Today I turn my blog over to fellow writer, Julie Campbell. Julie has written a special story just for this occasion featuring Doc, the vampire hunting Border Collie. I think you’ll enjoy it.
Julie writes fantasy novels. When she’s not out riding her horse, she can usually be found sitting in front of her computer with a cat on her lap and her dog at her side. You can find out more at www.writerjacampbell.com
Now, on to Doc’s story. . .
Doc’s Dream Girl
I couldn’t believe it. I was finally going to meet her – the Border Collie of my dreams. Nelli. I held on to her name and savored it like the sweet gravy from dinner. I sat in the back of the car and quivered with excitement, trying to stay still when I really wanted to leap about in excitement. Not only was I going to meet Nelli, but I was going to herd sheep, and she’d be there. My lifts would be flawless, my flanks perfection. I would use my eye and the sheep would obey and she would see how talented I was. It would be love – and sheep. Canine perfection.
Kevin turned the car down a dirt road. I tilted my head, staring out the window. I thought I recognized the road. It seemed like we were heading to our old home in the country, though why a herding trial would be there, I had no idea. I whined, confused.
“Easy Doc,” Kevin said. “We’ll be there soon. I know you’re anxious.”
I thumped my tail. If my human said it was okay, then it would be.
Eventually the car stopped in a grassy field with many other cars. Kevin let me out and I bounded around in a circle, unable to contain my joy.
He laughed. “Come here, Doc. You have to wear your leash.”
I flattened my ears, but let him attach the leash. He handed me the end and I held it, following my human closely while we headed toward the other dogs, and humans, and the sheep. I sniffed and looked around, anxious for a glimpse of my love. She wouldn’t know me yet, so I’d have to prove myself worthy of her attentions out on the course. Then I’d introduce myself. I had my plan all worked out.
My human talked to some people, but I had eyes only for the other dogs. I wanted to find her, wanted to know she was watching me when I worked. There – I studied one dog, but she wasn’t quite right. No… there. That was her. There was no doubt in my mind. She was perfect. Her white was vibrant and showed no dirt, though I knew she’d already been working. The black of her coat shimmered in the sunlight and the curve of her tail was perfect. Her gaze was intense as she stared out over the field, watching other dogs as they worked the sheep.
“Doc, you’re drooling. Did you find her?”
I glanced up at Kevin and thumped my tail on the ground before going back to staring at Nelli.
“Eh, what’s that?”
“Oh, my dog has a thing for Nelli, one of the champion trial dogs that’s here today.”
“Oh, yeah, she’s a good dog. Wait, you said your dog has a thing for her? Has he met her before?” The human sounded confused.
“No, he watches her on TV.” Kevin said this last slowly, as if realizing something odd about what he’d said.
“Never mind. Thank you sir.”
“Yep, luck to ya.”
“Come on, Doc.”
I followed, though most of my attention was still on Nelli.
“Want to meet her now, or later?”
I wanted to show her I was worthy first so I led Kevin away.
He laughed. “All right. Hey, we’re up soon. Let’s go see the competition.”
I watched impatiently, studying the sheep and how they reacted, watching the course, and keeping one eye on Nelli. She watched all the dogs, looking disdainful when she wasn’t intently staring at the sheep.
“Okay, Doc. You ready?”
Kevin walked out onto the field and I followed, shaking with excitement and nerves. I hadn’t been to a trial in a long time, but I knew I could do this. If I could hunt vampires, a few sheep weren’t going to get the better of me. A small voice in my head commented on a certain squirrel, but I told it to shut up. Squirrels were more evil than vampires. Everyone knew that.
My human whistled softly and I perked my ears, creeping forward until Kevin told me to stop. He whistled again – I flanked. This was the close in course. In the afternoon we’d do distance work and then the top dogs would compete for the title. I had no hope of beating Nelli, but oh, if I could make it to the finals, I’d be worthy of her attention.
One of the sheep strayed a little. I focused and finished the course without fault. I thought I may have even finished it with style.
“That’ll do, Doc.”
I grinned and ran to Kevin’s side. He was smiling too. “Good job, boy. Now do you want to meet her?”
I sat next to the fence where I could keep an eye on my love, and watch the other dogs, but I didn’t let Kevin take me over to her. It wasn’t time yet. I did notice her watching me though, and unless I was wrong, there was interest in her eyes instead of contempt.
* * *
“That’ll do, Doc.”
I trotted up to Kevin’s side, tail flagged with pride. I’d made the finals, and while my last round wouldn’t beat Nelli’s flawless work, I was close. And I was ready to meet her.
