Silas has been a nervous wreck, his wings are constantly, yet subtly, fluttering and he’s making the entire house edgy. He’s tossed salt over his shoulder, spit, and lit a candle in the garden.

You see, Silas ran across a Barghest last night.

A Barghest is a dog-like goblin said to portend misfortune or even death. It has been described as monstrous, unspeakably large, and is said to have enormous teeth and claws. Some say if you see the dog, you will die soon after the encounter, though most people agree that you will just enjoy terrible misfortune.

The word is said to have originated sometime between 1725 and 1735 (most likely from someone seeing said creature and shrieking like a maniac). An Old English word, it’s a combination, apparently, of bar(row) + ghest or gaest, a variant of ghost.

Whatever the origin, Silas says he saw it across the street when he came back from his run through Prospect Park (he runs at night, since his eyes are so sensitive to daylight) and he’s not been the same since. I’m not sure what Silas considers a great misfortune; some might consider breaking the last egg a great misfortune, though I think Silas is worried about something more sinister. Losing a limb or the like.

I just wish he’d snapped a photograph. Or sketched a quick picture for me. I’ve never seen a barghest.


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