Laura’s legs pounded the pavement of the lonely country road she was jogging on. She’d already travelled five miles since she’d left her house a little over ninety minutes ago. She had seven weeks from tomorrow until her wedding day and she had sworn sacred oaths that she’d fit into the wedding dress that her sister Jessica had encouraged her to purchase.
“Encourage” was probably not the right word. “Shame” was a little more accurate. Laura had brought Jessica along when choosing her dress. Jessica had driven them to the camping supplies store and mentioned that Laura would be better off buying a tent to wear on her big day. That was typical Jessica. She always had to find a way to ruin things. Jessica had perfected the art of sneering at others aged seventeen. The last decade and a half had been a living hell for Laura as she dwelt in her sisters’ shadow.
They’d eventually arrived at an actual wedding dress store and found the perfect dress. It was beautiful. It was also two sizes too small for Laura to wear. That was why she was running. She needed to loose several pounds within forty three days. It was hard work and difficult to keep motivated. Each evening, her legs aching and chafing, Laura would take the dress out of its protective bag and stare at it. It was quite a sight. Despite what Jessica said, she knew she’d look amazing in it.
Laura slowed down as she rounded a tight corner. The road climbed gradually for a few hundred metres and then took a sharp left turn just after a cottage. The rest of the way was downhill after that. She would have gravity’s help the rest of the way home. As she passed the cottage she noticed a dog lying in the driveway. It was a Great Dane, black as night. Its ears pricked up as she ran by and the dog extricated itself from the rubber bone it was chowing down on. The Dog padded towards the gate. It was massive: it would come up past her waist if it stood beside her. Laura wasn’t a dog person. She kept moving on. After a few seconds she looked back and saw the dog looking at her in interest. That had obviously been the exact wrong thing to do as the dog lurched after her with its mouth hanging open. Drool flew in every direction from its open maw.
Laura urged her legs to move faster as she finished ascending the hill and turned to the flat part of her run. The Great Dane kept pace. Laura was far from an expert but could have sworn it had a malicious expression on its face. It meant to do her harm. Laura cried out in dread as the monster inched closer. The dog was silent; it hadn’t made a sound since it had begun to chase her. That just made it worse. Laura spotted a small stream winding its way through the fields to her right. Maybe if she ran through it the beast would lose her scent?
What was she thinking? The demon dog could see her! It wasn’t tracking her by scent! She wasn’t thinking straight. Terror, exhaustion and nervousness had clouded her judgement. Laura began to pray for deliverance from the hell beast that was slowly but surely catching up to her. She risked another glance behind. The dog took this as an invitation to pounce and leaped at her. She turned to face the airborne menace and it hit her on the chest, knocking her into a hedge. The dog stood by her side and barked mischievously. It licked her face furiously and with enthusiasm, but not roughly. The Great Dane’s tongue was leaving behind buckets of liquid in its wake.
Laura collapsed onto her back and sighed as the dog nuzzled her cheek. She hated dogs, she hated Jessica and she hated running. Maybe it was time to give Pilates a go?