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After I got out, finding work wasn’t easy. So I felt I had lucked out in getting the graveyard job. It was quiet, and dark, and didn’t have any people, at least not living ones. Would have been a real all right job if not for the dog.
Rafe, the day watchman, he didn’t believe me when I told him about it. And everyone else, well, there wasn’t anyone else I could tell, really – a small town, and they all looked at me crooked at the supermarket as it was, and the cashier would make a face when I came by her register, like, all right, but I’d kick you out if it were up to me.
They weren’t all bad people, just had their limits, like most anyone else. That other guy who came here after prison, they didn’t let their kids pass in front of his house, but they didn’t whisper about him, or give him a hard time at the supermarket. Because what he did, it could never happen to them – he was sick, that’s what they said. But what I did, they’d all been there, or they knew someone who’d been there, and they never killed anyone. So I guess what they thought was, that other guy was sick, but what’s my excuse?
Anyway, the dog. It showed up on my seventh night at the graveyard, a black thing, big as a bull, eyes little mirrors. Didn’t bark, just growled quietly and stood there, smelling like death, white teeth in hot darkness.
It came back every night after that. It would look at me and I’d wish it would lunge already, but it never did. It would look at me and I could hear it thinking, take your time – no matter the pace, the destination is the same. And I knew one day it would come to take me to hell for killing that girl.
I didn’t believe I could stop it. I think I just wanted to prove to Rafe that it was real, because Rafe, he was a nice guy, but after I told him about the dog, he too had started looking at me kinda crooked. One time he asked, you been drinking? I came real close to him, until I could see he was scared, and I said, watch it. Because I hadn’t drank ever since that night on the road.
So one night I brought a knife. When the dog showed up I hit it in the eye, over and over, but always the same eye, so Rafe would see that the other one was a mirror.
Next thing I remember is someone’s hand pulling me up on my feet, and Rafe’s voice saying, you lunatic, you madman, Henderson’s dog. And I say, yeah, yeah, the dog, you seen it? But he just keeps talking about some Henderson, some old guy who died right after I got the job.
Louis Rakovich writes fiction. His work has appeared in Goldfish Grimm, Phobos Magazine and Bad Dream Entertainment, and is forthcoming in Firewords Quarterly. He grew up in Jerusalem, Israel, and currently lives in New York, NY, where he is working on his first novel. You can find more work by him at: http://www.louisrakovich.com.