Left Unleashed

It is a hound of devilish character, a monster of a thing with black eyes set into a cavernous skull. It pads quietly along the cold marble hallway, the noise of its breathing sends the hairs on my neck to bristle. The dark, hairy beast fronts me at the end of the great hall, haunches as high as my chest, and those black eyes fix on me, soulless eyes so unlike the doleful ones of my foxhound. It’s top lip wrinkles up, just enough to show me savage white teeth, fit to rip out a living mans throat, and a barely audible growl encouraged me to move aside.

Towards the warmth of the hearth it takes one last look at me before circling the rug in front of the fireplace and curls it’s great body at the feet of our master. His old, veined hand, with skin like paper reaches down and pats the hound’s head as two young pups, already the size of full grown hunting dogs, come in to suckle. Sitting like little sphinxes, the black imps look contented with their meal and the warmth.

Outside it’s cold, the wind is making my ears ache, I put my hands over them to try and protect them. The stable door makes a high pitch metal squeak, as I push it wide, two grey mares tip their heads and make soft comforting noises as I greet them. It’s warm in here, and the thick wooden door and the layer of sweet smelling straw muffles the whistle of the wind.

My hands begin to warm up as I mix the feed, making great big circles in the mix of chaff, and oats. I look up at the two beautiful girls, now staring intently at me with their brown eyes. The older mare stretches out, getting impatient with the earthy smell of her dinner, and blows a short breath into my back. I stand up with the bucket, and they both suddenly draw back, hooves clattering against the back of the stable. Reaching out to calm them I notice they are both distracted by something over my shoulder, those dark liquid eyes focus on the barn door.

I slide their food under the half stall door, and leave them to their meal. The wind has stopped, and I think I hear something walking, moving outside. I glance back at the mares before I go to leave, they are content now with their oats and chaff, but now it’s me who feels unsettled. I look outside into the night before heading back to the manor, it’s quicker to take the side path. I hear an unearthly noise; the hairs on my neck stand up once again. Lying limp across my path I see the chain loose and empty. The chain that normally is kept short and tight, and as I feel a hot breath on my neck I realise that the black wolf of a hound has been left, unleashed.

Left Unleashed

mantahay

Joined March 2007

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  • Paul Fleming
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