Buck's choice

Buck, Dosi, Buster, Pasha, Papillion, Husky and Jake all howled as loud as their lungs would allow, signalling the beginning of the final rescue mission, and possible the final battle.

One by one, the dogs filed out of the den site and into the forests beyond. The lead dogs only had one thing on their minds; saving Alsatian. Buffy strode up next to Husky, matching his pace step for step.

A number of the dogs had been left behind to help and to be on hand when injured dogs returned.

Buck turned to Dosi and licked her across the muzzle.

“If we don’t make it, I love you” the beagle murmured lovingly. Dosi looked confused for a moment, but the emotion was replaced by kindness. Buck was feeling scared, and so he should; he was about to face the monsters of every dogs nightmare.

Meanwhile, at the front of the dog pack, Buster’s mind was taking part in a different war; a war of emotions. He felt absolutely terrified about the fight, nervous about the safety of his pups, scared for his mate and worried about the fact that if he died his pups would grow up without a father.

Pasha felt the same way, her unsteady pace betraying her fear.

The canines assembled outside the building, all reluctant to be the first to enter. Husky bounded ahead of them all and started dividing them into their groups.

“You lot take the rear entrance with Buster”.

“You dogs take the south exit with Hotdog”.

“Buck, that lot are with you and Pasha”

“Papillion will take that lot”

“The rest of you with me and Dosi”.

Husky lead his followers towards the exit he had escaped and rescued the dogs from.

 

Alsatian chewed through the lock on his cage, opening the wounds around his mouth again. When the plastic catch had broken, he pushed the door open and sprang out. Before he could move, he heard a group of dogs waling by at the end of the hallway. Instinctively he shrunk back into the shadows, but the flash of a blue pelt made him stay put.

When he saw the dg it belong to, he turned the corner out of his room and loped down the corridor towards the corridor. The German Shepherd dog and his son collided in a flurry of fur.

“HEY!” Husky shouted.

“Son, it’s me, your father” Alsatian hushed.

“Dad?” Husky queried “dad, it’s really you?”

Son and father embraced each other in a bear hug, much to the confusion of the dogs gathered around them.

“We need to go” Alsatian advised.

“No, we have a mission, and we will complete it” Husky said firmly.

“You haven’t changed, you were always an adventurous pup” Alsatian cooed.

“Dad, I’ve seen you for the first time in about a year and already you’re embarrassing me in front of my friend and my pack” Husky sighed.

“You’ve got a friend, is she a girl?” Alsatian asked innocently.

Husky puffed heavily; obviously he wasn’t used to being spoilt. Buffy stepped forward.

“She is a girl then! Alsatian giggled “nice to meet you”.

“This is Buffy. Buffy this is my crazy father, crazy father, this is Buffy”

Buffy nodded in recognition.

“We need to go” Husky hurried suddenly.

“But I want to catch up with the son I haven’t seen for over a year, oh my poor old heart cant take this!” Alsatian whimpered sarcastically. He obediently followed his son and Buffy through the maze of corridors, until they arrived at a room. Buck and his group were outside the room and preparing for a rescue. Buck looked worried by what was inside, and was trying to keep his group out.

“Buck, what’s wrong?” Husky questioned. The Husky-coloured dog approached the room, to find one dog in the room in a cage.

“Buck!?” Husky bellowed, then turned around to face the dog behind him “Buck!?”

The Buck at the doorway pulled Dosi close and touched noses with her.

“It’s ok, the poor little thing must be a Beagle, like me” the dog said.

“Hey! You take your hands away from Dosi, I saw her first! And you!” the Buck in the cage pointed a Alsatian “you’re a slimy git and you need to explain why there is a double of me”.

 “I’m not a double!” cried the Buck outside the cage, outraged.

“Then who are you?” the Buck inside the cage demanded.

“Can someone please explain what’s happening” Husky blurted, confused.

“I’m not a double, I’m your brother” the fake Buck said.

Everyone was dumbstruck, speechless, for what could have been a few minutes.

“All of my litter-mates were killed” Buck said.

