This is a very rough draft of the short story I wrote for my British literature class. It is a story of Pilot, Edward Rochester’s canine companion in Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Enjoy!
Sprinting and sniffing, the brothers search for elk with the steadfast desire to please Master. Angus runs swiftly while Kieran stumbles behind. Kieran knows that Master is often displeased with his skill compared to his brother’s. Hunting comes more naturally to Angus; he hunts with elite focus and can catch prey in a matter of minutes.
“Angus has a gift” Kieran remembers Master saying to the butcher after last week’s hunt, “this dog is a gem destined for greatness. His brother, on the other hand, well, he was the runt of the litter. He can’t seem to please the good Lord even if he wanted to.”
Kieran knows that master only keeps him for the sake of Angus. Once, when Master noticed that Kieran’s hunting skills were not improving, he took Angus hunting alone, but Angus refused to leave without Kieran. The two brothers had been inseparable since puppyhood. They were adopted together by Master, and they have not left each other’s side. The two were furthest apart when Angus ran ahead of Kieran during hunts, but Kieran knows the comfort Angus has when he follows. However, this knowledge does not take away Kieran’s feeling of inferiority. During training, Angus simply picked up faster than Kieran. That will never change. No matter how hard Kieran tries, he cannot please his Master like Angus does. Everyday, Kieran cannot help but feel resentment growing in his heart.
As the day’s hunt goes on, Kieran continues to stumble over rocks and roots, finding it more and more difficult to catch up to his brother. Suddenly Kieran hears Master shout for joy. Angus must have made the first catch. “That’s my boy, Angus!” shouts Master as he gathers up the fresh kill, “Kieran, you prig, catch up boy!” He begrudgingly catches up, greeted by the stench of a dying elk. The brothers walk back with Master and their prize in tow.
At home, Angus and Kieran rest by the fireplace. Angus lays his head on his brother’s neck and falls asleep. Kieran remembers that, regardless of his weaknesses, his brother needs him. To Angus, Kieran is his most precious companion. No number of hunted elk nor any praise from Master could change their bond. Kieran fills with warming comfort, and he falls asleep next to his brother.
The morning of the next hunt begins like any other. The white-furred Angus hunts fiercely while his brother falls behind. The obstacles in Kieran’s way seem harder to overcome than usual. Kieran’s tiring muscles struggle more and more to overcome every branch and pebble he comes across. Meanwhile, Angus jumps over each obstacle far better than the last. Kieran notices Angus’s determination and concludes that his brother detects the next unfortunate elk. Moments later, a low, gurgling growl catches Kieran’s ear. Kieran can tell that this growl did not sound like a growl from his brother, nor anyone of their kind. Kieran stops to observe his surroundings. At a far distance away, Kieran starts to see a dark, amorphous shape become clearer, approaching Angus’s direction. However, Angus’s focus and determination prevents him from noticing the approaching threat.
Fear and hesitation overcome Kieran’s body. Is it possible to catch up to Angus at this point? Despite his slowness, his clumsiness, his fear? Kieran begins to cry out loudly to Angus; maybe his brother will notice his pleas, but Angus proceeds in his direction. Meanwhile, Kieran notices that the dark, growling creature is getting closer to Angus. The shape is clear enough now that Kieran can see white foam dripping from the mouth of a monstrous, hound-like creature. Kieran’s racing heart does not match up with the rest of his body, which remains stunned. Kieran trusts in Angus’s skills. “Angus can fight this one off,” Kieran thinks to himself. Eventually, Angus crossed paths with the creature. Kieran watched Angus collide with the rabid beast and fight for his life.
Angus puts up a good fight. The two continue to wrestle and growl until the creature got his mouth around Angus’s neck. Kieran heard a high-pitched wail from his brother, and his heart sank. Then, a gunshot went off and the beast fell to the ground. Master approaches the scene, speeding right past Kieran to Angus and the creature. Kieran quietly follows Master, avoiding attention at all costs. The creature lies on the ground whining, foam still dripping out of his mouth. Master stepped on the struggling beast’s neck and broke it. “Damn wolves,” Master mumbles under his shaking breath. Angus also lies on the ground, whimpering and twitching. The only damage Angus received from the fight was a deep bite on his neck; the red blood from his wound taints his white fur. Master lifts Angus and carries him back home. Kieran can hear Angus’s whining and suffering throughout the long walk back, but he has a sense of relief that his brother survived the attack.
