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Boo Boo and The Dogman

     Boo Boo tried to ignore the aching emptiness of his stomach and the thirst swelling his cracked tongue.

     Yet again he tried to pull free of the collar around his neck. The skin on it was rubbed raw and bleeding from days and nights of attempts, but he had to try again. He was so hungry! And so thirsty!

     Around him the dry ridge-top forest showed no pity at his plight, nor that of his pack mate Bo Bo.

     Once more he gave up the effort... he was so tired.   Boo Boo looked across the narrow forest path to where Bo Bo was chained to a another tree.

     But Bo Bo was silent. He had not moved for a day and a night now, lying on his side, facing away so Boo Boo could not see if his eyes were open or closed. He didn't smell like he was asleep... like most Terriers Boo Boo had an excellent sense of smell. Bo Bo smelled of death. The taint hung in the air all around his small, Chihuahua body.

     Boo Boo could smell death on himself as well, mixing in the dust stirred up by his fresh efforts to get free.

     His desperation tried a howling bark... tried to

     It came out as a parched, dry croak. He soon gave up the effort and in desperate weariness, he copied his small pack mate and lay down. He felt his eyes close and almost instantly started dreaming.

     ... His human, Darling, was slowly stroking his soft, white hair while he lay on her wide, comfortable lap. She was crooning to him, her soft hands calming him as he drifted in the comfortable haze of near sleep.

     But then Rodney entered the room!

     Boo Boo was instantly on his feet, barking furiously in rage. At Darling's feet Bo Bo too was up, his shrill chihuahua yapping filled with aggression far beyond his size.

     Darling tried vainly to quiet them both, but neither of her protectors would have his attention diverted from Rodney, standing there with a snarl on his face and the ever-present smell of darkness and death following him like a cloud.

     Finally Darling, with some effort for she was old, managed to shut them away into her bedroom, which only increased Boo Boo’s rage.

     What was wrong with her? Could she not smell how dangerous Rodney was?

     Apparently not, for no matter how much either of them whined and barked at the door, she did not let them out until He had gone.

     As soon as the door was opened both guardians sniffed everywhere, trying to hunt Him down so He could be dealt with, but it soon became clear He had left the house and peace soon returned.

     The dream shifted.

     ... He was now driving in Darling's car, he and Bo Bo locked in the small hatchback's rear compartment.       

     They looked at each other, worried. Where was Darling? They both had eagerly jumped in when Rodney had opened the door, car trips were a rare treat since Love had gone to sleep and not woken again months ago.

     The car stopped and Boo Boo recognised where they were. 

     Darling's mate Love used to take them both here often, to walk, run and sniff around in the dry forests that covered a ridge line. 

     The hatch lifted and Rodney quickly grabbed both their leads before they could jump out and run away.

     The excitement of the familiar place replaced Boo Boo's dread of Him for a moment as Rodney led them off up the trail towards the highest point on the long ridge walk.

     Although months had passed, familiar and exciting smells assaulted Boo Boo’s nose and his hatred for Rodney was forgotten. It could have been Love himself walking them now, except Love would have let them off by now to run and investigate as he strolled along behind. The collar and lead chaffed at his neck. He wanted Love to let him off!

     “Stop it ya mongrel!”

     He felt the vicious tug at his neck and the harsh voice reminded Boo Boo it was not Love walking them. He felt a moment of trepidation then, but Bo Bo’s excitement next to him soon drove it from his mind, enjoying this walk despite Rodney.

     Since Darling's mate Love had died and left her alone with only Boo Boo and Bo Bo for company, they had done their best to ease their surviving human’s pain and loneliness, but she had smelt of lifelessness for long months now. Not death, but lack of life. It was a smell Boo Boo remembered from before he had met Darling and Love. He had been in a small, concrete place, heavily tainted with chemicals, the smell of sorrow, and even worse, death before Darling had rescued him and taken him home to meet Bo Bo for the first time.

     Ever since that beautiful day he had loved and adored Darling and by extension, her old human mate Love. and tried his best to repay her kindness with protection. It had broken Boo Boo’s heart to smell that smell he had thought he had forgotten on his Darling.

     But then He had come.

     Rodney. The New Man.

     Right from the start Boo Boo smelled the darkness and treachery in Him.

     But Darling smelt of life again so he held his tongue at first.

