Standing on a dilapidated porch, searching for a phone, car broken down on the side of the road -- fifty miles out from the last town as memory serves. The air is humid and paint is peeling from the walls. The air is hazy and condensation is slowly forming into trails on the dusty windows -- small muddy rivers taking unpredictable journeys, diverting as much as gravity will allow. No one replies to several vigorous knocks on the rickety door.
There must be a phone inside. Rachel checks the door, it is locked. We tromp through the half-mud to the back of the house and peer in through the screen door. The scattered house, its array of disorganization speaks of abandonment and indeed the house feels empty but it is not.
At the end of the hallway sits a round table on which a clear glass conch rests, emanating the muted whimpers of the miniature malnourished puppy trapped inside, parts of its twisted body magnified several times by the curved glass. Sickened but strangely fascinated and filled with empathy for this poor animal, we fail to notice at first, the man who slips into the room.
His wild hair, long fingernails, and frightening countenance fail to distract us from the cold black steel of the gun, which despite his shakes remains trained, accurately enough, at various parts of our bodies which we consider vital.
His first words, "The hardest part is getting him into the bottle before I leave for work in the morning."