Aug 7, 2005

HR, 36

One dog was significantly larger than the other. He was a rottweiler. Huge muscles powered his massive form forward; his eyes were great and empty like a shark's and his powerful jaws parted to reveal a gleaming row of cruelly pointed teeth.

The smaller of the two was somehow more frightening. Hubert whispered that this one was the General. He looked to be a German Shepherd, though he was so covered with scars that he looked like no other of his kind. His eyes were bright and aware, sizing up Harlequin in the distance. His manner unnerved Harlequin; he walked calmly, with measured steps, ignoring the babbling dogs around him, looking only at Harlequin.

"Let's stand our ground. Homeless, wait for my signal." Harlequin's voice trembled. Homeless Tony was visibly agitated at the sight of the big dog and looked fearfully at Harlequin.

The dogs stopped a few feet in front of them, the littler ones watching from the safety of the rear. The General stepped ahead of the Pack and spoke only to Harlequin.

"It's the chipmunk I've heard so much about." His voice was hoarse and rough. "They say you've killed my cat, Attila. That's a strong claim, from something as small as yourself."

Harlequin answered with as much bravado as he could fake and prayed that hsi voice wouldn't shake too much. "What's said and what's true are two different things. What do you want here?"

The General bristled a little. "This is my land. I am the law. I am the leader of the Pack. No one does anything without my permission." He softened his tone. "Now, let me explain your situation. Beasts get to thinking you killed Attila, and they get to thinking foolish thoughts. Thoughts about you maybe getting rid of me. Now, I can't have that."

The General broadened his smile. "It seems to me only fair that we decide this in combat. Defeat me and all this land will be yours. My dogs are too weak and cowardly to oppose you."

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