My quest was just beginning, but I needed guidance, guidance I could only obtain from a witch. The rotting husk of a once great city lay before me like a corpse, and I approached the front gates. The witch lived somewhere within the labyrinth of collapsed buildings and ruined alleyways. She would help me, but the city was not a friendly place.
The city’s gates were two massive sheets of steel topped with barbed wire. Once built to keep whatever horrors roamed the wastes out, they now hung agape on rusted hinges. I readied my crossbow and cautiously walked towards the opening. Before I could reach it, the patter of rapidly approaching feet from the other side forced me to retreat. Two demon dogs slowly came into view through the crack in the gateway, and I let loose a bolt from my crossbow. The first dog fell while the second advanced slowly, locking its baleful eyes with mine. I scrambled to reload and fired again, dropping the last hound.
Before I could exhale a sigh of relief an entire pack of dogs emerged from the gates. Realizing there was no way to defeat these with my crossbow, I searched my pockets for an incendiary marble. The marble was cold in my fingers, but creating heat was its job, and it was a job it did well. I flung the marble into the midst of the pack. It hit the cracked asphalt and erupted in a flash of super-hot light, instantly incinerating the dogs to ash.
Having dealt with the hellhounds, I quickly made my way through the dark alleys to the witch’s lair. She welcomed me in and game me the information I sought. As I left, she presented me with three gifts. The first was my pair of pliers I had lost. The second was a magical katana that would easily dispatch any more dogs I encountered. The last was a screwdriver with which I was to loot a chest in the street outside to obtain another item vital to my quest. I thanked her and went on my way.
As I entered the ruined streets once more, a pack of feral cats came scrambling out of an alleyway across the street directly towards me. I raised my katana and slashed at them as they went by. With each sword stroke, a cat vanished with a silent wisp of smoke. Ghost cats. It soon became clear what the cats were fleeing from, as another pack of dogs burst from the alley to charge me. I stood my ground, and raised the sword high.
Gnashing teeth and lunging jaws assaulted me. I spun in a circle becoming a whirlwind dervish of death. Dogs fell to the ground, sliced neatly in half to be trampled over by still more jumping for my throat. In a matter of seconds it was over. A dozen fresh demon dog corpses surrounded me. I finally lowered my sword and went to leave.
As I was walking back towards the gates I suddenly recalled the chest that I had forgotten to open and its contents I was meant to retrieve. I turned back and stopped. In my path stood another dog, but this one was different from the previous type. It was yellow, with a blue collar and simply sat there, watching me. I couldn’t be sure if it was a real dog, so I had to investigate. I extended my sword and gently poked it in the ribs. It just sat there. “Yep, that’s a real dog,” I said, and moved on.
I turned the corner of a collapsed building into a dead end alley where the chest was supposed to be. Instead, I found several more dogs, but these were thin, mangy mutts sniffing around the piles of garbage. With shock I recognized one, a large red dog. It was Maximus, one of my dogs from back home.
“Maximus! Buddy, what are you doing here? You poor thing!” I rushed to his side and his tail wagged happily. I set down my sword and gave him a big hug. The other dogs stared to approach. I clung tighter to Max.
“No! You stay away from him!” I stood to attack them but they all suddenly looked like Max as well. I spun in confusion, trying to find the real Maximus so I could get him out of there. Darkness began to fill the alley and I dropped to my knees. From out of the shadows approached another dog, a massive black mastiff coated in garbage and slime. The other dogs crowded around and the black mastiff loomed over me, shouldering me to the ground. It was now so dark I could barely see.
The mastiff placed its jaws around my head and began to squeeze.