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Chapter 6 - Husky

Various tiny stories using the 2019 prompt list, because I looked at all the things I have to do and decided this was a good opportunity to practice my flash fiction because I am profoundly stupid.

Wish me luck.

Chapter 6 - Husky

Chapter 6 - Husky
People were always happy to see Easton. Whenever his sled reached a town, he always found a hot, hearty meal waiting for him and dozens of grasping hands looking to shake his, embrace him, and take any packages he had. Like clockwork he made his route through the icy wilderness, alighting in each village long enough for dinner and little else. Restocking his supplies was the only payment he asked for being the sole delivery service willing to traverse the entire county, making his circular route and keeping even the most remote house connected to the area at large. He never even stayed a night in any of the warm beds and couches offered to him, and people always assumed he preferred spending his nights in transit, getting himself more quickly from destination to destination.

He wanted to stay the night. He just couldn’t. The dogs wouldn’t let him.

Six Alaskan huskies pulled his sled through the ice and snow, tireless in their pace. They braved every sort of weather, racing through blizzards and sleet as easily as open fields. They avoided hazards of the terrain, like thin ice or precariously-stacked snow or roaming predators, with a preternatural sense of danger. They ate little, sating themselves with the animals they killed during their brief moments of rest and the meats offered them by Easton’s customers. People always gushed over them, telling Easton how lucky he was to have them, how they were the perfect dogs for a deliveryman, and how they seemed like the best-behaved creatures for a thousand miles.

In town they were perfect angels. While pulling the sleds they were devoted guardians. But at night, on the trial, they were something else entirely. As soon as he established camp they turned on him, growling and snapping until he assumed the familiar position on his hands and knees. Sometimes he managed to brace himself properly or apply something to make the going easier, and other times he didn’t get the chance before one of them jumped onto his back. He only had a matter of seconds before the first cock jabbed at his ass and forced its way inside, the starting gun for hours of agony.

He tried not to think of them as monsters. It was just their instincts working, probably. They were a pack, and he was at the bottom of the pecking order, so they used him to satisfy their lusts. They ran because they liked it, they kept him safe because he was one of their own, and they were calm and quiet in towns because that behavior got them the best attention. There was nothing special or malign about them. But when he looked around the pack, huddled close to keep him warm with his pants around his knees, and saw them all staring back at him, he could swear their eyes glowed red.

One time he tried to stay overnight in town, hoping he would get a single night’s reprieve. That morning, the town awoke to find one of their own brutally disemboweled by some wild animal. There was no proof that his dogs were responsible for the attack. Everybody simply assumed it was some other creature that had gotten in and gotten out. But from the way the pack looked at Easton that whole morning, he had to assume it was a message. He’d never spent the night in a village again, and no further murders occurred.

Now, huddled over his sled, he saw the sun lower over the horizon to his right and his heart began to pound. He had no reason to assume tonight would be unlike any other night. They would stop, he would set up his tent and eat dinner while some of the dogs brought food back for the rest, and then the rutting would begin. One at a time they would claim him, always in the same order, always filling him with their scalding seed and tying for several long minutes before making room for the next. His role was to wait, unmoving, while they had their way with him. The only thing he was allowed to do was groan and whimper. They seemed to like whimpering.

He didn’t know how long it had been now. Months, definitely. Years, probably. Time didn’t matter to him, and the only way he could measure it was seeing the changes in each village. He just knew that no matter how long it had been, it never got easier. Every night still hurt as much as the first time, it still took just as long, and he still woke up almost too exhausted and sore to move. But the dogs wouldn’t let him sleep. They roused him none-too-gently, forcing him to get back on the sled and guide them to the next town. He didn’t know why the travel was part of the ritual. It wasn’t his job to know.

He’d tried to find a way out, but the dogs never left his side. He’d tried to tell people about his plight, but whenever he did, the dogs barked too loud for him to be heard. He’d tried to slip notes into the packages he delivered, but the notes were always gone by the time he handed them over, leaving him with nothing but a dog with ink on its teeth. No option presented itself, except the ice axe he kept on his sled for emergencies. It wasn’t a good option. He almost certainly wouldn’t survive. But sometimes a bad idea is still the best idea.

But not tonight. Tonight he would bear it again, still wracking his brain for some form of escape. He knew there was an answer, one that let him survive. He just had to find it. Hopefully he would find it before winter—the long nights were not his friends.

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