There's nothing quite like waking up in the morning and knowing that something that you're probably not going to want to deal with is staring you in the face. For me it was the prospect of having to walk the dog in the 3 feet of snow that littered the front yard. Sadly though, Fritz, the overly excitable chocolate lab could care less. So with a grunt and a groan I rolled myself out of the mound of nice, warm, blankets and moaned some more when the cool air hit my body. I don't know what to tell you, even in the dead of winter I like to keep my place slightly above Arctic Temperatures. Anyways I threw on the necessary clothes to keep the cold slightly at bay, grabbed the leash, a couple of grocery bags, just in case Fritz decided that he had to go in someone else's yard, and headed for the door.
As I was grabbing for the door knob my doorbell sounded. Fritz might be the biggest pushover in the world, but ring that doorbell and he becomes a psychotic frenzied dog. The deep throat barks and howls started bouncing off the walls, as did Fritz who was running in circles trying to make enough noise to make sure whoever was on the other side knew there was a price to pay for ringing the bell. After a couple of shouts from me, and a stern look I opened the door a crack and found a short person bundled from head to toe, their face wrapped in a scarf that at one time could have been black but was now a faded grey.
"Can I help you?" I asked politely.
"Yes I believe you can," bellowed a much deeper than anticipated voice, " that is if you are Morgan Devlin."
I don't know about you, but when a stranger that I can't really see comes to my door and asks for me, I'm going to lie through my teeth.
"Oh geez, no that's not me, that's my roommate. He's still asleep in the back, late night partying, you know? I could get him for you if you wish, though it would probably be better if I could tell him who's looking for him."
The deep voiced person sighed, and let their shoulders fall. "Then I must tell you the message because I can't stay any longer than this. They are coming."
I froze, and I don't know if it was the face I made or not, but the person then turned around and walked back out through the front yard. It wasn't until several minutes later and the weight of Fritz on the back of my calves that I realized that I had not moved an inch. I looked around outside, shook the cobwebs out, and then took Fritz outside.
As soon as he hit the snow he yipped, and then he took off like a bat out of hell. Fortunately for me I was ready for him to try to take me for a ride, so I firmly planted my feet in the ground and watched as the leash let out to the max and then Fritz when legs up and fell over on his side. The force I felt was as if someone was trying to rip my shoulder off. Fritz rolled around on his back for a second, tongue sticking out of the side of his mouth and then nonchalantly got up and started his ritualistic sniffing of the entire yard. Talk about a determined dog, he wanted to make sure no one had marked what he considered his turf.
After an agonizing 25 minutes of this exercise he happily did his business and I was finally able to go back inside to my much warm house, by comparison. After kicking off some of the excess snow I walked into the living room where my extremely comfortable, yet unsightly, polka-dotted recliner sat. I threw myself into the chair, and thought over what the stranger person had said.
Who were they, and why did they want me of all people? I know people should champion themselves more than anyone else, but I'm really just an average Joe. Sure I've succeeded in a couple classes in high school, and then again in college. I was decent when it came to sports, and I did have a couple of girlfriends while I was growing up, but none of my past would explain the cryptic announcement that that person made.
I tried to shake it out of my head and found Fritz with his face firmly in my lap looking up at me with his eyes. I have to admit, it gets me every time.
"Fine," I said, and got up out of the chair and walked to the kitchen. Well I like to think of it as a kitchen, but it would probably better categorized as a closet that happened to have a couple of shelves, a sink, a stove, and a thin fridge. I took to metal bowls off the drying rack, filled one with water, and place them both on the ground. I then took the food out from under the sink and scooped out some into the other bowl. Fritz made his patented panting smile of joy and then without waiting for me to really get out of the way dove at the food as if a second longer and I would decide to just take it away. With the sound of dry dog food being pushed around the metal bowl, and then being devoured I walked back to the living room. As I was about to sit back in my chair I noticed a flash of something coming from the one window the room possessed. I walked over to it and looked outside. Not sure what I was looking for all I ended up seeing was the white snow on the ground, and poor old Ms. Tanser trying to walk to the end of her walkway to pick up the paper. Twice she almost fell, but by some amazingly good balancing tricks she stayed up-right both to the paper and then back to her door. I didn't know much about her outside of her name, but I always thought that perhaps in her past she might have been an ice skater. I say that because she seemed to know what to do when it came to dealing with ice.
Musing a bit more on that subject I finally turned around and headed back for my favorite chair. That is when I saw my first problem. I had not moved fast enough, I forgot to keep an ear open for the sound of food being inhaled, and as such I found the chair occupied by a conveniently sleeping dog. What else could I do but throw my hands up and just drag myself to the kitchen to grab some food myself before I had to get some work done.
