His shovel patted the dirt. A gentle touch. A period, not an exclamation. Twilight had faded to ash, then black. Fireflies rose above the ragged grass, cicadas in the trees. His son by his side. In the boy’s hand, a flashlight, the beam fixed upon the rectangle of upturned earth. The boy had found the dog behind the shed. For the past week, the dog had been lethargic. The heat, the father figured. The dog older than his son. A beagle mix, a rescue, a network of wounds beneath his black and tan coat. The shelter had named him Dodge. The father wasn’t fond of the name, but he believed changing it wouldn’t be fair. The son had just turned nine, an age in which the world was ruled by giants and myths. The father was deeply aware of the shadow he cast upon his son, and he did his best to live accordingly.
The father hadn’t been a dog person. He reminded his wife of their habit of sleeping in, their impromptu road trips. He thought of vet bills and the stink of wet fur. His wife joked: “If we can’t handle a dog, how can we handle a… Read more »