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Dead Dog Rising
by Kate Hill Cantrill

My father has not slept with any sort of confidence in over one and one-half weeks. The dog is dying, see; he's dying in that pacing way. He's thin and gray and moving like he has big plans—the kind that wake him in the night to say, Let's go! Let's break away!

His claws have grown and since his pads are wasting, sucked-in, sunken soles, claws tap the floor, they keep the time. Click clack. Click clack. Click.

That sound there—that back and forth—is what wakes my father and drives him mad. Click clack, he tells me, then skid, then sometimes, thump—which means the dog has lost it.

My father keeps a baseball bat for just this kind of thing, for if the night should make a sound—creak, slam, shattering glass. He'll grab that bat and head downstairs, so angry then, more so than scared. Get out! Get out of my stone house!

He gives the dog some Valium. He pushes down on his thin backside. He looks him in the eyes and says, You know me, Dog. I know you know me. The dog has made such big, big plans and hasn't got the time.

He rises later in the night. Click clack, he walks. Click clack. Click.

My father, now mad with sleep, or lack of it, or simply clouded, grabs the bat in his rough, dry fist. Creak, shuffle, ominous thump. He runs downstairs in panic, fury. He is angry at the nighttime sounds. He holds the bat above his head. Get out! Get out of my stone house!

The dog is there, on sorry legs, with sorry claws. He looks toward the man, the bat, and says, You know me, Man. I know you know me.

"Dead Dog Rising" was first published in Perfect 8 Magazine. It appears here by permission of the author.

All content in SmokeLong Quarterly copyright 2003-2015 by its authors.

Kate Hill Cantrill's writing has appeared in numerous literary publications, including: StoryQuarterly, Salt Hill, Mississippi Review, Blackbird, The Believer, Quick Fiction, 3rd Bed, Diagram, and others. Her flash fiction chapbook, "Hello Friends and Neighbors," was recently awarded a finalist position in the Diagram/New Michigan Press Contest and a semi-finalist position in the Rosemetal Press Contest. She lives in Brooklyn where she is writing a novel and teaching for the Sackett Street Workshops. She can be reached at

Read the interview.
Issue Twenty (March 15, 2008): The Cockroach by David Barringer «» Trestle by Matt Briggs «» Worried & Wondering by Aaron Burch «» Dead Dog Rising by Kate Hill Cantrill «» Tinder by Chanel Earl «» Scrape by Utahna Faith «» Arlo's Big Head by Stefanie Freele «» Wei-Ch'i by Vanessa Gebbie «» Last Fall by Katherine Grosjean «» David Dreams of Australopithecines by Savannah Schroll Guz «» The Last Stop by Jenny Halper «» Blue by Stephanie Harrison «» Cadet by Tiff Holland «» Slam by Liesl Jobson «» Beret by Darlin' Neal «» Camp by Elizabeth Oliver «» We by Patricia Parkinson «» Seconds Are Ticking By by Nik Perring «» Brother by Sue Powers «» Carol by Sophie Rosenblum «» Elizabeth Bishop by Glenn Shaheen «» Favorites by Gail Siegel «» Blank by Michelle Tandoc-Pichereau «» Medicinal by Girija Tropp «» Interviews: David Barringer «» Matt Briggs «» Aaron Burch «» Kate Hill Cantrill «» Chanel Earl «» Utahna Faith «» Stefanie Freele «» Vanessa Gebbie «» Katherine Grosjean «» Savannah Schroll Guz «» Jenny Halper «» Stephanie Harrison «» Tiff Holland «» Liesl Jobson «» Darlin' Neal «» Elizabeth Oliver «» Patricia Parkinson «» Nik Perring «» Sue Powers «» Sophie Rosenblum «» Glenn Shaheen «» Gail Siegel «» Claudia Smith «» Michelle Tandoc-Pichereau «» Girija Tropp «» Cover Art "Male Figure" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor
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