him.
There was a car coming up at the next stop sign, headlights gleaming into the night.
“Hey!” Thomas shouted at the driver. His window was down, his arm hanging out limply, while his fingers tapped the metal of the door to the tunes on his radio.
“Hey, help me!”
The guy looked over. He was young, not like Tommy, but probably early twenties. He had a punk sort of look, with wild blonde hair, bright blue eyes, and well defined muscles underneath his short-sleeved shirt. He stared over at Tommy.
“What?” he called as the kid on the bike approached. Then he saw the dog.
“What the fuck?!” He slammed his car into park and opened the door.
“Help me please!!” Thomas almost cried, circling in the four-way intersection.
“W-What do I do?”
“Kill it! Call the cops! SOMETHING!”
“Uh-Uh, okay!” He fumbled in his pockets, scrambling for his cell phone, which he proceeded to drop on the ground in fright, then swipe back up and dial into it.
Thomas was still circling in the street, swerving to avoid the dog’s sudden lunges at his rear tire.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” he shouted angrily at the guy on the phone.
“I’m on hold!!”
“Shit…!” Thomas hissed. As he said this, the dog glanced over at the new man, standing outside his car.
The man didn’t like the look the dog was giving him. It had stopped chasing Tommy, and was glaring at him with white eyes.
“Oh…” He lowered the phone from his ear.
The dog took off, digging it’s rear claws into the asphalt and launching toward him.
“Shit!!” The blonde-haired man jumped back into his car, slamming the door closed just as the dog collided with it, bending the metal inward and leaving a huge splash of blood across the side of the car.
Thomas didn’t know what to do. Surely someone was hearing this? There were so many houses around this intersection, it was nearly impossible that someone wasn’t hearing their cries. Yet it seemed like they were all alone.
The dog rebounded from hitting the car and lunged into the open window.
“Fuck!!” the man shouted again, leaning away to avoid the bloody jaws of the animal. Drool splattered into his face, mixed with blood and puss.
“Uh, hang on!” Thomas shouted. The man was rolling up the window, but not fast enough. The dog’s back legs were tearing at the door, it’s nails scratching out long pieces of paint and screeching against the metal. It’s front right paw was inside the car.
As the window came closer and closer to fully closing, the dog lost it’s grip with it’s front paw.
But it’s neck was caught, the glass of the window snagging a large gash in it’s torn open throat. It was trying to retreat, but was trapped.
It let out a pained yelp as the top of it’s neck was squeezed between the door and the glass, still raising.
There was an explosion of blood as the arteries in the beasts neck popped. Blood poured down the glass, spilling over and leaking down the car door.
There was a crunch as the window snapped the animal’s spine, fully closing against the door.
But the animal did not go limp. Electricity flowed through the nerves in it’s muscles, making it twitch spastically.
Then it’s head tore off.
Inside the car, the animals broken face fell into the mans lap, still twitching.
“AAAAH!!” the man roared, throwing the disgusting thing into the back seat.
Outside the car, the beasts body landed on the asphalt with a thump, it’s legs trembling wildly with no brain to control them, but somehow still animated.
Thomas got off his bike, gagging, but having nothing in his stomach other than bile to vomit.
“What the fuck just happened!?” The man burst out the other side of the car, not willing to open the drivers door to see the dog’s mutilated body. He rushed over to Thomas.
“What was that?!”
“I don’t know…I…” He wiped his mouth. “I was riding home from work…It chased me…”
“That fucking thing should have already been dead!”
They heard a door open to their right.
“What the hell is going on out here?!” shouted a middle-aged man in his pajamas. He held a flashlight, pointing the beam right at the town young boys standing in the street.
“Some of us are trying to sleep, we ain’t gonna tolerate you teens and-”
“Shut up, dude, shine your fuckin’ flashlight over there!” the blonde man yelled, pointed at the ground near his car.
“I’m calling the cops-!” he started, then saw what the guy was pointing at.
“Holy shit…What happened here?!” He started toward them cautiously.
At first he thought the kids had killed some random dog, but then he saw the animal’s wounds; something people could never do. It looked as if the dog had been dead for over a week already.
“Please…Just call the police…” Thomas muttered. He was feeling dizzy and tired, as if he might collapse any second.
“O-Okay.” The older man ran back into his house.
The blond man placed a hand on Thomas’s shoulder. “Are you alright?”
The blonde man wiped his face on his t-shirt. “You have no idea where that thing came from?”
“No. It was just in the bushes.”
“Hmm…It didn’t even look like it had rabies. That fuckin’ thing was…rotting.”