The Loyalty of a Dog

📅 Published on July 5, 2022

“The Loyalty of a Dog”

Written by Samuel Jack
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

ESTIMATED READING TIME — 16 minutes

Rating: 10.00/10. From 2 votes.
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There are very few absolutions I have in this life.  But leave it to me to ensure that I absolutely had three.  Firstly, there is no one on this planet who knows the workings of the St. Magisford national park as I do.  Woven through the foothills of a lonely and magnificent mountain, the tall pines make themselves to be the things of labyrinths.  Scattered for a good hundred thousand acres of untracked wilderness, I may be the sole park ranger, hell, even the sole human being, who knows these woods with such intimacy.

Such is my second point, that the only things that inhabit these woods, beyond the scuttering beetle or spying squirrel, are myself and my bloodhound, Eliza.  No other person roams these woods, given how the landscape is too brutal for sport and too unnatural for camping.  No, I am quite sure that the only sentient things in St. Magisford are myself, Eliza, and Bruno, a fellow supply officer who makes his way to my station three times a year with rations and the accouterments.

Bruno’s a kind enough man, the kind who stashes an extra package of cookies in my rations and makes sure that I don’t go more than three months without talking with another human being.  It’s a kind gesture, but the company of good Eliza is enough to satisfy my itching for conversation.

I had gotten Eliza towards the beginning of my career as a park ranger.  We were both youthful and more agreeable to the workings of the outside world then.  But, by now, we had been star-crossed loners, enjoying nothing more than each other and the silence that came along with it.  Her dull whimpers and hardened maple eyes just make you feel as if you’ve got a friend for life.  Leisurely strolls through the forest with a hollow woof every now and again, the dewey air sticking to my skin and the broken sunlight bouncing off the moss; this place was my own quiet heaven on earth.

That was, up until about a few weeks ago, which leads me to my third indisputable fact.  The thing I saw on the night of September 4th, a quarter past midnight, was no longer a human being, if it ever was.  Those three facts were all I had in this strange world; everything else I know or tell is based on the itching animal instinct of something being very wrong.

My recollection of that night is something of a horrific blur.  I tell myself that I was scouting the area to mark off something on my maps, or to call in about a disturbance, or maybe it was just to walk Eliza out past dark.  For the life of me, I can’t recall why I was ever out there.  All I do know is that when I was a good three or four miles from my base, Eliza just started losing her head.  More than that kinda hollow bark she gave every now and again.  No, this was the type of barking that made you freeze in your tracks.  Not easily spooked, I tried calming her down and figured the long shadows were just spooking her; that was until the shadows of the treeline started moving.

The thing was thin, thinner than God should’ve allowed for a creature of His.  Its spine was damn near visible from the front, and I’m sure if I had the time, I could count each of its ribs.  With its inhuman stalks for limbs, it flailed away from its camouflage in the trees and towered over me like a god that shouldn’t have existed.  It moved with the erratic skitters of a predatory insect, analyzing and twitching in hungry desperation.  And its face, well, in the three seconds I got to see its face, I saw two black pinpoint eyes, a hole for a nose, and a gaping maw for a mouth.  I never saw its teeth, however many there were.  No, I felt them.

The thing attacked almost instantly, its viscous claws raking into my skin as if it were nothing more than paper.  Though I never saw them, I could tell its teeth were like hundreds of needles, each digging into my flesh as it began to excitedly take chunks out of my leg.  All the while, it let out this deep and garbled mewing, like a cat does when it captures a mouse.  I was so awestruck and taken back by the thing that I didn’t even fight it off.  I would have died there, dumb and still, had it not been for Eliza.

After seconds that felt like millenia, a distant barking came from my left, a flurry of motion, and all of a sudden, the needles in my leg disappeared.  All other vital details of that night were like the strange mentionings of someone else’s story.  No clear thoughts ran through my head as I bled on the forest floor, reeling and disconnected from my lonely paradise.  Instead, I felt the singular sensation of the moss about me becoming saturated with red misery, my heart pounding in my face, and the comforting nudging of a bloodhound’s nose in my palm.  That was all I felt that night.  Had it not been for the loyalty of a trusted dog, I would have never felt another thing.

