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Bill, Blackie and Jack
Holiday Blue Chapter 7: Hounds of Blue
© 2022 James LaFond
APR/9/23
The Hounds of Blue had been set together, left to their own devices as their masters, the slaves of the Deathless Ones, each greeted their betters, the true hunters. Jack, Blackie and Bill sat among their packs, the squared, soft hunting chests they had so often packed for their masters with wine, water, medicine and the manna bread made by the Titanesses, left lonely and beautiful at home.
Nothing was packed for a hound. He lived off the land and from his master’s hand. Under the automatonous rendering of Blue, which had stopped spinning and was outlined in eternal voidance about the empire they were to hunt, the three temporary servants of Sirius Three, lounged, cross-legged—except for old Bill who had grown stiff and sprawled—packing and repacking their masters’ hunt supplies with utmost care.
The Deathless Ones were entering The Temple of Sirius. This set Bill to mumbling and twitching, he having a deep fear of the Deathless Ones. He had been known to choke in their presence and fail on guided hunts. Even so, Atlas Khron adored him, as an old loyal hound and kept him as lead. Bill was a good sort and Jack had always wished that Bill had been his trainer and not Gourd—traitor Gourd!
Bill was visibly overcome by a need to distract himself from the advent of the Deathless Ones and yammered, “Blue, Blue—I know nothing of Blue. I have been here, have in my youth hunted out to Alpha Centuri...wish I knew of Blue...I gather they are near…”
Bill looked to Jack, apologetically, unable to hide his shaking hands or quivering voice. Jack deadpanned, “I have never hunted beyond Sirius Three, have not even been to Four to hunt the dense-fleshed monsters there.”
Blackie was off, effusive as ever, “That is because your master is Third and has to content himself on Three. Bill and I have been to Four and coursed those wide lumbering brutes into our master’s swords—you ain’t missing nothing, Jack. But Blue, when you see Blue you will not wonder any longer why I am the Best Hound of The House Khron!”
Bill chuckled, having untangled Blackie from numerous mistakes and mischances, winking at Jack to let Blackie go on about his awesome self: “Shooting sure as Death’s dear arrows, I am from Blue!”
They balked and he raised up and spread his hands, motioning to his ebony skin, “Why I am the fastest, smartest, most handsome and the best singer and dancer of all the Hounds of Sirius!”
[laughter]
“Because, Mighty Phoenix Khron, heard about me and mine whispered across the stars, and said to his self—having the license of Daddy Khron to hunt far Blue for fresh stock, “I need me a fast nigga!”
Bill and Jack were astounded. Blackie had a strange way of speaking, but they had always assumed he was a rare crossbreed or something, retarded maybe, not a hound born on actual, distant Blue.
Jack blurted, “You mean to say, that on Blue, the men are all black, skinny-shinned, wool-headed suck-ups?”
[laughter]
Blackie’s strange accent began to thicken, “Naw, naw, bucket head, on Blue we niggas is like gods, like Titans on Sirius and the Deathless Ones on Pleades. Only since we run and think so quick, our lives go quick too. Imagine a world where the shortest-lived race is the gods and the longest lived race worships them on automaton mirrors, cheers for them, where the bitches of the best race pine to love the short-lived men—like that Madam Hate wanting our hero-hound Jack here.”
Blackie was then struck by some of his own quick words, that they were more meaningful than he had intended, and paused, “Yeah, Jack here, Jack is the nigga of Sirius Three! If it weren’t for my Black ass, he’d be the fastest Hound there!”
Bill, bothered by the Deathless Ones entering with their own body guards, half-titan temporaries of fleet and brutish grace, like superior versions of the Hound of House Brawn that Jack had defeated, but smarter by far, began asking question after question of Blackie about Blue.
Jack, struck with wonder and proud of a sudden to be a kind of “nigga” the only one sprung from his home world, asked many a question as well.
