Wednesday, September 1, 2021

The belly of the dog, Alexandros Zochios


            Everyday, when I come home from work, I notice one of my personal objects has gone missing. The last one was a framed photo of myself in front of the Eiffel tower. Before that, my suit, which I left hanging on the chair for work; only some linen strips were scattered on the wooden floor. That’s why I suspected it was my dog. That and the guilt in her puppy-eyes. One other time I discovered a feather here and there from the pillow that I place over my favorite spot on the sofa – like leftovers of prey hunted in the countryside. I even asked for advice from a trainer and all he told me was that she suffers from separation anxiety. I think she is just hungry all the time.

            While I am away from home I wonder what she has swallowed this time. She has already made my collection of Shakespeare’s sonnets disappear. I imagine her bloated stomach struggling to digest each verse, each page, while they twirl endlessly in her tummy. I know she is not normal. I knew ever since I found her: tiny and weak in a hole in the ground. But I wouldn’t give her away, I love her too much.

            Now, at long last, she has found a way to open my bedroom door. That’s how she made the photo of my trip on my bedside table vanish. She seems to choose everything that is valuable to me. Maybe that’s her purpose: to devour the world around me. The house is now empty, stripped naked from everything that suggests I've ever lived here, apart from the sofa where my dog with her starving eyes, is now lying upon. Next to her I sit, waiting. My memories are somewhere inside her belly, as if she has built my home inside of her. Though, her starving eyes are letting me know that it is not yet complete. Her teeth are sharp enough so as to not leave any traces. It’s time for me to lie down, under her open mouth.

Alexandros Zochios works at I.T. in Athens, Greece. He has been published in a Greek speculative fiction anthology, as well as, in a Greek sci-fi magazine and he wants to reach English-speaking readers. His last two flash stories have been published in English. One of them in "all the sins" and the other in the "Conversations" anthology published by Kingston University Press (2018).

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