Feb 1, 2022
Hi there! Maximus Gary here!
Did you know that this is the FIRST and ONLY novella (heist novella) written by a DOG? Specifically me! Maximus Gary!
You’re getting into this story a little bit late, but here’s an official series of links that will set you true.
Auggie sprinted to Teddy with Oshunt and Plenkt in tow and launched his jaws at Jabode’s neck. Auggie took him to the ground.
No sooner had Jabode hit the ground, did Oshunt and Plenkt pile on top of Auggie in with their jaws gnashing and tearing at his neck. Teddy vaulted on top of the two young coyotes; digging and biting frantically at their unprotected backs and heads.
Jabode and Auggie were getting the worst of it at the bottom of the pile until Teddy grabbed the pint-sized Oshunt and tossed him off the pile like a squeaky toy. Plenkt soon followed.
That left Auggie and Teddy on top of the struggling Jabode for a brief second before Oshunt and Plenkt regained themselves and counterattacked.
Teddy and Auggie quickly released themselves off Jabode. They backed up in tandem against the treeline. The three coyotes spread out and advanced at them slowly in a semi-circle. Jabode in the center, flanked by the two junior coyotes. Jabode dropped his head and moved slowly at them- keeping his eyes locked on Teddy’s
“End of the line, Lapdogs,” he said. Oshunt and Plenkt cackled nervously. They were emboldened by the veteran Jabode’s brazenness and relished his command.
“You’ll be running before dawn, Trasheater,” said Auggie with dismissive vitriol and bared teeth.
There was a moment of silence. Then Teddy started laughing. He couldn’t help it. He was thinking of these coyotes running in front of Don. Slowly at first, it built into a hysterical laughter that soon infected Auggie.
“What did I say?” asked Auggie, completely confused.
“You… hahaha!” coughed Teddy. “Hahahah!” Both dogs were laughing crazily despite their exhaustion and debilitating wounds. “Don…! Running… Before Big Fat Don… Trasheater!”
Auggie bellied over with laughter. He was completely helpless.
Oshunt and Plenkt cast nervous glances at each other and pawed the ground trepidatiously. These dogs were laughing? What dog laughed before being eviscerated? Like the previous battle, the laughter disturbed the younger coyotes, and Jabode couldn’t let these jesters unnerve his young troops any longer. He motioned them in for the attack.
Teddy stopped laughing like a rifle shot and said with seething hatred, “Maximus Gary told me I couldn’t kill you unless I had to.”
He grinned wickedly.
“Now I have to.”
Auggie – instantly sober, advanced a half-step towards the coyotes with his head down, his hackles up, and his teeth bared in an wide-eyed sneer.
Oshunt and Plenkt flinched. Jabode’s eyes involuntarily widened for the briefest of seconds. Teddy knew he had them now……
That was when they all heard Tohono’s terrified howl.
Under the parked cars, the bleary Ginger and Zeus caught a breath. They could hear Tohono speaking to Maximus Gary with sickening sweetness- “I’d rather have my intestines than honor…..”
Ginger wished for water. Her lungs were burning. Her eyes stung. She saw Zeus, panting and still covered in the powdery, caustic lime. He looked at her, parched and miserable.
“Let’s go,” she whispered. “Let’s get that bastard.”
Both the Demons stormed out from under the car…..
Tohono sensed a presence stalking him just before Buddy blocked the direct glare of the floodlights from his eyes. What Tohono saw defied any explanation.
A monster black dog was coming through the parked cars. It blocked the floodlight. The dog was sucking the very light from space itself. In his jaws, the dog held The Whole World, and by his feet were fiery demons. The air behind him churned with smoky bile.
As it walked, the leviathan swung his head back and forth and sprayed lather to the ground where it steamed evilly on the melting snow. Tohono could see its eyes and they were milky and bereft. The two pale demons darted through the leviathan’s legs, attacking Tohono’s paws and sending billowing, burning smoke into his face. Some of the coyotes pinning Maximus Gary saw The Leviathan undulating rhythmically towards them and they were afraid.
He was the largest, most ferocious dog Tohono had ever seen. He was the Black Dog of Death. He was the End Days. He was The World-Eater. He was the Judge and the Executioner.
