Cerdic the Usual – Chapter 0: The Boy and His Dog

Cerdic McNiall was a regular English citizen living in Rawtenstall, Lancashire. One night he stayed late at work filing paperwork. Sighing as he filed the last paper of the second pile of documents he looked at the clock. “11 o’clock? I better get home and go to sleep. I don’t want to fall asleep in the break room again.”

Stretching as he got up from his office chair Cerdic felt a small pain in his back. 23 years old last month and he already felt back pain. It probably had to do with all the filing, but he put a note on his cell phone to schedule a chiropractor appointment for the weekend. Sighing he grabbed his shoulder bag and clocked out. He didn’t like clerical work, but it was that or janitorial.As he exited the building, locking the door behind him, he decided he would take the shortcut through the church graveyard tonight. He hadn’t seen Finlay, the gravekeeper, in a while and wouldn’t have minded shooting the breeze with him. Even if it would make the whole exercise of taking the shortcut futile.

Vaulting over the short stone wall around the graveyard Cerdic took a few steps and almost tripped over something on the ground. The streetlamps couldn’t quite illuminate what he had stepped on so he turned on the flashlight app on his phone. To his surprise he saw a mutilated body before him. The only identifying mark he could make out was the ring on the ringfinger of the left hand. Though Finlay’s wife had died nearly fifteen years ago he still wore his wedding band. The wedding band was unique and Cerdic recognized it at once.

Shocked by the scene at his feet Cerdic almost didn’t see the skinless, pulsating horse in front of him. It seemed to almost have the face of a man and as he noticed this creature staring at him another creature materialized in front of him. It was a translucent black smoke-like shape that had the general appearance of a dog.

Standing between the human and the horse creature the dog-like spirit seemed to motion towards a hose with its tail. Cerdic didn’t understand what was going on. He had just wanted to either get home quickly or meet up with an old friend, not get confronted by ungodly creatures.

Looking at the motioning tail again Cerdic decided that the dog thing wanted him to spray the horse thing with the hose. Fearing for his life he did that one thing that came to him in his moment of terror. As he lunged for the hose the horse creature moved as if to jump towards him when the dog-spirit jumped and bit into its hind-quarters.

At the last moment, before the thing could trample him, Cerdic pulled the sprayer handle. The dog creature, the horse creature, and Cerdic were covered with water. Thankfully it was mid summer so the hose hadn’t been disconnected from the faucet. As the water sprayed from the hose the horse creature stopped, turned away, and ran as fast as it could out of the graveyard.

As the horse thing exited the graveyard the dog spirit released it’s hindquarters, turned to Cerdic, and barked playfully before disappearing into the night air.

Stunned Cerdic set the hose and the sprayer on the ground and turned towards his flat. As he turned he almost ran into a 152 centimeter tall man. Being 181 centimeters tall Cerdic had to look down to see the man. “Sorry, I didn’t see you there. I’m just trying to get home.”

The mysterious man stared sadly up at Cerdic. “I’m afraid I can’t let you do that quite yet. You’re going to have to come with me.”

As Cerdic and the man stared at each other the dog spirit reappeared and nudged Cerdic. It almost felt like it was urging him to trust the strange man.

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