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Omen/Jim by Jamey Gallagher



Omen

Before we hit the trailhead, we saw the whitish dog stumbling down from the mountain, its legs buckling out from under it, its mangy fur dragging leaves, dirt and spider webs in grayish clumps, eyes coated with something pearl-colored and thick.

This seemed like a bad omen, but we started hiking anyway, two at a time, our rubber-soled sneakers slipping off slick rocks.

Soon, the sprinkling of rain turned to a torrent poking our shoulders like clever fingers, and in the roar we could hear someone saying, "Hey, hey! HEY!" but when we turned around we saw nothing but the whitish dog following us, half the size it had been because of the rain. We could smell its doggy stench. Its eyes were clear now, watching us.

One or two of us just dissolved, into the ground or the air, I'm not sure which.

Then the torrent turned to hail like ice cubes knocking our heads around, making a sploshing sound in the river we couldn't see, a cracking sound on the rocks. The voice we heard said different things now, repetitive things we couldn't decipher.

Someone picked up the whitish dog and handed it to me, so I could feel its tiny heart beating. I tucked it under my coat, and it kept me warm until there were only the two of us and we were walking back out of the trailhead, to the empty van. We live here now. We travel from mountain to mountain, looking for the others. I have to carry Omen, the dog, because its legs don't work anymore.



Jim


Through the monitor, Jim listens to the monkey tail that swings back and forth and back and forth in the baby's room.

"Hey, June," he says, "do you hear that? Do you hear that monkey tail swinging back and forth in the baby's room? Doesn't it concern you at all? We left the baby in there, and now there's that sound."

"But it's only some static on the monitor, Jim," she says. "Nothing to worry about."

"Oh," Jim says.

"Anyway, they took her last night in their flying ship," she says. "Don't you remember? Spinning lights and that strange woo-woo-woo sound? You knew what was happening, didn't you?"

He vaguely remembers a figure with big black eyes reaching some kind of fingers toward him.

"She'll be alright?" he says.

"Oh yeah, they're real careful."

He nods and gets back to the newspaper.

A while later he looks up.

"But what about the monkey?" he says.



Jamey Gallagher has had writing published places. You can check out some of those places at his website. Besides writing, he leads a dual life as a father in South Jersey, and a graduate student at St. Joseph's, in Philly.


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