You see the wonderful thing about being self employed, that's what I am, is that I get to make my own hours, but the bad thing is that my office is also where I live so no matter the weather I still have to get work done. You see I'm kind of an author, though I've only had one of my pieces published on a national level, and it was opposite an add with a scantly clad woman selling tires, so I'm pretty sure my article didn't get much viewing time. Anyways I methodically ate my bowl of cereal. Took one more look at my dog, which was now yipping in his sleep, and walked back to my office.
Now my office, I would like to say was filled with awards and cool trinkets, but the reality of it all was that it was overrun by Fritz's bed, a futon, a shelf crammed full with action figures, and a desk that help my most prized possession, my slightly out-dated, Frankenstein-ish, computer. On this very computer I've slayed dragons, built futuristic cities, applied for many a job, and of course written some of my best stuff. So I carefully navigated around the clutter that seemed to always be present and sat myself in front of my computer. I grabbed the mouse and vigorously shook it from side to side to bring my monster back to life. Predictably though it had frozen and required me to perform a restart. Pushing in the power button, and then pushing it again I decided to take the 10 minutes it takes for my computer to boot up to take in my surroundings. My eyes naturally went to the shelf of action figures; out of all of them I had always cherished the ones from one-off comics. You know the ones, the one's that appeared for a couple off issues from some parallel dimension, but didn't last all that long because it was just different enough to cause fanboys of the series to petition for a stop to the nonsense. I of course cherished those adventures, and had also collected quite a few of the actual comics as well. It was about the time when I started to think about where exactly those comics were when I heard knocking coming from the front door, and the sound of Fritz running head long into that same door and then starting is growling and barking anew, thanks to the brief nap he had gotten in.
I groaned, lifted myself out of the chair, felt a bit of a strain on my shoulders as this day just had not wanted to lightly flow, and started my walk back to the front door. My place isn't big by any means, but whoever was on the other side made it seem like I lived in a mansion as their knocking was rhythmic, and never ceased. I finally got to the door, threw my weight against Fritz to try and pry him from his guarded position on the door, and turned the door knob. As soon as the door knob started to turn the knocking stopped.
"Well at least they are paying attention," I thought to myself.
I cracked open the door and felt a cold gust of wind slice through. Standing at my doorstep was what appeared to be a young couple in almost matching outfits. They were both bundled up in long brown coats, and were both wearing scarves about their necks. The man had a dark red scarf, while the woman had a teal scarf. As soon as the man saw me peering out through the crack in the door he stepped up and said, "Hello there."
"Can I help you sir?" I asked.
"I think so. You see we're new to the neighborhood and wanted to just introduce ourselves to everyone who lived around here. We're the Trents. I'm Steven, and this is my lovely wife Laura. We just moved into 341."
"Oh, well hello, and welcome. I didn't even know that 341 was for sale. You must have snatched it up as soon as it came onto the market."
"That we did. I'm sorry I didn't catch your name," Smiled Steven Trent.
"Where are my manners, my name is Morgan Devlin, and the noise you heard on the other side of the door is my dog Fritz."
"Well Mr. Devlin, perhaps some day soon we can have you over to dinner and you can fill us in on all that there is to do in this town," Said Steven.
"So you're from out of town then?" I asked.
"You could say that," Steven replied, "Well as you can see it's pretty cold out here so we should be going to meet the other neighbors, but we just wanted to say hello, and I'm sure we'll see each other real soon."
They both turned around and started their march back to the sidewalk. As soon as they hit the sidewalk I closed the door and looked around for Fritz. Usually when there is someone brand new at the door Fritz would go insane with desire for saying hello, licking, and sniffing, but there was none of that. I found Fritz slowly walking out of the office once I relocked the door.
"What's the matter boy? Didn't you want to meet those nice new people?"
Fritz gave me a look, huffed and then walked into the living room and plopped himself back on my favorite chair. I decided I'd take one last peek at my new neighbors from my window, just to see which neighbor they had decided to go to next. To my surprise they were just walking through their own door. Shrugging and thinking to myself, maybe it was just getting too cold for them; I left the window and headed back down the hall. Once I got into my office I slipped back into my computer chair, logged into my computer, opened a new document to start my next story, whatever that would be, and then play free arcade games on the Internet for the next 3 hours. I probably would have gone longer if it wasn't for the sound of Fritz walking into the office and nudging my elbow with his nose. I turned to look at him and saw the face of a dog that just can't wait any longer for a bathroom run. So I lifted myself out of the chair and walked back to the front, grabbing all the essentials, connected the leash to Fritz's collar and opened the door. I don't know what was going on with the weather but it was even colder outside than it was before, and the Arctic blast of air sent shivers down my spine, but I muscled through it. Once again as soon as we got into the front yard Fritz had to investigate every spot of the yard. This time though once he was done with that he started tugging me towards the sidewalk.
