The dark furred creature crept closer, saliva dripping from its mouth. The teeth shone in the moonlight and I shut my eyes, waiting. Suddenly a great pain shot through my left leg. I screamed louder than I ever have. But I guess I deserve it, you should never mess with evil, no matter how innocent it looks.

I should have listened, I know I should. I wouldn’t be here if I had. It’s the Hell-Hound. It’s returned. Three hundred years since it last came. The stories I had heard, I never believed them until a month ago. That’s when it struck. First it killed, in the most horrific way, a few sheep, but that was only the beginning. Later it killed more things. Cows, pigs, bulls. The town was scared that it would kill a human if something wasn’t done.

I did some research about this hell-hound. I found out then that this was not the first time. I found an account of when it had last struck. It was written by the local vicar’s daughter. It said this:

“ The howling woke me from my deep slumber. ’Twas the second time this week. I looked out of my window and there it was upon the moor. The moonlight shone upon it’s back and it’s maw gaped open in a howl of victory. The dying creature’s pelt had been tossed aside and the carcass still wriggled in a futile attempt at defense. Then the Hound from Hell lowered it’s bloody mouth and ripped the creatures torso apart in one swift movement……

Even after that I didn’t feel scared. I thought I knew best. Anyhow, one day I overheard my parents talking. My mother was talking in her silly high-pitched voice that indicated she was scared about something serious – or drunk. I checked the time. Way past my bed time but too early for them to be drunk. I crept up to the door, pressing my body to the wall. I lowered my breath and put my ear to a crack in the door.

I listened. They were talking about the Hell-Hound, saying how scary it was. Dangerous. Bloodthirsty. Murderous. I shook these words out of my head. My parents decided after a lot of ‘ discussing’ , that they must catch this Hell-Hound and destroy it once and for all. I left then. A plan forming in my mind.

My father organized a search party but I knew he would not allow me along, so, I went upstairs to my older brother’s room and rummaged through his wardrobe and drawers. I found some old clothes that were too small for him and put them on. I looked in the mirror. I didn’t look like me but there was something else I needed to do. I crept downstairs and peeped into the room where the party was gathering. I stole a look at the clock. Half an hour to go. Good, I thought and slipped back upstairs.

After twenty minutes of searching I almost gave up hope but I found what I was looking for. A hat.

Covered up my hair and face nicely I thought. I waited for ten minutes until the search party went out. I heard the familiar click of the door and knew the next bit would be harder.

I took a breath as I crept up to the front door. I had to get my facts straight. I called to my mother. I told her that I was going down town, to do some shopping and before she could argue I was out the door. I slammed it shut quickly. I couldn’t risk my mother seeing me like this. Thanks to listening to the plans last night I knew where the group was heading. I sighed. The place they were gaping to was the woods. I loved that place more than anything but to think of these people intentionally killing something there broke my heart. My beautiful, mystical, innocent woods was going to be made dark, forbidding and anything but scary. I sighed again as I walked to the fence that separated our front garden from the fields. In one quick movement I had jumped over and was standing knee-high in dew covered grass. I smelt the fresh sent of dew covered daisies and picked my way through the jungle like field. It had been a long time since I had walked through these fields. It had been over a year now that my parents had banned me from walking this way but I knew if I was to catch up with the group this would be my best bet. I trudged slowly through the field, thinking about how many rules I had broken and why I had disobeyed my parents. When I was about halfway across the field I stopped and looked back at my house. It looked so peaceful and half of me yearned to go back. But I couldn’t. I was to far to go back now. I returned to the journey and quickened my step.

It had been a good half-an hour by the time I reached the woods. I stood very quiet in the shade. I heard voices. I heard my father’s voice and his friends. I also heard a lot of ones I didn’t recognize. Then I snapped back to my senses. They were getting closer and now was to late to fail. I had to keep trying. I slipped behind a tree as the group passed by. I waited and then, once the group [had walked by, tagged on the end. No one knew the difference. I was pleased with myself, even though what I had been doing was wrong. I just listened to the talk but was never part of it. Then I heard a man shout. He said something about the Hell Hound had been near and pointed east. The group hushed and reached for their guns. I crept along with the group. It was getting so tense. To tense. Suddenly, out of no where, there was a howl from behind us. We all whipped around to see the Hell Hound. Some, men fled, some men, shot at the creature, missing miserably. I didn’t know what to do. I looked at my father. He looked very pale. Then, I decided to leg it. I was the closest to the Hell Hound and I knew it could take me down easily.

I hid up a tree for another half an hour. Slowly, when I was sure the cost was clear, I slipped down the tree. I walked to a particularly big tree that I had played on a lot in my youth. Last night the group had said about meeting at this tree if they got scattered. I waited and sat down, leaning against it. It wasn’t long until more members of the group came to the tree. Some dazed, some limping, some helping others. But slowly, one by one, they all came back to the tree. My father checked on everybody. No one was missing. The number was correct. I sighed a sigh of relief. I thought to myself that surely the Hell Hound was more scared of us than it. I guessed that all the broken body parts were due to roots. The members had just tripped over, that was all… right? I was confused but I knew there was still more to go. Slowly, the group searched again, more determined than ever. They searched, not wanting to Miss one square inch of land. Any broken twig, a dead bird, an upturned bush, they were all clues. Hours passed and I knew my mother would be getting worried. I heard my father turn to the group. He told us that we must set up a trap. So, as the group gathered any supplies they could, I slipped away back home.

