Black Dog

May 2, 2016 by


One late night in early December in New York, after studying for finals at Butler Library, staying at the university until closing for four nights straight. I took the subway dozingly downtown to 66th Street, got off, mounted the steps to the street from the miasmic IRT, and hurried across Amsterdam Avenue toward my apartment, the chilly drizzle mixed with the stinging breeze.

I shook the haze from my brain, cautious and alert for muggers, and pulled my cap down around my ears. I walked quickly, leaning into the cold blast. Still a few blocks from W. 69th Street, I paused wearily and adjusted my book bag. Out of nowhere a black dog leapt up from the sidewalk, ten steps ahead of me, ready to pounce and bite! The cold wind fell and for a moment all was silent. There was no barking, no sign of an owner.

The beast, a small Cerberus, still strangely quiet, opened its maw, slavering – then melted abruptly into the pavement. I slanted away, across the sidewalk, paused, and finally edged forward, a step at a time. I could see the shaggy dark shadow panting, off to the side, waiting.

Then it flapped up again with a SNAP, twisted, discarded, ruined by the wind… nothing but a black umbrella.

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