Mutt

'Prologue'

Mutts are not to be trusted. If you find one of your territory, you kill it. If you happen to come across one when you're traveling around, you kill it. If a little birdy tells you that one is out there planning and plotting against you, you go out and you kill it. Hell, they don't even deserve a 'him' or 'they'… just it.

Or at least that's how it used to be before Jeremy came along. He understood that the answer wasn't simply to kill them, but to keep them on a tightly wound lease. Like a misbehaving dog, you keep it under your eyes and it wouldn't get a chance to do anything stupid. So while ninety nine percent of the mutt population was every bit as disgusting as the stories were, Jeremy still made every effort possible to let them slide away without trouble.

Now, I can sympathize with this, that a lesson well learnt is much better than a death. But sometimes, as good as Jeremy's intention may be, they just don't learn…


She jumped from a rock and swooshed the net through the air, landing on her new red boots. The dragon fly fluttered around between the cross stitched fabric as she lowered the net to eye level, marveling at the rainbow colours of this fascinating insect's wings. Kimmy giggled, she loved the forest, especially right after a rainstorm, when the dragonflies would come out and play. Daddy had always warned her about going into these trees, but nothing's happened so far, and as long as she kept her eyes on the house, it's not like she was going to get lost or anything.

She visited these trees all the time, despite daddy's warnings. Warnings were serious, yes, she'd heeded every warning from her father for a long time now. But when no one was home to enforce those warning, and you're looking out at green trees with chirping birds up top from the window, it's kind of hard not to be tempted. Now she knew every tree, could locate every raccoon burrow in a quarter mile radius.

It had been just her and her daddy for a while now. Kimmy never knew her mother. For ten years now she'd been told that her mother got pregnant with her as a teenager and freaked at the last minute, abandoning her and her father to go pursue a career in journalism. There were pictures of her, but more so of a young girl standing in front of a very bright screen, which Kimmy soon discovered were samples from picture frames at Walmart.

Her dad had been keeping something from her. He would sometimes go out on these late night rampages twice a week, telling her he'd be going out for a while, a kiss on the nose, and she'd be sitting on the couch for hours until she heard the keys at the door. Then she'd bolt to her room and pretended to had already fallen asleep. When she was old enough to wash her own laundry, she'd decided to do a nice thing and wash his as well, only to discover they were covered in mud with twigs entwined in the knitting of the sweater. They would eat dinner together, while he listened patiently to her adventures at school. Then afterwards when she was in her room she'd hear him munching on more food and find the cupboard empty the next morning. Where had all the food gone?

A crack of a twig made her jump. Kimmy snapped her head up and slipped on the rock she was standing on, landing hard on her bottom. The dragonfly fluttered from her net. Kimmy crawled up to see a squirrel staring at her a few trees away. A sigh of relief fell over her.

"Hey there little fella…" she bent down, reaching out a hand.

The squirrel stared at her, unmoving.

"It's okay…"

It suddenly bolted up a tree. Behind her, Kimmy heard the rustling of bushes, a snarl that ripped through the silent trees, sending birds scattering to the sky. More snarls and growls. Bears? No, bears didn't live in this part of the country. Wolves, maybe, she'd found some paw prints scattered around the forest grounds.

The snarls echoed, bouncing off the trees, coming closer from all directions. Kimmy ran, dropping her net and just sprinted for the safety of her house. A panic crawled up her neck like something was going to spring out and attack her at any moment. Her eyes focused on the ground and she suddenly felt herself hit something very hard.

Kimmy looked up to see her father. His feet were bare as well as his torso, the only item of clothing he had on was his jeans. His hair looked like he'd just crawled out of bed and his eyes held the most bewildered look she never thought he was capable of displaying. He'd always been so confident, secure, so sure of himself.

"Daddy?"

He grabbed her arms, "Kimmy, what are you doing out here!"

She flailed her arms around, pointing in all directions, "Something's in the trees. And, and- it's growling! And what are you-!"

Before she could continue, he had her lifted over his shoulder and before she knew it, they were up in a tree on a branch looking down twenty feet to the ground. Kimmy opened her mouth to scream but he had his hand clasped over her lips, the other hand held her firmly in place from further flailing.

His voice was rasp and desperate in her ear, "Kimmy, listen to me very carefully. I want to stay in this tree and don't move, don't make a sound, and squeeze your eyes shut, cover your ears. Please, it's very important that you don't make a sound-."

Another snarl from below interrupted his instruction, not that she could have understood why he was telling her this anyways. In an instant she found herself clinging to a branch instead of him, gripping on for dear life. He was gone. Kimmy opened her mouth to call out for him when she remembered what he'd said. 'Don't make a sound.' She willed her eyes to open and dared a look down forgetting the rest of his instructions.

There he was, standing here underneath the tree, his back arched, hands brought up to his sides. Surrounding him were two giant bears, one yellow and one brown. Wait, they weren't bears, but wolves, giant wolves that made Great Danes look like chiwawas. They circles around him, snapping at him every time he made a move to run.

The brown one jolted forth as her father held up his arm. Its teeth sank into his flesh causing him to cry out in pain. They toppled over against the tree sending vibrations up to her position that almost made her fall. 'cover your ears, shut your eyes.' Her father's words rang in her mind but she refused to tear her eyes away. It was like an action film where you just had to know what happened next.

What happened next…the yellow wolf lunged as the brown one rolled out of the way. Its jaws snapped open to reveal sets of pearl white fangs that slashed across its victim's neck.

She saw bloods, lots of it; her father's widened, lifeless eyes staring up at her. And that was it. Kimmy squeezed her eyes shut and pressed her palms against her ears, trying hard not to breath or whimper or cry.

When she finally mustered up the courage to take a peek, she found them gone, her father gone, and not a drop of blood on the ground. A squirrel skimped up the tree and stared at her, as if fascinated by this new species that had decided to come join him in the trees. The forest returned to its calmness.

"Daddy?"