I woke up the next morning in my station, reeling from the event.  There was a half of myself that desperately prayed that all of the previous night had been a dream.  But, when I examined the blood-soaked sheets and saw that my leg, or what was left of it, had been expertly bandaged, I knew my encounter to be more than a fiction.  Eliza laid at the foot of my bed, watching over me like all good guardian angels do.

I would learn soon after that after my attack, she had run the better part of twenty miles to Bruno’s post to fetch help.  He had followed her in almost perfect darkness, found me, and saved my life. Apparently, from his description of it, had she not come when she did, I would’ve been just another unfortunate accident in the St. Magisford wilderness.  However, what I gained in medicine, I lost in skepticism.  He became insistent that it was a wolf, no matter how much I pleaded or rationalized the bite marks on my remnant of a thigh.  After a few good hours of pleading with him that there was something in the woods that wasn’t normal, I gave up and agreed with his back-handed theory.

For the following week, I poured through every wildlife documentation I could find in my humble station.  After several restless nights of frantic and mindless searching through catalogs and diagrams, I narrowed it down to some sort of primate or an intensely ill bear.  Yet, neither conclusion satisfied my burdened curiosities, nor did the act of calling it a “sick bear” take away any of the nightmares.  In fact, without Eliza laying beside me in my cot, her steady breathing emanating a calm tempo of reassurance, I wouldn’t have slept a wink for that first week.

By the time the second week came, I didn’t need to worry about sleep anymore.

It wasn’t as if I was a sort of night owl, though I had been known to take Eliza on those midnight treks through the woods once upon a time.  However, after a few failed nights of sweaty dreams, my body seemed to forfeit the idea of rest altogether.  Not wired, not groggy, but this sort of residual buzz that hummed through my body, the kind you get right before a fever.  No aches or pains just yet, but an ever-present roar of synapses through your whole body that seems to be shouting something your way, though you haven’t the foggiest idea of what it is.

After four days, I broke out the classic remedies; tea, good rest, some Canadian dry medicine that Bruno was fortunate to leave me a bottle of during his last visit.  After nine, I started running around the woods with Eliza, never too far from camp, but just enough to hopefully burn off whatever funk my body was in.  I debated for a short while to call Bruno to bring a doctor in, but St. Magisford isn’t known to be the most accessible of places.  Instead, I chopped wood, climbed foothills, reset traps, and kept watch, all seemingly fueled by an infinite well of energy.

Around the twelfth day, I ran out of things to do, so I committed to the idea of fortifying my station. After all, primate or not, that thing was still out there, so I might as well put this energy to good use.

The perimeter fence and pikes were all erected by the nineteenth sleepless night.  Nothing extensive, but good enough to stop whatever it was that inspired this extra protection.  Deciding that the wire could be a bit more layered, I decided to spend a few more hours on it.  I didn’t really start to worry until the twenty-eighth day.  By that point, I was bumping into counters, forgetting where I was, periodically bolting into full sprints, only to be stopped by my newly installed fence.  I was a scattered collection of thoughts, held together by the weary sinew of a man who had barely the faintest memory of what sleep was.  It wasn’t until Eliza began nudging back on my hand that I decided I should give this whole sleep thing another shot.  Sensing my trepidation, Eliza rested her entire body into mine and let the grumble of her old yawns and snores rock me into a trance that I could loosely call sleep.  Rest or not, I felt reassured that whatever kept me up, I wasn’t kept up alone.  Most folks would have called it quits or been turned away at the thought of a man on the brink, but there Eliza was, snoring and sleeping right beside me, like there wasn’t another place in the world that she would be.  That’s the loyalty of a dog, right there.

I caught another dose of Eliza’s loyalty when I felt her teeth sink into my hand.  I yelped awake and damn near lost my head.  But, a quick look around my surroundings keyed me in on her sudden hostility.  There I was, dazed and sweat-drenched, barely awake, and standing in the middle of a clearing seventeen miles from my station.  It seemed as time passed on, even my subconscious yearned to know what was in the woods.  The next several days relied on a timid agreement between Eliza and myself, that if I was to sleep whatever slivers I could, she was to guard my restless body from leaving the cabin again.  After all, nothing is more enticing to the predator than sleeping prey.