I met his eyes and grinned. Now.
“Okay, I’ll see what I can do. Come on, let’s find her.”
I’d only taken my eyes off of Nelli to work the sheep. I knew exactly where she was at, and I led Kevin to her, while trying to seem like I was following obediently.
Kevin laughed. He walked over to Nelli’s person and introduced himself. Since I’d done so well, her human was quite happy to talk to Kevin. I tuned them out and sat down next to Nelli. I still panted from my exertions but I thumped my tail to say hi.
She glanced at me and tilted her head. “Good work.”
My heart almost stopped. A compliment. From Nelli. My day couldn’t get any better.
“Thank you. You are amazing. I mean, your work is amazing. I’m Doc.”
“Nelli.” She smiled and went back to watching the sheep. I tried to do the same, to impress her with my desire to work, but all I could do was stare at her. She was even more perfect up close.
Finally she seemed to sense my attention. “I’ve never seen you at a trial before. Are you new?”
“No, but we moved to the city a few years ago. I haven’t been to any trials since then.”
She seemed surprised. “Then you did quite well.”
I took a deep breath, so happy at her praise. Then I wrinkled my nose and sniffed again. Was that a dead-thing? The smell of vampire was very distinct, dry, dusty and dead, but they only came out after dark. How could I smell one here? I whined, confused.
“Doc, what’s wrong?” My human knelt and scratched my ears.
I whined again and wished he understood my language as well as I understood his. I danced a little, the way I did when we were hunting and I smelled a vampire.
“Doc, be calm,” Nelli said.
“There’s a dead-thing here. A vampire. But they can’t go out during the day. I don’t understand.”
She frowned and tilted her head, clearly not understanding either.
“Doc, do you smell a vampire?” Kevin whispered.
I nodded, finally something I could communicate clearly.
He frowned. “That’s not possible.”
I flattened my ears and whined again.
“Well, obviously your human knows what you are talking about.” She sounded annoyed and my joyous mood evaporated. Why did the dead-things ruin everything.
“Let’s go look.” Kevin stood.
“Nelli, let’s go.” Her human said and strangely, they joined us. “I know where we can get some water for the dogs, Kevin.”
Strangely the direction Sonja led us in, was the direction the vampire smell was coming from. Nelli wrinkled her nose and stepped closer to me. She smelled it now too.
“What is that?”
“A vampire. They kill humans.”
“It smells dead.”
“We’re getting closer.” Nelli sounded concerned.
Sonja stepped into a dark barn, and I wanted to tell her to stop. I barked once, but she didn’t listen.
Kevin gave me a concerned look, then reached under his jacket and drew out a wooden stake.
“Are we playing fetch now?” Nelli asked, sounding very confused.
“No. I will explain. Stay out here.” I crept forward, pushing past my human to protect him from the dead-things. It was dark but I could smell it, just ahead. I barked a warning to Sonja, but she turned and grinned at me.
“Time to die, Doc.”
I yelped in fear, but Kevin seemed to figure out something was wrong with Sonja and he shoved her to the side. I leapt forward and hit the vampire in the chest with my feet, buying Kevin some time. He shoved Sonja outside and she screamed, burning up. I didn’t have time to watch because the other vampire threw me to the ground.
“Doc!” Nelli barked in alarm.
He was attacking her!
I sank my teeth into the vampire’s arm, ignoring the sour taste of its blood. It threw me off again and glared. I caught his eyes with my Border Collie eye and held him, though he struggled. Nelli had the stake in her teeth and she jumped, somehow plunging it into the dead-thing’s chest. It slumped, crumpling to ash on the ground.
Nelli turned to face me, her eyes triumphant. “We did it, Doc!”
I grinned at her then looked around for Kevin. I couldn’t find him in the barn so I ran outside, Nelli on my heels. She pushed herself against me when I stopped and licked my face.
“You’re a hero, Doc.”
My heart swelled and I wagged my tail. She licked me again.
I jerked my head up and looked around for Kevin.
“Doc! Come on, time to go.”
I whined and looked around. I couldn’t find him, but I could hear him. I looked back at Nelli, but she was gone too. The ground shook. I barked in alarm and jumped up.
“Doc, wake up. Come on, let’s go.”
I whined, confused, and looked around. There were no sheep, no vampires, no Nelli… only our park in the city. I flattened my ears and sighed.
“I think you were dreaming, buddy. Come on, let’s play some fetch and then head home.”
I perked up when Kevin showed me my ball, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. I dashed after it and thought I caught a glimpse of another Border Collie, dashing along beside me. But when I stopped to look, nothing was there.