Sammie

Sammie is not your usual, normal dog. There's something rather...sinister about her.

Sammie

I moved into my first apartment when I was twenty-three. I was fresh out of undergraduate and was moving into my sixth week of work as a project manager. At first, I enjoyed living by myself, but the feeling dwindled quickly. You become depressed after a while of coming home to an empty house every day.

One night, my older sister Lilly invited me over for dinner with her family. She had two kids already and was expecting a third child very soon.

“You need to get a pet. I’m tired of seeing that sad, pathetic face every time you come visit.” I thought about her suggestion, but my track record with animals wasn’t the best.

I blew up my frog with a firecracker when I was seven. Four years later, I indirectly killed our grandmother’s Labrador, Roger, by leaving the gate open and he was struck by a car. At thirteen, I accidentally induced a heart attack in our step-mother’s cat. However, in my defense though, Mimi was old as dirt and one fart away from death anyway.

“I don’t know if a pet is right for me. I’ve never been responsible when it comes to keeping one.”

“You’re right about that,” she said easing into the chair across from me. “You did let Cupcake die.” Cupcake was Lilly’s childhood hamster. “I mean, who in their right mind lets a fucking hamster run free in a damn backyard?” She flung a piece of broccoli at me.

I think I was about ten at the time. For some reason (in my ten-year-old mind) I thought it would be liberating for Cupcake to run around the backyard and experience true freedom rather than be kept locked up in a cage. I didn’t anticipate a falcon whooping in to snatch her up.

“I was a kid and very stupid.”

“You were sixteen, you ass.” I was sixteen. The incident happened so long ago that my memories had become distorted. I shrugged.

Lilly was never going to forgive me for (indirectly) killing her hamster. It was because of the incident with Cupcake, I wasn’t allowed to babysit my own nephews alone.

“Either get a pet or get a girlfriend. And let’s be honest, we both know the second option isn’t going to happen.” I one-upped her broccoli with a dinner roll. She blocked my attack with a spare plate.

“Geez babe! You’re brutal.” Lilly’s husband Omar walked in, having just gotten off from work.

“I don’t know why you married her.” My sister flashed me the ugliest look. I tried to hold in my laughter, but it had to be free.

Free like Cupcake.

“I was telling my idiot brother here that he should get a pet so he won’t be so lonely.”

“Pets are too expensive. You have to buy food, toys, pay for vaccinations and medical bills. Ehh… They’re basically like children.”

Omar took a bite of his dinner roll and slid into the chair next to his wife. “Lilly’s right. Get yourself a pet. You’re going to go crazy being alone all the time. My co-worker’s husband runs a shelter. I can get you the name and address.”

I dismissed the offer immediately, but changed my mind after watching a movie with my sister’s family. Seeing Lilly and Omar curled up with their children made me realize that my sister and brother-in-law were simply looking out for me. They were also probably right about me losing my mind.

That Sunday I went to the shelter having decided to give the pet idea a chance. Thomas, the owner, was waiting for me. “Hey there Jordan. It’s nice to meet you. We’re always eager to find our animals loving homes. We’re so glad you decided to come.”

“Nice to meet you as well. Thank you for taking the time to help me out.”

“So, what kind of pet are you looking for exactly?”

“Umm… a dog. I’m not really into cats, birds, reptiles, or rodents.” The gray-haired man nodded his head.

“Let’s see what we can find you.”

Thomas led me to the very back of the shelter where they kept all of the dogs. The space was lined with rows of kennels. It cut deep seeing those dogs and knowing that many of them would never find homes resulting in euthanasia. I instantly felt better about my decision to adopt.

One dog caught my eye above all the others: Sammie.

She was a black wolfdog with piercing blue eyes. I wanted to take her home as soon as I laid eyes on her. Thomas was hesitant about me adopting Sammie.

“Sammie has been in and out of homes for over a year now. She never stays longer than a month, sometimes two. None of her previous owners ever gave a reason why. We assumed Sammie had some behavioral issues which the owners couldn’t or didn’t know how to handle.”

I offered to take her off the shelter’s hands, but Thomas was still hesitant about letting her go. He didn’t want Sammie to wind back up in the shelter again.

