When the first dog was found headless beside the courthouse culvert, people said it must be the work of boys. Boys having fun. But when the second and third dogs appeared near culverts, those dark holes where sidewalk corners met streets, allowing storm water to gush down into the sewers and from there to join the deep currents of the Tuckabaloosa River, a different pattern emerged.

“Head bites,” the chief said. “It’s down in the ground, whatever it is. Comes out at night and bites ’em off. Ev’abody best lock up y’ dogs, wanta keep ’em.”

By Saturday night the hunters and their sons had joined the police on shotgun watch, and the girls drove around laughing and screaming and bringing the boys hot wings and cold drinks. “All right,” the deacon said when he smelled the beer, “this is scarin’ off the thing, all this noise. Ya’ll settle down or go home.”

“It’s a monster,” said one of the girls, “that’s what it is.”

By the third week monster stories had made national news, and everybody was embarrassed and tired. The creature kept getting mangy strays, and sleek expensive dogs that somehow roamed free. The boys were angry because nobody had gotten a shot. “How come it only eats the heads?” they asked their girlfriends. “Shut up,” was the popular reply.

The chief and the head deacon of the Baptists met over coffee with the football coach. “The boys won’t sleep,” coach said, “and they can’t win if they’re tuckered out.”

So the town went on curfew. The dads locked up the players and guns, the girls lost their car keys, and the principal announced it was all a hoax. He blamed a rival football team, and the media. A few nights passed without the mystery creature making a kill, and the story began to fade. “I wish I knew which team it was,” the boys kept saying to one another.

The head deacon spoke to his wife in confidence, quietly, without any awareness that their son was listening. “Preacher thinks it’s a devil,” the deacon said, stroking the head of their registered collie.

“A devil? Surely not.”

“There are devils. You’ve got to start with that.”

Read the full story in MMR Anthology 2011.


Luke Wallin holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He has been widely published — novels, stories, and essays — and teaches in the Spalding University MFA program. His newest book is forthcoming from Adams Media.

Issue No. 12 | MMR 2011 (Print)

Stories, poetry, and artwork by award-winning and emerging authors, poets, and artists. Moon Milk Review 2011 is a ravishing exhibition of what happens when the boundaries come off. The anthology includes work published in the online magazine and new original work. A “refreshing departure…edgy…classic…compelling” (Flavorwire), MMR 2011 promises to take readers and art aficionados to places they’ve never been. Cover Art, Of the Scales, by Alexis Covato (original: acrylics on canvas).

Paperback: 132 pages
Language: English, Spanish
ISBN-10: 0615381855
ISBN-13: 978-0615381855
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.3 inches
Price: $11

Lisa Marie Basile | Jennifer Hollie Bowles | Alexandra Chasin | Feng Chen | Jackie Corley | Alexis Covato | Francis DiClemente | Jim Fuess | Luisa María García Velasco | Christine Herzer | Karen Heuler | Scott Alexander Jones | Ben Loory | Jim Meirose | Kristine Ong Muslim | Gary Percesepe | Mark Reep | Laura Ellen Scott | Serena Tome | J. A. Tyler | David Wagoner | Luke Wallin | Ian Watson | Vallie Lynn Watson | David Wolf | Shellie Zacharia


Coming Events: Luke Wallin Sings "Monster"

Join Luke Wallin for musical performances and readings coming soon during Spalding University’s Brief-Residency MFA events line up:

Louisville, KY: May 21-30, 2010—Luke Wallin and George Schricker, singer/songwriter from Indiana, will perform “Monster,” a song inspired by the story now featured at Moon Milk Review. Luke will discuss his latest book, Conservation Writing: Essays at the Crossroads of Nature and Culture, which is the book in common for the creative nonfiction program.

Buenos Aires, Argentina: June 21-July 3, 2010—Readings and talks on children’s literature; Luke will discuss his young adult novel Ceremony of the Panther, the book in common for the Writing for Children and Young Adults program.