FOURTEEN - Crazy Like A Wolf

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As the door crashed shut, Angelina snatched at it, but Pete caught her around the waist and almost threw her backwards. She hit him in the shoulder with a flailing arm, but still ended up back in the hallway.

She and Lettie exchanged wide eyes, and then turned to Pete.

"Pete," Lettie started, "what're you doing?"

"Did you tell her?" Pete indicated Angelina. "About... about him?"

"Yeah, sorry, I just... had to talk to someone."

"You were supposed to wait for me!"

"You weren't here!"

"For fuck's sake, couldn't you..."

All that bickering was cut off by the loud roar of a dog barking outside, and Angelina found her voice. "Oh God, is that the wolf?"

Pete rolled his eyes. "It's not a wolf, it's a wolfhound. A huge one, but still, don't be so hysterical."

"Is it about to eat Hobson?"

"That's what I'm hoping for."

"Then why shouldn't I be fucking hysterical?"

Angelina reached for the front door, grasping and clawing for the locks. Once again, Pete kept her back without even needing two hands.

"Into the living room," he beckoned. "Where we can see what's happening out there."

Without much hope of escape, Angelina followed his orders.

*****

Hobson hadn't fought many animals in his time. Dog, wolf, whichever this was, it scared him. He backed away down the pavement as it dribbled and stalked away from the car.

Panicking, he tried a massive slap towards it, in case it instinctively backed off. Remembering Matt Michaelson's dissected arm didn't give him much hope, but maybe it needed a firm hand.

His blow swept through the air, missing the dog's head, and the black shape took both a swipe and a bite at it, baring hundreds of sharp teeth. It had red, bloody eyes with thin slits for pupils, just like wolves on TV, howling as well as barking. Its grey fur was either naturally red-tinted or still blood-stained because Pete hadn't bothered washing it.

The dog shook its head with another growl, taking a few paces back as Hobson recoiled. Its swipe hadn't reached his arm, but raked through his coat, which cost him a whole case worth of wages. Hobson took a kick at the dog's head with his heavy boot. Let's see the little fuck walk this off.

The foot glanced off its ear, leaving his leg open for the jaws. The black suit trousers provided some cover, but nowhere near enough. He roared a medley of horrible swearing, sinking down to one knee trying to pull it away. Blood trickled down his shin, as the creature went after his lower leg like it was a bone.

The residents of the square stayed close to their front doors, keeping their mobile phone cameras trained on Hobson and his dogfight. Hopefully one of them had the decency to call the police.

*****

Pete pulled the curtains wide to see the fight, without stepping too near the window. The other two were side-by-side on the sofa as he'd instructed.

Lettie was beginning to glare at her brother with familiar fury. He looked back whenever they made a sudden movement, but no-one said anything until there was a roar from Hobson outside. Didn't sound like the fight was going well, so Angelina wouldn't livetweet it.

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