Standing Room Only

A World of Short Stories

The Mantel

Henry was the only pet I had ever mourned. The only one I truly missed after his death. But it was weird, I was constantly seeing him. Hearing him. Dreaming about him. At first, I had been comforted by the thought his soul would always be with me, but everything changed the day my grandfather came home from the taxidermy office. I knew he had a vision to help keep my dog in the forefront, but I knew he was gone and nothing would ever be the same. 

The atmosphere of the house began to shift subtlety into a different direction about three weeks after Henry took his place on the mantel. Every time I walked by, I felt his eyes following me. I laughed it off when I told my grandpa, hoping he wouldn’t think I was crazy. The apartment seemed to get smaller with every passing day. Henry’s ghost (or maybe it was his spirit? Or were they the same?) seemed to be growing bigger. Stronger. I didn’t have to imagine all the stories he would have to tell me because I already knew. Henry was haunting me. Because there was no other explanation on why I was losing my mind. Right?  

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