I walk away from the fence to get another perspective of my home. At night it doesn’t look much different than the dilapidated dwellings I just passed, only bigger. I feel no tender pull to return home.
I hear a growl that makes me stop mid-stride. My head and hands and feet freeze. My eyes track around the shadows. Before I get to the edge of my peripheral vision I see the dog. He’s a stone’s throw to my right. If I charge the fence and leap up I’ll make it. He takes a single step and his throaty rumble is only slightly louder than the pounding in my chest. I hope I’m only imagining the slow advance of other dogs in the distance. Stalking shadows. Though a pack of wild dogs tearing me to shreds seems like justice for the crime I committed.
The growling intensifies, grows deeper and my fingers tighten on the knife. I judge the distance. I need to run.
I need to run now, before he launches himself, knocks me down, and locks his fangs on my neck. My knife is only a few inches long, not good for much more than peeling an orange or picking at my dirty nails.
His front leg moves up. I’m wasting precious seconds. My legs move before I consciously command them. I run full out toward the nearest section of fence, ten feet closer than Barrett’s spot to cross. The wild dog lunges, crosses the distance between us in an instant. I jump too soon and catch the links lower than I should, but I clamber up a couple feet as the dog hits the fence, and his hard body sends a quiver along the wires. I almost lose my grip. His claws reach the metal inches below my heels and I crab up a little higher. I transfer my knife to my mouth so I can get a better hold and climb to the top.
The barbs are fortified with razor wire here so I cannot climb over. The dog has yet to bark. His growling gurgles with the saliva that drips off his fangs in anticipation. No other dogs have joined him. He is a lone killer.