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"Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid...." Soren repeated it like a mantra, kicking the grovel beneath his feet. He twirled, looking around frantically, but in the vast rocky emptiness of the Burren all he could see was thick darkness filled with bizarre shadows that loomed on the corner of his eye and the starless pitch-black sky embroidered with sinister-looking clouds above his head. His lantern only provided him with a faint light that barely reached a few meters ahead, and as he moved it around it only allowed him to see rocks and patches of grass.

The eight-year-old shivered, holding up his head and looking on to the horizon, his eyes looking for the distant sea, nothing but a mass of inky blackness way beyond the rocks were he stood. The blue lights were still there, glowing in the liquid distance, much fainter now, but still clear. Fergus, his loyal Irish Wolfhound, sat besides him, rubbing his nose against his hand, sniffing him. Soren stroke the puppy´s head. Fergus was barely ten months old and it was already a big dog; usually having him around made Soren feel safe, but how could Fergus possibly help now? They were both lost and it was all hi fault.

"Sorry, Fergus..."

Just an hour before he was safe and sound in his bedroom at grandma´s house...But he had to be a dunderhead. His mother kept telling him that curiosity would be the death of him...She was right, wasn´t she? But he just couldn´t sleep...neither could Fergus...it was way past his bedtime and he just couldn´t sleep. He was just looking out the window, when he saw those creepy blue lights glowing in the distance....like they were calling him...He just wanted to see it! Just wanted to know what that was. He didn´t want to go all the way into the Burren...He snuck out through the window with Fergus, but all he wanted was to see it from the backyard. But he couldn´t see it from there so he jumped the fence...he wasn´t supposed to walk that far...But the lights just glowed like they were  alive...like there was something out there calling him...And he knew his way around town...He knew all of Doolin and surroundings, he went everywhere, visited everyboody, all the time, he should know how to make his way back home...

Why did he keep walking? He should have just gone back once the street was over...but he could still see the street lights behind him so he kept walking and now he couldn´t see the lights of the village anymore, and he had no idea what direction he was going... The lights he had been chasing were out in see...now he could see its glow reflecting over the black, ink-like waves, and even with his binoculars he couldn´t quite make up what was light and what was reflection.  Now Soren and Fergus were standing in the middle of nowhere, he couldn´t see anything, he didn´t know where to go, and he was cold.

"Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid...."

Soren took a deep breath and pulled Fergus gently by his collar as he started to walk again. He didn´t know what he was supposed to go, but he had to do something. Pointing his lantern forward he walked for a while, shrugging inside his coat, the sharp freezing  wind hitting him square in the face. He walked and walked, his lantern cutting small holes of light through the thick black veil of the night surrounding them. Fergus followed close, silently and obediently...It was so cold, so humid...Soren could feel it into his bones...

His eyes were getting used to the dark little by little...He could clearly make out the horizon where the different tones of colourless shadow of the earth and the sky met...And right onto that phantom-like line we could discern a  tall silhouette. He raised hi lantern and there it was, the stones piled onto each other in shape he was very familiar with..

"A dolmen! A dolmen, Fergus!!!"

His mother had shown him the many dolmens on the Burren many times...The huge stones piled oddly onto each other, like small houses standing in the middle of nowhere...She had told him they were portal tombs or stone tables, and nobody knew for sure why or by whom they were made, then went on to detail the many theories there were about them, all of which Soren found fascinating. But one thing was certain, those were sacred revered locations. For whatever reason, seeing a dolmen came as a relief...maybe he´d be safe under one of those.

"Let´s go, Fergus! C´mon!!!"

---------------------------------

"I´m going to check on Soren..."Severus raised his eyes from his book and watched as his wife stood from the bed to put on a pale green robe over her long nightgown, still finishing to tie her long golden-brown hair into a thick braid.

