The Kennels By Allen Chaney and Jennifer Kelsey
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   I woke up in the evening to find a little puddle of drool soaking in my pillow and a headache wracking my brain. As painful as it was I couldn't afford to miss out on work so I just had myself some coffee and took an Excedrin before slipping into my uniform. Frankly I didn't know why they made me wear the damn thing considering I was the only one in the store at night and all I had to do was take care of the animals. I liked my job despite the uniforms though because I pretty much got to play with the animals all night long which was great even when they bit me or peed on me. It took me a while to find my keys but soon I was heading out the door.

   When I got there one of the supervisors let me in, giving me a quick goodbye  before locking the door behind him. I made my initial rounds about the place to check on everything. Making sure the animals had food available, checking that all of their pens were secured so that none of them could get out, and taking stock of the backroom. It was while I was taking stock that I first saw it, a little tail sticking out around a corner that looked like it belonged to one of the dogs. Figuring I just had forgotten to check one of their pens and one had gotten loose I went to check it out only to find nothing there. I was kind of confused but eventually I just brushed it off as me having mistaken something else for a tail or even just imagining the whole thing.

   In the stock room there was a door with an exit sign that from what I could piece together of the building in my head would not lead outside, maybe it lead to the loading bay but that didn't seem right either. About when I finished taking stock is when I heard a knocking at that door. I didn't know who would possibly knocking on one of our exits especially at this time of night and when I went to check on the door the sound stopped just as suddenly as it had started. I made sure that door wasn't open and called out to anyone who might be on the other side but there was no reply. I resumed making my rounds feeling a bit anxious because I had no idea what that knocking was and my mind was racing with ideas on what it could have been.

   I first made my way to the storefront as I wanted to make sure that whoever was knocking wasn't trying to bust in through the windows. While I didn't see anyone at the front I did manage to spooky myself when I caught my own reflection in the glass. I realized how silly this all was, people knocking at exit doors, seeing dog tails it was almost comical. I turned around to look back over the store front and the storefront seemed just fine, well that was until I noticed that the employee entrance to the back was ajar. Thats when I saw the dogs head poking through the door, its eyes reflected the moonlight at me making them look like they were glowing, the rest of its head shrouded in shadow but I could make tell by the shape that it was most likely a german shepard.

   I froze in place, retracing my steps in my head to make sure that I didn't leave any dog kennel unchecked because I swore I had made sure everyone was unlocked. Then I took a slow step towards the dog saying in a sweet, calming voice "Hey there puppy. What are you doing out here? We need to get you back into your kennel. Come here. Come here." The dog's only reply was to let out a long howl that sounded like almost like a man crying out in pain. The noise sent a shiver down my spine. Pulling its head back in I could barely hear the skittering noise of its claws on the linoleum as it ran away.
   Not once have I heard about the dogs getting out at night since I've started working here, it didn't even really seem possible with how tight the locks were. I stood there dumbfounded for a moment before realizing that I should probably chase after that dog. I jogged over to the door and when I stepped into the back I could not tell where the dog had gone at all. Sighing and rubbing my temples I scolded myself for not immediately chasing after the dog. I didn't have time to be feeling sorry for myself though so I began searching around the shop for the dog.

   I searched through a few of the rooms not finding any sign of the dog at all. It almost seemed fruitless until I thought that maybe he might be up on the roof since the door leading up there was pretty unreliable at staying shut. The roof was not the best place to be as the rains a little while ago and that had caused a section of it to cave in while the rest of it  wasn't too structurally sound either. Management was tense in even sending us up there since we might get hurt if there was another cave in so I really hoped that the dog was not up there.

   Reaching the roof access door I sighed and cursed the multiple handymen who had been called to repair the door when I saw it a bit open, just enough for the dog to walk on through. When I stepped out onto the roof I did not see the dog though and I was a bit relieved before I realized that the dog might have hurt itself by falling into that hole which looked just a bit bigger now. I couldn't actually get into the closed off part of the store through regular means and if that dog was hurt or dead I knew I would lose my job. I inched my way slowly towards the corner of the store where the hole was, the moon above casting a glow over the strangely empty roof. When I reached the hole my teeth were clenched as I scanned the roof for any sign of a further cave in and I was repeating "Please don't break." in my head repeatedly.

   I leaned in a bit to look into the hole and thankfully there was nothing in there. Letting out the breath I had been holding, relieved that the dog had not gotten hurt by coming up here now I just had to make sure I didn't either. That's when I heard the sudden dischordant barking of dogs and as I turned about confused the ground beneath my foot gave way, my leg falling into the hole. My leg got scraped form the slip but I managed to pull myself up and make it back to the doorway. Breathing heavily I put my hand to my heart to feel it beating at a million miles an hour from the adrenaline now pumping through my system and after a short rest I made my way down to the kennels to see what had caused the barking that had almost killed me.

   As I was nearing the kennel doors I heard a very loud slam come from around where the kennels would be and I quickly dashed over to the room. Throwing the doors open I stepped inside, looking over all the kennels, dogs barking loudly at me as I passed by them. Checking every last kennel I finally came upon one holding a german shepard, one who not only was barking but was banging around in the kennel and even started biting at my hand as I checked the lock. The lock was fine but the dog wasn't. It started growling and foaming at the mouth.

   I stumbled back falling onto my ass, my eyes going wide as I saw the sure symptoms of rabies. Feeling a sweat pooling on my shirt I wiped my hands on it finding that the sweat was actually drool and as I reached up, putting my hand to my mouth I felt the wetness on my hand. Looking down at my hand I saw that my drool was foaming as well. My eyes rolled back in my head and I fell to the floor unconcious.

   My head hurt when I woke up a couple days later in a hospital bed surrounded by family. They had brought some of my stuff for me and they wished me better health before visiting hours were over. I had some time during the week to type this up but the doctors told me this is gonna kill me. I had enough of my mind left to tell them that isn't fair but not enough to listen to how they responded. I saw the dog pass by in the hallway of the hospital behind them and they had to restrain me.

I swear that fucker was laughing at me.


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