Outside of the fake castle wall of the pub the sounds of crunching and the occasional growls of play at the removal of flesh and sinew from bones, and the plaintive sounding but victorious barks were persisting. The dogs were settling in for a long meal and, as dogs do, were intending on consuming every last piece of every last person. Now, more than ever in their lives at least, it was true that they did not know where their next meal was coming from, so this one was going to count.

The larger dogs, the purpose-bred attack dogs, were using their massive yellow teeth and smashing their way through femurs, ribs and pelvises, whilst the smaller dogs were gleefully snaffling up mouthful after mouthful of flesh and muscle that dropped from the large hunks of meat hanging from the jaws of their larger cousins. The difference between the smallest and largest animal was reduced at this stage to the sheer volume of human leg or stomach flesh in the mouth of each dog.

There was no barking, threatening growling, snarling or bristling, much less any face-offs or fighting. The pack was intact and functioning as a collective, like the first packs of wolves, coyotes or jackals. The smallest and sharpest dogs acting as alerts, intuiting the dangers and the opportunities, the largest fulfilling the roles of trackers, hunters and disembowlers. The disemboweling, particularly, had been the bit that had hit Mark the worst. He had been expecting an attacking of legs, and throats even, and had been grimly unable to look away from the closing in of the animals onto his and Father’s prospective assailants. True, the mob were clearly after them as a late supper, but seeing the inevitable doom enclosing the unwitting idiots was a pitiful moment.

When the shock of the initial attack from the two German Shepherds had passed, and the rest of the dogs closed in, it was all very fast and bloody. The jumping up, the leaping at hands and faces, the common activity of dogs that Mark could drag out of his memory, didn’t happen. Instead large animals, with long legs, lowered heads and open mouths moved soundlessly into the group of stunned and frightened people, like sharks in a few feet of water moving gracefully and efficiently among the shins of startled swimmers.Without any barks or snaps of warning they seemed to simply reach up and grab the nearest person. They did it not around the wrists and arms, but around the inner thighs and stomachs, pulling the mob down and tearing open the thin skin and weak muscles. Torsos revealed innards which spilled their mass and fluids and then opened up as cavities for the dogs to bury their heads within and begin to empty, pulling pieces out and stepping back to chew and gulp, allowing the next nearest, and next size down, dog to take their turn.

The men were nearly all alive when this happened. Only they screamed. The women were not calm, but they did not scream. They were angry. Scared but angry and they shouted until they were closed off by bites to the face.

From his position Father had been well placed to avoid seeing any of what was going to go down outside but, with his attention fixed on the progress of this clearly well thought out, anticipated and executed plan, he had clearly had no intention of missing anything. It was obvious that, whatever else he decided to do, he would be able to hear what was going on but Father had not moved from his position up high on the parapet. It was, literally, the best seat in the house for such an event and, it was clear to Mark, could not have been planned better. He thought about how to broach the subject but, before even needing to, Father spoke up first.