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Luke & the Black Dog

Luke & the Black Dog

Late one autumn night a moorman called Luke Rogers was returning home across the wastes. It was a still night with the moon playing hide and seek behind the billowing, shroud-like clouds. It must have been around the old stone circle when he decided he needed a rest from the wearisome trudging across the moor and so flopped down on one of the fallen stones. Luke knew that if he was to make it home before sunrise he could only afford a few minutes respite but it is amazing how comfortable hard granite can be when you are exhausted. Half an hour later the moorman was awoken by the sound of what appeared to be a deep, guttural snarling. Immediately he sprang to his feet and peered into the dark inner sanctum of the stone circle where he saw the large, hideous form of the spectral Black Dog of the Moor. The beast stared at him through unblinking blood red eyes, its long yellow fangs dripped huge goblets of blood and he could smell the stomach turning stench of its fetid breath. A thick mist appeared to be rising from the pagan-hallowed ground of the stone circle, it swirled around the hellish beast like a gossamer mantle. All the time the Black Dog snarled and growled a slow, rhythmic, dirge-like tune which began to send Luke into a hypnotic trance. Then the beast began to walk towards its hapless victim, its huge mouth was agape showing a full set of jagged, flesh ripping fangs. Somehow Luke managed to find enough energy to leap over the granite slab and hurtle off into the dark moorland, his legs were drumming a frantic tattoo as they pumped up and down.

On and on he ran, through mires, clitters, and streams but no matter how fast he went he could still feel the hot breath of the hound from hell close on the backs of his legs. Twice the moorman felt its teeth hungrily trying to seize his leg, he could feel a warn trickle of blood oozing from his torn flesh. Luke came to the juvenile river Teign and leapt that in one superhuman stride, he rushed past the Langstone and scrambled up through Hawthorn Clitter, and on to the jagged granite outcrops of Watern tor. Still the dog was loping tight on his heels, the relentless chase then went through the peat hags and mires around Cranmere Pool and down Tavy Cleeve. Here Luke thought he might be able to lose the beast but this was not to be so. His energy was sapping fast but sadly the dog’s wasn’t, every glance backwards revealed the huge black form and red eyes just a jaw’s length away. Onwards, for ever onwards he sped, across Dead Lake Head, up over Mis tor and down through the Walkham Valley, still the Black Dog stalked his every twist and turn. Tor after tor shot by the hunter and the hunted, North Hessary, South Hessary, then hill after hill, Pupers, Ryders, Holne Ridge until he eventually found himself labouring up Ephraim’s Pinch. By the time he reached the old houses of the ancients on the Moreton road he could run no further. He fell headlong over the walls of one of the hut circles and resigned himself to having his throat ripped open by the evil Black Dog. The last thing he remembered was the first ray of sunlight piercing the sky, then everything went ink-black as a huge menacing shadow loomed above him.

Luke & the Black Dog

When Luke awoke his was unsure if he had fallen victim to the Tavistock Badger or the spectral Black Dog. His mouth was dry and tasted like the bottom dregs of a moor mire. His head was pounding like a tin mill stamp and every nerve in his body ached like nothing he had experienced before, well for at least a week. Slowly Luke staggered to his feet and shambled off towards home. By the time he reached his little cott the daily routine had started, he could hear the pots and pans being thrown about the kitchen. Poor Luke was uncertain what was the most frightening, being chased by the hell hound or explaining his ordeal to his wife, he decided on the latter. With trepidation he edged his way into the kitchen and was confronted by his beloved, stolidly stood, arms akimbo, her stern gaze brought back memories of the previous night. All the while he was relating his nightmare his wife just slowly looked him up and down, after he had described every hellish moment he could hear a low, blood chilling growl. His first thought was that the dog had returned but then he realised that the gnashing and growling was emanating from the woman stood infront of him.

“Black doug,” she shrieked, “Daun ee tell I such ole twaddle. Where was ee to fur the fust part o’ the evenin’?”

Luke muttered that he may have had cause to visit the Newhouse Inn.

“Ees, I thought zo,” his wife said, “an if ee ever goes in there agin yuom find I arter ee. Youm might have got away from thicky Wisht Hound but ee wan’t get away from me, I u’ll stick to ee tighter than any ol’ hell ‘ound.”

 

About Tim Sandles

Tim Sandles is the founder of Legendary Dartmoor

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