"Really? You want to go for a walk now? I don't know Fritz, its a bit cold, and I think we might not ever make it back," I said sarcastically.
Fritz was undeterred and kept pulling at the leash, beckoning me to take him for a walk on the very icy sidewalk. I could see it now, we get about 100 yards away, I lose my footing, crash to the ground on my ass, and Fritz will just blankly stare at me as if I was a lunatic trying to draw attention to myself. In the end though, Fritz got what he wanted, we went for that walk. I should correct myself, we didn't go for a walk, I went on a guided tour with Fritz as the tour guide. Fritz pulled me down the street at a brisk pace, never looking back to see if I was comfortable with the pace he was setting. It took about a mile down the sidewalk before Fritz finally decided to ease up and lay down in the snow. He looked over my shoulder longingly, and then turned his head back.
Fritz had dragged me to the now completely frozen lake. This was one of his favorite spots during any season, besides winter, because he could chase all the birds around, as well as take flying leaps into the water, which of course meant he was then destined for a bath when we got home. This time, though, he just sat there staring out over the lake. I slowly padded up to him, and sat down next to him.
"You're right Fritz, it is beautiful. One question though, why the hell did you drag me all the way out here? It's freezing, and I know that you're freezing too, you silly dog."
I know that dogs can't talk, but with the looks that Fritz can dish out I feel like he understands what I'm saying, and so I've never had an issue continuing to talk to him. To my statement Fritz whined a little bit and then cocked his head while looking at me. Personally the look said to me, "Umm are you seriously asking me this? I wanted to go here, and there's nothing you can do about it." I smiled at Fritz, rubbed him between his ears and then stood back up. I dusted some snow off my clothes and motioned to go back home. Fritz would not budge from his spot though.
"Come on Fritz; let’s go home, I want to be somewhat warm again. I tell you what I'll give you a treat."
At the very mention of treat Fritz's ears perked up and looked at me, but he did not make any indication that we were going to move. I tried tugging on the leash a little bit and only accomplished making Fritz's head shake from side to side. It wasn't like he was fighting me, but he was dead set in sitting where he was. There was only one thing to do, and it was going to suck. I took a deep breath, walked over to Fritz, bent down at my knees and hugged the dog. As soon as the dog's head moved to rest on my shoulder I quickly stood up, lifting from the legs. I learned that one the hard way a while ago, and let me tell you it was not a pleasant experience when I felt like I broke my back. Anyways, I got Fritz in my arms and started to walk back. Yes that's right, I was going to carry this dog back if it wasn't going to walk on his own. I was bound and determined to get back inside at some point this year, and I was making my move now. Fritz let out a couple of low moans and high pitched whines, and then settled into my arms and promptly closed his eyes.
"Oh I see how it is, man you are one lazy dog. Whatever we're going to go home and warm ourselves up."
It wasn't until I was half way back when I started to hear sirens. As soon as they started, Fritz started howling, and kicking, and squirming. I quickly released the dog. He hit the ground hard, but didn't seem to notice as he went on high alert. I'm kind of glad that I had to drop him hard; it stunned him for enough time for me to get the leash back on him before he started his pacing howls, and then mad sprint towards the sound.
I was able to save my shoulder from being dislocated by the force of Fritz by only half a second, but I wasn't quick enough to keep my balance. I found myself being dragged face down through the snow. I tried to yell at Fritz to stop, but I only accomplished adding snow to my mouth. Panicking I started to flail my free arm around trying to find something that I could grab to try to slow down Fritz. After about 40 yards of being dragged my hand found metal and I tightened my hand around it as fast as I could. There was a moment of true fear when the slack in my arms disappeared and I lifted off the ground for a second, but my grip held true and stopped Fritz with a yelp. Dusting myself off, and making sure I was firmly seated on the ground I gave Fritz a dirty look, spit out some snow, and took in my surroundings. We were definitely headed towards the sirens which was in our place's general direction. I then looked behind me to see what kind of damage my face did to the ground. Looking behind me I regretted doing so immediately, apparently the ride had jarred my neck leaving it aching when I tried to turn my head, I also found spots of red, dotting the path. I tentitively touched my face and once I touched my nose an explosion of pain erupted.
"That stings," I frustratingly screamed, "Well there go my roguishly good looks, at least I survived for now."
I slowly got to my feet, worrying that I might have hurt myself somewhere else. Amazingly, though, I found that only my face, and my pride were gravely injured. Fritz gave me a pathetic over the shoulder look, and then stared off in the direction of the sirens. He then started to fidget where he sat, knowing that he shouldn't try to go toward the sound, but his curiosity simply killing him.