It was around the eighth week that I began to average around four hours of sleep per week.  Whereas my mind was still to be trusted, dubious as it was, my body had shown the toll of my restlessness.  My eyes were sunken, my skin like a thin, papery leather, and my gums hummed with a metallic burn of neglect.  A glimpse in the bathroom mirror revealed more of a visage of a corpse than that of the man I was.  Even if I still wanted to, calling a doctor had become out of the question.  There was no chance I’d risk coming to town, and I dare not expose another person to whatever stalks these woods.  This thing I suffered must be suffered alone; I knew that then.

Nevertheless, what endless waking moments I had left regarded the surveillance of the woods outside. Every so often, I would see the glimpse of a tree out of place or a shuffling of bushes.  A teasing sort of game, I considered it.  Just like a predator, to disorient its prey.  But this thing, whatever it was, hadn’t accounted for my diligence, my cunning, and least of all, the fact that I wasn’t alone.  No, with Eliza at my side, we guarded our fortress against the nameless horrors of the St. Magisford hell we found ourselves in.

Maybe it was in my protective arrogance or my diverted attention, but the pangs of hunger came suddenly around the fiftieth day of my entrapment.  I supposed in my distracted ventures, I never stopped more than a moment to indulge in something that I could once call a meal.  Being studious in my rationing, I indulged in the backstock that Bruno had left the previous visit.  Nothing more than a few sandwiches and some cans of soup to satiate the growling of my stomach.

That lasted three hours.  Once the loaves of bread and cans could no longer tide me over, I changed tactics.  I began to break into my deep storage to find another solution.  Venison jerky, jars of pickled herring, and canned beets left their dusty tomb and fell quickly into my gullet.  I diverted all of my attention away from the watching of the woods and dedicated my heart and energy to pounding my hunger into submission.  When the cans and jars and barrels had all yielded their best efforts, I turned to Eliza’s rations out of desperation.  Though disappointed that her daily fix of canned brownness had been taken from her, she sat attentively and silently as she watched me.  I had long since abandoned dishes and was merely scrounging through the container, sloppily cramming whatever mystery nutrition this was into my throat.  Over time, I realized in my vigor that I could bypass my jaw and tongue and force-feed myself the slop, my raw and weary fingers squelching around the blobs of feed and depositing it directly into the endless void of my gluttony.  Nothing more than the sounds of grunts and gurgling filled the still cabin air, the sounds of my desperate attempts to calm the infinite hunger. Much to my dismay, my plan did not work.  In seven hours, I had devoured one-third of a year’s worth of rations.  There I sat, filthy, exhausted, a fine line of drool dripping from my hanging lip, and starving.  Eliza’s whimpers in the corner reassured me of the same feeling, I would need something else and that something was very wrong.

The food for the next few days took the shapes of crumbs I could find and stale wood chips I deemed edible.  But still, I maintained my dignity and devoted some of my hours to observing myself and to potentially treat whatever I seemed to be coming down with.

The man in the mirror was all but a stranger to me, performing a bastardized rendition of what I could only assume was myself an inch from death.

My hair was wiry and thinning, clinging to itself in tendrils of black oil.  The wrinkles on my face became deep canyons.  My gums had long since rung that sting of copper and had adopted a hue of ruby and black.  Grooming aside, my fingernails began to hook into barbed monstrosities.  The rings of hazel brown that once wrapped my pupil had since dissipated, leaving only a pinprick of ink-black in the center of my eye.  I touched my face in slow fascination, watching the pulsing of blood beneath the surface slowly drain as I applied pressure.  It was sluggish and strange, as if my body was forgetting to circulate, to produce life.

Looking at myself, I saw a visage of a corpse whose body had long since given up the ability to live but whose soul still clings greedily.  Maybe then was the first inclination that I wasn’t to go to town for help, for surely if any rational person saw the man I see in the mirror, they would consider nothing less than the most brutal death to be a mercy.  No, if I was to make it through whatever this illness was, it would have to be in isolation.

