Issue 205, Summer 2013
Karen woke up because the puppy was whining.
“It’s okay, Tas,” she said. She put her finger in the crate, felt his cold, damp nose.
There was a clatter from the other room. She poked Jeremy.
“What?” he said. It was dark and she couldn’t see his face, only bulky shadows, his shoulders and head.
It continued: crunching, like someone stepping on glass; a bang. Something might have fallen; it had happened before. The portrait of Jeremy’s grandfather, which they’d hung as a joke but which was no longer a joke for Jeremy, had come loose from the wall. That was like a gunshot. This was quieter, like a picture falling in another apartment, although it also sounded close. It could have been a small thing—the photo of the barn, the woodcut she’d bought in New Mexico. Tas rattled the door of his crate, and there was another bang. The jug of eucalyptus? Were they being robbed?
Jeremy rushed out of the room and Karen sat up, listening to his footsteps. Then he was back, his face in the doorway. She could see the suggestion of his nose, long and knobby.
“What is it?” she said.
“Wait.” He left.
“What?” Karen called.
She drew the sheet up and felt a tickle along her hairline. But mice couldn’t hurt you. “What fell?”
“The vase. It didn’t break.” There was a tap, tap, tap in the other room.
Tas was quiet, and Karen fell asleep.