[[ Prompt: A knock at the door ]]
Carmen had just sat down to eat when the doorbell rang, the ascending chimes echoing in the stillness. She froze, blood still streaming down her muzzle. The house should be empty, who would be here? Beyond the door, she could smell cheese, tomato sauce, spices, and cheap body spray.
The chimes rang again. “Giorgio’s,” called the person at the door.
Carmen hadn’t ordered any pizza. Neither, she was sure, had her dinner host. She’d been watching the house since sunset, and she hadn’t seen him pick up the phone. But maybe he’d done it online, or with an app. They had things like that now.
The delivery boy pounded on the door, rattling the windows. “Pizza delivery,” he shouted.
She couldn’t very well answer the door. Not like this. “Go away,” she snarled. Briefly, she considered eating him too, but it wasn’t worth the risk. The pizza company, as well as the neighbors, would have known he was here by now. Besides, there was no way she could finish both alone.
“What an asshole,” Dave the pizza boy muttered. He double-checked the address on his slip; this was definitely the right house. This neighborhood was nice enough that it probably wasn’t a prank, just somebody with buyers’ regret. It still came out of his check, though. He stuffed the boxes back into their insulated warmer.
The guy had sounded weird, though. Like something was caught in his throat. Maybe there was something really wrong with him. Dave hesitated on the landing. Should he knock again? Against his better judgement, he leaned over and peered through the front window. It was mostly obscured by the curtains, but he could see a sliver of the house’s interior.
Blood was sprayed over the floor in arcs. It looked like a horror movie in there. “Holy shit,” Dave said, inhaling sharply. Clutching his pizza bag, he leapt down the steps and out the fence to his car. Hands shaking, he punched 911 into his phone.
“I’d like to report a–” Dave paused, uncertainly. What had he just seen? “A murder.” It had to be. Nobody bled that much from an accident. Had the murderer come just after the guy had ordered the pizza? Would he have been next? Dave felt ill at the thought of it. The operator told him to stay in his car and wait for the police to arrive. He crouched down in his seat and watched the front door in case anyone came out.
This was bad. Really bad. Carmen had to get out of there without being seen; even in the dark it wasn’t easy for a huge wolf to hide in the suburbs. The pizza guy was still sitting out front, his beat-up little car idling at the curb. Maybe she should have just eaten him, too. Carmen spared her lost dinner one regretful glance before she turned to look for another exit. The back door opened out into a small yard, bordered on every side by other houses. That might work, but it would be dangerous. Better to go up. If she could escape the immediate vicinity, she could get back to the forest belt where she’d been hiding out the last few days.
Carmen’s ears perked as she heard the sharp wail of sirens in the distance. They’d be here soon. A small shed stood in the corner of the yard. It wasn’t ideal, but it would have to do. She clambered up onto its roof, her claws digging deep grooves in the cheap wood. From there, she leapt over the fence into the next yard. Lights were on inside, but hopefully they too would be busy eating, and wouldn’t sense her presence. Inside the house, a dog yipped in alarm, but no one came to the door. Good. This was the last time she’d try to eat someone in the suburbs — even if he did deserve it.