Dark Side of the Mind ©
My brother and I sat and drank our Guinness in the lounge bar of the pub. Talk of girls and cars and bikes filled the time quite nicely. Time itself was called but we didn’t hear it.
So engrossed in our talking we had not noticed everyone get up and leave. We hadn’t noticed the large double doors had been left open letting in the cold damp night air.
The lights had been dimmed to a faint glow, the bar staff had gone and as I looked back at the door again I saw the outline of a large black dog. It was foggy outside and the mist swirled around the black shape distorting and making it look menacing.
We stood to leave and immediately I felt the chilled air on my face. The animal at the door bared its teeth and growled deeply and softly as if to dare me to pass it.
As it was the only exit we walked slowly toward the door and the dog slowly backed up and let us pass.
As we lived in opposite directions we parted and I started back. It was a calm warm evening when I set out and so I hadn’t brought a jacket. I now wished I had. I moved purposefully across the car park, with the fog twisting around my legs not wanting to let me go.
The streetlights glowed in the fog and as I reached the corner I glanced back. The hound was following me, slowly padding, 5 or 6 paces behind, not gaining nor falling behind. It was a big dog, like a mastiff, huge head and a loping gate, its mouth open drooling and sucking in the damp night air.
I seemed to be walking in a small bubble of light, the reflection of the lamps off the mist was the only light around. Everywhere else pitch-black, like the hound itself
The dog was beginning to bother me. I had not seen such a large animal around here before. What was it doing on its own? I quickened my pace a little but it made no difference, still 5 or 6 behind me.
I was close to my usual short cut across the Gala field. It was all in blackness ahead with no sight of the exit, no known centre point to gauge my progress. The road around was much safer, and as I rounded the corner the last streetlight fell behind me. The ones ahead were not on at all.
Quite why I crossed the unlit road I will never know and I found myself on the damp grass of the field and in heavy fog. I was totally alone. In the darkness.
In that split second the dog had come level with me to my left. I glanced uneasily behind and I saw 2 more maybe 10 yards back. The grass was very wet and unusually long. I was sure when I walked over it earlier it had been cut? My lightweight shoes were soaked thro and in my hurry to get along I was slipping as I struggled to grip the grassy field.
I had lost all sense of direction and time. Glancing at my watch, it had stopped at midnight, exactly the time I entered the field and the bank of thick fog.
The leader was now ahead and the other two flanked me all just several paces away from me.
Now I was following. I could smell them now, wet and with a rotten flesh type smell, my stomach turned. They were the hounds of hell for sure….Now I was talking to myself. The grass was now much longer, making it harder to walk and I struggled to keep my balance, then I fell.
Immediately they were on me, their mouths dripping saliva and nostrils flaring. Then in a moment of total madness I swear I heard the lead animal talk to me.
“get up, get up you must rise master”
Startled beyond belief I looked at each in turn and then back to the lead. Its eyes as black as pitch as it hissed again with such force that I shook inwardly as the beasts request forced itself into my mouth and then into my lungs.
Stunned I could not move, they started to drag me over the grass so strongly, that I could not help but stumble up onto my feet. Then they were in a line in front of me, seconds later fanning out.
I stood wet through and covered in grass and mud, totally motionless and disoriented. I looked around. Nothing. I looked down at my feet. Legs and shoes were bright red, stained in blood. My blood.
In that split second the lead dog launched its attack and suddenly there were more people around me. It all happened in seconds, the 2 other animals then joined in. All I could hear was the sound of ripping flesh and the smell of animal anger. I felt splashes on my face and blood curdling screams and then silence as a great weight pressed me down into the ground.
Then bright lights.
100 years ago to that very night, to that very time, a group of brigands and smugglers had wrecked a small ship off the treacherous coastline and were taking the stash of contraband Rum to the Inn at the top of the hill
They had come across a lone Officer of the Realm, returning home with his 3 English mastiffs.
The smugglers set upon the officer and a violent struggle ensued, with the mob slashing with their swords into the brave officer.
The dogs fought with skill and bravery to protect their master but there were too many of them. All died brutally, slashed and cut, but not before the lead dog had bitten the throat out of one smuggler.
They were thrown over the dead body of the officer in the gully where the violence took place to hide the act.
The Medic shone the torch into my eyes. No one could explain the blood on my clothes. No one could explain why it was animal blood and why was there a strong smell of rum? I hate rum.
I still go to the same pub, on the site of the old Inn at the top of the hill, but I never take a short cut, and I never drink rum!