My neighbors were always strange people. They would leave at ungodly hours, they would blast music every day at exactly 3:30 p.m., they would only let their dog out on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Like I said, odd people. I never really thought anything past that until I was about ten years old.
One day my neighbors came knocking on my door, my parents answered it and my mother proceeded to talk to the lady about some stupid shit that doesn't really matter. I retreated to my room to avoid being sucked into the unbearable conversation, as it was obvious I was going to be.
Fifteen minutes passed and my mom finally came upstairs. She said the neighbors were going out of town for a week and that I needed to watch their dog. They said they'd pay me, twenty bucks for the whole week. Now, to a ten year old, that's a never-say-no type deal. Besides, I didn't have to sleep there, or even stay for a little while. It was right next door. All I figured I'd really have to do is let him out, pick up his shit, and feed him. Piece of cake. Then Saturday rolled around, the day my neighbors were leaving.
I could hear them outside, sometime around 3 in the morning, slamming car doors and whatnot. They were talking, but I really couldn't hear what they said other than "dog", "safe", "boy", and "scummy". I only really made out one complete sentence: "What if he notices?" Of course, I didn't think anything of it at the time. So I awoke at a much more reasonable hour Sunday and decided to head over to the neighbors when it was about 2 p.m.
When I stepped in I could tell something was amiss. First off, there was this weird wallpaper covering every inch of the house. The wallpaper was black with these red splotches that looked like people scattered across it. There were very poorly drawn stars lining the top. Their living room was odd too, it contained only a single couch and a small T.V., nothing else. The kitchen was the same level of emptiness, containing only four plates and three glasses. The weirdest thing though? There were pictures of the dog EVERYWHERE. I mean everywhere. The dog covered the fridge, the walls, everywhere. Not a single picture of either of the residents however. I figured they must really love their dog.
I noticed a note on the fridge. It read as follows: "His name is Marcel. Feed him twice daily, once at four p.m. and once at 8 p.m. Be on time. Leave quickly and quietly after feeding him. Let him out on Tuesday and Thursday ONLY and only from 5 to 8 p.m. Do NOT go in the backyard. (I should add that their backyard was completely fenced off, couldn't even see over it if you were in the NSA) The food is in the fridge" I felt the note had a few strange points to it, but figured it was quite fitting for a family such as themselves.
The thing that really got to me that first day is when I opened the fridge. It was empty, save for fourteen containers, each labelled with a day of the week, two per day. They were all filled to the brim with this odd purple-red goo. I don't really know how to explain it past that, other than the fact that it smelled like milk about a month past its expiration date. I followed the directions however, and both Sunday and Monday went by perfectly. The first difficulties came on Tuesday.
After school, I decided to take a nap. I guess I slept through my alarm, or didn't set one even, because I awoke at 4:45 p.m. I cursed myself for sleeping in and rushed to my neighbors. When I entered the house I found Marcel sitting on the couch in the living room. The T.V. was on, did I leave it on? He let out a loud snarl as I stepped inside.
Something was odd about the dog, he seemed bigger than he was the day before. Like, significantly bigger. I cautiously walked past him and poured the goo into his bowl. He stomped over and let out another snarl before fiercely lapping up the stuff. I opened the sliding glass door in the back to let him out, seeing as it was about five. This is where I really got frightened. The backyard was covered in a thick blanket of fog, which was especially odd seeing as it was most definitely not foggy when I walked over here. When I slammed the door shut I swear I heard a shriek come from somewhere in the fog.
When I let Marcel in at eight everything seemed normal, and everything would remain that way until Saturday rolled around. You see, I was spending Friday night at my friends house. I decided, seeing as I would be there at 6, missing my 8 o'clock feeding time, I would just feed the dog both containers at four and he'd be fine. so when I returned Saturday afternoon I did not expect what I found. Marcel was again sitting in the couch, this time the T.V. showed nothing but static.
He looked sick, and he barely raised his head to look at me as I walked in. For some odd reason the dog looked... frail, smaller and more bony than I remembered him. I tried to pet him but he snapped at me, so I decided to try to feed him. He whimpered as I poured the goo, but reluctantly lapped it up. Although, when I tried this again at eight, he refused. I knew the neighbors would be home come the next day, and I didn't want to leave any trace of my failure, so I poured the goo down the drain.
Suddenly, Marcel began to howl, a blood-curdling howl that happens when a dog is in great pain. Then, from the backyard came a bone-chilling shriek, one that haunts me and remains unexplained to this day. The goo began to bubble from the sink and was now a deep purple.
I rushed home, and didn't tell my folks any of this. Sunday rolled around and I figured that the neighbors would be storming over to tell my folks. However, they never came. They just blasted music all day and shut it off at promptly 6 p.m. I could hear a very low, almost inaudible moan periodically come from the backyard all day.
When I woke up Monday morning there was a moving truck outside the neighbor's house. I never learned what became of Marcel or my neighbors but the house stood empty for years. I snuck into it once to peer into the back yard. There was no more fog but everything was dead.
The grass, the plants, everything. There were also these huge gashes made in the Earth. No idea where they came from, but they were much too large to be made by a dog. I mean, these gashes were about as wide as my ten-year-old self. I couldn't begin to tell you what was happening in that house, but I don't think I'll ever want to know.
Written by Icarus88