Wolfhound Chapter 6

They returned to the library without incident, and Finch resumed his research into Voodoo, increasing his search parameters to include urban legends and myths. Reese wandered off after a while – less inconspicuously than he would have in his human form, since his toenails clacked on the floor – and came back a short time later to type on his specialized keyboard.

CANT GET BATHROOM DOOR OPEN. NO THUMBS, he informed Finch ruefully.

“Oh! I’m sorry, John. I’ll get that for you,” Finch said as he stood up from his chair, but Reese was still typing.

LEAVE CRACK OPEN SO I CAN DO IT MYSELF.

“Good idea. Let’s see, I’ll need something to wedge into it… Maybe this box will do. I’ll just throw in some old parts to weigh it down…”

Reese scratched himself with a hind leg while Finch filled the small box, then trotted ahead of the man to the bathroom.

“You could have gone anywhere while we were outside, you know,” Finch mentioned.

“Wurrr,” Reese groaned, obviously displeased with the idea.

“I know, it seems uncivilized, but no-one would be the wiser.”

“Roo-woor-rowr,” [“You would know.”] Reese pointed out.

“Well, yes, but considering your current circumstances, I wouldn’t think any less of you for it.” Arriving at the problematic door, Finch opened it for Reese. “I’m assuming you can handle things from here?”

“Wuff.”

Reese jumped up and placed his forepaws on the wall on either side of the floor urinal, then relieved himself with an unmistakable sigh of relief, the tinkling stream of water lasting a surprisingly long time. Meanwhile, Finch adjusted the box so that it would not slide out from between the door and the doorjamb, then tried letting the door close on its own a few times. “There, that should work. Let me know if you can open it now,” Finch said as he turned around to Reese, just in time to see the large hound dog’s hindquarters wriggling as (very conscientiously) Reese tried to shake off any drops that might be clinging to his furry prepuce.

“Woof woof,” he said with a final shake.

“Ah… Would you… That is, I could… get some paper, and… wipe you, if you’d like…” Finch offered, at the same time thinking that he really hadn’t needed the image of Reese’s furry butt wriggling like that – tail and all – implanted in his mind.

“Ohr, Awr-rowr,” Reese said, his bushy eyebrows bunching together. “Woo-rown-ruff-furr-roo-raff!” [“Oh, Harold, you don’t have to do that!”]

“I know, but… if there’s a chance you might… have any wetness on your fur,” he explained, trying hard not to stare at the damp tuft at the end of Reese’s organ, “I would rather take care of it here and now than… well, finding out about it later in some… less-than-pleasant way.”

Reese looked about as embarrassed as he could with his furry dog face, but crawled up the wall to stand at his full height while Finch grabbed the toilet paper. Mercifully, since he was so tall even as a dog, Finch did not have to bend over far to dab at his wet spot of fur.

“There, how’s that?” Finch asked, trying to keep things as clinical and detached as possible.

“Woof. Fan-fyoo.” [“Good. Thank you.”]

“You’re welcome.”

Reese practiced opening the door with his nose while Finch washed his hands, then demonstrated his skill when Finch was ready to leave.

“Oh, very good. I hope this gives you some autonomy and… independence,” Finch remarked, walking down the hall with Reese plodding contentedly along at his heels. “If there’s anything else I can do to help you be more self-sufficient, just let me know. I can only imagine how… trapped, and limited, you must be feeling. I have an inkling, having spent some time in a wheelchair – as you have, too – but to be turned into a dog… It must be traumatic for someone like you.”

“Awr-roo-roo-reen?” [“How do you mean?”]

“Well, ordinarily, you’re so… capable – physically fit, strong, able to do whatever you set your mind to – that losing so many of your abilities at once has to be… an even more dramatic change of circumstances than for, say, someone like me.”

Finch lowered himself carefully back into his chair but did not turn to his computer right away.

“I’m so sorry that this has happened to you, John. I’ll do everything I can to get you back to normal. I feel more than a little responsible, having asked you – hounded you, if you’ll pardon the expression – to join me in this endeavor.”

