(Earlier this year, I joined a writing group in our Active Adult community and it was a most entertaining experience. For our first assignment, we were given the words ” The door opened and what a surprise..” and asked to write a story around them. This was my entry).
The door opened and what a surprise…
There was no one there… or so it appeared. She looked all around. Still no one. Then she looked down and saw the puppy. It could not have been more than a month old. But how had it got there? The nearest house was half a mile away and there was no way the puppy could have got to her doorstep on its own. Someone must have brought it there . But who? And why?
Her thoughts were interrupted by a whimper. The poor thing was shivering, half-dead from the cold. There was no way she could leave it there. Impulsively, she stooped down, picked it up and brought it inside to the warmth. The first thing was to get it dry and warm. She fetched a towel and gave it a quick rubdown. Now to give it some food. She went to the kitchen and laid the puppy, still wrapped in the towel, on the floor. Then she went to the fridge, got out the milk and poured some into a saucer. Since the milk was cold, she decided to warm it. She was reaching for the microwave door when she heard a low growl behind her.
She whipped around and looked at the puppy… only it wasn’t a puppy any longer. Before her horrified eyes, it grew and grew. Gone was the smooth silky skin; it was now a shaggy bristly coat. Gone was the cute little face; it was now a wolf’s head. Pointed snout, bloodshot eyes, cruel mouth. She shrank back against the counter as the wolf fixed its baleful eyes on her. Then it launched itself at her. Just before its slavering jaws found her throat she s-c-r-e-a-m-e-d…
One last despairing scream… she sound of which shocked her awake. She found herself sitting bolt upright in her bed, heart pounding frantically, a cold sweat on her brow.” It was only a dream! Only a dream!” she kept repeating, as her heartbeat slowly returned to normal. Sleep was an impossibility, so she threw off the bedclothes and padded to the kitchen in her stocking feet to get a drink of water.
As the ice-cold water trickled down her throat, she asked herself why. Why had she had the dream? The answer came to her as she thought about it calmly. It must have been that movie she had watched on Netflix. ” The Werewolves of Lublin.” Yes, that must have been it. Then and there, she resolved never to watch scary TV shows at night. Never again, girl.
She thought about her situation. Living alone in a big house in the country, far from neighbors. It was different when John was alive and the kids still lived at home. Now John was gone and the kids lived far away. One in Atlanta, the other in San Diego. She was lonely now. Just an old woman in a big house. Perhaps she should sell the house and move in with the kids. They had been after her to do just that. It would be nice to be around people again, watch her grandchildren grow up. Yes, it was time.
She rinsed her glass and put it in the sink. Then, she took a last look at the kitchen and went to the bedroom. Before she got into bed, she looked out the window. So pristine the landscape, so beautiful the snow-laden boughs of the trees, the icicles hanging from the eaves. Could she really leave all this behind? This was where she had lived all her married life, almost fifty happy years.Was moving in with the kids the right thing to do? And the grandkids … fine in small doses but could she stand them all the time, day in and day out?
Still thinking these thoughts, wrestling with the choices before her and what she wanted to do, she got into bed and drew the bedclothes around her. She was slowly drifting off to sleep when she heard the noise. The same that had woken her up before. There it was again!
Slowly, unwillingly, she got out of bed, stole to the front door and glanced out through the sidelight. Nothing. The snow covered landscape was bare and beautiful in the moonlight. But she simply had to take a look. She unlatched the door and turned the doorknob.
The door opened and what a surprise…