May. 31st, 2008

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Somewhere in the woods of Yorkshire, there is an abandoned suitcase, dropped there when by a small girl upon her discovery that she’d been given the wrong luggage.

The suitcase is, by this point, sodden and dripping and gives the general impression of having something squashed and disgusting inside.

It is distinctly odorous, and definitely unpleasant – and oddly sparkly . . . .

The headmistress of Mary’s school in Yorkshire owns a small dog.

Generally, this dog stays in her private apartments. Occasionally it is allowed to come out with her when she greets guests and yap at them from behind her feet, or spend a few hours making a nuisance of itself in the schoolroom, where the girls alternate between snapping at it in an unladylike fashion and hopefully attempting to feed it their homework.

Today, some weeks after Mary’s arrival at school – and the arrival of a certain other personage, as well – the dog has taken advantage of a carelessly opened door, and made a bid for freedom. It does this every so often; it doesn’t really dislike its lot in life, and it probably has vague plans to return eventually, but there are fascinating scents to explore, and possibly even people’s legs to bite.

There’s a new scent in the forest today. The little dog, nose twitching, starts to bark in greater and greater excitement as it moves towards it.

Finally, it stands in front of the leaking, oozing and sparkling suitcase.

It has just bent its head to sample this fascinating substance when it catches, all of a sudden, another scent, one altogether less appealing. One that might, in fact, be called downright terrifying – at least, if you are a very small dog.

Or perhaps if you are more than that, also.

The owner of said scent circles the clearing once. Then again. It is utterly silent; no growl passes its lips, no rustle of leaves or grass betrays its movement. It pauses only once, interposed betweent the tiny dog and what it might call home. And then it's gone into the night, soundless and swift.

The scent is slower to fade by far.

The suitcase full of unicorn kidneys still glimmers in the moonshine, and still smells appealingly like dead meat, but all the same, it is no longer quite as attractive as it was The tiny dog stands there motionless and trembling for quite some time, more like a rabbit in the headlights than any sort of self-respecting descendant of predators; then, suddenly, it makes a break for home as fast as it can go. There, its mistress will pick it up and coddle and scold it for being such a naughty doodums, and completely fail to notice the faint air of sparkles that still lingers around its ears – because it did, after all, get in that one first bite . . .

However, she will notice that her pet has not quite stopped shivering.


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