It was that dog. That goddamn, motherfucking neighbor dog. Nora had tried to talk to the little shit’s owner, but they had just credited it to a youthful exuberance that would most assuredly fade as the dog grew older. This explanation did a fantastic job of allowing her to sleep well until the dog finally grew out of its idiot yipping.
After talking to the family had failed, Nora had attempted to confront the problem in a more head-on manner while the neighbors were out at work. An unemployable nurse had plenty of time to discipline the dog just one-on-one. The problem with a strange woman trying to discipline a rambunctious young dachshund was that the little dogs could be quite aggressive. Nora had left with a pair of bite marks on her left leg that she could not quite identify as either friendly or malicious.
It was three nights since the bite and her attempted disciplining of the little dog appeared to have had absolutely no effect. It was well after midnight and still the idiot yipping poured over the fence and through her bedroom window. It was an ice pick burrowing through her skull. Maddening did not begin to explain the sensation; it was a roiling agony sweeping through all reaches of her mind.
It was that night that Nora decided to reclaim the silence of the night. That mongrel dog deserved it. After all, the little shit had had the nerve to bite her.
The next morning, Nora roused herself at five. She had slept little and lightly the night before and it was no problem to awake early enough to go about her preparations. She emptied out her largest purse while starting a pot of coffee and went into the garage to lay hands on the medical supplies she had squirreled away before they had fired her. She found what she was looking for and set them neatly in the black leather purse. From her garage she shuffled into her kitchen, poured herself a mug of black coffee and gathered another instrument she would need.
When eight o’clock rolled around and the neighbors had not yet left Nora felt her resolve slip. A desperate voice of reason pushed itself forward. What if one of them was sick and taking the day off work? What if she was seen by a passing jogger? Worst yet, what if this was wrong? These doubts passed quickly as two well-dressed figures walked with linked hands to a white Toyota parked in the driveway. This was the last time Nora’s failing voice of sanity ever spoke up. Instead, steadfast and unbreakable surety took over. She had been waiting for their departure for more than two hours, sitting in a battered easy chair, sipping her coffee, and peering through the blinds.
She counted out a full five minutes on her wristwatch before feeling satisfied that they had not left anything worth turning around for. She set her mug aside and relieved herself before retrieving her bag.
Nora left through the side door.
She flicked the neighbor’s gate open.
A syringe emptied.
A paralytic activated.
A needle flashed.
Thick, black thread bit into flesh.
A crooked grin stitched over silenced jaws.
A knife tore.
The dog bled.
She flicked the neighbor’s gate open.
Nora returned through the side door.
Noisome disturbances intruded upon silence’s ascendancy soon after.
Within minutes of arriving home Mister and Misses Yappy Dog (Nora had never felt the urge to retain their names) had found their dog and the bitch was calling her. Nora had been expecting no less and had thusly situated herself next to the phone in her living room, again lounging in her battered easy chair. This time, however, the preparations were mental, not physical.
She let the phone ring three times before picking up the handset. It would be best that they not know she had been waiting for this very call. No sooner had the phone reached her ear then did the furiously shrill voice of Misses Yappy Dog rip through her eardrum, all a-light with teary acrimony and quivering indignation. The piercing voice pushed on, indignation mounting with every denial of guilt Nora uttered. Not that it really mattered; the shrill woman on the other end of the line had nothing real to base her accusations on.
She let the woman wail on until she had no wind with which to speak and Nora hung up quietly while the woman took pause to inhale.
The police came by shortly after Nora and her neighbor finished their discourse. They spoke first to Mister and Misses Yappy Dog and then to Nora to investigate the dog owners’ claim. They left soon after. They too had nothing concrete to go on.
And so, with the police gone and the banshee next door stewing in her own juices, Nora sat back and reveled in the silence.
Three days had passed and Nora had received not a moment of peace since she had hung up on the blubbering neighbor bitch. At all hours of the day she called (apparently showing up for work was not longer a priority for her). She demanded Nora take responsibility for her dog’s murder. Inwardly scoffing at the notion that a repulsive mutt such as that was capable of being murdered, she corrected the maddening notion mentally. She had simply, and almost nobly, cleansed the neighborhood of that despicable mongrel, but she had absolutely no intention of sharing that information with the shrieking hag next door. Nora continued politely contradicting the accusations and once more set the phone back into the cradle without ceremony.
Three more days of agonizing torment ensued before Nora decided once more to reclaim the silence of the night.
Nora sat waiting in her easy chair, this time preparing herself for nightfall. This time discipline would reach out to the source of Nora’s problem. Not the yippy dog that had once tormented her so, but the woman—that goddamn, motherfucking neighbor woman. Her large leather bag was once more filled with supplies from her garage and kitchen. Now, in addition to the syringe filled with a high-grade paralytic, a heavy needle, a thick spool of thread, and long chef knife, were two thumbtacks and two small post-it notes with three words scrawled unevenly across both.
Silence is golden.