I stared out of my window, my bloodshot eyes darting ungracefully at the trees in the distance.  Hungry and worried, I felt the vice of my cabin close around me as I began to anticipate what that thing had done to me.  I knew now that Bruno’s estimations of bears or the sort were but a timid fantasy now.  I knew the thing that bit me intimately.  Though its name and kind evade me, I knew it, such as one knows their own death.  A distant and far away armageddon that I had the distinct misfortune to have run within my veins.

When the crumbs ran out, the hunger only got worse.  I sought comfort in the chewing of my lips and tongue, teasing the sensation of sustenance.  After a while, my belly receded within itself, and my ribs protruded grotesquely.  I couldn’t help but indulge the ever-present cramp in my jaw and hands.  They moved slowly but constantly, yearning and reaching.  My mouth yawned and smacked for a meal that I knew would never come.  I gave up giving orders to Eliza and simply allowed the silent primalness to fill the air between us.  Though I’m sure she was just as hungry as I was, she never complained.  She simply remained at my side as she always did.  I wasn’t sure whether or not she was aware of what was happening to me, though I doubt it even mattered.  A dog is loyal, even in the end, even when they can’t recognize their master, even when the far reaches of sanity leave their owner’s mind.  We crossed that threshold on the seventy-second day.

St. Magisford is home to a sort of red-tailed squirrel.  Pesky and intrusive, they have no natural predators other than the few bobcats and occasional owl.  Because of this fortunate fact, they commonly make their way onto campsites with nary a sense of self-preservation.  So on the morning of the seventy-second day, I crawled out of my little hovel, down the porch, and saw a red squirrel at my feet, blissfully sniffing around.  I remained still as I observed the furry rat, its ears twitching as it groomed itself.  It eventually rested in front of me and sat calmly.  No doubt it mistook me for one of the trees it calls sanctuary and sought a misguided comfort in my shade.

I made quick work of its naivety.  All it really took was two motions, as I had thought about nothing else but this exact opportunity.  One sweep to catch the rodent and another to unhinge my jaw and swallow it whole.  I didn’t care anymore about chewing or preparations.  The endless maw within me would take care of that.

After the final wisps of that red tail passed my lips, I groaned in a satisfied vigor.  Something to fill the void, the ever-growing nothingness within me.  I clutched my chest and fell to my knees, almost to the brink of tears.  Not for regret for what I had done but because the momentary serenity of eating had since dissipated, and the hunger began to return.  I grew tired of this cycle, this timeless starvation that seemed to have no end.  And it wasn’t like I was able to supplement any more food myself.  My muscles had atrophied through fever and misuse, and my joints ached like the branches of a dead tree. This squirrel could possibly have been the last meal I could have eaten on my own.  I collapsed in the dirt and hay-colored grass, weeping in my agony.  The air filled with nothing but inhuman misery.  A howl for something an undamned soul could never understand.

My wallow was short-lived when I felt something drop on my face.  Upon closer inspection, it was another squirrel, neck snapped and fresh.  I grabbed the meal hastily and looked to my savior, Eliza. Even with a dog’s incapacity for such pain, she knew she needed to help.  My monstrosity did not drive her away, but rather drove her to do as all good dogs do, protect.  With a smile and a nod, I devoured the gift.

The next few weeks looked the same.  I resided still in my cabin, gazing out the windows.  No, I no longer searched for the thing that hunted me before, for I am sure its use for me had long since passed. I gazed out of my cave for Eliza and her heavenly mana.  She would leave in the wee hours of the morning to fetch a squirrel or possum.  By noon, she had collected a good quarter-dozen carcasses and delivered them to the doorstep.  Only the doorstep, mind you, for even in her loyalty, she knew better than to enter the cabin ever again.  I would let her keep one every so often to keep her strength and hopes up.  We would share in the hunted gains together, on opposite sides of the wall, the snapping of fragile bones and tearing of flesh becoming something of comradery.  We indulged as animals do and sought comfort in our mutual brutality.  Though it was mere minuscules of meat and sinew, it added to my delight that I could share in this relief with the only one who understood.  Any other person, any rational human that I once considered my own kind, would take one look at me now and run in fear.  It would serve them right too.  They couldn’t understand my triumph of form, how I could vanquish this hunger and become something better.  No, they would see horror and grime where there would obviously be vindication.  I was the epitome of survival, and I reaped its rewards.