I made a promise to him that I wouldn’t abandon Sammie like her previous owners had. She was able to go home with me that day, after I filled out some paperwork.

When we were on our way out of the shelter, the other animals became erratic, freaking out when Sammie passed by. They were spooked by her presence. It was an obvious sign that something was wrong with her, but I didn’t pay attention.

The atmosphere of my apartment changed noticeably when I brought Sammie home. I can’t really describe it but the word I would use is “unsettling.”

So unsettling that I didn’t sleep well the first night she was home. However, Sammie slept like a baby.

When I got up around 6:45 to prepare for work, I noticed Sammie was missing from the foot of my bed. I found her sitting in the middle of the hallway with her back facing my room.

“Come here girl!” Sammie ignored me. “Come here baby.” Still, she wouldn’t come. Raising my voice had no effect on her.

Whatever she was focused on had her in a trance, so I let her be and went into the kitchen to brew coffee. “Jordan.” I heard a deep voice call my name. It’s really bone-chilling when you hear your name and no other human lives with you.

I turned around and Sammie had disappeared from her spot. “Sammie!? Sammie!?” I called that damn dog until I almost went hoarse. She was nowhere. “Screw this shit.” And I went to shower.

That damn dog almost gave me a heart attack. I went in to pull back the curtains only to be scared shitless when she jumped out. I do not like to be scared. Ever.

Sammie - Part Two

Since Sammie was a dog, however, I left her off the hook, but commanded her to get in her kennel until I finished getting ready. She took off.

"You can get out once I'm done showering," I told her, as if she really understood the meaning behind my words.

Normally, I would take hour long showers, but I didn’t that morning. I felt eyes watching me the entire time I was washing. It became intense after a few minutes and I ended my shower prematurely.

I almost slipped and busted my head when I stepped out of the tub. Sammie was sitting in the doorway when she should have been in her kennel.

"What are you doing out of your kennel?!" I snapped. That was the second time she had scared me.

Without warning, I snatched Sammie by the collar and forced her back into the kennel. "Stay there you damn dog." She didn’t whimper or lower her head. I was surprised. She just curled up into a ball and went to sleep. Unbothered by my anger.

I called my sister as soon as I left for work. "You need to grow up," she scolded me.

"Lilly, you know I don't like being scared."

"Come on now, Jordan! You're still pissed off about that?"

"Troy was a sadistic asshole. I really believe he got off scaring me as a kid.” Troy was the son of our step-mother, A.K.A our step-brother by marriage. And he was a real prick.

He used to torment me at every opportunity when we were children. In 2016, Troy died in a fatal car crash, but I never forgave him for all he had done to me.

"You don't need to project your internalized emotions on an innocent dog though," Lilly reinforced.

Once I had calmed down, everything my sister had said made sense. I was overreacting and felt bad about how I treated Sammie that morning. I decided to treat her to some play time at the park as soon as I got home.

Most dogs would have been elated to run around in a large grassy area and interact with other dogs. Not Sammie. She stayed next to me, watching people as they passed by and dogs as they ran around and played with their owners.

Something was off about her temperament. We were at the park for almost forty minutes and she never once moved from her spot. I was like, “whatever” and decided to go home, but not before running into one of my neighbors.

"Jordan! How you doing my man?" Sydney was my upstairs neighbor in the duplex we lived in.

He and I spoke here and there, but we were never real pals. However, he did invite me over to watch sports every now and then. I liked him. Sydney was a cool guy.

"You got a new dog? She's real beautiful."

"Thanks man. She's a little unusual but I enjoy the company."

He nodded. "Cool, cool. This is my dog Blue." Blue was an-all White Husky.

"Your dog is beautiful as well."

Blue didn't take too kindly to Sammie. He started barking and snarling at her all the while, Sammie remained calm as could be.

"Sorry man. I have no idea what's wrong with him. Blue never acts this way." The upset Husky continued barking and snarling uncontrollably until he ended up biting Sammie in the face.

Sydney yanked his belligerent dog away with a quickness. "So sorry." It wasn't too much of a huge deal. Sammie didn't see bothered at all which again, was unusual. "I'll catch your later. Let's go Blue." He pulled the writhing dog away.

