“On the Other Side, 14”

by Brianna G. Harte

“Harrison! There are people inside here still!” Mama exclaimed as we passed through the living that strode through the hallways. None of them seemed to notice.

My eyes darted across the rooms, starting to see familiar toys scattered around the rooms rather than the people. They also picked up on the beer bottles laying on the counter and table. At the sight, I stopped short, tilting my head to the side with eyebrows furrowing.

Mama’s eyes peered into my own. “What is it?”

“Don’t you see them, Mama?”

“See what, Harrison?”

“The bottles.”

Her lips pressed together. “What do you mean? I see no bottles.”

I threw my head back. “Mama, it’s our house. Can’t you remember it?”

“Is that what you see?”

I nodded.

“But how?” she asked, her voice trailing off. “Let me try. Keep an eye out, okay?”

“For what?”

“Just in case.”

I shrugged.

It took Mama forever to see the house the way I did, so I grabbed a plastic duck on wheels with a string coming out of its neck. A laugh rang out as I pulled it across the floor. The toy phased through the couches and walls as I did, but both of us ran over the other objects I recognized on the floor. I never felt so solid. So real.

“Harrison! Watch out!” Mama cried.

Just after she yelled, I noticed a chain lying in the air and stopped short. I fell to the floor, stunned. At first, I couldn’t tell whether or not it was real, as in, part of the house as it was presently. With a wavering hand, I reached out toward it. The metal was cool to the touch. I looked down to the end of the chain and found it attached to nothing.

“Why’s this chain here?”

“Well, we used to have a dog,” Mama began. “Your dad tied him to a chain in the house so he wouldn’t run away. Maybe he’s not here because he died.”

“But Mama, why wouldn’t he be with us? We’re dead too.”

She took a deep breath. “Maybe dogs go to a different heaven than this, Harrison. Ever think of that?”

“No, Mama, but -”

“See? Bear could be elsewhere.”

I don’t know why, but at the mention of the name, an image of a short, mostly black rottweiler appeared in my mind. His tongue hung out of his mouth, as though he was happy, even with a chain linked at his neck. I got the feeling that we were good friends in life, which forced my eyes to the ground. It was cruel that I couldn’t see him anymore.

Roof!”

I shook my head, annoyed that I’d remember his bark, but not see him.

Rrroof! Roof roof!

Copyright © 2016 Brianna G. Harte. All rights reserved.

If you haven’t yet, check out the previous parts of “On the Side” by following this link! Don’t forget to let me know what you think!

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