"He´s sound asleep, Evelyn..." he smiled. His wife over-protectiveness of their son could be quite  adorable sometimes, but more often then not it worried him. Soren was an only child and spoiled enough as it was. It got particularly worse when they were visiting Evelyn´s mother. Sophia was possibly the most permissive grandmother to have ever walked the Earth. Whenever holidays or vacations rolled in and they left Hogsmead to come to Doolin, Severus just knew Soren would have all the candy, toys, games and anything any child could ever hope for waiting for him. Sophia had even completely redecorated and re-furnished Paul´s old room to be Soren´s.

But Severus knew there was no point in trying to control Sophia...Soren was her only male grandchild and the only one who didn´t live across the street from her...Letting her pamper him whenever they came to Ireland to spend the holidays seemed benign enough. Of course she had gone a bit overboard with it...Last October, on Soren´s birthday she had given him a dog, not minding his and Evelyn´s protests at all...And not just a dog, but a bloody Irish Wolfhound. And simply because Soren had asked for one...To make matters worst, Sophia allowed the dog into the house and even let it sleep on Soren´s bed. It was hell to go back home after this and try to convince the boy that such loose "rules" only applied at grandma´s house. But still, coming from a grandmother such non-sense could be forgiven. Evelyn, however, was his mother, and as dedicated as she was to disciplining the lad, sometimes she just worried too much, protected him too much... Soren was boy after all, they were supposed to let him go a little...

"Sound asleep?..." she smirked "I wish Soren would fall asleep this quickly. Have you heard a single noise since we put him to bed?"

"He probably passed out...He has been running around like a headless chicken all day long. Didn´t your mother take him up to that farm by the road to visit the animals? They have been up there all day...He must be tired."

"And since when being tired has been an obstacle for Soren putting up a fight with bedtime, Severus?"

"Well...." Severus put his book on the nightstand. She did have a point. No matter how long his day had been, Soren never went to sleep without getting out of bed at least five times with the most pointless excuses and complaints, even jumping on their bed on occasion, only to be brought back to his bed over and over again, under protest, until sleep finally defeated him. "I guess I can´t argue with that..."

"I´ll just take a minute, love..." she smiled and left the room.

Sighing, Severus fluffed his pillow and turned off the lamp on his side of the bed. He was almost dozing off when Evelyn´s voice reached his ears in the form of sharp screams, calling out his name. Reaching for his wand into the nightstand drawer, he jumped out of bed and ran into Soren´s room.

"What happened?" He stormed in to find her standing in the middle of the room, walking back and forth like a caged lioness in the midst of undone bed covers and scattered toys and objects.

"He´s not here, Severus!!!!"

"What do you mean 'he´s not here'?"

"SOREN, SEVERUS!!! SOREN IS NOT HERE!!!!"

As his mother-in-law came up from behind him, demanding to know what the racket was all about, Severus walked over to the Soren´s undone bed and removed all the covers, bending over to look under it.

"I´ve already looked for him everywhere!!! Under the bed, inside the closet, into the toy chest!!! HE´S NOT HERE!!!" Evelyn was downright shrieking now.

"Evelyn, don´t be silly! He has to be here somewhere. Children don´t just vanish!!!" Sophia´s voice was filled with concern that betrayed the soothing words.

Severus turned to her, his face suddenly drained of all color "Evelyn is right, he´s not here!"

"The backyard, Severus!" Sophia yelped.

"I´ve already called him out the window, mam!" Evelyn kept walking in circles, running her fingers frantically through he hair, thick stands of her wavy hair escaping the confines of her braid.

"Check the backyard anyway!" the older woman insisted, with a tone of command that came to her all too easily.

"Calm down, Evelyn. I´m sure this is just a silly joke" Severus told her as he cast a lumos spell out the window. Under the bright light shooting from his wand all he could see was was Sophia´s well-groomed garden, the apple-tree from which hung an old swing Evelyn´s late father had made for his kids, that was now one of Soren´s favorite things, and the garden table and chairs. No sign of his son.

"Soren!!!Soren Prince Snape, get your arse here right now!!! You hear me, young man? SOREN!!!"

No answer.


