It hadn’t taken me long to realize that Joe was gone. She normally said goodbye, but not today. Maybe it was an emergency. Of course, I knew that couldn't force her to be reliable for 5 hours every weekday, but this was the second time in a month. It seemed a little strange, but I wasn't really that bothered.
I called John into the room. He didn’t come. John was my guide dog at the time. I called his name again, and again he remained away from the room. I left it about a minute before calling once more, this time answered by a yelp. It sounded like it came from the next room.
“John! Come here now!” I shouted, becoming slightly worried. John was my best friend. My only friends for that matter. That is unless you count Joe, but I usually wouldn't. I paid her. I was sure if the payments stopped coming, then so would she.
"John?" I was desperate now, standing up and preparing to walk toward the door.
My fears quickly evaporated when I heard the ring of his bell, a tell tail sign that he was in the room.
“Hello John!” I said, smiling. I could feel him rubbing against my leg as he walked past. I reached out my hand and stroked him as he walked around me. I couldn’t quite find his face, but I continued to pat his soft, silk back.
A little while later, I sat down on the living room sofa and John jumped onto me like he always did at night time. And then I went to sleep.
In the morning, John jumped off me. This usually woke me up, as it did then. I stood up and stretched, then walked slowly into the kitchen, feeling my way there. I picked up John’s lead from the table, and bent down to clip it on his collar. I felt around on the floor, but it took me a while to find where John was. Eventually, I was lead to him by the sound of his bell.
I went the regular route to the park, but it seemed very quiet. Normally people loved to talk to me when I was on walks (pity perhaps?) but no-body was talking that day. It seemed odd- creepy, for that matter. I kept him on the lead throughout the walk, as I thought that something was wrong, but I didn’t know what.
I went back into the kitchen, when I got home, and sat down on the chair beside the table. There I sat for an hour. This quickly became two and then three. My daydreaming was interrupted when I heard a familiar voice shout, “It’s Joe! Can I come in?”
“It’s unlocked!” I shouted back. I could hear the door opening and footsteps creaking down the hall.
“Oh! Hello!” I heard Joe say. She sounded surprised in some way. “Who’s this with you?”
“There’s nobody with me.” I said. “Except John.”
“No. That man.” She replied.
“Stop trying to mess with me.” I said.
“Oh come on. You’re messing with me.” She smiled, or what I could assume was smiling. Not that I knew what smiling was, other than from feeling it.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Yes you do." She laughed. "That man. I know you can’t see him, but he’s wearing a yellow and red fur coat. The one with—”
She was interrupted by a loud bang, and I could briefly hear the sound of something fairly large hitting the floor in a bundle. My heart seemed to stop. What had just happened? Oh god, what if she wasn’t lying?
“W... What do you want from me?” I asked, fearfully. There was no response. I was too scared to move. A wave of shock suddenly surged through my body, as I realized something. "What have you done with John? Give him back!"
There was a silence for what must have been 10 seconds.
“But—” I heard a deep, man’s voice reply, “I am John.”
Written by: Franceybean
Image from: EGDF