I got home after a long day of work, ready to wedge myself into the ass-crease quickly forming on my new couch and watch TV until my eyes glazed over. I was still living in the FEMA mobile home, due to a combination of my own laziness and the fact that burning your own house down doesn’t really help you get approved for a loan, at least not one from any kind of legitimate source.
Amy had gone back to college after I assured her about 50 times that I would be fine, and that I would call her right away if (or more likely when) any weird bullshit started happening around me. John was at “band practice,” so I was looking forward to a solitary, peaceful night of bad food and worse TV. I put a Hot Pocket in the microwave and settled into my couch butt-pocket. I was reaching for the remote when I heard it: a shuffling sound coming from the other side of the trailer, growing louder. Coming towards me. I slowly turned my head, equally expecting to see a squirrel that had gotten in through a busted screen, or a horrifying monstrosity that was about to kill me. In my experience, unexplained sounds usually turned out to be one of the two.
It was Molly.
Or, more accurately, it was something that looked exactly like Molly. Because it couldn’t really be her, right? She’d been dead for months. I know she’s done some unusual things, but up till now none of those included reanimation. Not counting the exploding doppelganger, of course.
Maybe it was just a similar-looking dog that got in somehow. The same breed of rust collie or whatever. I always locked the door, obviously, but a trailer isn’t exactly an impenetrable fortress.
Or maybe it was a horrifying monstrosity here to kill me, taking the shape of a deceased pet to try to catch me off guard. I was sure the connection to Shit-Narnia was broken, but if someone else had started making replicas…
Whatever it was, Not-Molly ignored my gaping stare and wandered past me into the kitchenette, nails clicking on the linoleum. She sat down, tail thumping against the floor, and looked at me expectantly.
The microwave beeped. I got up, singed my fingers transporting the Hot Pocket to a paper plate, and brought it back to the couch. Not-Molly whined, trotted over, and jumped up onto the couch next to me. I switched the plate to my other hand and held it away from her.
“No. This one’s mine. Get your own.”
She gave up and settled down on the couch. Her ass hit the remote and turned on the TV.
Well, it didn’t seem like she was going to rip my throat out anytime soon. I watched her for a minute, just to make sure, then pulled out my phone and called John.
That night was Three-Arm Sally’s semiannual band practice, events that I expect have very little practicing and a lot of weed. I think they mostly just sit around, smoke, and come up with new terrible band names. It was possibly an orgy. John invited me to one once, but I spent most of the time out in the hallway with my inhaler.
“Dave?” Surprisingly, he answered on the third ring. I heard muffled laughter in the background.
“Hey, do you have a minute? There’s a possible, uh, situation here.”
“What’s up? Did you shoot someone again?”
“No, nothing like that, it’s just- there’s a dog here.”
“Aww! Guys, Dave got a dog.” I heard a chorus of muffled “aww”s in the background that went on for about two minutes. Finally, John said “Are you gonna give it to Amy? Cuz, no offense, but I don’t think she wants another dog.”
“No, it’s- it just showed up here. And John, it looks exactly like Molly.”
A long pause. “Huh,” he said. “That’s weird.”
“Has she done anything, uh, y’know-“ he broke off, probably gesturing something signifying “weird and/or demonic.”
“I mean, she hasn’t levitated or killed me or anything, but she got into my locked trailer. And changed the channel to Project Runway.”
“Dude, you keep your spare key under the mat. She’d be an idiot not to work that out.” I figured that was fair enough. “And if her evil plan is to get you to have some better fashion sense, then I’m inclined to let her do it.”
“Okay, John. Thanks for your help.”
“I say fashion sense because her plan couldn’t be to turn you gay. Get it, cuz you’re already-“ I hung up.
I thought about calling Amy, but decided against it. She had an exam to study for, and we were going to Skype the next day anyway. Not-Molly let out a big sigh, like dogs do sometimes, and rested her head on my thigh. Her butt was still on the remote. I shrugged, sat back, and took a bite of the Hot Pocket. I wasn’t going to watch reality shows by myself like I had planned, but honestly, there was worse company.