Horror and Thriller Fiction posted March 8, 2009

This work has reached the exceptional level
Madness or justice ?

The Pit

by sherrygreywolf

Contest Winner 

The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.

The images on the film jerked and shook. 

Cigarette smoke eddied around the inside of the huge, cavernous building; alternately thinning and then thickening enough to obscure the horrors below.  Voices, gruff from too much tobacco and rot-gut whiskey,  cursed and yelled encouragement.  The snarling and growling of dogs rumbled and echoed  through the drafty old barn.  Unnoticed, a man pushed his way through the the crowd , nodding to the occasional women as he made his way toward the ring sunken in the center of the floor.  Reaching his goal he leaned against the railing and pulled the cowboy hat from his head, watching the dogs below.

Two dogs, both pit-bulls, circled each other, lips curled back from bloody fangs.  The larger of the two was black, his coat shiny and slick with blood and saliva.  Some of it was his, but most belonged to the smaller dog watching him warily from the far side of the ring.  The second dog's white coat was marred by puncture wounds and gashes, gore staining it shades of red.  His movements were beginning to slow, making him an easy target for the larger dog's sudden charge.  The white dog's roll across the blood-soaked sand was not enough to save him from the bigger animal's savage attack and the impending kill was greeted by increased shouts and screamed obscenities from the watchers.  The beaten dog's owner turned from the ring in disgust, shoving the cowboy and almost knocking the hat into the pit.  Grabbing the hat, the cowboy turned and watched the man stomp from the barn.  A tiny camera, hidden by his hatband, recorded it all.  By the time he turned back to the ring, one dog was dead and the other was being pulled from the pit.  The next two dogs to go into the arena were being led forward by their proud and bragging handlers.

Cassandra closed her eyes and took a deep breath.  Even after watching the film a hundred times, it made her sick.  She swallowed in an attempt to still the threatening nausea.  She peered across the darkened room, wondering at the lack of reaction from her fellow viewer.   She had hoped for at least some response from him, and was somewhat disappointed.  She turned back toward the screen, forcing her attention back to the film.

A muscular brindled pit-bull strained at the leash, pulling toward the dog already standing in the ring.  A thin, wolfy-looking dog waited; watching.  Her nose twitched as she lowered her head and sniffed the pooled blood.  Unfazed by the hysterical snarling of the pit-bull or the yelling spectators, she seemed almost to glide across the sand as she circled the enclosure.  She gazed up at the top of the wall, looking for a way out.  At one point it seemed that she stared into the camera, her deep gold eyes calm and intelligent.  She set her front feet on the wall, only to be shooed back into the ring with the hats and canes of  those watching.

Cassandra struggled to remain detached from what was happening on the screen.  Since she had received the tape eighteen months ago, she had watched the film enough to have memorized it, but still had to fight the tears that threatened to roll down her face.

Released by his handler, the brindle pit-bull charged madly across the ring, only to find his target was not there.  He turned, peering  around.  Again he raced across the arena, crashing into the wall.  He shook his head, as the spectators howled their disappointment.  Crumpled green bills began to change hands.  Three more times he closed on his opponent, only to find that the grey ghost of a dog disappeared before he reached her.  Three times, those surrounding the ring watched with squinted eyes, their anger at the lack of blood becoming more apparent with each passing moment.  And three times the wolf-dog stood quietly across the pit, tail wagging slightly and her mouth half-opened, seeming to laugh at the dog's clumsy efforts to catch her.

"Some champeen," drawled the man next to the cowboy.  His disgust was audible on the tape.  "Looks to me more like he's got a limp dick tonight."

"She is quick, that little girl," commented the man with the camera.  "This ever happened to him before?"

"Nah - that boy's a bad-un, name of Furious.  He's beat dogs two, three times his size - certainly bigger than that little bitch.    He norm'ly gets um on the first pass and hangs on 'til he chews um in half."  He grimaced.  "Co'mon, Fur'ous - I'm unna lose a hundert dolla's on this here fight."  He spat tobacco juice into the ring and shook his head.

Across the ring, the owner of the barn chewed on the end of his cigar and nodded to another handler.  The man disappeared and returned a moment later with another pit-bull, almost as big as Furious. 

"Drop 'im in.  New blood, folks, new blood.  We'll get this fight goin' yet.  Don' know who'll eat who, but we're gonna have us a dog fight in a minute here.  Yeah,we will, don' cha worry."

