Mar. 28th, 2013 12:28 pm
[personal profile] theonecalledwander
The barking starts soon after, echoes funneling down the narrow streets of Peram from all directions. Like the fog, there is a distinct sense that the animals are funneling towards the square.

There are lampposts in Peram, but I have to imagine it has been some time since any lamplighter plied the trade. I brave the night air enough to thrust a lantern out the window. The fog glows pearlescently, scattering the light, but I glimpse a furry body and a few other hints of movement in places where its perpetual swirling briefly thins it.

The loudest cries in the chorus are those of frustration, of those animals who are chained or penned or otherwise incapable of joining in the noctuurnal revels.

Those are the last cries, as well. Gradually, the rest of the barking subsides as the pack that has assembled in the square. A terrible stillness settles over the square, not so much disrupted by the intermittent eruptions of sound elsewhere as much as punctuated by it.

Then that, too, ceases.

When all is silent, the howling begins. It is not the proud, mournful howl of a wolf, but the baying of dogs of dozens of mixes, with all the variation in vocal instrumentation and lung capacity that implies.

The children of the night, what horrible racket they make. What makes it all the worse... and more obviously unnatural... is the tempo of it. They don't all manage to start or end on exactly the same mark, but there's a clear attempt to all be howling at the same time.

The din is incredible.

"How do people sleep?" I ask.

"It doesn't go on like this all night," she says. "But Wander, you said to take it as given that the fog is concealing something. Doesn't it seem likely that the noise is doing the same?"

"You're right!" I say. "Perk up your ears and listen... just listen. See if you can pick out something behind all that racket."
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