Dogs XIX

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I awoke to the howling of dogs.

I had the Spencer in hand when I reached the kitchen door and looked out into the yard. A pack of 20 or so mongrels and mixed breeds chased one another around the hardpack, nipping and yapping, acting more like puppies than dogs close to the end of their days.

When I stepped out of the house and into the dawn’s light, the dogs stopped and turned to face me. One of them trotted out to the center.

He was a great big bastard who looked like he was half Russian Wolfhound and Mastiff.

He sat down on his haunches, shivered from his tail to the tip of his nose, and his skin fell away as though it was nothing more than a heavy cloak.

And perhaps it was nothing more than that to the man who stood before me.

He was tall and proud, and I didn’t know if he was man or god or somewhere in between.

Whatever he was, he was big.

The man glanced at the rifle, and the metal and wood grew cold in my hands. The pain became almost unbearable, but I did nothing more than stand and face him down.

Finally, with he laughed, and the pain stopped.

He gestured to a small dog with brindle coloring, and it trotted up to stand beside him.

“My savior, Sees Ravens, is impressed with you,” the dog informed me.

“I’m impressed he can make my rifle so damned cold,” I replied. The statement elicited another laugh from Sees Ravens, and the dogs let out appreciative howls.

“My savior had come here to kill you,” the dog explained. “He has a collection of Duncan Blood scalps, and he sought to add another today. But you are different.”

“A bit,” I agreed. I didn’t bother tightening my grip on the Spencer. I suspected I’d be dead before I could get a shot off.

“No Blood has ever held onto his weapon before,” the dog continued. “Not when my master was intent on making them drop it.”

“Is it just me he hunts?”

The dog nodded. “You slew his family one night.”

“Why?”

“Because you could.”

“I’d hunt me down too.”

Sees Ravens peered at me, then nodded to the dog.

“My savior has a question. Do you drink coffee?”

I chuckled and put the Spencer in the crook of my arm. “I do.”

I opened the door and let the man in.

#dogs #horrorstories

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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