That Bastard Coyote

Warning, there's some fairly unpleasant imagery right from the beginning of this tale, reader discretion is advised.

rating: +11+x

Geoffrey Charlton, unaccustomed to quadrupedal motion, staggered onto the track and braced for the approaching train. Calm down, it'll all be over in but a second, he reassured himself, you know full well the only alternative is containment. Charlton felt a sickening crunch as the cowcatcher passed over him. He watched as hundreds of axles squeaked on their journals overhead, awaiting a release that he knew on some level would never come. That bastard Coyote wouldn't even allow me the release of death, thought Charlton, mangled though very much alive.

As he lay mutilated and in agony beneath the scorching Nevada sun, he gradually began to regain movement. At least the Coyote has let me heal. When he finally regained the strength to raise his head, he saw two men, one armed, in orange jackets approaching with a trolley.

"Aww fuck, he's still alive," said the younger man.

"Don't worry, it'll be over for him soon enough," said the elder, as he chambered a round.

The third round blinded him.

"Dude, he's still breathin'!" exclaimed the younger man.

"Jesus," said the elder as he emptied the remainder of the magazine into Charlton.

Charlton's yelping became a consistent whine.

"Aww geez, we've only made this poor fucker worse!"

I feel like the subject of one of my own interrogations.

"Throw him on the trolley, we'll find something to do with him. Or perhaps do him with."

All Charlton heard for the next three hours was the sound of the trolley scraping the rails and the two men occasionally retching, presumably at the sight of him. Eventually, he heard a voice he recognised as belonging to the younger man saying "I bet no one in the bar is going to believe that a dog took seven 9 mils', three to the head."

When Charlton's vision finally returned to him, he found himself in the bed of a stationary Ford pickup truck parked outside of a small house with a veranda. The train inflicted trauma had healed by this point and he was once more mobile. He clumsily threw himself over the tailgate and landed awkwardly. A youthful "Holy Shit!" emanated from behind the screen door.

"God damn, that bastard won't quit. I'm takin' him down the bar."

Charlton decided to spare himself the hassle and embarrassment of resistance and willingly accepted a collar. The youth kindly allowed Charlton to keep his own hobbling pace. The moment they walked in the door, Charlton recognised Dr. Justin Liddle, a Site-19 commuter. This yank youth had better have some shred of discretion.

"Me 'n' Ron found this little bastard lyin' between the tracks after gettin' hit by a GP9 'n' Ron tried to put him down with a full mag of 9 mils'."

Charlton tensed up in fear.

"Pity there ain't a vet round these parts," said the bartender, "but he looks like a survivor."

"Yeah, he does," replied Liddle, as he finished his drink and left.

Charlton breathed a sigh of relief. I have suffered a fate worse than death but I've avoided a fate worse than immortality.

Charlton's relief turned to sheer, unbridled terror as Liddle sauntered back in with an amnestic aerosol and a mask.

This is penance.

Charlton knew better than to resist the might of the Foundation; he went limp as Liddle scooped him up and carried him to his car. The soft leather seats of his Ford Customline made a nice change from the gauging trolley and the truck bed.

"Woof-woof-woof, woof… woof… woof…, woof-woof-woof," barked Charlton.

"Bark twice for yes, once for no," announced Liddle, "Do you understand me?"


"Was that actually Morse code?"


"Was that man you were with your owner?"


Liddle pulled onto the hard shoulder.

"Were you always a dog?"


"Were you a person?"


"Alright, what's your name? I'll call out the alphabet and you'll bark when I get to the right letter."

It took a mere three letters before Liddle asked "Are you Geoffrey Charlton?"


"Jesus, fucking look at you. Did that Coyote do this to you?"


"Why didn't you come to the Foundation?"

Charlton paused as he tried to come up with a reason and a means to convey it to Liddle.

"Was it because you didn't want to become an SCP?" asked Liddle.

Charlton put his head down and barked twice.

"Can't say I blame you, rules are rules for a reason though Geoff."

For the first time in his half-century career, Charlton began to question that reason.

"Hello Mr. Charlton, my name is Samantha Martin and I'll be dealing with your day to day needs, here's a stick and a Selectric typewriter. Type up your list and I'll be back in two hours to check it."

My Requests

A Television -Denied, luxury item.

Regular meals -Denied, you're immortal, waste of resources.

Library access -Granted, you may visit the Site-19 library once per week.

Continued Foundation employment -Granted, provided we can find a role that fits your restrictions.

Subscriptions to the Washington Post and The Guardian Denied, local papers only.

Charlton read the page and sighed. This is a karmic re-balance. For Brocton, for Cork, for Cornwall, for Three Portlands, for the countless other incidents and, of course, for Carcosa.

He heard the door open behind him. "Hello Charlton, I'm Dr. Thomas Windsor, remember me?" asked a spiteful voice, "Today I'll be documenting your regenerative abilities as thoroughly as possible. Mark my words."

I deserve this.

Having finally fully recovered from his run in with Windsor, an unfamiliar man wearing a boiler suit sauntered into his containment cell. He could hear a train horn bellow in the distance.

"Hey, I've got a job for somethin' like you."

"What's in it for me?" typed Charlton, over a period of two minutes.

"A radio, and hurry up, it's three-thirty and it needs to be done by four." replied the awestruck D-class workman.

Could this be fieldwork? Perhaps infiltration? Charlton couldn't contain his excitement.

Charlton gleefully trotted alongside the workman to an access hatch.

"Right, somethin' crawled into this 'ere water tank and died blockin' the ball cock."

Perhaps this penance extends to my employment at the Foundation as much as my own personal atrocities.

Charlton reluctantly followed the order and was rewarded with a crystal radio, of the kind given away free with newspapers. I suppose, in a way, it's fortunate for me that dogs have better hearing than people.

I must atone for more than just my own crimes.

"Hey, I'm Dr. Lyanna Catesby," said the stranger, peering at a clipboard, "Did the Coyote give you a dog's sense of smell too?"

"Woof-woof," barked Charlton, looking up from a copy of The Silmarillion.

"Good, some D-class just booked it into the desert and we'd rather not have to wait for actual sniffer dogs."

Peering at a clock he had earned clearing some mould from a ventilation duct, Charlton saw an opportunity. He picked up the D-class' scent leading south toward an interstate but instead led Catesby north.

"He must've hopped a train," said Catesby.

"Woof-woof," replied Charlton.

Before coming within sight of the railway line, Charlton turned and tore Catesby's walkie-talkie from her belt. In response, she twisted his leash around his neck and began to strangle him. Good luck strangling an immortal. He responded in turn by biting the hand holding the leash. After severing two fingers, Charlton wrenched free and bit through the her left Achilles tendon. She kicked him twice in the head but by now he was well accustomed to pain and severed her right Achilles in turn. Leaving his handler to crawl back to Site-19, he made his way to the track.

He came to a rocky overhang overlooking the track and dropped the walkie-talkie onto the rails. It was not long before the daily train he'd become so accustomed to listening to appeared on the horizon. As it passed, he leapt from his overhang and landed on the roof of a boxcar. At a passing loop, he rolled about in a hopper filled with cinnamon to mask his scent before leaping onto an intermodal train travelling back in the direction of Site-19. He cantered along the tops of the containers until he found one bound for New York. To Backdoor Soho and The Serpent's Hand.

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