James lived in a small house by the woods with his parents and baby sister Ruth. He had been scared of the woods ever since the night he was ten and had decided to camp out in the yard. Around nine o'clock, he heard growling. When he looked out of the tent he saw something he later described as a werewolf and ran into his parent's room crying.
Ever since then he'd have the same horrible nightmare almost every night. In the dream, the wolf would drag him into the woods. Most of the time he'd wake up crying and in a cold sweat. It was even worse on nights he could hear a wolf howling. The rumors that spread around his home town of a hellhound didn't help his fear.
On this particular day, his mom was trying to get Ruth enrolled in kindergarten and his dad was trying to find someone to fix the AC, leaving him alone. Since it was the middle of summer and there was no air conditioning, James quickly became uncomfortable in the heat. After about half an hour of sitting in the heat and sweating, James decided to suck up his fears and go for a swim in the lake a few miles away in the woods.
As he walked through the woods, James couldn't figure out why he had been so scared, the woods were beautiful. The trees almost completely blocked out the sun, leaving the path ahead of him cast in shadows. When James came out of the woods, he was standing on a ledge about forty feet above the lake's surface. He looked down--the water was clear and deep. He took a deep breath before jumping in. After he swam around for a while, James decided to swim to the other side of the lake, and walk around.
He came to an old rotting fence and beyond it the remains of a silo and an overgrown field with a large oak tree at its center.
James hopped the fence and walked over to the tree and sat under it, in minutes he fell asleep.
When he woke up it was dark. At first, he couldn't see anything but then a movement from the shadows caught his eye. James was instantly brought back to the night when he was ten. That wolf thing was approaching him. James tried backing up but the tree was behind him. Now he couldn't even move to his side because the wolf was right in front of him.
He tried to cover his face but the wolf was quicker. It bit into the collar of his shirt and pulled James down, pinning him.
"P-please d-don't hurt m-me," James begged.
The wolf seemed to be grinning. "Oh, I'm not gonna hurt you." he chuckled. "At least not yet, I mean its been three years, I can wait for a few more weeks." he said. "How long do you want, I'll give you two weeks."
"T-two weeks before w-what?" James asked.
"To live." The wolf hissed, before laughing again. "That should be plenty of time for you to say goodbye to your family or whatever." the wolf said. "After two weeks pass, meet me at the lake's edge on this side, and don't even think about not coming because I know where your house is, and believe me, I'll be watching." The wolf said as he walked away, his laugh slowly fading into the darkness.
James sat there breathing heavily for a few minutes in disbelief of what had happened before running home.
When he came into the living room both his parents were both on the phone. Ruth was the first one to see him.
"Jamey!" she squealed, and ran over to him, hugging his legs. Their parents both looked up and hung up.
They both hugged him. "We couldn't find you." his mom said.
"We called every one, to see if they had seen you." his father said.
"W-where were you?" his mom asked.
"Oh I-I was outside, I just lost t-track of time." James lied.
After a quick dinner, James went to bed, but he didn't fall asleep, he just lay there thinking of what was to come.
Thirteen days came and went, and before James knew it, his mom was saying goodnight to him on his last day.
James woke up the next morning to a clap of thunder. After he got up and dressed he went outside. It was raining quite hard so he pulled his hood tighter as the rain beat down his back. The rain came down harder the farther he went. By the time he got to the opposite end of the lake, there was a full thunder storm. He took shelter in an abandoned den. After a while, he must have fallen asleep because before he knew it he was being woken up.
"Come on kid, wake up." the wolf said, nudging him awake.
When James opened his eyes the wolf was standing right in front of him. James screamed in fear.
"Relax kid, you're gonna be fine." the wolf said.
"B-but aren't you going to kill me?" he asked.
"No not yet." The wolf said. "And for now it's best not to worry about the future, come now we should get going if we want to get there by tomorrow."
James wasn't sure where they were going or if he wanted to be there any time soon.
"Come now," the wolf beckoned, all too calmly, from the opening of the den.
James followed the wolf through the woods. Despite the fact the wolf was only walking, James had to jog just to keep him in sight.
At around midday, James was sweating so much he had to discard his hoodie.
In the evening, the wolf sat down in the sun and James sat down a few feet away. After an hour or so it was getting dark, and the wolf realized he was shivering.
"Come here." The wolf said. "You'll be much warmer if you do." he added, sitting up.
James looked over at the wolf worriedly.
