Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Curious Incident of the Dog...

Legend allows for a lot of latitude regarding the Black Dog/Black Shuck/Mauthe Doog. A guardian of corpse ways and barrows and bridges, he may be either benevolent or a harbringer of death. He may be shaggy or sleek, but he is always large and fierce as befits a spectre noire.

More from A Malignity:

After the cock crew, I dressed and went out on the dewy verandah in the pale dawn. All the little birds were making their usual unholy racket and I took that as a good sign.

The porch swing creaked as Dunbarton thumped to the floor and padded toward me. I braced myself. He leaned against my leg for a moment. I patted the great head.

"Good Doog," I said. "That was you in the night, wasn't it? Must have scared the living shit out of someone."

He rolled a large red eye up at me and gave me a phospherous grin before trotting down the porch steps, fading as he went to his lair under the verandah.

Dumbarton came with the property. It seems the house was built on the site of an early settler's cabin. Said settler found murdered, his money missing and his black hound gone. A suspect was discovered a short distance away with his throat torn out.

Nathan inherited the place about six months after we were married.
Dumbarton made an appearance shortly after.

Nathan was as allergic to spectral hounds as he was of the normal variety.
He wanted me to exorcise Dumbarton. I flat out refused. That was one of the things we fought about, with increasing acrimony. Never have a relationship with someone who doesn't like animals. It's a crucial character flaw.

Dumbarton tolerated Nathan, which is why, I figured, his zombie had gained access last evening. Dummy had recognized right of passage.

A right, I hoped, that had been cancelled, permanently this time.


anna said...

Exceptional Bernita. I can only give you the greatest compliment.
Definitely buy this book!

Bernita said...

Hee, Anna! First I have to finish it. This is first draft. Glad you like it so far.
My thanks to Carla for the inspiration about an animal.

Erik Ivan James said...

Getting better with every stroke of the pen, Bernita!

Bernita said...

Dare I say even pens like to be stroked, Erik?

Sam said...

A ghost dog - too cool!!Love it!

And a cock crew - can I have one of those for my boat?
Sam, running and ducking!

Bernita said...

Yup, Sam, though I'd leave that just to see if anyone picked up on it.
I suppose I'll have to change it to "crowed" since "crew is mainly British usage.

Ric said...

Goodness! Such talent! The winter snows clearly bring out the best in you.

Bernita said...

Erm, thank you, Ric.

December Quinn said...

Ooh! How wonderful!

There is a black dog here--I've seen him three times, always in the same spot along the road as I'm driving home.

He strikes me as lucky, though, at least, he feels lucky.

Of course, he could belong to someone, because I think I saw him the other day, on a leash with his owner, at the top of the road I see him on. So could be I'm just not paying attention. :-)

Amy Lavender Harris said...

I cannot wait to read more! Love 'Dummy' as short for Dumbarton.

Kate Thornton said...

A big black dog somehow appeared within our walled area and scared the two little blondie lap dogs to bits, then just as suddenly disappeared. Typpee & CoCo damn near wet themselves, then went back tp playing with their toys.

Ghost dogs. A tremendous image, Bernita, and more fine writing!

Bernita said...

These dogs aren't always described as Doom Dogs or Hell Hounds, December, so why not?

Thank you, Amy. Right now I'm trying to resist the urge to have some later character say "Ah... Shucks" only to have Dummy rise up out of nowhere and put his paws on the person's shoulders...
I don't have the entire plot figured yet. Have 3 or 4 parties who want to do her and why but that's all.

Black Dogs can leap high walls with a single bound, Kate...Thank you.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Very cool! a spectral dog...I'm pretty sure that one is fresh and new...or at least it hasn't been 'done' on a regular basis.

Is the story around the dog, or is it a plot device?

and ..."cock crew" don't want to know what kind of word picture that painted...LOL!

Were 'doog' and 'verandah' spelled that way on purpose?

Bernita said...

Bonnie, the dog is one of the urban fantasy creatures that appear.
Think I'll have a banshee too, you may meet her in a laundromat
You and your mind pictures! Definitely I'll have to change that to "crowed."
Yep, they were, but I see, on checking, that "veranda" is preferred to "verandah."

Robyn said...

Thank you. I love dogs. And black cats are rather ubiquitous in paranormals; it's nice to see the other beasts come out to play.

raine said...

I'm loving this story, lol!

And agree with her about people who don't like animals. :-p~~~

Bernita said...

That lack may be because of practical plot difficulties, Robyn, which don't arise with a ghost dog!

Thank you, Raine. First thing I always asked my girls when they met a new guy was "Does he like cats and dogs?"

Carla said...

I think 'crowed' is normal British usage, isn't it? I'm in a rush so haven't checked Fowlers for chaptr and verse, but that's certainly the form I'd use, and I've been British all my life.

Very pleased that my flippant comment about squashed wildlife on the highway led to something as interesting as Dumbarton! By the way, can he fade in and out as he chooses? If she can pat him, he's presumably in corporeal form at least some of the time, or wouldn't her hand have gone right on through?

Bernita said...

My Merriam-Webster says "mainly British," but I haven't checked it thrice, Carla.
I probably also ingested that form from Mother Hubbard's "This is the cock that crew in the morn..."
Yes, Dumbarton can be corporeal at will.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Okay...where do you get the word...doog...? Is that Canadian or British? And does it mean dog?

Bernita said...

The Mauthe Doog is one of the names given to the Black Dog, Bonnie.
From the Isle of Man species, I think.

Carla, I imagine "crew" is archaic.

Carla said...

Curiously, here's another writer this very day blogging about the importance of animals in stories. Coincidence?

Bernita said...

Definitely a coincidence.
Further, my Bonnie has a dog owner adventure story up today.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

LOL...that was an adventure for my pregnant daughter..The best part to me was that the dogs are still living only because the ground is too hard to bury them *snort*

She wouldn't!

writtenwyrdd said...

Ooh, I liked this. It's going somewhere INTERESTING. He's a hell hound with the red eyes, I presume?

Bernita said...

But they were clever pups, Bonnie, opening the freezer!

Thank you, Written.
Yup,glowing red eyes in the traditional style.

Carla said...

Coincidence - pity, I was wondering if there was some strange supernatural conspiracy on the part of animal (ghosts or otherwise) to get some attention...

Bernita said...

More things,Horatio? Does make one wonder.
I must thank you again, Carla, for setting off that string of associations that led to Dumbarton.
One of the unsung benefits of blogging.

Cheesy said...

Found you through Scott... woohoohoo I have another blog to get lost in... Grand writing!

Gooood puppy~~~

Bernita said...

Thank you, Cheesy.
Nice to see you!

Carla said...

Glad to be of help. You sometimes see writers acknowledging a discussion in a pub or cafe as the source of a particular idea - e.g. Terry Pratchett says L-space originated that way - and I tend to see blogging as a sort of virtual cafe.

Bernita said...

Should I ever have a novel published, Carla, you can be sure I will mention, with gratitude, my blog friends.