Take me with you

Here’s a little ghost story for you. Happy Halloween! 🙂

~~~~~

She heard Clancy’s shrill alarm barking while she was in the shower, from under a deep layer of soap suds. “That will be the mail,” she thought. Good. The check was late this month, and her cupboard was bare. The barking faded as she finished rinsing shampoo out of her hair and turned off the water.

As she stepped out of the shower and reached for her towel, she saw a flicker of movement in the bathroom mirror as Clancy jumped up to his usual perch at the foot of her bed. She smiled and called to him, “That’s my good boy!” She finished her morning toilette and went into the bedroom to find him curled in a tight ball, expertly feigning sleep. She stroked the curly hair on his head, bent down and kissed his nose. “Thanks for letting me know about the mail,” she whispered. He made a low groan in response, a sound that was neither a growl nor a whine, but clearly an acknowledgement.

Clancy was an old boy of nearly 15 years. He had been her one and only dog since her daughter had given him to her as a retirement present when he was six weeks old. “He’ll keep you company,” she said. His eyes were clouded and he was mostly deaf, but he always knew when the mailman came.

He raised his head and regarded her solemnly as she dressed. When she bent to put on her shoes, he jumped down from the bed and rapidly shook himself out with an eager air. He chased and nipped at her hands like a puppy as she tied the laces, ready as ever to go with her wherever she might be heading. She laughed and teased him with her hands, glad to see him so energetic. “You wanna go for a walk?” she said in a high, happy voice that made him prance and bark. “You wanna go?” He ran out to the kitchen and came back dragging his leash in his mouth. “I guess you do. So let’s go!” She snapped the leash onto his collar.

As they headed to the door, she looked down at the little dog, which she called a maltipoo but could have been any kind of mix. “You’re a good boy,” she said fondly, bending down to pat his head again. She never asked him if he was; she always just told him. He looked up at her through filmy eyes and panted happily, his little pink tongue extended. They walked out together into the day, which suddenly seemed to her to be blindingly bright. She saw she had forgotten to turn off the porch light this morning, but the door was already locked behind her, so she kept walking. Clancy trotted along beside her, his head high and his tail wagging.

Three days later, her porch light was still on. The neighbors across the street thought perhaps they should check. They found her in the bathtub.

“Poor old gal, here all alone,” the neighbor lady said to her husband. “It’s a blessing. She was so sad after her little dog died last year, I don’t know how she kept going this long. What was his name? Clancy?”

 

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