In the shed by the house, Kieran watches Master lay Angus on a table. He cleans Angus’s wound and wraps a cloth around his neck. With tears dripping off of Master’s eyes, he says a prayer over Angus and goes back into the house, completely ignoring Kieran. Kieran refuses to leave Angus’s side. Guilt now drives Kieran’s every action and thought. Kieran could have saved his brother. If Kieran were faster and stronger, Angus would not be where he is. Hours passed before Angus gained consciousness. Kieran’s tail wags uncontrollably as he notices his brother begin to move. Maybe it’s not too late, Kieran hopes. Angus attempts to stand on the table he was resting on, but his muscles are too weak to hold him up. He collapses again with his muscles spasming out of control. Angus starts to breathe heavily, and foam begins to form at his mouth. Kieran begins to bark wildly, hoping master would return to the shed. Master runs in and sees Angus’s state. Master says no words, but tears did not stop streaming down his face. He walks over to the rifle hanging on the wall and loads it. Kieran is once again paralyzed. Perhaps Master will kill him for not protecting Angus, Kieran thinks. Kieran, however, understands. He deserves the death coming to him. He has proved himself absolutely useless to everyone, even his own brother.
The rifle fires, and Angus’s whining stops. Silence fills the shed. Kieran sits still in the corner, staring at the table where Angus lies. “Lord be with you,” Master whispers, standing over Angus, leaning the gun against the table. Walking solemnly, Master leaves the shed. Kieran hesitantly approaches the table. He observes the newest wound on Angus’s chest, round with a dark red center. Blood leaks out of the wound forms into a pool on the table. Angus’s eyes remain open, but they are filled with a vast emptiness. Kieran jumps on the table, standing over Angus. He paws at Angus, whining and barking restlessly, hoping his brother would awake at any moment. Kieran pleads to exhaustion, and then collapses over his brother. He closes his eyes to see only darkness before him, imagining that his future will look no different.
Kieran now lies in a crate on a boat heading towards England. With Angus gone, Master officially had no use for him. The day after Angus’s passing, Master put out an add in the paper looking to sell a dog “with limited skill but good character.” A week later, Master received a letter interested in purchasing him for five pounds. Before much time passed, Master had him loaded on a ship and sent away.
A note hangs on Kieran’s crate marked with the name of his new master. The boat docks shortly after boarding, and the men working on the ship eventually unload Kieran and his crate. Kieran sees a small family standing on the deck; a man, a woman, and a small girl. Kieran notices that this family showed great amounts of excitement as the men carried his crate of the boat. The man approaches a man working on the boat, pointing to Kieran, he says that Kieran is their package, and the worker hands over the crate. The man gets help carrying the crate over to a carriage, where Kieran will stay in a dark compartment for the next few hours.
Light finally sheds on Kieran as the door to the carriage compartment opens. Kieran starts to wag his tail for the first time in weeks. He can smell the fresh air filling his lungs. The man opens the crate and Kieran jumps out of the crate and carriage, stepping foot on the land of his new home. Panting and running in circles, Kieran cannot stop himself from feeling overjoyed with his new beginning. Due to his increasing hunger, however, Kieran calms down quickly. Kieran starts to observe his new surroundings. He notices the vast fields of crops behind the small cottage before him. The man invites him inside.
As Kieran walks in the cottage, he sees the woman and young girls that were standing at the dock when he arrived. The woman tries to keep a hold of the little girl, but the young girl manages to escape her mother’s embrace and runs up to Kieran. Kieran is paralyzed. He had never been approached by such a being in his life. She appears as a human, but her height matches him at eye level. He noticed a smile upon little girl’s face. As she starts to reach her arm out to him, he flinches, not being able remember the last time someone caressed him. The girl remains persistent, and Kieran eventually allows her to touch him. Her hand gently runs down his fur, stroking him from his head to his backside. This sensation is so foreign to him, but he begins to feel his heart beating with a new kind of warmth.
“What’ll his name be, Emma?” asks the man. The little starts to giggle as she continues to pet Kieran. She ponders for a short period of time before she shouts out the name, “Goliath!” Her face lights up as she calls out his name, “Goliath! Goliath! Goliath!” The man and woman laugh and smile as well, looking at Emma with adoration. Kieran, on the other hand, has not clue what or who Goliath is. The Girl will not stop shouting the name “Goliath.” She gives him a big hug and says, “I love you, Goliath.” During her embrace, Kieran realizes she is talking to him. His heart again fills with joy as he accepts his new identity.