"Huh? That's weird." I took Sammie home and that was that.

A large group of people gathered outside my apartment quadplex the next morning. "Who would do such a thing?" Neighbor 1.

"This is so evil and disgusting" Neighbor 2.

"I'm so sorry for your loss, Sydney." Neighbor 3.

Sydney’s dog Blue was discovered hanging from a streetlight by his collar. "Oh shit..." I wanted to vomit on sight.

"I bet you it was fucking Francis and his shit friends." The broken man screamed.

Francis, Shelton, and Roger were a group of troublemaker friends who lived in the neighborhood. They were known to constantly harass, vandalize, and bully people as well as stray animals that were unlucky to cross the trio’s path.

Sydney called the cops on them a few days prior when he stumbled upon the delinquents tying the tails of two cats together. He was sure the teenagers killed his dog out of revenge.

I heard him mutter under his breath, "They will pay for this."

Part of me wanted to believe the trio was responsible but despite their deviant behavior, they weren't animal killers. Troublemakers, yes.

I returned to my apartment, wanting to distance myself from the grotesque scene.

Sammie was nowhere in sight. The dog was supposed to be in her kennel, right where I had last seen her. I searched the entire apartment at least five times but could not find her.

When I arrived home later that evening, she was sound asleep in her kennel. “Where in the hell do you keep disappearing off to?” It was a mystery. Sammie instantly perked up when she heard me speak.

I opened the sliding door to the backyard. "Go use the bathroom." She pranced gracefully out of her cage and out of the door. While she was conducting her “business” I went to prepare dinner.

Sammie - Part Three

Couple minutes later, I heard Sammie whining and male voices cheering. Went outside and saw Francis and his goons terrorizing my dog with silly string. Sammie was covered from head to toe in the stuff.

"Betcha won't hit it with a rock," the dark-skinned teenager teased.

"Betcha I will," replied the pale-skinned Francis.

"You better fucking not! I’ll beat your asses and then call the cops,” Francis picked up a huge piece of asphalt and clocked Sammie right in the head with it. She was furious.

Sammie took off running after the teenagers. Foam gathered at her mouth and she barked without restraint. It terrified even me.

"It's going to be okay," I told her as I soothed away the rage. Francis and company were long gone. "Those assholes are going to get what's coming to them."

At about four in the morning, I heard obnoxious pounding at my door. "Sarasota Police! Open the door!"

"Oh fuck me!" I forced myself out of bed and dashed to the door, not bothering to find a pair of pants.

I barked at the officer, "What the fuck man?!"

"You're Jordan Parks, correct?" he replied calmly.

I answered his question with a “no shit” expression. The officer turned to the woman standing behind him. “Ma’am.” He stepped off to the side.

"Why are you terrorizing my son?" I was taken completely aback by the accusation.

"First off, who the fuck are you? Why are you at my damn house at four in the morning? Who the fuck is your son? The fuck is going on?" No one bothered to explain themselves first before bombarding me with questions.

"Sir, you need to calm down," the officer warned. I looked down to see his hand resting on his holster.

"I will once someone explains to me what's going on."

"My son, Francis, claims he saw a man in a werewolf costume outside his window. He says the person banged against the window trying to get in. Says that you're the one who was doing it."

I ran my tongue over my teeth. "So you’re that little shit's mom?" She gasped, offended. "Did your son bother to tell you that he and his asshat friends assaulted my dog earlier today? Threw rocks at her and caused severe injuries?"

"Well...no."

"Listen lady, I'm not harassing your damn son. I've been sleep since eight until Officer Jackass here came banging on my door. I don't even own a damn werewolf costume. And I'm a grown ass man. I'd beat your kid's ass before I'd dress up in some goofy ass costume to scare a 15-year-old."

The woman made no attempt to hide the disgusted expression on her face.

"You're a real son of a bitch," she spat. I shrugged unapologetically. "I hope you-." Her phone interrupted mid-sentence. "Hello? What do you want Francis? Huh? Wait what? But...?" The woman looked up at me with a terrified expression. "Officer we need to get to my house."

"What's wr-?" She pushed past the cop.

