Super Sunday Smackdown: Dogs of War!
As a kid and even as an adult big dogs can kind of scare me. Not St. Bernards unless they’re foaming at the mouth like Cujo, but German Shepherds, Dobermans, pit bulls, and the like make me nervous. The obvious reason being that they’re bred as attack dogs. (Little dogs don’t make me nervous because I know if the little fucker tries anything I can punt him fifty yards.)
That probably has something to do with this scene from Forever Young, where two little girls are terrorized by a pack of semi-wild dogs.
Here are our combatants:
Bio: Samantha wakes up on an island that’s stuck in the 17th Century and inhabited by a bunch of kids with no memory of who she is or how she got there. As the story goes on she discovers that she has hidden skills. For instance she can read while the other kids can’t. When other girls pick on her she also discovers that she knows kung-fu. So for a little kid Samantha is pretty tough.
Bio: Prudence has been on the island for a while. Like the others she has no idea how long she’s been there. Like the other kids she submitted blindly to the control of Reverend Crane until Samantha shows up and starts showing her that the rev has been hiding some nasty secrets. Prudence is fat and timid and not much use in a fight–which following the rule of all action movies means she has to help bail the hero out at least once.
Age: 21-ish (in dog years)
Bio: Reverend Crane’s henchman is the nasty Mr. Pryde, who keeps a pack of feral black dogs. These are usually more than enough to keep the kids of the island in line. The dogs are big and nasty with well-honed teeth and claws.
It’s probably a foregone conclusion who’s going to win, but here we are:
Chapter 29: Dogs of War
Samantha doused the torch, plunging the chamber into darkness. Prudence came to stand beside her, trembling now out of fear not of the chamber but of whoever lurked outside the passageway. “Did you see who it was?” Samantha asked.
“No, I only heard footsteps.”
Samantha crept to the mouth of the passageway to look for any sign of whoever might be approaching. The footsteps echoed along the passage and the chamber, but from the clicking sound to them, Samantha knew these footsteps did not belong to Pryde or Reverend Crane. A pair of yellow eyes appeared, confirming her worst fear.
“We’ve got to get out of here,” Prudence said too loudly, her terrified voice bouncing off the walls.
Samantha put both hands on her friend’s shoulders to steady her. “We have to be very quiet. They might pass us by.” Prudence said nothing, but continued to quake with fear.
The yellow eyes looked right at Samantha, who flinched, but couldn’t turn away. The dog growled and, to Samantha’s horror, started to creep forward down the passage. It paused at the door to the passage, snorting and then growling again. The beast jumped through a hole in the door and continued down the corridor towards the chamber.
Prudence started to whisper the Lord’s Prayer. Samantha couldn’t think of anything comforting to calm her friend and silently joined her in the prayer. Meanwhile, the dog kept making its way down the path, inexorably stalking its prey. It paused once to snort and then quickened its pace.
Samantha looked for a weapon and then remembered the pots lying along one wall. “I’ll be back in a second,” she whispered into Prudence’s ear.
“Where are you going?”
“To fetch a pot.” She fumbled around in the dark until she found the largest and heaviest one she could lift. She took it by one handle and returned to the mouth of the chamber. The yellow eyes were so close Samantha could almost make out the shape of the dog’s snout ready to bite into her.
The yellow eyes were only inches from Samantha’s waist when she raised the pot over her head and brought it down. The metal pot hit Pryde’s dog square on the head. It yelped with pain and staggered to one side. The beast growled, its eyes focusing on Samantha. She waited for it to lunge and then swung the pot again. The blow connected with the side of the dog’s head this time and sent it crashing into the wall, where it lay motionless. Samantha finally risked putting a hand out to touch the dog’s rough fur. “I think it’s dead,” she said to Prudence.
She dropped the dented pot and then grabbed another to take with her. With her other hand she took hold of Prudence and dragged her friend down the passage. “Where are we going?” Prudence asked.
“That dog got in here somehow and I doubt it was by diving in the river. So there has to be a way out of here. We have to find it before more of them show up.”
But the rest of Pryde’s dogs waited for them near the entrance to the passage. Three sets of yellow eyes glared at them and three mouths snarled in unison. Prudence screamed, the sound freezing the dogs for a moment. Then they spread out to encircle the girls.
“What do we do?” Prudence asked. She positioned herself behind Samantha, her fingernails digging into Samantha’s neck.
“I’ll hold them off, you try to get to the river.”
“The current will get you out of here. Try to get to shore as soon as you can and run. I’ll follow you.”
“You’ll be killed!”
“Do as I say, please,” Samantha pleaded. “When I tell you, run as fast as you can to the river.”
The dogs formed a triangle around the girls to prevent them from escaping. Samantha hoisted the pot to shoulder-level, the calm she felt when picking the lock flooding back to her. “Go!” she shouted at the same time she swung the pot in an arc.
The dogs backed off for the moment Prudence needed to break away from Samantha and run towards the river. Samantha heard a splash and then found herself alone with Pryde’s dogs. They closed in, preparing to make the kill.
Instead of swinging the pot again, Samantha threw it as hard as she could at the dog in front of her. The pot missed, bouncing across the ground, but the sound of it distracted the dogs long enough for her to dash towards the river after Prudence. She had nearly reached the bank when her foot caught a rock and she tumbled forward, landing on her back.
When she tried to stand, her left ankle throbbed with pain. “No,” Samantha moaned. “Not now.” She fell to her knees and started to crawl towards the river. Behind her, she heard the dogs approaching, savoring their next meal.
She rolled over to sit against a boulder near the shore and waited for the dogs to close on her. She felt the area around her until she came up with the rocks she’d used to light the torch with earlier. She cupped one in each hand, preparing for her last stand. The dogs growled and snapped at each other to determine which went first, the one in center winning the honor.
The dog charged forward, its jaws going straight for her throat. Samantha swung her left arm, the rock in her hand knocking the dog’s muzzle aside. She followed with her right hand. The dog collapsed to the ground at her feet.
With the demise of their leader, the other two dogs came at her simultaneously. One lunged for her chest while the other went for her injured leg. Samantha raised her hands as the first dog neared her chest. She clapped her hands together; the dog collapsed onto her, its weight almost crushing her.
The remaining dog snapped at her legs. She kicked it once with her right foot and then hurled both stones at it. One of the rocks hit the mark while the other sailed wide to hit the ground. The dog was startled enough for Samantha to push its comrade off her chest and then pull herself up and over the boulder she’d been resting against.
She dropped into the river and this time let the current take hold to carry her away. The last dog howled with rage at losing its prey. Samantha turned around in time to watch the yellow eyes climb over the boulder and dive into the water after her. The dog whimpered like a newborn puppy as it tried in vain to stay afloat. The yellow eyes sunk beneath the water.
Samantha tried to make her way to shore, but her sore ankle prevented her from making headway. After a minute of struggling, she no longer had the strength to stay afloat. Her head started to sink beneath the water when she suddenly found herself suspended in the air by one of her braids.
“I got you,” Pryde growled. He held up a torch so she could see Prudence lying in an unconscious heap behind him. “Time for you two to see the rev.”
Samantha swatted and kicked at Pryde, but his grip was as strong as the river’s current. He ended her struggle with a blow to the back of her head. She saw flashes of white light in her vision and then everything went dark once more.
No surprises there, right? Of course our plucky kids have to find a way to defeat the nasty dogs! Not like me; I’d just wet myself and collapse into a heap on the ground.
Come back Tuesday for another brilliant entry…