Prompt: As you are walking down the street, a dog pulls on his lead to try and greet you. You bend down to stroke him, when he suddenly speaks in a deep voice: "The beast and his armies will rise from the pit to make war against God." His owner smiles and keeps walking, as if nothing happened.
"I can hear dog. I kid you not."
The man opposite Johnson could only offer an unsympathetic stare. "You know if you're not helping yourself if you keep talking like this right?"
"But it's true! I have heard them! All of them! And if we don't do something soon, humanity will be wiped out!" Johnson screamed from behind the door. The man, one of the facility's wardens, flipped through the chart hung in front of the room.
Lyon Johnson, 29 male. An aspiring researcher at Harvard until he went bonkers one day. Started to claim that he could hear dogs talking, that they were warning him against the imminent invasion of the devil. Started to stock up on guns, ammunition and researching ways to build IEDs. He had to be brought in. Family showed no prior sign of mental illness, no reason behind the sudden onset of the symptoms.
Johnson tapped on the door slightly. "Do you know how I know your name, Michael?"
Michael sighed. As a warden, one of the strict instructions he must follow is absolutely no contact with any of the patients. He had been doing that fairly well for the past 10 years, until Johnson called him by his full name. He even named the labrador Michael used to own: Brady. It has been months since Michael lost Brady. Hearing the mention of his name made Michael wanted to know more.
"Tell me," Michael whispered through the cracks of the door.
"You know the first dog that I told you about? The one that told me that the beast and his armies will rise to wage war against god? Turns out, his owner stayed not far from my house. When I saw him a second time, I had to talk to him."
"And what does that have to do with Brady?"
"Shh! I'm getting there. Turns out he goes to Happy Vets for his weekly grooming!"
Michael felt his hair stand. It was the same vet that he used to bring Brady to. And there was a Maltese that Brady seemed very fond of during his visits. "Are you... are you talking about Bumper?"
"Yes!" Johnson exclaimed. "That Maltese dog! Brady's best friend, right?"
Michael kept quiet for a while, trying to process his thoughts. Just knowing Brady's name doesn't really mean anything. He told Johnson that.
"I knew you would say that. What if I can tell you where Brady went?"
Michael's blood froze. The memory of that day was still fresh in his mind. He had come home from work, when he noticed that his front door was slightly ajar. Entering his house, he called out to Brady, expecting the grey labrador to come jumping to him as usual. But what greeted him was only silence. He searched the entire neighbourhood for Brady, put up posters, pleaded with authorities, but no one seemed to be able to offer him any lead.
Brady seemed to have disappeared into thin air. And a little of Michael went with him. Hearing Johnson, whom he has never met, talk about him finding Brady again, Michael felt a stir of hope in his heart.
Logically speaking, it was a crazy gamble that would cost Michael everything should Johnson turn out to be a psycho like what the reports claimed, but Michael knew he would never forgive himself if he abandoned Brady to his fate.
He took out his keys, and slid them into Johnson's door. "Now, don't me regret this," he said, amid the sound of the lock turning.
Behind the door came Johnson's reassuring voice. "You won't. Because we are going to save the world. With the help of man's best friends."