#24 Billy, Maggie, and the Bad Dog

| November 24, 2011 | 0 Comments

His life ends in much the same way it began: an accident. An accidental conception which involved a shotgun marriage. An unfortunate incident with a melon, a cat, and an improbable crossbeam.


The moments between birth and death were not overly interesting, if Billy was honest with himself. If he had time to be honest.


Aside from the fact that his parents were uncommonly young (at least for the area in which he had lived), there was not much to differentiate the path his life had taken from others. He had gone to public school, played baseball throughout his teenage years without any hope of making it big, and had fallen in love.


Maggie was a kind woman with soft, warm eyes (so prone to tears now) and an iron will. She could lead a horse to water and make it drink out of sheer stubbornness alone.

 (that was
                    the source of
           this problem)

If Billy had lived another month, he would have been married. The caterers had been contacted, the guests invited, the church decided. Everything would have been perfect.

The day they should have married hadn’t a single cloud in the sky.

 (I love you)

Death wasn’t a peaceful as Billy would have liked it. It wasn’t full of soft clouds and pearly gates like he had been promised, or heat and sulphur like he had feared. It was much like living but with the sound turned down. Or like someone had poked the world with a needle and let all of the colour drain out. (red threads binding, coupling, fating, choking)

Maybe that was how death was, to exist on the edges of the world you once lived in. However, that didn’t make sense because for the longest time Billy thought he had been a ghost alone.

 (not alone)


Nice dog, says another ghost to Billy. She reminded him of the old lady who had lived on the same street as him when he was ten, who used to fly her flag, day and night, rain or shine. When she eventually died, her children took down that flag, which had become so faded and frayed at the edges that it was barely a flag anymore.

I don’t have one, he replies. I‘m allergic.

(let me go)

He could see it now. Barely. If he looked out of the corner of his eye or over his shoulder, he could make out its shape, huge and monstrous. It kind of looked like a dog. It had four legs, a tail, fur, and a snout like a dog, but that was where the metaphor ended. Dogs didn’t have that many teeth in their mouths, nor oil-black fur which looked like the most macabre rainbow ever. Their tails didn’t seem to stretch out forever, twisting into smoke wisps. Their barks didn’t resound with the screams of a thousand ghosts whose lovers hadn’t been able to let them go.


(but I love you)

(I will die if you don’t end our engagement)

(you are already dead)

(you know what I mean)


(no I don’t)

(I love you)

(I love you)

(I love you)

(I‘ll save you)

(because I love you)


(I can’t be saved)

(There’s nothing)

(no damnation)

(WOno salvationOF)

(I‘ll find a way)

Its stench is the only thing he can smell now. It reeks of fruit left out too long, of fresh blood, of – somehow – the screech of violins (Billy had never been good at playing one). The smell fills Billy like air in a balloon, making his lungs expand with its rot, leaving no room for anything else.

(you said that you would save me)

(I will)

(be patient)

He can’t breathe.

It hurts so much. He feels frayed and faded like that old woman’s flag, like that old ghost, out of touch with who he used to be (snapping at his heels, finding him because of the red thread). He barely remembers what it was like to be alive. He swings his arms like he’s up to bat, but can’t remember why. There’s no bat in his hands and he couldn’t think of why there should be or why he would want a beautiful day like this for any occasion other than for baseball and what is baseball what’s that who is he who is he who who who who




And then the world fades to white, and so does Billy.

(I won’t let you have him)

(bad dog)

(I said)

(bad dog)


Category: 2011, Drama, Fantasy, Horror, WTF

About the Author ()

Leave a Reply