It was the years of the Bubonic plague. Religion spiked at its peak. People begging their higher powers to save them from what they would most inevitably succumb to. Monasteries began hosting their services in smaller buildings, allowing only a select few to come in and pray with them.
One such group, was a tiny hoard of monks. They stashed themselves away in a plague-free zone of the city. They were cruel, and they used the mask of hope to bribe people into paying what little they had to be 'saved'.
As the months went by, and their trickery grew, people began whispering of a beast- an evil beast. Its maw was that of a dog, with jaws of an alligator, strong, long, and full of teeth. Its eyes- well, it had eyes of the darkest depths, pools of red spiraling through orbs of black smoke, death in every glance it gave.
Finally, its body was that of a wolf, long and narrow- sleek and poised yet stealthy and unsuspecting. Huge- they described it as huge. Much larger than any pet that would have been spotted around the village. Yet, the poser-monks brushed this off, laughing at the stupidity and, as they called them, sick delusions.
One night, a storm raced through the area, giving a welcome relief to most areas, the buildings were damaged, but there would now be fresh water to give to the ill. Something everyone had wanted for a while. One building in particular seemed the worst hit, the Monastery. One of the monks rushed out of the large oak doors, hinges creaking as they swung shut once more.
He made his way to a large shed, the wood peeling to the side, windows busted, and door caved in. Horrified, he scrambled through the ruins of what once was, scooping up jars full of coins, checking over his precious gold. The other posers came out as well, surveying the damage, speaking quietly of where they would now hide their lies.
The monk who had been coddling over his fortune, happened to stand up. At that moment, a sharp black blur crossed by one of the busted boards on the back, making not a sound as it went from one point to the next. Zig-zagging further and further away. Finally, it reached the top of a small hilltop, twisted its massive neck around and locked eyes with the monk. Chills raced up his spine, hair standing on end. His hands went numb, dropping the jars to his feet with a quick step back. The beast simply stretched its leathery lips back in what looked like a grin before sliding off into the shadows where it disappeared.
In a stupor, the monk stumbled back to the Monastery- what had he just seen? Was he going crazy? Was he getting sick?
That night, as everyone lay sound asleep, tales of thievery in their heads- one man didn't have the same pleasure. His dreams were filled of the canine-like animal, its bony spine poking through the papery flesh and thick fur.
He'd scream for mercy as it ran to him, and jolt awake just as it'd leap, jaws opened wide with acidic green drool stretching from fang to fang. Finally, in one dream, it was different. The setting had changed to a grave yard, the hound weaving in and out of chalky grey headstones, chuckling lowly under its breath.
"Once-" it spoke, voice echoing around the frightened man, "you see me, you're doomed from day one. Twice, you aren't so fortunate, 'tis nothing but dead you will become. Thrice, I'll find you, grab you from your bed, rip you limb from limb and decapitate that empty head."
It cackled at its rhyme, disappearing in a smokey haze as it leapt off of a weeping angel and hit the shadows, paws singeing the grass beneath its weight.
Gasping for air, he awoke. The rest of the day he remained skittish and reclusive, searching endlessly through books, even rushing into town to find people who he heard speaking of this eternal nightmare. Yet, no one seemed to be able to answer anything, each shake of a head and a laugh sent him into a state of ultimate hopelessness.
On his way back to the monastery, the smell of sulfur wafted through the air, catching his attention through morbid curiosity. As he searched the area his mind reeled with what it could be. And, just when his heart began settling, his worst thoughts became reality. There, standing in the middle of the path was the Hellion. Its long ears domed back against its head, evil grin exposing all of its fangs, tail switching back and fourth with waves of ebony smoke following in suit.
However, just as soon as it was there, it was gone, simply vanishing. Not knowing what to do, the crazed monk scrambled back to his home, where he locked himself into his quarters for the day.
That night, it was the same routine, the nightmares, the stupid little rhyme, and that horrible smell. This time, accompanied with blood-curdling screams and cries for forgiveness.
Months passed, the monk grew sick. His encounters with the towns-folk only exposed him more so to the disease that had been washing over the area. Not to mention, the stress and paranoid existence, never peeking out the window, never going anywhere alone. He had, as it seemed, reverted back into being a child scared of the dark. The other men lost interest in his ramblings, gave up on trying to help him, and went on with their scam. Though he hadn't seen his demon in quite a while, he knew it was there. He'd lie awake at night, feeling as if something was watching him through the window. Yet, he refrained from looking, knowing if he did, it'd be his last chance.
Another storm rolled in from the mountains. The cold front meeting the summer heat, twisting and turning into its own demonic presence. The tornado tore through the town, uplifting houses, and even most of the church's bell tower.
Upon the storm's end, every one of the men piled out of the church. Some taking it more logical than others. The night air was thick with smoke and debris, causing most of them to head inside to wait out the night for morning, planning on what they would do. However, the crazed monk stayed behind, cursing under his breath, pacing back and forth. Begging for it to stop- he knew what caused this, that creature caused it! Of course it did, what else would explain it.
Chuckling rose from the downed bell tower, the rubble moving smoothly as the beast walked out. Its muscles rippled beneath its fur, long legs walking in front of one another as it slowly made its way towards the man.
Screams. That's all the others heard, loud screams. Before they made it out the door, loud thumping- sounding like nothing else but the large thudding of paws running down the door halted them.
It would be moments before they grew up enough courage to peek out, and once there- they found nothing. The man was gone, there was no dog. There was no sulfuric smell- there was no evidence anything had even happened.
In a panic, they piled back inside, only to stop at a small horror in front of them. There, in the oak doors - sat a pawprint. Smoke rolled from the indention, splinters rising in all different directions. It was charred, but every one of them knew what it was.
That's when they heard it behind them,
"Once you see me....heheh."
To this day, the pawprint remains in the door.
Another tale of the vicious Hellhound resonated throughout North American slave traders pre-freedom era. On the eastern side of Africa, there were several large tribes, which had just been taken by slavers.
These tribals where taken on a train across Africa, where they were locked in a solid iron cart. Many of these men died, and so did their families. The dogs of these dead men, were said to sprint along the side the train, the eyes burning like coals on the end of a branch flickering in the wind, and fire burning on their paws as they pursued the train through the night, howling a mournful song for their dead masters.