The Walk – Flash Fiction

A very short story, I still have edits to make but I’ve been putting them off for months so I’ll just publish it here in the meantime. All feedback is welcome.

I’ve been walking my dog for about seven hours now. Throughout my life, I’ve owned a couple of pets but my dog is by far my favorite.

When I first got him, as an early Easter present, I changed his name three times. I was frustrated, none of the names seemed to suit him. But I finally found the perfect name, Kota. Ever since I chose that name, I knew I’d love him forever.  

The sun is sinking behind us and I know I should head home soon. My hand hurts from gripping onto the red leash for too long and my legs are sore. But I don’t want to stop.

A family approaches and as they come closer, the little girl begins to scream. Her face explodes with chubby tears and she drops her mint chocolate chip ice cream.

I love mint chocolate chip ice cream, even though Best Friend thinks it tastes like toothpaste with sugar. She reminds me of how much she hates it every time we get ice cream after our basketball practice.

I keep walking. 

The farther away from the girl’s cries, the happier I feel. I don’t like to see other people cry. It makes me uncomfortable because it puts me in the position of the Carer. The Carer has to make others feel better, brushing their hair back, wiping their tears, and telling them it will all be alright.

I guess that is why I’m best friends with Best Friend. She is strong and enjoys taking care of me. It makes her feel special. And it makes me feel special too. We make the perfect pair. Once she hit a boy straight in his nose when he called me ugly. 

Police sirens around the corner. There might be a killer on the loose, stabbing girls who walk their dogs alone in suburban neighborhoods. The thought doesn’t scare me, I have pepper spray in my pocket and can shout really loud if I want to. 

One time I yelled so loudly that I made a girl cry. She was defending me on the basketball court and at one point pulled my hair back when I was about to shoot. Red hot prickles spiked the back of my neck and I screamed straight into her eardrum. Rumor was that she couldn’t hear from that ear for weeks.

I saw her in the grocery store four months later and my mom suggested that I go apologize. I refused. I was still mad at her. And I didn’t feel bad.

The sirens turn off and a police car stops in front of me. A skinny policeman steps out slowly, looking me and Kota up and down. He switches on his body cam with a thick thumb and approaches me cautiously.

Ma’am, Skinny begins, licking his thin lips. Is everything alright? He asks.

Yes, just fine. I reply, trying to smile but I’m suddenly overcome with an uncomfortable feeling.

What is happening here? He asks, motioning carefully to Kota.

What do you mean? I ask innocently.

I look behind me, Kota looks beautiful in the fading orange vermillion light. Orange vermillion or international orange. I learned last year that that was the name they made up for the color of the Golden Gate Bridge. That big bridge got to name its own color. And it was all an accident, it was originally supposed to be blue and yellow. But I know Skinny doesn’t see what I see. Nobody sees what I see. They just see red.

Your dog . . . is dead, Skinny finally says.

He scratches his head as he looks at me, trying to decide whether I am crazy or genuinely stupid. He drops his hand and lets it hover casually near his holster.

I know, I reply. I say this so I don’t look stupid. But deep down I don’t believe Skinny. Kota is fine. Everything is fine.

Are you—are you looking for a place to bury him? Skinny shifts his weight, licking his dry lips again.

No, we are just walking, we’ve been walking for about seven hours.

That’s a long walk, the policeman says.

I nod, It is a long walk. 

You know you’re really leaving quite a mess, he finally says.

I look behind me, the white sidewalk is dripping red.

I hadn’t noticed, I reply truthfully.

Maybe I can give you a ride back to your parent’s house, do you live in this neighborhood? He asks.

I shake my head, I’d rather just keep walking if that’s all right.

He looks stunned, But you can’t . . . 

We stare at each other. His perception of my normalness makes him feel less normal. Because if I’m normal then maybe he’s not normal and what I’m doing is normal and what he is doing isn’t normal.

Normal, normal, normal.

It is normal that I am still walking my dog. Even though most people would have stopped walking as soon as they realized their dog had died.

But I couldn’t just leave him behind. 

Best Friend had a quiet funeral for her goldfish when he died. After grieving for two weeks, she bought one of those tiny crabs that you buy at the mall. She named him Mint Chocolate Chip because his shell was painted green. That made me smile.

Skinny is squinting his eyes, he is still confused.

Why can’t I keep walking? I ask.

Because your dog is dead, he replies with confusion.

Is it illegal to walk a dead dog? I ask.

Yes, it is animal abuse, Skinny says with uncertainty.

But you said he is dead, I reply.

Did you kill him? The question shocks me.

I don’t think so, I say. A lump forms in my throat and my lips quiver as I stare at Skinny. He quickly looks away, squinting into the sunset. He isn’t a Carer either.

I love Kota more than anything. I would’ve never hurt him on purpose. I really don’t know what happened. The words feel sticky as I spit them out. He was alive when I began our walk, I continue.

Alright, Skinny says.

I can tell he isn’t really listening. He looks like he’s going to be sick. That makes me feel even worse.

He turns away from the sunset and walks to his dancing light car. He mumbles into his walkie-talkie, so low that I can’t hear him. A few minutes later, two more policemen arrive.

A policewoman with short auburn hair tries to softly take the leash from my hands.

You need to let go, she informs me.

I can’t, I reply.

Why not?

I think my hand is broken, I reply, I’ve been holding on too tightly I guess.

She nods as if she understands but I can see that she doesn’t.

I try not to cry.

She bends down and looks at my crayon purple, yellow hand.

We’ll have to amputate this, she says to no one in particular.

I don’t want to amputate my hand. I quite like having both of my hands.

I look back at the first policeman, he is whispering with another older policeman.

If I let go now, can I keep my hand? I ask. They shake their heads. 

Two Hospital Men in blue and white striped suits come and saw my hand off. I tell them about the Golden Gate Bridge as they do it. They don’t seem especially interested.

We have to focus, they reply, Sawing off hands is hard. 

Two Funeral Men come, wearing matching black outfits. They don’t even look at me.

You couldn’t keep walking him forever, the policewoman says, as if this will comfort me.

The Funeral Men pick up Kota and place him in a big Ziploc bag along with my sawn-off hand. I watch as a piece of myself leaves with Kota.

The sun follows them, stealing the final drops of light from the sky, leaving only darkness.

I look up and realize that I can’t see a single star.


4 responses to “The Walk – Flash Fiction”

  1. Ew. I absolutely loved this— couldn’t stop reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bold, scary and touching. I absolutely loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you thank you :,)


  3. Hola Isabela,Me acuerdo de este cuento. El tono y los acontecimientos son perturbadores, pero no en un sentido malo, más bien sientes el estado de negación de la protagonista y el dolor que siente por algo íntimo que ha perdido. Y ahora, regresas una vez más a este cuento. Sabemos que los acontecimientos son ficticios, pero las emociones que representan el cuento son verdaderas. Cuándo escribimos siempre hay algo de nosotros en el relato, aún si nuestra persona está disimulada dentro el universo de la ficcion.  Sigue escribiendo…Te quiero mucho.Sent via the Samsung Galaxy S9+, an AT&T 5G Evolution capable smartphone


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: