She could hear it getting closer. She could almost feel its hot breath on her calves and feel its jaws snapping inches away from her heels. The car was in view, she could see the shiny blue metal of it through the trees despite the fact that it was pitch black outside. Twenty, maybe thirty seconds and she’d be inside her car, safe from the thing mercilessly hunting her down. Her legs were burning and her heart felt like it was going to explode from her chest.... but she couldn’t stop. Stopping meant giving up, it meant death, and she wasn’t ready to die.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 8 hours earlier ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Cora smiled to herself as she drove along the long dirt road to her family’s cottage. To celebrate her high school graduation and her 18th birthday her entire family was getting together at the cottage for the first week of summer. Her family had always been big on spending time together, especially after her mom had left when she was 10.
Her dad, Peter, snored quietly in the passenger seat. He was always tired, more so now that he had picked up a third job to help her pay for her university tuition. She had constantly refused his help, worried all his working would make his heart condition worse, but every time he would simply ignore her protests. She was thankful for all he did for her, but she couldn’t stop the nagging feeling that one day he would push himself too far.
All of a sudden there was a jerk, and Cora’s car began to sputter and smoke. She groaned and guided the aging vehicle to the side of the road.
“Dad. Dad? Dad!”
“Huh? I wasn’t sleeping I was just resting my eyes,” Peter sputtered. He rubbed his eyes and looked over before smiling and asking:
“Are we there yet?”
“No, the car broke down again and I don’t think we’ll be able to get it running again,” Cora replied sadly. Peter hopped out of the car and walked around to the back, retrieving his tools from the back seat before lifting the hood and getting to work.
An hour later, Peter slammed the hood of the car shut with an irritated huff.
“We’re gonna need a mechanic this time. I don’t think I can get this going,” he said.
“It’s okay, maybe we can walk along the road and see if we can find someone,” Cora suggested. Peter agreed and began to walk on the side of the narrow road with his daughter in tow.
They’d been walking for quite some time before they came upon a long winding driveway which led to a small wooden cabin. The house looked extremely old. The windows were covered in a layer of grime and the stairs leading up to the porch were splintered and falling apart.
“Uh... I don’t think anyone lives here dad. The house is in pretty bad shape,” she said worriedly.
“You’re probably right, but it doesn’t hurt to check right? If it turns out there’s nobody here we could stay and try to call someone,” Peter replied.
They cautiously approached the door and knocked. To their surprise the door swung open with a loud creak. Keeping Cora behind him Peter creeped into the ancient single-floored house, checking each room for signs of other people.
“It looks like the house has been abandoned. It doesn’t seem like anyone has lived here for a while,” he said, noticing the fine layer of dust coating everything.
They moved to the kitchen in search of food where Cora found a massive food bowl and held it up.
“Who’s Fido?” Peter glanced over from where he was raiding the cupboards.
“I dunno, they must’ve had a dog or something.”
They continued to go through the kitchen before settling down at the table to eat what they had found. In the middle of their meal, Cora began to hear a deep low sound. The type of sound large animals make, especially when they’re angry. She turned her head towards her dad who was chewing away happily, oblivious to the danger.
“Dad. Do you hear that?” Cora whispered.
“Hear what?,” he replied, mouth full. The growling got louder.
They both shifted in their chairs to come face to face with a huge black dog. Its face was pulled back into a snarl and it had spit dripping from its jowls.
“Cora. You need to run,” Peter said slowly.
“No! You can’t fight that dog off by yourself. It’ll kill you!”
“Please just run. Go into that room over there I’ll be right behind you.”
Cora didn’t want to but she did as he said. She ran towards the room, hearing the nails of the dog clicking on the wood. There was a crash as Peter tried to slow the dog by throwing his plate of food at it. He too ran towards the room, but before he could get there the dog bit down on his calf. Peter yelled in pain as he struggled to get free of the dog’s powerful jaws.
“Dad!” Cora yelled.
She frantically searched for something to hit the dog with. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a cane leaned up against the far wall of the bedroom. She grabbed the cane and ran towards the dog and her father hitting the animal in the nose repeatedly.
After the fifth hit the dog finally let go of Peter with a loud snort. Cora dragged her dad with a loud snort. Cora dragged her dad into the bedroom and slammed the door before the dog could orient itself.
“Oh my god... I guess we know who Fido is now,” Cora breathed, looking at her dad. His left calf was gushing blood. The dog’s sharp teeth had ripped his skin to shreds, exposing Peter’s muscle and bone.
“Cora...my meds....car..” he slurred. His face was white and his eyelids were getting heavy.
“Your meds? Why do you need your heart...” The realization of what he meant hit her like a brick. First he was mauled by a dog and now he was having a heart attack.
“Cora you have to go get them and call for help,” Peter said.
She had to get his meds before his heart attack killed him. Cora grabbed the sheet off the bed in the room and tied it around the injured leg. Her eyes welled with tears as her dad bit down on his fist, attempting to stifle his screams of pain. Once she finished with her makeshift bandage Cora turned around to face the old dirty window leading to the front porch. Wrapping the remaining fabric from the sheet around her fist she punched the window as hard as she could, shattering the glass. Halfway out the window Cora looked at her father with a determined face before saying:
“I promise I’ll get you your meds. And find someone to help us.”
Peter smiled back tiredly before Cora swung her other leg over the sill and took off at a jog. About halfway down the driveway Cora stopped to look around, trying to find a shortcut to her car through the trees. All of a sudden out of the corner of her eye she saw..... it. Fido was sprinting at her, bloodthirsty and furious after being beaten by the cane. Cora screamed in fear and stumbled, almost completely losing her balance. She turned tail and ran into the wood as fast as she could. She could hear it getting closer. She could almost feel its hot breath on her calves and feel its jaws snapping inches away from her heels. The car was in view, she could see the shiny blue metal of it through the trees despite the fact that it was pitch black outside.
Twenty, maybe thirty seconds and she’d be insider her car. Seconds felt like hours but before long she was in front of the driver’s side door. She wrenched the door open and threw herself inside before slamming the door behind her. Just moments after, two large paws appeared on the window followed by a massive head. The dog snapped at Cora through the window, attempting to get to her through the solid material.
“The meds... I’ve got to find those damn meds,” she whispered to herself. She searched through the car for ages before finding them underneath the passenger seat.
The dog had given up on trying to eat Cora through the glass was now pacing in front of the door. She paused for a second before having an idea. She reached in the back seat and took her dad’s duffle bag, laying it over the centre console. Taking a deep breath, Cora leaned over the bag, opened the door and gave it a gentle push. It was small but it was enough and the dog took the bait.
It ran at the door, shoving it the rest of the way open. As the dog entered the car, Cora opened the passenger side door jumped out, closing it behind her. She ran around to the other side, shutting the other door. The dog barked loudly, effectively trapped inside the vehicle. After pausing to smile at the irritated animal, Cora turned and ran back towards the house.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Inside The House ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“Dad? I’m back with your meds,” Cora cried happily.
She burst into the room she’d left her dad in. She went over to him, trying to shake him out of his slumber. She continued to shake him but he refused to open his eyes.
“Um, dad. Wake up. You need to take your meds.” She shook him harder yet no response. Shaking all over, she placed her fingers on her dad’s wrist to find his pulse.
She never found one.