Mk II (Evan Nicholls)

‘Missy Hood’, A Good Watchdog, d. 2001

For so long, I have not been able to sleep. A while back, I had run a chainsaw through the cross and tossed it onto the burnpile. Then three days ago, I telephoned the game warden about this phantom dog: ‘The whole farm’s gone blewy.’ The warden said she’d swing by in a week. ‘But ma’am, Missy Hood’s been after me.’ She had nothing to say. And ‘Do not pass judgement, woman, you have never been stalked by a dead dog. The ghost halved my cat in her teeth.’ I hung up. My hair has been leaving me in clumps. Hood’s white shadow is grifting my entire brain; I’ve dreamed her leaping through pockets of fire, fog, and snow. Hood in the helmet of a conquistador. Hood pedalling a black bicycle like mad. Century of the bitch. But tonight, I have tree’d myself with a Mk II shotgun. Waiting. Because the warden will not lift a digit. If she does swing by, she will find only aftermath–– my femur in leftover ash, my melting skull speared onto this here branch–– and she will laugh aloud. These females are aligned! Hood will nuzzle the warden’s muffed ear. O! I hear the beast coming for me now. Her tail is the dark wind wagging this tree. She is hissing my poor cat’s name: ​Yaaahtzeeee!


Evan Nicholls has work appearing or forthcoming in The Columbia Review, Guesthouse, SporkletDIAGRAM and Hobart, among othersHe is from the peach, fox, horse and wine country of Fauquier County, Virginia. He tweets at @nicholls_evan. Find more of his work here:


image: Stephanie Jacobs