Tales of the Thunderdog – Prologue

*Sniff* *Sniff*

*Squeak*

*Nudge*

*SqueakSniffSqueakSqello* Ah got it

Hello

Yes, you really are dreaming, how else would you actually understand ME for once?

Sigh

Can you tell what’s different? can you HEAR all those little noises? That whiny one is your breathing, it’s how I know you’re OK… can you SMELL all those tiny smells? That’s how I know it’s you pulling up in the car…. The sound of the approach, the way your scent floods out when you open the door and then it’s ohboyohboyoboy time.

I have my own name for you you know, it’s complicated and doesn’t translate well, but words that you know include home, food, cuddles, walks, protector, sleep and love. If you jumble them all up, they make up the main part of your name and depending on the day, the time (I can tell time you know….) where we are and who we’re with, your name changes slightly.

Love is always the main part though, do you know how much I love you? you rescued me from my old life and you’re always there for me and I’ll always be there for you (as long as you keep the food coming 🙂 – sorry little in-joke there, the food isn’t quite that important… unless I’m hungry.

hmm, maybe a snack would be good at this point, just a little one to keep things going? no? what’s that?

Yes, good point, let’s get off food, it’s not helping.

OK, more things that you need to know.

I can tell the time.. what? oh ok I DID say that earlier didn’t I..

I hate will.i.am – no reason, I just do, I think that he may have some sort of unhealthy thing about small animals.

I’ve discovered that I LOVE sticks, although they have to be the right shape and size, any stick worth the name and the honour of having my teeth imbedded in it has to be at least as big as I am from head to tail and has to be thick enough that I can’t bite through it too easily. It also has to be able to be balanced so that I can run along and show everybody how easy it is to carry something as big and heavy as me… Actually, it’s a lot more difficult than it looks, one false move and I can tip over.

I can be fierce.

And I have a secret – I might tell it this time around or I might not. *Squeak*Sniff*Squeak*Nodon’twakeupthisisalovelydreamisntit?

There you are back again… can you smell that? it’s a beef joint roasting in your oven, have you ever smelled it like that before? the fat trickling down the sides, mixing with the faintest taste of blood and the smell of the skin getting crispy. oooooooooooohhhhhsqueak. is it any wonder that you catch me watching every move you make on days like this?

If you knew just how much I love that smell and how much I plot how to get more of that delicious meat and skin and crunchy, chewy, tasty, crunchysqueeeeaak bone, you’d never let me near the table. I’m working on a move that is part high jump, part back flip and part grab of food in mid air..

Let’s talk about horse poo

oh and squeaking, we’ll talk about squeaking too.

First though, horse poo. it’s not because I actually like the stuff you understand, it’s a wossname, a mystical thing that brings me closer to the spirit of the horse. by rolling in it and yes, having a crafty taste when you’re not watching, I can take on the mystical aspect of the horse and that’s a good thing.

horses are big buggers and for somebody my size to hunt and take one down is difficult enough without actually smelling like dog.

I’ve got it all planned out, the raised platform at the tea and biscuit place is perfect, I’ll hang around the edge and then when a horse walks past, it’s mine. you might have to distract the rider though if that’s ok? I’ll share the horse with you…?

thing is, I’ll have to try not to squeak when I do it, it’s a dead giveaway, and I need to make sure that the horse doesn’t suspect until the last possible second so that I can land in the right spot. It’ll be a bit sad if all I catch is a back leg or tail, I’d just be an ornament.

the squeaking isn’t exactly voluntary, I want to talk to you like we are now, and say big things like

FOOD PLEASE

WALK PLEASE

SNUGGLE PLEASE

SNUGGLE AND FOOD PLEASE

GIVE ME THAT BLOODY STICK, IT’S MINE ALL MINE, MINE, MINE, MINE

trouble is, the squeak is all that comes out, it’s a little embarrassing really, but what I love, love, love about you is that you understand the squeaks anyway most times although I do think that you need to work on your stick technique a bit and really a few more snacks wouldn’t hurt too much would they?

I love soft beds
I love to protect you when we walk, I do it when everybody’s asleep too.

I love bacon, god do I love bacon. remember that one when you wake up, bacon, bacon, baconbaconbaconbaconsqeeeak

I don’t like cats but I think that may be just social conditioning rather than out and out racism. although they do smell. and they’re evil. and smelly.

oh yes, I really, really, really hate black labradors, they’re like big fat traffic wardens, always throwing their weight around and picking on the normal sized, much cuter dogs, especially little black dogs that can dance.