"Fine, lets go you big goof ball. Let's go see what all the commotion is about,"
We started to walk towards the sound, Fritz controlling himself for the most part. There were a couple of random barks, but for the most part he kept his emotions in. As we got closer to the sound I started to notice that this was right in my neighborhood, it was the wrong side of the street for my place, but still it was going to be almost next door to me. When I finally got close enough to see the police tape, the barricades, and the officers milling around I figured out which house the coroners were coming out of. It was 341, the unit that apparently had just been sold to the Trents, and yet had they met their bitter end in such a short time?
As I approached the line of tape an office ran over to me.
"Sir are you alright? Did you see what happened? Were you involved in the incident that took place at 341?"
"Whoa Tiger, slow down. I was walking my dog and fell over when the sirens went off, my wonderful dog dragged me face first through the snow for a bit. What was the incident? I see coroners coming out of there, are those bodies the Trents?"
"Sorry sir, we're all a bit jumpy right now. I can't really tell you much, as this is an open investigation, but I do have to ask, were the Trents friends of Mr. Vanderlin?" Asked the cop.
"I have no idea, they just introduced themselves to me this morning," I replied.
"Ok, sir, and why would you think that the Trents were at Mr. Vanderlin's residence?" Asked the cop.
The question stunned me. Why would the cop ask a question like that? Didn't Mr. Vanderlin move out and sell the place to the Trents?
"They said that they had just moved into the place," I said bluntly.
"Interesting," the cop replied, he then took out his notepad out of his top pocket and started to jot something down. When he move took the pad out his name tag was visible, and it read O'Brien, "So you believe that these people, the Trents, said that they moved into Mr. Vanderlin's place recently?"
"Yes, that's what I said," I barked at him angrily.
What was going on, why was he asking me all these questions, does he think I'm stupid. The Trents came over this morning and said 341, I know they did... ... didn't they?
"Sir can you give me a description of the Trents for me?" Ask O'Brien.
"I don't know, male and female, slender build, Mr. Trent was slightly larger than his wife. They were wearing matching brown coats, and were wearing scarves," I replied.
"Well thank you sir for all your helpful information, perhaps you'd like to see an EMT to take a look at your face so that you can get it cleaned up. If we have any more questions can we find you at one of these local residences?"
"Of course, I live at 336, and I think I'll be okay, I just need to wash my nose off, and put a bandage on it, I don't really need any emergency techs looking at me."
"Suit yourself, oh and one more question, what's your name sir?"
"Devlin, Morgan Devlin, and this is Fritz, and I'm going to go inside now."
I stomped off leaving O'Brien behind to do whatever else he needed to do. I never looked back to see what others were doing, I just went to my door, unlocked it, and went inside. As soon as the door was shut I let out a shiver, took the leash off Fritz, who then decided that it was the appropriate time to shake all the dampness off. I found that I was in a bit of a sour mood, but decided that a nice shower might do me some good. So I went to the bathroom turned the hot water knob all the way on and waited for the water to heat up. After about 5 minutes and no steam being produced I put my hand cautiously under the water to find it ice cold. Just perfect, I thought to myself, can this day get any worse or weird? I turned off the faucet, went to the sink and finally took a real look at the damage Fritz had done to my face. It thankfully wasn't as bad as I thought at first. No broken bones, and it seemed that I only got my nose lightly skinned. It was enough to be painful to the touch, but it wasn't as if I had my nose sand papered off by the ground. I pulled out a wash cloth, turned on the sink to get a little water on it and then lightly dabbed at my nose until it appeared that it was going to be as good as it gets. I then opened up the medicine cabinet grabbed a bandage and placed it across my nose. Looking a little bit like a shady character, I had to laugh, and then I left the bathroom. As soon as I walked out I found Fritz sitting there staring up at me.
"What?" I asked him. "Is there something you need?"
Fritz just sat there staring up at me, not making a noise, not even really moving. So I walked back to the office, now determined to get some work done. I found the document still open with the cursor blinking. I put my hands to the keys of the keyboard, and found I really had nothing to write about. I had been through one hell of a whirlwind day, and I was completely depleted of ideas and thoughts. I contemplated playing a computer game for half a second, but decided that it would be better to just go to the living room and relax. So I once again found myself walking up the hall to the living room, Fritz was still sitting outside the bathroom, never taking his eyes off me.
"Alright, now you're starting to creep me out. Come on Fritz, lets go, we can share the chair if you'd like."
That at least got a panting smile and his tail thumping against the floor, but as I walked by him and into the living room I found that he didn't follow. I could hear the light panting and thumping coming from down the hall, but it was almost as if Fritz had his butt super glued to the floor. I thought about it for maybe a second longer and then grabbed the remote and turned on the TV. After flipping through a couple of soap operas, I finally found a channel showing the news.