“Rownf, Awr-rowr,” Reese countered, placing one paw gently on Finch’s knee. “Ai-noo-rah-reeff.” [“Don’t, Harold. I knew the risks.”]

“I know… But you couldn’t have envisioned the risk of… being transmogrified, of all things!”

“Rowr. Ruff-ai-rown reereff-iff.” [“No. But I don’t regret it.”]

“I’m glad to hear you say so.”

Finch laid his hand on Reese’s paw for a moment as they both tried to come to grips with the strange new reality they were facing. Then, taking a deep breath, Finch pulled his keyboard closer on the desk, and Reese walked over to his own.

EVER SEE WEEKEND AT BERNIES, was what Finch saw appear on the other monitor. SEQUEL HAD VOODOO PRIESTESS. TURNED GUYS INTO GOATS.

“Wasn’t that a movie from the Eighties?” Finch asked, furrowing his brow. For the first time in his life, he saw a dog actually shrug its shoulders.

MIGHT GIVE US A CLUE. MAYBE.

“Although I doubt that a Hollywood production would have much basis in fact, after what I’ve seen with my own eyes, I’m willing to keep an open mind,” Finch conceded.

HAVE TO SEE FIRST ONE FIRST. HILARIOUS, Reese typed.

“I’ll bear that in mind,” was Finch’s dry response. “Hmm… Listen to this: here’s someone blogging about an urban myth where a Voodoo priest turned a man into a rooster and killed him as a sacrifice to the gods… or the spirits, as the case may be. Because the victim was in ‘chicken form’ at the time, the priest could not be prosecuted for murder, which – this blogger contends – was the whole point of transforming him. However, there’s no mention of how to return a transformed person back to his human state… Well, that wasn’t very helpful, but there might be an element of truth to this story, after all…”

Finch read aloud a few more articles (all equally unhelpful) of humans purportedly being transformed into various animals. After about an hour, Reese stood up, typed GOING TO GET SOME EXERCISE, and stretched his long limbs.

“Yes… I suppose you’ll have a more interesting time sniffing around this building,” Finch said with a knowing lift of his eyebrows. “It’s no wonder, really, that you were turned into a scent hound.”

Reese grinned at him, tongue lolling, before typing again.

SIGHT HOUND. CAN SEE WELL TOO.

“Oh? But how does it affect you to be colorblind?”

ONLY SOME COLORS. REDS ARE FADED, he explained. CAN SEE FURTHER SHARPER.

“Ah! No wonder you spotted the Carters so quickly.”

YES. BUT SMELLED CARTERS PERFUME FIRST.

“Oh… I see. That’s… uncanny. But I suppose your canine olfactory sense is… quite well developed.”

YOUR COLOGNE SMELLS NICE TOO, HAROLD, Reese quickly added. WHAT IS IT.

“Ah… Acqui Di Gio,” Finch answered, somewhat cautiously. “If you like it, I’ll get you a bottle to celebrate your return to human form.”

THANKS BUT NO. HAVE TO BLEND IN, he pawed. BESIDES, CAN ALWAYS SMELL IT ON YOU.

“Well, yes… I suppose I do wear it rather often,” Finch was saying, when Reese suddenly jumped up onto the armrest of the chair with his front legs, placed his nose near his startled partner’s neck, and inhaled in a loud, drawn-out sniff. Finch flinched involuntarily at the whiffling noise in his ear.

“Really, Mr. Reese?” he protested. “I wouldn’t think you’d need to be so close to smell it now.”

Reese grinned at him, then deliberately licked Finch’s face from his jaw up to his cheekbone, leaving a smudge on the inside of his glasses, before loping off down the hallway. Finch gasped but could not think of an adequate retort to shoot at his retreating shadow in time. It took him a minute just for his heart rate to slow down. Then he got up to go to the bathroom, intent on washing his face.

“If you don’t cut that out, Mr. Reese,” he grumbled under his breath, “I’m going to make you eat dog food for dinner!”


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2 Comments

  1. Jules

     /  2012/09/09

    Best parts were where Finch dosn’t waste any time in offering to WIPE HIM, learning new words like “transmogrified”, and the subtle way Finch seemed jealous to Reese about smelling Carter’s perfume.

    Reply

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