------------------

Soren sat under the dolmen, hugging his knees and shivering. Fergus sat besides him, licking his face. Frowning, the boy tried to shake away the fear and find a solution for their seemingly hopeless situation. Then he noticed his lantern had started to flicker. The batteries were dying...

"What do we do now, Fergus? We need light..."Fergus simply looked at him, his big brown eyes focused and serious, as if he too was thinking of something to do. "Dad always says I can´t use magic when he´s not around...But this is an emergency, right?..."

Soren scratched his head. He couldn´t cast lumos without a wand...Then how would he get light? Fire!!! He could make fire!!! He had done it once. His mother almost died of fright, tough. Kept saying a bunch of things about uncle Paul. Soren didn´t understand, uncle Paul had been dead for so long.... She had made his dad swear they´d be careful with fire. Dad even told him he was forbidden to use fire spells unless he told him he could. But mummy worried too much. She didn´t even want him to climb the apple tree, just because he had broken his arm doing that last summer. Mothers always exaggerate...He could make fire...

"Mummy won´t know...I´m not telling, and neither are you right, Fergus?

Soren reached over to grab a few pebbles and a handful of grass and weeds. Making a small circle with the stones, he made a little pile with the plants and concentrated. He murmured an incantation, trying his best to use the same tone and pronunciation he had heard his father use a couple times... But all he got was a small spark. Shaking his head he repeated the procedure over and over again, with no result other than his rapidly building frustration and more insignificant sparks.

"I can´t..." Fergus nestled up against him "I know, I´m scared, too...But I can´t! Okay...I´ll try again...."

After a couple more frustrated attempts, there was a small explosion and a puff...and the weeds started to burn.

"GOT IT!!!"

Fergus rested his head on Soren´s lap. The boy hugged him to his chest.

"You´re cold right? Me too...It´s gonna get better..."

The small fire crept, the flames slowly rose and got stabler, licking golden-orange reflections that sneaked up the dolmen stones. Soren and Fergus hurdled together, letting the fire warm them up, while the thoughts inside the boy´s head rushed madly, his brain desperately looking for a way out of their predicament

--------------------

Severus changed hurriedly as Evelyn sat on the bed with her head between her hands.

"I´m going with you!" she sprung to her feet as he made it out of their bedroom and down the stairs.

"Absolutely not, Evelyn. You and your mother stay here in case Soren comes back."

"But, Severus..." she was on the verge of tears. How could he expect her to just sit at home with her boy lost out there, God only knew where, in the dark, in the cold, all alone, or worst... She couldn´t, she just couldn´t...

"No, Evelyn!!!"

"Severus, he needs me...it´s cold out there...it's dark..." she knew she wasn´t making any sense, but she could care less.

"What he needs now is for you to calm down. Please. He can´t be too far away, and Fergus is with him..."

"Fergus is a puppy!!!"

"He´s a ten-month old wolfhound...and Soren is no baby...He took a lantern, binoculars, a coat... Now, listen...I´m going to you sister´s house to get Paulo and Sorcha. Sorcha is an experienced hunting dog, she´ll find Soren in no time. Now I need you to stay here and wait for any news. Can you do that?"

"Severus..."Her tears were flowing freely now "What if he tries to use magic...he could get hurt..." Evelyn felt her heart beating on her throat, cold sweat running down her back...This couldn´t be happening again...Paul...the smell of burning flesh...the blood curdling screams...and her standing there...helpless...useless. Her husband stopped at the at the door, turned around and walked back to where she stood. He held her face into his hands, his deep dark eyes piercing into her golden brown ones, filled with quiet resolve.

"Evelyn...give you son some credit. I´ve been tutoring him myself...Soren has better control of magic than most Hogwarts students on their first year...It won´t happen again." Evelyn felt her mother´s voice come from behind her.

"Severus is right, Lyn..." Sophia walked up to her and put a gentle hand on her shoulder." God wouldn´t let that happen twice to our family."

Evelyn turned to her mother, amazed at how calm she was. Sophia looked at Severus and handled him one of Soren´s t-shirts.

"Here...Soren wore this today when we went to the farm...so Sorcha will know what to look for."