The handler dropped the fresh pit-bull almost on top of the wolf-hybrid, who leapt away, head cocked to appraise this newest threat.  Her cheeks rose in a silent snarl of warning.  She kept her back to the wall, dancing away from the heavily muscled grey dog.  Turning her head from side to side, she tried to keep track of both of the snarling, growling pits.  Though the tail no longer wagged, the hybrid still appeared unwilling to engage the two dogs.

"Bettin's on!  Show me yo money, men."  The handler of the new dog yelled across the ring.  "This boy's gonna do 'er, guys. Yep, this 'un gonna do 'er, he will!"  

Suddenly the brindle dog darted in from the side and the grey attacked from the front.  The hybrid leaped and twisted in the air, avoiding them both to dart to the opposite side of the pit.  Groans and laughs erupted from the men standing above them.

"Better pull 'er out, guys.  This little bitch is good - think of the pups she'd throw,"  yelled one of the watchers.

"Nah, nah - she's got no fight, no spirit.  Don' need no dogs that don' wanna fight."

As the spectators argued, the three animals circled the pit; all watchful and ready, waiting for an opening.  The grey attacked and as the hybrid leaped away Furious managed to grab her hind foot.  She jerked the paw from his grip and whirled, hackles up, lips pulled back, teeth bared.

Above the rim of the wall, men gasped and several took a step backwards.  Somewhere in the crowd a woman screamed.  The animal below them, the little bitch who hadn't seemed interested in fighting,  wasn't a dog any longer - the pain had brought out the wolf in her.   First blood had been drawn.

Her back to the wall again, she stood, daring the two pit-bulls to advance.  Blood dripped from her bleeding paw, the coppery smell exciting the slobbering, growling pair.  A ridge rose from her ears down to her tail and her hair seemed to stick straight out from her body, making her appear twice as big as she had when she entered the ring.  She squatted slightly and a puddle appeared below her on the sand.

"Look at that," one of the men yelled.  "That bitch so scared she pissed herself."

"Yeah," said Cassie, her eyes never leaving the screen.  This was the first time she had spoken to the man sitting in the chair across the room.  She didn't get a reply, but she hadn't expected one.

"She is scared. She's in a bad way and she knows it.  Wolves do that, you know, empty their bladders, when they may have to fight to the death."  Cassie's voice was low and full of pain, but her gaze never left the unfolding horror on the screen.

Furious, excited by the bitch's scent, by the blood and the pee, whined and growled.  As the hybrid turned to lick her injured paw, he howled and rushed forward.  And before he or the watchers realized it was going to happen, the bitch had whirled and struck with the speed of a  rattlesnake and Furious  was dead.  He didn't drop immediately, but stood dazed, his torn throat pumping blood onto the sand in an ever widening circle.  His eyes began to glaze and he sank to the floor.  The men,  watching, cheered or booed and money began to change hands as they watched the grey dog approach to sniff the dying dog's neck.  The former champion's paws twitched uncontrollably.  Bubbles formed and burst on the slowing trickle of blood that continued to ooze  from the gaping wound.  His shallow breaths wheezed in and out and then stopped.  Shit oozed from him onto the sand to mingle with the puddled blood.  The grey dog growled and turning, urinated on the ravaged throat and wide-open eyes.

The hybrid stood, watching, silent.  Even had there been less noise, the growl that rumbled in her throat would not have been heard.  The inaudible menacing growl, though silent,  was visible, causing the fur of her neck and across her chest to ripple in waves of menace.  Her lips were pulled back and the watchers could see her gums and the wickedly hooked fangs that dripped with the brindle's blood, staining her face.  They, too, grew silent; waiting and watching.

The grey pit-bull turned and stalked across the arena, head low, teeth bared.  The hybrid lowered her head, staring at the pitbull.  The two combatants circled each other, growling and snarling, thick drool dripping from their mouths.  The grey pit-bull rushed forward and the hybrid seemed to vanish.  A multi-colored blur of fur and fangs flashed around the dog, nipping here, slashing there.  Never still, never in the same place long enough for the dog to get ahold of her.  He retreated and she pulled back to the far side of the arena.   Tiny pinpricks  of blood appeared to have bloomed on his smooth grey hide, while she was untouched save for the wounded paw.

Cassie paused the tape and the animals seemed frozen in time.  It took her a minute before she could speak and when she did her voice was sad and soft, barely audible.

"Did you know that wolves seldom battle to the death?  They fight to decide who the alpha is, but when one of them bellies up in submission, the winner will usually back off ...  Not like us, huh?  We're think we're so humane, but we're the most vicious animal on the planet.  And dogs, well, they're sweet, but sometimes dogs are just flat stupid."

