Buster seemed adamant that they arrive at the building before nightfall.
After their long celebration of being back outside in the fresh air, the trio had taken shelter in a thorn bush.
They had all been so pumped with adrenaline that they hadn’t noticed what type of bush they had sheltered in.
It had taken awhile to get all of the thorns out of their bodies, especially Princess as they were embedded deep in her hair.
Once the rain had stopped and the sky had cleared considerably, Buster lead his two companions out into the clearing, which was covered in at least two inches of rain.
“Why do we need to go to the building?” Pasha questioned.
“Because it’s good shelter” Buster answered.
“It’s not even raining anymore” Princess protested, although her small body was half submerged in the rain form the previous fall.
Buster knew he would have to be careful from now on around his friends; the last string of questions that Pasha had thrown at him had been quite hard to answer. He didn’t want to have to answer any more questions. Maybe it would be easier to let Pasha lead and see how she goes.
“What do you want to do?” Buster asked, scratching at a sore patch on his neck.
“I want to learn to hunt” Pasha insisted defiantly.
“I want to sleep, preferably in a tree, away from the ground” Princess ordered, shaking at the thought of having to sleep on the forest floor where all of the horrible creatures could get her.
“We’ll make a nest for Princess, and I’ll show you how to hunt” Buster decided, knowing that keeping the pair happy for at least one day would save him from more questioning.
He trotted off into the woods to collect some materials for a nest, and returned with a mouthful leaves. He was pushing a small bundle of branches with his front feet.
“All we need to do is climb at a suitable tree, find a good nest spot, place the braches carefully and comfortable on the tree, then add the leaves for comfort” Buster explained as he selected a thick oak.
Princess seemed quite alarmed by the fact that she would have to sleep in a tree.
He hooked his claws into a notch in the tree and started pulling himself up. He still had the leaves in his jaws, so Pasha guessed she needed to take the branches.
She grabbed them in her jaws and ascended the tree. Princess couldn’t get up, so every few branches climbed; Pasha had to lower the longest branch she had. Princess would hold onto it and let herself be pulled up.
It was an awkward task and Buster made it up to the top of the tree much sooner than his friends had.
What princess liked about the tree was that it was protected; the leaves and branches on it were so plentiful that even a St Bernard would be able to hide himself.
The nest that Buster had chosen was a safe-looking position to have one. It acted like a bowl, keeping everything inside. Four branches extended outwards from the nest site, giving it the appearance of a circle-centred cross.
Buster lined the branches around the outside of the bowl and layered the leaves in the middle.
When Princess tested out her bed, she commented that it was comfy, but not as comfy as her old bed at her old house.
Once she was settled in and nearly asleep, Buster and Pasha carefully descended the tree.
Once at the bottom, Buster lifted his leg and urinated on the tree.
“So we know which tree Princess is in” Buster said as Pasha gave him a disgusted look.
“Yeah, but so will the predators in this forest” Pasha murmured inaudibly.
A shapeless being pads through the doors silently.
It flexes its claws with content and licks its lips, as if imagining a tasty meal.
It carries on walking until it reaches a large room that was once a hall. In the hall, there are more shapeless beings with long claws and dagger-like teeth.
They all sit on chairs around the room, all staring at the dog that sits in the middle of the room.
The dog is a frightened Border collie, its quivering pelt a mixture of black and white.
The beast sits down on the biggest chair and barks three times.
“Who votes food?” the creature growled hoarsely, his voice sounding as if it would belong to a Polar bear.
At least twenty paws shot up and the collie started shaking even more.
“Who votes us?” the monster snarled.
This time, at least one hundred sharp-clawed paws were lifted.
“The dog is to be one of us, take it away to join its fellows” the animal, most likely the leader, insisted.
“Next!” the leader bellowed. A Border terrier was thrown into the room and forced to the centre of the room.
Once there, it sat down politely and tried to not look afraid.
“Who votes food?” the leader said.
About ninety paws went up. It was obvious that the dog had no chance.
“The dog is food, take him away” the leader snorted.
Elsewhere in the building, more of the creatures were lurking about the cage rooms.
For enjoyment and to scare the dogs that were caged there, two of the guards shifted back into their real forms.
The dogs were terrified to find that the monsters were just ordinary dogs.
A big bulky Bullmastiff went up to the two guards on duty and gave them a quiet instruction.
Both of the guards went into the cage room they were guarding and selected two spindly greyhounds.
The two dogs were dragged out of their cages and taken to another large room. This room didn’t contain
cages, however. It contained more monsters.
Once the two greyhounds were released, the monsters prowled towards the duo and smiled hungrily.
They leapt on the two dogs and it was all over in a second.
When the monsters retreated, only two dog skeletons were left.
The greyhounds had been devoured quicker than a Piranha would strip a chicken bare.
In another caged room, a different one to before, more dogs crouched weeping.
Two Collies were taken form their cages and forced into a large room. The pair shuddered as they saw the freshly stripped skeletons on the floor.
The monsters gathered in the shadows did not rush forward at once.
Two of the beasts came forward and each chose a dog. They sunk their sharp fangs into the Border collie’s throats and stood back.
The two dogs underwent a hideous transformation, which ended in the two collies looking exactly like their captors.
“Take them away to the cage room three” one of the guards ordered.
The two slavering beasts, formerly pets, were dragged away.
Cage room three wasn’t much of an improvement. It was filled with the dogs that had been bitten.
All of the beasts were chained to the wall and left to squabble amongst themselves.
