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Who’s the Eeriest?

This post is part of the Mirror Series. If this is your first visit to the Mirror Series, please click here and follow the arrows at the top right of each post to read the series from the beginning. Thank you for reading!

She did it one time too many. Mistress left me with Boyfriend for the night. Work Reasons, she said, though I made sure the last time she did it was the Last Time She Did. Chewing up her favorite pair of stilettos and peeing on them gave her a satisfying indication of my ire.

I didn’t like staying with Boyfriend. His bed was lumpy, and he rarely washed the sheets, and sometimes he stayed up all night watching television, and there was no room for me to squeeze on the sofa. Being there was disruptive, because I was not the Boston Terrier Queen.

Now, hold on. Before you roll your eyes and say Garth Stein already wrote the best-selling dog book. I’m not wasting my time reading another story told from the dog’s perspective, give me a minute. I’m Jazzmine, and I’m a DEAD dog. Seeing my whole life flash before my eyes from page 1 to 250? LAME. I can tell you all about being dead, what happens when you die.

Ghosts tell the best stories, because to us, they’re revelations of fact. Autobiographical, if you will. They enlighten the listener with the vision of what’s true, what they can expect on the flip side of life. To me, the most telling combinations merge the two – what you can see reflected in the mirror of what you think you will see when death happens to you.

On this night, Boyfriend let me have a whole side of the bed. I snuggled up next to him and pretended he was her, let out that long sigh that always preceded running in my sleep. Only, sleep wouldn’t come. The white hairs on the back of my neck stood on end, and the black ones along the length of my spine followed. Even wallowing on my back didn’t help. Those hairs were like acupuncture needles, pricking me a thousand times. With a loud snort – the preeminent signal of my disgust – I flipped onto my four paws and stood, rooted around the covers for a more fitting place to doze.

At the foot of the bed, I saw it. A shimmering image of a mustachioed man dressed in a checkered lumberjack shirt and hunting pants, topped with a trucker hat, waving its arms in slow motion, slicing the air in front of it without disruption. Whoever this glowing intruder was gave me what I craved – the perfect excuse to bark my head off. I charged it, but it was planted and didn’t flinch. My most ferocious snarls only caused it to reach toward me as if its touch could make me stop. My thoughts of hiding under the bed were interrupted by Boyfriend’s shouting Who are you!?

This thing had to be real. He saw it, too.

While he tried to shield himself with the stinky sheets, I attacked with renewed purpose. Whatever-this-was could not scare me. I jumped from the bed and tried to tear into it. Instead, I banged my flat snout into the side of the bed. Weaving on unsteady feet, I chased the floating apparition until I ran face-first into the glass of the back door. Foiled again, I stood there and kept demanding that it stay away from me. I think I barked for two nights in a row.

I never saw it again, until I died.

That’s when he cornered me, told me I didn’t understand what it was like to see someone else living in my house. He died in a hunting accident, years before, but he always liked to immerse himself in what had been his life on the anniversary of his death.

I understand now. I haunt those places, too. I’m here to tell you it’s all true.

For Jazzmine. I miss you.

32 Comments Post a comment
  1. Leigh Anne Wills #

    I’m so glad that I read this when I woke up and not right before I had to go to sleep.

    October 19, 2011
    • How do you think I feel? I WROTE IT right before I had to go to sleep……..

      October 19, 2011
  2. Teresa Mello #

    This is Lou…he is currently driving.

    I never plan to die. I would just have various parts replaced as necessary.

    The apparition is obviously an ancestor of the Cyber Ninja, now we know why he haunts us daily.
    –Lou

    October 19, 2011
    • mtm #

      Oh my….Lou has taken over Teresa’s body and turned her into a Comment Zombie! Now we know why he has fled the area…and he is headed to DC to spread his insidious Comment Contagion. Run Away, Run Away!

      October 19, 2011
    • So, let me imagine this one……..you and Miss TK are reading my blog OUT LOUD in the car? I hope you make it safely to your zone meeting, unhaunted by visions of dead dogs and vicious, man-killing rabbits.

      October 19, 2011
  3. Teresa Mello #

    Mikey, spell my name right, then we’ll talk.

    Love the movie reference.

    October 19, 2011
  4. Freaky…if the story didn’t give you scary goosebumps…then the picture most definitely would – scared me anyway. Nice.

    October 19, 2011
    • Jazzmine did have some bug eyes. Mostly, she would just affix me with a stare that said, “I know you WILL do whatever I want.”

      October 19, 2011
  5. Aguess #

    I knew Jazz saw things we couldn’t. A wise old soul.

    October 19, 2011
    • She definitely saw this. I wasn’t there that night, but I was the next when she paced and barked all night long.

