Another offering from my Writers' Group Prompt:
We were almost home. I'd been feeling increasingly uneasy as my husband threaded his way down the rain slicked streets. Our evening had been spent at a small dinner party hosted by a colleague of Fred's. The food had been good, if spicy. Maybe that was what was making my stomach clench and unclench.
Halfway through the dessert and coffee someone had admired the hostess' Halloween decorations. It was almost too much the way some people covered their front porch with white cotton batting stretched to look like spider webs and then, of course, with the requisite plastic spiders lurking in the corners. And the McMurray's didn't even have children.
Fred and I had been content with a single carved pumpkin in the window which we lit each evening. The candle was secure in a holder with a heavy base. But what had crept into a corner of my brain and then commenced to enlarge alarmingly, was the growing suspicion that I had forgotten to shut the door to the basement that kept our adored, but notoriously curious, Boston Terrier, Bud, secure when we were out.
I began to see visions of Bud, first barking at the jack-o-lantern's mildly frightening face and then going over to sniff at it. Failing a response would he then proceed to stick out a paw or his muzzle into one of the cut-out eyes or the gaping, almost toothless, mouth?
I recalled newspaper story from years ago where a pet--had it been a dog?--had knocked over a lighted pumpkin which had then led to the nearby drapes catching fire and soon the entire house, with the dog in it, had burned to the ground. But that kind of thing happened to other, careless people, didn't it?
"You're pretty quiet tonight."
I realized I hadn't spoken on the way home. As we rounded the corner to our street I held my breath. We pulled up in front of our house, the garish pumpkin grinning at me from our front window.
Wherever that dog is, he's getting an extra treat tonight.