Chapter 1 - The Escape
The September wind blew a cool breeze along the dark streets of Oakdale. It was bustling town during the day but appeared abandoned at night. The sidewalks were bare of people and only the trees were left to sway back and forth with the wind.
In the middle of town, a small veterinarian clinic sat beside a silent forest. One light shone through the window of the back end of the building. Two siblings huddled inside the small operating room. The older sibling was Rhea Lowell, a student in the area, who at this time was staring down at a long needle. She wanted to be a veterinarian since she could remember.
Her younger brother Caleb watched in agitation as she raised the needle in the air, and flicked it twice. A drop of the opaque liquid from the needle landed on her white lab coat. Her strawberry hair was pulled back neatly into a low ponytail away from her pale face.
“Ready?” Rhea asked as she turned towards Caleb. His gingered hair was less vibrant than hers but looked similar when the sunlight hit it. It was short but long enough to begin to curl like their father’s hair used to. Both siblings had on protective eye-wear, but instead of a white lab coat, Caleb wore ripped jeans and a black hoodie with his band’s name, “Callisto” written in large white writing.
His attire would have been unsuitable if it were an average work night, but no one knew that they were there. No one knew what they were doing, and they wanted to keep it that way.
“Ready” Caleb waveringly replied. He grabbed the tranquillizer gun that sat in front of him on the counter and took a deep breath. His sister paused for a moment, taking in the apprehension in his voice.
“Remember,” she began, “If everything goes as planned, you won’t even have to use it,” she assured him.
Caleb responded with a slow anxious nod. The two took a deep breath and focused their attention on the cage that sat in the middle of the room on top of a metal table. Inside the cage was a sedated Siberian husky.
A Siberian husky with rabies.
The siblings cautiously made their way towards it, as though it were awake. An hour before it was awake. It trembled as it’s large jaw hung open. There was still drool inside that had slipped from its mouth. Its weak body had rattled against the cage’s bars until the tranquillizer took effect and it painfully succumbed to sleep.
Rhea held the needle steady and Caleb tried to control his shaking hand. Their green eyes stayed fixed on the dog with determination as they took their places on either side of the cage. Rhea’s hand slowly reached through the metal bars and proceeded toward the dog unwaveringly.
Caleb apprehensively watched as his sister inserted the needle and pushed the liquid into the animal. She moved quickly after the last drop had been pushed out. She swiftly removed the needle and stepped away.
A silence hung over the room.
The siblings looked at the cage in anticipation. Caleb was the first to look away, he wanted this to work. He watched Rhea as she tried to stay calm, but he could see her hands were starting to tremble.
“How long you think it’ll take to kick in?” He asked, but she didn’t have time to answer. The dog’s leg began to shake suddenly, followed by its entire body. Caleb’s jade green eyes widened at the convulsing animal. In the next moment, the dog’s body stopped.
“Was that supposed to happen, Ray?” He whispered.
Their eyes stayed on the cage as they spoke, “I – I don’t know,” She whispered back.
Caleb’s heart hammered against his chest. The sweat accumulating in his hands made the tranquillizer gun feel like melted butter. He knew his sister was going to stay calm, but he didn’t know he was going to be so terrified.
Rhea put down the needle on the counter behind her and picked up a small mirror. She made her way towards the cage again. Her hand carefully held the mirror out until it rested underneath the dog’s nose. She held her breath until the mirror fogged from the dog’s breath.
“He’s alive,” she sighed with relief.
Suddenly the dog’s mouth crashed down onto the mirror, barely missing her fingers. Caleb rose to his feet as Rhea jumped back in fear. The mirror slipped out of the dog’s mouth, smashing on to the ground. Its mouth was now on the cage door and within seconds the door swung open.
Caleb fumbled with the tranquillizer gun in sheer panic. He couldn’t concentrate on breathing, let alone shooting a gun. The dog growled loudly as it leaped toward Rhea. She had no time to move and before she knew it, she was on the floor.
The dog snarled and bared its teeth. She turned her head in terror as spit seeped down onto the left side of her face. The dog’s body felt extremely heavy as it pressed down onto her.
A loud BANG shot out through the room. Rhea could feel the dog’s body jump and leap off of her. She sat up on her elbows to see the dog barreling towards the exit. She watched in horror as the dog heaved its body at the door and escaped out into the woods with incredible speed.
Frantically she crawled to her feet and stepped over the broken glass on the ground. The tranquillizer gun was on the floor, and Caleb was holding onto the counter. There in his foot was the tranquillizer dart that was meant for the dog.
“Caleb sit down,” she instructed as she helped him to a stool.
“Where did it go?” he asked as he winced in pain.