You never know where inspiration is going to strike.
So …. I was driving to work Friday morning when I suddenly felt like I was in a Twilight Zone episode. I live out in the boonies so the first portion of my drive is along a good bit of back roads. I was in the middle of literally nowhere, when I saw a brown chihuahua trotting down the middle of the road. Seeing a dog in the road is pretty common, but not really a small dog with a collar and no house in sight. In the MIDDLE of the road. He saw me in the huge vehicle I was driving, but I didn’t interest him. His focus was straight ahead. It was like a weird game of chicken. He did move to the side of the road and I moved more to the middle. The oddest thing that struck me was his apparent sense of purpose. The dog seemed to really know where he was going. It was like he had somewhere to be and he was determined to get there.
About two miles later I saw a blue heeler. He was trotting along, heading in the same direction as the chihuahua – which was opposite of where I was headed. He saw me and left the roadway and ran skittishly into some knee high brush and stood very still as he stared at me driving by. I looked at him and he looked at me. Our eyes met. Once I passed him, I glanced into my rear view mirror and sure enough he was back on the road to continue his journey. Again, he moved with a weird sense of purpose.
I drove by two other dogs moving in the same direction.
I kind of chuckled to myself. Some kind of dog party going on today, I thought to myself.
That was out in the country.
I finally reached the city where I work and turned down the street leading to the large plant entrance. There is a restaurant and a hotel on the same street. There were three large dogs trotting toward me. They ducked into the bushes by the restaurant as they neared my vehicle.
“Weird,” I said aloud.
I saw another large dog disappear between the fence and the guard shack at the entrance to the private parking lot where I work. It is a very large parking lot.
Okay, now I was kind of freaked out. NEVER let anything weird happen in the presence of someone with an imagination like mine — it’s likely to send my head to strange and dark places.
So … I parked my vehicle, gathered my things, exited, and locked up. As I passed the back of my SUV, I saw something out of the corner of my eye. Another dog. A pretty big one. Running in the opposite direction, but along the fence. He was inside the parking lot.
I called to him, but he ignored me. Didn’t even glance back.
I had to get to the time clock, so I got moving. It was a long walk to the employee entrance.
As I arrived at the entrance, I saw something in the door glass. Something passed between the cars behind me. I turned around and — you guessed it — it was ANOTHER dog in the parking lot. This one was more of a reddish brown than the other one and it was running in a different direction and right in the middle of the parking lot.
I didn’t have time to watch where it was going, but I was already sure I had become the butt of someone’s joke.
I clocked in and when I got to my desk, I told my co-workers about the experience. One girl said she had been swimming at the hotel’s pool the night before (don’t ask) and three dogs had been hanging out in the hotel parking lot.
So … I got to wondering … what was up with all those dogs? What was their story?
And … the seed of an idea began to take root … “Day of the Dog” … You know I’m a horror/dark fantasy writer, right?
Yeah … that’s a story I just HAVE to tell.