Sarah usually locked the front door when she was the only one home. Jake had left early for Sacramento to visit his 89-year-old mother. Sarah was working in her home office in the back of her house, her two dogs sleeping at her feet. Later, looking back on it, she remembered the reason she had left the door unlocked. Her friend Claudia had forced Sarah to agree to a five mile walk that day in the Berkeley hills and she was coming over at 10:00. Claudia’s legs may be short but she was hard to keep up with. Not what you would call shy, Claudia would just let herself in.
Turned out the puppy, Lucy, was the first to hear the front outside gate squeak open and close. Funny, Claudia usually used the side gate. But it must be Claudia since Sarah wasn’t expecting anyone else or any deliveries that day. The little dog took off for the front door with her usual yapping. The big sweet old dog, Sam, reluctantly gave up his nap to follow her down the long hall to the dining room and front door. He also gave a couple of welcoming barks. Glancing at her laptop’s digital clock, Sarah laughed. Celia was 15 minutes early. She did that sometimes. Just to drive Sarah crazy—because Sarah was always 15 minutes late to everything.
Grabbing her ancient brown hooded sweater, Sarah headed to the front of the house. Halfway down the hall, she heard Sam’s deep-throated growling. She froze. His growls became louder at the sound of footsteps on the front porch. Lucy, also trying to growl, stood ready to pounce from the chair next to the hall closet. Then the doorbell rang—Claudia never rang the bell before trying the door. Now both dogs were barking like crazy. With his back hair on end, the big dog filled the entryway with his 100 pounds. Still back in the hall, Sarah craned her neck forward to look outside through one of the open windows. A tall large shape stood on the front porch—obviously not her petite friend.
The handle on the front door started to turn. Sarah held her breath. The next sound she heard was the side gate crashing open and Claudia’s voice shouting, ”What the hell are you doing there? Do you have any idea what kind of killer dogs are on the other side of that door?” Then Sarah watched Claudia running after someone twice her size as she chased him out the front gate.