When I say ‘Silence’, what I actually mean is ‘Silent’ – as in ‘Silent Resistance‘. And when I say ‘Golden’, what I really mean is ‘Pewter’ or ‘Pig Iron’, because the aforementioned novel doesn’t actually sell enough copies to allow it to be justifiably termed ‘Golden’. So, in a feeble attempt to increase sales of this book…
…here is a pleasant extract.
But the fight was far from over. Trained to protect their masters, the huge dogs launched themselves at us. The chattering MP7s took out the three to our left before they’d taken more than a couple of paces, but those on the right were protected by our close proximity. Even if Tasman and Karen had been endowed with super-reflexes, and could switch targets almost instantaneously, Colin, Dainam, and myself were in their line of fire. The animals fell upon us with savage anger – bowling us over with their weight and speed. Safe within our suits Colin and I need only worry about the bruises we would be receiving as the dog’s teeth tried vainly to tear our flesh through the impregnable cloth, but Dainam wasn’t so lucky: he wore only the winter gear provided by the Espeeg, which may have been strong and sturdy, but was no match for canine teeth. But the young alien was fleet of foot and remarkably nimble. As the dog lunged at him, he sprang upwards – causing the angry animal to miss him by microns. But as fast as Dainam was, a four-legged animal is always going to be able to turn faster than a biped. As Dainam was in the process of regaining his balance, the dog had turned through one hundred and eighty degrees, and was upon him from behind. Then something happened that none of could have expected: Our canine recruit – the alien mutt with a poodle mentality, who was yet to be given a name – leapt from the steps of the bus, catching the Espeeg dog from behind – tearing at the back of the hunting animal’s neck with simply massive teeth that would have earned her a bullet in the head if she’d bared them to any of us in anger. But as fast and strong as she was, our mutt couldn’t hope to make the killing bite: The younger dog twisted and bucked like a raging bull – tossing her into the air, where she fell heavily onto the tarmac surface of the road – then launching himself at her as she scrabbled to regain her feet. But she wasn’t done yet: She must have realised that she wasn’t fighting to save Dainam anymore; she was fighting for her life. And fight she did. The huge animals wrestled and tore at each other – giving and expecting no quarter. But even at this early stage of the fight it was clear that the younger dog would be triumphant. His survival didn’t concern us: we’d despatch him soon enough; but with no veterinarians alive anywhere upon the planet we didn’t want ‘our’ dog badly hurt.
By now Tasman had scampered to our aid. Two shots apiece from his MP7 into the bodies of the dogs that were attacking Colin and I freed us both to regain our feet.
“She saved my life!” A shaken Dainam cried out as he pointed towards ‘our’ dog, “We have to help her.”
And don’t think we didn’t try. Colin, Tasman, and I switched our aim between the animals many times, but so fast were their movements that we could never be certain of hitting the right dog. Then their battle carried them into the darkness that enveloped the scene, and any hope of identifying friend from foe became impossible.
Vanda meanwhile had freed herself from the bonds that held her to the luggage carrier on the back of the second quad bike, and ran to Dainam’s side. As she arrived I noticed the dogs disengage for a moment. For a moment it seemed that their instinct for battle simultaneously deserted them. They bayed at each other as their wounds dripped blood, but neither wanted to be the first to attack again. But still we couldn’t tell them apart. I looked to Tasman for guidance; and the reason for their strange behaviour became clear to me: His face was a picture of concentration. I recalled his ability to mentally control young farm animals. Now in desperation he was using it on two fighting dogs.
© Paul Trevor Nolan