I went back to the ship.

The dog I’d saved was named Indomitable, and he hadn’t been alone aboard the USS Serpentine. There were, according to him, two other canines, and they were all in danger.

I’d received word of crew members sweeping Cross, searching for me. No one spoke of Blood Farm, but soon enough, the sailors would find me.

My concerns about the sailors and the violence they would bring weren’t for myself. Rather, they were about the dogs and the horses, the trees and the fey living among them. I’d not have any of them injured or killed in the crossfire of a gunfight, and that’s what the sailors were looking for.


They were fools.

I cleaned and reloaded the Colts, took an old scalping knife, and left my home well before dawn.

By the time the first patrols were leaving the Serpentine, I was in place and watching. Once the last of them had set off to search me out, I made my way down to the ship.

I slipped on board with little difficulty and evaded the few sailors wandering the decks. Close to midship, I found a young sailor and a large black dog around whose neck a length of rope was affixed.

“What makes you think he’ll come back?” the dog growled between clenched teeth.

The seaman slapped him across the muzzle. “Because he took Indomitable. He’ll be back for you.”

“And Sophia,” the dog snapped.

“She died last night.”

I crept up behind the sailor, sliding silently under the stairs.

“Which of you was man enough to cut her?” the dog demanded.

“I did,” the sailor replied. “She’d nipped at me enough times. I used a galley knife to gut her, let her bleed out near the bow. You would have seen it if you weren’t being beaten by the cook for stealing that bit of steak.”

I drew my knife, and the dog sat down, tongue lolling out as it chuckled.

“My name is Caesar,” he stated.

“I know your damned name,” the sailor grumbled.

“Aye,” Caesar nodded. “But he doesn’t.”

As the sailor turned, I grabbed him by the chin, pulled his head back and cut his throat. His arms and legs flailed for a moment, and when he went slack, I dropped him to the deck.

I freed the dog from his leash, and we left the ship.

There were sailors to hunt.

#dogs #horrorstories

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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