"Today we have a breaking story coming to us from Baker Street, our correspondant Dan Filch is there standing by, Dan can you tell us what we currently know?" Said the anchor lady sitting behind the channel 12 news desk.
"Well Traci, the police aren't saying much at this juncture, but what we do know is that there was a death that occurred at 341 Baker street today. According to my sources it could be the long time owner of the property, Mr. Art Vanderlin, though this has not been confirmed. The Police are currently talking to all the neighbors to see if anyone has seen anything, but at this time if the Police know of any additional information they are not telling anyone. I have been told that there will be a press conference at the station at 5, so maybe we can get to the bottom of this then." Said a dark older man with streaks of grey in his hair.
"Thank you Dan," Smiled Traci, the anchor lady, "and now on to the weather..."
I flipped through a couple more stations before I landed on one of those fancy channels that just plays music. I landed on Soft Jazz, and within minutes I fell asleep. I don't know how long I was out, but I apparently needed that nap desperately. I probably would have slept longer if someone hadn't started to knock on my door. Thinking back on it, this is probably the busiest my place has ever been, three guests in one day coming to knock on my door? Anyways I threw myself out of the chair, and used the extra momentum to get my body moving towards the door. When I got to the door I opened it a crack and found myself looking at the police officer from earlier today.
"Is there something else I can help you with, Officer O'Brien?" I asked through the crack in the door.
"Sir can I please come in, I have some further questions to ask you," he said as he was shifting from one foot to the other, probably trying to keep his circulation up as it would appear the temperature had dropped since last I checked.
Begrudgingly I opened up the door and made a gesture that basically said, come right on in. O'Brien stomped his feet right outside the door to knock any residue snow off his boots and then entered the house. He took a quick glance around, and nodded at Fritz. "Nice dog, does he always sit and stay like that when you have people over?"
Until he mentioned it I didn't even think about the fact that Fritz hadn't started barking like crazy at the sound of the knocking. I quickly looked over my shoulder and spotted Fritz in the same place as last I saw him. He was still in the same position, but he was once again staring at me. I'm not one to believe that animals have a six sense about something, but his actions, or lack there of were starting to really freak me out.
"To be honest with you, officer, he's usually bouncing off the walls when people come over, I hope he's ok. Anyways what can I do for you," I asked.
O'Brien walked into the living room and turned to me, "Mind if we sit, sir?"
"Sure thing," I replied, and promptly plopped my ass right back in my favorite chair. I wasn't going to lose use of it to the cop no matter what.
O'Brien took a seat on the loveseat that rarely gets used, and opened his notebook. "Sir you said you met some people who said that they live at 341?"
"Yes, the Trents, they introduced themselves to me this morning. They said that they were new to the neighborhood, and that they just wanted to say hello to all the new neighbors."
"Are you sure they said 341?"
"Yes, I'm sure. Listen, why do you keep asking me about this, did something happen to the Trents?"
"Sir to be honest I have no idea who the Trents are. You see according to our records Mr. Vanderlin has never tried to sell the place in the past 25 years. He's a hermit, and doesn't have any family. I talked to one of your neighbors, a Ms. Tanser, and she said that she saw him just the other day knocking snow off his TV antenna."
"So can I then assume that whomever you pulled out of 341 was not the Trents? Could it have been Mr. Vanderlin, if so why two body bags? What exactly happened over there?"
"Sir you know I can't tell you precise details, but since you are a neighbor I will tell you that Mr. Vanderlin was indeed one of the victims. The other one has yet to be identified. Sir can you do me a favor, and if you see the Trents again, can you give me a call?" O'Brien said as he handed me his card.
I nodded in response, and then took the card and put it in my shirt pocket. That seemed to satisfy the officer and he got up from his seat. He then started to walk towards the door, and I followed. He turned to me when we got to the door and said, "Sir just promise me that you'll stay safe and look out for your neighbors. I have a bad feeling about what happened today, off the record."
I kind of gave him a blank look, and after a second I shook my head and said, "Sure thing officer." He then opened the door and walked outside. I closed the door and re-locked it. Once that was done I spun around and started to walk towards Fritz.
"Alright boy, what is going on? You've been sitting there for god only knows how long. Did Timmy fall down the well or something?" I asked.
Fritz gave me a look, if dogs can give you looks, of you are such a freaking moron. I smiled at the look, and then scratched him between his ears. That caused Fritz to moan a bit and started the tail. Fritz took a look up at me once I stopped, and got up and walked into the living room. He didn't go to the chair, though, he went straight to the window and sat back down. He quickly looked over his shoulder to make sure I was watching him, and then looked back out the window.
"Alright, I'll play your little game, Mister. What do you want to show me?" I asked as I walked across the room to the window.
