By Lois Perch Villemaire
Ella had spotted the tall man along her walking route on a couple of occasions. She noticed that he pulled up in a large white van and parked it on a wide grassy strip between the street and the sidewalk. On previous times, she saw him talking to a dog that he carried. When it wasn’t in his arms, the little black and white dog was chasing something near the six foot board-on-board fence located along the sidewalk screening a subdivision.
That day, she recognized the tall man approaching her with his dog on a leash. The white van was parked nearby. He began speaking in Ella’s direction and she had to stop when he was standing directly in her path.
“My dog doesn’t do well around other dogs so I don’t walk him in our neighborhood. This here street is usually quiet and he loves to chase those speedy little lizards.”
She smiled and the man said, “You have nice teeth.”
What? thought Ella. This is very weird. He was standing close enough for her to smell his stale breath.
“My wife is a nurse and works for a dental surgeon.”
The man went on to explain that his wife was in the habit of analyzing everyone’s teeth and he had started to do the same.
Ella nodded silently, her mind racing and flashing a danger signal to the strong beat of the pulse in her neck. She took a deep inhale through her nose and began to pivot around him, anxious to get away. She thought she felt the pressure of his hand touching her shoulder. He stuck out his foot and she tripped but regained her balance and ran. Unable to resist, Ella looked back and was relieved to see the man carrying the dog and walking quickly in the opposite direction towards his van.
The following night on the local TV station Ella was stunned to hear a breaking news report that the police had cracked a case involving two women who had recently gone missing. An alert teenager, who would later be celebrated as a hero was walking his dog and noticed a disturbance near a large white van. He called 911 on his cell phone when he heard screams and thought he saw a tall man pushing someone into the vehicle. As the teen and his dog got closer, a little black and white dog barked loudly like an alarm. A skirmish between the two dogs prevented the tall man from getting away as the police arrived with sirens screaming. Officers swarmed the vehicle in time to stop the abduction and took the man into custody. An investigation led to a search of his property, where two terrified woman were discovered locked in his basement.
The little black and white dog was taken to a local shelter. Ella counted her lucky stars and after awhile she explored a new walking route.
Lois Perch Villemaire lives in Annapolis, MD. She searches for inspiration in life experiences and enjoys writing flash fiction, nonfiction, and memoir. Her stories have appeared in Potato Soup Journal, 101 Words, The Drabble, FewerThan500, and Pen-in-Hand, MWA Journal. She blogs for annapolisdiscovered.com.