Once the chilly breeze had become a forceful gale, and the two dogs were no longer able to keep warm, they retreated back into their den.
They found that Alsatian, Tag and Tumble were fast asleep, the events of the day having taken all of the energy out of them.
Buck and Dosi decided to take the opportunity to mark the borders.
They took the separate sides of the twenty metre log stretch of beach they called their own and began scent-marking all of the landmarks.
The trees and bins and bushes and patches of reeds were all peed on.
Buck took the edge of their land by the BDZ. He looked across the border and laughed. The BDZ dogs had always been the bullies of the dog world.
They had waltzed over the borders and taken as much food as they could. As they mainly consisted of Junkyard dogs such as Rottweilers and Dobermans, the underfed Beach dogs could do nothing in resistance.
Buck found it hilarious how the BDZ dogs had been almost completely wiped out by an unseen enemy. The young beagle almost wanted to thank the ‘Night Wolves’.
It was while he was taking time to laugh that the dogs decided to attack.
At least one hundred of them; big brawny dogs, came from the bushes and advanced towards the single puppy.
Among the BDZ dogs were Beach Dogs. The skeletal canines looked out of place amongst the muscly dogs.
The dogs didn’t seem to want food or any more land; their eyes were consumed with hatred and a strange blood lust the young beagle had only seen in rabid dogs.
But none of the dogs were rabid.
“What’s wrong?” Buck said, as if addressing one dog, not one hundred.
“Where are the other dogs?” a large Rottweiler barked harshly. This one was a mountainous dog, so it was quite obviously the leader.
“What are you talking about?” Buck queried. The Rottweiler seemed unhappy that his question had been answered with another question.
“I am Sniper, leader of all dogs here, and I am asking you; what have you done to the others?”
“What is going on here?” Buck questioned urgently.
“What happened to our dogs? The wolves that are five feet tall and have hunched backs. They carry our dogs away” Sniper spoke with the short sentences that the halfwit dogs of the Junkyard dogs use.
“Do I look five feet tall, with a hunch back and the strength to carry you cat brains anywhere?” Buck shouted, angry that the dogs thought it was him.
“I say we kill the pup!” a voice screamed from in the crowd.
Other voices soon joined, until the whole group was shouting and chanting.
“Kill the pup” “Kill the pup”.
It was a horrible experience for Buck; being hated by such a large number. He spun round and raced off in the direction of the town; hoping to lead the pack to the pound and away from his friends.
Unfortunately, there must have been some Greyhounds in the group because he was soon tripped over and set upon.
He thought the dogs that were gathering around him would rip him apart.
They were just about to when a colossal roar erupted close by and a large wolfish creature dived into the pile of dogs and started clawing at them and pushing them out of the way.
It was Alsatian.
He tore through the crowd and made his way quickly to Buck.
He picked Buck up and carried him away, back to the den.
A couple of the disorientated crowd must have seen Alsatian and Buck because at least a dozen dogs took off towards the fleeing duo.
Alsatian rushed inside the den, hid Buck in the corner and went back outside.
Luckily, Dosi had heard the commotion and had come straight back to the den.
No sooner had Dosi joined Buck and the twins inside the den that the dozen or so dogs gathered around the box.
Sniper, the leader was among them. He growled loudly and looked down at Alsatian.
“Leave us alone!” Alsatian ordered.
At that moment, Tumble decided to make an entrance. He raced outside and stood firmly in front of Alsatian.
Before Alsatian could act, Sniper lunged forward and took a heavy swipe at the pup.
Tumble was flung sideways and he landed next to the box.
Buck poked his head out and pulled the unconscious pup in.
“I will fight you to the death, Sniper” Alsatian announced, his eyes wide with anger.
“Alsatian. The one who chickened out of the killings” Sniper growled with malice “Is Crash dead?”
“Yes. Maybe you will be joining him”. Alsatian howled with all his might and threw himself at the leader.
Sniper’s pack members parted and formed a circle for the two battling dogs.
“You killed my friend’s fathers and then you attack a defenceless pup!” Alsatian hissed.
“The pup is nothing. It means nothing to me” Sniper said somewhat calmly.
“He is called Tumble” Alsatian corrected.
“It is just a scrawny, worthless pup, and so are your friends” Sniper said “especially the beagle. A coward to run”.
That was it. Alsatian lost it. He couldn’t control the anger burning inside of him. He couldn’t stop it coming.
His muzzle lengthened into that of a wild wolf’s. His jowls widened as his teeth formed and grew into daggers.
His whole body grew and shaped itself differently.
After his transformation was complete, Alsatian looked like a savage, strange-looking wolf.
As Buck peeked through the den, his friend reminded the pup of the creature on the slope.
Alsatian looked halfway between himself and the Night Wolf.
Even Sniper had not seen this coming. He backed away, trying to make his way into his group. But they wouldn’t let him. They barred his way and forced him back towards Alsatian.
Buck couldn’t help but feel sorry for Sniper, but a quick glance at tumble was enough to make the beagle free from pity.
Alsatian leapt on Sniper and the two became a writhing mass of fur.
It was over in an instant. Sniper lay on the sand, his blood spreading.
Buck turned away. The Rottweiler’s stomach had literally been torn open. His limbs were ripped and his face unrecognisable.
As the dog lay dead at Alsatian’s feet, the German shepherd started to change back.
He turned to face the cowering dogs that were still gathered around him.
He threw his head forward and snapped the thin air; a warning and a challenge. Alsatian’s eyes were consumed with anger, as if he was barely able to control the blood-lust he now felt.
One of the dogs gathered around the wolfish creature stepped forward, unafraid and seeking revenge for his leader’s death. It seemed that the dog that had stepped forward, a burly Bullmastiff, was the deputy of the newly-assembled pack.
Without warning, the Bullmastiff lowered its head into a charging posture, one that buck used frequently, and scraped the ground with his feet.
He charged forward, but too much time had been spent in preparing the assault and Alsatian had guessed what was coming.
As the Bullmastiff collided with the wolf, Alsatian threw his attacker off of him by ducking and shifting his weight. With all his might he smashed his front paws onto the Deputy’s skull, smashing it instantly.
As the Bullmastiff died, Alsatian ran off into the night, his black pelt blending in perfectly with the dark background. The pack left without a second glance at their leader and deputy.
Buck wanted to ask Alsatian what had just happened, but there was a more urgent matter at hand.
Tumble lay still up against Dosi’s belly.
His breathing was becoming fainter and the will to live had escaped him.
Tag snuggled up to his brother, crying.
“I tried to help” the youngster croaked hoarsely.
“You did a good job, Sniper was terrified” Buck joked, acting as if the murder had never happened.
Tumble laughed quietly, then his breathing stopped and he closed his eyes, his last laugh still plastered on his face.
The pup was dead.