The leviathan came a step closer and dropped The Whole World on the cracked, frozen ground. He reared his head back for a mighty bellow… The demons shot out from under him and descended upon Tohono……
Tohono howled in such fright that the leviathan held his grotesque head back and maliciously regarded him.
After Waskin wobbled her way past Buddy, she collapsed on a driveway snowbank not too far away. She stared vacantly at the snow-covered lawn as her eyes began to cloud over. She knew she was dying and she lowered her head for what she thought was the very last time.
A Biped’s lawn – such an inglorious place to die.
It was then she heard Tohono’s horror-struck howl.
That rallied her a bit. She staggered to her feet and swayed for a moment in the cold Maine air. It was a refreshing breeze. She breathed deeply of it and revived a little more.
She thought about lying down again. That would be so sweet. To lie down and go to sleep and not wake up. No pain… No responsibilities…. So sweet.
She felt a sudden surge of energy from deep within her. Later, she would describe it as a religious mandate. She had things to do before she shuffled off to oblivion.
A feeble Waskin stumbled back up the driveway towards Tohono’s howl.
It was a long journey, but Buddy reached its amazing end. He got The Ham from its hiding place in The Great Room and brought it to The Garden Shed for all his friends. And he did it alone. No one helped him. He was ever so proud of himself.
Where was everybody? Something smelled funny. It burned his nose and now he had to sneeze. He could hear dogs scurrying and scraping all around him. But none of his friends said anything to him. Buddy dropped The Ham and reared back for the biggest sneeze of his life.
Then he heard Tohono’s frightened scream and he was so confused he forgot to sneeze. He cocked his head back and looked to where he thought the source was, but Buddy’s cloudy eyes could only make out the vaguest of shapes in the dark. He leaned out to where he thought the scream came from and heard a bunch of dogs breathing rapidly and shallowly. Was Maximus Gary playing a joke on him? Were they hiding on him? He leaned in for a closer sniff…
Tohono smelled Buddy’s bad breath. He saw the splayed, gargoyle-like teeth through the shadowy backlight. He was more convinced than ever this was The Black Dog of Death. Its Demons attacked him relentlessly and yet he did not defend himself, as he was petrified.
Buddy wondered where Maximus Gary and the rest of his friends were. Were they playing a practical joke on Old Buddy? Why would they do that when Buddy brought them a very nice ham?
Zeus and Ginger used the parked cars as cover. They swiftly ran out from under and struck their hateful bites at exposed and undefended coyote flesh in the pile. The coyotes couldn’t tell how many of the Demons there were. They appeared in one place, inflicted several vicious bites and immediately retreated under the cars, only to re-emerge at another spot to repeat the attack.
Maximus Gary felt the coyotes clotting him from above twitch and writhe under Ginger and Zeus’s nasty bites.
He didn’t know who it was, but he knew other dogs were attacking the coyotes. He knew he wasn’t alone. It was an enormous relief and it invigorated him. It was time to join the fight. He redoubled his struggles to free himself. He was able to free his rear left leg a little better.
It was then Maximus Gary heard Tohono’s terrified scream.
He stopped and listened intently. What was happening? There was no noise. The twitching coyotes above him turned into a restless, shifting pile. The weight above him was evaporating.
The coyotes were afraid of the Demons now. The bites were certainly not life-threatening in any way, but they made the coyotes uncomfortable and edgy. Like Bipeds who find a tick crawling on themselves, they will feel a thousand more.
They boiled off Maximus Gary and ran after Tohono, who appeared to be running to where Auggie and Teddy were sized up against the three coyotes.
Maximus Gary uprighted himself quickly and assessed the battlefield. He hurriedly limped after them.
Waskin felt her way through the parked cars and sidled up next to the massive Buddy and said in his ear with a strange accent,
“Who are you?”
“I am Buddy. I have a ham.”
“I am Waskin. I am hungry.”
“You can have some ham, Waskin. Please don’t eat all of it. My best friend Maximus Gary and my other friends would like to have some. And don’t eat the shiny stuff. It hurts your teeth and makes your poop very painful.” Buddy pawed at the aluminum foil and exposed the spiral ham within.
“Thank you, Buddy!” said Waskin as she tucked greedily into the ham.
“Where is everyone?” asked Buddy. “I thought there was going to be a party.”
“A party?” asked Waskin, ripping at the succulent ham.
“Yes. We were supposed to have a party here once I brought The Ham.”
“A party?” she repeated herself.
