Decoy: Flash Fiction
There was a matter that began to encroach upon more and more territory of Joe's mind. Like an invasive movement of other-dimensional, all-encompassing spectral ooze. It was a small thing but overwhelming in its implications. At least when viewed in a certain light, of course; or rather, viewed in a certain darkness.
Joe viewed the matter, with its overwhelming implications, and which encroached upon more and more territory of his mind, in a certain darkness.
One of these days that little toy poodle was going to get himself killed: running out front and barking at Joe like a lunatic, every time he walked by, on the other side of the street, minding his own business, just letting his feet take him to wherever he was going. That toy poodle was going to get himself run over by a car, acting so brave.
Did Joe have the smell of evil on him? Was that why the toy poodle raged at him? But if a pet dog's behavior is a reflection of his owner, as they say, did this mean that his owner was indirectly and anonymously expressing his indignation toward Joe? If so, what had Joe ever done to him?
Was it Joe's fault that he was poor and had to walk? Was it also his fault that that county in the Deep South had no public transportation to speak of, giving a body only two choices: walk or drive, if he could? Okay, three choices. One could always ride a bicycle. Joe was saving up for a bicycle.
In the meantime he walked. This town and county did not encourage walking. There were no proper sidewalks to encourage walking. Therefore, walking as a means of transportation on the outside world was hardly ever seen. This made anyone who did walk, an outlier, something of a neighborhood oddity.
Joe knew all of this intuitively.
Day or night, anytime Joe walked by, the dang doggie came out and challenged him. One of these days that dog would get himself run over dead. Joe had half a mind that he would be blamed, somehow, for this.
Who were the people that owned that poodle? Why did they let him run wild like that? Who were the people that lived in the house set back a ways from the highway, hidden in the tall grass? What kind of people didn't show themselves like honest folks? Joe had never seen a soul come out of that house.
Was it for Joe to try to save the life of that poodle, by taking another route? There was no other route he could take; the town was laid out that way. He had to pass up and down that stretch.
How would it be if Joe took that poodle, one day? He could be dressed in dark clothing and a backpack, one night. He could pass on the same side of the street as the residence in question, with the dog. And when the dog came out to bark at him, Joe could just pick the poodle up with one hand, and hold a chloroform-laced cloth to his nose, knocking him right out. Joe could then put the poodle in the bag and walk away.
Maybe Joe could break the animal's spirit and make him serve a new master. Or he could kill and eat the canine. Joe wondered what roasted toy poodle tastes like.
One night he did just that. Just as he was zipping the poodle in his backpack, he heard a loud growl behind him. Joe turned toward it, and that was the last thing he ever did...