“On the Other Side, 15”

by Brianna G. Harte

I lifted my head and found myself face to face with a black rottweiler with spots of caramel brown on his front. It was so similar to Bear, except this one was several years older.

“Mama?”

She crouched down in her jeans, narrowing her eyes at the dog. “Harrison, this dog’s alive. Better get away. Actually, he probably cannot hurt you. You’d phase right through him, I would suppose.”

As if to challenge her words, the dog pounced on me, causing me to fall over. I wasn’t sure if it was from him landing on me or from me just being surprised. The rottweiler’s paws went right through my shoulders, and yet I felt as though some of him was truly on me. There were two little spots of pressure on my shoulders where the dog would have landed if he had not fallen through. The black dog then proceeded to lick my face. His tongue too phased through, but the wet, sticky rub against my face didn’t.

“What is he doing?” Mama asked incredulously. “He must be a crazy dog.”

“Mama? What if this is Bear?” I asked in between licks. “What if he remembers me? What if that’s why I can feel him even though he’s alive?”

“What if? Harrison, you’ve always asked those questions,” she sighed. “It’s just not plausible.”

“What’s ‘plausible’?”

“It’s not really likely that this is the same dog. I can’t see your dad allowing him to live if that same man was the reason for my death and possibly yours.”

“How can we find out for sure?” I asked, looking into the delightful face of the rottweiler. “I got an idea!” I said as I tried to stand up, and then pushed the dog off after realizing that I actually couldn’t get up with him there. Moving toward the back door, I smiled. “Bear! Come here, Bear!”

Sure enough, the dog bounded my way. He came up on his hind legs as if he wanted to put his paws on my chest, except his force pushed me through the door and tumbling down the steps. I shook my head, positive that it was the same rottweiler I knew as a kid. Well, a living kid. Somehow, the new owners of our house must have rescued him.

As I shook my head, muffled voices came from beyond the walls, followed by the door swinging open, and the dog charging down the brick steps. I could almost believe that that Bear had regained its jovial spirit it had when he was a much younger dog, he lept so energetically. Watching him circle around me, I stood up. I smiled at my mom, who slipped out when the dog did, her eyes filled with bewilderment. She didn’t need to talk for me to know what she thought about. We shared the thought. It must have happened a lot when we were alive since it felt natural to predict what she wondered about.

“It’s not a coincidence, Mama,” I told her confidently. “It’s Bear.”

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

Looking for the previous parts of “On the Other Side”? Check them out here!

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