"Come on, it'll be alright." the wolf said.
James slowly crawled over to the wolf and sat in front of him.
"Come on do you want to be warm or not?" The wolf giggled, licking his face.
"Y-yeah I-I do," James said, still shivering.
"Well come here then." The wolf laughed, lying back down.
James lay down next to the wolf and snuggled next to him. He was indeed warmer now, and soon he was drifting off to sleep.
He woke up the next morning, to the wolf nuzzling him again. He had been having a nightmare about the wolf again. This time when he opened his eyes he could clearly see the wolf's face. It was completely bare of skin, muscle, or anything that wasn't bone. The wolf's eyes were glowing white but the most noticeable thing was a crack running down the wolf's skull. James didn't want to upset the wolf so he didn't say anything.
As they walked, this time side by side, James thought about the wolf's appearance, and how none of it made sense. First of all, there was no skin on his head. Then there were his eyes, which seemed to be nothing more than lights at the back of his head but moved just like any other living thing's eyes. Then there was his size, three times the size of any other wolf James has seen or heard of. Not to mention the fact that he could talk and seemed to have an intelligence much greater than any humans.
The wolf must have noticed him staring because he began talking to him again. "What is it James?" he asked.
"Wha-what, oh n-nothing its really nothing," James said.
"James you've been staring at me for the last few minutes, there's obviously something you want to know. So what is it." The wolf said, stopping and walking in front of him.
"Wha-what does it m-matter what I wa-want, it's not like I'm going to live much longer," James shouted, before breaking down, sobbing on his knees in front of the wolf.
"Come on kid you're gonna be fine." The wolf licked his and nuzzled his face. "Please please don't cry." he begged.
James pushed him away. "Well, how about you just do it now and get it over with, go ahead and kill me!" James told the wolf.
"Well maybe I will then," the wolf growled, knocking James on to his back, and standing over him.
"P-please d-don't do t-this," James begged.
"That's what I thought," the wolf said, moving off of him. "Now come on." he said. "So what's on your mind?" the wolf asked.
James stayed silent.
"Please James you can tell me, it will be alright." he said.
James still stayed silent.
"Very well." he sighed. The wolf laid down and stared at James. "Get some sleep, I'll wake you in a few hours." he said.
James sat there watching the wolf, but soon he felt his eyelids drooping and as much as he tried to fight it he was soon falling asleep.
The wolf nudged him awake again, at what couldn't have been much after midnight. "Get up." He whispered.
James stood up and walked tiredly over to the wolf.
The wolf lay down. "Get on my back, I'll carry you the rest of the way." He told him.
James shakily got on the wolf's back.
"Hang on." he said.
James wrapped his arms around the wolf's neck and the wolf stood up and started running. The wolf ran at such an incredible and unnatural pace, James was shocked he didn't fall off. In five minutes, they must have traveled at least twenty miles. After another five minutes, the wolf lay down, letting James get off his back in front of what looked like a large pile of rocks. James looked around. All the trees were quite large and the forest seemed magical, like a place you'd hear about in a fairy tail.
"Where are we and why'd you stop?"James asked.
"Come with me." the wolf said.
He followed the wolf to the pile of stones. The wolf slipped out of sight through a few bushes. James got on his hands and knees and crawled through the bushes, into a very large den. It was incredibly dark and the only light was from the moon which shone in through a hole in the ceiling. He walked over to the wolf who was sitting just outside of the moonlight. He snuggled up next to him to try to warm up.
"I-is it g-going to hurt, w-when I die?" James asked. He had finally come to terms with the fact that he was going to die.
"I...I don't know." the wolf said. "But I advise you to go to sleep if you're scared." he said nuzzling him.
"C-can I ask you something?" James asked.
"Of course." the wolf answered.
"W-well what's your name?" he asked.
"M-my name?" The wolf said, stunned. "Oh its Casper, why do you ask?"
"I just wanted to know," James said softly.
"Hey it's alright," he said. "I won't do anything to you while you are awake and when I do kill you, I promise I'll make it as quick and painless as possible." Casper seemed to realize almost instantly the effect of what he said. "You know what, never mind, j-just get some sleep." he whispered.
James didn't remember much after that, just that he eventually fell asleep.
Disclaimer Hellhound does technically go on to have a happy ending, however, if you are fine with what you just read being the ending (Implying James dies) then you don't have to read the next chapter. If you are not satisfied with it then read the next chapter.