The Dogs: Maketh the Day Dark

Story by Aux Chiens on SoFurry

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One writes of scars healed, a loose parallel to the pathology of the skin, but there is no such thing in the life of an individual. There are open wounds, shrunk sometimes to the size of a pin-prick but wounds still. The marks of suffering are more comparable to the loss of a finger, or of the sight of an eye. We may not miss them, either, for one minute in a year, but if we should there is nothing to be done about it. _________ F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender Is the Night

The smoke rose in front of Bligh's face, ghostly, and as he flicked the cigarette away onto the dirt-gravel circle where the two trucks - blue Ford Ranger, black Jeep Honcho - still sat parked, side by side, it wisped into nothing, into the creeping West Virginia dusk. He remembered a night like this, long ago - he was trying to get Drew to go to the old abandoned church with him, and this was before he found Duke there - it was Summer and unusually warm for the evening and they'd both gone shirtless, Bligh at thirteen and Drew still twelve, and Drew, reluctant to go, had turned his back stood where he was, scared. But Bligh, still moving forward, grabbed Drew by the shoulder, told him to come on - Drew had almost stumbled back right on his ass before relenting, he always did that, he always did whatever Bligh wanted to do, no matter what, the hesitancy overcome by love, it must have been, it must have been... He took a swig of beer, savoring the oaky flavor - Killian's, Irish, like him, like all his people, and Cherokee, or some other Indian, they never figured which, somewhere far back, that gave him the hair, and the fur, the color of coal, the coal that his daddy who he didn't really remember used to mine a year afore he went to Marshall. No shirt, no shoes, no pants...part of him had stopped giving a fuck, part him knew that as dark as it was getting and how far his house sat back from the road, nobody would notice he was different - very different. Below the waist, all dog, all fur - black, like his hair, and dog's feet, but flat, like a human's, and big ol sheath with a huge dog's dick that he loved almost as much as he loved anything else in the world. Furry dog's ears - pointy teeth - four extra nipples. Some nights he would idly wonder what people would think if they saw what he looked like underneath his clothes - a werewolf, probably, a freak. Fuck that - he was a fucking masterpiece. He stood up from his house's front stoop - his house, now - sauntering over to his pickup, the Ranger, feeling the gravel and the dirt dig into the pads of his footpaws, painlessly, toughened like leather. As a human this would have been agonizing - but he weren't no human...he was better than that. He was proud of what he was now, how so like the werewolf he always wanted to be, the dog he always knew he was - but he still had to hide it. There were whole parts of him, whole oceans of difference between him and everyone else, that no one would ever know, would ever understand. Not even Drew. Not yet - not yet. He came to what he needed - a blue tarp, wrinkled with innumerable creases from years and years of use, as old as Bligh was, probably older, and took it in his hands, tail swaying to balance. Up went the tarp, over Pappy's truck, the big Jeep he had maintained so that it was a few dings and one major scratch on the tailgate away from almost being new for the 1978 showroom - thus covered, it would protect the truck for as long as Bligh needed it to, as long as it would take to put what he wanted to do into action, the plan that wasn't really a plan. This was a goodbye - the only goodbye he planned to make. He doffed his hat, out of respect, his ears lowered and flat. "Night, Pappy," came the murmur - his throat tightened in revolt, and his arm went to his eyes as he choked back a sudden sob. He hated the way he sounded when he cried, because it sounded like he was laughing - it was the same noise, it took people like Drew to tell the difference...and Stevie, Stevie too, who had watched him cry the day, phone in hand, shaking like a pussy, Drew was telling everybody he and that boy he plucked off the street, Cody, were together, and would be together forever. It hurt. It hurt nothing like else - Drew had betrayed him in such a cutting, such a fucked up away it had left Bligh with wounds that never, would never, heal right. All that time, near twenty years of them being best friends: Drew was bi, just like Bligh - all that time they had both assumed the other was straight - all that time wasted. Bligh had missed his chance and every day he woke up with a gaping, guilty pain that never, ever eased. Little Stevie, scrawny, smartass, Stevie, knew some of it - he had let Stevie in, he had let Stevie see what even Pappy or Dan had not seen, and Stevie knew why he had done it, Stevie guessed correctly, because he was Drew's brother, his own flesh, the closest thing that Bligh could have to the thing he wanted most in the world. Stevie was bi, like his brother, but unlike his brother and unlike Bligh he didn't care who knew, who didn't - their daddy had disowned Drew for being public about it but Bligh knew Pa Lightfoot loved his little Stevie too much to ever do anything but ignore all the talk about him he must have heard in town. He loved Stevie and Stevie