S. E. Schlosser
He smiled as his sipped at his coffee. It had been an excellent hike. He was glad his friend had recommended coming to the Hanging Hills in Connecticut; not the first place that had come to his mind when considering a vacation. But it was beautiful here. When his friend arrived tomorrow they would tackle some of the more challenging terrain.
“Did you have a nice hike?” asked the innkeeper as she refilled his cup.
“Yes indeed. I had some unexpected company,” he said with a smile.
“Really? I thought you were the only one crazy enough to go hiking in the rain,” she teased.
“It was a little black dog,” he said. “Cute fellow. Followed me all the way up the mountain and down again.”
He looked up from his coffee to see the innkeeper’s face had gone pale.
“A black dog?” she asked. “That’s not good.”
“We have a saying around here,” she replied. “’And if a man shall meet the Black Dog once, it shall be for joy; and if twice, it shall be for sorrow; and the third time, he shall die.’” He laughed. “That’s just superstition.”
“That’s what Mr. Pynchon said. He saw the black dog twice. The second time he saw the dog, the friend he was climbing with fell to his death. And later, Mr. Pynchon decided to climb the same mountain, and he died too. Everyone here believes he saw the dog just before he fell.”
“Nonsense. It was just a cute stray,” he said uneasily. She shrugged and took the coffee pot over to her other customers.
His friend arrived the next morning and they both laughed about the story of the black dog. They set out on their climb. About halfway up the mountain, he looked up and saw the black dog.
“There’s the dog,” he called to his friend.
And then his foot slipped and he plunged down the side of the hill, desperately grabbing at saplings and rocks, trying to halt his descent. It seemed to take forever for him to stop sliding. There was a stabbing pain in his leg. When he looked at it, his head swimming, it was bent at an odd angle. They had to send in a mountain rescue team to get him down. At the hospital, they told him his leg was broken in two places and he was very lucky it wasn’t worse.
“You know, that was a very strange fall,” said his friend uneasily. “You don’t really think it had anything to do with that black dog?”
He looked down at the cast that extended all the way up to his hip.
“I don’t know. But I don’t really want to find out. Next time, let’s go to Colorado.”
His friend agreed.
A cool summer mornin' in early June is when the legend began,....At a nameless logging camp in Wexford County where the Manistee River ran. ....Eleven lumberjacks near the Garland Swamp found an animal they thought was a dog. ....In a playful mood they chased it around ...'til it ran inside a hollow log..... A logger named Johnson grabbed him a stick and poked around inside... Then the thing let out an unearthly scream and came out ...and stood upright. ...None of those men ever said very much about whatever happened then. ....They just packed up their belongings and left that night and were never heard from again.
It was ten years later in '97 when a farmer near Buckley was found... Slumped over his plow, his heart had stopped. There were dog tracks all around. ...Seven years past the turn of the century they say a crazy old widow had a dream ....of dogs that circled her house at night. They walked like men and screamed.... In 1917 a sheriff who was out a walkin' ...Found a driverless wagon and tracks in the dust like wolves had been a stalkin'.... Near the roadside a four-horse team lay dead with their eyes open wide.... When the vet finished up his examination he said it looked like they died of fright... In '37 a schooner captain said several crew members had reported... a pack of wild dogs roaming Bowers Harbor. His story was never recorded....
In '57 a man of the cloth found claw marks on an old church door... The newspaper said they were made by a dog. He'd a had to stood seven foot four.... In '67 a van load of hippies told a park ranger named Quinlan... they'd been awakened in the night by a scratch at the winda... there was a dog-man looking' in and grinnin.' In '77 there were screams in the night near the village of Bellaire... Could have been a bobcat, could have been the wind. Nobody looked up there...Then in the summer of '87, near Luther it happened again.... At a cabin in the woods it looked like maybe someone had tried to break in...There were cuts in the door that could only have been made by very sharp teeth and claws...He didn't wear shoes cause he didn't have feet; he walked on just two paws... So far this spring no stories have appeared. Have the dogmen gone away? Have they disappeared?... Soon enough I guess we'll know cause summer is almost here.... And in this decade called the 80s, the 7th year is here.... And somewhere in the northwoods darkness a creature walks upright And the best advice you may ever get... Is don't go out at night...
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