Dogs of the Never Never : The Secret Lair

Wordcount: 1,423 words
Rating/Warnings: PG-13
Summary: Time to storm the castle!

Please note, this is currently a very rough draft from NaNoWriMo 2007. There will be spelling and grammatical errors afoot as well as flat out bad writing, info dumps, plot holes, flat out contradictions, and uneven characterization and pacing. (Content is also subject to constant change as I take an editing chainsaw to the story.)

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The Secret Lair

[You know, I really need to figure out if the Dogs talk. Sometime soon. Maybe.]

There was something to be sad for dark and rainy nights, but sadly the night was neither and Jon tried fruitlessly to blend a little deeper into what shadows were left. The full moon had turned most of the forest into something akin to daylight, silver instead of gold, but easy on the eyes. He hissed at Athen as the dog inched forward, misting into near nothingness as he moved into the moonlight.

Beside him Tos rumbled in disapproval, but Jon ignored him for the moment. They had too much riding on this to stop and bicker like, well, like dogs. Tos caught his line of thought and huffed in annoyance, but muted the snarling below Jon’s level of hearing. It still ran through the pack song, but Tos was almost always growling there.

Athen reached the edge of the clearing and waited at the edge of the shadows. Beyond that was an open field without any cover at all. The folks who maintained the building hadn’t worried about fencing, but had made sure there was not a blade of grass within two hundred yards of the walls. A sea of gravel separated the pack from its target and Jon wondered (yet again) just what kind of opposition they were facing. You did not focus this much security with an eye towards Veil weaknesses without knowing what you were expecting.

“This is a bad idea, a really really bad idea.” Jon looked out at the warehouse and then back at Hunter and the Dogs. “I mean, why are all of us going over there again? As I remember, I’m the only person here who can actually be killed.”

“He has a point.” Hunter looked over at the light side pack, “If he is our only connection to this world why would we be risking him?”

“We can always get another one.” Tos sniffed. “There are plenty of them out there.”

“Yes, you can get another one.” Hunter snapped, “I can not.”

“We shouldn’t be here in the first place.” Hunter’s dog sounded like a dying breeze, just loud enough to hear. “Kill him and go home.”

“Hey, hey!” Jon cut him off with a slash of the hand “No one is killing me! That was the whole point!”

“We need him close enough to draw on.” Athen objected, “Otherwise we’ll be useless.”

“You’re pretty useless anyways.” Jon muttered, but they ignored him.

“So we get him close, but keep him hidden.” Akela scratched at the ground thoughtfully. “So how do we do that?”

“Well, there really is not any cover.” Athen’s eyes the wide expanse of gravel with distaste. “I suppose we could try veil walking, but it is really not a good idea with someone so,” he paused trying to find a polite way to say ‘utterly untrained and useless’.

“He has me.” Hunter faded until she was just the faintest hint of a shadow, and a pair of unnervingly in focus eyes.

Tos grunted thoughtfully, “That he does.”

“Wait, what?”

Hunter faded back in with an almost audible snap. “If we move you into the veil, away from the light side and closer to the dark than they will be unable to harm you. Unless another dark sider is present, which I do not believe is the case.”

“Is it just me or does this plan involve me dying?” Jon looked over at Hunter nervously. “I thought we’d ruled out dying.”

“It’s not dying, it’s just letting go of living a smidge.”

“A smidge??”

“This about it as if it was a transcendtal thing. You are ascending to a higher plane of being.”

“I’m ascending to a higher plane of dead.”

Hunter sighed. “Look, I hate to put it this bluntly, but the more dead you are, the safer you are.”

“That makes no sense!”

“Okay, think about it this way. Light side has power over lightside, right?”

“Err, yes?”

“And Veil has power over Veil?”

“Well, yeah.”

“And dark side has power over dark side.” She gestured in frustration. “Light side veil creatures cannot affect dark side. The chance of there being a dark sider there is next to nil. Which means you’ll be the only one there with power over all three.”

“Oh, oh.” Jon paused thoughtfully. “So I can hurt them, but they can’t hurt me?”

“Well, mostly that’s not true. You’re light side and there will be a lot of light side there. Plus light side veil. But the thing is, you’ll be leaning on the dark side, not on the veil or the light. That way they can’t affect you. Not so much you can affect them. If you do try and pull on the light or on the veil, you’ll be vulnerable to them. As it is, most likely you’ll be able to hide safely.”

“And you promise I won’t stay dead?”

“You won’t ever be dead!” Hunter snapped. “You’ll be slightly less attached to the light side.”

“You know, I’m just going to stop asking questions, because I still have no idea what’s going on.” Jon sighed. “Okay, lead on; I’ll follow.”

“Alright, take my hand.” She solidified the one she held out in offering. He took it, shivering a bit at the constant chill she wore like an aura. “Now you can hear the Singing, right?”

“Yeah.”

“Close your eyes. Now focus on the Singing. Find me in it, focus on me.”

And he did, trying to ferret out the soft melody that represented Hunter in the symphonic singing. He found it, then tried to focus in on it, slightly amazed at the more powerful melodies of the dogs faded into the background. He opened his eyes and almost let go of Hunter’s hand with a yelp.

The world had gone muted, as if he’d been put into a shaded hamster ball. His own self and clothing looked fine, but everything else was a dull shade of its former self.

“You know, I really wasn’t sure it would work.” Hunter looked impressed, but maintained a death grip on his hand. “Most people have a really hard time letting go of the light side. You’d almost think you’d been dead before.”

Jon gave her a hard look.

“Wait, what?” She blinked. “Are you serious?”

“I drowned once, I fell into a swimming pool when I was very small, but the EMTs revived me a few seconds later. No complications or anything, but I was dead for about a minute before they got my heart started again.” He shivered. “I really don’t like thinking about it.”

“Well that explains a lot.” She looked down at the dogs. “Did you know that?”

They promptly denied responsibility.

“So now what?”

“Now we go for a visit.” Hunter faded out further and Jon followed, watching the world go dim with a little bit of worry. The dogs followed suit, fading out until they were mere shadows against the forest.

Ready, the six took out across the gravel at a dead run, moving faster than Jon would have thought possible. They were across the expanse and next to the building.

[they sneak to the warehouse and find out it is full of bad guys, time for plan R]

When Tos was the voice of reason, it was time to go home. Jon counted through the rest of the ammo again, but the number remained hopelessly low. Even if he managed to hit something with every shot (and that was a pretty big if) there were just too many of them. And that was only counting the flesh and blood, there were a third as many Hinds and a handful of renegade Dogs to boot. A human, a dark sider and five Dogs weren’t going to make a dent.

They would, however, make a nice stain on the rug and Jon was all for preserving other people’s decorating choices.

[They decide to send Hunter’s dog back to the dark side to warn folks. It leaves and they Pack formally integrates Hunter]

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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