Once there I took a glance around and saw that all the police tape was gone from the street. There was that yellow X of tape across the front door of Mr. Vanderlin's, just like in all the cop drama shows. The sun was starting to set so everything had a redish or bluish tint to it. There were a couple of neighbors cautiously walking around to get a little extra exercise before dinner, but none of them were the Trents.
"Looks like everything is almost back to normal, Fritz. Let's go see if we can't make ourselves some dinner, how about it?"
Fritz looked up at me, huffed, and then looked out the window again. They say animals have a six sense, and either Fritz had it, or he was just trying to be difficult. Either way I had to humor him, it was only fair since he'd stuck with me even through some of my girlfriends who thought it would be cute for him to wear clothes. So I looked out the window one last time and caught some movement around Ms. Tanser's place. I looked closer, but I couldn't make out what I saw. I looked for a couple more moments but didn't see anything else. Maybe my eyes were playing tricks on me. So I shrugged my shoulders and walked away from the window and into the kitchen. I set up Fritz's food and water, and then went on to making my own dinner. I'm by no means a gourmet chef, but I can definitely make something out of very little. So I created a very unique dish of random pasta and cheese. I was about to sit down and eat it when I noticed that once again Fritz was acting as if his butt was glued to the floor.
I'm not much of a worrier, but seeing Fritz act so oddly was starting to really get to me. So I whistled at him to see if that wouldn't get him moving. Unfortunately all I got was an over the shoulder look, and then he turned back to the window.
"Alright this is just getting a bit ridiculous," I muttered as I walked towards Fritz. "We both need to eat our food, so if you're done playing whatever game you've decided to play today, then we can return to our regularly scheduled lives." And with that I closed the curtains, hoping that if Fritz couldn't see out the window he would move.Thankfully he did just that. Upon closing the curtains he got up and trotted over to his food bowl and started devouring what they contained. I took that opportunity to snatch up my bowl of pasta and cheese and quickly moved back to my seat. Fritz might have tricked me out of my seat once today, but he wasn't going to do it twice. Once there I decided that the Soft Jazz just wasn't going to cut it. It might be fine to fall asleep to, but when you're by yourself eating dinner, it just feels a bit odd. I flipped back to Channel 12, hoping that it was around 5 PM, or if not that there was going to be a recap of what was said at the police station. Unfortunately for me it was way beyond 5 and it was now prime time TV. Not to be discouraged I flipped through a couple more channels and found found a made for TV Sci-Fi movie. This one apparently had a child star actress, who had now grown up, as a disaster scientist. Her mission was to try to breed dogs with snakes to create some sort of hybrid breed that could battle demonic monsters that lived under the earth's surface. Amazingly enough the title to the movie was as "good" as the premise, "Earth's Final Hope: Scaled Companions".
It didn't take me very long to finish my food. It would appear that I was as hungry as Fritz was because we seemed to have finished within miliseconds of each other. Fritz walked back into the living room, curled up on the floor and watched the movie with me. Amazingly enough the end of the movie found the new breed turn on their masters and setup a sequel that was actaully going to premere tomorrow night. I shook my head at that announcement and got out of my chair to clean my dish. I hadn't stepped one foot into the kitchen when I heard my chair make a noise. I turned around and there was Fritz again balled up tight asleep and happy. I smiled at him and then got to doing the dishes. By the time I was done it was about 10 PM. I felt like I had run a marathon today, so I decided to call it a night. I started to make my way to bed when I heard Fritz move. I turned around and saw Fritz standing by the door, with his nose literally a fraction of an inch from the actual door.
"Oh I'm sorry boy. I guess you need to go out one more time don't you?"
I shuffled back to the door, threw on the necessary garments, put Fritz on his leash, and took him into the yard. The temperature had once again dropped in temperature, and I could have swarn that some of the air I was exhaling was crystallizing and falling to the ground, but I could have been imagining things. Fritz, too, seemed overly cold and just went straight into doing his business, and then turned back to the door. Thankful that my dog had some sense to him, I went back into the house. Locked the doors, and turned off lights, in the house, as I went. I took another stop in the bathroom, tested to see if the water heater had turned itself back on yet, and found that the water was still freezing. So I gave up on the dream of having a hot shower. I changed into some old sweats and a t-shirt and hopped into bed. Fritz jumped in right after and burrowed himself right behind my knees.
Once I had moved stuff around enough to get comfortable, I didn't last long. I may have been dreaming, or not I don't really recall. What I can recall is the fact that after a little bit of sleep I was awoken by a floor board creaking. The sound didn't seem to wake up Fritz, so maybe I dreamt it, but it sounded so real. I laid still in bed, and waited to see if there was going to be another sound. I had almost thought that the coast was clear when I heard a door knob turn. What the heck was happening here? Did someone break in? Then another thought entered my head, what door was being opened? It definitely wasn't the bedroom door. Could it be the office? What would anyone want in the office? Then came another creak. I was really starting to freak out now. So I did what all little kids do, I covered by face with the blankets so I couldn't see anything. I heard a loud thump coming from down the hall. Then there the door knob sound happened again. Finally there was silence, yet again.