My fingers had elongated since my diet changed to local wildlife.  I was able to pick apart the meals with ease and devour them whole without issue.  My teeth aided the efforts by eventually being replaced by needle-like pincers.  Perfectly crafted in all sense of the word.  My skin glowed in the darkness of the cabin.  A white silhouette in eternal nothingness, waiting by the door for its next meal.

I was an angel.  The thing that bit me was an angel.  St. Magisford was home to the divine, and I was nothing but the infectious continuity of its heritage, hungry and blessed all the while.

Perhaps that is why Eliza still respected me.  She saw past my hollowed eyes and gaunt figure and saw the majesty within.  She chose to feed the master of all things and, in a sense, became divine herself. This was her purpose, and our devouring of beasts was ritual.

The ritual did not remain perfect for long.  The squirrels had either begun to be eliminated from the woods or gotten wise to our plans.  My hunger panged for more than a dozen rodents.  Understanding as such, Eliza hunted bigger game.  Beavers, snakes, hawks, all the way up to a small fawn.  By this point, it became regular to patch her up after a hunt, as the prey she hunted now for us could defend itself.  Though my hands had since evolved to be perfect for cruelty, I forced them to soothe my dog.  I shakily stitched her up and bandaged her wounds when she caught the worst of it.  I wondered if she would ever stop hunting for us, deciding starvation was better than this.  But the look in her hardened maple eyes told me she would defend me until the very last moment she could; that was the loyalty of a dog.

But the loyalty of an angel is not so long-lived.  When the meals became few and far between, I grew restless.  After two weeks without a meal, I began to have thoughts a kind man should never have about his dog.  And there, on the hundredth day of my enlightenment, I opened the door for the last time.

There Eliza stood, shaggy and matted.  She shook in cold desperation and held a single dead sparrow in her mouth.  For the first time in several months, I cared not for hunger but only for her.  I opened the door fully to reveal my new form.  I ducked to exit the entryway and allowed my hands to rake against the floor.  My porcelain skin radiated a hostile aura, causing Eliza to back up a bit.  However, my eyes yearned for her to understand.  Though my mouth had long since forfeited the ability to speak, I urged a final command that only two primal things could understand.  I knew not how much longer my sentience would last before I became fully that brilliant thing I saw all those months ago, but I still had some humanity left.  I took the sparrow gently from her mouth and towered over her.  For a moment, I doubted my actions and considered an alternative.  After all, anything to satiate the pain…right?

But a swift decision and an understanding between us was all it took before my animosity took the better of me.  Eliza sprung from the porch and ran off into the woods, presumably to never return again. I returned to my dark prison with my last meal, saddened by the loss of my truest friend.  If my eyes were still capable of crying, I would have wept.  However, I closed the door, swallowed the bird, and fell into the pitch blackness.

My transcendence would happen alone, beyond the kindness of loyalty, and without the salvation of food.  However, my remaining mortal thought would be in appreciation of the friend I once had.  I smiled a needled grin thinking of the bloodhound and the angel, a match understood only by them and them alone.  However, all beauty must be forfeited in evolution, I told myself as I lay in the middle of the floor, alone, hungry, and abandoned.

That was until a few hours later when a soft noise came from the woods.  I scuttered to the window and gazed out.  A beam of light and moving shapes danced on the ridge line.  I clicked curiously at the sight.

Then I heard her barking.  Dread filled my soul as I knew my restraint had long since left, and I feared for what was to come.  I damned the loyalty of a dog to bypass even her own preservation to comfort me.  But, just as I almost sprung into furious action, I saw it.  At the origin of the light came a figure. A lone, worried officer, holding a flashlight.  Through the dusty window, I saw Bruno following my Eliza through the St. Magisford wilderness.

I smiled intensely.  As I heard the sounds of barking and Bruno’s calls come closer, I shook my head in disbelief.  How could I have ever doubted the loyalty of a dog?  Even in the deepest of night, here she was, grabbing my best meal yet.  Grateful for the kindness, I cracked open the door and welcomed in my newest gift with open arms.

Rating: 10.00/10. From 2 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Written by Samuel Jack
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Samuel Jack


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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