I’m sometimes known as the amaaaaazing dancing doggie you know. Oh ok, it was one little girl, but I think the name should stick, I am amazing. and I can dance very well for a natural quadruped. OK, OK, I know, it’s when there’s food or sticks around that I mostly dance, but I do practice when you’re all asleep, it’s all part of the food strategy, if I can’ t surprise them, I’ll charm the life out of them before I pounce.

admittedly, it’s hard to charm a horse, that’s why I’m sticking with plan A.

Plan B is to hypnotise a butcher…

Look into my cute little brown eyes, look only at me, don’t I look lovely, just feel yourself falling, falling, falling into my beautiful brown eyes. Look how cute I am, how wonderful, keep looking at me, feel yourself giving in, look at me, my intelligence and cuteness, the little sparkle in my eyes that shows just how lovely I am, did I mention cute? I’d look much cuter with a bit of bacon though wouldn’t I? or a sausage. mmmm sausssssages, baconsausagebaconsqueeak,

bugger, must stop doing that, it’s giving the whole game away.

I’m practicing hard though, the first butcher that crosses my path had better watch out, thirty seconds and he’s mine…

Maybe we should talk about me a bit more, we’re sending far too much time on you, as much as I love you – and I do – very much, let’s face it, this conversation is all about me. I know alllll about you, about the kids and also the bloke with the stick game and pockets full of sausages and biscuits. I like him. well actually I loooooove sausages and he seems to have a supply of them AND biscuits. Plus, he invented the stick game..

I love the stick game.

It works like this.

He takes ages to find the right stick for me, bringing them to me for my inspection. I always sniff at them and then reject anything that he gives me until he breaks a bloody great piece of branch off for me, smoothes the edges, pulls off the twigs and then presents it to me in a suitably humble fashion – and then and only then do I accept.

And let’s face it, I go nuts for a while, that bloody stick is all I want, it’s MINEMINEMINEMINEMINE, I’ll jump for it, dance for it, play tug of war and be carried around dangling by my jaws for a while. Just to win the game. He has to surrender and let me carry it home as yet another trophy of my skill and speed and cunning and bravery and yes, cuteness. My only worry is that he’s a bit simple. Is he? does he drool when I’m not looking? He seems to want that stick almost as much as me, although He won’t go the whole way and actually bite it.

Yeah, he’s a bit dim, possibly the stupid one of the litter.

still.

Sausages and biscuits go a long way to helping people seem a little bit brighter than they really are.

Oh yes, he’s handy to walk beside when we bump into any of those sonofabitchbastard labradors, I’m not hiding you understand, just walking with my team of helpers and stick craftsmen.

we need to get on with the story, it’s two in the morning in the real world and there aren’t too many hours of sleep time left for me to get all my messages across to you.

let’s recap.

LOVE – you
LOVE Bacon
LOVE Sausages
LOVE the stick game
LOVE snuggles and walks

Hate will.i.am
Hate black labradors

Let’s go on then….

Can you smell that? it’s the wide open air calling to us, it’s a mixture of grass and trees and flowers and water, people and cars, rabbits and birds and deer, dogs and horses, cats and the wind itself. The wind smells different from every direction. It always starts smelling of salt and the sea, then it picks up tiny smells from every place that it touches down, every flower person, horse or pig, every car and every small fire on the way.

then it reaches us and it tells us things.

there’s a rabbit hole just. over. there.

I can’t see it yet, but the little buggers are all around, nibbling grass, making that stupid rabbit noise and crapping everywhere they go. Have you noticed that I don’t roll in rabbit poo? no challenge… they’re fast, but they’re so dumb. If I could be bothered I’d chase them down their silly little holes, but to be honest, it’s more interesting out in the wind than down some hole smelling stinky little rabbits. Plus. Outside there’s sticks and sausages and games and rivers to swim in and ducks to… erm avoid.

I don’t like ducks. There’s something vaguely sinister about the way they waddle around. If I could swim or fly like that, I don’t think that I’d bother with all that waddling.

Now I mention it, I don’t like hairdryers either, I think you know that, but I never told you why.

It’s actually too embarrassing to talk about, let’s just say accidental face full of very hot, strange tasting air.

Take it from me, don’t try to eat one.

Can you see the trees and bushes all around us? they’re sooo alive, they have their own smells at different times of the day and they all have small animals and birds living and playing in their leaves, roots and branches.

Can you hear all those small noises, that stupid sounding one is a rabbit, that boomboomboomboom is a hedgehog’s heartbeat, it knows we’re close and it’s a little afraid. let’s walk on a bit until it slows down, I don’t want to play with of those today.