I was back in the field, running for all I was worth. I ran and ran. I was home in ten minutes flat. I opened the door, quickly with my key. I called a hurried hello to my mother as I quickly, yet quietly, raced upstairs to my room. I changed out of my clothes and back onto my normal ones. I looked at myself in the mirror. I was FILTHY! I needed a bath. Fortunately my mother shouted up to me that it was time I had one. She didn’t even check on me, for once! I sighed happily as I got into the bath. My father came home a few hours later. I heard him tell my mother about what happened in the woods. They were going out in the morning, to check if it had been caught! I was very excited. I slept peacefully that night, as I knew I would need a lot of energy in the morning.

The next day I woke up early. I got dressed in my everyday clothes and had some breakfast. I needed another place to ‘be’ when I was at the woods. I picked up the newspaper. There was nothing new. The average wedding, funeral and advertisements for taps and windows. I sighed and put it on the table. I stroked my cat, Shadow, as I ate my toast. Then an idea hit me, I could take Shadow to the vets! But my heart sank. Shadow had only been the other day. I needed something though. Something were people wouldn’t be able to tell my mother if I had or hadn’t been there. I sighed and finished my breakfast, putting it in the sink for washing. I stroked Shadow and thought. My parents came down not long after that but when they did I went out the room, another plan forming in my head. I listened for the time my father said to set off. I smiled, silently. I went upstairs and grabbed some books I had borrowed from the library and put on the clothes I had worn to the wood. I went downstairs and called a goodbye to my parents. I told them I was going to the library. Being an avid bookworm my parents wouldn’t put it past me at spending several hours in the library. It was a while to the library though. It would take me half an hour at the least but strode on with determination. Soon, after twenty six minutes, I was at the library. I rushed in and thanked the Lord that today the normal librarian was off. Mrs. Crew and me were quite good friends but a Sunday was her day off and the other Librarians didn’t know me. I rushed in, placed the books on the counter telling them my name and that I was returning them and rushed out.

It took me another fifteen minutes to get to the woods, were the group were meeting. Once I got there half the group was already there. I sighed happily and waited for the rest. It was only five minutes before the whole group was there, including my father. So we set off. We found the trap and sighed. We hadn’t caught it. The rest of the day was pretty boring. We didn’t see it once. When the group finally decided to pack up we thought it wise to look once more at the trap. By now it was getting quite dark. We got to the cage sooner than I thought because the next thing I knew there was a lot of shouting and laughter. I looked at the trap and there inside was the Hell Hound. I looked at it. It looked so sad in the cage, innocent. It looked into my eyes and seemed to plead with me. Was I the only one to understand this creatures feelings? But before I could do anything the group was pushing me around and I had to follow. 

The group went to the pub and drank to capturing the Hell Hound. Even I got a beer. Even though I was underage. They didn’t know that though. Usually I would of done anything for a drop of alcohol but this time all I could see was the Hell Hound in it’s cadge. It’s sad, black eyes had bore into me and I drank the alcohol silently. I didn’t taste it though. Slowly I finished my drink and went outside, leaving the group to party. I went home. I called a hello to my mother again and had another bath. All through this all I could think of was the Hell Hound and each time I thought of it sorrow welled up inside me. Then that’s when I made the most stupid decision of my life. If I hadn’t of done that I would have been at home now, in bed. But no. I made up my mind and my mind was made up! That night I was going to free it.

I heard the clock strike twelve and I woke up with a start. My sleep hadn’t been so comfortable that night. Slowly I crept out of bed and changed into my brother’s clothes. I picked up a flashlight and slipped down stairs and to the front door. Quietly I went outside into the crisp moonlight and turned my flashlight on. I walked across the fields that would take me to my doom. I walked until I came across that familiar line of trees. I stood in there shade for a moment, remembering the previous day when I had first set eyes on the Hell Hound. I followed various signs that soon lead me to the Hell Hound and his trap. I looked at it. It’s eyes looked back, the sadness even greater. It let out a small howl of confusion and pain. I looked into its’ eyes and almost cried. I put the flashlight in a tree so I could see the Hell Hound’s cage in light. I looked at the lock and slowly began to undo it. I spoke softly to the Hell Hound, every now and then glancing at it. It’s eyes seemed to brighten and it’s tail wagged slightly. What did such a creature do to deserve this? But I didn’t know the answer then as I do now. I looked at him as finally the lock broke free. I smiled at the Hell Hound and it seemed to smile back. Slowly it crawled out of its cage. The Hell Hound set it’s eyes on me, as if studying me. It’s eyes no longer contain sorrow but happiness. I felt glad that this creature would now be freed but then I saw it’s mouth gape open. To late did I realize what this creature had done to deserve trapping.

It’s teeth glow eerily in the moonlight as I realize why I shouldn’t have made that decision. The pain in my leg is unbearable, as I understand something I had overlooked before. When my father counted the members, he counted me. But I wasn’t in the original. This Hell Hound was a killer. It was the Devil in disguise. It had returned after a three hundred-year sleep for some slaughtering and I was its latest victim…

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