's 2018 Horror Write-off:

Normal Dog

Submitted by Anonymous

I've never been much of a dog person. I don't know, something about having an animal that's completely devoted to you just doesn't appeal to me that much. I feel like it's kind of an ego trip. My best friend Simone however, loves dogs. She's not allowed to have one though, so she drags me all over our little town, going to pet stores, animal shelters, and the  local dog park. And me? I tolerate it. I don't hate dogs, and Simone's pretty much my only friend, so I kind of have to, I guess.

It was one of those grey days when the clouds can't make up their stupid minds, and Simone had made me drive her to the dog park. I didn't care. There's a lot of things I would do for Simone. Since it looked like rain, there was nobody there. Simone clung to the bars for a minute or two. Her big brown eyes swept the empty area.

"Hey, c'mon. There's nobody else here." I said to her back.

She didn't respond for a minute, but then she hopped down from the fence and regarded me with a grin.

"Yeah you're right. Sorry for asking you to drive me out here." She laughed a little, her eyes glinting. She really was very pretty.

"No, it's ok." I said with a start. I had been staring. She wasn't looking at me anymore though. She was frowning at a nearby drainage pipe.

"Did you hear that?" She crouched to peer into the dark mouth of the pipe.

I was about to say I hadn't, but then I distinctly heard a low groan coming from the pipe. I knelt down next to Simone, and squinted at the pipe as well, trying to see where the noise was coming from. The cold, clammy air from inside the pipe hit my face, bringing with it the smell of damp and rot.

"Maybe someone's hurt." Simone whispered.

"You think so?"

Instead of answering, she yelled down the tunnel.

"Hello? Is someone there?"

Something moved.

Before I could even see it properly, I could tell that it was something wrong.

At first I thought it was a small dog. It was around that size and shape and a pale color, so pale it almost glowed in the dark. But as it staggered closer my sense of unease grew stronger. It craned its long neck at us, like a pet might cock its head, and I could see the animal's flat face. I froze. It considered us with two eyes that were nothing more than deep burnt holes, as if someone had put out a cigarette there. There were no other facial features. It had no discernible chin, the head just melted into the neck. Melted was the right word for it, because in fact, the animal's flesh was moving slightly, being pulled down like a dripping candle. The whole thing vaguely reminded me of a plastic toy held over a lamp too long. I shuddered, looking on in horrified fascination as one of its eyes slid off of its body and landed with a soft /plip!/ on the ground. Even before the eye slid off, a new one was forming up near the top of its head, its skin pulling in and blackening until once again there were two deep pits in its head.

I tugged on Simone's shoulder

"Please don't, please let's go," I couldn't take my eyes off of it, staring in a sort of morbid curiosity.

It can’t possibly be real.

I was jolted out of my thought by Simone, who was glaring over her shoulder at me.

"We can't just leave it! It's sick or something," She snapped. Turning back to to the thing she began to coo in a soft baby voice,"Here, pup! That's a good dog!"

What the fuck.

I looked down at her. The 'dog' was much closer now and I could hear it make a soft, pained groaning.

"Simone..that's not a dog."

She didn't look up at me, focused completely on the little horror.

"Of course it's a dog," she said gently, as if I was stupid. "It's obviously a dog, what are you talking about?"

I was still looking at it, and now it seemed to be making direct eye contact with me. It was most definitely not a canine of any kind. It occurred to me that I could be hallucinating, this could just be a strange dream or something. I put that aside for later.

It was almost in arms length of Simone now, and it took a few more quivering steps towards us. It was making a soft mumbling noise, too close to a human voice for comfort.

"Give me your jacket!" Simone whispered sharply. Without breaking eye contact with the creature I slipped my hoodie off and handed it to her. She tossed it over the thing with a deft movement and the spell was broken. She bundled it up and stood, holding a bulldog sized something. I almost couldn't believe that I had ever seen it. But no, there was definitely some gross jelly leaking out of the bottom of the hoodie. A little dazed, I stepped away, looking towards the car. Simone spoke in the background;

"Hey good idea, let's get him to the vet," but I just wanted to leave. Was this shock? Was I in shock? The feeling of unease was starting to come back.

Simone headed toward the car purposefully, all the while cooing at the thing she had cuddled in her arms. I trailed after her and slid into the driver’s seat almost subconsciously. Simone opened the back door of the car and put the thing down gently, making sure it was nestled comfortably. It was still making a soft murmur.

"Look at how sweet he is!" Simone called.

I didn't look.

Simone shut the door and hopped into the passenger seat.

I stared straight ahead, but I saw her in my peripheral vision, buckling her seat belt.

"Thanks" she said, looking over at me. "I know you probably didn't want to do this."

I was quiet for a minute, looking down at my lap.

"It's fine." I mumbled eventually.

"No I mean it!" She rested her hand on my leg affectionately.

" I just y    O Uu u ghh G re    Gg"


"What?" I started, raising my head to look at her. She looked at me fondly, her hand still on my leg. She groaned softly, murmuring something. She looked at me, and attempted to speak again. Her voice had a strange quality to it.

"I hgh ghhhh gr  e G gg"

I watched as her left eye began slipping down her face.