Entry 21: A Dog’s Discovery: Saturday July 30
Donna’s parents arrived early this morning. Good thing I was up and about before Jack and Sadie showed, otherwise they may have seen me asleep on the couch. But Donna told me this morning she wanted me to sleep in the bedroom tonight. I don’t think she wants her parents to suspect anything is wrong.
Their visit started off a bit more pleasant than I imagined. I took Jack over to the church to show him around. He loves old buildings, and so I thought it would be up his alley. I prayed nothing strange would happen while we were there, and thankfully nothing did.
It was a quiet stroll through the church until Larter surprised us from out of nowhere. We were close to the kitchen and he came around the corner startling the heck out of us. I jumped back in surprise, at first thinking it was something supernatural. I’m glad it wasn’t.
“Hi, Mr. Larter,” I quickly composed myself. “What are you doing here?”
“Oh, hi Paul, just doing some last minute things before Sunday. And what are you doing here? You’re not working on Saturdays too, are you?”
“No, I was just showing my father-in -law around.”
I introduced the two men and they shook hands. As they did, I noticed some deep scratches on Larter’s forearm.
“What happened, did your cat get you?”
He laughed. “Yeah, kittens got claws. Well look, I have to run. Make sure you lock up tight.” And then he left.
We didn’t stick around long either. We headed back over to the house and took the girls out for lunch.
The visit from the in-laws didn’t deteriorate until dusk. I guess I should be thankful it held out that long. It began with the dog. We were all sitting on the porch having iced tea when he came around the side of the house. Donna’s mom nearly freaked. She hates dogs, and to see one with mangy fur, and obviously without shots, didn’t settle too well. It didn’t take too long before she was saying “get him out of here.”
Jack suddenly spoke up. “What’s that in its mouth?”
Our ‘friend’ had something in its jaws. It looked like a badly chewed up white rabbit or something. “I don’t know,” I answered.
“Get him out of here,” Sadie said angrily. “He might have rabies.”
“No, he’s alright,” I replied. She looked at me with a hateful glare and I added, “but I’ll get him out of here.”
I got up off the porch and walked towards the dog. “Come on boy, let’s go,” I said and headed around the side of the house. The dog gave me no problem and followed close behind. As we came into the back yard, I looked down at the mutt. “So, what did you catch there boy?”
The dog opened its mouth and let go of what it had. His “catch” hit the ground. It wasn’t a rabbit. In fact, it wasn’t any kind of animal at all. It was a balled up piece of fabric. I picked it up and unraveled it. It was a white sweater.
What the heck was he doing with a sweater? There was nothing unusual about it really. Just a regular sweater, probably left laying around somewhere. Heck, he probably pulled it down off someone’s clothesline. But when I looked at the inside collar, I froze. Written in permanent ink on the tag were those all too familiar initials: “MM”.
“Where did you get this?” I wondered aloud.
The dog barked and started towards the woods. I knew where he wanted to take me without having to follow him, but I did anyway. The sun was setting fast by the time we came to the playground.
“Now wait a minute,” I told the dog, “I’ve been here several times and I’ve never seen this sweater laying around.”
The dog barked and went into a growth of briars and shrubs. It was all thorns and brambles, masked by a huge growth of weeds. And I imagined the thorns probably poked at the dog’s hide. There was no way I could follow. I got on my hands and knees and tried to look in there after him.
“Hey boy, what’s in there?” The dog backed out, dragging something with him. It was a small military duffle bag, green and faded. I glanced at it before looking into the brush where the dog had retrieved it. I could see the mutt had dug a hole. This duffel had been buried back in there among the bushes. Or maybe it was just thrown there and then the brush had grown over top of it.
I turned my attention to the bag and opened the drawstring at the top. It was only partially filled, but it didn’t matter. The first thing I pulled out told me all I needed to know. It was a yellow dress. And I’d seen it before. On the body of the specter haunting the upper halls of the church.
I didn’t take the time to inspect it any closer. It was getting dark and I’d been away from the folks too long. I threw it back in the duffel, along with the white sweater the dog had found. I slung the bag across my back.
“Thanks boy,” I said, patting the dog on its head. It barked once and went to lie down at the foot of the old sliding board. “Is this where you live?” I asked. He barked again and I made a mental note to set him something out to eat later.
I left the playground and went back to the house. I set the duffel bag by the back door. I didn’t need everyone asking questions about what was in the sack or where I’d gotten it and such. This was my secret discovery.
I went back around front to find they were still sipping tea on the porch. But they didn’t seem happy. Donna gave me a look, and her dad seemed indifferent, but her mom was the first to speak.
Sadie said, “We were beginning to think you thought that mangy mutt was better company.”
I wanted to snap back that maybe he was, but I thought better of it. When it comes to in-laws, it’s sometimes best to keep your mouth shut.
Jack & Sadie just left to go to their hotel. Donna has gone to bed, and I just finished leaving a little plate of leftovers on the front porch for my friend. I feel like I’m forgetting something, but I’m tired. I need to go to bed. Church is tomorrow, and thankfully the in-laws will be going back home, too.
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“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.
Original text copyright 2007.
10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.