In with for Week 360
I need to get rid of this goddamn avatar someday
|# ¿ Jun 27, 2019 11:37|
|# ¿ May 24, 2022 19:24|
Week 360 Submission
Prompt: Technology Gone Wrong tech gone wrong: domestication of dogs
The Wolves of Wotan's Hill
Ever since they had first migrated from the south several generations ago, the tribe at Wotan’s Hill had fought a bloody war with the wolves that had made the woods their hunting ground since time immemorial. The wolves were slowing losing the battle to the physically weaker but cunning and resourceful men, but recently their strategies had changed. Rather than compete for the same, dwindling hunting kills, or attack the well-armed hunters directly, the wolves began to become more opportunistic, waiting for large kills to be unguarded enough for the pack to rush in, tear away some meat, and retreat back into the icy forest. Occasionally, they would still snatch a careless child, unattended infant, or straggling elder, but these attacks would bring brutal reprisals. Each mauled human would only result in several new hunters wearing wolfskin mantles as a sign of their might. Each year the outlook grew darker, and the switch to scavenging only slowed the pack’s decline.
Everything changed with the birth of White Eyes. He was a runt, with pig white patches of fur around his eyes, making them seem supernaturally large. His unnatural appearance and small frame made him a pariah, and the pack abandoned him as soon as he was weaned, as there was not enough food to go around as it was, and certainly not enough to share with a freakish runt.
A child of the Wotan’s Hill tribe found the abandoned pup, and, in an act of childish mercy, began secretly feeding him scraps from her parents kills. White Eyes grew, never reaching the full size of his brothers and sisters, but reaching adolescence healthily and safely. The other humans would regularly drive him off, but his patron would always find him not far away, bringing a portion of her meal for him to share.
Thus, when one of White Eyes’s cousins, himself driven mad with hunger after being chased from the pack for challenging the leader, attacked the girl, White Eyes had little compunction against defending his savior. Despite being outclassed by his full size relative, White Eyes managed to hold off the attacker long enough for the girl to raise the alarm. The tribes people rushed out yelling and hurling spears, and the larger wolf was wounded, and retreated into the forest. From then on White Eyes was welcome in the village, and would accompany them on hunts. Soon, more and more pups would be abandoned near the village, their parents trying to give even their weakest offspring a chance at this new kind of life.
Generations passed for the wolves, and the pack of the village grew even larger than the pack in the wild. The girl who first cared for White Eyes went on to become the elder of Wotan’s Hill, and even after her death, an effigy of her, with a hand on White Eyes, the father of all dogs, would grace the center of the village.
As the snows slowly thawed and retreated north, so did the wild wolves. However, from the south, more and more humans moved north into newly fertile land, threatening to squeeze out the people of Wotan’s Hill just as they had pushed out the wolves so long ago. In response, the people of the village began breeding their companions purposefully, selecting the largest and most vicious to have the first pick of mates. The dogs of Wotan’s Hill became feared among their new neighbors. To make peace, the nearby villages would bring offerings of food and supplies to the shrine of the Wolf Mother and White Eyes.
Having true abundance for the first time, and growing fat off the tributes of their neighbors, the people of Wotan’s Hill expanded their reach, breeding larger and larger fighting hounds, and terrorizing communities up to a full days travel away. The pride of the village was one Dragon-Bear, a massive dog with his shoulders easily reaching the same level as a man, with a thick coat that could turn away all but the sharpest spears, and canine teeth the size of a man’s hand. Dragon-Bear had killed as many as 50 humans, from upstarts trying to challenge the social order of the village, to mighty hunters from rival settlements, and even souls merely unfortunate enough to be at the wrong place at the wrong time when Wotan’s Hill needed to teach a lesson. Dragon-Bear was the undisputed leader of the dog pack, and answered only to the chief of the village, himself coming on in years and slowed down from several wounds.
One day Dragon-Bear coveted a large haunch of meat being eaten by the chief's grandson. When the boy, barely into his twelfth year, tried to shoo him off dismissively, Dragon-Bear gave him a warning snap, taking a finger in the process. The chief was outraged, and began beating his hound with a large stick, driving him from the fire. Dragon-Bear was no fool, and swallowed his pride for the moment, surrounded by armed and angry hunters, but he did not forget his humiliation.