“Yes. We stole a whole lot of food from our Bipeds and we were having a big party.” Big Buddy smiled in the dark to himself and said proudly, “I stole the ham. That was the best food the Bipeds had.”
Waskin felt her strength slowly returning with each bite.
“Did Maximus Gary invite you to the party?” asked Buddy, taking a small nibble of the ham alongside her. It would be no good at all if he ate the ham before the other dogs could enjoy it.
“That’s OK. You’re a nice dog. He’s a nice dog, too. I’m sure he would invite you to the party if he knew you. You’re a Good Dog.”
Lucidity had returned to Waskin and her eyes had adjusted to the diminished light of the back yard. She saw:
— Jabode, Oshunt and Plenkt squared off against two big black dogs by the treeline. It looked like Tohono and the four other coyotes were moving in to reinforce them.
— An injured Maximus Gary limping after the coyotes to do battle as best he could.
— Two exhausted, dusty wiener dogs panting at Buddy’s feet. They eyed her every move suspiciously and were wound as tight as a watch spring. One wiener was rubbing their eye in the snow whilst keeping the other eye solidly fixed on her.
— To her side was the most enormous and gentle dog she had ever seen.
— A small pool of her neck blood was growing in the snow beneath her.
Buddy swallowed and looked at her.
“Did you pee here? It smells like somebody peed here,” he said, nibbling another smallish bite. “Or the Bipeds gave you a bath. I hate baths.”
This enormous, gentle, friendly, blind simpleton had just saved her life. It was time to stop this nonsense. She owed him that.
Tohono and his coyotes galloped to the treeline where Teddy and Auggie had their backs to the thick woods.
Tohono, still wildly terrified of Buddy, tore past them all and crashed through the treeline. He struggled frantically in the dense underbrush. The sharp brambles tore at him and the stout, dead branches impaled him. He whined like a whelp as he bogged down in the impenetrable brush and could advance no more.
Tohono cowered and awaited The Black Dog of Death to pluck him from this earth.
The rest of the coyotes fell into the semicircle with Jabode, Oshunt and Plenkt. There were now seven coyotes against two dogs.
The Coyote Cavalry had arrived. Jabode smiled victoriously. “You were saying?”
“I SAID,” growled Teddy, advancing a half-step in tandem with Auggie, “That I am going to kill you. Any objections from you or your coward leader?”
Auggie laughed a sharp “HA!”
And then, for the briefest of seconds, Auggie’s truncated laugh rang out on that freezing Maine December night, everything was silent. Not a paw crunched the snow. Even the smoky exhalations of dogs and coyotes alike were soundless. Cars ceased murmuring on I-295. The bare trees didn’t sigh in the wind. Even the music coming from inside the Pownal house was in-between songs.
Jabode charged then, dragging the rest of Wharlglearg and the war along with him.
Waskin said into Buddy’s ear, “I have to go somewhere and do something, Buddy. Can you save The Ham until the party is here?”
“Yes, Waskin. I don’t know where everyone is. I thought this was a party. Is Maximus Gary making fun of me?”
“No, no…. It IS a party, Buddy, but I have to take care of something to get the dogs here. Can you stay here and guard The Ham? I will bring Maximus Gary and your friends to the party.”
Buddy thought for a bit.
“I am very tired Waskin, but I will guard The Ham as long as I can. Will you be angry if I go to sleep?”
“No, Buddy. You must be very tired. I will wake you when the party starts. Can you let my small friends have some of The Ham?” she looked at Ginger and Zeus. “They worked very hard tonight.”
“Yes,” said Buddy. “But tell them not to eat any of the shiny stuff because it hurts your teeth and makes your poop painful.”
“OK, Buddy. I’ll let them know.”
“Thank you, Waskin. You’re a Good Dog.”
“I am…” she said, beckoning Ginger and Zeus to The Ham, “… a Good Dog.”
Seven coyotes engulfed Teddy and Auggie. There was little they could do but fall back against the dense treeline and defend themselves on three sides instead of four.
The coyotes crushed the dogs against the scrub trees with sheer weight and limited their movement. Dogs and coyotes flailed and fought with fang and paw. Fur literally flew and snow was kicked high up into the air. Grunts, growls and horrific screams of canine pain emanated from a roiling, feverish ball of hate.
