Dogmadillo: Part 2 (conclusion)

This week’s blog entry is the conclusion of my short story, Dogmadillo. To recap, our narrator had been having terrible dreams about a hybrid-appearing, bloodthirsty creature that he and his physician were calling a “dogmadillo”. The doctor, Oglethorpe, had special knowledge of history and lore which strongly suggested that the beast was, if not quite material, nevertheless real. Part 1 of the story left off as our narrator has come to realize that the creature of his nightmares had been freed from some dormant state by his own excavation of a strange appearing dirt patch in a plot of land he was evaluating for possible development into a shopping center. What he didn’t know was why the monster was coming after him, assuming that there was any logical explanation at all which, maybe, there wasn’t…

 

DOGMADILLO

A Creepy Tale by J. Allan Wolf

Part 2 (Conclusion)

    Of course, I didn’t know it then but, immediately following my leaving Dr. Oglethorpe with the sleeping pill prescription, he closed his office for the remainder of the day in order to visit an acquaintance with a large library of the occult. I only learned what he was thinking much later, but that would place me ahead of my tale.

In any case, it appears that the good doctor took my description of the “dogmadillo” much more seriously than I had originally thought and, burying himself in his friend’s library, he rapidly confirmed his suspicions. The next day, he called me.

“How did you sleep last night?”

“Like a baby,” I lied. In truth, I hadn’t filled the prescription and had had the dream again. Only this time, worse. Just before stomping on the accelerator, the dogmadillo had leapt onto the hood of my car, its slavering face against the windshield before I awoke in a sweat, shaking with fear, heart pounding.

“Hey, tell me more about the monster in your dream, the hell-beast.”

“Why do you use that term, ‘hell beast’?

“I’ll tell you, but I need to speak with you about this in person. Can I come over?”

Puzzled by his seriousness, I affirmed the address and waited. A half hour later, there was a knock at the door. “Come in.”

Dr. Oglethorpe entered my small apartment. He looked worried and a bit pale.

“It’s my dream, Doc. How come you look so awful?”

The doctor grimaced and, for the first time, I noticed the three old books he was carrying. “Let’s sit…there,” he said, pointing at my crappy walnut colored Formica breakfast table with red and black vinyl-covered chairs.

“Can I get you some coffee?”

“No, thanks.”

We sat. “So, what’s this all about?”

“It’s about your hell-beast.”

“Again, with the ‘hell-beast’. Why do you keep calling it that?”

“Does it bother you?”

“Not really, except that that’s the term I hear myself using in the dream. And now you’ve been using it, too.”

Oglethorpe frowned. “Could be a coincidence. Or not. Look, Armand, this is all very strange and, frankly, it’s the first time I’ve ever encountered a real demon.”

“A what?”

“I’m sort of an avocational student of demonology but I always thought it was folklore. You know, like vampires, chupacabras, devils, ghosts and the like. I know you’ll think I’m crazy but I’m almost certain you’ve got a real one here.”

“That’s ridiculous. What I’ve got is bad dreams ever since I saw a picture of this…thing…on that ewer.”

“What ewer?”

I told him the rest of the story–about the survey and the dark soil and the ewer I dug up.

“Where’s the ewer, now?”

“Here. I’ve got it in the bedroom.”

“Let me see it.”

I fetched the pitcher and watched as Oglethorpe very slowly examined it.

“It’s in pretty bad condition,” I volunteered. “I mean, the cracks and missing pieces.”

“No matter,” said Oglethorpe, far more fascinated with the artifact than I was. “You have to take me there.”

“Where? You mean to Mirrendale?”

“Yes, yes. To where you found this. And the darkness. I need to see it.”

I shrugged. “Okay.” It was Friday. “How about tomorrow morning?”

“Good, yes.” Oglethorpe was shaking with excitement.

“Pick you up at 8:30.”

The next morning, at 8:30 sharp, I picked up Oglethorpe. He was wearing a pith helmet, a khaki shirt with epaulets and snaps instead of buttons, khaki shorts, knee socks and brand new, brilliantly white sneakers. It was all I could do to keep from inquiring as to whether he was Dr. Livingston.

On the way up, he filled me in on a bit of our demon’s history or, as I looked at it then, its mythology. Apparently, what I had disturbed was a somewhat displaced, chimeric death demon. As best Oglethorpe could determine, the ewer had probably been brought to the place where I found it sometime in the 1600s by Spanish explorers who had “liberated” it during the desecration of an Egyptian temple.

“But that’s not all of it, is it?” I asked.

“No, it’s not. You see, I don’t think that what you found was just the picture of the beast. I think you found – and released – the beast, itself.”