The next morning, Goliath wakes up at the foot of The Girl’s bed. Despite the rays of light shining through her window, his new companion still rests peacefully. Goliath comes around to the side of her bed and puts his cold nose on her cheek. She wakes up giggling and smiling. “Oh, Goliath!” she says as she puts her arms around his neck. Her embrace lasts a while until The Woman walks into the room. “It’s time to eat your breakfast, Emma,” she says calmly with a hint of assertiveness in her voice. The Girl gets up and moves into the room where The Man and The Woman are sitting at a table. Goliath finds a place in the corner of that room to sit and watch their meal proceed.
“Would you like to help me in the barn this morning, Emma?” The Man asks as The Girl joins the table.
“Can Goliath come?” she responds.
“No, my love. Them kinds of dogs have hunting instincts. I am afraid he might eat up all the chickens and goats.”
The Girl would not react with contemptment towards her father. For she knew, even at a young age, that without the money made from the animals and the plants, she would not even get to have Goliath in the first place.
Before The Man and The Girl leave for barn, The Man sets a bowl of beef stew in front of Goliath. “Figured you might be hungry,” he says to him. Goliath immediately began to gorge himself. He had forgotten how hungry he was coming off the boat the previous day. The joy of his new companion numbed his hunger. His heart had not felt so full since he last rested with Angus by the fireplace. Goliath continued to eat until he could lick the bowl clean. Once his food had gone, he laid his head down and began to drift into sleep.
The glow of the fireplace lights the room, and he could feel breathing next to him. He turns around to notice a pile of white fur lying next to him. Angus. He stands up to look down at Angus, trying to wake him by nudging him with his nose and prodding at him with his paw. Angus does not move. Gunshots go off, and the floor begins to seep with blood. “Kieran!” He hears. “Kieran, you useless bloke. Where are you?” More gunshots. “Catch up you filthy prig!” The fire from the fireplace expands and the room gets warmer and warmer. He watches the flames swallow Angus, then the fire begins engulf around him. He collapses, and lets the fire consume him.
“Goliath!” He opens his eyes. “Silly Goliath! Are you dreaming?” says The Girl as she stands over him. “I betcha he’s dreaming about chasing those goats and chickens!” says The Man who was standing behind her. The Girl starts to giggle again as she leans over to pet Goliath who had not stood up since she awakened him. Despite her gentle touch, his heart is heavy. He had thought he saw his brother again, but even his own dreams were filled with the reality that his brother would never return.
One year has passed, and Goliath has rarely left the Girl’s side. Everyday he wakes up at the foot of her bed and wakes her with his cold nose to her cheek. Goliath’s heart has never felt so full, but nightmares still pang his dreams. One night, Goliath dreamed that he was the creature that attacked Angus the day he died. Goliath could feel the foam dripping from his jowls, and taste Angus’s flesh in his mouth. Goliath awoke the Girl that morning with his sobs. He felt the comfort of her arms around his neck. Every time he feels her embrace, he wishes he could feel her comfort forever, and that he would never sleep again.
Her embrace would soon leave him.
It’s a sunny, June day, and the beams of sunshine through the Girl’s window. Goliath rises to nudge her with her nose. As Goliath and his companion enter the kitchen, he sees a woman sitting at the table, and not the woman who is usually here. This woman seems old and stern, with her head and her nose held high, and her eyes looking down on the world below her. “Good morning, Emma,” says this woman. The Girl responds cordially, “Good morning, ma’am.” Then the Man walks in, “Hello, Emma. I see you’ve met your Aunt Edith. She will be watching you for a few days while your mother and I go into town to take care of some business with the farm.” The Aunt turns to the Girl and smiles, but she pays no recognition to the large, black creature standing beside the young girl. “Oh I forgot to mention, Edith. Our Emma finally got that dog she’s been begging for,” says the Man, “those two are as inseparable as ever.” “Oh joy,” responds Edith, “a mangy mutt.” Goliath can sense Edith’s disapproval of him. Her presence feels much like Master’s did when he was still Kieran; cold and distant, with heaping dollop of apathy. The Man says goodbye to the Girl and Goliath and leaves with the Woman.
While the Aunt is around, Goliath spends much more time outside on the land than with the Girl. Goliath spends the first night outside alone. He barks and scratches at the door to possibly get a chance to go inside. Aunt comes out and gives him a whip on the backside with a book and goes back inside. Goliath begins to understand that he is unwanted within the house, and he falls asleep on the porch.
Goliath sees a the Man and the Woman in Master’s shed. They are weeping as they look down at the table where Angus died. However, Goliath sees not Angus lying on the table, but the Girl. She looks as if she is sleeping peacefully. She even begins to smile, as if she is having a beautiful dream. The Man and the Woman walk out of the shed slowly, still weeping. With the Girl remaining still on the table, smoke begins to rise and flames start to engulf the shed. A loud wail comes out of the Woman, and the Man lets out heavy sobs. The air fills with the putrid stench of burning flesh. The house burns to the ground, and all that remains is a puddle of blood and ash.
