Title: Devonian

Characters: D, Leon, Jill, Q-chan, 3xOC
Word Count: 900





What had the terms of the contract been again?

1) Do not show your pet to anyone.
2) Check the salinity of the water every day.
3) Feed it only living prey or fresh meat.

He had checked on it this morning and seen no ill effects of having fed it his wife's week-old, frozen corpse. So that weird guy at the pet shop must just have wanted to scare him into taking good care of the big fish. "'This shop cannot be held responsible for the consequences,' my ass," he grumbled. Still, his new pet had done him a big favour in disposing of the body. He would be happy to shell out for its food, starting today.

When he flipped on the light in the tank room, he saw the water had gone all murky during the day. Was the fish even still alive in there? What had happened? He climbed to the feeding stage and peered in, cautiously. Something that looked like seaweed was floating toward him from the center of the tank. When it got close, he screamed and fell back, tumbling down the steps. Injured, he scrambled to his feet to flee the room. The seaweed became tangled red hair as a figure emerged from the water.

"What's the matter, Terry? Aren't you happy to see me?"

He fumbled with the doorknob as his wife descended the stairs. The steel screeched under her weight. That didn't make sense; Amanda had always worn a size six. But it made even less sense that she was alive, rising out of the shark tank like some grisly female Jonah.

Terry ran to the bedroom. By the time he'd unearthed the bullets, she was standing in the doorway, a puddle of water forming under her feet. His hand shook so hard, he was surprised he hit her at all. But it was no good. Two of the bullets caught her in the chest, and she merely grinned at him, horribly. Since when did his wife have inch-long, triangular, serrated teeth?

The neighbours heard a single scream and called the police.

"And I suppose you don't know anything about this, D?" Leon bellowed, thrusting the coroner's photograph of the decapitated body in his face.

"Mr. Detective, I feel it worthwhile to repeat myself in this instance. You have abominable manners. Can't you see it's teatime?"

"This was at the top of a stack of recent bills. What did you sell him, Count?"

The mask-like face peered, disinterested, at the receipt Leon brandished. "Ah, Mr. Merriwether. Such a pity."

Leon knew D well enough by now to surmise he was not showing remorse at the death of a customer. "WHAT is?"

"Did you know, Mr. Detective? Though they are feared around the world, sharks are in fact very delicate creatures. One small change in diet or habitat, and they will not survive."

Leon nearly had an aneurysm. "YOU SOLD THIS GUY A SHARK?"

"Yes. Curiously, he was insistent upon purchasing a species large enough to ingest a human being." At this, D looked tragic. He ignored the unintelligible outburst of angry disbelief (and flying spittle) which was all Leon could muster in response to this new information. "But I'm afraid...he did not take very good care of his new pet."

Just then, Leon's cell phone rang. "WHAT?"

"Don't scream in my ear just because you're having another tiff with your boyfriend." Jill was forever making NOT-funny jokes like this nowadays. Before Leon could choke out a retort, she continued. "Listen, they finished draining the tank. You'd better get down here."

His stomach sank, and Leon glared at D calmly sipping tea close by. "What is it?"

"A skeleton, or what's left of one. Female, cause of death most likely the big bullet-hole in her skull."

"Neighbours said his wife had been gone for a couple of weeks."

"Bingo. Already requested the dental records."

"Shit." For the life of him, Leon could not work out how exactly D had killed both husband and wife. "Wait. There was nothing else in there? No...fish?"

"Nada." Leon glared suspiciously at his quiet companion. Somehow, D was responsible. He just didn't know how.

"Hurry up, Lunkhead. I'm not doing your job again. If it takes you longer than half an hour, I'm making you do all the paperwork."

"Half an hour! What am I, some pizza deliv-" The line clicked. When he looked over at the shopkeeper, who was nibbling a pastry, Leon could have SWORN that D was hiding a smirk behind his bangs.

"Leaving so soon, Mr. Detective?"

Leon thrust out a thick, accusatory finger. "This isn't over yet, D!"

His arch-nemesis nodded once, an emperor dismissing a peasant. "Until next time, Mr. Detective."

With a roar of frustration, Leon bolted up the stairs to the street. Once he was gone, Q-chan descended from the rafters to claim a bon bon. "Kyu-kyu!" it squeaked, shaking an angry fist in the direction of their vanished guest.

D chuckled, taking another sip of tea. "But it amuses me so to see him try."

In a secluded lagoon hidden within the labyrinth of the shop's interior, a large fish bobbed with the soothing tide, medicated and patched up, but still quite ill. Why did he kill me? the human's voice echoed. All I ever did was love him. The shark's walnut-sized brain was unable to comprehend it either.