Inside the illustration.

Though I have included a few illustrations from The Dreamers’ Atlas on my website, I have not provided a lot of reference to the actual text from whence each illustration came. And so today I’d like to share  a little more about one of those illustrations: the Horror Hound. The main character’s first encounter with the hounds is on a roof top of a tall office building, where he has landed after just learning to fly.

I counted no less than seven black silhouettes on the rooftop, some fifteen yards away. They were massive, doglike beasts at least four foot tall from paw to shoulder. They hissed and whispered to one another. It sounded like the shuffling of feet across tile punctuated by an occasional whining choke sound, like a dog would make if you had just rammed a fork down its throat.

The air was sick with fear, like the beasts had been soaked in it. It was so tangible I could taste copper. My gut instinct was to curl up in a fetal position and pretend that they weren’t there, like I had done in countless nightmares: lay there in that position until my mind couldn’t take it anymore and woke my body up.


As the hounds moved closer, I was able to get a better look at them. They were like shadows that somehow reflected the light of the moon from the surface of their bodies and I imagined that on a moonless night, they would be nearly invisible. Their eyes blinked on and off as white sparks. Their hides had a feint but glistening sheen that rippled with their movement, like tar running down the side of a wall. They were gaunt; I caught glimpses of their ribs and their heads looked like skulls wrapped in black latex.

My most frequent childhood nightmare is being hunted by black dogs. I don’t know where that fear came from, but before I even sat down to write the first draft of the book I knew the hounds would have a role. As dangerous as they are, these creatures soon become the least of Danny’s worries.

Published in: on January 15, 2010 at 7:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

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