My name is Muttocks. I am a 10 lb. Terrier Extraordinaire.
Long have we terriers fought the combined legions of cat and chihuahua. Our enemies have hunted us ever since the Felines’ fell leader, Biscuits, acquired powerful magicks by striking a deal with arcane horrors slumbering deep beneath the Arctic ice. Now, gathered on a blasted desert that lies east of San Francisco, under a hoary, tattered sunset that makes the sky look as if it’s weeping blood, we last few terriers face off against an unbeatable enemy. Arrayed before us is a vast legion of cats and not-dogs. They outnumber us ten thousand to one.
I turn to the right and see one of my old comrades, Rex Face, clench his spiked rope-toy harder in his teeth…then let it fall to the dust. Hopelessness washes across his features. Rex Face has been in many battles and lost his left eye; he’s no coward. But as he gazes at an unending sea of armored felines and blank-eyed not-dogs, it is clear that this is far too much. Even for him.
Rex Face turns his grizzled, whiskered mug toward the rest of us and shouts, “GO HOME, BOYS! WE’VE NO TIME FOR THESE BASTARDS!”
He starts trotting away. The rest of the Terriers murmur and grumble. One by one, they follow suit and turn away from the battlefield.
A commanding shout slices through the air: “HOLD YOUR GROUND!” The voice gets closer. “Hold your ground!”
We turn and spot my best friend, who also happens to be the leader of our motley army. Bitefighter, the smartest and most lethal of Terriers, is astride a 90 lb. Labrador, pulling its reigns with his tiny paws.
He surveys us intensely. “I see in your eyes…the same fear that would take the heart of me!”
The terriers stop in their tracks. Silent gazes follow Bitefighter as he wheels his mount and trots parallel to our ranks. He bares his teeth and heels the Lab. “A day may come when the courage of Terriers fails! A day when we bow to these catnip-addled hedonists and their foul, purse-riding companions! But it is not THIS DAY!” His eyes flash with fierce exuberance. “A day when they force us to bathe with our tongues, instead of enjoying the goo and stank that real dogs revel in…but it is NOT THIS DAY! THIS DAY WE FIGHT!”
Rex Face yells, “There’s too many of them! We’ll die!”
Bitefighter replies with a firm nod and trots sideways. Though his gesture is muted, blazing passion is still detectable in the set of his jaw. “Aye, fight and you might die. Run…and you’ll live.” He levels a gaze at Rex Face. “At least awhile.”
He sweeps the assembled terriers with his eyes. “But when you’re old and gray…many many years from now…would you be willing to trade ALL the days—” and here his voice rises in defiant fury, “—from this day to that, for one chance—JUST ONE CHANCE—to come back here, and tell our enemies, that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take…OUR NOMSKIES!”
At the mention of the word “nomskies,” hundreds of Terriers begin screaming in savage joy, filling the darkening sky with yips and howls. There’s a palpable energy that crackles through our ranks, electrifying us with a rage that’s both terrible and beautiful. The howls become louder, and Terriers start barking so hard that their front feet bounce off the ground in little skips.
I’m barking right along with them.
Bitefighter gives us a savage grin, wheels his Labrador so that he’s now set to charge at the enemy. He gives us a bemused look over his shoulder.
He prompts us with a single word: “Terriers…”
And we respond with a unified roar: “ETERNUS!!!’
Dust kicks toward the horizon as a mob of paws beat the weathered earth. The cats and chihuahuas recoil a bit…then they start running toward us, unleashing yowls and screeches straight from a bad day at the vet. This is it. There’s no way we can win this, but that’s okay; we’ve fought these turds for as long as we could, never stooping to their level, never becoming tiny vampires that make cat-ladies and beta-males out of their owners. We remained loyal to our code, and it is fitting we die by it. This is the end—the end of everything…
But wait. As we rush toward immortal glory, I see Bitefighter raise his hand into the air. He’s holding something: an eReader.
He opens it to Echo. Just like when Gandalf was on Shadowfax and blasted that holy radiance out from his staff, his eReader blazes with fantastic light. A blinding flash ripples out from it, causing friend and foe alike to flinch and slow. Most shield their faces with their forearms.
And then we see him: the Patron Human of all Terriers.
Kent Wayne’s gigantic, 5’7” body reels and stumbles in drunken lurches. Affixed to both of his arms are two trollops he’s undoubtedly picked up at the bar, or at some festival glorifying robots. They’re giggling and laughing.
He slurs, “It IS true, honey. Right at six inches…but honestly it’s probably a little longer because it curves up.” He winks at the one on his left. “Always hits the spot. Hard as a diamond, but the BEST thing about it is the circumference: five and a half inches. So if you like it thick, then—”
I see him focus on the army of cats and chihuahuas. “What the hell?” he drawls. His oafish eyebrows knit together in puzzlement, then anger. “What are all these yowlers doing here?” He flaps his hands at them. “GET OUT OF HERE YOU LITTLE PISSANTS! GO ON—GET!”
His feet cross and uncross as he veers through the enemy mob, barely staying upright. He drops to his knees, clutches his stomach, then lets loose with a long stream of vomit.
The cats and chihuahuas hiss in fury, scattering every which way. Kent Wayne is gasping in desperate half-sobs as he empties his stomach onto the sand. The women by his side scream and run off, right before he collapses onto the dust. Thankfully, he lands outside the miniature lake of yuck that’s poured from his mouth.
I can’t help but grin. Cerebrus bless this human’s goofy, idiot heart!
We pursue our enemy and beat the snot out of them, using rope toys and focused paw strikes to lay waste to their stupid condescending little faces. Afterwards, we all hug each other with merry abandon, tumbling across the sand in a dirty, glorious mess. It quickly turns into the dog pile to end all dog piles.
God, I love being a Terrier.
When it comes to an epic battle between the Terriers and their feline enemies, as well as the chihuahuas that form the very heart of anti-dogness, who will YOU side with? If you ever incarnate as one such brave little Terrier fella, then know that you can summon a giant goofy bastard named Kent Wayne to disrupt the enemy’s ranks as he makes an ass out of himself! Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here: Vol. 1 on Kindle. Vol. 2 on Kindle here: Vol.2 on Kindle Vol. 3 on Kindle here: Vol. 3 on Kindle #kindle #kindleunlimited #sciencefiction #scifi #books #novel #book