The wind blistered around them, and it was only then that Ripley realized that they hadn’t made it to their usual spot in the woods. The leaves rustled, shaken and frightened. This was much farther, deeper in than they had ever gone before. “Sammy?” Ripley whispered.
Did Sammy smile, or was that just their imagination?
“Look! It’s the bird!”
There, coming out from between the trees, was the boy that sat in the front of the class. He was surrounded by his friends like a pack of hungry wolves, each one of them jeering. They wore their helmets and still had their bicycles. Even though it was so cold out, Ripley was suffocatingly hot. It was burning, the sweater was too much and their scarf and they feels themself picking at it and it’s suddenly just too much, too much at once. They wished he was a bird right now, so they could take off and never come back to this stupid little town. Sammy wagged its tail, and it only makes Ripley feel more sick. “I want to go home.” They don't say it to anyone in particular.
“Don’t worry,” Sammy reassured them, with no hint of concern in its voice. “I’m here to help with you with your problem.”
Ripley’s tongue felt like it had swollen, too big for their mouth. Their head had begun to throb. There was this craving, a craving for something they had never wanted before. Ripley wanted to throw up.
The boys approached them, big wide grins on their faces.
“Just leave me alone!” Ripley heard themself shriek.
The bullies pounce on him, laughing and howling. They goad Ripley for not doing anything back, for just taking the hits laying down. Ripley grew numb. There was punch after punch and they felt the wind leave them as a foot drives itself into his stomach. There is no pain. There is nothing but an empty feeling that sucked out every other emotion they could feel. “Why don’t you say anything? Why are you so mute, bird?” Ripley can't see their attackers. There is only Sammy.
“I can take care of it,” Sammy called to them, raising its voice to be heard over the pummels. “I can get rid of all your problems, kid. I told you, I need to eat.” Its eyes were dark. It had the eyes of his Grandpappy’s. Ripley’s own vision has begun to grow dark, in and out. “But you have to want it too. And I know you do.”
Ripley shivered, but the blows had stopped. Something wet landed on his cheek, vaguely, they knew that its spit. There are faces staring down on him, but he sees only blurs.
“Okay,” Ripley wasn’t sure if they thought it or said it.
Sammy licked its jowls, and whatever it was that was dangling on the dog’s collar began to glow. A euphoric feeling clung to Ripley’s bones, but in their haze, he had no idea whether if it was them who felt it or their dear friend. The boys had screamed and ran off in all different directions when they had turned around. Sammy had changed, no longer a little dog, but a massive black hound. Eyes so red it was like looking into the devil’s own. Ripley’s eyes felt so heavy that they could no longer keep them open, and the last thing he heard was the sound of paws crunching the fallen leaves.
The chase had begun.
years have gone by, and they've once again trapped the hellhound in its box.
but they can not shake its howls, luring them back to begin their hunt again.