Severus grabbed the piece of clothing and stormed off, as Evelyn broke down onto her mother´s shoulder, sobbing.

-----------------------------

"We have to go back before they see we´re gone...Dad is gonna be so mad..."Soren knew he was going to be grounded for the rest of his life for this....and his mother would have a heart attack. He had to go back home. But how?

He looked around. A pale crescent moon had finally appeared through the clouds, but it didn´t help him much...The ghastly blue-white moonlight showered  the vastness of the Burren, creating strange shadows and odd forms. Soren usually wasn´t afraid of the dark nor was he afraid to be alone. But as he sat under the dolmen, holding on to Fergus´neck as the long shadows danced to the tune of the restless wind, he felt his chest going hollow and tears burning his eyes. He couldn´t remember ever feeling this lonely...he couldn´t remeber seeing darkness so deep. The patches of blackness untouched by the moonlight or the light of the fire looked like thick ink floating into the water, hiding eyes that watched him and mouths that laughed at him...

His mother often told him stories about the faerie-folk that stole children from their mothers, of púkas, the shape shifting goblins that could be harmful or benevolent on a whim, banshees roaming the lonesome roads keening to announce upcoming death their shrieks so strange and otherworldly the less alert might confuse them with moans of the wind...How many of those creatures could be looming within arm-reach right now? Muggles could sleep assured that these were not but silly fables and legends...But Soren knew better..Fergus licked his cheek, as if trying to chase away his fears.

"Do you think we can find a way back? No, you think we should stay here, right? Yeah...dad always says that when you get lost, you should stay  where you are and wait till people find you...But what if they don´t see we´re gone?..."Soren sighed "I´m not gonna cry...I´m not!!!" Soren wiped away his tears with the sleeve of his coat. "Mummy is right...I´m always getting myself in trouble... When we go back I promise I´m never gonna be nosy anymore...and I´m never gonna get us in trouble again, Fergus..."

Suddenly Fergus raised his head and his ears twitched....he looked up and stared into the distance. "What? Fergus, what´s wrong?!" The dog bolted to his feet and growled, then he walked around the fire and barked at the darkness ahead.

"Fergus, what´s going on?" Soren stood up and Fergus looked back at him, nervously, then resumed his crazed barking, assuming a defensive posture."Stop that, boy!!! Are you going bonkers?!" Soren walked over to where the dog stood and grabbed him by the collar, but the Fergus kept resisting and growling. Only then did the boy realised what had scared him...and his heart skipped a beat

-----------------

"How did that happen?!" Paulo asked as they made their way down the street under the faint light of the lampposts, following Sorcha´s brisk step.

"He must have climbed out the window..."

"Don´t you think anybody.."

"Don´t even say that Paulo..." Severus squeezed his wand convulsively. His brother-in-law had a point. Severus didn´t even want to think about it, but Paulo had a point. There were still too many rogue deatheaters running about...and they were recruiting...Forget about deatheaters... muggles...There were plenty psychotic muggles out there...He shook his head and kept going.

"Where the hell is she going?!" Severus cursed under his breath as the English Pointer made her way out of the cobbled part of town and wondered in the general direction of the Burren.

"I hope to God Soren is not out in the Burren...In a night like this..." Paulo muttered, as both followed Sorcha out of the village and into the deep darkness of the fields

-----------------

Soren couldn´t even blink. He just couldn´t believe his eyes... His whole body froze on the spot, all his muscles suddenly rendered incapable of any action, his brain failing to register what was standing there right in front of him.

What was it? He didn´t even know, he had never seen anything remotely similar. His mind tried frantically to tell him that it was an animal, just an animal, but Soren had seen enough animals in his life to know that something like that wasn´t supposed to exist.... Several feet away, standing on the line of the horizon that was a huge silhouette...something dog-like, or rather...wolf-like... But no dog or wolf could be that size...It was almost as big as the Angus bulls Soren had seen when his grandmother took him up to visit Mr. Callan´s farm. It was so big Soren could feel it´s breath sending subtle vibrations through the rocky ground, echoing in the wind like the deafening rumble of the waves hitting the rocks of Moher´s on a stormy day. He couldn´t make the details of the thing, as it was nothing but a silhouette, surrounded by a ghastly green halo...an electric green, that almost looked like a chemical copper flame...The same green as the eyes... Huge eyes staring straight at him...eyes that didn´t blink, just stared like two bright green torches floating in the dark...