My heart was pumping faster than I ever thought possible, and I was shivering in fear. Yes I know guys have to be these "nothing can scare me" people, but lets be honest, if there's something that creeps in the night in a house that is suppose to be locked up tight, you're going to be a bit jumpy and on high alert. I waited what felt like an hour, straining to hear another sound, and waiting for the bedroom door knob to turn, but it never came. After a bit longer I exhaled, sighed to myself, decided it was a dream and rolled over to get comfortable again.
Fritz flew up out of the covers, and stood at high alert, but he never made a noise. I felt my bladder go, oh so slightly, and I hugged my pillow for protect. Yes I know a regular man's man am I. Then there was a voice, though muffled, I heard, "No, damn it, that's too soon, too soon. We'll have to come back now."
Then there was the sound of fast moving feet, and then silence once again. I stayed still for a fraction of a second longer, and then decided that I had to risk finding my phone. Upon hitting the call button, and the number lighting up, I was confused as to who I was going to call. 911 came to me a second later.
"911 emergency, please state your problem," said the lady on the other end of the phone.
"Yes, hi, my name is Morgan Devlin, and someone has broken into my house. I live at 336 Baker Street."
"Sir are they still there?"
"I can't tell, one was yelling, and then it seemed that they ran off, but I'm not sure. I'm in my bedroom right now."
"Sir, please just stay where you are, and on the phone with me, we are sending out a police car to your location right now."
"Ok," I said.
About 10 minutes later the lady on the other end of the phone informed me that the police had finished their sweep of the property, and would like for me to come to the front door and let them in so that they could further investigate. In the back of my mind I thought that if this was a horror movie, I would likely get stabbed when I tried to walk to the front door, but this was real life, and I'm pretty sure that thieves wouldn't still be hanging around inside the house. As a safety percaution I did grab Fritz by the collar and had him walking next to me. If there was anyone in the house, they were going to have to deal with Fritz. Hopefully they wouldn't figure out that he was more likely to lick their face off then try to bite it off. Though it was a tense couple of minutes I made it to the door without issue. I openned the door and told the lady on the line that I was going to hang up and talk to the police.
With the way my day had been going it was little surprise to find O'Brien staring at me on the other side of the door.
"We meet again Officer," I said.
"Good evening, or good morning Mr. Devlin. Apparently you had a break in this evening?"
"Yes, and I probably would not have know it if there wasn't a loud crash noise."
"Sir do you know where the crash occurred?" asked the other officer.
"To be honest I've holed myself up in my room until you were ready to come in."
"Well lets have a look around your place then," said O'Brien.
I gestured them in, and we all started walking around my little residence. My first thought was the TV, or maybe the front window, but as I went into the living room it was obvious that no one had even entered the room, which also meant that the kitchen probably hadn't been touched. I then turned around and went to the bathroom, took a peek in there and found that my medicine cabinet had been rifled through, but that nothing else seemed to be disturbed. There were only two more rooms to my house, the bedroom and the office, but I was in my bedroom, so I took the officers to the office.
As I approached the office I noticed that the door was closed. I couldn't recall ever closing the door, but just in case I did I confidently walked up to the door and turned the knob, but the knob didn't move. I looked at the door in confusion, up to this point I didn't even know that it was possible to lock this door.
I turned to O'Brien and said, "That's not right. I never close the door, and I sure as hell would never lock the door."
"Stand back then," O'Brien barked.
Once I was safely out of the way both officers drew their weapons and O'Brien reared back and sent his foot right at the door knob. The door never stood a chance. The door exploded backwards into the office. What it revealed, I'll never forget. As I peered into the room I immediately noticed that nothing had been disturbed. The door may have been closed and locked, and sent all kind of red flags off in my head, but when I looked around the room, everything was how it should be. I was dumbfounded. I knew, I freaking knew, that someone had broken into my place, and now I had no evidence whatsoever. I was dumbfounded, and a little bit embarrassed. I must have dreamed the whole thing. I turned to the officers, and shrugged my shoulders.
"What about the bedroom?" the other officer asked.
"Well I was in there by myself, and the sounds came from outside my room, but if you want to take a look you can," I said to him.
I guided the officers to my bedroom, and once again found a closed door facing me. This time though, I didn't even want to act as if this was normal.
I turned to O'Brien, and said, "There's no way this door should be closed, I had the phone in one hand, and the dog's collar in the other when I came to the door."
