Dogs XVI

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He didn’t like me.

I suppose I couldn’t blame him.

For a brief time, Genevieve had preferred my company over his.

The dog and I sat on the porch of the hotel. The sky, barren of moon, hung over us and the stars offered only the faintest hint of their existence. Along both sides of the streets, lanterns fought back a creeping fog.

I lit my pipe and turned to the dog.

“Care for a smoke?” I asked.

He chuckled. “I’ve naught known a man who’d willingly share his baccy with a dog.”

“I’m a different sort of man.”

The dog harumphed, then nodded.

I took one last pull and put the stem in the dog’s mouth. His teeth grazed upon my knuckles for a moment, and at that moment, I realized his power.

He settled back on his haunches and looked at me.

As I looked back at him, I understood and felt my shoulders sag.

Some of the dislike in his eyes faded, though not all of it. I’d been a tad intimate with his mistress, and he was more than a little displeased about it.

The dog smoked a bit more and then confided, “I thought those desires within her had long since faded. That belief, I will readily admit, is the sole reason I agreed to this excursion.”

“Does she know you agreed to it?” I asked, gazing out over the dark town.

“No,” he replied after a moment. “She does not know the control I have over her. She would be upset to know how easily she is manipulated, and I would not hurt her so.”

“How did this come about?” I asked.

“Not long after she left Cross,” he told me. “She found me injured upon the road a bit past Boston. Though I asked her to leave me be, she did not do so. I tried to tell her she would be harmed, but she ignored me. I wish she hadn’t. Unbeknownst to her, she gave her life for me. In return, I gave her the only thing I had. Cold immortality.”

He took another pull off the pipe and then offered it to me.

“She still would have helped even if she had known,” I said.

“I know,” he sighed. “It is hard for a god to love a mortal, Blood. I will not let her go.”

I wiped the god’s spittle from my pipe stem, took a pull from it and nodded my understanding.

She was an easy woman to love.

#dogs #horrorstories

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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