Strangers: The Dog

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Brett Elwood was a man loved by all.

By the time 1890 rolled around, Brett had been in Cross for five years. He was the sort of man you could count on when things were rough. Need a hand with the harvest when the hired hands were sick? Brett was there.

He lived alone in a small cabin not far from the Hollow. On any given evening, he was on his small porch, seated in his rocking chair and smoking his pipe. Always he had a book in hand and a glass of water beside him. Anyone was welcome to pull up a chair and sit a spell with him, and when you did, you left feeling better about life and the world in general.

In August, on a warm evening, I took a walk along North Road. I am not a fan of the Hollow, but walking gives me the sense of some sort of accomplishment. On more occasions than I care to count, I’ve been there to chase back some creature that’s come crawling over the stonewall separating North Road from Gods’ Hollow.

As I strolled along, enjoying the comforting weight of the Colts in their holsters, a gentle wind sprang up, and it carried to me the unmistakable scent of blood and a pained whimper.

I followed the sound, a sense of unease rising within me as I realized I was drawing closer to Brett Elwood’s home.

When I reached it, I saw him on his porch, on his back, and a great dalmatian with its head buried in his stomach. Brett stretched out an arm toward me, his face a mask of pain and supplication.

I reached for my Colts, and the dog jerked its head out of the man’s belly.

“Don’t,” the dog growled. “This bastard has it comin’. I been trackin’ him ever since he slipped through the Hollow, and I aim to see him dead.”

I left my hands on the butts of the Colts and watched the dog.

“You don’t know what he’s done, and I ain’t got time to explain,” the dalmatian continued. “Leave it at he’s a right son of a bitch, Duncan Blood, and he’s gettin’ what he deserves.”

I let my hands relax, and I nodded.

If a dog tells you a man needs to die, then hell, the man needs to die.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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