The Gabriel Hounds
Amanda R. Leonard
Copyright 2011 by Amanda R. Leonard
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Few remember now how it all began, and fewer still are those that know why it started. I, however, am the only one that can recall everything. It began mid-October, in a year when both the night and the frost came unseasonably early to the land. And it was with the cold that they came. At first their existence was little more than a rumor, a whispered word on a dark night, a story told to keep children from misbehaving. The only evidence was the haunting howls and the remains of the creatures that had fallen prey in the night. But soon their existence could not be blamed on the wild animals that skulked in darkness, coming in to maim and kill livestock. And it became apparent far too quickly that these “animals” as many called them were far more cunning than anyone had given them credit for. Traps would be set each night in hopes of capturing one of the beasts, yet each morning we found the traps sprung and whatever bait we’d used stolen. Looking back, perhaps the villagers provoked them, but either way, as the days passed, the Shadow Hounds became bolder. The people knew it wouldn’t be long, with how quickly things escalated, that the beasts wouldn’t fear humans for much longer. I doubt very much that they ever feared us; we were after all the ones being preyed upon, though in the early days we made ourselves believe that it was them that were being hunted.