It turned out that the phone call was from Francis. The harasser had returned in his mother's absence. Her terrified expression was in reaction to the realization that I wasn't the culprit.

They left and I spent the remaining time trying to understand the bizarreness of what had occurred.

Two hours later, as I was on my way to work, Sydney approached me in the driveway. "You heard about Francis and his thug friends? Someone scared the piss out of the little punks last night."

"The little psychopaths deserve it. Check this, his mom came by my house early this morning accusing me of terrorizing her little shit."

A blanket of silence fell over the two of us. Sydney’s brow furrowed. A look of confusion appeared on his face. "It wasn't you? I thought it was after they hit Sammie with that rock."

I shook my head slowly. "I thought it was you doing it after they killed your dog." He shook his head.

We stood there even more confused and a little unnerved. "Gotta be someone else then. We aren't the only ones they could have been harassing."

Sammie - Part Four

The harassment continued for well over a week. Francis’ house was riddled with large claw marks across every window and door. Their entire front and backyards had been dug up; the mud splattered across every side of their house.

The “prank” became a full-fledged nightmare for the family. Sarasota police had officers patrolling the house at night, but could never catch the culprit. It was only when Francis, his family, his friends, and his friends’ families moved out of the neighborhood, did the stalking cease.

Shortly after their departure, I started losing sleep at alarming rates. I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with insomnia. Despite being prescribed heavy sleeping medication, I could not fall asleep.

After a failed attempt at trying to fall asleep, I got up to clean the house hoping that I would become exhausted and fall asleep. I walked into the living room and saw a black, humanoid figure standing outside my window. Its back was facing me.

Terrified, I grabbed my shotgun from above the bookcase. The creature turned its head revealing piercing gold eyes which burned holes in my chest. It took off when I raised my gun at it.

Once the fear and adrenaline wore off, I passed out on the floor.

I discussed what I had seen with my neighbors the next day. They too, had seen a dog-like creature lurking around their yards. “I’m terrified. We can’t afford to move,” Ms. Susan told Sydney and me.

We felt bad for the elderly woman. She couldn’t protect herself like we could. “We might have to catch this thing by ourselves,” Sydney suggested.

I was against the plan at first. Not going to lie, I was scared shitless but I felt compelled to go along with the idea in order to give Ms. Susan a sense of security

Sydney and I enlisted the help of two other neighbors, Craig and Barry. We staked out the entire neighborhood for three nights straight, but the creature never showed up.

Local news stations dubbed the creature the “Demon Dog of Magnolia Lane.” Thrill-seekers and skeptics flocked to our neighborhood like roaches.

It was after those three days that I had finally realized Sammie was missing. I was so caught up in trying to catch the Demon Dog that I didn’t realize my own dog hadn’t been around.

After a week, I assumed Sammie had ran away and ended up getting another dog; an American Bulldog named Balto.

My insomnia resolved itself after I brought Balto home with me. It was really weird and bothered me a lot. Up until I brought Sammie home, I had never experienced insomnia.

I only had Balto for two days before he dropped dead out of nowhere. The dog was perfectly healthy when I adopted him from the shelter. The day after I buried Balto, Sammie returned home and acted like nothing had happened.

The following weekend, I took Sammie to the park. She was running around playing with a toy that I had bought her. I was sitting on a bench replying to e-mails when an unknown woman approached me.

“You need to get rid of that dog,” she whispered, “It’s pure evil.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Shh! It’ll hear us. Here,” she scribbled her e-mail address down on a piece of paper and forced it into my hand. “Contact me as soon as possible and I’ll tell you more.” The woman took off in a hurry. The encounter was very creepy.

As soon as I got home, I sent the woman an e-mail. She replied back four hours later with a novel’s-worth of information.

“Julia” was the name she gave me. It wasn’t her real name and the e-mail address she used was one of those disposable, untraceable e-mails. Julia went to great lengths to keep her identity hidden for whatever reason.

She revealed to me that she had owned Sammie at one point. Weird things started happening as soon as she brought the dog into her house. Too many bizarre phenomena to list, but Julia knew that Sammie was the cause of the activity.

Julia and her family owned three other dogs, two cats, and five birds prior to adopting Sammie. All of their pets mysteriously ended up dead over the course of a month. They experienced severe insomnia as well. They reported seeing a black, dog-like creature stalking around their neighborhood.

