Dogs of the Never Never : A Little Help From My Friends

Writings from the car trip

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“Plus, there isn’t much you can do to stop them.”

“Keith, stop helping.” Sebastian glared at him.

“What? It’s true.” He waved a beer meaningfully. “They’re ghosts, right? I mean what can you do against ghosts? You’re screwed.” He paused. “Well, I mean, not screwed, screwed, just not much you can do.”

“I’m screwed.”

“If you were Catholic you could perform and exorcism.”

“A, I’m not; and B, I think that’s only for places or people who are possessed. I’m just sort of, um, haunted.”

“Any reasons why they would be stalking you? I mean, they aren’t haunting a place as far as we can tell. And you didn’t do anything to attract their attention, so why are they here?”

“Maybe you’re like the Dog Whisperer, only for ghosts. Err, ghost dogs anyway” Keith ignored Sebastian’s eye rolls. “So maybe they need you to right a wrong or save some dog in peril or something. Don’t good ghosts normally want you to do something for them?”

“Well, if you are really really general about it, yeah.” Sebastian looked over the Wikipedia pages that he had open. “I mean most of the dogs are guardians of something.

“Or signs that I’m about to die.”

“Hey, I thought we had to stay positive here,” Keith sniffed. “No cheating.”

“And that would be a large black dog, these are, what, a random collection of multicolored mutts?”

“More or less, although one looks sort of like a mastiff.” Jon shuddered. “I don’t think that one likes me much.”

“Hey, they could be the four dogs of the apocalypse!” Keith grinned. “War and Death and, um, the other two. Any red dogs?”

“No, no red dogs, and I think I would have noticed a pestilence or a famine. They all looked fine to me. Well, dead, but fine. I mean not starving or anything.” Jon leaned back in the couch. “Why can’t they go haunt someone else?”

“Well, you do talk to dogs.” Sebastian shrugged apologetically, “You were probably the best choice.”

“Ugh.”

There was the faintest noise of a sound from outside and Jon frowned, looking over at the window. It reminded him or something, but he couldn’t figure out what it was.

“What it is?” Sebastian and Keith looked over curiously.

“Did you hear that?”

“Hear what?”

“Uh,” he tried to figure out a way to describe the sound when it happened again, slightly louder. “That!”

“That what? I didn’t hear anything.”

But Jon was already standing and heading towards the window. “That, how can you not hear that?” It wasn’t very loud, but loud enough that they should have heard something. He pushed a pile of clothes (clean, he hoped) away from the window and looked out in to the darkness. There wasn’t anything for a moment and then he saw the shadows move.

The dogs were clustered under the shadow of a tree, outlined by the moonlight into faint echoes of dogs. They stared out, four sets of ghostly yellow eyes and then the first dog started howling again. Only he could barely hear it, and it sounded less like howling and more like music. Woodwinds, actually.

Sebastian and Keith were already moving over to the window, trying to figure out what he’d seen.

“There, you see them? Under the tree.” He pointed, but the dogs were already fading again, Cheshire cat like, only point of faint light for eyes.

Sebastian and Keith looked out, but saw nothing. Jon gave up and turned away from the window, frustrated and pretty creeped out.

“You didn’t hear that? Seriously?”

“Nope.” Keith settled back into his seat and gave Jon a thoughtful look. “So you’re still serious about this ghost dog thing.”

“Yes!”

“Huh.” He sipped his beer.

“There are more things on heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Sebastian quoted thoughtfully. When the other two looked at him he shrugged. “I dated an English major for a while, it’s Shakespeare I think. Something about ghosts, seemed rather appropriate.”

“Yeah.” Jon finished off the beer and tossed it in the recycling bin. “So now what?”

“Well, I guess you go home and see if they come to you.”

“I still think they are out to get me.”

“No much you can do if they are.”

“You gonna come with me?”

“Hell no,” Keith shivered. “No way you’re dragging me into this.”

“I don’t see how it would help.” Sebastian shrugged.” Keith’s got a point, there really isn’t anything we can do to help. Besides, they seem to want to get you alone. Err, I mean talk to you when you’re alone.”

“Thanks for your support.” Jon was angry, but he could also see where they were coming from. They probably -couldn’t- help and he really didn’t want to risk his friends lives on something hopeless. “I’m gone then, I guess. See you tomorrow?”

“Yeah,” Sebastian nodded, getting up to follow them to the door. “Either way, gimme a call or something, k?”

“Sure,” Jon waited for Keith to polish off the last of his beer and hand the empty bottle to Sebastian. “I should be fine, right?”

“Right.” But Sebastian didn’t sound that positive and Jon wasn’t sure what to believe himself.

They drove back to Keith’s place without incident. They didn’t talk much, but that was mostly because Keith was inclined to be helpful and Jon really didn’t need anymore help. So they bid adieu and Keith made him promise to try his best to stay safe and in once piece and did the little dance of pretending to be brave when they were both sort of freaked out.

Then Jon got to drive home alone. Nothing happened but he was constantly jumping at shadows. He pulled the car as close as he could to the apartment stairs, which wasn’t that close. Then he ran up them, locking the door as fast as he could. Not that a door was going to stop a ghost, but maybe they were like vampires and needed to be invited in first.

He debated simply staying up all night, but he did have to work the next day and he really wasn’t young enough to try that and then work with power tools. He surfed the internet for a bit and pulled out some of the simple house protection charms from the various websites. He did the ones that didn’t seem too out of whack and then curled up to sleep.

It took him a long while to fall asleep, but by the time he did he was more or less sure that the dogs were going to leave him alone that night.

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

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