The cop didn’t believe me when I said I was racing home to let my dogs out. He gave me a patronizing smile, handed me the ticket, and told me to look into doggy day care.

At home, everything was too quiet. No barking. No whining on the other side of the door. When I flicked on lights, I found myself in a blizzard. Tufts of padding floated in the air. One dog had a couch cushion wrapped around her head. The other rolled around in a downy bed of furniture guts.

Both looked up with ears cocked backwards.

This story was written in response to Carrot Ranch Literary Community’s weekly 99-word challenge:

July 16, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that expresses the phrase, “scream inside your heart.” Who is involved and why is the scream contained? Go where the prompt leads!