The officers both drew their weapons again, and O'Brien stepped to the door. He lightly put his hand on the door, looked back at his partner, and then threw the door open. they both quickly went into the room, and then came back out. I then peered into my room, and couldn't quite figure out what I was seeing. The room was torn to shreds. The bed-side lamp was smashed, the blankets that were suppose to be on the bed were laided out all over the room, there was also the fact that there was now a large wooden box, that I had never seen, sitting in the middle of the room.
"Umm, officer, this is not how I left my room, and I don't own a wooden box like that one," I said as I pointed at it.
The box was made of a dark wood, and wasn't big enough to hide an adult, but it could have easily hidden a child. There was a brass lock on one side, and there didn't seem to be any hinges. Both officers drew their guns, pointed them at the box, and inched closer. I held my breath as they did this. When O'Brien was within a couple of inches he tried to nudge the box with one of his feet. The box moved slightly. O'Brien then holstered his weapon and went to a knee next to the box. He searched over it for a second, and then focused on the lock.
"There doesn't seem to be a handle on this thing, I don't know how to even open this," he remarked.
I nervously inched forward towards the box, only then did I realize that I was still holding my breath. I let it out a little too fast and made the officers jump. I looked at them apologetically and kneeled down next to O'Brien. I looked over the box, never once actually putting a finger on it, and kind of shrugged.
"You're guess is as good as mine."
I tried to get up from my kneeling position, and in the process put my hand on the box. There was an audible clicking noise that froze my blood. O'Brien looked at me and then quickly at the box. Where there was once no clear way to open the box, there was. O'Brien gripped the indentation in the box and lifted up. The lid groaned open and O'Brien peered inside.
"Well that's really wierd. Does They're Coming mean anything to you?" he said as he turned towards me.
"Sort of," I said, "some kid came to my door, I think it was yesterday, and said exactly that to me. Why do you ask?"
"Well it's carved into the bottom of this box. That and some weird piece of metal are the only things in here," O'Brien stated.
I went back to a knee and looked into the box, and sure enough written in scratch letters across the bottom of the box was the words, "They Are Coming". If I didn't know any better I would say that the piece of metal in the box was used to carve out the letters, but I couldn't say for sure. I looked at O'Brien, and he looked at the other officer, and shrugged. Then he got up, dusted himself off, and made for the door.
"I tell you what, we'll have a car drive by a couple times tomorrow, and check in on you, but I'm just thinking this was some kid's idea of a prank to ruffle your feathers. I'll make a report though, and hopefully you can have a good rest of your morning slash day."
I walked the officers to the door, thanked them and then locked the door back. What in the world was going on? Weird sounds in my house, and then a strange box shows up in my bedroom? Then it hit me, the one odd thing that had been happening since that kid came to my door, Fritz. Where in the hell was he? I had him when I answered the door to let the cops in, but apparently somewhere between there and the bedroom I had taken my hand off his collar. I started to frantically search for Fritz. I checked the living room, and the kitchen. Then I checked the bathroom, and the office, still nothing. Then I went back to the bedroom. Even though the room was already in disarray I tore it up a bit more moving stuff around to see if Fritz was hiding somewhere. After checking spots I had already checked three times, I sat down on the corner of my bed.
"Fritz, come here boy, Fritz?" I yelled, to no response.
Then I thought to myself, could he have run out the door when I let the officers in? I quickly grabbed some warm clothes, a flashlight, and Fritz's leash and went to the front door. I braced myself for the cold blast of air, and went outside. It was still not yet sunrise, so I was thankful for the flashlight. I methodically checked ever inch of the yard for Fritz, but saw no physical sign of him. FOOTPRINTS! There had to be some footprints somewhere, a big dog like him couldn't get through the yard filled with snow without leaving some indication of his presence. I started darting the flashlight back and forth across the ground, cursing myself for my thoroughness of walking over every inch of the yard. I decided to take my search to the street.
"Well good morning to you neighbor, I didn't think anyone would be up this early," said Steven Trent.
A sharp pain of cold shot down my spin, but I tried my best to just write it off to the cold. "You haven't, by chance, seen my dog have you? He seems to have gotten out of my house somehow."
"Oh no, that's terrible, do you want me to help you look for him?"
"NO," i said a bit too sharply, "I mean, no that's fine, I wouldn't want to bother you this early in the morning, I'm sure you've got places to go."
"It wouldn't be any trouble, I promise. I could even go get Laura to join in on the search."
"No that's alright, I think I'll go it alone. Fritz is a unique dog, and I wouldn't want to spook him with strangers."
"Alright then, well if you can't find him after awhile, you know where we are, so we can always join in the search later." Steven said with a smile.
"Thanks, I might do that later," I lied, and then started walking down the street away from him. I never quite turned my back completely on him, but I tried to make it look like I was just being thorough with my search. Once I got to the first corner, I turned and sprinted a little, just to give myself a little extra breathing room.