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The House on the Borderland
William Hope Hodgson
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25. The Thing From The Arena
"THIS MORNING, early, I went through the gardens; but found everything as usual.
Near the door, I examined the path, for footprints; yet, here again, there was nothing to
tell me whether, or not, I dreamed last night. "It was only when I came to speak to the
dog, that I discovered tangible proof, that something did happen. When I went to his
kennel, he kept inside, crouching up in one corner, and I had to coax him, to get him out.
When, finally, he consented to come, it was in a strangely cowed and subdued manner.
As I patted him, my attention was attracted to a greenish patch, on his left flank. On
examining it, I found, that the fur and skin had been apparently, burnt off; for the flesh
showed, raw and scorched. The shape of the mark was curious, reminding me of the
imprint of a large talon or hand.
"I stood up, thoughtful. My gaze wandered towards the study window. The rays of the
rising sun, shimmered on the smoky patch in the lower corner, causing it to fluctuate
from green to red, oddly. Ah! that was undoubtedly another proof; and, suddenly, the
horrible Thing I saw last night, rose in my mind. I looked at the dog, again. I knew the
cause, now, of that hateful looking wound on his side--I knew, also, that, what I had seen
last night, had been a real happening. And a great discomfort filled me. Pepper! Tip! And
now this poor animal! . . . I glanced at the dog again, and noticed that he was licking at
" 'Poor brute!' I muttered, and bent to pat his head. At that, he got upon his feet, nosing
and licking my hand, wistfully.
"Presently, I left him, having other matters to which to attend.
"After dinner, I went to see him, again. He seemed quiet, and disinclined to leave his
kennel. From my sister, I have learnt that he has refused all food to-day. She appeared a
little puzzled, when she told me; though quite unsuspicious of anything of which to be
"The day has passed, uneventfully enough. After tea, I went, again, to have a look at the
dog. He seemed moody, and somewhat restless; yet persisted in remaining in his kennel.
Before locking up, for the night, I moved his kennel out, away from the wall, so that I
shall be able to watch it from the small window, to-night. The thought came to me, to
bring him into the house for the night; but consideration has decided me, to let him
remain out. I cannot say that the house is, in any degree, less to be feared than the
gardens. Pepper was in the house, and yet. . . .
"It is now two o'clock. Since eight, I have watched the kennel, from the small, side
window in my study. Yet, nothing has occurred, and I am too tired to watch longer. I will
go to bed. . . .