Bram Farrell here to talk about something that not many humans – or passing for humans – need to deal with on a daily basis.

What might that be?

Well, if you’ve read RAVEN’S MOON, you know I picked up a sidekick that I didn’t have in the prequel tales. He probably prefers to consider himself “backup” as sidekick seems rather diminutive.

But considering he’s a black and tan dachshund, he’s sort of on the diminutive side most of the time.

Not always though.

You see, he’s a hellhound, so shape changing might be an expected sideline for him. Not that he turns into anything other than a dog, of course.

Now, what, you might be asking, is required of a guy who has backup that everyone else considers a cute pet but is really a vicious demon when he feels like it?

Not a whole lot, really. Beelz (aka Beelzie, or more formally, Beelzebub) was stuck being fed that specially concocted dog food – which looks nothing like real food – before I arrived on the scene. That stopped being his grub really fast once he began investigative work with me though. Now we both thrive on anything that was once on the hoof – okay, not anything that has hooves and is either paranormal, supernatural or legendary, and not horses or mules or zebras or… Just think “once lived on a farm or ranch” and you’re on target. Except for the horses and the mules, naturally. Grilled steaks, chops and barbecued ribs are our preferences. We do not turn down bacon, either.

We draw the line at vegetables whenever possible. I did not travel across the seam-stitched binding boundary to eat things that are good for a fella. Beelz is in accord with that.

We also took to daily donuts pretty fast, particularly with maple or cream cheese icing dripping down the sides. Buttered popcorn from Target? It is definitely another treat at the top of our list.

Beelz has not developed a taste for bourbon, so my stash of Evan Williams is safe. He’s not good with pizza either, so I get him meatball sandwiches, hold the bread.

Now, chocolate is an entirely different matter. Yeah, we’ve both heard it’s bad for dogs, but this isn’t exactly a run-of-the-mill dog. As far as Beelz is concerned, he far out classes AKC breeds, too. I mean, can they change in a blink of an eye to a much larger and fiercer looking mutt? I don’t think so.

The only thing that sets him apart from other short statured dogs, which he appears when in his Clark Kent disguise, is that his eyes aren’t normal canine orbs. No, they burn with the fires of hell, so they are definitely a bit off-putting. We tell folks not in the know that he has a gene defect. He doesn’t seem to mind.

The benefit of having a hellhound around the house though is the scent of him works as an extremely efficient pest deterrent. No bugs, no rodents, not even any gremlins or garden fairies or…well, nothin’ wants to be within his circle of friends.

‘Cept me. Well, maybe his previous owner, but she didn’t supply him with miscreants to chew on like I do. He likes me best.

At least, I think he does.

Come to think of it though, he does move in on any female I have a romantic hankerin’ for. Hounds get belly rubs just by giving girls the big-eyed look. He gets to lick ‘em, too. Am I jealous? Damn, right I am! Next life, I’m coming back as a crime fighting mutt! They get all the attention from the ladies.

There’s lots of daring-do for the two of us to do whether we want to or not in the future. Plenty of folks who might be passing for human come our way, and they aren’t selling Girl Scout cookies. But then I had to deal with the same type of miscreant when I was still on the other side – inside the book rather than out of it.

Now, you’ll have to excuse me. Beelz is curled up under the blanket in his bed for a snooze, but J.B.’s calling me. Something about a guy who can read cuneiform that we left hanging in the wind.


Bram, aka The Raven