As with all great battles, defender and attacker became blurred by the Fog of War. Soldiers lashed out at what they thought was the enemy, only to find comrades. The Fog of War reigned supreme in Don and Liana’s backyard of Pownal Maine that December night.
Maximus Gary hobbled to the rear of the feverish ball of hate. Adrenaline stung his extremities and in his brain. He began to tear at the backs of the coyotes, knowing he could barely defend himself if he was challenged by even the smallest pup.
Waskin labored right behind him as best her damaged body allowed. She was close to Maximus Gary when the floodlights timed out and the entire battlefield sunk into a deep, black quicksand.
“RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!” Tohono screamed from his hiding place in the bush. “GET OUT OF HERE!! THE BLACK DOG OF DEATH WILL KILL US ALL!!!”
Waskin was submerged with sadness– sadness for Grelant and his cold body and lifeless eyes staring into the void. Sadness for Tohono’s madness and his abandonment of Wharglearg. Sadness for the Dogs and Coyotes trying to kill each other. The uselessness of it all.
With the last of her strength, she slid abreast of Maximus Gary like a silent battleship in an inky darkness. She felt helpless, and in her grief and weakened state, she could do nothing but howl.
Thus she did.
It was a classic coyote howl; sad, high-pitched, long and drawn out. She gave it everything her lungs could possibly give. Blood dripped a little faster from her neck the longer she howled…
He could not see her because his eyes were still adjusting to the dark, but Maximus Gary began to howl along with her.
Ginger and Zeus left the safety of the cars walked toward Waskin howling their high-pitched songs along with her.
Even Buddy’s deaf ears could hear Waskin’s lament. It confused him and made him very sad. He grabbed The Ham and followed the blurry wiener dogs to the source of the howling, howling, howling…
Even the liquored-up Don heard Waskin’s howling from The Kitchen and said to no immediate response, “Gawddam coyotes. I hate them sumbitches. Is there any more Naughty Sausage dip…? Sarah?”
All canine eyes and ears were on Waskin. She sounded so heartsick that half the coyotes broke out in sympathy song and the other half were so thunderstruck that they remained completely motionless. Rincon’s teeth were sunk into Auggie’s hindquarters, yet both froze themselves in mid-bite. Waskin’s haunted howling.
Waskin, initially revived by Buddy’s ham, was fading with the exertion of howling. When she drew a second deep breath, she felt woozy and her peripheral vision blacked out into tiny little stars dancing directly in front of her eyes. She began her second full-body howl with all the force she could gather.
She belted out her first note and collapsed as the stars began blinking out in front of her. Her second howl abruptly stopped. It was replaced by what sounded like the gurgles of a coyote being strangled.
Everydog stopped howling when Waskin stopped howling.
Maximus was in mid-howl when she fell against him. He stopped howling and bent down to see what was wrong. His eyes saw well enough in the dark, to know that she was bleeding to death.
Buddy still had The Ham in his mouth. He dropped it and asked Maximus Gary, “This is Waskin. She is my friend. Why is she sleeping?”
“I think she’s dying,” said Maximus Gary.
Buddy couldn’t possibly understand. Maximus Gary stammered, “It means she is going away and she will never come back. She has a wound on her neck and she is bleeding a lot.”
“Why won’t she come back Maximus? There is plenty of ham left.”
“It’s different, Buddy. I don’t think she wants ham now.”
Buddy grabbed the ham and smelled his way to Waskin. He could also smell she was bleeding from her neck. He dropped The Ham.
“Did you want some more ham?”
“No, Buddy. I don’t feel very good.”
“Ham can make you feel better, Waskin. It makes me feel better.” At this moment, Maximus Gary realized he had messed up Waskin and Tohono’s names.
“No Buddy. That’s OK.”
Buddy dipped his massive head down and began to lick her neck wound clean. She looked up tiredly at him and smiled.
“Thank you, Buddy. You’re a good friend.”
Tohono was buried in his treeline fortress, awaiting the Black Dog of Death to take him. He shuddered involuntary spasms. His eyes were tightly shut. He heard the howling and burrowed as much as he could into the frozen earth. Waskin’s sad cry stopped and he could hear hushed talking. He couldn’t hear what they were saying.
He mobilized all his courage and opened his eyes. As they adjusted, he saw dogs and coyotes gathered in a circle about 30ft away. They were transfixed with whatever was in the middle.