"Dogs can smell fear..." he murmured to himself, hoping to God the monstrosity he had in front of him was indeed a dog.

Soren stood there, very still, holding the beast´s gaze. And like it was a game, the shadowy animal also stood ,just as still...Soren had the vivid impression that the thing was looking at him straight in the eye, looking at his face, analysing him, challenging him to confront it... Then it opened it´s mouth...a wide mouth full of blindingly white teeth, each almost as big as Soren´s thumb. It was like the thing was nothing but eyes and mouth...The green flames around it glowing more brightly, the sound of it´s breathing becoming somewhat more labored, as if it was sniffing the air around them. Soren could see the moonlight coming down on them, the shadows of the clouds above snaking on the ground making quick-chaging designs on the rocks, but nothing reflected on the beast. It was like it existed detached from its surroundings. Trying his best to regain some measure of logical thinking, Soren frantically looked into his mental memories of the Wizarding World fauna, hoping to find some explanation for that, but nothing that actually existed seemed to match the gigantic monster in front of him. He was at a complete loss of what to do, or even what to think.  
Soren just stood and stared, hoping it would vanish, or go away...Hoping he would wake up and be again in his bed...hoping he could just kick himself out of bed or scream for his mother to come and rescue him of this bad dream.  Fergus started to bark madly, as he he could simply scare that thing away from them... Soren held on to Fergus´collar, trying to keep as still as possible while doing so. But Fergus was already too big for him to control without putting up some considerable effort. He just kept on barking and growling, desperately.

"Fergus, shut up!" he begged, trying to keep his voice low.

The shadowy dog, however was completely unaffected by Fergus´noise. It simple stood where it was, gaping mouth open and eyes focused, breathing hard. Then it moved....

-----------------

"Here Evelyn, have some of this , it will calm you down a bit..." Caitlin sat next to her sister, gently holding her hand and offering a steaming cup of freshly made tea. Evelyn took the tea cup into her trembling hands, but couldn´t take a single sip of it.

Caitlin´s voice was nothing but a distant and faint noise, barely discernible into the cacophony that were Evelyn´s toughs right now. She didn´t even know how long ago it was that Severus had left to fetch Paulo and Sorcha. Minutes, hours, it made absolutely no difference. Any second that her baby boy was away from her and lost into the deep night outside felt like a century worth of agony.  She looked around and looked at all the women gathered around her. Her mother, her sister Caitlin, Caitlin´s two daughters, Alice and Lizzie. Nineteen-year-old Lizzie sat on the armchair twisting her fingers nervously and looking down at the carpet, her strawberry-blond hair almost covering her face, her big sister Alice, who had come from Hogsmeade with her and Severus to spend some time with her mother,  was pacing all around the room, as Sophia and Caitlin both sat each by one side of Evelyn trying their best to look calm.

"I don´t know why uncle Sev wouldn´t let me go with them..." Alice said, more to herself than to any one in particular

"Alice, please....you´ll make your aunt even more nervous. Sit down will you?" Her mother told her in a urgency filled tone

"I´m sorry, auntie Lyn...is just that...I could help them."

Evelyn watched her eldest niece as she sat down, frowning and tucking a lock of brown hair behind her ear. At only 22 years of age, Alice was already a responsible and self-sufficient adult. In a way Evelyn felt a like Alice was the daughter her and Severus had never had. Once she had entered Hogwarts Alice had indeed spent more time of her life with them than with her own mother, and Severus himself had lovingly groomed her into one of the finest potioneers currently in activity. Not surprisingly, Alice was deeply attached to Soren...he was a little brother to her in so many ways... It was only understandable that she´d be dismayed to not be out there helping her uncle and stepfather find him.

