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Literature / The Dogs Before Time After

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The Dogs: Before Time After is a collection of short stories based in the same universe that The Dogs by Christopher Veidt is set in. Unlike the companion volume What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse, which are (usually) only faintly interconnected, Before Time After tells the story of the two families of the main characters from The Dogs novels, the Lynches and the Lightfoots, spanning a time of roughly four hundred years.

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Unlike the stories in What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse, there is more emphasis on dread, gloom, and tragedy, only occasionally lightened up by Veidt's predilection for weird, animalistic sexual stuff, although this does end up happening toward the end of the collection...in small doses. Owing to the stories' setting — Appalachia — each of the stories has a title taken from the King James Version of The Bible.

Presently, the stories are being posted piecemeal to Veidt's Tumblr.

Before Time After collects the following stories:

  • Her Judges Are Evening Wolves, which starts things off in the Colonial Period of Virginia, tracing the sordid, tragic — and supernatural — events that led to the Lightfoot dynasty's founding.
  • Hath A Familiar Spirit, set against the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, details the slow descent into insanity and drunkenness and beastlyness of Bligh's ancestor, also named Bligh, who Wolkee had also been watching over. But this Bligh feels there's something deeply wrong with him — like he belongs somewhere else...
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  • Be Not Conformed To This World takes place — using a Framing Device — in the same period as "Upriver" from What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse, but recounting a time a decade before, narrated by (the second) Bligh's mother: how she emerged from poverty to attend Marshall University and then met her future husband, Bligh's father, Junior Lynch. But along the way, she remembers her best friend back home who passed away...and the strange eye-like orange lights that seemed to watch her, everywhere she went...
  • The Cold of Snow In the Time of Harvest is a small, intimate Christmas Episode of sorts starring Andrew's parents, Archie and Maggie, and Bligh's father, Junior, as they reflect sadly on friends they've lost, mistakes they've made, and hope for a better future. The story is, in fact, a Lampshade Hanging on how both of their families seem to attract bizarre goings-on, and how normal people would really have to deal with that.
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  • Ask Now the Beasts takes place in 2007 back when Bligh was still human and describes Bligh on a routine squirrel-hunting trip that gets interrupted in an abrupt and traumatic way. Bligh trying to deal with this is the first hint for him that not is all as it appears to be in the world.
  • Thy Foot Shall Not Stumble gives A Day in the Limelight to a character only mentioned peripherally in Not Exactly Night, the first novel: Betsy Barnes, Andrew's ex. Similar to "The Cold of Snow," this story is a Deconstruction of sorts, this one on the romantic and sexual politics behind the One True Love trope — Betsy had long since figured out she wasn't going to be with Andrew because he was so obviously into Bligh without ever saying so.
  • Born For Adversity introduces Stephen, Andrew's brother, and gives us some good hints as to how his cruel, sadistic behavior is mostly all an act. We also discover that the plot of Not Exactly Night — and Bligh's harebrained scheme — was already known to Stephen because Bligh swore him to secrecy after Pappy died. Finally, there are two huge reveals which will have major consequences, later on: Stephen can communicate with dogs...and he can't die from even the most traumatic of wounds, being functionally immortal.
  • Before Thou Camest Forth, which provides tons of Backstory and context to how the character Bligh Lynch from The Dogs became the way he did, narrated by his ever-watchful centuries-old guardian, Wolkee af Wurdan, the last remaining Dogfolk tribesman in his native West Virginia. Or so it appears — as the story reveals.
  • Maketh the Day Dark, a companion piece to the above, told from Bligh's perspective before he sets off for Florida, setting the events of The Dogs in motion — a Grand Finale of sorts.


Before Time After contains examples of:

  • Appropriated Appellation: As revealed in "Her Judges Are Evening Wolves," this is how Nicholas Tucker's son, Nicky, founds the Lightfoot dynasty:
    When Harvey, the governor against whom the wrath of his countrymen was freshly roiling, heard of Nicholas Tucker's cowardice into the west, he sneered that though Tucker had not a heavy heart of iron he had at least a swift, light foot – and much to his despair this was a moniker Nicholas Tucker could never shake off. But when his son, also named Nicholas although history would know him by the diminutive, Nicky, moved with General Wood out past the New River…he would take the affixed title and reclaim it, to save his new American family face.
  • Badass Grandpa: Gustavus Lynch a.k.a. Pappy, the character Bligh's grandfather, was a travelling preacher and decorated Korean War hero.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: An Offscreen Moment of Awesome as Wanata is the only one to witness it and live, but "Before Thou Camest Forth" briefly describes the Duel to the Death between Wurdan, the last chief of the Dogfolk (Wolkee and Wanata's mother and therefore Bligh's direct ancestor) and Nicholas Lightfoot, the founder of the Lightfoot dynasty and therefore Andrew's direct ancestor:
    …he did not see, as Wanata did, unblinking, without fear, expecting her doom to come at any second, the fight to the death the two of them grappled in, their mother's great plumed tail bristling with fury, teeth bared and claws red with the Tyrant-Coward's blood, his bow thrown away in hand-to-hand combat, with the Tyrant-Coward's own sword awesomely aflame with the strange substance he had doused it with to make him a figure of true devilry.
  • Been There, Shaped History: The first Bligh Lynch (from the story "Hath A Familiar Spirit") was one of the delegates to the Wheeling Convention, essentially a founding father of West Virginia by helping to create the State of Kanawha, which became West Virginia in 1863.
  • Big, Friendly Dog: Duke, Bligh's oversized wolfhound-like dog, is adored by everyone. Except for the fact that he's not really a dog, he's a sentient and sapient creature, part of the Dogfolk tribe, and he's Wolkee's son, real name Wanral, which makes him technically Bligh's cousin.
  • Broken Masquerade: A few people, like Archibald Lightfoot (Andrew's dad), his account Papa Sandoro, and Bligh's grandfather Pappy seem to suspect something is terribly amiss in the world; the only one who confirms it and doesn't vanish or die as a result is Bligh, which sets up the plot of The Dogs novels.
  • Cool Old Guy: Pappy, Bligh's grandfather, who gets a starring role in "Ask Now the Beasts."
    • Papa Sandoro, Archibald Lightfoot's accountant and confidante, gets shades of this.
  • The Darkness Gazes Back: The central plot of "Be Not Conformed To This World" and what eventually drives Bligh's ancestor, the elder Bligh insane.
  • Don't Go in the Woods: Invoked almost word for word by Pappy, whose warning carries over into The Dogs novels as well:
    "Ain't tellin what ye find in em woods."
  • Everyone Can See It
  • Family Eye Resemblance
  • Generation Xerox: Andrew Lightfoot is said to look and act very much like his grandfather, who was also deeply compassionate and just. Bligh Lynch is outright described as being a younger, near-identical version of his own grandfather, Pappy.
  • Great Offscreen War: Although Wolkee does not witness it because his sister Wanata forcibly hides him away, thus saving his life, Nicholas Lightfoot, sometime in the 1660's launched a terrible and devastating campaign against the Dogfolk tribe with his Native American allies who, though no friend to the Lightfoot dynasty, hated and feared the Dogfolk even more.
  • Homosexual Reproduction: The implications of this are most fully explored in Wolkee's Dogfolk tribe before Nicholas Lightfoot massacred them all. To wit: females seemed near-completely human except unusually sharp teeth, and could theoretically intermarry and interbreed with humans freely, having ninety-nine percent human offspring with latent Dogfolk genes...although in practice this only happened once. Males of the Dogfolk will, on the other hand, marry each other and become pregnant with offspring. These couplings resulted in either another male like them (canine below the waist, furry ears, sharpened eyeteeth), a female, or male dog-like creatures that, to the untrained eye, looked like big Irish Wolfhounds. Females were put in positions of high power and governance, because males were considered to be too much into sex and violence to be trusted with the delicate task of statecraft.
  • Interspecies Romance: The union of Patrick Lynch and Wanata, Wolkee's twin sister, creates an unbroken line of males that end with Bligh. This is only possible because, as described below, female Dogfolk actually look near-totally human.
  • In the Blood: Lynch, his descendant Pappy, and his grandson Bligh, are all matrilineally descended from the last chief of the Dogfolk. There is a prophecy by the tribe's shamans that a great king will arise and bring their tribe back from the brink — which Bligh begins to fulfill in The Dogs novels.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: We never find out just what was wrong with Shane from "Be Not Conformed To This World" but whatever it was, it killed him dead. Only not really at all.
  • The Lost Woods: A consistent theme, near-best summed up this way from "Ask Now the Beasts":
    The entrance to the woods was a doorway to somewhere else, one false step across the creek and into another realm, you'd stumble.
  • Manly Men Can Hunt: Played with in "Ask Now the Beasts": Bligh has been instructed to hunt squirrels for he and his grandfather's dinner the following night, because Pappy wants Bligh to learn survival skills and be self-sufficient. Although Bligh is a natural at it, it leads to this funny snippet:
    Pappy was convinced of the rightness of his positions and it was really hard to argue with him because, incidentally, he was almost never wrong…but goddam, couldn't they just order a pizza?
  • Mountain Man: Played straight with Bligh's oldest ancestor, Patrick Lynch, but subverted with Patrick's son, also named Bligh, in "Hath A Familiar Spirit." It's part of the angst that builds up inside him leading to his breakdown and to his transformation into the Black Beast.
    • Played straight again with Bligh's grandfather, Pappy, and nearly Bligh himself, before he decides to move.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: There are constant hints, but nothing concrete, that all the animals that surround Ohawas' house were once human. Who were they, and how did they get there?
    • The way that the first Bligh Lynch slowly breaks down is played this way. As is Archibald Lightfoot.
  • Ominous Owl: Taken Up to Eleven in "Ask Now the Beasts." The persistent motif of the barred owl call ("Who cooks for you? Who cooks for all!") makes it all the more effective.
  • Parental Substitute: Although this greatly crosses over with The Dogs novels, the relationship between the orphaned Bligh and his grandfather Pappy is meant to be strongly paternal and loving.
  • Porn with Plot: Far less than the novels, but occasionally present.
  • Rape and Revenge: The Shocking Swerve to how "Her Judges Are Evening Wolves" plays out.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Dogfolk are known to be extremely long-lived — several centuries if they are healthy enough.
    • There's an implication that Ohawas from "Her Judges Are Evening Wolves" is far, far older than she appears.
  • Strong Family Resemblance
  • Thank Your Prey: Bligh does this to the squirrels he hunts, as Pappy taught him how to, in "Ask Now the Beasts."
  • Totally Not a Werewolf: Descriptions of Wolkee and Bligh, and their relative Lynch, a.k.a. the Black Beast, and his cousin Ricky Jack would point to him a wolf-human hybrid or, even, a straight werewolf — but he's actually a Dogfolk, closer to Celtic dog breeds like Irish Wolfhounds and Scottish Deerhounds.
  • Was Once a Man: Used potently in "Her Judges Are Evening Wolves."
  • Wolf Man: Played with in the ultimate fate of Andrew Tucker, but he is described as being horribly deformed and asymmetrical. His discovery by his brother leads to a Mercy Kill.
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