Chapter III: Seek and Ye Shall Find

Previous Chapters:

Chapter I: Reflections in a Broken Mirror

Chapter II: Unexpected Encounters and Unwanted Emotions

I saw in front of me the same three-headed dog of my dream. My nightmare to be exact. It was the same three-headed hound with fire crackling from its mouths and eyes. It was coal-black and enormous in size. The only difference was that this time I was sure that I wasn’t dreaming.

The last I remembered was exiting the art gallery in furious haste to chase after the girl that had trapped me in a trance of irrational behaviour. The art gallery! I was caught checking out a girl in an art gallery! Somehow the situation had seemed rather ridiculous. And I was rather pissed with my pathetic lack of self-control. Worst was the fact that she had caught me looking at her! And that I had broken eye contact out of fear.

I remembered running down Surrey Street until I reached the perpendicular road called Arundel Gate. She was nowhere to be seen. Fear! Fear gives wings. Fear is the prison of the heart. Fear is bondage. The emotion that was present so strongly in my dream the other night. A nightmare of a three-headed dog. That scary encounter in my sleep must have been the result of me reading a book on mythology the night before. There was only one three-headed dog that I knew and that was Cerberus, the demon dog of the underworld. The hound of hell.  The one who ensured that no soul can ever escape eternal damnation. The dog of death.

Suddenly the bright sky of summer turned dark. It was as if a solar eclipse had blotted out the sun. It was not complete darkness but the sort of lack of light that you see during the twilight hours. Present was the orange and yellowish light that signalled the arrival and departure of the sun-god with his flaming chariot. But it was summer in Sheffield! Nightfall and total darkness did not come until 9 PM! Then I caught a glimpse of it. Its form shimmered at first. But slowly it became more solid, more real, and more terrifying. The outward appearance of it was unmistakable. It wasn’t that I didn’t recognise it. But that I didn’t believe the thing that I saw.

It was the same three-headed dog of my nightmare!

Those three heads were unmistakable. It was as though my thoughts of the abyssal creature had summoned it up from the very depths of the netherworld itself. Three pairs of eyes shone with unearthly brightness of green even as flames burn from the hound’s eye slits. I felt the lost of my sanity at that moment. A madness that paralyzed my mind and my body. I knew not whether to run or to stand still. But from its eyes, I knew my fate was sealed.

It wanted to kill me. It wanted me to die. And there was nothing left to do but to pray that death would come swiftly, without pain and agony. I trembled at the thought of it. I felt my own sweat glister down my spine.

“There you are,” whispered a clear but soft voice that came from behind me. I did not recognise its tone or timbre.

I spun around to look for the source of speech and I was shocked to find that it was her. The girl I saw in the art gallery. The same girl that I tried to chase after when she disappeared. She stood just a few meters away, eyes fixed upon the hound behind me. “Run!” I tried to scream to her. But my voice broke even before the words could be uttered.

Then it happened all so quickly that it was but a blinding flash to my eyes. In a few graceful steps, the girl stood beside me. She raised her right hand and pulled out a blade from thin air that looked like a double-edged straight sword. It was long and narrow, her sword, with a tassel tied to the end of the hilt. Then she gracefully glided towards the three-headed beast without fear or any sign of hesitance.

At first, it looked like the girl was walking to her death. The dog was huge with claws that could have torn the girl to shreds.

But in one sweeping motion the girl’s sword sliced through the dog’s body. It was such an elegant movement. The girl looked as if she was dancing. Her hands and footwork betrayed no involuntary movement, as if choreographed to achieve perfect form. The slash was clean, controlled, and lethal. But instead of cutting through flesh and bone, the dog’s form seemed to have vibrated violently before slowly fading into the darkness. There was no blood. No trace that the three-headed dog had ever been there. It just vanished as mysteriously as it had come.

Then the girl turned back to face me. Her fair face betrayed no emotions but an empty stare. She dropped her sword to the ground and it also vibrated and disappeared before touching the pavement. Then the darkness subsided. The sun was again shining brightly and I could feel the warmth coming back to my face. It was as if a nightmare was over. The street was filled with people that I had not noticed before. A van driving through Arundel Gate stopped for the traffic lights beside me. There was no hint of anything extraordinary. No three-headed dog.

Taking no heed of my panic-stricken face, the girl walked up to me and whispered, “Follow me.”

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