That’s no ordinary dog.
It looks more like a sickly and bloated leopard. It doesn’t quite have thick fur but does have something shaggy hanging off it, like dried leaves or clumps of mud. It’s snarling and growling.
That’s the same dog that attacked me on the Staunch property that one time.
I stop, unsure what to do. Keep walking and just ignore it? Put Kelsey down and try to fight it with … with a Zippo lighter? I’m all out of supernatural stuff in my pockets.
Why couldn’t I have found a magical dagger or something?
There’s a howling from behind me that sounds like a dying wolf.
No. No, don’t let there be more.
The demon dog starts walking toward me. Its open mouth is dripping gray spit. Its eyes are glowing, a disturbing kind of glow, not a majestic kind. I smell a rotten odor.
I back up. One step. Two.
I have to get to those woods.
The dog is coming faster, and I know I have only seconds.
Suddenly I hear the wild wolf sound again, but this time it’s ahead of me.
Then I see something coming out of the woods, rushing toward the demon dog.
It’s a wolf.
No, it’s not a wolf. It’s the wolf, the one I’ve seen before. The gray wolf that I saw at the creek and also near the barn after Jocelyn died.
I hear its teeth ripping something apart and then hear the high-pitched wailing of the dog. It’s awful and makes me close my eyes.
Another wolf comes out of the woods and attacks from the other side. And I realize—not all animals around here are possessed or evil.
Especially not these wolves.
I hear gnawing and biting and growling and wailing, and then it
seems like the air around us gets sucked in and the lights go out for the moment and I feel a chilling breeze
blow past Kelsey and me and then it’s done.
The dog and the smell are gone.
The wolves are sniffing the ground where it was standing and seem as puzzled as I am about the disappearance.
They turn and face me, and I look at them. I want to say thanks or toss them a hamburger or something. I’m not sure what to do.
The gray wolf bolts into the trees and is followed by the darker one. The path ahead is empty now. Empty and safe.
I just hope that it’s not too late for Kelsey.