"It´s okay, Alice..." Evelyn sighed

"Alice, you heard what your uncle said" Caitlin told her daughter with a serious tone that didn´t match her usually cheerful voice "we don´t know what has happened just yet, so there has to be someone here just in case, and other than Severus you´re the only one with magical abilities. And he did say he´d send his patronus in case he needed you...So far no patronus, so settle down! "

"That´s right, he did" Lizzie beamed "If we haven´t seen a patronus yet, then things must not be so bad...maybe they´re coming back with Soren as we speak..."

Evelyn smiled and prayed Lizzie was right.

-----------------

The beast moved...or it looked like it...It made no noise, as if it was floating, it´s paws never really touching the rocky ground beneath them. Soren had to narrow his eyes to actually see it was walking, because with each movement the air around it seemed to get blurred and it´s greenish contours trembled like flames disturbed by the wind. The beast made its way forward, slowly, leisurely almost, the big green eyes never leaving Soren´s dark ones. Fergus´s was becoming more and more agitated. He placed himself in front of Soren and redoubled his frantic barking, assuming an aggressive posture, and Soren feared he might actually try to attack the monster...if that happened they were done. Holding on to Fergus collar with all his strength, Soren threw his body back, hoping his weight would hold the dog on his place.

"Let´s get away from here, Fergus! Let´s go!!"

Clumsy scrambling on his feet, Soren ran, followed by Fergus. Returning to his shelter under the Dolmen, he picked up his binoculars and threw them at the dark wolf-beast with all his might, hoping to distract it enough to have time to flee to safety. He missed. He looked around frantically for another weapon, but all he could see were pebbles and his lantern. Soren looked up...The green-haloed shadow was coming dangerously close, to the point he could see the fire reflecting on its eyes, but oddly failing to reflect on its seemingly-incorporeal body... He had no time to loose, picking up his lantern he tossed it with both his hands, with such strength he almost fell on his face. This time he couldn´t have missed it. Or could he?

"It went through?"

Soren´s eyes widened to the size of saucers. It had gone right though, barely disturbing the dark mass moving towards them. It had just went through it, like it would go through a curtain of smoke ...The thing didn´t just look incorporeal, it was incorporeal as well. Soren´s heart fell to his feet...Just WHAT was this thing, in the name of everything that´s holy? For what seemed like an eternity, Soren stood, as if his feet were bolted to the ground, watching through the flames as the creature walked towards him, never breaking stride....For a split second Soren felt his mind going blank, nothing but the sputtering of the fire and the creature heavy, thunderous breath filling his ears. In a last effort to disembarrass  himself of the imminent threat ahead, Soren focused his eyes onto the fiery tongues of the little bonfire.

Suddenly the fire rose up into an enormous flash, and like a living creature, projected itself forward with blinding speed, as if shooting from a flame-thrower, or coming from deep within the throat of a dragon. Soren didn´t even take the time to congratulate himself for the fireworks, as the flame came down to reveal the monster standing still, and unscathed.

"Let´s go!" Soren pulled Fergus with him and started to run with all the speed his legs allowed him. He could barely see where he was going...all he knew was that wherever that thing was he had to run the other way, and fast, until he couldn´t see it anymore. He went forward, never looking back, never stopping to take a breather, Fergus on his trail. After running blind for sometime he stopped, gasping for air, his knees giving in.

Only then he noticed odd silence around him.

He looked around and found himself once again engulfed in darkness. Looking over his shoulder he noticed the fire was nowhere to be seen...he had no idea how far he had run, but certainly he hadn´t made it any near town, for there was no lampposts to be seen...


-----------------

Dark. Pitch-black dark. There was all that could be seen ahead of them as they approached the Burren, and, having nothing but the light of his wand and a lantern to see into the blackness ahead, Severus only felt his tension grow. Obviously, Evelyn was correct in fearing the possibility that Soren would try to use magic...if he was somewhere out there in the Burren at the very least he´d try to conjure light, or fire....

