For the first time in more than five years, Lydia was beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel. After struggling through a failed business venture and the misery of a toxic marriage, she was back on her feet and ready to start over. But first a little R&R was in order.
Lydia’s longtime friend and former business colleague offered her the use of her vacation house in Punta Cana. Having never been to the Dominican Republic, she jumped at the opportunity to get away to a place where she was anonymous; it would be the refuge she needed to relax and reflect on getting her life back.
The house was tiny and secluded – perfect for Lydia. Her plan was to shut out the world and do nothing but eat, sleep and swim in the large pool which took up most of the back yard. With the exception of a tall locked wrought iron gate in the front of the house, the property was totally surrounded by a high, impassable bamboo fence. Lydia felt very safe alone in the house.
After breakfast on her first day, Lydia grabbed a towel, a book and a bottle of water and headed out to the pool. The day was glorious with brilliant sunshine and she sat under a thatched umbrella reading her book. The sound of the water swirling around the pool was too inviting and Lydia could resist no longer. Spying a nearby float, she waded into the pool and gingerly climbed on.
“Ah” Lydia sighed. “I’m never getting off this thing.”
The only sounds were the gentle splashing of the pool’s mini waterfall and an occasional bird calling out to its mate in the dense gardens beyond the house. It was idyllic and Lydia silently blessed her friend for the use of her home.
After about 20 minutes of bliss, Lydia’s reverie was interrupted by the barking of a dog; however, it sounded far enough away for her not to be terribly put off. The barking stopped for a while and Lydia relaxed but it started up again. This time the dog was closer and a little more persistent. “Great” Lydia murmured under her breath. “Just what I need. Maybe he’ll go away and stay away.”
But the dog did not go away and Lydia quickly became impatient and annoyed by the intrusion. “Excuse me” she called out to no one in particular. “Can you please bring your dog inside?”
No response and the dog kept barking. It got closer and louder and Lydia became increasingly pissed off. “Hola! Please take the dog inside!” she yelled, a little more forcefully.
Again, no response. By now the dog was barking and growling with a vengeance. Lydia was fed up and she lost her cool.
“Hey!! Shut your dog the fuck up!” she shouted in the direction of the barking. Soon after Lydia heard a man yelling in the distance: “Perro! Ven aquí!”
The dog barked once in response, his yelps becoming more and more distant. At last, peace had been restored.
Lydia must have dozed off on the float. Rubbing her tired eyes, she became aware of deep-throated growling sounds on the other side of the fence. The dog was back but this time he wasn’t barking. It was impossible to tell through the thick bamboo but it sounded like he had a bone or a chew toy and was gnawing away. Well, at least he wasn’t barking; she could live with the gnawing.
Lydia was lost in her thoughts for the future, the dog next door forgotten, when she was startled by aggressive scratching and burrowing noises near the fence. She glanced over and noticed the bamboo was shaking. She looked down and froze. Her blood ran cold and the little hairs on her arms stood straight up.
Panic set in as she saw the dog’s nose break through the bottom of the fence. Suddenly a huge, drooling mouth with razor-sharp fangs became visible. In the next second the lupine-like dog crashed through the bamboo barrier, heading straight for the pool.
Lydia let out a blood-curdling scream and flailed frantically in the water but she couldn’t get out of the pool fast enough. She was no match for the hungry wolf dog. The image of huge teeth and piercing yellow eyes inches from her face was the last thing she saw.
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