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“Hush, Bela!” James was really getting annoyed.

In the last hour, he had fed the dog — twice! — taken her outside to do her business, taken her outside for a walk, yet she was still bellyaching … and growling and barking.

“If you don’t stop, you’re going to your cage,” James said, wagging his finger at the pooch. He knew he would never follow through on the threat — he enjoyed having her by his side through the workday more than she did.

Still, his next meeting started in two minutes, and he needed Bela to hold it together.

The dog moaned and stretched forward, casting her best puppy-dog eyes up at her human.

“That’s a good girl, Bela,” James said. He patted her on the head, then turned his chair back to the desk. He fired up a web browser, opened his email, and clicked on the link for the meeting.


James looked over his shoulder, pursed his lips. The dog was staring up at him with wide eyes, fangs bared. The low growl still rumbled through the air of the little bedroom.

“What is your problem?” James exclaimed. “There’s nothing here!”

“RUFF!” Bela answered just as the webcam came alive on the laptop, dumping James into the meeting.

“Who’s your friend, Baker?” It was Tim Larson, the office wiseacre.

James rolled his eyes, back still to the camera. He squinted and gave Bela his sternest look.

“It’s just my dog Bela,” he said. “She’s having a rough day.”

“No, not her,” Tim said. “Your officemate.”

“What are you talking about?” James turned toward screen, where is own face shone front and center, and where a man’s shadow stood against the wall behind him.

The figure moved toward the door.

Bela shrieked and gave chase.

The computer went black.

Published inFlash Fiction

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