The thing is withholding the truth never works out. I rush through the open fields toward the village. Some commotion on the outskirts grabs my attention like a man at his wits end grasping at straws. As I walk closer their shouts become much clearer. A group of men with spears and bows surround something. Is it a person? Is it an animal? Why do they need so many people?
Suddenly a black dog tackles one of the men down. It bites the spear in half, gnashing at the poor man’s throat, black tendrils hold back the others, and my throat dries up. I force myself to swallow. I cautiously inch my way toward the attacking beast. It’s ears perk up and it begins snarling at me. The others look at me as if to yell at me to run as far as I can.
We share eye contact for a few seconds. Neither me or the beast show any sign of backing down or otherwise weakness. I move a step closer. It holds its ground. This dance of superiority continues for far too long. Sweat drips down my neck, the beast smells my fear, our muscles tighten by instinct, it lunges for me, and I grab for its stomach. We roll on the dirt and fight for our dear lives.
Adrenaline pumps throughout my body fueling me to keep going. The dog’s strength overshadows that of any other I have ever seen. I realize I’m fighting a losing battle. Kicking the beast back I gain a little distance and more importantly time. Tendrils keep the others in a daze leaving me completely alone in this fight.
By sheer luck claw marks made a hole in my pocket big enough for the book to fall out. I grab it and feel the familiar warmness grow ever hotter. My hands burn as I feel something flow through me, my blood. The body’s struggle to regulate temperature, to supply nourishment to the organs, and to allow life. I think of the summer time where, after a long day’s work, one seeks refuge beneath the shade of tall tree.
Flames erupt from my hands. The black dog jumps back and whimpers like a small puppy. Memories of other dogs in the village return to me. I stumble and look the dog in the eyes. I lose my concentration ending the incantation. We stare at each other once again. This time we share mutual respect of each other.