Joe spun around on his heels so fast that he nearly dropped the Book of the Dead.
‘Hel?’ For fuck’s sake. ‘I thought I was…’
‘What? Doing it on your own?’
‘I’ve had a word with my hounds,’ she said, gesturing at the group of dogs that had began to gather around her and Joe, ‘and we’ve agreed that we need to help you.’
‘But, I’m okay. I can -‘
‘NO,’ she shouted and stamped her foot on the ground. Hel thrust her arms out rigid at her side. ‘We are coming and that’s that!’
‘Okayyyy,’ said Joe. Except it really wasn’t. He didn’t function well around people. And this person was particularly annoying. And she seemed a little crazy. I mean, she had a word with her hounds? CRAZZZYYYYY.
‘So what do you suggest we do? The book says -‘
‘We don’t need the book,’ she said, flicking the book away, ‘we have the dogs.’ She turned her attention to the dogs. ‘Go on then, Cerberus, Hades, Persephone and all my little children, show us the way!’
Hades was a huge dog, not quite as big as Cerberus, but still very intimidating. He looked to Joe like a rather large version of an Irish Wolfhound, except his eyes were like pits of fire. He stood proud, his four legs straight, his hackles raised and he gave a single deep howl that seemed to go on forever. When his final note came to an end, he began again and this time all of the hounds surrounding them began to join in.
A shiver ran down Joe’s back. His stomach clenched. He was in awe but also a little scared of the dogs’ purposeful cries.
Hel ran her hand down Hade’s back.
‘Go on then boy,’ she said. He turned his head, licked her hand once then strode off into the forest. The other dogs, including Cerberus, bound after him.
Joe stood still, staring at the spot where Hades had disappeared into the forest.
‘Are you coming then?’ She asked as she turned and skipped off into the trees after them.