*The flash fiction prompt, “I didn’t think anyone else was here,” was suggested by Kaela Martin.  

 

Kevin wasn’t smart, but you don’t have to be smart to make piles of money, you just have to be born into a rich family, which he was, the Dunbar family of Alcroft Hill. Kevin’s father wasn’t smart either. Nor Kevin’s grandfather. But Kevin’s great grandfather, Carlton Isaac Dunbar, was a man of a certain intelligence.  

Carlton owned vast amounts of land in lowcountry South Carolina, on which he planted cotton. Carlton ran a tight organization. He yielded great profits from his crops and sold the entire plantation one year before boll weevils decimated the cotton industry. Sensing the demise of the south, Carlton took his fortune up North and opened the first branch of United Bank.   

United Bank is still run by the Dunbars of Alcroft Hill. 7% of the 24% interest you pay on their loans goes directly into the Dunbars’ pocket. A pretty good racket when you consider that United Bank has 1.6 billion dollars in high interest loans out. Which means Kevin and his family receive 112 million dollars annually for doing absolutely nothing.  

Kevin started a record label in the late 90’s (failed by 2001), he produced films (nothing that you would have heard of), he invested in an outdoor adventure company with a man named Geoffrey, who disappeared into the high mountains of Bhutan with Sherpa loads of his cash. Kevin went to art school to study photography. He has thousands of dollars worth of equipment he doesn’t use, including a drone, which arrived two months ago, and is still in the box.  

All these endeavors Kevin invested in, or participated in, were just distractions from his greatest passion, breeding Mexican hairless dogs, known as  Xoloitzcuintli, or Xolos for short (not to be confused with the Peruvian hairless dog). Kevin began breeding them when he was an early teenager after learning he had a terrible dog-allergy and the family had to get rid of Ollie, the beloved family Labrador.  

Xolos were considered sacred dogs by the Aztecs, Toltecs, and Maya people. Kevin became so fascinated by the history and folklore behind the Xolos, he had the breeding facility built to look like an Aztec temple. My name is Yatolo, and I was hired to manage the breeding facility. The Dunbars treat me well. I have my own place to live, money to spend and I love working with the dogs.  

Kevin comes in everyday around dusk and sits with the dogs. Often when I leave for the day he will be sitting cross-legged, eyes closed, in the great open room of the breeding temple, surrounded by his pack of hairless dogs. He looks so content. I quietly leave. “Lock the door behind you,” he says.  

On what was to be my last day of work I left my phone charging in the breeding temple and had to return to retrieve it. As to not disturb Kevin, I quietly unlocked the door. When I approached the great room I saw Kevin standing naked, illuminated by the light of the full moon that shone through a small window at the top of the temple. Above his head he held a small female Xolo named Char. she was bleeding profusely from a knife slit in her belly. Her dripping blood coated Kevin as he chanted a nonsensical chant. All the other Xolos sat on their hind legs in a circle around Kevin witnessing the sacrifice. The scene swirled in moonlight, blood and ancient power. I became woozy and fell toward the nearest wall, knocking over a leaning broom.  

Kevin turned to me, his eyes wide and peaceful. “Oh,” he said, “I didn’t know anyone else was here.”