“Except me. The werewolves rescued me and recruited me. I am Blade, your twin brother. I am here to say that you have all walked into a trap” Blade uttered darkly.

“What sort of trap?” Buck questioned from inside the cage.

“A bomb similar to the one that caused all this mess is to be set off after every werewolf in this building escapes. You lot will be left inside running around like headless chickens searching for them” Blade explained, his face emotionless. Buck, confused about the traitor who was his brother helping tem, tried his best to see the positive outlook.

“Well those werewolves can Talk to the Paw” Buck puffed his chest out proudly “we can just get everyone out”

“No we can’t Buck” Husky explained as he unlocked the cage “there are other groups out there who are walking right into this trap Hotdog and Buster are unsafe”

“That’s right” Blade grinned “if you don’t get out of here, you and your friends will join the dead bodies littered around this disgusting building”

 

Buster had no idea of the trouble he was heading into. After inspecting the grand hall where the new catches were brought and where arguments were sorted, Buster and his group safely concluded that there was no threat.

“Where is everyone, this place is usually teeming with werewolves?” Buster said to himself.

Every dog in the group pricked its ears up as the sound of claws clattering across tiled floors could be heard. It was getting louder and it was coming in their direction.

“Holy Crap!” Buster yelled, for he knew what was coming.

“What’s happening Buster?” one of the dogs behind him, a border collie, asked.

“We need to get out of here!” Buster yelled at the top of his lungs, startling all of the dogs around him.

 He forced the ranks of frightened dogs back towards the door in vain, but it was too late. The werewolves came bounding through the doorway and flooded the hall, Buster and his troops were engulfed in an instant.

Buster was not prepared for the attack and it had happened so fast it had seemed like a dream. Before he knew it his pelt was being shredded by thick claws and his limbs were being bitten by huge teeth. The noise coming from his fellow canines was deafening and horrible. Buster knew no one would make it, but they were making a damn good try at defeating the monsters.

He retaliated to all blows he received and was soon fighting his way towards the door. Shrieks of pain and the crunching of bones filled the room and Buster thought he was going to faint. In a moment of utter fear he rushed forward and out of the door, half dead, but somehow alive. Not quite sure what he was doing, he shut the door behind him, leaving the dogs to be slaughtered. He was so ashamed of himself and he could barely contain his anger, but he ran down the hallway as fast as he could, a cowardly dog who had lost his pride.

 

“You’ll also be trapped here too, Blade” Buck declared as he faced his twin.

“I know a secret way out, and I’m willing to share it to you and only you” Blade uttered menacingly, lowering his voice so only he and Buck could hear his proposition.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Buck asked.

“Help me kill Alsatian. That hairy mongrel murdered our father”

Buck was fixed to the spot for a few moments whilst he considered the deal, his ear lifted slightly in anticipation. True, his adoptive father had killed his real father. But it was also true that Alsatian had cared for him over his life, feeding him, teaching and loving him. To Buck, it was a proper father and son relationship.

Buck didn’t know what to do. His loyalties lay with Alsatian, but his blood brother was standing before him, offering him a safe way out, on the condition he kills his father’s killer.

“No. My pack is here, before me. Not with you or your werewolves. You may be my brother, but you have played no part in my life before now” Buck stated proudly as he backed away into the company of his family, his true family.

He gently nuzzled Dosi, who he now understood was his mate, and he surveyed his group. Husky and Buffy and Alsatian and Dosi, as well as al of the other ranks of dog behind them. He felt proud to be a part of them.

“The bomb is due to explode in about an hours time, all I can do is advise you to get out fast and avoid any werewolves, do not try to rescue your friends” Blade said as he slunk back into the darkness, leaving the large group of canines to consider what he had said.

“Buster, Hotdog, Jake, Pasha and Papillion are still out there, we can’t leave them” Buck protested, triggering the argument.

Some of the dogs, including Dosi, seemed to think rescuing their fellow canines was an impossible idea.

Buck was confused by Dosi’s sudden change of heart towards adventure, but he dismissed her actions as a moment of fear.