“Stop your whinin’ you mangy mutt!” Goliath awoke with the Aunt standing over him, beating him with the same book. “Your crying has kept me awake for the last twenty minutes! I’ve had enough.” Goliath stands up and looks at the window. He notices the Girl staring at him sadly through the glass. His heart fills with some relief. His nightmare did not come true, but he still wishes he could feel the comfort of her embrace.
Later in the afternoon, a letter is delivered to the house. Through the window, Goliath can see the Aunt open the letter and start to read it. After reading, he could see her head bob up and down, as if she was sobbing. “Emma!” she cries. “Emma, my darling, come here!” The Girl enters the room, and the Aunt asks her to sit down. Goliath sees the Aunt reading the Girl the letter, and then the Girl begins to cry. Goliath wishes he can comfort his companion like she comforts him, but all he can do is watch from the outside. All of a sudden, the Girl stands up and runs towards the door. She runs outside to where Goliath has been watching the scene. She wraps her arms around him more tightly than she ever had before. This time she needs him. She needs him more than ever. He can feel her warm tears dripping through his fur and onto his skin. “Mummy and Daddy,” the girl says, “They’re gone. They were in town when it happened. They were getting some dinner when the building burned down. They caught fire too. They’re gone.” All Goliath can truly understand is that the Girl is suffering loss. He can sense her sadness. He knows the pain she feels, and he wishes it could disappear for her. He hopes in his heart that he can be there to comfort her when she cries in her sleep.
Days later, Goliath is sitting outside when a stagecoach pulls up to the front of the house. He sees the Girl walking out of the house with a trunk. When she sees him, she drops the trunk and runs right over to him, wrapping her arms around him for the last time. “I’m going away,” she says to Goliath. “Aunt Edith is sending me to a school. A school for…girls like me…poor with no parents.” He felt her tears again, dripping from her cheeks and onto his skin. “Oh how I wish I could stay!” She sobs some more, hugging him tighter. Goliath sits there, sensing her sadness, and wishing she could not feel pain. The Aunt eventually tears the Girl away from him. “Come on, Emma. You must go now.” As the Aunt walks away with the Girl, she gives Goliath a kick in the side with the heel of her shoe. Goliath falls to the ground and muddles over in pain, whimpering quietly. The stagecoach leaves, and the Girl is nowhere to be seen. The Aunt comes up to him, kicking him now with the toe of her boot. “Git up, you rascal!” she shouts at him, “go on! She’s gone now. Shoo!” She starts to push him away, kicking him every time he resisted. Goliath has become so overwhelmed with heartbreak and confusion, however, that he resists very little. The Aunt pushes him so far, that he begins to walk away on his own. She obviously does not want him to return to the house, and without the Girl, he had not desire to anyway.
Goliath walks in no particular direction. His feet drag on with no hope as his sadness slowly turns into apathy. He thinks about Angus, and he thinks about the Girl, but he feels nothing. Then suddenly he feels the Girl’s tears drip onto his skin again. His heart rises to his throat as he turns to see the girl, but she cannot be seen. He feels water dripping onto him more and more intensely, and then the rain comes pouring down. Filled with disappointment, Goliath keeps walking through the stark wilderness as the rain pours down. He could not see in front of him very well at all, but he can no longer care about what lies before him. Growing more and more tired and hungry, Goliath spends days walking throughout the wilderness. He dreads the idea of making any encounter with a human, so he proceeds to avoid all signs of civilization.
Goliath knows that he has no reason for living, and no way of surviving. He collapses onto the ground, and he sees nothing but black.
Opening his eyes, Goliath realizes that he is no longer on the ground. He notices that he is instead in a man’s arms. The man is breathing quite heavily, and Goliath can feel his chest moving up and down. The Strange Man puts Goliath in a nearby stagecoach then sits next to him. “Don’t worry, you ugly chap,” says the Strange Man, “you will be fed soon enough.” The stagecoach rolled on and Goliath blacked out once more.
Goliath awakes next to a smoldering fireplace. As he stares into the flames, he pictures Angus and the Girl walking into the flames together, turning into ash. The resentment in Goliath’s heart becomes unbearable, and he starts to whimper miserably. “Quiet down, you mutt!” says the Strange Man, “eat something for Christ’s sake!” The Strange Man sets down a slab of raw meat before Goliath, however, Goliath’s sadness overpowered his hunger. Still lying down, he turns away from the meal lying before him. “If you do not wish to eat, so be it.” The Strange Man leans over and caresses Goliath’s head. “You miserable thing. Perhaps you will keep me company in my own misery.” The Strange Man walks away, leaving the meet beside Goliath.