When the man did not respond, she hit the play button.

The grey dog crossed the sand again, intent on battle.  Unwilling to be pinned against the wall, the hybrid met him in the middle of the arena.  The two animals grappled, each trying to get a grip on the other.  They parted and came together again, the grey dog using his greater weight to knock the hybrid to the ground.  She rolled across the ring, trying to avoid the snapping teeth and bone-crushing jaws.  The pit -bull closed on his prey, her belly and throat momentarily exposed and vulnerable.  As he thrust his head forward for the killing hold on her throat she gathered her feet under his body and launched him into the air.  By the time he managed to regain his feet, she was on top of him.   Without a sound, she reached around and under his ribs, her fangs slashing his underbelly.  Blood seeped from the wound.  The dog roared in pain and anger.  As she slashed at him again, he managed to grab her foreleg.  The crunch of breaking bone was audible to the watchers.  Without acknowledging the crippling injury, she continued to slash and tear at the dog's head.  Blood flowed into his eyes, blinding him, but still he did not release his grip.  Pieces of flesh dangled from his neck and head and finally his grip began to weaken.  Ignoring the pain, the hybrid dropped to ground and snaked her head beneath the dog.  She shoved her already bloody snout into the existing wound and pulled great loops of intestines from his body.  Blood gushed and the dog released the hybrid's mangled leg.  She scooted backwards as the grey dog staggered around the sand and then dropped.  As the dog writhed on the sand, the hybrid threw her head back and her howl of victory echoed through the distant rafters.

"Another dog, we need another dog!  Get me another dog."  The fight promoter looked at first one and then another of the handlers.  They shook their heads, some looking away, unwilling to pit their beasts against the bitch that had turned from an unwilling participant into an agent of death.

"Ta hell with it, then ... screw ya'll and screw her, too."

"You need to watch this part."  Cassie said.

The hidden camera turned back to the wolf-hybrid; injured and bloody, but still a magnificent and beautiful animal.  Her wildness released by this experience, her eyes glowed in the low light of the building.  In spite of the broken leg, she once again searched the wall for a way to escape her captivity.  She was still looking for a path to freedom  when the first of the promoter's bullets slammed into her side.  She was flung to the sand, her blood mixing with that of the two dead pit-bulls.  She struggled to her feet and stared at the man standing above her with the smoking gun.   She drew her lips back in a silent snarl and stood; proud, her spirit unbroken as the promoter shot her again.  Knocked flat, she attempted to rise and the man fired twice more.  Finally she lay, still and unbreathing, on the wet, red sand.  The camera panned around, catching the avid faces of some of the men in the barn before  pausing on the promoter chewing on his cigar with the smoke from the pistol drifting past his face.  After several seconds,  it turned and moved in for a close-up of each of the three dogs, laying dead in the blood-splattered pit before fading to black.

Cassie again froze the film and turned on a spotlight that shined directly into the man's eyes.  The ghostly sound of  heavy breathing and low snarls still seemed to echo in the emptiness of the room.

Cassie turned to the silent viewer and shook her head.  His lack of reaction made her sad.  Granted, he was tied to the chair, a rag pulling his lips back against tobacco stained teeth, but still she had expected at least a little emotion from him; fear if nothing else.  But there was nothing - no fear, no anger, no remorse.  Not yet.

"Do you know who I am?" she asked.

The man from the film shook his head.

"I'm the one that raised that beautiful little wolf in that God-awful film.  Her name was Smoke and I loved her.  Oh God, I loved her.  We brought her home when she was a five-week old cub.  She slept at the foot of our bed and ate beside the table with my husband and me.  She rode in the truck with us all over the country.  And then we left her with someone we trusted and he lost her.  I'd been searching for her for over a year when you shot her ..."    Cassie's voice cracked and she had to stop for minute before she could continue.

"Yeah, I was looking for her when you shot her.   I drove miles and miles of roads, checking out animals that had been smashed to shit by eighteen-wheelers and stopping when I saw something on the side of the road, just out of the reach of the headlights, to make sure it wasn't her.  I've seen more dead deer and logs and piles of dirt than you can imagine.  But none of them were Smoke.  My husband starting calling them my dead-deer-dogs and dead-log-dogs.  Sometimes you just have to find something to laugh about to keep from going crazy, ya know?"  She made a sound that was part laugh and part sob.

