Daisy kept scratching at the door, and Becky felt a lump of worry in her stomach. She looked at the little Pomeranian and cracked her knuckles. She knew that she was being ridiculous. There was no good reason for a give pound lump of fur to make her nervous, but she was. The dread felt heavy in her chest and she wondered where her husband was. Even in this, Ed shouldn’t have been gone this long.
A hundred different possibilities ran through her mind. Maybe there was something in the barn. Maybe, more likely, he’d fallen down in this crap. Ed was a big man and if he fell and reinjured his knee she was going to have a problem getting him back into the house. She wasn’t sure what she should do. She wrapped her arms around herself and shivered.
Daisy kept scratching at the door.
“Hey, girl, do you see something? Is it Daddy?”
The little dog turned and bared its teeth, let a low growl that made Becky take a step back. It couldn’t be rabies. Daisy hadn’t spent more than five minutes outside since Becky had got her, and none of it was unsupervised. Plus, she’d gotten her shots. But this wasn’t Daisy and Becky didn’t know what to do about it.
Becky looked out the door. She squinted. She couldn’t see but five damn feet in the snow, but she saw Ed coming, a big shape in the darkness. She step forward to open the door and Daisy snapped at her.
The Pom took a step back and shivered. She looked up at Becky and for a second, she looked normal, or as normal as she ever did. Becky wrapped her sweater tighter around herself and opened the door.
“Is everything alright?”
Daisy darted out the door, cutting a path through snow that was more than shoulder height to her. She hopped like a grasshopper.
“Daisy! Ed, get her.”
Beck started slipping her feet into the old ratty boots she kept by the door for when Daisy needed to go out. The little dog stopped in the snow in front of Ed.
She saw a glint of light, something reflecting red light, the way a cat’s eyes shined. She heard something like a grunt. That wasn’t Ed. She saw a pack of black shapes, low to the ground, more than a dozen.
Becky slammed the door shut as it surged forward on toward. It slammed into the door, through the door, black furred and massive, crashing onto the floor, the glass door shattering.
Becky grabbed at the knife block on the island, turned and slashed with the knife as it cleared the distance between them. She opened a deep red wound in its chest and she turned and ran. She screamed as claws slid down her back, blood splashing. She stumbled, but she was still a step ahead and she ran into the bathroom, slamming the door behind her.
She didn’t have time to lock it, but it didn’t matter anyway. The door went to splinters as it came through. She fell, pushed herself across the cold tile floor until she was against the washer. She held the knife out in front of her like a talisman, like a spear.
The thing stopped. It dropped into a squat and Becky’s bladder let go. She was crying. It reached out and took the knife by the blade, pulled it from her hands.
“Please, please, please.”
It bared white teeth stained red with gore. They looked like shark teeth. It looked like nothing she’d ever seen. She closed her eyes. It leaned in and when it bit her it was almost like a lover’s kiss.