Black Dog Part III (A Chuck Wendig Challenge)

Posted: October 26, 2016 in chuck wendig challenge, Fiction, horror, Uncategorized
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So this is part three to a scary story and where the rubber meets the road so to speak.

Part I is here:

Part II is there:

Many thanks to Jemima Pett and Kim Blades for the setup.

The dog came back, shadowing us, keeping pace. It’s breath, it’s panting louder than ever, louder than the fans we ran in the bunks to ward off the summer heat. In the dark, it’s green eyes as bright as headlights shining, the same shade green as the hazy light ahead.

“Do you think the dog belongs to the person?” Lori asked, her voice catching, trying to keep from crying.

I shook my head, afraid for myself, afraid for Lori, afraid what would happen if I tripped over a stick and fell. Part of me knew that animals could sense fear, could attack if they sensed weakness and worried that was all the black dog was waiting for was one of us to stumble. “I don’t know.”

The light grew brighter, slowly, started to get closer. The light played weird tricks with the surroundings, casting shadows strange and ominous. The chill in the air didn’t fade. Something crunched under my feet with a sound like dry leaves. But… it was only the end of summer. Too early for leaves to fall. I clutched Lori’s arm, dared myself to look down. Under my feet were small bones, cast with a weird green sheen from the light. I shuddered, looked around again. Dark trees loomed overhead, bigger and older than any I remembered seeing recently.

“Where are we?” I asked, my voice barely a whisper.

Lori shook her head, still clutching my arm. She pointed ahead. The light had stopped.

Leaning against a tree was an impossibly thin man. He held a lantern, oozing that same hazy green light as before. His clothing was tattered, and old-fashioned, something you would see out of an old Victorian painting. His top hat was slightly askew, with tufts of white hair sticking out at angles and his eyes were the same color as his lantern. The same color as the dog’s. He held a bone-white cane in one hand and pointed it at us.

“Hello my pretties. Out for a moonlight stroll?” His voice sounded like old leaves rubbed over yellowed newspaper. The dog padded over to the man, sat on its haunches, and stared at us, giant pink tongue lolling from its mouth. Laughing at us.

“Uh, we are headed back to our bunks. Our friends should be along any moment.” The words felt heavy coming out of my mouth.

“Truly? Well, then, the more the merrier. I do hope Grim here hasn’t given you a fright.” The man grinned, showing off too sharp teeth in a too wide mouth. “I understand some folk, especially such fair ones as yourself might be given a fright by such a large beast. He’s mostly a gentle beast, aren’t you Grim?”

Grim gave a low growl in reply that sounded anything but.

I giggled, a little too loud, hearing the hysteria at the edge of it and trying to keep from full blown panic. “No fright at all. Uhm, if you could maybe give us directions back-”

The thin man raised one bushy white caterpillar of an eyebrow. “Back? Why you just got here.” He pointed down the path to a large, ivy covered house. I don’t know how I didn’t notice it before. It was as if it only existed the moment the man mentioned it. “My mistress would be sore disappointed if you left without saying hello.”

“Your mistress?” I asked.

“Lady Ravenhair of the Shambling Woods,” the man replied. “I am but her Keeper of the Hound.” He reached down to pet Grim, but drew his hand back when the dog snapped at it. “Of course, some days I feel more like he’s my keeper than I am his.”

Lori pulled on my arm, trying to drag me away. “We need to leave,” she hissed.

I nodded, taking a step back. The man’s smile disappeared.

“You aren’t going anywhere.” The way he said it, more growl than speech, gave both of us a sudden speed. We turned and ran, back the way we came, stumbling, gasping, sobbing. We could hear the dog, silent again but for the panting, and its master, hobbling after us in a weird kind of run.

Lori tripped, but I caught her, helped her keep her feet. I felt a sudden burning pain in the back of my leg, looked down to see my leg bloody, a nip taken out of my calf.

Lights bloomed suddenly in front of us, and Lori pulled me out of the way of a sudden rushing car. It came to a skidding stop, and an older man came out.

“Are you kids all right?” he asked, concern on his face.

“My friend got bit by a dog,” Lori said. “She should probably see a doctor.”

The man nodded and let us get into his car. As I watched, the street lights came flickering back on, one by one, whatever spell had been cast now broken. My leg hurt, but it was nothing to the flood of relief I now felt, away from the impossible man and his black dog. I glanced out the window as the man put the car in drive, and saw two glowing green eyes staring back at me.

  1. Jemima Pett says:

    Ooooh! I’m glad it had a happy ending… or did it? Mwah-ha-ha-ha!

  2. Fantastic ending to the story Matthew. I love the name you gave to the dog,
    ‘Grim’, very convincing.

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