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The wolf within

by Chestersmummy 

Posted: 15 June 2018
Word Count: 980
Summary: 679 challenge -976 words

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The Wolf Within
 Teresa stared out of the window.   The dog lay on the grass as the setting sun flooded the lawn with crimson, setting fire to its fur. 

‘If only,’ the thought flashed into her mind.   Immediately, she felt guilty -  it was wrong to be jealous of an innocent animal although Teresa had the idea that the dog was anything but innocent.  There were times when she’d caught it looking at her with an expression quite different from when it gazed at her husband.  
She jumped, startled by the brassy ring of the doorbell; Charlie must have forgotten his keys again.
`           As she walked down the hallway she heard the clicking of the dog’s claws skidding along the parquet flooring.  As usual, it beat her to the door, insinuating its body in front of her just before it opened.  It reared and rested its paws on Charlie’s chest.  He grinned.
‘That’s my girl’,
Gently replacing the dog’s front legs on the floor, Charlie bent to its level and ruffled its ears.  At last, he rose and aimed a kiss somewhere in the direction of Teresa.
‘Hi love. What are we eating tonight?’
The muscles of her face tightened.   He thinks more of that dog than he does of me, she thought.   As the dog trotted off, it shot her a sly glance.
            During supper, it sat by Charlie’s chair ogling him with chocolate brown devotion.   At last, Charlie uttered the magic word.
            Teresa watched as they disappeared, the dog weaving figures of eight around Charlie’s legs.   She bit her lip.   Charlie had never suggested that she should join them and never suggested that she sit next to him on the sofa.  That place was reserved for the dog.  Charlie would sit with one arm thrown over the animal, his fingers thrust deep into its fur, while the dog lay inert, a look of glazed ecstasy in its half-open eyes.
That night, Teresa awoke from out of an uneasy dream and lay as its shreds disintegrated. Behind the sound of Charlie’s snores, she could hear the creak of the garden gate. Charlie must have forgotten to close it. Sighing, she dragged her body from underneath the duvet and padded round the end of the bed.  Dimly, she realised something was wrong.  She always slept nearest the door - the end of the bed was the dog’s domain.
A sudden noise shocked her.   She craned forward listening to the sound of voices and stealthy movements.  There were strangers in the house.   Instinctively, she dropped onto all fours.   She tried to speak but her throat clogged.  
‘Go away’.  She growled.
There was the slam of a car’s door and the voices receded.  Relieved, she realised the noises had been coming from the house adjacent.
Her limbs seemed anchored to the floor and looking down she saw her arms were covered in long, red hair.  Panic followed as she realised her whole body was covered with a glossy, chestnut pelt.
‘Help me.’  Her cry came out as a low whine.
 She swung her head towards the bed and blinked at the two figures cuddled intimately together.   Despite her plight, she realised that she and Charlie had not slept like that for a long time.
‘But that’s my body in the bed,’ she yipped.
 Horror washed over her as the eyes of the smaller figure opened.   They were brown - hers were blue.
‘No’ she howled.
‘Shaddup girl,’ Charlie said.
All night, Teresa tried to tell Charlie something was wrong, but her words came out as yips and yelps and in the end, he dragged her out of the room by the scruff of her neck.
‘If you can’t behave you must sleep in your basket.’
The next few days were a nightmare.  Charlie wouldn’t listen and not being able to face the endless bowls of Chappie, Teresa grew weak.   Her fur started falling out.   She couldn’t sleep and had no energy.   She simply lay in her basket as hope faded.
Despite her misery, she noticed what was happening. One of the first things the dog - or ‘Terri’ as Charlie now called her - had done, was to throw out all Teresa’s clothes.   She bought a new wardrobe, miniskirts mostly and tops with plunging necklines.   Teresa had to admit she looked well in them.  Her figure was better than Teresa’s, obviously due to the long walks.   Now, a foolish smile was pasted over Charlie’s face and he no longer stayed up late watching television.
Then, she heard something that made her prick up her ears.
‘There’s something wrong with that dog.’  Terri said.   Charlie looked worried. Teresa gazed at him imploringly, willing him to notice the change of eye colour, but Charlie had never been the observant type.
‘Doesn’t look happy.’  Her rival said.  Teresa’s lips began to curl.
A few days later, Terri poured pools of water over the kitchen floor.  Puzzled, Teresa peered at her from over the top of her basket.
As soon as Charlie got home, Terri started talking and opened the kitchen door gesturing dramatically.
‘It’s pee’d all over the floor.   I think the poor thing’s senile.’
Charlie looked miserable and Terri slipped an arm around his waist.
‘I know…’ she muttered huskily.   ‘You’ve had it a long time but don’t worry, I’ll do what’s necessary.  It won’t suffer.’    She raised herself on tiptoe and licked his ear with her long, red tongue.
The next day Teresa was awakened by the clinking of a chain. Terri was bending over her, her teeth were bared, her incisors dripped saliva and her eyes blazed.  Terrified, Teresa saw the wolf within.  
‘Come on you brute,’ she snarled.  ‘I’m taking you for your last walk.’
Teresa’s paws skittered helplessly as she was dragged along.
‘Noooo’ she howled, raising her muzzle to the ceiling.   ‘Noooo, you can’t.  Its murder!’

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Comments by other Members

TassieDevil at 17:30 on 15 June 2018  Report this post

The dog lay on the grass as the setting sun flooded the lawn with crimson, setting fire to its fur. 

This image captivated me immediately. Quite a terrifying story with an appropriate title. It was good that you didn't try to explan away the transformations but simply gave us the simple fact that it had happened and here's the consequences. Well done. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Bazz at 15:47 on 16 June 2018  Report this post
A really intriguing piece of psychological horror, Janet. You and Alan have both gone down quite nightmarish routes! Like Alan, I love the striking beginning, and the ambiguity behind what happens. The fact he doesn't even notice her eyes changing colours is perhaps the most disturbing thing... Nicely unnerving Janet, well done.

FelixBenson at 08:43 on 18 June 2018  Report this post
Eek! That was scary. The legs anchored to the floor, and hearing movement in the neighbours house was great way to signal this terrifying change to the reader. The dog won in this one!  But I found this very scary indeed!

Thomas Norman at 10:03 on 18 June 2018  Report this post
Wonderfully scary image you've conjured here Janet. How can it be done with just words, that's skill beyond words 
Also a very clever ending. No explanations, just Nooo.


michwo at 22:31 on 18 June 2018  Report this post
You definitely have a way with words, Janet, and you don't need the first sentence of Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis - you go to bed a travelling salesman and wake up a giant dung beetle, nice - to prompt you to imagine an equally dramatic transformation.  I thought my 'weird tale', "The Opal", courtesy of Gustav Meyrink (1868-1932), was relatively scary, but yours is much harder hitting.  Well done as usual.

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