I had just pushed the doorbell when what I had thought was a decorative vine snaked down and wrapped around my neck. It squeezed, and I gasped for air. I clawed at it, coming away with sap under my fingernails.
It lifted me up. I could feel the crushing pressure on my throat, my own weight strangling me. I kicked feebly, recalling stories of hanged men, dying slowly if their necks were not broken by the initial fall.
The door opened. “Oh, dear,” said my friend. “Don’t you mind Vern. He’s just a little feisty these days. Vern! Down, boy!”
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