Photo via Visual Hunt

Aimee watched out the window as the lightning tore through the sky. She shivered. The wind couldn’t get through the thick glass windows, but she still felt cold watching the storm.

“Aimee, come away from the window. What do you think you’re doing? Don’t you know what will happen to you?”

Aimee sighed but rejoined her mother at the fire. “Yes mother, I know.”

“What do you know?” her mother asked.

“If I spend too much time watching the storm, the gods will grow angry and send a great beast with black fur and red eyes to carry me off,” Aimee said. “Mother, I’ve watched storms dozens of times and nothing like that has ever happened.”

“That’s because your father was here to protect us,” her mother said. “He worked hard and the gods rewarded him for it by leaving us alone. With him gone and your fool of a brother almost as useless as a toothless cat, only you and I are left to carry on with our work to please the gods.”

Aimee rolled her eyes. Her mother had gone on and on about pleasing the gods ever since the new priest had gotten his hooks into her. A short while later, Aimee’s mother set aside her work and pulled on her cloak.

“Mother, what are you doing?” Aimee asked.

“It’s time for service. I can’t miss it or I’ll anger the gods,” she said.

“Mother, it’s pouring down rain. You could be struck by lightning or caught in a flood,” Aimee said.

“The gods are testing me,” Aimee’s mother said. She pulled on her cloak and opened the door. She walked out and tried to close the door behind her.

Aimee sighed and went to help. She got the door closed and was about to return to her work when she heard a faint scratching. Thinking it was her mother, she wrestled the door open. On the front stoop was a black dog bigger than any she’d ever seen. Red eyes glared up at her. The mouth gaped open, full of too many teeth. Aimee screamed.


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