There is a house in an urban community. In this house lives a dog, a man, and a woman. The man and woman have been happily married for decades now. They are old and have hair that has been bleached over time. They have mouths that lack teeth and faces riddled with wrinkles, formed after constant smiling. These are happy people. A smile always chinks their eyes and scrunches their faces whenever they speak to each other.
Their house is riddled with crosses and pictures of their Lord. The weathered couple is devoted to Christianity. They pray nightly, say grace, and wear rosaries. They do all of these things to get in touch with Him. That’s how they explain it. The man and wife never skip Sunday mass. They devote an hour to their Savior every weekend. They want to get into the paradise. They do everything to assure themselves a spot in heaven.
The dog is a recent addition to the family, and has been with the man and woman for three years. He takes turns rotating on whose lap he sits on whenever the man and woman watch television. This is how most of their days are spent - watching television. They watch religious programs, which are thirty minute shows of a preacher expressing how God is great and Satan is bad. These rants are played over a still image of a crucifix with Jesus on it. They watch these all day for twelve hours straight. They wake up, let the dog out and turn on their dated television box to watch these motivating bits of entertainment. These programs last from eight in the morning to eight at night. The man and the woman watch all of them. One program after the next. Everyday. It's like they were hypnotized.
Their dog spends hours outside, as he is often forgot about - sometimes even the whole day. The dog wastes time chasing bugs or eating the dry kibble laying around. The dog is messy when he eats, typically knocking the food out of the bowl. Even though he gets left outside and forgot about most days, he still loves his owners. Regardless of when the dog is let inside, he always smothers them with love, licking toes and legs and faces. After watching their programs, the woman prepares meat for dinner. It is the same meat every day. She makes enough to feed herself, her husband, and the dog, which breaks up the monotony of the dog eating kibble every day. After dinner, the dog gets put into the laundry room, which acts as his makeshift bedroom. The laundry room is right next to another door. This one leads to the basement. This door is always kept closed when the man and woman aren't going through it. The dog tried following the man in one time, but was blocked from entering.
The man always plays music when he and the woman descend into the basement, and this tune is what puts the dog to sleep. The dog always hears thwacks and the sounds of dragging, but he never wakes up. The only thing that wakes him up is the petting he receives in the morning by the woman. He then gets taken outside and the previous day repeats.
One day, the dog received no petting. He woke up on his own. The basement door was closed. The house was silent. The dog walked into an empty family room with a dead television. The man and woman should have been right there, watching their programs. There was a knocking noise that caught the dog’s attention. It led it back to the laundry room, where the dog sniffed and searched for the source. The basement door slammed open, causing the dog to bend its head backwards towards the door curiously. Nobody came out, yet the door remained open. The dog walked towards the door and sniffed inside. The dog could smell the woman. There was nothing to be seen beyond a few steps leading down to the basement. The dog was drawn to the scent, so he took a couple steps down the stairs, and the door behind him slammed shut. The dog froze and was surrounded by darkness. He continued down the stairs. The blinding lights flashed on. The scent of the woman vanished, so the dog continued forward in search of that comforting scent. The room was filled with tools - tables littered with tools. There were hatchets, meat hooks, drills, saws and crowbars - all of them clean. The entire room was clean. There was also a door that was cracked open. It had a crucifix and the word “PARADISE” attached to it. The door the dog originally entered through had disappeared, leaving this as the only option. All the dog wanted was to find his owners.
The dog used his nose to push the door open and advance through. This room was worse than the previous. The dog’s paws were instantly painted with blood. On the walls hung children. There were dozens of them, all around the room. They were all shackled and hung by the wrists. Their heads were drooped forward and their eyes were open. They were forced open. They had no eyelids, only torn skin that resembled ripped tissue paper. The bodies of these children were mangled and naked. One kid was severed into two; his entrails were still connected to his lower half, which laid limp on the floor. There were organs strewn all around the mess. Some were missing eyes, arms, and legs. Some had no skin, leaving muscle exposed. Other children were cleansed of their muscle, leaving a corpse that contrasted with skin and fatty tissues on one part of the body while another part was only bone. The missing arms and legs were found on tables, mutilated. Skin and meat was spread amongst these tables. Some of the meat was stored in Tupperware containers. The sight didn’t bother the dog. Finding his owners was his only concern. He scanned the room, seeing a bloody sink, a gramophone, and a large black zip-up bag that had something inside of it. The dog saw no exits. Like in the previous room, the door he came from disappeared. The dog was stuck in this door-less room. The scent of the woman reappeared, and it led the dog to the gramophone. A tune started to play - the same one the dog heard every night. The dog recognized this familiar tune and fell asleep.
The dog woke up, but he saw through the eyes of the woman. He couldn’t control her movements. The dog was being shown something. He saw a typical day through her eyes. She was watching the religious program with her husband. Her eyes were stuck to the screen, but she didn’t hear the television; she heard her God. He told her that he was proud of her and her husband for the sacrifices of many children. He was ready to guarantee them a place into heaven, but He asked for one more sacrifice. He needed them to take the life of someone they loved. He demanded that they sacrifice their dog. The devoted followers obeyed, and through the eyes of the woman, the dog saw her walk towards the backyard door to let him in. The man went to the basement. The woman smiled at the dog, and picked him up. She followed the man into the basement. The dog saw himself through the woman’s eyes and looked at the familiar, clean basement room he was just in. The woman continued walking to the second room. She walked by the man, who was preoccupied. He was washing something in the sink. The woman placed the dog on one of the tables covered with limbs and human tissue. The dog’s paws squished the cold dead flesh and muscle. The dog sniffed the table as the woman left to the other room. Music started playing - that same familiar song the dog was used to. The woman returned with a smile and a cleaver. She approached the dog, who sniffed at the object in her hand curiously as his tail wagged eagerly. The dog’s eyes were glued to the cleaver in the woman’s right hand. The dog jumped as the woman petted him with her left hand to act as brief comfort. The dog’s perspective changed back to his own. He stared at the grin she had on her face and continued staring until the cleaver was brought down upon his face. Everything went black.
The dog woke up in the laundry room. He didn’t wake up to petting like he used to. The basement door was closed. The house was silent. The dog walked into an empty family room with a dead television.