Animals

Every time his wife, Alice, goes out at night without him, Mr. Blackburn can’t help but wait for her return. Tonight’s no different. He’d like to be awake when his wife gets home, but he’s tired, and waiting up would be embarrassing, like he’s her dad or something. Tonight he gets into bed real early without even bothering to read. He prays, twice, that Alice makes it back safely. He quickly imagines something awful, something unimaginable, and then his wife’s funeral (all those yellow roses), and the strained visits from her weepy parents a year from tonight.

As soon as Mr. Blackburn shuts his eyes, he begins to dream about bison, as he has for the past month or so. In the dreams he gets so close he can smell their shit. The bison have big, lumbering bodies, and when Mr. Blackburn awakes, Alice is climbing in next to him, smelling of public places. He is only half conscious, and he still feels like a strong and somber hunter. He grabs for his wife and then continues dreaming.

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