Cerberus cowered, his hackles raised on his thick neck, his snake-tail tucked firmly in between his muscular back legs.
‘What’s a matter, boy?’ asked Joe, taking in the dog’s troubled appearance.
Joe reached out and ran his hand through Cerberus’ warm rough fur. The dog was shaking.
‘Cerberus? There you are, you naughty boy. Where have you been?’ It was a girl’s voice which made the dog shake uncontrollably.
Joe turned his head to where the sweet, little voice had come from. A small girl, probably no more than ten-years-old, stood before him dressed in a white shift dress. Her hair was the colour of the darkest night, her skin as pale as the moon. She took a tiny step forward. It was then Joe noticed the pack of hounds sitting behind her, dogs of varying shapes and sizes.
‘Who are you?’ he asked. Things were going from strange to stranger. Joe had already questioned his sanity many times since he’d entered Crow’s Funeral Home and now he was doing it again. What was a ten-year-old girl doing down here with a pack of dogs? And why was a three-headed dog so scared of her?
He gave himself a pinch. He knew, deep down, it wouldn’t work but he tried it anyway in the vain hope that he was just dreaming. Maybe his shitdad has drugged him? He certainly wouldn’t put it past him.
‘Ow!’ he screeched pinching himself again. No, he wasn’t dreaming it. This was actually happening.
The girl’s eyes narrowed and she shook her head in disbelief.
‘Why are you hurting yourself?’ asked the girl.
‘Because…’ he looked at the girl and then his arm, ‘oh, it doesn’t matter.’ He certainly wasn’t going to explain himself to a little girl.