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It's a rather ordinary evening. You had a good day today; no one cut you off on the freeway, nothing worse than the usual minor crises at work. And to top it off, you decided to catch a movie, and there wasn't a single screaming baby in the theater. It's the sort of day that makes you quietly glad to be alive.

As you walk towards your front door, you absently flip through your key ring, trying to find the right key by feel. What demented soul is responsible for designing street lights that are just bright enough to blind you if you happen to look up at one, and just dark enough to be completely useless for actually finding anything?

"Excuse me."

The voice comes from behind you. You turn around, fishing in your pocket for a quarter as you do so. You don't normally give to panhandlers... but what the heck, it's been a good day.

But nobody's there.

Well, to be exact, nobody human is there. There's a big dog there, black enough that you almost mistake it for a shadow at first. Actually, it doesn't quite look like a dog either... almost like a wolf. Who'd let something like this loose in the city at night?

"I'm sorry to bother you, but I was hoping you could help me out a little."

It's talking to you. There's no question about it. You can see its mouth moving.

"You see, I have a bit of a problem..."

Written by Phaedrus

Illustration by Funny Animal