The child jolted awake in the middle of the night, a scream lost in his throat. He was covered in cold sweat and trembling all over. The nightlight next to his bed illuminated his room. There was no monster. He had simply imagined everything in a brief, terrifying nightmare.
His hand reached through the darkness and pulled the cord to his lamp. The bulb flashed on and his room was liberated from the blackness. He would sleep with the light on just in case.
He tossed and turned but was unable to go to sleep. The problem was that he really had to pee. He did not want to venture out into the dimness of the rest of the house, he was afraid of the beasts that lurked in the dark corners that were waiting to snatch him and eat him up.
He eventually realized that he would not be able to go to bed until he relieved himself. He gathered up all the courage he had and let one foot touch the ground. He screwed up his eyes, waiting for a mottled green hand to come out from under his bed and grab his ankle. But it never came. He let his other foot touch the ground before making his way to the door and opening it slowly.
He ran as fast as he could out into the hallway before tripping over his own feet and hitting the ground hard. He scrambled up and regained his footing, turning to face the ogres of the night.
They were nowhere to be seen, they must have blended in with the darkness.
The bathroom was at the end of the hall. He was almost there. Suddenly, something furry brushed against his leg. He jumped and a gasp escaped his throat, but he quickly calmed down when he realized it was only Scruffy, the family dog.
The boy could not see the dog’s pelt in the shadiness of the hall, but could tell it was him from the way his nails scraped against the hardwood floor.
The boy stopped for a moment before scratching his dog behind his thin, crumpled ears. The boy noticed that there were many scabs on the back of the dog’s head. The dog panted with pleasure and licked the boy’s hand. Scruffy’s saliva was unusually thick. The moonlight shining in through the window illuminated the dog’s yellowish green eyes. The dog seemed to be limping slightly, as if it had recently suffered an injury to its leg.
Deciding to tend to Scruffy in the morning, the boy continued on the the bathroom. The dog brushed past him and made his way into the master bedroom, and boy heard the dog jump onto the bed of his mother and father.
The boy at long last made his way to the bathroom and was finally able to relieve himself. He went back to his own room with a sense of satisfaction over having beaten his fear.
The next morning something unusual happened. The boy’s parents had not awoken him. Thinking to himself that they must simply have slept in, he decided to surprise his mother and father.
He sneaked into their room like a ninja and hopped onto their bed with a yell. To his astonishment, they did not get up. The lumps in the bed that he knew were the sleeping bodies of his parents remained motionless.
He noticed that the bed was covered in white dog hairs.
But scruffy had a midnight black pelt.
A feeling of dread clutched at his heart and he tore back the sheets of the bed.
A scream of terror escaped his mouth. His parents lay there with their eyes shut- both their throats had been torn out and the mattress was covered in blood.
Tears blurred the vision of the boy as he stumbled into the kitchen and picked up the phone to call the police. Then he noticed something from the outside window.
Scruffy was inside the fence that his now dead master had built for him, and he was barking madly.
Scruffy had been outside all night.
As the boy looked harder he saw that Scruffy was badly cut and bleeding. The boy opened the door and let Scruffy inside, he pulled out some paper towels and began to mop of the blood that covered his dog. He then saw that Scruffy was clenching something in his teeth. The boy pried the dog’s jaws apart and the thing his dog was holding fell to the ground. Something sour rose up from the boys stomach and came up into the back of his mouth.
It appeared to be a chunk of flesh from the leg of some kind of wild animal, and the hair attached to the soft tissue was white.