Isle of Dogs
An Excerpt From
Isle of Dogs
Unique First fit her name like a glove, or at least this

was how her mother always put it. Unique came first

and was one of a kind. There was no one else like

her—and this was a damn good thing, to quote her

father, Dr. Ulysses First, who had never understood what genetic

malignancy blighted his only child.

Unique was a petite eighteen-year-old with long, shimmering

hair that was as black as ebony, and her skin was translucent

like milk glass, her lips full and pink. She believed that

her pale blue eyes could mesmerize whoever looked into them

and that by casting as little as a glance at someone she could

bend that person’s mind to fit her Purpose. Unique could

haunt someone for weeks, building up unbearable anticipation

until the final act, which was a necessary and frenzied release,

usually followed by a blackout.

“Hey, wake up, my car’s broke down.” She knocked on the

window of the Peterbilt eighteen-wheeler that was parked all

by itself at the Farmers’ Market on the fringes of downtown

Richmond. “I’m wondering if you got a phone?”

It was 4:00 A.M., pitch dark, and the parking lot was poorly

lit. Although Moses Custer knew very well that it wasn’t safe

to be out here alone at this hour, he had ignored his usual good

judgment after fighting with his wife and storming off in his

truck, where he intended to spend the night, alone and missing

in action, out by the vegetable stands. That would sure show

her, he always thought when their marital routine turned ugly.

He opened the door of his cab as the knocking on the glass


“Lordy, what’s a sweet little thing like you doing out here at

this hour?” Moses asked, confused and drunk, as he stared at

the creamy, delicate face smiling at him like an angel.

“You’re about to have a unique experience.” Unique said

the same thing she always did right before she moved in for

her Purpose.

“What’chu mean?” Moses puzzled. “What unique ’sperience?”

The answer came in a legion of demons that kicked and

pounded Moses and ripped at his hair and clothes. Explosions

and obscenities erupted from hell, and fire seared his muscles

and bones as savage forces beat and tore him to shreds and left

him dead and drove off in his truck. Moses hovered above his

dead self for a while, watching his mauled, lifeless body on

the tarmac. Blood streamed out from under his head as rain

smacked down, and one of his boots was off and his left arm

was at an angle that wasn’t natural. As Moses gazed down on

himself, a part of him was worn out and ready for Eternity

while another part of him regretted his life and grieved.

“My head’s ruined,” he moaned and began to sob as everything

went black. “Ohhh, my head’s ruined. Lord, I ain’t

ready! It ain’t my time yet!”

Complete darkness dissolved to a floating airspace from which

Moses watched pulsing emergency lights and urgent firemen,

paramedics, and police in yellow rain slickers with reflective tape

that glared like white fire. Flares hissed on wet pavement as a

heavy cold rain fell, and voices were excited and loud and made

no sense. It seemed people were yelling at him and it frightened

Moses and made him feel small and ashamed. He tried to open

his eyes, but it was as if they had been sewn shut.

“What happened to the angel?” he kept muttering. “She

said her car broke down.”

Isle of Dogs

Isle of Dogs

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