I’m continuing to add the stories that appeared in my 2014 book, The Green Crystal Stories, in chapter-by-chapter installments. Today’s chapter is the final one from the 2013 short story, “Night of the Hell Hounds.” This was the first book of five in The Green Crystal Stories and had nothing to do with the title, which is why I’m rewriting the book.
So, sit back, relax if you can, and read on while teenagers Lenny Stevens, Dave and Amy Evans, and Vree Erickson continue encountering ghosts and demon dogs … and struggle to survive atop the mysterious Myers Ridge.
Night of the Hell Hounds
Beware the strangeness at night that it may come for you.
November 3, 2012
“They’re after me,” Dave yelled as he ran from around the side of the barn and headed toward them. “Get in the tents. Hurry.”
In a puff of red smoke, the Rottweiler appeared in front of Dave, blocking the way.
Dave skidded to a stop and stared wildly at the dog. Then he bolted to his right and vanished into the field and darkness there.
Two hounds glowing green raced into view from around the side of the barn and charged after him.
The Rottweiler followed, almost flying across the ground as it too vanished in the dark.
“They’re heading toward Widow’s Ravine,” Lenny said. “We have to help—”
Just then, horrible howls from below the hill filled the air. Amy and Vree screamed as they stared down the hillside. The remaining dogs charged the hill.
“They’re real,” Amy said before she tore past Lenny, the blanket dropping to the ground. Vree followed, close at her heels.
Lenny looked once more at the hellish ghost dogs coming at him before he raced after the girls heading to Mr. Evans’s house, which was lit up inside and looked so safe and inviting.
“But what about Dave?” he called out.
The girls kept running, but he stopped. His best friend was being chased to a dangerous place with sinkholes and cliffs. He turned and hurried after Dave as the remaining hellhounds crested the hill and raced after him.
He plowed blindly into brambles and thorny weeds that slapped and poked and grabbed him, scratched his face and hands, and scarred his clothes and shoes.
The hellhounds closed their distance quickly. His drumming heart climbed into his throat when he realized he couldn’t outrun them. Still, he shielded his face with his arms as he pushed on.
The dangerous terrain looked foreign in the low-lit night, yet he followed the sound of the hellhounds ahead of him and thought only of Dave’s safety.
His inhales and exhales sounded like whimpers and moans when moonlight broke through the clouds and he burst through the confining brambles at a clearing atop a steep cliff of Myers Ridge.
Dave was there, at the edge but safe for the moment, doubled over and breathing hard. The hellhounds that had followed him had their heads lowered and their rear ends in the air like wolves that had just pinned their prey.
Lenny hurried and kicked at the Rottweiler’s backside, hoping to punt it over the cliff. Instead, his foot went through the apparition and he landed on his backside.