     Boo Boo made sure to avoid the New Man as much as possible, but then when he saw Rodney viciously kicking Bo Bo he could hold back no longer. From that point on he was determined to never let Rodney anywhere near his Darling and as a result had spent many long hours locked in the bedroom with Bo Bo.

     But now they were being taken for a walk by Rodney Himself?

     What was up?

     The almost forgotten smells assailed Boo Boo's nostrils as he continued to pull at the lead, straining to run and explore, like he and Bo Bo had done so often with Love walking them.

     But no, his nose  had to be content with what it could reach from the chain as they climbed higher and higher.

     After a while Rodney suddenly stopped, and Boo Boo’s excitement lifted... maybe He would let them off to run now?

    Instead of letting them off the leads, He tied them both to trees on either side of the path and walked away. Back down the hill towards where they had parked?

     He and Bo Bo simply sat, confused for a while. Had Rodney forgotten something?

     But when He did not come back and darkness began to fall, they went frantic, barking and pulling at the chains holding their necks to the trees. And so began the long days and nights of hell,... hot, beating sun followed by chilling cold nights while the thirst and hunger steadily grew. And still Rodney did not come back.


     The sharp crack of a breaking stick broke through into Boo Boo's dream. 

     With an effort he opened his eyes. Was Bo Bo awake?

     He saw it was approaching dark, yet another night was falling.

     But what he saw was not Bo Bo. His head jerked up in shock, causing it to spin and his eyes to glaze over.

     When they cleared he saw he was looking at another dog, but what a dog!

     As black as the darkest night, its massive head would have been near the height of a human’s eyes, but it was on all fours, looking down at him with dark, red eyes. It smelt of something ancient and wild and Boo Boo felt his genetic memory stir. A chill worse than the coldest morning filled his bones... he could not help but whimper and shrink back as far as his chain would allow.

     Although he knew he was a small dog, by dog standards, this thing made him feel like a mouse. It’s deep, red eyes, almost hidden in the darkness of its face seemed to bore into Boo Boo’s quivering bones, but then, thankfully, it turned its attention away from him.

     The giant black Monster Dog looked down at Bo Bo, who had still not stirred.

     It lowered its great head to sniff, the enormous intake of breath loud in the gathering dark. Then it nudged Bo Bo with its enormous nose, rolling him over. Bo Bo still did not stir. His eyes were closed... Was he dead?

     The Monster Dog opened its jaws and Boo Boo thought it was going to eat his mate! 

     Forgetting his fear he jumped to his feet and managed to croak some shrill, angry barks. His dry throat tearing at the effort. But it did no good. The Monster Dog ignored him completely.

     Closing its enormous teeth around Bo Bo's lead, it snipped the chain as if it were soft rope, then it did an amazing thing!

     The Monster Dog reached out with one front leg, and turning its paw gently scooped Bo Bo up!

     Like a human would!

     Boo Boo stopped his pathetic barking and wide-eyed watched the Monster Dog stand up!

     Up and up it went, far higher than the tallest human Boo Boo had ever seen!

     It's joints made a strange, clicking sound as it did so, then tilting its enormous head and those ancient burning coals of eyes back down at Boo Boo one last time, it turned and walked away, down into the forested slope on its hind legs!

     Suddenly incredibly weary, the burst of barking had used the very last of his energy... Boo Boo felt his legs give way.

     It seemed he floated down to the ground, his body bouncing as it hit the dirt like he was falling onto Darling's soft blankets she kept on her bed.

     He distantly wondered if the Monster Dog was going to eat Bo Bo, but didn't really care anymore. He was hungry enough to eat his mate himself. At least it had left him alone.

     But worse than the hunger was the thirst. His throat felt caked in dust and riven with dry cracks like what he could vaguely see on the ground in front of his half-closed eyes... 

     Ground which suddenly began falling away from him as he felt the familiar disorientating feeling of being picked up by hands. It must be Darling, or maybe even Love, her man mate. But Love was gone now. Maybe it was his ghost? He allowed his eyes to fully close.

     Whoever it was he felt like he was flying as he moved through the forest, the smells changing from dry dust to ferns and moisture which teased his parched tongue as he was carried downhill .

     Then suddenly the water smell was overpoweringly strong and his dry throat and tongue seemed to cruelly throb at the moisture in the air.