“That’s ridiculous! You can’t believe the demon is real?”

Oglethorpe grimaced. “In fact, yes, I do, which is why I want to see where you found the ewer. I think the dark soil has something to do with the demon’s death aura, and that when you unearthed the ewer, somehow – I don’t know exactly how – you freed the monster that’s haunting your dreams.”

“This is starting to sound like UFO, New Age, crystal and crap nonsense but, okay, let’s say you’re right about this. Why would it haunt my dreams? What would it want from me?”

“I’m not sure, yet.”

“But, you think you know?”

“I’m not sure, yet.” Oglethorpe appeared to have said all he was going to say. I tried just to concentrate on my driving.

We arrived at the site around 11 AM. The sun was high, if not quite directly overhead. I walked Oglethorpe in the direction of the dark soil but, upon arriving at the spot where I thought it had been, I saw nothing except uniform coloration. Oglethorpe saw my confusion. “You’re sure this is the place?”

“I certainly thought so but, well, now I’m not so certain. I mean, the area looks no different from anyplace else on this plot.”

“Yes, now,” he said, nodding, apparently understanding something I did not.

I walked around, searching for the hole I’d dug, finding it right where I thought it should be. “Look, here’s where I found the ewer.”

Oglethorpe stared into the hole but there wasn’t much to see. Just the hole, as far as I could tell. “Get the shovel.”

“Why?”

“Just get it.”

I went to the truck, found two shovels, and brought them back. “Here, ” I said, giving one to Oglethorpe.

“Dig,” he ordered, and we began to enlarge the hole I’d previously made.

It didn’t take an awful lot of excavation to uncover more bones. This time, however, it was more than ribs. A fragment of what clearly appeared to be a lower jawbone came into view, followed by a scapula and a fragment of a pelvis. “Human,” Oglethorpe muttered, and I wondered how he knew. “This is bad,” he said, finally. “OK, we can stop digging.”

Oglethorpe was silent for awhile as we began the drive back to L.A. Then, he said, “I want to stay with you at your place, tonight.”

I was taken aback. “Why would you want to do that?” I asked.

“Because I don’t think it’s safe for you to be alone.”

“Oh, come on, Doc. This is just getting downright crazy. You expect my dream to hurt me?”

“Not your dream. The hell-beast.”

I looked over at the ridiculously dressed and now sweaty and dirty fellow next to me. If anything, he was paler than before, and he looked frightened. I decided to humor him. “Okay,” I said. “You’re the boss.”

Oglethorpe just nodded.

We stopped at his place so he could pack an overnight kit and some fresh clothes, and then we got some dinner and headed back to my apartment. He showered and put on his pajamas; I did the same. Then, a thought occurred to me.

“You’re not, er, I mean, this isn’t about, ahhh…”

“Don’t be an asshole.”

“Ah, okay. Forget it. You get the couch. I’m going to bed.

The last thing I remember before turning out the light was looking at the ewer. The hell-beast looked hungry.

And then I was behind the wheel of my car, again, on my way home. I turned the corner onto my street, looking ahead and to the left to see my driveway. Part way down the block, it came into view and, with it, the hell-beast, waiting. It saw the car and began twisting in circles as I had seen it do before.

I would kill it this time. I would floor the accelerator and mash the abomination to a bloody pulp. But all was unfolding very slowly. I crept down the block to my driveway and began the turn. I will kill it. I will step down on the accel–

Abruptly, the hell-beast sprang to the car’s hood, saliva dripping from its leering mouth. I floored the accelerator, swinging the wheel sharply to the right in an attempt to dislodge the monster but, instead, the dominant forward jerk sent it slamming into the windshield, shattering the glass into myriad glinting splinters as the open jaws came directly at my neck. Then, the teeth made contact, puncturing my neck. I vaguely saw a shadow behind the beast, and then a long flashing blade stabbing, stabbing, stabbing into the armored coat and, finally, sweeping forward to slice the head from the body, missing my breast by millimeters. Blood and entrails spewed everywhere and I was screaming, screaming, screaming as I woke up, holding pressure on my spurting neck.

I opened my eyes to see Oglethorpe, standing over me, dazed, the bloodied knife in his right hand. “It’s all right. It’s all right. I killed it. It’s all right.” He kept repeating it.

Then, he called 911 and helped me to the bathroom, where he cleaned the symmetrical canine puncture marks while applying pressure to my neck until the paramedics arrived.

“It can’t hurt you anymore. I killed it. I killed it. It won’t come back, again. And now you can sleep.”

And he was right, I did.

© by J. Allan Wolf. All rights reserved.

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