loved him and some nights Bligh thought he could cope well enough with Stevie as his silver medal - but Stevie was the very first to see past anyone's bullshit and he had been right to break up with him, after seven long months. That was when Stevie was sixteen and Bligh was twenty - it was a fucked up situation, it was something that didn't have to end but if it had, any other way, it would have ended way, way worse than it did. And he had told Stevie what he was gonna do, at Pappy's service, the last time they had really spoken in Lord knows how long - the awkwardness was painful as Hell, but Stevie, in that expensive black suit, the only person from the Lightfoot dynasty to even bother coming, understood him, listened to him, patiently as he could...even as he was swaying from too much Stoli, because Stevie being Stevie, he could be loving, he could be understanding, but he could never be sober, that poor drunk son of a bitch that wrecked his daddy's fancy car. He was gonna do down there and tell Drew he loved him and he wanted to be with him. Cards on the table. Fuck it. And Stevie agreed - and agreed, to keep it secret, both him going to see him, and that Pappy had died. Bligh wanted to tell Drew himself. Stevie never knew why he always wore the Ravens cap now, even more than usual, Stevie never knew what went on between him and Duke and how Duke had changed him. And he hadn't told him - he wanted to make Drew, and Cody too, just like him. All he had told him was the reason for it all, the root cause to this whole pile of shit: because he was alone - proud, proud always, but alone, so fucking_alone. He hadn't told Drew about him and Stevie, all those months, losing their virginity to each other, and he never would - Stevie safe in Blacksburg, it would never come up, there would never be a reason to _bring it up. He would bury it, and leave it in the past, like the past all around him, all around him in Tempest was the past, time, and death... The hat came back on - he felt a frown deepen on his face. Drew gone, dead practically - Dan gone, dead gruesomely - Duke gone, dead tragically - Pappy gone, dead finally. The first, Dan, he almost did not care about, he was a coward, less of a man, for blowing himself up - they could have had something, he could have had a silver medal for the gold, the platinum, the diamond that he had lost with Drew gone. Dan was cute - really chubby, ginger hair that he kept closely shaved, fat ruddy face, there was something vaguely porcine about him but he was a good guy, good ol boy, his body was built to be a lineman and Bligh, quarterback, could always count on Dan to block for him, just like he counted on Drew to help him make the plays and seamlessly snap the ball. Coach Anderson had names, nicknames, cruel, demeaning nicknames for everybody, just in case they ever thought for a minute they were better than him or their fellow teammates, and Bligh could remember clear as it happened yesterday standing in the Adkins County High School locker room in their red and white uniforms and Coach Anderson screaming at them in his high-pitched stammer: Drew was Richie Rich because his daddy and the Baby Jesus havin a contest who got more money, Bligh was Wolfman because he a hairy son of a bitch - Dan was Little Bear. Coach had meant it to be insulting, something like pansy or candyass, but the name stuck, and the first words out of Drew's mouth, over the phone, away in Florida and near-literally a world away from Tempest, from football, from their youth, had been: "God - no, no, not Little Bear..." Bligh, too, kept calling him that, twisting it into something sweet, something flirty, Dan must've known something was up when Bligh put that kind of inflection on it - Little Bear, with the smirk, and the laugh that Stevie called a cackle, he must've known something was up. Dan was no Drew, but he was still cute as fuck, he was always cute as fuck and now that they were adults Bligh wanted to do what he thought, if Drew had stayed, he should never have resorted to, and put his champion cock inside Dan's fat ass. Of the many things he kept secret - had to keep secret, he could barely fault Drew and even Dan for staying so tightly in the closet when they lived in Tempest - Bligh's fetish for bigger dudes, chubbier dudes, rounder guys that ate too much and drank too much beer, was probably the weirdest, weirder to him than any time him and Duke would fuck, and that was weird enough. But he figured - he never found out, but he figured - more cushion for the pushin, something to accommodate his massive dick, what had made little scrawny Stevie bleed...the memory still made Bligh cringe, getting tissues for Stevie as he lay there on the bed, swearing it was wonderful even when he spent the next two days walking funny. Now Dan - Dan never tried, but Bligh bet he could probably take his dick no problem. If - he had still been human. Stevie was the only person who ever had Bligh's dick when it was human, Bligh told him that they had both lost their virginity that day, months later, when they were in bed together and things still looked promised. But Bligh had changed. And he still thought, at the time, it was okay, someone like Dan would understand, he was - a werewolf, or a weredog, something like that, weren't nothing to be afraid of if you just try. And then Dan tried - and Dan changed. Bligh made Dan change just like Duke made him change - Bligh had a sneaking suspicion but it wasn't his intent, and he kept telling Dan that but he was pretty sure Dan never believed him, even if, for a moment, that week, that nervous wreck of a week with no texts, no calls, not answering the door when he knocked, and then on the sixth day his body was a lump of a carbon the melted ruins of his Chevy Blazer...that week, he and Bligh were the same, Bligh had a companion in the world and he wasn't fucking alone anymore. That was the power of Bligh's penis - not his blood, not his spit, but his cum, what came out of the part he was proudest of, which was powerful too, bigger, stronger, fitter, just like him. If only Drew could see it... Dan did, too damn many shots of Evan Williams in, still, he saw it - and if saw it, and if he changed, so could Drew, so could that beautiful, preciously beautiful boyfriend of his, Cody, the one who looked like a puppy... ...and Bligh would never be alone again. He was alone now - totally alone. So fucking alone. No Duke, no Pappy, not even Stevie who he didn't want to face again, and even if he could, was off to Blacksburg for college. And tomorrow this old house - Pappy's house, his house - would be alone, for how long he could not know, alone with its memories, of everyone who lived in it, Pappy, Duke... Duke was going to die, he knew it was coming, he'd raised dogs for a little while when he was eleven and twelve and Pappy had brought over some Foxhounds from his diabetic Cousin Bobby - always the full title, Cousin Bobby, from Huntington - to breed for him after the doctor cut his foot off. He knew dogs were mortal, even when he wasn't, he'd seen them die, put to sleep at the vet's with Dr. Barnes, Drew's ex-girlfriend's dad, and Pappy, who was always sure dogs had souls even when the Bible definitely said they didn't, praying over them when the end finally came. Bligh wondered sometimes what it would be like when Duke died and then he would have to live forever without him, back into the mystery from whence he emerged. And then it did. Pappy was going to die, too, and he knew it was coming, too, Pappy was old and, grand and invincible though he seemed, he was human, he was mortal, and he often spoke about when it would be His Time - you could hear the capital letters in it, the cosmic strike of the clock that all Christians wait for, when the last breath was breathed and Jesus would take your hand and you would go up to Heaven and be with the angels and the Almighty forever and ever. He would see Iris again - Grandmamma Iris who Bligh never met, but who he had heard so much about, beautiful and sweet and kind and hardy and resourceful and a Godly woman, taken in Her Time by cancer of the breast before Bligh was even born. He would see her again, they would be together again, in Heaven - and his son, Gus Junior, Bligh's father, who died in the same car wreck that killed his wife, Bligh's mother, he would see them too... There was a picture of Grandmamma Iris and Granddad and Ladybug Lightfoot, Drew's grandparents, on Pappy's mantle - their families were always intertwined, always by friendship, never by marriage, and when Bligh thought about it too much his heart would start to ache, how much he missed Drew, how much he loved him, all those years, all that destiny, what should have been his, what should have been his... They were all dead now, everyone in that photograph. They - unlike Bligh who had tried to rip his arm open with a hunting knife those first few days when he changed for the first time and wouldn't change back - were mortal. Pappy knew he was mortal more than Bligh ever did, ever would admit, Pappy embraced mortality, the last sermon he ever preached, in between the death-rattle of his growing emphysema: the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. The whole congregation stood up and applauded him, a clap of thunder, many of them were crying. Bligh wondered sometimes what it would be like when Pappy died and he would have to bury him, the last of his line, last of his name, into the West Virginia mountains from whence they both came. And then it did. None of this, none at all, hurt the way Drew had hurt him - it was a special kind of pain, there was no betrayal in the way Duke had died, Pappy had passed. Duke didn't see the cop car - he closed his eyes amidst his own agonized whimpers, his head cradled in Pappy's lap despite his usual outward disdain for a dog that looked so much like a wolf, with his eyes, one brown one blue, gazing a long wistful farewell to Bligh...and died. And Pappy, too - with Bligh clutching his hand, tightly, closed his eyes amidst him telling the Good Lord he was ready, that he was proud of Bligh, the boy he took to raise, that he would see Iris soon, that he was ready Lord, just as I am, and waiting not...and died. And they had both of them, been taken at the end of Summer, a year apart, before the Dog Days, before the weather turned too hot and too dry - a clap of thunder, and their hearts stopped, and Bligh's heart broke. End of Summer, end of life. But Drew was still alive and the betrayal was continuous - would he ever understand that? How would Bligh handle it? Just let it out in one primal scream? Or show him - take off his clothes, let him know, this is what he became, this was what loneliness did to him? He didn't know - he didn't need to. And he wouldn't tell him about Duke, shit, like Drew would understand - all