That night, after the people of Wotan’s Hill had fallen asleep, he waited till the wee hours of the morning, he quietly roused those of his pack who were more loyal to him than to their human masters. Dragon-Bear would no longer be a servant to a weaker creature, and the untold years of selective breeding that had made him had created a beast far beyond his lupine ancestors in strength and cunning. As the coals of the fires dimmed slowly in the night, Dragon-Bear and his people fell upon the tribe of Wotan’s Hill, and any dogs that stayed loyal to the doomed humans. The nearby villages woke while it was still dark to the screams of their former oppressors, winding through the hills and piercing the forest. When they gathered their courage to investigate, nearly a full day later, they would find a scene of carnage and destruction, where only the effigy in the center still stood, soaked in the blood of its descendants.
|# ¿ Jun 30, 2019 23:05|
He shoved the trough of stagnant water and rotting oats aside, soaking some outcaste villager’s tent. The older dog, still holding an air of strength and dignity despite his old age and many wounds, could have been his father, and very well might have been. Despite any former status, he still quivered as Dragon-Bear advanced, but stood his ground.
“Know your place” the elder pleaded, growling. “Our lives depend on the humans’ wealth. You are greatest among wolves, but their curses last ages past ours. Please, they cannot afford to kill you, with so many barely subdued rivals surrounding them.”
Dragon-Bear scoffed, bared his teeth, and spit into the wind.
“You lick the poo poo of their feet, and you would defy me? I’ve killed more men than you’ve smelled”
Horrifying the pack, Dragon-Bear spilled the elder’s blood all along the whelps’ feeding grounds.
After the slaughter of feral wolves by surrounding tribes, the pups deemed not dangerous were taken back to other villages, to guard crops and sheep from rats and the few wolves who remained. Dragon-Bear’s last descendant wheezed gasping in a world of smog, wrinkled face, whirling fish-eyes, and useless, puny legs, paddling fruitlessly in the toxic wind.
|# ¿ Jul 2, 2019 08:02|
In, with another to stay on track
|# ¿ Jul 4, 2019 10:12|
The air was cold, whistling in through the jagged holes the walls detached garage we slept, ate, and goofed off in. I was sprawled across the couch, safe from the chill in my dad’s padded janitorial jacket and an itchy, think blanket that stank of pit bull. Devon rocked back and forth in his bed (jealous of the bastard, but sometimes he shared it with me) deep in melancholy revelry, ear buds cutting him off from the rest of the world. Probably listening to some K-pop boyband, or Sonny Moore, or maybe Silverstien. CB stared intently into the old CRT television, his mind transported to some imaginary middle eastern battlefield as teens and adults like screamed profanities and racial epithets into his ears. Jake was inside the house somewhere, himself absorbed in a virtual world, but this one colorful and animated somewhere on a server in Korea.
I gulped down half a bud light, leftover from the massive hoard of terrible beer Jake’s albino cousin’s visit had brought. As Nikki had taught us during his month long stay, I refilled the empty half of the can with tomato juice. Nikki promised it prevented hangover, and I had not had one yet, so no reason to disbelieve the old man.
As I was beginning to lay back down and continue my conversation with some girl across the country. Devon sat bolt upright, eyes wide but vacant. I knew this look.
“Hey man,” I got up and wrapped the jacket around myself. “We going somewhere?”
He snatched a tall can of Miller High Life off the pile of lukewarm cans and walked out the door, wordlessly. He hated beer almost as much as I loved it. I zipped up and followed, grabbing myself another can and making sure it was well hidden in the pocket.
We wandered out through the back gate and into the street. Devon was wearing only his slippers, hair messy, oblivious to practicality or comfort. As we passed the sketchy chinese restaurant down the street, he finally spoke.
“Smoke?” he held out a cigarette
I took it, and lit up. I hated the menthol, but for the moment I could deal. We walked slowly, north, and the trailers, apartments and rundown redneck bungalows gave way to quiet, stately Victorian homes. A cop passed behind us on the street, but either missed us or wasn’t in the mood to enforce curfew. A little further and we left houses altogether, and headed into the hills surrounding the town, and up the lonely road to Alta Vista cemetery.
At we neared the top of the hill, Devon stopped. He remained silent for a moment, then popped the can, pouring it out.
“There you go bro.” He said. “It’s good to see you again.”
We sat a few more minutes, as he talked to his brother, a genuine survivor until a windy foothill road and a fifth of Evan Williams did him in.
As we headed down through the cemetery towards home he shivered.
“drat man, it’s loving cold”
I laughed, and offered him my beer.
We strolled back to the house with a pep in our stride, singing along to “My Heroine” as quietly as our youthful, drunken voices would let us.
I woke up with my first hangover the next day.
|# ¿ Jul 8, 2019 07:05|