Dead Dog
by Evelyn Winters, 3.24am November 10th 2021

I was driving through reservation land. The sky was the color of harvested wheat. The wheat fields were early and green. Farm houses here and there. Dirt roads took turns I never knew.

My to-go breakfast was a Rice Crispy treat and ham and egg McMuffin. I sipped McCafé and sang songs from my teenage years, when the days breezed by and the nights shined bright. When I reached for an apple slice, I hit the dog that ran out in front of me. I was travelling at a velocity of fifty- five.

There was no yelp. Only a dead cold thud.

I pulled over thinking my heart might break through my windpipe. An old friend I had not spoken to in over a decade torched through my hippocampus. Reardon, what have the years done to you?

The outside air was cold and moist. The wheat fields paused. All sounds had been sucked up to the brown sky above.

The black and gray dog lay on the side of the road, splitting the white line. Its tongue lagged. I knew it was dead and I knew that I was its killer. Oh well, I thought. What can a lady do?

Then something else inside me said, Touch it. If you touch the dog it will wake up. I had always dreamed of being a healer. Healers are mysterious and respected. The world needs more healers. I could really use an occupation. For one, I was broke. Two, bored stiff.

The body was cold. The fur was soft. I touched the place where the heart is on a dog. I closed my eyes, pretending to pray, but I didn’t want this to be another win for God. The healing would be all mine.

All mine.

My palm felt the ribcage expand. There was a whimper, a cry. The dog’s eyes lit up, and its tail began slapping the wet road. My first instinct was to rap it over the skull with the nearest hard thing.

Shouldn’t dead things stay dead?

“There you are,” I said. “I’m so glad you’re alive. I’m so glad I saved you.”

The dog stood, strong and firm. I reached out my hand to pet it. I guess you could say I wanted it to like me. I was in need of a friend.

But without having time to protect myself the dog snarled and sprang and sunk its wolf-like fangs into my neck.

I grabbed the dog’s throat and squeezed. I was furious. Furious that the dog was so mean and ungrateful.

We had each other by the throats. There was a moment where I went all dizzy until my consciousness slipped out of my head and into the dog. For a spell we changed places—the dog was me and the other way around. I can’t say I looked pretty. I can’t say I looked like much at all.

It must have been when the dog released its teeth from my throat that I slithered back into me. I had mixed feelings about that, especially as I watched the dog run off, so alive—on a path that cut through the early wheat.

Blood fell on the road, puddling and splashing. It was fun seeing something so red gather and grow.

All and all, I couldn’t complain. I had done it. I had raised the dead. And now I could go off and
do it again. I could find people in need and I could touch the world and heal the planet. It proved I belonged and had purpose.

Back in my car I stuck a pile of white McDonald’s napkins to my throat. With my free hand I took the wheel and drove through that ancient land once frozen over with blue ice; later wars were fought and buffalo roamed. The future you ask? Same, but in reverse – more wheat, war, blue ice. Voices called to me all the while. I recognized some of the voices. Relatives. Past co-workers. Was that Reardon? The rest, the unfamiliar voices, sounded eager to know me.