      October 19, 2011
  6. Jill Clary Stevenson #

    I thought it was a sweet and sad story. Our animals are such a part of our lives and we all miss them terribly when they are gone.

    October 19, 2011
    • I still miss her so much. I can’t believe she’s been gone four years.

      October 19, 2011
  7. earlybird #

    Oookaaay…! Liked the way he ran into the back door. Nice detail.

    October 19, 2011
    • Jazzmine was forever running into things toward the end. She developed cataracts. Her oafishness was an endearing quality.

      October 19, 2011
  8. First of all, a book I have actually read! The Art of Racing in the Rain is pretty good – though not nearly enough car stuff.

    Loved this installment. And I don’t find it creepy at all. As a long time, nearly native, resident of Charleston I find the ghosts here comforting – kind of like family. And the animal ones too. My father’s house is lived in by the ghost of my mom’s old cat. A siamese. No mistaking that voice, and we still hear it some time. You might think it is imagination, but even the other animals around hear it and turn to look. And it comes from her favorite spot – the warmth under the reading lamp by my mom’s favorite chair.

    Nice to know they are still with us sometimes. Give you someone to talk to when you are feeling down.

    October 19, 2011
    • Yes, I read it, too, because his agent is considering my book. I loved it until the end. The whole dog-comes-back-as-Italian-boy-and-meets-master was a cop out. The book ended when Enzo died. That was the image I wanted to keep in my heart.

      I still think I hear Jazz sometimes. She made this noise in her throat when she wanted something. She could make that noise for HOURS without stopping. So, I totally believe your mom’s cat is there, too.

      October 19, 2011
  9. Wonderful! Animal ghosts are the best kind, especially if they are those of departed and visiting friends. My Siamese princess, Una, still curls up in her old spot under the bedroom radiator and sometimes jumps onto the bed…

    October 19, 2011
  10. Great piece, Andra. Hardly fiction, though…1987. The day my dad died. My Jack Russell terrier, Tigger. The figure standing at the bottom of my mum’s bed.

    October 19, 2011
    • Wow. I want to hear that whole story sometime, if you care to tell it.

      October 19, 2011
  11. As one whose long deceased cat occasionally jumps on my bed I find this strangely familiar….also, any friend of the Python killer rabbit is a friend of mine.

    October 19, 2011
    • Kate, MTM has said on more than one occasion how happy he is to have ‘met’ you through my blog. (I am, too.) He will probably post Python references more often now, just to pander to you. Every time he posts one, I watch it multiple times and laugh all day long.

      October 19, 2011
  12. Ahhh, you’ve stirred a pot here with this post!! From here on I’ll be even MORE uneasy when my Minnie rouses from a sound sleep with every hair from the nape of her neck to her tail on end, chasing through the house with her nose in the air, huffing and puffing as if she’s seen some apparition or another! Is it after her? Or, me?

    October 19, 2011
    • If this eases your mind, Jazz acted like that over thunder, cats, the wrong food, people from other ethnic backgrounds (because I guess they looked different to her), cars, riding in cars, squirrels, fireworks (New Years Eve was ALWAYS a NIGHTMARE for me), wind, certain scents……….you get the idea.

      October 19, 2011
      • Nope, no such luck. Minnie only exhibits this particular behavior when there’s NOTHING evident. She barks and shrieks at the phone, the doorbell, the UPS truck, fireworks, sometimes thunder, etc., but it’s NOT the same behavior, and those triggers are all apparent to everyone else. Whatever sets off the aforementioned behavior is not! Chilling sometimes.

        October 19, 2011
      • It is clear to me that animals sometimes see things we don’t. That doesn’t help, I know.

        October 19, 2011
  13. Amber Deutsch #

    I enjoyed this one very much. My sweet, late German Shorthaired Pointer Lauda visits us, I am quite sure. When we lost her, I was in much pain, until for no explainable reason, I went to the door and invited her spirit back into the house (this was something quite out of character for me). I’ve felt peace about her ever since. My current dogs are sweet as pralines, but also dumb as rocks, and are pretty short on protective instincts – I am convinced if a ghosty came to visit us, they’d wake up, sniff, shuffle around and go back to sleep.

    October 19, 2011
    • Amber, this is a moving story and tribute to Lauda. Thank you for sharing it. I am ashamed to admit that Jazz still lives in our house. Her ashes are on the mantle in a box behind a photo of MTM and me. I can’t bring myself to scatter them anywhere, and she is where she would want to be – with us.

      October 19, 2011
  14. Debbie #

    I am just getting around to reading your posts this week. I love this post!

    I have always wondered what my dog, Beaver, is seeing when she woofs at night when there is nothing outside. Not full blown barking, just a couple of woofs. Now I’m going to think it’s ghosts! Scary!

    October 22, 2011

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