Writing Prompt #141 — What Happened to Ruby?

Prompt: After being missing for days, you’re happy when your farm dog finally returns. But something’s wrong. Ruby won’t eat, won’t play with her favorite toys, and the goats are scared of her. Then you get a call. “I’m sorry, but your dog’s dead. Found her in the woods. Something tore her to shreds.”

“Randy?” Mike says on the other line. “Randy you there?”

“Yeah,” I get out, throat raw, dry. Keep my gaze locked to the wall, fighting the draw of what’s at my feet. “Yeah, I’m here.”

“You hear what I said?”

“I did. Thanks, Mike.” The wall needs a fresh coat. “I’ll be by to pick up Ruby.”

“All right, sorry, again, for what happened. These coyotes are something else.”

“They are, they are. But, hey, Mike, I have to run. Thanks again.”

“Uh huh, no worries. See you later.”

I set the phone in its cradle, and can’t fight the draw anymore.

At my feet stands Ruby—or what I believed to be Ruby. As though hidden by ignorance, it’s now revealed. This isn’t Ruby. Wasn’t ever Ruby. The golden retriever, who I thought was only suffering from a stomach bug, now has dark hair, rising towards the ceiling, as though underwater. Six legs instead of four keeps it grounded; bent, yellowed white talons dig into the hardwood. Black eyes now blacker, emptier, with ivory rings and scarlet trickling up its flayed snout. Thousands if not millions of thin, horizontal teeth spiral down its nose into innards I can’t imagine.

“What did you do to Ruby?” Tears swell, gut knots.

Its snout widens than a body should allow, and pounces.

Read the previous prompt, “Humanity Bites

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