To end the argument as soon as possible, Alsatian took control of the situation and sorted the dogs out into two groups; one to head back home and the other to rescue the other dogs. The rescuers group, led by Alsatian and Buck, seemed significantly smaller than the group led by Dosi.

“We meet you all at the den in an hour’s time. If we aren’t there, we are dead and you must find a way off of this island” Alsatian explained, his voice emotionless as he addressed all of the dogs standing before him. Buck was at his side, determined to save the dogs he had spoken of so proudly moments before. Dosi nodded her head gravely and turned around to lead her canines back to the den. When she and the fifty others had departed, Buck and his warriors turned to Alsatian for a plan.

“All I can say is we need to find them fast” the German Shepherd dog growled. Among the fighting dogs were Alsatians son, Husky, and his mate Buffy. Both looked ready for anything, but Buck knew every dog here were petrified.

As confidentially as he could, Buck took the lead and padded into the building once more, not knowing what awaited him. He suddenly felt responsible for all of the dogs that followed him. He had been the one to decided to save his friends, and he was the one that was bringing the canines behind him to their deaths. Before he had a chance to reconsider his second difficult choice of the day, a furry shape barrelled into him, sending him into the ranks of dogs around him. At first he thought the thing to be a werewolf, and was quite happy to lay there and be killed by it. At least he wouldn’t have to take care of anyone anymore.

“Buck, I found you!” Buster cried as he pulled himself off of the beagle.

“Buster!?” he replied just as loudly. Alsatian came rushing forward to see what the commotion was. He didn’t seem please when he saw Buster, just relived.

“One less dog to fin” he snarled, taking the dogs into the building, leaving Buster to explain what had happened to Buck.

“I couldn’t save them. I left them in there to die and locked the door, otherwise the werewolves would have got out. I left them to die in that horrible place. I’m an awful creature, no better than those rabid beasts” Buster hung his head low and whimpered his story to Buck as quickly as he could.

“You may have killed many dogs, but you saved many more” Buck whined “it was my idea to rescue other dogs anyway”  

“But I was the one who finalized their demise” Buster groaned, the mere thought of his dogs horrible deaths made him feel sick.

“We have more dogs to save” Buck concluded their depressing conversation and raced after Alsatian.

 

Papillion hated the way all of the other dogs looked at her as if they knew she would save them. Whenever they faced a problem, whether that be a werewolf stalking by or one of their number disappearing, she was always the one that had to reassure the group. She wished that Jake was with her, but he was taking up the rear. After it was discovered that the dogs were being picked off one by one from the back of the pack, Jake and two well-muscled mastiffs had gone to the back to protect their followers.

Although she hated to admit it, Papillion liked Jake a lot and seemed to feel ,lost without him. She was so deep in thought she didn’t realise she had led her group unwittingly into a large hallway. It would have been an insignificant stop f not for the many dog corpses that were spread out across the bloodstained floor. Papillion recognised two or three hopeless faces amongst the dead and knew at once that this had been Buster’s group. Buster was not among them.

“What do we do?” Jake questioned, stalking disgustedly towards Papillion, kicking bodies out of his way.

“Stop it you ungrateful hound!” she hissed at him “ these dogs used to be just like us. We even shared cages with some of them. They are not worthless scraps you can turn your nose up at”

“Every dog I ever knew was either an enemy or someone not to be bothered with” Jake retorted.

“Is that what I am to you then?” Papillion baked, outraged.

“You were the first dog to show me kindness in that room, of course I didn’t mean you” Jake whimpered his apology.

Papillion sighed, and the sigh turned into a gasp of horror as she saw a shape drifting in and out of the bodies. Its body was twisted and deformed in a monstrous way. The beast could almost be described as a werewolf, but not completely. It held a small dog in its mouth by the scruff. Papillion backed away a few steps, pushing her dogs through the hallway door. Then she recognised the dog in the beast’s jaws.

“Princess!?” Papillion gasped. Her father had spoken about a dog the size of a pup with the attitude of a teen. Buster had described how she had journeyed here with him and Pasha about a year ago, and how she had been snatched in the middle of the night.  

