Molly turned her head and ran off the front porch. It had been a long day. She was glad to be home.
She turned the key, her brain released a little bit of relief. She gets to relax finally. She waited for the sound she hears everyday around Five-thirty when Axel is banging on the door.
There was no banging, though and no panting either. There was nothing at all to signify that the dog even knew she was there. After a decade of driveway key door dog it was easy to notice the silence. He shouldered the door open, failing to compensate for Axel missing weight, and stumbled over the threshold, more silence.
There was a sound she noticed. She also hadn't seen Linda's car parked out front. She supposed she had missed it.
"It's me," she said. Making her way towards the back of small house they shared. "How are you?"
"Good." Linda's voice made her feel a little better. The missing dog still nagged her. "Where's Axel?"
"Down here," Linda's said "he followed me down stairs to do the laundry."
Molly froze with his hand an inch away from the doorknob. Axel never went down stairs. Heck, Linda never did either, at least not since-not since they moved the washing machine up stairs.
"Linda are you okay?"
"Yeah." Her response was quick and sounded unusually defensive.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, hon." A little softer this time, but still not right.
Molly eased her hand toward the doorknob.
"Can you help me?"
Linda's voice sounded clipped again, "I have a lot of stuff to carry."
She opened the door with Axel with a new haircut.
Linda said, "I wanted to surprise you."