     Abruptly he felt cool, cold water soaking into his fur as he was lowered into bliss.

     It's coldness brought some life back, enough to open his eyes to see the moonlight reflecting off a small stream he was lying in. Gratefully, he opened his mouth as well and allowed the coolness to flood into his parched throat and fill the cracks in his tongue.

     More life returned and he sat up and lowered his head to lap deeply of the cool, cool water.

     It was too much too quick though and he threw it right back up.

     But it had done its healing magic anyway, giving more life back to his bones. He drank again, more slowly this time, filling his empty belly with cool life.

     After a while he looked up, expecting to see Darling or even the ghost of Love standing there, but the air was empty. There was no-one to be seen anywhere... but then he noticed Bo Bo lying on the edge of the water, his head on the bank. He still smelled of death and his eyes were still closed.

     But then Boo Boo noticed Bo Bo's small chest heave in a big sigh. He was alive!

     Involuntarily his tail wagged and he staggered over to where Bo Bo lay, half in and half out of the water. He sniffed at Bo Bo's nose and in response his bulging chihuahua eyes opened to look up at him, but he did not raise his head. The effort was too much, he was obviously still very near death.

     Boo Boo prodded with his nose, trying to make his mate get up but Bo Bo refused to move and closed his eyes again.

     Just then a smell drifted to Boo Boo's nose then, a smell like no other... blood!

     The saliva glands in his mouth instantly triggered and the smell came closer.

     Even Bo Bo opened his eyes again. He must have smelt it too.

     His stomach now screaming to be filled, Boo Boo looked around to see where the smell was coming from and he saw the Monster Dog again.

     It was standing there, thankfully on all fours again like a normal dog, if a normal dog could be much larger than a human, with enormous teeth and deep, dark eyes that seemed to bore right through Boo Boo's bones.

It opened its mouth and dropped the squirrels it had been carrying, the source of that delicious blood smell.

     Even Bo Bo got to his feet then, and dragging himself from the water, staggered over towards the food.

     Boo Boo hesitated, looking warily at the Monster Dog. It backed away into the darkness and Boo Boo's nose soon told him it had left.

     Bo Bo was not so cautious, lapping at the blood still dripping from the squirrel.

     The sound of the lapping and the smell of the delicious, fresh blood was too much. Splashing out of the water, Boo Boo staggered over to the kill to join his mate in the feast.

     As he ripped at the small body and swallowed the soft innards, he felt life flooding back to his muscles. The spinning of his head steadied and he walked up the bank to urinate.

     Bo Bo soon followed. Although still weak, Boo Boo clearly saw his mate’s tail wag when he glanced at him. Boo Boo could not help but wag his tail in reply but he was still concerned for Darling. They had to get back to her. She needed them. And the New Man needed to be seen off once and for all.

     But which way was home?

     He stood, facing one direction, then the next. The cool night air carried hints to his nose. 

     Vehicle smell, that way. 

     Determined, and not looking back to see if his pack mate followed, Boo Boo walked uphill, away from the water and hopefully the giant Monster Dog that had saved his life.

     But once he finally made it to the car park, Darling’s car was not there. Days had passed, how many he did not know, lost in his starving demise... but now he knew the way and stepping onto the asphalt, trotted off down the dark, hard road. Behind him, he sensed Bo Bo following. But his sensitive nose picked something up else as well.

     Off to one side the Monster Dog was gliding through the trees, paralleling him, just out of sight but not out of range of Boo Boo’s excellent nose.

     The Monster Dog scared him still, despite having freed him, taken him to water, and given him food. He could still smell it on him from where it had carried him in its arms, like a human!

     It smelt old, not in an old animal kind of way, like Darling and Love, but ancient, like once when Boo Boo had caught the smell of a wolf on the wind. It had been wild and old-feeling, but this was somehow far older. More like the old of the ancient trees in the deep parts of the forest.

     Trying to ignore the Monster Dog, Boo Boo kept on, down the road towards the lights of town and Darling. Bo Bo followed behind, almost all indications of their recent ordeal gone as he trotted along, seemingly ignorant of the Monster Dog shadowing them in the trees. Maybe he could not smell it?

     He was getting thirsty again when they came upon the first house. The smell of water and cat  drifted to his nose from its porch. He didn’t like cats, had never gotten on with them, but he badly needed a drink. The creek already felt like a lifetime ago and the gate was open so he went in, cautiously followed by Bo Bo.