An hour passes, and Goliath’s hunger starts to become more noticeable. He feels weaker by the minute it seems, and his entire body aches. Goliath uses his small amount of strength to lift his head and sit up over his dinner. He takes a bite out of the meat, and tastes its savory flavor. He starts to salivate, and his tail begins wag slowly, causing a “thump, thump thump.” Bite after bite, Goliath eats faster until his meal completely vanishes. LIke magic, or a miracle from God, Goliath’s strength returns to him.
“Well, you filthy beast, it looks like you have your appetite back!” The Strange man says as he walks into the room, “it is good to see you in good spirits.” The Strange Man sits on the ground next to him, resting his arm around Goliath, and gently stroking Goliath’s fur. The Strange Man has such an odd tone to Goliath. He feels uncertain about trusting this human. The Strange Man seems affectionate and kind, but at the same time, he seems dangerous and off-putting. Goliath had surely never come across a human like him before. Reacting to his uncertainty, Goliath decides to defend himself by snapping at the Strange Man’s hand. “Ow, you rat! It looks like you have your fierceness back too!” The Strange Man laughs and wags his hand, shaking off the pain. Then the Strange Man stands up and guides Goliath out of the room. “Come on, you filthy Gytrash, let’s get some rest.”
The Strange Man leads Goliath into another room. On the floor of this room lies a large, red pillow at the foot of a bed made for a king. “I made you a place to sleep,” the Strange Man says while guiding Goliath to this spot. While still hesitant, Goliath carefully lays down on the pillow. His body immediately feels a rush of comfort come over him as he lies down. With a wave a relaxation coming over him, Goliath’s eyes become heavy, and he drifts into unconsciousness.
The smell of smoke fills Goliath’s nostrils, and his eyes snap open. A blood-curdling scream lets out, and Goliath stands up, more alert than he has ever been. The Strange Man snores loudly on his bed, noticing nothing. Goliath jumps on the bed to wake the Strange Man. Goliath paws and prods at him until he awakes. “What is it, you filthy mutt?” the Strange Man says groggily. Goliath barks and runs to the door. He continues to bark until the Strange Man stands up and follows. Goliath uses the nose to detect the fire’s location. Anywhere the scent of the fire weakens, Goliath guides the Strange Man towards. Eventually Goliath leads the Strange Man outside to safety. Goliath notices how the Strange Man observes the outside of the large building, trying to figure out where the fire is coming from. Puffs of smoke spill out of the highest point in the house, and the Strange Man immediately runs inside. Confused, Goliath follows the Strange Man back into the building. He runs quite fast, but Goliath can keep up with him easily. After climbing several flights of stairs, the two of them eventually reach the location of the fire, which had just been put out by a woman the Strange Man calls Poole.
“What happened in here, Poole?” the Strange Man asked.
“Do not worry, Sir,” the woman responds, “she only caught the curtains on fire. Lit em’ up while I was resting my eyes. Everything is under control now.”
Goliath could feel the presence of someone else in the room. A chill goes down his spine, and his hairs stand up from his neck to his backside. He turns to look into the corner of the room, and he sees the outline of a dark figure. The figure starts to move and dance and laugh, making the most disturbing commotion. Quivering, he starts to growl and snarl at this figure. He can feel a sense of danger in her presence, similar to how he felt when the beasts began to approach Angus that day. This time, however, Goliath refuses to let fear paralyze him. He jumps fiercely towards the hideous shadow. Upon reaching it, he clamps his mouth down on its arm, gripping as tightly as possible. “Get away, mutt! Get away!” The Strange Man cries, pulling Goliath away from the monster. “While she is quite the monstrosity, we don’t harm her.”
Goliath follows the Strange Man down the stairs. As they enter the room with the large pillow, the Strange Man kneels down and looks at Goliath. “You were very brave tonight. I knew you would be a good pal. You saved me and guided me to safety. You are like my steer, my pilot. Yes! That’ll be what I call you. Pilot.” The Strange Man grins and pets Pilot on the head. “And you can just call me Edward,” continues the Strange Man, “that is, if mutts like you give humans names.” Pilot’s tail wags, “thump, thump thump.” For the first time since the Girl, Pilot’s heart feels content. A new companion, a new identity, and a new start. Pilot shall never leave Edward’s side, and Edward will always need steering from his Pilot.