The Old Dog finds its legs in the corner. He wants to take me for a walk, but I’m too weak. He knows that better than anyone. He’s been waiting.

We found each other the day I sank into my cups and carved up a drifter for sport. Together we buried the corpse underneath a wooden shed. I remember thinking how deftly his charcoal legs beat back mounds of frozen earth. Back then the Old Dog was only a pup with thoughtless marble eyes and fangs like sewing pins. He’s walked in my shadow ever since, placing paw after paw in my wayward steps. He’s seen me lie and cheat to cover up my crime. He’s watched me kill again and again. With each transgression the Old Dog took on weight and edges and heat. Now his claws glow like coals in a forge and his old bones land like anvils, cracking my ribs as he mounts my chest. His jaws close around my throat and I can taste his canine breath. The scent of eggs fills every cavity in my skull.

My Old Dog wants to take me for a long walk.

by Zach Lisabeth

Zach Lisabeth is a Los Angeles-based speculative fiction author. His work has appeared in the anthology RealLies (The Zharmae Publishing Press and he is a graduate of the 2014 Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Workshop.

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