Chuck gave us a list of titles to pick from and asked us to make it fun and easy... well, easy? Okay, fun... it's a different kind of fun.
She opened the door and there was a basket sitting on the top step with a blanket over it. Hesitantly lifting a corner of it, Lizzy found the basket empty.
She looked around the street.
There was nobody around.
There were no kids snickering in the bushes nearby.
So, where did this basket come from?
Pulling out her phone, she took a photo of it and called her friend – a warlock – who’d be able to tell her what was going on. He asked her to text the photo and when she pulled up the image of it, she saw a dog looking at the camera.
“Oh my god.” She called him back, “Denny, I have a Hell Hound.”
“I’ll be right there.” He said.
They both sat out the front with the basket in front of them. He looked at her, “How did you figure it out again?”
“I took a photo of the basket, called you and then went to send you a photo and saw the dog in the photo.” Lizzy said, “You remember when you fixed up my phone to see other-worldly things? Well, it worked.”
“Just as well it did.” He said, “That basket looks empty, but through the camera on our phones, it’s not.”
“What my main question is who would leave me with a Hell Hound?”
“Yeah, I was about to ask that too.” He frowned, “Hey, you better call your Mum, make sure nobody in your distant family didn’t die; leaving you secret gifts... you know... like this guy behind.”
“Oh, jeez.” Lizzy pulled out her phone and made a quick call, walking inside as she did, then came back just as quickly, “Denny, my Uncle Luc died. When he knew he was about to die, he sent out gifts to his distant relatives – including me – and hoped we liked them. None of us knew he was going to die; not even him.”
“So, what do you do with a Hell Hound?” he asked.
She shrugged, “I don’t know. They’re bred to take souls and you can’t train them; even if you do get them as puppies.”
Denny regarded her, “I think it’s time you and I called on a demon and asked exactly what to do with this little guy.”
The graveyard was foggy and they felt as though they weren’t alone as they walked past all the headstones – the markers of death – with the basket in a wagon behind them. They also brought along with them the ingredients to call a demon forward to talk.
“Who in Lucifer’s name called me... oh it’s you Lizzy.” His eyes turned from black to hazel as he took on his human form.
“Don’t bullshit me. Uncle Lucifer is dead.” She said throwing a thumb over her shoulder, “And he sent me a Hell Hound in his death throws.”
Denny sighed, “So, exactly what does she do with this thing? She’s not a demon, she’s not a human... she’s part of society and yet still part of your world... so how does she fit into this story?”
The demon looked at the wagon as the basket in it creaked and moved, “Well, I have to say, he’s looking lonely and is wondering why you haven’t touched him.”
“There’s a reason why I don’t touch him... he’ll eat my hand.” She snapped, “Why did Uncle Luc-ifer sent me a Hell Hound?”
The demon gave her a smile you would give a young child, “You see, Lizzy, he gave a secret gift, what you do with it is up to you... but I would bond with it before somebody else does.”
They turned and glanced at the rocking basket and wagon, then glanced back, to find the demon gone. Denny groaned, “Dammit, I knew we should have trapped it.”
She walked over to the wagon wondering if it was going to be all that bad if she had a Hell Hound for a pet, “Denny, do you really think it would be so bad to have this guy as a pet? I mean, if I just treated him like a normal dog, it wouldn’t do any harm, would it?”
The warlock turned from cleaning up his gear, “Listen carefully, Lizzy, we have to be careful in what you do with dog. He’s not a normal dog, okay?”
“Okay.” She sighed.
Days passed and she did her research on Hell Hounds. The collected souls, they couldn’t be treated like any other dogs on Earth or Hell. They were bred for evil-doings. But the one thing she couldn’t find was anyone to train him.
So, one day, after feeding him his breakfast of one of the neighbour’s cats (the old biddy had about fifty of them – so she wasn’t going to miss a few of them), Lizzy wondered if she could train the dog. She pulled out her phone, turned on the camera and found his head, “Man, you’re getting big, aren’t you?” she reached out and scratched behind his ear.”
“Aaaww... Lizzy, I was hoping you’d do that.” She stopped, turned and saw her Uncle Lucifer standing behind her.
“I was told you were dead.” She moved next to the Hound as she felt him sit by her side and she turned off her phone.
“Come here boy!” he called to the dog, “You’ve done your job. Time to come home.” The Hound licked its chops, leaned on Lizzy and sounded content where he was, “What did you do!”
Lizzy grinned, “I’ve been showing the Hound affection. He’s a nice animal once you get to know him, but you don’t seem to understand Hell Hounds. They enjoy the company of people who live with a foot in both worlds – like me. We’re not too human, and we’re not too evil, which suits them just fine. And seeing your dog thought you were dead, he bonded with me.”
“He hasn’t taken any souls... it’s what he’s bred for.” Uncle Lucifer sneered.
“Well, it kinda depends how you train a dog. Just because a dog is a fighting breed doesn’t mean you have to make it fight... you can teach it love and affection. Hell Hounds can be the same; but you have to be weird enough to be their owners first.”
“You’re not good enough to run Hell.” Uncle Lucifer stood over me.
She smirked, “That’s the thing, you’ve put out the message that you’re dead. So, who is running Hell? It seems you’ve left your post and the next in line to take your place is me – seeing you sent out the secret gift of a Hell Hound – to take your place. So, enjoy being a mortal. Take care of yourself, eat well, sleep and no, you can’t get away with killing somebody without being trapped in prison.” Lizzy turned to the Hell Hound, “Come on boy, we have work to do!” The Hell Hound followed her to the front door where she opened it to find two demons waiting for her along with Denny, “Come on, Denny, we’re gonna have some fun!” she turned to the demons, “Oh, and keep an eye on him will you?”
“Yes, Our Queen, we most certainly will.”
Lizzy took Denny’s hand, “It’s time to make a difference in Hell, but first, let’s see what he’s done to Earth first, and do something about that.”
“I’ve always wanted to travel.” Denny smiled.