Papillion stepped cautiously towards the beast and Princess, as if every time she set her foot on the floor, it would shatter like thin glass.

As she approached the distressed Princess and her captor, she suddenly remembered the face of the beast. It was a handsome face, distorted with scars, and its body was lean and muscular, too muscular.

“Russell!?” Papillion gasped in recognition two times in one minute. She galloped happily towards her long lost brother.

“Stay away!” Russell hissed, warning his sibling off “I don’t want to hurt you; I’m one of them now. I only came here to die and to save Princess here”

“To die, why?” Papillion asked.

“I am a monster, and my life is slowly deteriorating. One minute I’m rescuing Princess, the next I want to kill her. The only reason I haven’t yet killed her is because she talks to me and keeps me calm” Russell replied.  

“You won’t die, we’ll find a cure and help you” Papillion muttered hopefully.

“There’s no point relying on something that hopeless, to wish for the impossible” Russell replied darkly.  

Papillion considered this for a moment. If she was in her brother’s place, she certainly would prefer death to being a horrible creature with violent mood swings the rest of her life.  

“I won’t kill you” she concluded.

“But I will” Jake snarled suddenly “if that’s what you want?”

Everyone in the room was silent, save for Russell’s heavy and laboured breathing, signalling he didn’t have much life left to live anyway.

“I am close to dying anyway; I would rather die now before I have the chance to kill one of you” Russell whined.

“That’s good enough for me” Jake replied. Russell pushed Princess to the side and readied himself for the attack. Jake leapt and before Papillion could even cry out, the deed was done and Russell lay dead on the floor, his neck broken from a bite wound. Jake then proceeded to herd Princess over to his group, now headed by the outraged Papillion.

“How could you, you MONSTER!?” she shrieked at the top of her lungs.

“He was about to die anyway. His body was too weak to take anymore. If I had not killed him when I did, he would have suffered horribly. He died as soon as my teeth connected with his neck. Although she was still understandably upset, Papillion knew Jake was right. What she hated the most was that everyone had assumed Russell had died, but had been alive the whole time. Maybe in that time he could have been saved.

“We can’t just leave his body here” Papillion whimpered “we’ll take it to Alsatian; he will want to say one last goodbye to his son”

“You won’t tell him it was me will you? Your dad seems the type of guy who would rip your throat out for looking at him in the wrong way” Jake pleaded.

“As far as anyone’s concerned, a werewolf attacked him as he was trying to save us” Papillion agreed, satisfied her brother’s suffering was now at an end.

 

Hotdog so far had nothing strange to report. No more dogs had been found and no more werewolves had attacked. It was as if he and his ranks of canines were not a main target. But, about ten minutes into the search, Hotdog and his team had come across a gathering of werewolves huddled in a small room. The Dachshund kept hidden in the room opposite and eavesdropped on the beasts’ conversation.

“We hide this outside, lure them out and destroy them. Any dogs still alive will be too weak to fight us. We will all be safe in here” a large and grey werewolf explained. He was definitely the leader of this pack, maybe even the whole werewolf group. And he had an air of importance around him. Hotdog couldn’t help but whine with confusion and immediately knew he had made a mistake.

The lead werewolf turned its ugly head towards Hotdog and his small group of brace canines. It sniffed with curiosity and, after letting out a sigh of annoyance, turned back to face his pack.

“Must have been a pigeon” it growled with a hoarse voice.

Hotdog turned to one of his followers, a feisty Chihuahua, and explained to her what his course o0f action would be.

“We need to get out of here and warn the others” Hotdog said quietly.

“Ok” the Chihuahua replied.

Both dogs were suddenly alerted to a faint barking sound. Hotdog instinctively turned to the werewolves, who too had their ears pricked in interest, trying to figure out the source of the sound.

Fro out of nowhere, Buck and Alsatian leaped out of the darkened hallway and, spotting Hotdog and his group huddled in on of the cage rooms, sprinted to their aid.

“Are you aright?” Buck asked.

“Behind you” Hotdog whispered.

The werewolves had found their prey, and were closing in for the kill.    

 

 

The End

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