That growl. I knew it well. Why did mum insist I retrieve her golden, leathery handbag that she left at her place? She knew he didn’t like me.

     There was a history between her loyal guard and I. The daunting presence of his dark shadow lingered by the door, waiting for me, watching for any sudden movements. Ten minutes I sat in the safety of the driver side seat of my car, plucking up the courage to make my move. All this for a bloody handbag.

     What is it with women having matching handbags with their outfits? When she rang, I thought it must be important. Never were her phone calls a casual chat. Always business-like, straight to the point. Time was a valuable resource for her. Hence why she was being honoured at some fancy ceremony tonight.

     ‘Bobby, collect my handbag from the house. It has my acceptance speech. Thanks!’

      Before I could refuse, continuous beeps rang in my ear.

     There it was again. That horrible, fearful sound that stirred like a rumble of distant thunder. Like a thunderstorm when it grew louder and longer, I knew he was about to unleash. His potent stench wafted into the car as I heard him sniff the air. He knew my scent. His reaction to my presence grew into an outburst of constant ferocious barks. Collect the key from under the doormat and open the door, and I would be safe. That was easier said than done.

     Why wasn’t his shadow moving? His sound was clear. His putrid, wet fur smell grew more potent. Yet his shadow did not move.

     Enough procrastination. I reached over to the passenger seat and retrieved a cluster of sausages from a plastic bag. They were his favourite! The butcher always knew when I would visit my mother as it was the only time I went there. I was vegan.

     The squishy texture made me squirm. I almost choked on the foul smell of raw meat. Quickly I threw the sausages onto the glossy, narrow, slate tile path that led to the front door. Again, the shadow did not move, yet the hyperactivity of excitement roared from the beast that awaited me. Something wasn’t right.

      Bravely my hand reached for the door handle. I removed myself from the car and approached the front door to the house. A car drove past, its high beams briefly flashed onto the entrance and revealed the identity of the shadow. There stood a life-like statue of my mother’s stupid dog. Thump! To the left of where I stood, hot breath steamed up a partially open window. Slowly it evaporated to revealed two beady black eyes and a flash of white, sharp teeth.

      My amusement at my stupidity was brief. As a symphony of barks roared through the somewhat visible flyscreen, dread hit me like a sledgehammer. I still needed to go inside. Damn it!

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