By: Paula Moldovan
It probably sounded unusual the first day of class when I was asked why I chose to take the horror based English class and I said “Well to tell you the truth, I don’t really like horror.” The reason I don’t like horror is because of the fear it creates deep inside me. When I let fear or horror or sinister ideas in, they terrify me and it’s often very difficult for me to separate myself from them therefore I prefer to either avoid or deny them. Which is one of the reasons why I never shared the story I am about to share with a single person.
In May 2011, my family’s dog, Spencer, a six year old English Cocker Spaniel, suddenly fell ill and by the middle of June his condition had deteriorated so severely that we had to euthanize the poor guy who was in so much pain. Let me rewind a little bit. Spencer’s condition started with his loss of appetite at the beginning of May when my mom went on a business trip. At first, my dad, sister, and I thought he was just said my mom had left since the two of them were very close. By the time my mom returned at the end of the week, Spencer still wasn’t eating. Concerned, we took him to the vet and after a couple of weeks and numerous vet visits, the vet diagnosed Spencer with acute liver failure and leukemia. His illness progressed so quickly that we had no choice but to euthanize him because by mid-June he could barely move, his internal organs were breaking down, he could not go to the bathroom, eat, or drink water. My parents had to give him fluids through an IV every few hours. One of the most difficult parts of watching Spencer struggle had been hearing how difficult it was for him to simply breathe. He would take these ragged, rattling breaths because his lungs were starting to fill with fluid.
The months following Spencer’s death were some of the most difficult months I had faced up until then. On November 1st of that year, also known as Day of the Dead, my dad lit a candle in remembrance of my grandma. He had done this every year since she died in 2003 so there was nothing unusual about that day until later that night. I was downstairs alone working on homework at the kitchen table (the candle was still lit) when I first heard the noise. It was the rattling and ragged sound of deep, struggling breaths, taken through failing lungs. I refused to believe what I was hearing. My house has creaky bones so I blamed the noise on the years. But when it didn’t stop for several minutes, I couldn’t deny the striking similarity between this noise and the sound of Spencer’s breathing before he died. Completely freaked out by the noise and the coincidence of November 1st, I blew out the candle, took one last look around the kitchen and at “Spencer’s spot” before rushing upstairs. I never shared this story with anybody because I was afraid to accept the fact that it actually happened and I knew this was not a story that I could share with just anybody. It had to be told to the right person.