Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Short Story, a Blogfest, and a Pizza Boy (minus the pizza boy)


So I signed up for my first ever Blogfest! You can follow the link on that there TITLE :) You really should, Dayana has a great blog, and I'm super glad to be one of her followers.

An advance warning: This is not a feel good story, and it may get a little graphic. Animal cruelty is disgusting, and I tried to be honest about that in this story.

Scent of Fear

sniff snuff sniff
This damn kennel reeks of fear, I've been smellin' it since they started bringin' in those others. First timers... ya can always pick 'em out by that smell.

I lean against the bars ta' see what's there... can't see much, but the growlin's already started. Once they catch a whiff of another dominant, the newbies always go right ta' growlin'. Most of 'em won't last though... there's just too many of us ol' timers here, and we already got the taste and scent of blood.

Once you make it past your first time... well, ya' can't ever go back.

There's a ruckus outside; a bunch of snarlin' and bangin' against the kennels. Someone got loose. Dutch'll be here any second, and whichever poor bastard is out there, well he ain't gonna make it to see the ring.


That'll be Dutch... I scoot way back in the kennel and pretend to be sleepin'.

"What the hell's goin' on in here? I'll skin you mangy bastards if you don't..." I hear him take a couple steps... there's a mean soundin' growl, then a thud and a whimper. "Well, I'll be dipped. I think you're Dallas's pooch, huh?"

Must've been Runner, then... He's a beast. I don't know what Dutch hit 'em with, but it had'ta been big, cuz Runner ain't even whimperin' anymore. Bad for Runner, but good for me. That means one less fight for the rest of us.

"The rest o' you mutts better keep yer' damn yaps shut!"


With that, Dutch is gone, just as quick as he came. The fear is even thicker in here, now, most of these dogs ain't seen Dutch before. They got no idea what he's like, or how he acts when we ain't here. He feeds me good, and even lets me sleep in the bed with him... when I win, and ain't too bloody and hurt, that is. He promised that today was gonna be my last fight. All I gotta do is win, and he won't bring me back no more. I plan on winnin'.

There's no more growlin' or barkin' now. The old timers like me are just waitin' our turn, and the newbies are too scared, too wired, too clueless to know how to act. So they just stay quiet. It's better that way anyhow.

The noise from outside is gettin' louder. They'll be makin' bets and talkin' trash like they do. Pretty soon, Dutch'll be in ta' get me. Then it'll be time ta' get ta' work. It ain't fun, and I'm older than I once was, but at least I get fed regular. Some o' these poor dogs get brought in, off the street. Hungry and tired, without any meat on 'em, but willin' to fight to stay alive.

I guess that's what we all got in common.

Then, the noise from outside gets real loud. Someone opened the door, and I'm sure it's Dutch, cuz all the others got real scared again. I can't stop my tail from waggin'. I know what's comin' next, and it makes me all jittery. My front shoulder still hurts from last time, but I don't limp or whimper. Can't let 'em see me as weak. They'd be on top of me quick, I know I would.

"Come on, Duke," says Dutch as he starts unlockin' the kennel. "It's time to show these pups how we do it."

sniff sniff

I can smell blood on him as he puts the shades over my eyes. Could be Runner's, but I don't think that's all. They've already had a few fights today, and there's always dogs that don't make it out. The thought puts me on edge, and I can't help but to start snarlin'. Don't know who I'll be fightin' today, but it's bad luck for them.

The place he pulls me to smells bad, like blood and smoke and piss. They always do. The people are already screamin', some of 'em know me and yell my name. "Duke. Duke. Duke." That's always strange, the only one I care about is Dutch, and he's right next to me.

"Okay, Duke," I can feel Dutch kneelin' next to me, "it's about time. You gotta just one this one more, ya' know."

I can smell the dog across the ring. He stinks, and I got a picture in my head of what he should look like. Big. Mean.

