Psychopomp Magazine Summer 2015 - Page 36

36 | Psychopomp Magazine

Melissa McDaniel

FOUND Special Pet Seeks Forever Home

Is this what it feels like? Like quiet. Like amnesia. Like waiting at the kitchen table with all the lights off in our apartment.

Waiting for you to come home. Until the door opens, and the creature follows you in like a shadow.

You don’t try to stop it. You let the creature come inside and then here he is, living with both of us. A crying and quivering thing, hiding under the kitchen table.

I feel like I should make it clear that we are not responsible people by anyone’s standards. Our apartment is an obstacle course of forgotten clothes, trash, and important pieces of paper. We never remember to take out the recycling. Empty bottles line the kitchen floor—dried pools sticking to the tiles, ecosystems of neglect. We hadn’t spoken to each other in three days when the creature followed you home. We weren’t prepared.

The creature is about a foot tall standing upright. He is soft and caramel colored, with no distinctive markings other than that translucent tusk that sits between his eyes. Rather than walk, he almost seems to waddle around on over­sized, hairless paws. His face is like damp paper, mangled and weary. I’m not sure if it’s time or something worse that got to him. You say he takes after me, and I laugh: Ha. Ha.

I was never much of an animal person, but it’s different when you’re responsible for someone. Wet, helpless eyes can burn a hole in your chest. He doesn’t have a name, but he did come with a collar. The strange symbols written on the tag were nothing