     Carefully, they both made their way towards the porch and the smell of the water. Up the stairs and there it was, next to a bowl of half-eaten cat biscuits.

     Inside the house Boo Boo could hear a TV but he could not see the cat despite its smell being everywhere.

Gratefully he and Bo Bo drank deeply of the water, then Bo Bo turned to the biscuits.

     A glinting flash of black, shadowy movement caught Boo Boo’s eye and he instinctively jumped backwards, almost off the porch, in surprise and instant fear. But thankfully it was not the Monster Dog. 

     It was a cat, large and black. It had landed right between Bo Bo and the food bowl, raising itself to its full height and hissing madly.

     Although the cat was much bigger, Bo Bo did not back down. Instead he started barking in his high-pitched, yappy voice which even annoyed Boo Boo.

     There was a human’s shout from inside the house but Bo Bo did not stop his shrill barking. Incredibly he advanced towards the large cat, still yapping madly, spittle flying from his tiny mouth.

     The cat at first retreated in surprise, but then stood its ground, raising one paw with claws extended, ready to swat at the tiny mad chihuahua.

     Before it struck though, it lifted its head, looking over Boo Boo’s into the darkness, then in a flash, it was gone, off the other side of the porch. Bo Bo, thinking his barking had seen it off, trotted triumphantly over to the bowl of biscuits and began eating.

     But before he cold take more than a mouthful, the door was flung open and light spilled onto the porch. 

     A large, red-faced Fat Man roared, “What the hell!” and Bo Bo cowered, but did not run, unwilling to leave the prize he had won. 

     It was a mistake for the Fat Man carried a broom and swatted the chihuahua off the porch like a gold ball off a tee and into the low bushes against the fence. Bo Bo yelped in pain and fright and getting his feet under him, rushed out the gate, Boo Boo moved to follow down the porch stairs before the Fat Man saw him too. But blocking his way was the giant Monster Dog!

      It was just outside the light from the open door, growling so low and deep Boo Boo felt it rather than heard the sound.

     The Fat Man must have heard it too, because he swung around to face the darkness.

     He moved his head back and forth, trying to see what was growling, but it was blacker than the darkness outside the porch light. Suddenly the fat man’s head stopped moving, his eyes locked on two glowing coals in the shadows. The growl grew louder.

     Almost instantly the smell of urine hit Boo Boo’s

nose and he realized the Fat Man had wet himself.

He was not surprised, he was at the point of wetting

himself too and Boo Boo knew the growl was not

even directed at him.

     The big black Monster Dog facing the Fat Man

stepped forward so it was half in and half out of the

light, its drawn back lips revealing incredibly wicked

looking yellow-white teeth as it looked up at the Fat

Man on the porch, that hideous growl never ceasing

its low, warning rumble.

      Boo Boo smelt fear pouring off the Fat Man in waves and saw his previously red face had gone white. But then the Monster Dog stood up! There was that horrible popping sound of its hips clicking into their new positions and it slowly rose to be even taller than the Fat Man up on the porch.

     The smell of faeces suddenly hit Boo Boo’s nose and he knew the Fat Man had soiled himself as well.

     His eyes fluttering back into his head, the Fat Man collapsed in an untidy pile on the floor boards of the porch.

     The Monster Dog immediately stopped growling and looked down at the Fat Man for a moment.

     Then it bent its head down to sniff at where his shirt had pulled up, exposing his fat, pale belly. For a moment, Boo Boo felt his excitement stir, was it going to eat the Fat Man?

     But no, instead, it snorted in disgust and pulled back its head, reaching over with one front leg to swoop up the bowl of biscuits before fading back into the shadows.

     It was a while before Boo Boo felt he could move again.

     The Fat Man lay there, motionless. He had hit the water bowl as he fell and spilled it across the floor. The cat was nowhere to be seen.

     It took Boo Boo only moments to find Bo Bo, across the street under a tree, happily crunching away on the bowl of cat biscuits. Boo Boo could not see nor smell the Monster Dog anywhere. Maybe it had finally gone?

     He nudged Bo Bo, who looked up with the last few biscuits in his mouth. Boo Boo hated cat biscuits anyway. Turning, he headed off down the street. They still had a long way to go to get home to Darling.

End of Part I, Part II coming soon...

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