Julia’s husband returned Sammie to the pound and the activity stopped for a while. However, the dog creature would show up every now and then to torment her family. Julia claimed she and her family had to move a total of five times to throw the creature off.

On top of that, Julia wasn’t the only isolated case. Somehow, she obtained a list of Sammie’s previous owners, tracked them down, and discovered they also experienced the exact same phenomenon when Sammie lived in their homes.

It was a lot to take in. I didn’t know what to really do with the information. It was only when my insomnia returned did I take Julia’s claims more seriously and kept a closer eye on her.

Weeks after my conversation with Julia, I was headed home from a friend’s house. It was late at night when I came across an SUV marooned in a ditch. I slammed on the breaks to offer aid.

When I approached the vehicle, I heard what sound like claws scraping against metal and low animal snarling. I pulled out my handgun and fired a shot off into the air to scare off the animal.

The animal raised up on its hind legs and ran into the woods like a bipedal man. My heart skipped several beats. That was the most terrifying thing I had ever witnessed.

“H-Help…me…” rhe driver weakly called out. “It’s going to k-kill me…” I ran to the woman’s assistance and was surprised to see the injured driver was someone I already knew.

“Julia?”

“Y-You?” She immediately lost consciousness.

Sammie - Part Five

I attended medical school for two years before dropping out. However, I knew a nasty head trauma when I saw one. There was no doubt Julia had cerebral edema or swelling of the brain.

I pulled Julia from the car and onto the grassy area. I could hear low snarling behind me. Looking over my shoulder, I saw bright, yellow eyes peering out of the darkness at us.

I was overcome with fear but still found the courage to scoop the unconscious woman up and lock ourselves inside my truck until the paramedics and police came. The yellow eyes watched us the entire time I waited for their arrival.

Julia fell into a coma and was not expected to ever wake up. I made a habit of visiting her every chance I got.

My insomnia gradually became worse. I was emotionally, mentally, and physically drained almost every day and was on the verge of losing my job.

There was one night where I was laying on the sofa, too tired to make it to my room. I closed my eyes attempting to obtain some ounce of sleep. I felt pressure on my chest; it was suffocating as if someone was sitting on top of me.

I opened my eyes halfway and saw Sammie hovering over me. I blinked and she was gone. I sat directly up and looked over where Sammie was sleeping quietly inside her kennel.

I knew what I had seen.

Even if it was a dream, I decided to install cameras around the apartment as well as, the exterior and a couple randomly throughout the neighborhood.

The cameras revealed Sammie’s real nature. Everything Julia told me was true. I grabbed my gun intending to put an end to her.

“Jordan.” The same voice called my name. There were only two living creatures in that apartment.

I turned around and saw Sammie standing in front of the sliding door, upright like a human. I had my gun raised but a powerful force restrained me from pulling the trigger.

Then suddenly, Sammie disappeared into thin air. Just gone, like that. I was so sure that was the end.

Julia came out of her coma the very next day. I went to the hospital and told her all what happened. How I caught Sammie on camera killing various animals around the neighborhood and how she would stand over me while I slept.

“That’s probably why we felt drained all the time. Sammie was probably siphoning our life forces when we slept.” I shuddered at the theory.

“I hope she’s gone for good,” I responded.

“Same. I hope another family doesn’t fall victim to Sammie.”

I didn’t really think about it like that. Sammie was out of my life, but she was out there, possibly searching for another family to prey on. Deep down, I was honestly happy it wasn’t me anymore.

Ms. Susan died two months after Sammie vanished leaving her house vacant. A young couple bought the house almost immediately after it went up for sale. They and their three children moved in three days after it was purchased.

The couple hosted a welcoming party and invited everyone who lived on Magnolia Lane over. As I walked up to the gate, their dog came barking at me. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Their pet dog, was Sammie.

“I’m so sorry about that. I have no idea what has gotten into Aubrey. The shelter said she doesn’t usually bark, even when strangers approach.” Sammie’s new name was Aubrey.

I excused myself from the party and hightailed my ass back to my apartment. Three days later, I moved to another city.

fiction
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