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My name is Cedric and I have a black dog that follows me everywhere.

It’s not my dog. I don’t know where it came from, but it plodded its way into my house years ago, unannounced, uninvited, and the damn thing won’t leave. I’m not a dog person, so I don’t know why he chose me. In fact, I don’t like pets at all, but I’m sadly getting used to its presence. I refuse to give it a name, because I don’t want us to become friends. My hope is if I ignore it, it will wander off and find a new owner.

This dog accompanies throughout my entire day. It’s sitting there at the edge of my bed when I wake each morning. As much as I want to stay here under the covers in the hope that it will wander off, I know the moment I wake, it will be there staring at me with its dark black sullen eyes. It’s not a friendly dog. There’s no wagging tail, no lapping tongue here. It’s no fun. It doesn’t want to play, or go outside. It doesn’t like to do anything, other than mope around. This sad creature just nuzzles at me, constantly vying for attention, which I feel compelled to offer. What on earth does this useless, pathetic creature want?

This black dog is very territorial. It doesn’t like any of my friends or my family, and it certainly doesn’t get along with my boss. Keeping this a secret at work is causing me to drop the ball constantly. Occasionally, it growls at those around me with its deep throaty, guttural sound. I’ve seen it raise its hackles, and snare its sharp teeth to protect me. From time to time, it destroys my furniture and chews up my possessions. I don’t know where it acquired a taste for that. I know it means business and I’m pretty sure that it doesn’t have any intention of putting up with anyone’s shit.

It’s odd that no one has mentioned that they’ve seen me with this dog, well, at least I don’t think they have. I’m pretty sure that my family doesn’t realize that this thing constantly accompanies us, even when we take the kids to the movies. When the family’s around, it curls its tail under and sits in the corner of the room. I know, because I can see it sitting there in the corner of my eye. It’s distracting. When they leave, this black dog returns to my side. I’ve even woken from a nap, with it sitting on my chest. Do you know how hard it is to breath with a massive dog sitting on you? I thought I was going to have a damn heart attack.

I know that it’s just a matter of time until someone’s going to complain. I find myself staying at work longer, so that it can hide undetected in my office. When I’m at home, I stay alone in the garage with it for hours at end. My family shouldn’t have to put up with this uninvited guest the way I do. Sadly, that makes me feel guilty. I’ll sit there surrounded by my yard equipment, and I’ll put back a few quiet beers. When this happens, the big black dog wanders off for a while, no doubt to pester someone else. When I wake up in the morning, the damn thing’s back.

I’m not sure what to do. I honestly have no clue and I’m pretty sure that this black dog is getting bigger. Maybe I’m paying too much attention to it, but it’s presence is starting to worry me. I’m concerned that I’ll be caught out harboring this unwanted guest, before I can figure something out. I’d like to talk to someone, anyone, however I have responsibilities and I can’t let my family down. The sight of this creature makes me sick to my stomach and as a result, I can’t think straight. I can tell that this dog finds all the things that I used to enjoy doing, well, boring and dull. I look forward to those peaceful moments at night, when everyone’s asleep. I just sit there, wide awake, thinking. Thoughts just rolling around without any resolution. Just me and this this damn black dog. Someone must have trained it well.

Cedric and the Black Dog - Part Two