that big city bullshit he was in the middle of he'd probably forgotten what Duke barked and howled like, how the fuck would he ever know, ever get, how him and Duke were - a couple. No human would ever love him, it felt like, but Duke loved him, and so by some magic, something he could never understand and never tried to understand, he became something more, something better, something that Duke_loved and something he, Bligh, loved too... ...something Dan didn't want, that Dan rejected. There was so much fear that week he wouldn't talk to Bligh, after the night he swallowed his cum, all of it, so hungry and so desperate and then lay in agony as he transformed into something even sexier than who he had been before. Bligh thought - like a fool - that Dan would like the way he was, now...but he didn't, he really fucking didn't, set his Blazer on fire with a tank of propane in his lap and blew it right the fuck up, no recognizing the body and the secret it kept. Dan must have told nobody - it never came back to Bligh, not a word, that charred hunk of flesh they had a closed-casket for went into the ground and every last person thought he was just an unhappy guy, an unhappy _human guy, whose daddy used to get drunk and beat him all the time growing up before he pissed off the wrong person in a bar called the Brass Rail in Charleston and got a Chrome .45 between his eyes. Pa Dorsey had left him the house that now sat empty, that house full of memories, bad memories, nightmares that walked the day and never quit, all these years later after Dan got big and the beatings stopped. Probably, maybe, tragically, something snapped, and even in his twenties Dan couldn't take it anymore, climbed into his Chevy with a metal tank of flammable gas and something to light it with. And then his girlfriend, Jenny Hartman, died, wasted away without Dan, because that's all that Tempest was becoming, a big graveyard - for people and for dreams. For just a second, only a second - he understood why Drew left. Drew had dreams that didn't involve him - fine. Bligh thought he'd come in for Dan's funeral - Bligh was a pallbearer, he helped carry the coffin but not the weight, he felt guilty, so guilty, that Dan had rejected him and rejected life but he never cried, not once...even at Dan "Little Bear" Dorsey's funeral, indecent as it was, he was still keeping secrets. Drew sent his condolences to the Dorsey cousins, but that was it, the kind of bullshit politeness his daddy had mastered, acting like you cared officially, diplomatically, when you really didn't - look too closely and you'd realize it was actually ruder than not doing or saying anything at all. But Drew was done with Tempest, he'd spent all his holidays in Tampa, volunteering at homeless shelters and looking like a white-savior jackass on Instagram and all the while pretending to the world he wasn't drinking all that expensive vodka and getting his ass rammed by boys he took home from clubs, look at him, look at how carefully he managed image, with no Bligh, no Stevie, no Tempest, no blots on his permanent record, he could have been a fucking politician...also like his daddy. His only dream had become Florida, freedom, new state, new him, fuck it, he'd earned it, he had made it come true. Now it was Bligh's turn - this was his dream. Bligh was coming for him, for Drew, for the boy, the man, that still had his soul. His back turned to the tarp-covered truck, he let out a long, hot sigh into the cooling evening air, his eyes straining for the first stars to come out - he slapped distractedly at a mosquito as he felt a pair of tears drip down his cheeks, off his face, into the gravel. He didn't like to think about it because it was still too painful, still too wrong - but he missed Duke an awful lot, he missed his big dick that nearly matched Bligh's own in size and weight and power, missed the feeling of his long flat tongue inside his mouth, the low and dominant growl, the only creature, human or otherwise, capable of telling him what to do...knotting, tying, in that old abandoned church Dog's Creek ran through, away from everyone, naked, just them, two dogs, just two damn dogs... Duke was the most beautiful thing in the world, next to Drew - Drew's boyfriend Cody was really something special too but nothing next to Duke...the attraction had been slow-building, but by the time Bligh was eighteen he knew what he was, what kind of pervert that wanted to take a dog as a lover, and he left the church many years before, so there was no religious or moral guilt, just reluctant acceptance and absolute secrecy. One day he just gave in - one day he allowed himself to be separate from the rest of all humanity, he knelt down saw that Duke was hard, hard and out with that gorgeous plump knot - he just gave in, to all his feelings. He was in love, in love with that stout, noble, wolfish face, the different-colored eyes, one blue and one brown, the strong muscled legs and the fluffy, greyish-black fur that was streaked so evenly he looked like a ghost moving through the trees... Bligh's tail - the tail that Duke gave him - wagged. He choked back a fresh sob, that sound that could have been laughter or tears and the only three people to know the difference - two brothers, Drew and Stevie, and a dog, Duke - were all gone. He faced the darkened woods beyond his house, the great black beast of the mountain that rose up at the side of his house