Hound of Tindalos
The Hounds of Tindalos are monstrous creatures which dwell in angular time, and pursue human beings who stray out of the curved time that is humanity's normal habitat. Users of the drug Liao, which allows the mind to wander through time leaving the body behind, risk drawing the attention of the Hounds if they travel too far. The Hounds will then pursue the person through time, eventually catching up with that person in the present and slaying them.
Accounts of the form and appearance of the Hounds vary drastically from one source to another, and the occultist Halpin Chalmers -- a witness of the Hounds and also one of their victims -- may be correct in saying that human language cannot describe them.
The Hounds of Tindalos take their nature from a nameless, foul deed before the beginning of time, the origin of the Christian account of the Fall, in which the Hounds participated fully and humans took part only partially. Foulness expresses itself in angles, while purity expresses itself through curves; the pure element in humanity derives from a curve, and it is for this reason that we dwell in curved. The Hounds desire to devour this pure part of humans.
Since it dwells in angular time, a Hound of Tindalos pursuing its prey can manifest through any angle, but if its chosen prey is in a place without angles, the Hound cannot appear. However, the Hounds can enlist the help of other preternatural beings, including Doels and satyrs, to gain access to their prey. Victims of the Hounds are found horribly mangled, and splashed with a bluish ichor that resembles living protoplasm but contains no enzymes.
"What were they like?" I said, to humor him.
He leaned forward and gripped my arm. He was shivering horribly. "No words in our language can describe them!" He spoke in a hoarse whisper. "They are symbolized vaguely in the myth of the Fall, and in an obscene form which is occasionally found engraved on ancient tablets. The Greeks had a name for them, which veiled their essential foulness. The tree, the snake and the apple—these are the vague symbols of a most awful mystery. His voice had risen to a scream. "Frank, Frank, a terrible and unspeakable deed was done in the beginning. Before time, the deed, and from the deed—"
He had risen and was hysterically pacing the room. "The seeds of the deed move through angles in dim recesses of time. They are hungry and athirst!"
"Chalmers." I pleaded to quiet him. "We are living in the third decade of the Twentieth Century."
"They are lean and athirst!" he shrieked. "The Hounds of Tindalos!"
"All the evil in the universe was concentrated in their lean, hungry bodies. Or had they bodies? I saw them only for a moment; I cannot be certain. But I heard them breathe. Indescribably for a moment I felt their breath upon my face. They turned toward me and I fled screaming. In a single moment I fled screaming through time. I fled down quintillions of years.
"But they scented me. Men awake in them cosmic hungers. We have escaped, momentarily, from the foulness that rings them round. They thirst for that in us which is clean, which emerged from the deed without stain. There is a part of us which did not partake in the deed, and that they hate. But do not imagine that they are literally, prosaically evil. They are beyond good and evil as we know it. They are that which in the beginning fell away from cleanliness. Through the deed they became bodies of death, receptacles of all foulness. But they are not evil in our sense because in the spheres through which they move there is no thought, no morals, no right or wrong as we understand it. There is merely the pure and the foul. The foul expresses itself through angles: the pure through curves. Man. The pure part of him, is descended from a curve. Do not laugh. I mean that literally."
— Frank Belknap Long, "The Hounds of Tindalos"
Heresies and Controversies
The behavior of the Hounds of Tindalos is reminiscent of the hound-like creature that seeks out and slays those who possess the Amulet of Leng, and it is possible that these are two manifestations of the same race of beings.
- Lin Carter - "The Madness out of Time"
- Frank Belknap Long - "The Hounds of Tindalos"
- Brian Lumley - The Transition of Titus Crow