I walked out of the woods from a lonely path into a wide-open field where the sky was even wider. It was a habit of mine to look at things and see something else. Dogs were running circles in the park and weekend workers were waiting for the next week. People looked pleasant on the outside. They’d smile and call their dogs, even say “hello”, and be who they were supposed to be, but on the inside, I knew something else was going on. I saw their darkness, in the middle of the day, but I never knew what to do with it; it was far easier to pretend their shadows didn’t exist. So, I quickly put it out of my mind.

“Hey Barney, get over here!” A great big Saint Bernard trotted towards me like it wanted to make a new friend.

“Don’t worry, he’s friendly,” the owner said.

“I know.” And I gave Barney a few pats, until he trotted off.

My walk took me to the opposite end of the park where a blonde girl in spandex shorts and a pink cap was showering her love on a man’s dog. “What breed is it?” She asked.

“Australian Shepherd. Do you like dogs?”

“Oh yes, would you like to walk and talk?”

“Sure,” the man said.

The thought occurred to me that maybe I could get a girlfriend if I visited the pound later that afternoon.

When I got there, most of the dogs looked dead behind the eyes; a grayness had set in that never leaves; it comes from staring through chain-link too long. I walked the rows of fence until I noticed a black dog staring back at me like he knew me.

“That one,” I said.

“But he’s already tried to bite three people.”

“I want him,” I said.

“He’s scheduled to be gassed in 30 minutes.”

“Get him out of there.”

“Okay, but you’ll have to fill out some paperwork. Liability stuff, you know.”

For some reason I trusted the black dog and for some reason, he trusted me. I took him home and we watched The Remains of the Day together.

“Lost love is more beautiful than the real thing, don’t you think?” I asked.

He looked at me like I was crazy and then we kept watching.

Then, out of the darkness, his ivory teeth bit into my arm like a vice. My blood went down its throat like he was draining it into an I-V bag and the black dog morphed into a man who looked like me.

“What… what happened? BARK. BARK. That was all that came out.

“You need help trusting people,” the dog said. “By the way, maybe I can find you a bitch. I have good taste, you know.”

I was powerless and terrified.

“I’ll feed you and let you watch TV in your cage. Just remember, it’s for your own good. You saved my life and I’ll never forget that.” He left and not two hours later I heard laughing outside my apartment.

A blonde was backing up through the shadows, kissing my dog. She was taking her clothes off, while I watched through the cage.

Then, she went to the restroom and my dog opened my prison. “Bite me,” he said.

“What?”

“Go ahead, bite me.”

I did. I bit him hard, for the son-of-a-bitch he was, and I started to transform into a human being. When I finished, my dog was smiling through its teeth and then she came back into the room, naked, and I did her doggy style.

THE END

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