Wednesday, 2 January 2013
No-one has seen their heads, dead or alive. But rumours have returned of crystal-things and tendrils. They are not dogs. Not for a long time. But move like hounds on monkey limbs. Long, lithe matt black and light-absorbent.
If they get close enough to fight, and you can spot them in the glare, their forms seem depthless silhouettes. A long body, whippet-slim and overgrown, and back-bent legs on slender monkey hands.
They hunt by sight, are soundless, quick and bright. The head of the Spotlight Dog, through some unknown bioluminous alchemy, is brighter than a dozen torches, and whiter than a winter sky. The light they make is laser-straight, directed at one spot.
The howl (or howl-equivalent) starts, rises, peaks and flows away in the same time it would take a wolf to howl. At first the air around you greys, the lantern seems to dim, you briefly see the distance in the cave. A soft pale glow picks out the walls. Then tightens. You look down at your clothes, and for the first time in weeks can clearly see the grime and tears. You see the mud and grit ground into your palm, matching the micro-swirls. Your lifeline and the palm-hinge glowing white* against the dirty skin. The light grows stronger narrowing narrowing narrowing. The contrast blacks the cave. Your lanterns light too weak to show beyond. Spots dance in your eyes. You turn away. The mica in the cave wall glows. You stare into your shadow on the rock, its edges sharp and midnight black. You turn to find the source, and as you turn the light begins to fade, from white to sky-blue, violet, sea-blue, abyssal-blue and ultraviolet. Out.
Then another howling dog flares up, and another, and another. The pack answers in the distance.
Spotlight Dogs are persistence hunters. They like to blind and terrorize their prey, chase it till weak, then pounce. If they can't frighten the quarry and if not sure of victory, they will simply follow with their spotlights, highlighting you for a larger predator in the hope of eating the loser.
Obviously fighting them hand-to-hand is hard as someone is trying to shine a spotlight in your face while you swing at them.
* assuming you are white that is, ETHOCENTRISM ALERT.