Reditio Soteri -09-
The hounds landed immediately, flanking the watcher like a pair of police officers. They could be taken for collies, if it weren’t for their exceptional size, obvious intelligence, and a most-uncollie-like aggressiveness and predatorial inclinations. They took up positions to either side of the watcher, close enough for him to see the size of their clean, white, sharp teeth. For a moment, the watcher was struck with the sense that these hounds must floss – their teeth were perfect. Without thinking, the words came out:
“Wow, nice work. Who’s your orthodontist?”
Compliments about dental hygiene, it turned out, did not improve the mood. The one to the watcher’s left stepped forward, pushing the watcher back a step as he demanded,
“You were at the church. You. What were your intentions, imp?”
“Hey, the sign said ‘all are welcome’ “ replied the watcher, “Perhaps they should be more specific in – oof!”
The second hound had kicked the watcher hard in the chest. He glared down at the supine watcher, who knew he had to be silent and still.
“You,” began the hound, “You are not welcome. You know this. What were you planning?”
The watcher remained silent.
“Answer me!” demanded the second hound, while the first peered intently at the watcher, as if he was trying to read his mind.
“Say ‘please’, first” replied the watcher. For this, he was punched hard in the flank, and as he skidded across the grass and careened off one tree into the trunk of another one, the watcher wondered just how a dog, even one from Heaven, could throw a punch. The watcher never saw it coming.
“Ow” said the watcher.
“Again, vermin” said the second dog, as the first hung back, “what are your intentions?”
“You’d better answer,” said the first hound, “I think he’s enjoying this, and we’ve got all day.”
Swell, thought the watcher to himself, I’ve got hounds from heaven playing out a bad scene from ‘Starsky & Hutch’. Good dog,/bad dog, even. For crying out loud, where’s Lassie to show these guys some manners?
“Uhhhh, they had free chicken?” suggested the watcher. He expected the kick that came, but it still hurt a lot more than he expected.
Things went that way for a long time, the watcher lost track of just how long, and somewhere along the way he lost consciousness. He came to some time after sundown, sore all over and with nothing for his pains but a warning that he would get more if he was seen around a church again.
The watcher shook himself, considered his position and options, and with a movement vaporized his material form and flew through the air back towards town. He needed to hunt, to take his mind off the way his day had gone. Something needed to die to make him feel better, and if he couldn’t kill something from Heaven, something on Earth would have to do.