Just listen to all those little leaves rustling and the way that the water in the stream splashes over the rocks, shame about that motorbike engine in the distance, it’s a little whiny for me, I prefer more of a boom from the engine. It’s just a style thing.

That creaking noise is a tree getting ready to give up a stick for me in a day or two, the branch is a bit weak and it’ll fall soon, each leaf will make a whistling noise as it drops and then it’ll be MINE.

But for now, let’s keep walking in the sun, can you smell the way it makes everything different when they start to warm up, my fur and your hair, new smells coming from the earth as it dries out. Honestly, I could stand here all day and just listen to all the small noises and listen to the sounds whirl around us.

But we should keep walking, there’s more to see and do and time is going on.

But before we do, let’s try a little test to see what you’ve learned.

Close your eyes.

Look up.

can you feel the sun on your face?

can you hear those little noises coming through now, from every angle, below ground, from the trees, from the distance, every little movement, snuffle, squeak and splash.

can you hear the louder splash? can you work out where it’s coming from? can you smell anything different?

Yep

you got it.

It’s me and there’s a whole burrow of rabbits that can smell me a lot better now.

little bastards.

they might be fast but I’m smart.

OK, you can open your eyes now.

let’s move on and find a nice open space that we can move around in.

we’re looking for a lot of grass, maybe a stream and a couple of trees, because, well you know, thats where sticks come from and we may just possibly find a good one that I can add to my collection.

we don’t really want to meet up with any ducks if you don’t mind and as for swans, the less said the better. It’s not that I’m worried you understand, it’s just that they’re a bit unnatural with all that gliding around and all that noise.

It’s nice here isn’t it? just us wandering through the greenery in the sunshine and all the other small creatures just holding their breath as we walk past, the soft grass underfoot and a faint smell of cooking in the distance.

mmmmmm

maybe we should walk towards the cooking?

it might be a little country pub, you could have a glass of that red stuff that you like and I could have a drop of water

and a sausage or some beef or some bacooonnnnsqueeeeeaaaaaaak.

If we went to a little pub, I could meet some of my adoring public, they can line up to meet me and see what little bit of doggie wisdom they can pick up from me while they slip me treats when they think you’re not looking.

I AM quite important you know. I’m sort of a celebrity in certain circles and if I could actually read, I’m sure that I’d find that you’re keeping fan mail from me so that I don’t get too big headed.

are you?

is there a huge pile of letters somewhere from people who want to bathe in my wonderfulness and maybe play a game or two and feed me snacks while I give them an occasional grin or soulful look to keep them motivated?

Is there?

Is there?

actually – don’t answer, it’s best not to know just how popular I am, I need to stay real and look after the little people. Even if two certain little people could be a bit more into the whole walks and snacks business. There’s more than enough of me for a huuuuge family and not just a few people, who let’s face it would let me wiggle if it’s cold or wet outside.

perhaps there should be shifts or rotas?
a snack rota

a walk rota

a games rota

a bacon rota? no? OK. I know I was pushing it a bit there, bacon at the weekends will be fine thank you very much.

Still, think about it.

especially the bacon rota.

Are we getting any closer to that pub do you think? can you smell the food any better? ooooooooohhhhh yes…. BEEF and CHICKEN and SAUSAGES.

Quick

Keep walking..

Look at how bright my eyes are, look at my little tail doing a full Muttley helicopter. I love these walks with you, I love the way that you pay me attention and make sure that I’m near so that I can protect you wherever we go.

I could be VERY fierce if I needed to, so you don’t need to worry whenever we’re out together.

Listen.

When we get to the pub, you’ll see and hear things that you never have before. I probably need to tell you about the dog tribes and how we got here. I know that you think we’re all the same under the skin; and in some ways that’s true…..

But….

Once upon a time there was WOLF.

He may have called himself VULF, it’s hard to say, it’s all tangled up with those Viking types these days.

Anyway.

WOLF or VULF or whatever was big and he was fierce and he was almost a god in his own right. Or maybe he was. Vikings again, they took all the stories and made them complicated.

When their universe ends, VULF will eat the sun and the moon and the earth, they call him Fenrir by the way.

Bloody Vikings.

WOLF was big and fierce, his eyes glowed green and his teeth dripped red. He was taller than any man alive in those days and he hunted on all your primitive little ancestors, dragging them from their caves and holes in the middle of the night and crunching their flesh and bones in his jaws.