"I pulled other folks' dead dogs out of the middle of the road so nobody could hit 'em again and took collars off corpes rotting in the ditch so somebody else wouldn't have to go through not knowing what happened to the dog they lost.  I'm the one who went to the shelter every day, hoping that she might have been picked up by animal control and went home and cried myself to sleep for her and for me ...  and for all the other animals that they put to sleep that day.  And then I got up the next day to look some more.  All I did was look for Smoke.  I lost my business, I lost my house, I lost the man I loved, because I couldn't find her and I couldn't quit looking ..."  Cassie's voice broke and the tears she had held in for so long rolled down her cheeks.

"And then one day I got this tape in the mail," she almost smiled, and shook her head.  "The guy that filmed it used part of it for a documentary film for a class he was taking at the community college.  And about six months later he happened to see one of my flyers at a grocery store and remembered seeing her fighting ... in your barn.  He didn't have the guts to come to me and admit that he was there and watched you shoot her, but he thought if I knew what happened maybe I could quit looking ... that I might be able to go on with my life and eventually find some peace."

Cassie looked at the man sitting there, trussed up like a holiday turkey.

"It didn't; bring me any closure, I mean.  But watching it helped me figure out what I needed to do.  It's taken me almost two years ...   First I had to find the camera-guy and convince him to tell me where you were.    But you'd skipped out of town just ahead of the cops and it's taken me way too long to find your new place.  You keep moving around, just before I get there or just before you get busted.  But I finally found you and you know what?  I can quit looking now.  Smoke is dead; you shot her.   You shot her in that damned pit and I'll never have her back.  But you know what?  There is something that I can do."  She nodded to herself.  "I can keep you from hurting anymore dogs.  I can stop you and maybe that'll help make the hurt go away."

"Did you see these?"  She held up two newspapers. 

The man in the chair squinted to read the headlines as she walked a little closer to him.

The first read 15 Starving Pit-bulls and Filas Rescued From Dog Fighting Promoter and was accompanied by a picture of one of the dogs.  The huge animal was straining against the catch-poles of two animal control officers.  It's ribs poked against it's hide and the mouth was stretched wide as he tried to devour the officers and their catch-pole.  The dog's head reached past the patrolman's waist and it's head was as broad as the nearby newspaper rack.  The headline on the second paper noted that the rescued dogs had been declared dangerous and ordered destroyed.

"Of course you knew about those two ... and I'm sure you recognized the dog - he's one of yours, one of the ones you left when you ran from the police the last time.  But this one though ...  well, you haven't had a chance to see it.  And it's the one I really like."  She smiled and her eyes were no longer filled with tears, but sparkled with the intensity of madness.  The man began to struggle against the ropes and his eyes bulged above the gag. 

Cassie held the newspaper closer so he could read it.

Rescued Dogs Declared Dangerous - Stolen Before Shelter Euthanizes Them

 "You were already starving them and I just haven't had the time to feed them since I got them ...  I've been so busy putting this little show together for you.  It's a shame, really.  About the dogs, I mean.  I think they could probably have been salvaged, but they were going to be killed anyway.  And I'm sure they'll enjoy this last little treat.  I only hope there's enough of you ..."

Cassie calmly walked over and picked up a hunting knife and a remote controller from the table beside her chair.  She smiled as she stuck the remote control in her hip pocket.  Walking slowly toward the man, she tilted the knife this way and that, allowing the light to glint off of the evil-looking blade.  As he strained against the ropes she held him still and made a few precise cuts on the scalp, his ears,  and the tips of his fingers - places that were not disabling but that had a tendency to bleed freely.   Then she cut deeper, severing the tendons at his ankles and behind his knees before removing the gag and cutting the ropes that held him in the chair.  He flopped to the ground; screaming and writhing in the sand of the pit.

Cassie hoisted herself up to the top of the covered metal cage and out of the pit.  Walking out the door of the barn, she pulled the remote controller from her pocket and pushed the button.  The garage door opener slowly lifted the door of the metal cage and the hungry dogs rushed out into the pit.

Listening to the screams of the man and the snarling and growling of the dogs, Cassie smiled as she walked to her car.

Contest Winner


Please pardon the violence in this story - pit fighting is one of the cruelest of sports ... and at least this pit promoter met a fitting end.

bad-un - bad one
norm'ly - normally
um - them
co'mon - Come on
unna - gonna or going to
hundert - hundred
dolla's - dollars
don'cha - don't you
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Save to Bookcase Promote This Share or Bookmark
Print It View Reviews

You need to login or register to write reviews. It's quick! We only ask four questions to new members.

© Copyright 2024. sherrygreywolf All rights reserved.
sherrygreywolf has granted FanStory.com, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.