It was a warm day yesterday.
Of course, every day was warm here. The naming of the seasons was only a formality.
I had just gotten off the train and was heading back to my apartment after work. I worked for a food website. Not as a developer, though. That was for the smart kids, buried elbow deep in coding, fingers tapping away at their keyboards as if they were part machine themselves. My job involved calling up restaurants and obtaining information from so we could add them to our website database. It was pretty glamorous. All day tied up on the phone, trying to charm people who had no interest in talking to some guy from a website they’d never heard of.
It didn’t matter. It was just a temporary gig anyway. I really wanted to be a scriptwriter, but the job was a way to pay the bills until my big break came along. Shauna was pretty understanding about the whole thing. We’d been dating for about two years. She was a ‘marketing associate’, whatever that meant. Sometimes, even she wasn’t sure what her job was about. But things had been good for us. I worried, though. We were getting to the point where we needed to look at the next stage of our relationship, and I wasn’t sure if I was ready for marriage yet. Shauna was the one earning the big bucks in the relationship, and she could easily have decided to pack up and move onto someone more put together. She wasn’t shallow or anything, but even my charm could only work on her for so long.
As I headed up the stairs to my apartment, I saw a shadow out of the corner of my eye. It was a dog, a large hound of some sort, sitting on one corner of the landing. Odd. There were no pets allowed in the building, and we didn’t really have any strays in the neighborhood. It just sat there, black fur blending with the shadows of the poorly lit staircase, staring at me. There was no collar or tag, so it definitely wasn’t a pet. Where did it come from? I walked past it slowly, afraid it might bark or attack, but it didn’t. It just sat there. Unmoving. Staring. Was it even real? I didn’t really want to find out. One more set of stairs took me up to my apartment. I peeked over the railing. It still sat there. Staring at me. Right at me. Feeling very uneasy, I entered the apartment and shut the door. I realized my knees were shaking.