Dutch jerks the blinds off my head and I only have a second to look... I was right. He's huge, and he's got blood and spit hangin' like shoelaces off his face. This ain't gonna be easy.

Soon as his mask comes off, this one's on the lunge. He comes at me low and quick, just not quick enough. He means business, but he's a first timer, no doubt. He's already low and half-way turned when I snap up his back paw. He ain't frail, but I tear through his skin quick, and he starts flailin'. He's scared. This won't take long.

He turns real fast, spinnin' two or three times before I feel the bones crack. He screams loud, I see a few heads turn away. It ain't pretty, but I don't know what they were expectin' when they came here. He starts pullin' away, and I let him.

The screamin' stops, and he thinks it's over, but I didn't hear Dutch's whistle. I'm on him fast, and he's surprised. He yelps, but it only lasts a second before I feel the flesh on his throat give way.

Ahh, there's that whistle. I let go, but somethin's wrong. There are new people, and lights everywhere.

"Get down!" they holler over and over again, and folks are listenin'. Dutch won't be happy about that.

I'm spinnin' around, lookin' for Dutch when I feel somethin' go around my neck. It's a leash, and it ain't Dutch. No point in fightin'. Whoever's holdin' this thing is strong, and ain't gonna let go. I just hope Dutch is okay, I don't hear him anymore.

"Well you're a good boy, aren't you?" It's a gentle voice, no one I've heard before, and he leans down next ta' me. "It's okay, fella, you're retired now. There's some food in the truck, and we'll take real good care of you."

Retired... looks like Dutch kept his promise this time.


  1. Hi Ken, I really loved your post.You have brought the scene to life with your words. Thanks for this wonderful post.

    "He's huge, and he's got blood and spit hangin' like shoelaces off his face. This ain't gonna be easy." Your descriptions are awesome!

    Animal cruelty is indeed something to get disgusted with.

  2. This is great Ken! I got a strong sense of personality through voice. I think that the style of the writing is strong enough to stand without all of the apostrophes(like in whimperin'). I would use ain't and ol' but the rest of them get a little confusing on the eyes, and the voice is strong enough to the point where I would pronounce the words that way anyways.
    Overall, I really enjoyed it and felt the emotions of the dog. Glad he was retired!
    p.s. and thanks for the compliment! glad to 'know' you!

  3. @Rachna- Thanks so much for the kind words, and thanks for reading!

    @Dayana- I had the same thought with the apostrophes, but I chickened out when it came time to cut 'em ;)

  4. Ken, this is terrific. I am glad you clarified your stand on animal cruelty before we read the story. I can't imagine why people do this kind of thing.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  5. It's horrible the way some people treat animals. I like the way you described this story, and the dog's voice is perfect for it.

  6. @N.R.- thanks for stopping by, I know just what you mean!

    @Eagle- Glad you enjoyed it, thanks for the compliment!

  7. Great story! Glad the dog ended up OK though. I just read about a rooster and a cockroach who didn't make it!

  8. I never thought I'd say this, but I love the dog's 'voice' :D

  9. Wow, what an amazing canine voice! I picture an older, grizzled mutt. Loved this from beginning to end! It was like Gladiator, doggy style! :)

  10. @Carolyn- It was a last second decision, but I already loved him so much, I didn't have the heart!

    @Marieke- Thanks for coming by, I'm glad you liked it. It just came out, and didn't stop until the story was done.

    @J.C.- Thanks so much, that's exactly the dog I was picturing as I wrote :)

  11. I liked this. I agree w/ some of the other comments about the apostrophe's, yet it gave him a unique voice. I say leave 'em.

    As for that voice, I pictured a battle-scarred pit cross who did what he was supposed to do, just like any good dog. I'm glad he didn't die - I was expecting him to get killed by his opponent.

    Nice work.

  12. @Roh- :) He was a pit! That's the picture I had the whole time, they are such gorgeous (and unfortunately often misunderstood) animals. Thanks!