Descent into Darkness Part 3: His Beast Sample Chapter

EARLY WINTER, 1306 AF

THE NORTHERN WILDERNESS OF ORTHANOR

IT was a small cabin, the family crowded into the largest room for warmth. A hearth stood at one end of room, embers smoldering in the ash. On the opposite side, two braziers were eating through their portion of firewood. They, along with the thick bedding cocooning each person, provided heat to stave off the bitter cold outside.

Amongst the mounds of blankets and people was a dog. In the night time gloom, it was hard to make out the breed. The size, however, indicated that it could be one of those used for hunting or protection.

A silent order was sent out. Something began to slither in the dark.

The canine woke first. It roused with a snuffle, its bi-colored eyes darting around the room for whatever it was that had disturbed it. It clambered to its feet, shook itself, then began to inspect the murk-filled room. Working its way around, it paused by the window, stared at a semi-transparent shape bathed in moonlight. It resembled an over-large salamander, with broad flat head and no legs. It opened eyes of leprous white, its body bunching in on itself. The dog growled low.

It leapt. The canine lunged, jaws agape, a harsh sound reverberating in its chest. Behind it, the floor of bedding began to move.

The creature dove into the dog’s maw, stretching thin. The animal choked, hit the sill, coughed, yelped. The hind end of the creature, a vague shape of blackness, thrashed as it hung out of its opponent’s throat. The canine flung its head about, still coughing, choking. The noises, the motions, became more frantic.

Blood ran in rivulets down the shadow’s length to pool on floor.

Awakened by their pet’s distress, the family scrambled out of their bedding. Three adults and five children gave cries of dismay as the dog collapsed in a puddle of moonlit crimson. The creature wiggled out of the carcass, looking more substantial that the ether it had resembled before. As the adults went for whatever weapon they could find, as the children screamed, it opened its flat, lizard-like jaws. With a sickening crunch of bone, it bit through the dog’s head.

In the gloom around them, the rest of its ilk moved in for the kill.

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