In a few confused moments as the ceremonial greeting of the Deathless Ones impinged upon their conversation, and their guards armed themselves from the walls and racks and began drifting towards the star-floored and star-roofed void camp of the lowly hounds, Jack learned some things about Blue.
The place is so crowded that Blackie, in his 15 years of life there, never recalls a moment when he was alone, except for when he was being hunted for sport by his own mates, who speared him with concussive lead sling shots cast by automatonous slings as he hid behind a wheeled ground skiff. From this plight, Heroic and Betrayed, Blackie was soon rescued by Phoenix Khron and had worshiped him as his titanic master ever since.
Blackie was from a House Temporal named Chicago a renown center of honored feuds.
Chicago was the leading city of a nation known as America, the greatest nation of Blue.
Americans mostly looked like fat, bloated versions of Sirius-bred temporaries, only they were not as temporary, because they had automatons to keep them alive, lingering on their death biers as the other temporaries looted their possessions...On Blue it was regarded as rude to loot a dead temporary, instead you kept them lingering on in sickness and looted them as they lie in the grips of dying dreams.
Blackie, was, of course, the smartest, fastest, most handsome and most desired by female temporaries of all of the Warlords of Chicago. That is why he had been set upon by traitorous enemies and chosen by Phoenix Khron as an emissary to the Ruler of America, who was a “nigga too” who came to rule that great nation and hence the planet based on his great oratory skills; Americans talked a lot. That is why Blackie thought that even they three hounds, without their peerless masters and the Deathless Ones, could probably conquer the place on their own, without even their staffs.
Jack was suspicious of Blackie’s recollections of Blue and his place in it. But, it did seem soft, and based on the lusty way in which Blackie described the maidens of Blue—who were very rare, because Blue was a “whore world” where children mated with each other of their own accord before even coming of age, Jack surged with confidence that having distinguished himself in The Great Hunt, that there would be a fetching beauty, a maiden even, that his kind Master Pan Khron would permit him to bring back to Sirius Three.
As the six guards of the Deathless Ones came near with their hunt gear, Blackie concluded his relation of the Wonders of Blue: “Fat man-cows all around for food, plump bitches who have never known a real man’s hand, and towering boss houses where the pinch-faced, sissy masters what never killed a man, or even their own breakfast chicken, who cringe even from contact with their slaves, are ripe for the taking—Blue ‘ill be our Masters’ bitch!”
Blackie then turned to look up at the nearly titan-sized slaves of the Deathless ones and quipped, “Oh, look we here, the niggas of Pleades—well how do your high and mighty low asses be?”
The six superior temporaries, who according to Jack’s quick eye for competition all looked as wise as Bill, as quick as Blackie and as ruthless as Jack, stood and glared down at them. Yes, Blackie was a capering fool, but he was one of them, and Bill was terrified of these six, which left it to Jack to put some substance behind Blackie’s boast.
Jack stood and saluted with his right hand to his heart in a fist and extended it for a clasp to the leader and said, as seriously as possible, “Blackie here is from Blue. Bill, here, is my trainer. They get pride of place. If any of you want my place, or theirs, you may fight me for it.”
The lead bodyguard, a tall, bald man with bright red eyebrows and thick red beard, grinned down at Jack and extended his hand, “Brunt, First Slave to Circe Baal. I’ll not scrap with Madam Night’s foul champion! Besides, with only three hounds to hunt a continent bare, it wouldn’t do to bloody your tender snouts.”
Jack took that mighty hand in his and noted that as he braced for a crushing grip, that the half-titan extended his thumb and two forefingers to wrap around his wrist, so that a firm shake could be given without harming Jack’s grip. Jack, now a great admirer of this bodyguard, perhaps twice his age, greeted his better who had been gracious enough to politely brush aside his brash challenge, “It is an Honor, Brunt.”
The temporaries, the three ruthless runts and the six peerless guards, then clasped hands and patted backs, sitting down to be entertained by Blackie, who capered and mimed dramatically and comically his acted answers to their many questions about the Temporaries of America Blue.
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