Aug. 28th, 2013

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The black dog followed me home when we were both just puppies.

In those days, of course, all it could really do was exaggerate my self-centred childhood fears and I didn't know what it was so I couldn't shoo it away. Eventually it grew bored with pestering and getting no acknowledgement, so it settled down to wait for the more fertile pastures of an adolescent mind.

Then, still a gangly youngster yet to grow into its long legs and giant paws, the black dog came bounding up, barking, tongue lolling, desperate to play and to be one of the pack, bowling me over with its enthusiasm. Imagine its disappointment when it found I couldn't get up. Deeply offended, it curled itself in a dark corner of my mind and let the demons come. This time they were darker and had claws. They told me I was worthless, that I couldn't love or be loved, that everything I thought I had been was nothing but a thin facade and I was just one slip away from sinking into violence and madness and despair.

And then the black dog whined. I stood up and said, "Enough." I prised the demon claws from my thoughts and began the arduous crawl back to reality. On the way I looked over my shoulder and said, "I see you, pooch." He thumped his tail once, and faded away.

But he never wanders far from the den. I've seen him many times, patrolling the borderlands, keeping watch for the demons. Every once in a while, the black dog barks and I know they're coming - the fear and the despair, the Catholic guilt that comes roaring up with its malevolent laugh - "Muahahaha! You don't care. You know you don't care because you're not suffering enough! Are you suffering now? Well, how about now? Are you?!"

But then I look around and see the black dog guarding my back. I meet the demons face to face with a resounding, "Fuck you!" and after putting up an ever more feeble fight, they scurry away, back to the darkness, as the black dog howls a victory. When my way is clear once more, I pat his now greying head and he sinks into the shadows, until I need him again.

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dormant_dragon

October 2013

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