The Dark and the Dreary


7. Recovery

Chapter 5


Jack was stuck.

He slashed at the nearest leapards, but his sword merely went through them, and they didnt seem the slightestly uncomfortable. The nearest leapard leaped, and its claws slashed at Jack’s face. He ducked,= and doged the worst of the slash, but the leapords claw still stung at his neck. He yelled in pain as another leaped, and one after another all the creatures leaped into the air, snarling and ripping at Jack’s skin. Their teeth snapped at his face, and Jack knew that he would not be able to fight himself out of this one. His only chance was to run.

With a huge grunt of effort, Jack stood and ran, scooping his pack as he ran and shrinking his sword back to its little wolf. Jack ran as far as he could, but it wasnt far enough. The shadowy creatures were back, and Jack had exausted himself trying to escape. He had no chance. As they advanced, snarling with anticipation of Jack’s demise, Jack closed his eyes. The snarling grew louder and deeper, and seemed to be coming closer. Jack squezzed his eyes hsut tighter.

And the growling stopped.

Jack opened his eyes, but there was nothing. He flicked on his flashlight. The leopards were gone. Jack shivered, and without even bothering to go back for his hammock, he fell asleep.


When dawn arose, Jack felt refreshed. He had gotten up and washed in a nearby creek, and he scrubbed his wounds until the slow-moving creek was red with blood. He walked back through the woods to his hammock, shoving it back into his backpack, and he was on his way.

By the time noon had come around, Jack was feeling jumpy. He kept thinking of the leopards and how they had disappeared. Jack was sure they were biding their time, waiting until Jack would fight rather than just lay there and be boring as he died. He turned around at every crack of a stick, at every rustle of a leaf. One time he even swore he saw something, but when he looked again, there was nothing there.

But dusk revealed the answer. As Jack opened his bag to gobble down the last bits of jerky, a whimper sounded from behind him. He whipped his head around, and there stood a pitch black dog, about the size of a goat, which was obviously very young. It stared unwaveringly at Jacks food, dispite his yelp of alarm. Jack unsheathed his sword and pointed it at the dog, and it, yet again, suprised him by turning to a cloud of shadow. Jack yelling and backed up, tripping over a log. He covered his head, feeling for sure that the shadow/dog was dangerous. But the dog merely licked his face and stole the jerky from his hand. Jack laughed, petting it, and the dog morphed back to a regular dog.

It looked slightly like a wolf, with slight, pointed ears and a long, fluffy tail. It followed Jack for a while, mooching off him for food, when Jack finnaly decided to put its abilities to the test. He summoned a small gust of shadow from the nearby shadow of a tree. He formed it into a bone shaped, and the dog wagged its tail hapily, morphing into its smoky form.

“Listen up, dog. Your company has been nice, but you cant stay here and keep mooching off my food supply until you proove yourself usefull. Do you have a way of transport?” The dog tilted its head, and when Jack blinked, and monstrous black horse stood before him. He laughed, changing the shadowy bone into a black leather saddle, and he rode on tow

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