Why weren’t the dogs and coyotes fighting? Why weren’t they running away from the Black Dog of Death? They were obviously under some kind of evil spell.
Wait… had they defeated The Black Dog of Death? Tohono’s heart soared. Could it be true? He was emboldened by the thought and got himself to his feet. He strode towards the circle purposefully.
What he saw charged him with unrestrained horror. In the center of the circle, The Black Dog of Death was drinking blood from Waskin’s throat. She was still alive. The Black Dog was whispering to her, comforting her as he drank her blood and pulled the life-force from her.
The coyotes and dogs around her were zombies. They were staring wide-eyed at the atrocity being committed, yet powerless to do anything.
Tohono’s mind was swirling. He had to remember to breathe. He had to remember to blink his eyes. Through the horror that surged though him, he knew one thing– He would not die like Waskin, nor would he suffer being a zombie. He would die of his own accord, on his own terms. He would choose his hill to die on. And it would not be to this soul-sucking vampire and his cadres.
He emerged from the brush and onto the lawn silently.
Which way to run? It didn’t matter.
Maximus Gary surveyed the battlefield. He saw exhausted dogs and coyotes in a circle around Waskin and Buddy. He saw spots of blood all over the snow. They ranged from pinhead-sized splatters to real gushers. There were globs of torn-out fur everywhere. He even saw a piece of fur with some skin still attached.
He saw Grelant’s body. He saw coyote nails worn to the quick. He saw Teddy and Auggie, panting and covered in gashes and blood– surrounded by exhausted, starving and downtrodden coyotes. They were all transfixed with Waskin and Buddy.
And in the middle of it all, Waskin lay on her side. She was panting shallowly. Here was the brave coyote who stopped a battle with only her sadness. And her life.
There was only one thing Maximus Gary could do.
Maximus Gary began…
“Coyotes! Dogs! Listen to me! I am your friend!”
For the third time that night there was complete silence. Silence, except for Buddy lapping Waskin’s neck wound.
“I don’t know how it came to this. I don’t know why we are enemies. I only know that whenever we meet, we assume we are enemies. Tohono and I fell into that trap earlier.”
Maximus Gary looked at the faces around him. “Where is Tohono? We have much to discuss…”
“He had a breakdown and ran away,” said Stiwict with contempt. “Waskin is our leader now.” The coyotes nodded their heads in assent. Maximus Gary was incredulous. The tough-as-nails and recalcitrant Tohono had his nerve broken? How? He would have to get the full story on that one later…
“Then we ALL have much to discuss,” continued Maximus Gary. “Because we ALL have so much in common.”
Maximus Gary drew a breath both for effect and because he didn’t know what he was going to say next.
“Why do we fight so easily? It is expected. Tonight we will do the unexpected. Coyotes, we will share our bounty! You must not fight over the food and attract the attention of the Bipeds, and you must be orderly and not drag the food away from here. If you agree to these terms, you may have as much Biped food you want.”
There were murmurings and subtle shiftings of both dogs and coyotes in the crowd. Maximus kept a keen eye out for Auggie and Teddy’s reaction’s regarding sharing their hard-fought bounty. He was giving the dogs what they were only minutes earlier were trying to actively kill them.
Buddy didn’t hear any of Maximus Gary’s speech. He was concerned with Waskin. Her neck kept bleeding. He kept licking, but fresh blood kept flowing. Usually when he licked his own wound, it cleared up pretty quickly. He kept tasting blood.
“Waskin. Why are you bleeding so much? You need to stop bleeding so you can come to our party.”
“Buddy, you are a true friend. I can’t stop bleeding. The wound on my neck is too deep.”
Buddy stopped licking and looked at her cockeyed. “I am glad we are friends.”
“I ‘m glad we are friends too, Buddy. I need to go away where I won’t hurt anymore.”
“Will you come back when you don’t hurt anymore? ”
“I don’t think so Buddy, but I want you to know that you are the most wonderful dog I’ve ever met. Thank you for the ham. Thank you for your kindness.”
“Can I come with you?”
Waskin choked back tears and said, “No, Buddy. Not now.”
“I will wait for you to come back,” said Buddy and began licking her wounds with renewed vigor.
Sorry guys. I can’t finish this one now. Thanks for reading!
Take care everyone!!!
— Maximus Gary Kingsbury