"This can´t be right....He can´t be out there..." he murmured to himself

"Sorcha seems absolute sure that´s where he went...And she´s rarely wrong, if ever" Paulo told him quietly, as both followed Sorcha as she surely advanced towards the stone vastness ahead.

"Why would he wander away so far in the middle of the night?" Severus shook his head, refusing to accept the possibility that maybe Soren hadn´t gone there on his own.

"No idea.... But do calm down, Sevo...He´s out there and we´re going find him..."

Severus was about to reply when a bizarre sound coming from somewhere off into the distance ahead of them reached his ears. It sounded an awful lot like barking, but he couldn´t be sure, it was very unlike any dog he had ever heard, before. But it couldn´t be anything else.

"Did you hear that?"

"What?"

"Barking...Yes, it´s a dog barking."

"It has to be Fergus! Where is it coming from?"

"LUMOS MAXIMA!"

-----------------

Soren was finally catching his breath. He was immersed in darkness again, and this time without a lantern or a fire, but at least the monster was nowhere to be seen. Now if only he could figure out how close to the road he was, maybe he´d have a chance of making it back into the village. Or maybe he should stay there and try to create fire again. But it could be dangerous to just stay there, with that... that thing...still out there somewhere... Fergus sat by his side, almost as if waiting for an order or at least some sort of orientation from him. Soren patted the dog on the head.

"I have no idea, Fergus...."

He looked up, hoping that at least the moon would once again come out from behind the clouds so he could have some light, at least to see his surroundings. Fergus was starting to become restless again, sniffing the air around them. Soren tried to calm him down, but Fergus seemed to have become suddenly tense. Only then did the boy feel the thundering murmur reverberating across the ground. Immediately that now familiar heavy breathing echoed from behind them, and Soren spun around to see that very same green fiery halo, slowly approaching.

"Not you again... WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?"

Soren grabbed Fergus once more by his collar, as he begun to bark. Desperate tears filled the boy´s eyes and he couldn´t really do much other than hang on to Fergus, trying to keep him from attacking the green-eyed beast as it walked towards them with a steady pace. There was no point running, nowhere to hide, nothing to do, but stand there and wait for whatever that had to happen.

"GO AWAY!" he screamed, his voice broken by sobs

Then the thing stopped moving. It simply stood where it was, few  ten feet away from them, the glowing eyes staring intently into his for what felt like hours. Soren could hear nothing but the wind and his own laboured breath. Fergus had quieted down as well, maybe too afraid to keep confronting the much larger and more menacing adversary. Soren looked on as the wolf-beats sat down, much in the same manner a domestic dog would, and looked around, sniffing the air. The boy frowned...it was almost as if it was looking for something. After a while it started to stare at an indefinite direction off to Soren´s right. Soren followed its gaze but saw nothing.

"What the..."

Suddenly, the shadowy monster barked. A loud, otherworldly, resounding sound that echoed into the distance, like a gust of wind over the vastness of a desert. Oddly enough, it wasn´t an unsettling sound...Thanks to uncle Paulo, Soren knew enough about dogs to be able to differentiate an aggressive sound from other types of barking. And the sound that left that huge mouth full of teeth was certainly not menacing...it sounded more like he was calling out to someone or something, it was almost like a warning. Soren reached for Fergus, and noticed that he was oddly calm, merely sitting next to him, quiet.

Soren looked up again and blinked, sure that his eyes were playing some sort of trick on him. The massive creature was just not as solid looking as before...instead it was becoming translucent, the green halo around it going fainter and fainter, like the dying flame of a spent candle. Soren took a step forward and frowned, trying to take a better look, but the thing was rapidly fading away, almost liquefying itself into the dark. It only took a few seconds for it to completely disappear, leaving no trace of ever having existed. Soren barely had the time to breath a sigh of relief, when a blinding explosion of light made him turn to his right. Coming precisely from the same direction where the now-gone creature had called out to, he saw the unmistakable light of a lumos maxima spell.

