Cooling the Moose

By David Henson

A bull moose wanders into my yard. I can see right away the huge undulate is in trouble. Heat emanating from its bulk quivers the air. Its hooves singe the dry grass. The beast bellows, shaking the house like a passing 18-wheeler.

I venture out, the moose glowering and snorting. I creep to the spigot then stretch the hose to the safety of the porch. As the stream splashes the moose, steam hisses from his hide.

When my arm grows weary, I set up a sprinkler. The animal turns so the water splats it from tail to snout.

I leave the sprinkler on all night, hoping to irrigate the moose back to health. But by dawn, he’s on his side, gasping breaths churning dust. I break off branches from a tree and push them toward his gaping mouth. The moose slaps its tongue at a twig but doesn’t have strength to chew.

I go to the gas station for bags of ice that I pile on the beast. I can practically hear his heavyweight heart punching as he tries to struggle to his feet. But he loses the fight and is gone by afternoon. I hire a backhoe to haul him away.

That night I dream the moose is a giant towering above a woods. He bends down to munch the treetops then stands tall and shakes his head. His antlers churn the clouds, and snow begins to fall.


David Henson and his wife have lived in Belgium and Hong Kong over the years and now reside in Peoria, Illinois. His work has been nominated for Best of the Net and has appeared in numerous print and online journals including Spelk, Moonpark Review, Gravel, Bull and Cross, Lost Balloon, The Fiction Pool, Fictive Dream, and Literally Stories. His website is His Twitter is @annalou8.

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