Hellhound, Free to Good Home
by Gerri Leen
She's not afraid of him--he can smell it on her, the lack of fear. He's bigger than a regular dog, his fur matted in places, his eyes too bright and teeth too sharp. He is, in a word, a huge ugly dog. But she doesn't care.
He is used to being feared: people scream when he comes near. This is new.
Crouching down, she pats her knees. "Come here, big boy."
Her voice is high, as if he is some human infant and not a hellhound, harbinger of death, helper to death when it suits his mood. Isn't she wondering what a mammoth black dog is doing sitting on this isolated path? A path she's unaware hides a man with a knife and a need to kill.
"I am death," the black dog barks. He is there to announce her death, which will be at the hands of the man in the woods--his warning might even turn her from it if she is the type of human who pays attention to harbingers. But now he suspects she would speak just as kindly to the man who waits for her as she has to a strange dog.
He tries again, "I am Death. Danger." He can tell she hears no warning in his barks.
She seems to be checking his neck for a collar. Does she think a creature such as he would ever be yoked?
"Stay back," he barks, easing away, but then she is thrusting something at his face and he snarls but then--wait? Is that food? This woman carries dog treats with her?
It's a high-quality treat, the smell too good not to take. As he lifts his head, licking crumbs off his lips, he feels a circle of soft rope being put over his head.