"DAD!!!!" The boy screamed at the top of his lungs, running towards the two approaching men, which he immediately recognised as his father and uncle, with Fergus joyfully barking and following his lead.
Post scriptum and notes

Dogs are a very common theme in the folklore and legends of the British Isles and Ireland. They are remarkably common in Celtic mythology, being almost universally considered noble and brave animals, having often been associated with kings and warriors, which is particularly true for the Irish Wolfhound breed. The most famous reference to dogs in Celtic mythology probably comes from the story of the hero Cuchulainn, also known as the “Hound of Ulster” or or the “Hound of Culann”. However, the “Black dog”, a figure with frequent negative connotations, is also a common feature of the region´s folklore. It´s usually presented as a nocturnal apparition, generally supposed to be larger than a normal dog, and often with big glowing eyes. The “Black Dog” is commonly assumed to be a portent of death or a bad omen, sometimes said to be associated with the Devil himself.

The Púca, a goblin-like creature from Irish folklore, one of the many “species” of faerie-folk, possibly related to the English “Puck”, are also known to, sometimes, take on the form of a black dog. Púca (alternatively Pooka or Phouka) are shape shifters, with a penchant for assuming various animal forms (which are always black in colour), and can be seen as either benevolent or malevolent. According to mythologist Thomas Keightley "notions respecting it are very vague". He gives an account collected from a boy living near Killarney that "old people used to say that the Pookas (...) were wicked-minded, black-looking, bad things...that would come in the form of wild colts, with chains hanging about them." and that did much to harm travelers (Keightley 1880, Fairy Mythology, p.371). Irish writer and folklorist Lady Jane Wilde (better known nowadays for being Oscar Wilde´s mother), however, presents the Púca as being helpful to farmers (Wilde 1887, Ancient Tales, p.48), and in fact it was rather common for farmers to give them offerings. In some regions, the púca is spoken of with considerably more respect than fear; if treated with due deference, it may actually be beneficial to those who encounter it.


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Characters appearing in this story: [link] (courtesy of the adorable :iconameraucanablues:

You can see Fergus here: [link]


So, here´s one of Soren´s many solo adventures :D (Poor Severus and Evelyn have their hands full with this kid :giggle:). Maybe I´ll write some more in the future. :D

Severus Snape belongs to JK Rowling. Evelyn Snape, Soren Snape and the rest of the family all belong to me. (Except for Paulo who belongs to :iconameraucanablues:

Illustration: [link]
:icongryffgirl:
Gryffgirl Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2012
I have 11-year-old twin girls! If you ever want feedback, just note me! :) BTW, I love your signature (I adore Oscar Wilde)!
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:icongryffgirl:
Gryffgirl Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2012
Great story! Very frightening, and not just because of the Black Hound! As a mother I can say that whenever a kid disappears it is the most frightening feeling in the world. I like how you shifted the scenes between Soren and the adults--you have a really good way with words in expressing the fear and anxiety that people are feeling! I wonder if JKR had the Black Hound legend in mind when she wrote PoA. Harry's first encounter with the animagus Sirius is certainly eerie! :heart:
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:iconjosiecarioca:
JosieCarioca Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so very much for this comment. :hug: Is awesome to have a mom´s perspective on this story, since, not having any children myself, I can only imagine the kind of agony that must be to fear for their safety or not knowing where they are. :( I´m glad I could convey that feeling in my story. Thank you very much indeed for providing me some insight from a real parental point of view. :D You know, I´m almost certain Rowling included alements from the Black hound legend in her writings, since is such a big part of British folklore. And as you mentioned Sirius animagus is certainly telling. In a way I´ve always wanted to explore this more "dark" part of Celtic and British folklore, and Soren provides a great oportunity since him being a kid makes him so much closer to this sorta "fairy tale" like universe. Not to mention Soren is a huge adventurer and dog-person ;) :giggle:

(Btw, so cool that you´re a mom! How old is/are your kid(s)? Don´t mind me asking, but I just might come to you for some feedback on children-related matters next time I´m writing Soren´s childhood adventures ;P)
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