• Dzama

David and the Dog Man

The wind dragged the branches across the corrugated roof- a terrible ripping noise. David stirred in his bed, drenched with sweat. Something sounding like a tin can rattled around outside, stopped, rattled again. Then he heard the trucks arriving, distant purring at first, then louder. He leapt out of bed, heart pounding, and made it into the kitchen before they opened fire on the guard outside. He went deaf from the racket for a second but kept moving, grabbing all the cheap metal knives from the kitchen and dropping them into the pockets of his cargo pants.

Then they were coming in through the back door with dogs, smashing everything around. So he turned and rushed again to the front. They’d already shot Marcie and the guard’s dying body was pumping blood all over the weathered floorboards. He was halfway through the door, like he’d been trying to get back into the house.

Outside a round blinding light hit David. Invisible people who probably all had their guns trained on him could be heard whispering. With almost supernatural expertise David threw one of the knives from his pocket and smashed out the light’s bulb, bringing a moment of darkness during which he ran like hell, more deafening automatic fire exploding in his ears. He jumped the nearest attacker and plunged a knife into his neck, the ensuing geyser of blood showering both of them. Two more knives flew from his fingertips, landing too perfectly in the hearts of the attackers. The grassy lawn turned from green to a flowing, muddy red.

A man with the head of a dog stepped forward, guns in each hand. The dog teeth clenched a cigar. “I’m going to take your soul from you David and then you’ll become a robot like all the rest.” David threw his last two knives but they were shot out of the air by the dog-man. “You weren’t going to use your soul for anything, were you?”

“Didn’t actually have any plans for it,” David muttered, truthfully.

“You see?” He puffed on the cigar. “It’s going to waste. Think of what a benefit you’d have been to all those pretty girls if you’d made use of your soul. Instead, you kill them slowly with your coldness, right?” By now the soldiers and their leashed dogs had come through the house and were spilling out into the yard behind David. The dog-headed man walked straight up to David, who stood facing him. He dropped his pistols back into their holsters and reached forward, touching David’s forehead lightly with his clawed fingers.

David stared straight back at him. Then the dog-man grinned, puffing at the cigar. “Thank you, David.”

“Anytime. I have other souls.” The dog-man, who had begun walking away, turned back and stared at him. “I have one here in my pocket.” The dog-man drew both guns when David reached for his pocket but all he brought out was a small, swirling black ball of smoke. In the middle of the smoke was a tiny sprite, wings vibrating soundlessly. The dog-man stared. The soldiers moved forward, guns drawn all around. The sprite faced the hostile stares and grinned with little sharp teeth. A forked tongue licked her lips. “Can I eat them now, David?” David surveyed the angry circle around him. “Yes, Melda, eat them all.”

She buzzed from his hand and flew right through the first soldier, her teeth tearing a hole through him in fast-motion until he collapsed to his knees, gushing blood. Faster still, she flew through the others, who tried firing at her before they too crumpled in a gory, pulsating mess. The dog-man snapped at her and caught her in his mouth, the cigar falling. She pried his jaw open from inside and shot her black-eyed gaze back at David. “Save that one,” he said. She then buzzed back to his palm, which she scratched with her little fingernails like a cat, grinning at him.

The dog-man stared at the two of them, then over at the bleeding, broken soldiers. The unharmed dogs waited and panted. He backed over to the dogs and took their leashes. Then he looked at David. “Here, I’ll give you the soul I took from you.” He held out his hand.

“Don’t bother. I don’t need it. I never used it anyway.” The sprite laughed. “That’s for sure,” she twittered. Then they watched as the dog-man moved slowly back to the trucks, bringing the leashed dogs with him. They loaded onto one and pulled away, the engine sound getting softer as they drove into the night. David and Melda were left with the wind ripping the branches across the roof again, and fitful sleep on a sweat-soaked bed as the bodies decomposed and stank and bled all around them.

Copyright © 2008. All Rights Reserved.

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