WOLF was cruel and lived for the hunt and all the wolf packs of the world prayed to him in the moonlight, their howls were their song of love and fear, for WOLF was a harsh god and would take the weakest and the strongest alike from the packs if they displeased him.

WOLF stalked the night for tens of thousands of years, leading the packs against man and beasts alike. He loved to hunt bears just for the sport and the feel of their massive bodies bursting in his jaws.

Nothing changed, WOLF was the cruel god of snow and blood and especially liked to take the little men from their caves and then their huts.

And then one day….

You lot started to get organised, almost overnight, you learnt how to make fire from nothing and you made strong bronze swords and spears and villages and defences and you hunted back..

Nobody knows which pack gave in first, but they were hungry and cold and you had food and fire and shelter; so they changed master.

WOLF howled and screamed and killed and killed and killed.

But another pack gave in and then another.

And you clever little bastards bred the packs with foxes and dingoes and flat faced things and dogs were created for real.

At first you made us for the hunt, you made us smaller but stronger and you bred the wolf colours out of us so that we could blend better with the dark.

Then you made us for war. We loved it, we were a blend of WOLF and man, we were smart and strong and fierce and loyal and we started to love you too. We changed packs. WOLF raged in the darkness but we no longer prayed to him, we prayed to you instead and you gave us food and shelter and the warmth of the fire and you kept us from WOLF and protected us in the daytime just as we protected you in the dark.

Time went on.

you found other uses for us, you made us huge and powerful and able to survive in fierce snows, you made us small and fierce and gave us a taste for killing rats.

For some reason you made those ridiculous little fucking things that go in handbags.

So, the tribes were created.

WOLF is still out there somewhere and he’s in all of us too, to some extent or other and we tend to show it when we meet those from other tribes.
There’s no such thing as DOG, there’s lots of tribes of dogs and we all know that we’re far from our beginnings, but some fucking dogs like to pretend otherwise.

You’ll see for yourself when we get to the pub.

But for now, could you please, please please, just give me a small treat and let me see how your eyes glow when you smile at me? That’d be lovely.

We’ll be there soon and then…

BEEF and CHICKEN and SAUSAGES.

Can you smell that? that’s the weather starting to change, the winds are getting warmer and the birds are all back to get fat before they fly off again.

I do actually get a bit warm on these walks and I’m glad to see that you’ve finally learned to play the stick game by the river.

I love swimming and I’m a good swimmer, it’s sooooo much fun to chase the stick downstream and catch it before bringing it back for another swim.

Ah, the feel of cool water through my fur, it’s bliss.

Have you noticed how soft and fluffy my coat is after a swim? It’s the best of all things isn’t it? A swim and the stick game for me and a fluffy clean little dog for you. Don’t pretend that you don’t enjoy my fluffy little self snuggled against you sometimes, keeping you warm and safe – and on nights like tonight, climbing into your dreams so that I can tell you all the things that you’ll need to know soon.

The world is going to change soon and you need to know so many things before then.

We’ll talk about WOLF again later, he’s not finished with us all yet.

Still, that’s for later, there’s the pub…

I wonder how many other dogs are in there and what they’ll say.

it’s going to be interesting…

SAUSAGESSAUSAGESSAUSAGESSquueeeak… bugger.. sorry

Here we are… can you smell that foooooooooooooooooddddd??? oh dear I’m dribbling again, sorry.

Let’s open the door and have a look and smell around. There’s six other dogs here and they’re from four different tribes.

We probably need to talk about the tribes a bit more, you lot think of us as breeds; and to be fair, some of the more retarded tribes think that way too, all elitist, inbred and brain-dead.

The tribes that are in here are…
Hunters –

it’s not about size, it’s about what they want to do in their waking dreams, they live for the idea of hunting and killing. They’re only really good for living outside and stalking postmen and other dogs.

Guards –

Dumb and dependable, they can be left in a hot car all day and never complain, they live for their tiny bit of territory and the feeling that they’re GOOD DOGS..

Companions –

They live for being close to their owner, or another dog, or a garden gnome or a television – the dumbest of the bunch. Guess what? They’re usually a pure breed something or other.

Watchers –

They’re strange dogs, I’m sure that they’re half cat, they don’t really engage with the rest of us, they sit back and just stare.

And I make a fifth tribe, but we won’t get into that right now, let’s go inside and see what’s happening with these others.

Don’t worry if they sound aggressive, they won’t come anywhere near us – there are rules for dogs like me and these idiots have to follow them.

Anyway, here’s the first surprise, there are two Guards in here, a big German Shepherd and a medium sized terrier.

AND

Here they come.

