Where the Devil Keeps His Pets

📅 Published on February 21, 2021

“Where the Devil Keeps His Pets”

Written by Tobias Wade
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 — 6 minutes

Rating: 9.20/10. From 5 votes.
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The fire at my campsite was burning low when the stranger separated from the shadows to join me.  The collar of his long coat was turned up against the chill, and his bony fingers clutched a rough rope leash that extended behind him into the gathering night.

“Howdy camper,” I grunted, barely taking my eyes off the comforting flames.  There was a row of fires burning all along this side of the hill, a testament to how many people had fled the city this weekend in search of peaceful isolation.  My old husky lifted her head to sniff the smoky air in the opposite direction of the man, apparently oblivious to his presence.

“You lost or something?”  I assumed he had just stumbled into the wrong campsite and would soon continue to his own plot, but he maintained his rigid posture at the edge of the light.  I watched his hands tighten as the rope pulled taut, long fingers remaining clenched as it fell slack again.

“You got a dog, too?”  I broke the silence again, shifting uncomfortably on my uneven stump.  “Don’t mind Ambus here, her guard days are over.  She’s almost blind, and won’t hear a thing you say unless it’s about food.”

Ambus perked up again, leaning into me as I scratched the thinning fur behind her ear.  The man in the coat took a step forward and perched upon a rock, about twice the distance from the fire that I was.  His face was sour with pursed lips, the dark stubble on his face doing little to fill his sunken features.  He gave a sharp tug on the rope, but it went taut as his animal resisted the effort.  I could only distinguish his dog’s silhouette in the shadows, but it seemed oddly lumpy and misshapen from here.  The man pulled again, viciously this time like the animal was out of control, even though it was just sitting there on the ground.  The animal didn’t relent, however, and the man just shook his head and let the rope fall slack again.

“Ambus used to be like that too, but there isn’t much fight left in her now,” I chuckled.  Ambus was giving into the scratch and had been slowly rolling onto her back to grant me access to her shaggy belly.  “We used to hike out here all the time when she was younger.  There were fewer people back then, and she could just run without a leash as far as she wanted in any direction.  Sometimes I wouldn’t see her for an hour and I’d get so worried, shouting for her until my voice was hoarse.  But she always came back, trotting and frolicking, so happy and carefree that I didn’t have the heart to stay mad at her.”

“Wargol,” the man spoke at last, a dark and guttural articulation.

“What’s that now?”

“My dog.  Wargol.  Come, Wargol.  The fire won’t hurt you.”  The man pulled again, this time with both hands.  A deep reluctant growl answered him, as though bargaining to be repaid for his troubles.  The creature finally consented and plodded up to sit beside him.  I laughed when the firelight illuminated the animal wearing a puffy green dragon costume, with soft cloth ridges and wings sewn on the back and sides.  The black lab had narrow yellow eyes which indicated it knew exactly how ridiculous it looked.

“Well, no wonder he’s not happy,” I said.  “I’d be embarrassed to be seen in that getup too.”

“So he doesn’t scare the children,” the man said.  He tried to pat the animal, but the dog growled and barred his teeth until the hand was removed.

My husky rolled onto her haunches, crouched and alert.  The hair was rising on her back, but I stroked her comfortingly until she settled to the ground.

“Well, that’s something new for you, isn’t it, Ambus?  Never seen a dragon before.  She did catch a rabbit once, though.  I saw her chasing it, but never thought she’d actually catch it.  I think she was surprised, too, because the moment she had it in her jaws, it kicked her in the chest and she dropped it right away.”  I laughed and leaned back against my hands to stare up at the stars.  “This is probably the last trip out here for us, though.  I don’t think my heart could bear seeing these hills without her at my side.”

I tried to laugh again, but the sound came out all wrong.

“I keep Wargol close, too,” the man said.  “He loves me deeply because he doesn’t know any better.”

“Yeah?”  I didn’t know what to say to that.  “Dogs sure are great like that.”

