It was nearing midnight, and the air was rapidly cooling. It was silent but for the few cars passing by, and the wind rustling trees. I looked around outside once more before shutting the front door and bolting it. I turned off the hall light and made my way upstairs. As I was brushing my teeth, I heard a slight scratching sound. Ignoring it, I focused on the too-strong mint flavor of my toothpaste and the tingling feeling in my mouth. I turned on the taps and studied myself in the mirror. There it was again, that scratching sound; although this time it seemed more frantic, louder. I armed myself with my toothbrush and entered the hallway. It was black, the mirror at the end of the hall reflecting little light. I quickly flipped the switches, chastising myself for not having left a light on. As I neared my kitchen, the scratching sound was replaced by a tapping, a strange, infrequent noise that only intrigued me further. I felt around for the light switch, a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. Counting to three, I turned the lights on. I dropped the toothbrush and waited. Nothing. Walking further into the kitchen I heard a familiar sound. Woof. I pulled back the blinds from the patio doors to see my dog sitting outside, waiting to be let in. How could I have forgotten about my dog? I always made sure she was in, safe from harm and from causing too much trouble. I started towards the door, only to see something in the glass door’s reflection that made me hesitate. I shrugged it off and opened the door, and once I had let my dog in I realized what I had seen in the reflection. In on the living room couch was my dog. But how? And then I saw something that both terrified and confused me. My dog was two. There, sitting on my kitchen floor, was literally two of my dog. There were no physical differences whatsoever, from the coarse white fur to the pink collar around her neck. I took a step back, dumbfounded. Either I was imagining things or what had I just let into my house? I felt uneasy looking at the dogs, I couldn’t tell which one was my Maggie and which one was the other. I pulled out a chair from the table and sat down. Neither dog moved. Think, I told myself. Stay calm, think. This thing, this dog, it cannot know you know it doesn’t belong. But how can I tell the difference? Then I had an idea. I’ll attribute it to all the time I’ve spent watching Criminal Minds, but really I was just so terrified I couldn’t think, so I did the only thing I was able to do: stare. I watched the dogs. I sat there and stared and waited until one of them moved. The first to move was the one on my right, who sauntered off into the living room and curled up on the rug. The other dog followed, but this dog had more of a spring to its step. “C’mere Maggie!” I grabbed a treat, a flavour I knew my real dog wasn’t fond of, and summoned the second dog. She came galloping towards me, and swallowed the treat whole. Before I knew what I was doing, I grabbed the dog by it’s collar, flung open the patio door and threw the thing outside. Then, as quickly as possible, I locked the door and flicked on the outdoor lights. I was just in time to see the dog trot off the patio and morph into a human-shaped black fog, before blending into the shadows.

Later that morning, after a sleepless night filled with fear and nightmares, the phone rang. It was the neighborhood gossip, an old woman named Gladys. She had called to tell me about an event that took place last night. “Didn’t you hear? That young lady- the one up the street, who just moved in? She disappeared last night! Cops have been out all morning, trying to figure out what happened!”

Maybe it wouldn’t have been as weird if what happened to me last night hadn’t happened. But then I remembered something, a minor detail, mediocre really, that I hadn’t registered when I had looked around outside my neighborhood last night. I remembered seeing that young woman call her dog inside and shut her front door. I must have been imagining things. After all, Gladys had mentioned that she had seen the young woman’s yellow lab scratching at her back door, just a little while after midnight.

Credit To – Faith

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