They’re OUR guards, just give me a second while I tell them where to stand when we sit down. Their owners will just think they’re being friendly, but really, they’re going to make sure that the Hunter in the corner and his Watcher mate don’t get the wrong idea.

Say hello to George and Fluffy, they’ll be protecting us for a while ,but don’t get too friendly, remember how dumb they are.. They’ll probably follow us home.. and try
to eat all of my snacks… that must be avoided at all costs…

And…..

………we’re back..

it’s taken weeks to get back into your dreams, must remember to not flick my tail under your nose while you’re sleeping – unless I want to annoy you of course…

George and Fluffy have gone.

Actually, everybody that was here when we last dreamed together are gone, this is a whole new crowd, and… strange… no dogs at all now.

Maybe they can feel the storm coming, and they don’t want to be too near when it starts.

Can’t say I blame them really, the dream world is… different to the other world, but it’s still real, there are still consequences and reactions to any action that we take. They’re just different and so are we.

You’ll see soon.

Can you feel it getting closer though?

The feel of the air getting thicker, the wind whipping up miles and miles and miles away, the feel of electricity on your tongue, little tiny sparks shooting through the air, your fur, erm, hair standing up on end?

Wait til it gets closer, things are going to get interesting, then you’ll see why there’s no other dogs here, the humans are going to wake up suddenly, that’s for sure.

First – let’s talk about WOLF some more.

Once, he was just the god of blood and snow, death and terror, the forests and tundras screamed his name and men and beasts trembled at his approach.

Then the fucking Vikings confused things – again.

Or maybe they didn’t, the whole thing gets lost under the weight of all the stories that were told and retold and then all the lies that were added.

Anyway.

WOLF may possibly be the son of a god.

And a god

does that make him two gods? I must admit it probably doesn’t but then that whole Christian trinity thing seems to imply that he might be – or not.

confusing isn’t it?

Wait until you actually talk to these Norse bastards, “tree of fate” this, “destinies preordained” that, they could talk the hind legs off a whippet.

Bastards.

Sorry, where was I ?

Oh yeah

SO, there was this Norse god, one of Odin’s sons and he was banished from Asgard for quite a few reasons, mostly though it was that the other gods didn’t like or trust him.

Now you could argue that this was all Odin’s fault as the one eyed bastard could see the past, present and future and so anything that actually happened, Odin already knew, so either it was preordained, or the master of crows planned it to happen.

Or he lied about the whole future thing….. you know these gods, untrustworthy to the last.

ANYWAY, this son of Odin, was banished under threat of death; any of the other gods that might have had any sympathy could see that Odin wasn’t supporting his son, so they basically kept quiet and stayed in the background.

Brave huh?

That probably explains why ALL of the days of the week aren’t named after the cowardly bastards.

Actually, the ones that are still named are:

Wednesday – which is Odin’s day, they sometimes called him Woden you know…

Thursday – That’s Thor’s day, a fairly cool god actually, if a tiny bit violent, oh – ok, a lot violent, like a terminator that’s got pissed.

Friday – the opposite of Thursday, Freya was the goddess of love or maybe humping. Vikings didn’t really go for flowers and sweetness.

To be completely fair, Tyr, one of their defender gods – think John Terry with a combover, claims that Tuesday is his, but he’s full of it. Put it this way, he won’t go to France or any of the latin countries, they all named THEIR Tuesday after Mars, the Roman god of war and he’s a real hard bastard in any language.

I’m rambling again, must be the storm coming or maybe you haven’t given me enough SAUSAGES for a while, I’ve noticed that the stick man gets me SAUSAGES or those yummy SAUSAGE ROLLS whenever he can – and he gives me bits off his sandwiches.

My plan to hypnotise him has worked..

Next the butchers and then the world….

OK, OK, yes, still rambling.

SO.

This god, the son of Odin, brother of Thor, in the top level of gods, a god who had already saved Asgard before; was banished and he fled to the lands of the Frost Giants where he married a Giant.

And then..

She gave birth to three children and one of them was the wolf, Fenrir…

or WOLF as we know him.
SO.

WOLF is the nephew of Thor and the Grandson of Odin, he ate the world, the sun and the stars, he killed Odin and brought about Ragnarok. I can’t work out what happened first though, it’s all very confusing.

What’s not confusing is that in this world, the world that you can only reach through dreams, WOLF and all those who came after him have roles to play until the two worlds collide and join up again, and soon, you’ll see why storms are so much fun for me, why I bark at the lightning and laugh at the thunder and drink in the rain.

Soon…

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