The man reached for the dog again, and it snapped at him this time.  The man didn’t flinch so I thought the dog was just playing, but when he pulled his hand away, I saw blood flowing freely from a deep gouge in the fleshy base of his thumb.  The man stared dispassionately at the red trickle running down his forearm.

“Um, are you okay?” I asked.

The man smiled, and the firelight glistened off long sharp canine teeth filling his mouth.  A low growl began rising in his throat.  The dog in the dragon costume pulled sharply back on the leash though, just as the man had done to the dog.  The jolt was enough to silence the growl from the man, who now stared sullenly at me.

Ambus began to howl.  She was always a quiet dog, and it had been so long since I heard her make a sound like that I thought I’d heard a wolf.  She looked like she was getting ready to lunge again, but I grabbed her by the collar and snapped her leash back on.  The old dog sprang anyway, launching herself a few feet before the leash snapped her back to the ground.

“Ambus, no!  Leave it!”

The man began to growl again in response, but the black lab gave another sharp tug on the leash to calm the man.  Ambus dropped to my feet and whined, looking at my helpless confusion for guidance.

“I do so love having an animal companion.  Wargol and I, we are going to be together forever.”

It was the black lab speaking now, though, while the man continued to growl.  I even caught a glimpse of evenly spaced, human teeth in the dog’s mouth.

“Together forever.  Would you like that?  For her to be like Wargol?” the black lab inquired innocently.   The voice matched the man perfectly, and my eyes kept flashing between the two to catch how the ventriloquism act was performed. The man’s lips were tightly pursed again, though, the subliminal growl never quite vanishing…

“I don’t want forever.”  The words caught in my throat.

“Then you don’t love Ambus like I love Wargol,” the black lab said.  It twisted and pulled, and suddenly the rope slipped free from around its neck.  It was advancing, but Ambus was ready.

I wasn’t expecting how powerfully my old dog launched herself.  The leash tore free from my numb fingers. I flailed after it—too slow.

The two dogs collided beside the fire.  Interlocking jaws, a howl from Ambus, a human scream from the black lab.  They were rolling on the ground now, through the burning embers, two writhing bodies intermingled in their violent dance.

I tried to intervene and pull them apart, but the man was barking and snarling at me now.  I could hear Ambus yelp in pain, though, prompting me to charge straight at the man blocking my path.  He seemed unsteady on his two feet and collapsed readily, allowing me to leap onto the black lab.

I gripped its dragon costume and wrenched it back, but the creature wriggled free at once and leaped on Ambus once more.  The green cloth removed, the scattered embers revealed red and black interlocking scales like those of a serpent running down the creature’s hide.  The animal’s human teeth made it a poor match for my husky, though, and the two of us were soon able to overpower the creature.

The man had already fled yelping into the darkness by the time I got the two dogs apart.

“Traitor!” the scaled beast howled after its human.  “Don’t you dare run from me, Wargol!”

With that, the monster sprinted into the night, chasing its human counterpart. I clutched Ambus to me, too afraid to check for her injuries, just holding her and gasping for breath while I listened to the shouting slowly disappear.

“I won’t let you go!  I need you!  Please, I don’t want to be alone!  Please Wargol, please come back.”

Begging, and then screaming, and now softly in the quiet night, I hear the animal crying as a human might, frightened and alone.  Or perhaps they have reunited, and it really is the human weeping over how close he came to losing his only companion.

Ambus wasn’t seriously injured from the fight, and the dog’s human teeth only managed to take a small piece out of one of her ears.  She’s sleeping at my side as I write this, whimpering slightly in her sleep.  I stroked her to comfort her for a long time, but I’ve stopped since her patchy hair kept coming out in my hand.  Since I felt the scales hardening along her skin, and hear whispered words smuggled in amongst her quiet whimpering.  I won’t leave her here, but she might have to wear the dragon costume herself, so she doesn’t scare the children.

I don’t want forever, but I’m sure as hell not ready to let go yet.

Rating: 9.20/10. From 5 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Written by Tobias Wade
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Tobias Wade


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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