Short Story #295: Beware of the Dog by Roald Dahl

Title:  Beware of the Dog

Author:  Roald Dahl


Photo of Roald Dahl: Source Williamson is trying to land his plane.  However, his leg is bleeding profusely and he's losing full control of his cognition.  As he flies through the skies in his plan, he believe everything is fine and normal, that he doesn't feel anything.  He's flying above the clouds and is therefore a bit unsure of whether he has made it to England or not or is over the Channel.  Unsure of his options, he bails out of the plane and next awakens in a hospital room.  It takes some time to orient himself to the situation and eventually, a nurse comes in to check on him, telling him he is a lucky fellow.  Peter notices that the doctor is a military doctor, who is optimistic about Peter's situation.  After they leave, Peter swears he hears a JU-88 German airplane flying about which has a very distinct sound in contrast to the British plans.  When he asks the nurse, she shrugs it off and insists it's British planes.  Later, he hears another aircraft that he cannot seem to match and begins to wonder about his sanity.  The next day while cleaning his wounded leg, she makes a comment about the soap and hard water in Brighton (where they are located).  Peter has been to Brighton before and realizes something is wrong because the area generally has soft water.  The pieces of information swirl in Peter's head throughout the following night.  During the early morning, he decides to make the painful trek from his stationery bed to the window.  He manages through pain and discomfort to crawl and pull himself up to the window.  In examining his surroundings, he sees signs in French that indicate he is not in Brighton.  He manages to get back to his bed without anyone realizing what he had done.  The nurse informs him that people from the air ministry would be coming to see him and Peter reflects on what his Intelligence Officer drilled into his brain if he was captured.  When the man arrives and begins to ask questions, Peter strictly responds with his name, rank, and serial number.   


The story took two turns that I didn't expect.  Given how long the landing piece went, I had wondered if the whole story was going to be a dream or raise the question of whether he had lived or died.  However, when he landed and begin to notice different things, I thought this might be further proof, but that he was captured and now a prison did surprise me.  

Short Story #295 out of 365
Rating:  3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  10/1/2014
Source:  You can find the full text of this short story at this site.  

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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