When I travel by plane I look for a suspense or horror story to keep me relaxed. My theory is that if I’m reading something by Stephen King I won’t think so much about the time spent above five-thousand feet. I only have a couple of problems. First, I’ve read every Stephen King book known to man and second, Dean Koontz (my back-up literary 'frightener') isn’t ‘scary’ any more. Lately Dean spends a lot of time writing about psychic dogs and quantum physics. These two subjects don’t really qualify as scary when compared to the collected works of Stephen King. From personal experience, I can tell you that my Golden Retriever knows what I’m thinking, I didn't need Dean Koontz to tell me.
I submit the following to you as evidence of my dog’s psychic ability…
Me, deep in thought, “I wonder what we have to eat with chocolate in it?”
Dog, “He’s thinking about eating again…”
Me, “Maybe there’s some Halloween candy left over from last year?”
Dog, “Great, he’s thinking about year-old candy. I’m never eating again.”
Me, “The dog looks hungry, I wonder if I should feed her? Hey, maybe we’ve got some of those Nestle Toll House Morsels with the baking stuff – I could eat some of those.”
Dog, “I’m going to kill him next time he falls asleep on the couch…”
Since my favorite ‘scary Writers’ are leaving me hanging lately, I’ve decided that I’ll take a stab at horror writing. How hard could it be?
It is a dark and stormy night. The old house on the side of the mountain groans as the rain beats the windows and the wind forces a moan from the aged beams. The man is not alarmed by noises from atop the roof, assuming it is just another branch that has broken loose from the maple tree being dragged back and forth along the roofline by the wind. While this sound is irregular, there is another, lower noise that the man hears below the rush of the wind. This sound becomes louder and more rhythmic. Its steady repetition is more reminiscent of a heart beat than the random rant of the shrieking wind and a stray branch. But the man is tired, and the sound of the wind and rain makes him think of sleep.
He is drowsing on the couch when the first real 'thud' comes. It is as if someone has dropped a bowling ball onto the floor of the attic above him. Immediately, the ceiling darkens to the color of a used cigarette filter. The man, now half-awake, swings his legs over the side of the couch and sits up groggily. He rises and walks down the narrow hall to look at the hatchway that leads to the attic. As he nears the drop-down door he pauses, hearing the sound of something pushing down on the attic hatch from above.
The two latches that hold the attic door squeal in protest as an unseen force continues its assault on the hardware that secures the old hatchway. The man looks in horror as the wood trim around the hatch begins to splinter and give way. The hinges let go with a spectacular shriek as the attic hatch falls onto the wooden floor below directly in front of the man. Water streams through the opening and a guttural growl is heard from above. The man backs away from the hatch as a pair of yellowish eyes glare at him with malevolent intent. Primitive ferocity shows in the reflected light in the beast’s eyes as it jumps down into the hallway in front of the man. There is a brief spark of recognition and then…
I woke up to find my Golden Retriever standing over me on the edge of the couch. “Nobody fed you yet, huh? Okay, come on and I’ll get you something.” I try to get up but the dog will not move. Suddenly I realize that I’m receiving horrible psychic images from my beloved pet. Rage and betrayal commingled with blood lust paint a hideous panorama of thought. With a snap of her head she produces a knife from between her jaws, brings her head down and stabs me deep in my chest. She tilts her head, wags her tail, and neatly ‘folds’ herself to the dumpster behind the Outback Steak House.
As I die, I realize with horror that I have turned into Dean Koontz. With a groan and one last thought of a Hershey bar -- I expire.