where the family of that mountain lion that he had shot in the head - the first time he had tried, and failed, to tell Drew he loved him -more than ten years ago still lurked, waiting, waiting for the revenge they'd never get. It was where he and Duke used to hunt, together, Bligh naked like the beast he always longed to be since he was a little boy, watching Duke flush out prey...nothing but memories, nothing but ghosts, this town was a graveyard, a haunted graveyard. The long, low tremolo, eerie but not evil, of a screech owl came to him from one of the trees...he could smell where it was, and if it was daylight he could probably bring it down from this distance. He often forgot because he was so used to it, but he could smell better too - like a dog, like Duke. He remembered seeing another owl, big and weird, all them years ago - and thinking that in the forest there were secrets that would be revealed to him later, when he was alone that day, Duke and Drew not there to see it with him... ...Duke and Drew not here to see_this_ with him. If Drew were gone, at least Duke should still be here - but he weren't. He wanted to howl for his dog, his lover, his best friend - but not now. He would. Before he left, in a few hours, he would. For Duke. And if Drew asked what happened, how it happened, that he looked like this, half-man and half-something else - he'd say a monster attacked him, like a werewolf. If Drew asked. Some things even Drew - even Drew - could not know the truth of. He glanced down, feeling something hot and a little slimy against the forest of hair on his flat belly with the abs he had worked so hard to was his penis, which at the memory of he and Duke in the church had slid out of his sheath, firm, erect, all eleven inches, two more than what he had been as a human, that little joke in Adkins County about his cock that was absolutely true, how big it was, but with the knot that no one knew about, relatively new, nearly as big as his fist. He took his hand and give it a cursory stroke - and smirked again. He couldn't help it - even now, even in this hour of despair, when so much hung on so little and he had no way of knowing what tomorrow would bring, he still couldn't help it - he was too proud not to love on his mean ol dick, the wolf's dick, dog's dick, the greatest treasure of his new body that Duke had gifted him. He shook his head with a laugh, what Stevie called a titter, trudging back to the stoop of his front porch, his penis swaying and wobbling proudly and wetly as he went, like a king carrying his scepter, he was aware of how it looked, it wasn't just to be sexy, it was him ruling the place he was born in, the place he now owned. But it was part of a larger problem, wasn't it? What would Drew think - what would Cody think - when they saw it, his legs, what was between his legs, and the other four nipples, the ears, the tail? The thought, which should have made him cold with fear, never bothered him - maybe it was the dick talking, maybe it was his heart talking, that pride that never left, no matter how poor his family was or bad he did in school, there was a pride, a light, deep down, that never went out. He would make it work. There was no way it wouldn't work. He paused - a hesitation, a moment of weakness. Would it really work? Would it? What if Drew said no...? And then, a quick, decisive shake of the head - no. No time for doubts. He had one shot, only one shot... Bligh picked up the beer as he went, and took one last swig, it came down his throat, warmer than before, still tasty. The bottle hung in his fingers listlessly - the night, now complete, draping down like a curtain, refreshed the Earth from the heat of the day. His penis softened, retreated into its sheath, first the deflated knot, then the shaft, the tapered tip - his fur, his body hair, black like the night, made him blend in, like a shadow... Bligh was a shadow. All he ever was, without Drew, was a figment of the imagination of the mountains, the trees, the creek that ran like the sleep of a never-ending dream. Now - now, a nap, a shower, and he could get in the Ranger and then the shadow, his shadow, he, his family, his grandfather, all of it that had been cast opaquely onto Tempest would disappear, down to Florida, to find Drew, where his was heart was, what he still ached for, what had been lost. "Night, y'all--" he whispered. And then Bligh realized nobody was there.

Rat Prince: Act II

Rat PrinceAct IIRuinis inminentibus musculi praemigrant._________ Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia             It had been three days - had it been so long?             He was there again, back where it all started, laying on the hardwood floor of...

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The Dogs: Litany - Episode II

            It was a five minute drive, probably less, and at that hour of the evening, barely six and everything closing for the day, it should have taken them less, but no - Bligh's Ranger was out of gas, he was going to fill up Monday, but tonight...

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Rat Prince: Act I

Rat PrinceAct IAffirmant quidam inueniri aliquando rattum cæteris maiorem, procerior & latiore corpora qui à cæteris otiofus alatur. Rattorum regem, appellant._________ Konrad Gesner, Historiæ Animalium            It was just to take his mind off...

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