Once they had transformed back into their dog forms, they would be taken away once again. Not to another cage room, but to join its captors in their sick games.
Alsatian was bored of forests. There was no way to tell where they were, except for the faintly beaten track.
They had already overcome a cliff, by climbing it; all three of them were fit enough and well enough to make the climb.
Alsatian’s ears suddenly pricked alert and his nose twitched.
“What is it?” Buck asked.
“Another dog” Alsatian murmured. He followed his nose towards a large oak and scented the base. Definitely dog, with a bit of wolf.
“Climb it” Alsatian requested as he started to hook his claws into it.
The climb was slower than they had hoped; their limbs were drained of energy.
When they did make it up to the top, they found a nest too large to be made by a bird.
In the nest lay a Maltese dog fast asleep.
Dosi reached a paw over the bowl-shaped nest and prodded the dog with a forepaw.
“Wha…wha….what?” Princess stuttered.
“Who are you?” Buck asked.
“Is that you Pasha?” princess queried as she examined Dosi.
“You know Pasha? Is she safe?” Dosi urged.
“She’s fine, especially with Buster” princess said “who are you lot?”
“I’m Dosi, pasha’s sister, this is Buck and this is Alsatian” Dosi introduced them.
“I’m Princess. I was stranded o a boat with Pasha and Buster, but Buster saved us” Princess explained.
“Where are Buster and Pasha now?” buck yapped, eager to get his friend back.
“They’re hunting, they are back pretty soon” Princess said as she settled back down into her nest.
Pasha lowered her body so that her chest fur was touching the ground.
She lowered her rump too, because her tail was wagging energetically and would give her away. She stepped forward stealthily; keeping her eyes on the mouse that was eating some seeds in front of her. It was oblivious to the fact that it was being hunted.
When Pasha came within jumping distance of it, she leapt forward and landed on the mouse. Her weight, which was monumental compared to the mouse’s, immediately squashed the mouse.
She picked up her prize triumphantly and went to find Buster.
He was guarding the pile of prey already caught, which contained; three rabbits, four squirrels, seven mice and a mole.
Most of the kills had come from Buster, who was an expert hunter.
Pasha took her place as guard and allowed buster to roam off into the woods to search for some new additions to their pile.
Buster went deep into the forest, where Pasha couldn’t hear him or see him.
He launched himself over a trickling river, poisoned by the explosion that happened five years previous. He bounded over rocks and climbed up trees to get a better vantage.
It wasn’t prey he was looking for; it was something much more sinister.
He came to a small clearing and patiently sat down and waited for the arrival of the thing he had been seeking.
He was alerted by the sudden rustling of the bushes around him and the sound of twigs snapping.
A muscled Rottweiler padded quietly into the clearing and confronted Buster, interest and curiosity sparked his eyes.
“Two dogs, a Jack Russell cross and a Maltese pet” Buster said.
“Good work Buster, you did well. The master will be pleased” the dog smiled.
“I do my best, jet” Buster addressed the dog.
“What of the Master’s request. Can the Alsatian be found” the dog reminded Buster of his
“No, not yet. But one of my captured dogs talked about a dog that fits your description” Buster admitted.
“Well then, master will be pleased” the dog sighed and retreated back into the woods.
Buster stood rooted to the spot, battling with himself about what to do; if he returned empty-pawed, Pasha might be able to guess that something strange was going on. Buster didn’t want to Pasha to find out anything about his secret; not because it would expose him, but because he had gained Pasha’s trust and he liked his new friend.
He winced in confusion as he tried to sort his mind and its escaping thoughts out. He could try to stop the dogs he worked for, but that would mean certain death for all involved. He could just go along with the plan, but that would mean Pasha would face a terrible fate and he would still be the monster he had been for all his life.
He wasn’t used to have to make a choice and he certainly had never felt anything as strongly about anyone than he had about Pasha.
“I gotta tell someone” he decided quietly.
With a heavy weight lifted off of his chest, he concluded that it was a good idea to hunt and try to take his mind off of things. But his mind would not leave him in peace.
“Who will I tell” he mouthed. He couldn’t tell pasha straight to her face and princess would have no idea what to do if he told her.
His mind was no longer dormant and his head soon exploded with thoughts.
His mind was so busy he became clumsy and couldn’t hunt properly. He misplaced his feet during a chase, he misjudged the distance of a leap he needed to take and he made too much noise during the stalking process.
He managed to locate a hedgehog amongst the dried leaves, but when he leapt onto it, his muzzle became was covered in spines, making his jowls bleed.
He eventually gave up hunting and returned to Pasha and the pile. She was wagging her tail in excitement, but even as she saw that Buster was empty-pawed she didn’t stop wagging.
“You cat-brain!” she exclaimed as she saw the needles in his muzzle.
He sat down lazily and lifted his head, allowing Pasha to inspect his wounds.
“This is gonna hurt” she said.
She took a needle I her teeth and gently pulled it out. A bead of bright red blood followed.
“Yank it out” Buster ordered as he huffed in pain. Pasha did as she was told and quickly yanked out the needles. Buster felt only a second of pain and then it was gone.
With each needled pulled out came a fresh wave of admiration for Pasha. Buster did not know why he felt the way he did, but he seemed fine with his feelings.
Once all of the hedgehog spines had been pulled out, Buster leant towards Pasha and pushed his nose gently against hers; as a sign of affection.
Buster realised then and there that he loved Pasha.