Eduardo could not believe his luck. The sun was turning the sky to gold as it sank into the west, but The Girl was still playing on the swings. Her golden hair and six-year old figure were enough to melt his heart; he decided then and there to take her for his bride.

He reached into the back of his van and took Skippy out of his pet carrier. Skippy was easily the most adorable of the puppies he carried for just such an occasion. And Skippy really liked little girls. He put Skippy on the ground and nudged him in the direction of The Girl.

Skippy acted just like he should. He bounded off in the direction of the girl, his long hair bouncing as he ran and his long tongue dangling out the side of his mouth. He stopped by the edge of the sandy place under the swings, looked up and yipped.

The Girl looked down and her eyes widened. She used her feet as brakes and brought the swing to a quick halt.

“Hello, Puppy.”

She climbed off the swing and crouched down.

“What are you doing out here, puppy? Momma says there are monsters around.”

Skippy yipped.

“Come here, puppy.” She scrunched up her print dress and dropped to her knees, revealing pink panties with white hearts as she crawled toward him. Eduardo thought they were perfect for her wedding night. He trembled in anticipation.

Skippy licked The Girl’s nose as she got near. She reached out and he jumped into her waiting arms, wagging his tail enthusiastically. Soon the girl and puppy were a wriggling, giggling mass of play.

“Skippy!” Eduardo’s practiced call was loud enough to sound like he was looking, but quiet enough that it wouldn’t carry out of the park.

Skippy yipped and The Girl looked up. Eduardo grinned.

“Skippy! Thank you, little girl; I thought I’d lost him!”

She looked at Eduardo suspiciously, cuddling the wriggling puppy in her arms.

“May I have him back?”

The Girl pulled back slightly as Eduardo reached for the dog, but not far enough. He scooped up his future bride and clapped a hand over her mouth.

“You’re a pretty little girl. I’ll take you home with me where you’ll be safe. After all, there are monsters around.” She struggled wildly in his arms, kicking and trying to scream. But Eduardo knew how to hold onto little girls so they couldn’t escape.


In the morning the park was surrounded with police tape; an early-morning jogger had found the bloodied body of a middle-aged man torn apart and partially eaten by a wild animal. Little Emily held her mother’s hand and stared in wonder at the police cars with their pretty red and blue lights. She’d brushed her teeth really well last night so nobody would see any traces of red this morning.