Caveat Canus


The first thing in the house that he kills is the dog. Dogs are dangerous. They smell the gunpowder, they sense ill intent. They can alert their masters, they can and will attack intruders.

When he was a boy, he had a dog.

He takes out the husband next. The man hasn't even removed his tie. He is still the secondary threat.

Tertiary threat: the wife.

Dog, husband, wife. He ticks the deaths off on his fingers. Any remaining witnesses? Right. The boy.

The boy dies of a single, clean gunshot wound, his hands curled in the dog's fur. Vincent kicks the boy's corpse aside as he heads for the kitchen door. Outside, the moon is bright. He can hear sirens in the distance. The sirens bother the ears of the dogs in the neighbourhood, coaxing forth agonized howls from the dogs.

Vincent hates dogs. When he was a boy, he had a dog.


"Valentine," he insists.

He is a Turk. Hojo will treat him with the respect that his position demands, even if he isn't a scientist.

"Whatever, Puppy."

Vincent bristles. Puppy. As though he's some sort of bright-eyed little dog. Vincent would curse in disgust, but swearing is not--- never has been, despite the rumours about Turks--- in his nature.

"Anyway, we've finally managed to catch one. You wouldn't believe how hard it was to find this specimen."

Sometimes Vincent thinks that if you were to rip Hojo apart, you would find nothing but petri dishes and magnifying slides. The man is nothing more than a bundle of jargon terms written in (#2) Mechanical Penci (Runga Brand) on clipboards, lab specimens, tech reports, and nerves, all held together with coffee. It is always 'this specimen', 'that specimen'.

Is Lucrecia a specimen to him? Vincent nearly wonders, but stops. He will not be so cynical, though he knows that he can't afford not to be.

Surely he can save himself some happiness, dust-filled and empty as it is?

"As your superior, I ORDER you to inspect the specimen. For all we know, it could be rabid!"

'I wish to god it is,' Vincent thinks but does not say. 'I hope it eats you alive.'

"Come on, Puppy."


"Just come."


And there, in the lowest level of the Mansion, is the newest specimen. A clipboard attached to the thing's cage--- which is huge, Vincent notes, and takes up half the room--- reads Galian.

"DNA analyasis disproved all theories that it's a Nibel wolf," Hojo says.

Vincent, frankly, doesn't care. The thing could be a kangaroo, and he wouldn't care.

He is not remotely interested in science.

"Tell me, Valentine," Hojo asks, the very epitome of urbane interest, "do you like dogs?"

Vincent chews on that for a little while. He dislikes dogs. They make hassles. On the other hand, he doesn't want Hojo getting the idea that he has a phobia or something equally ridiculous.

He shrugs. "I have nothing against them. I usually shoot dogs first."

Subject Galian looks up at him. It meets his eyes, snarling.

Hojo looks at it, blinks one long, slow blink. "It's been showing signs of sentience."

"Interesting," Vincent deadpans. "When you want it dead, let me know."

"I'll be sure to," the scientist replies.

As Vincent leaves the room, he would swear he hears Hojo murmur, 'And when I want you dead? Do I let it know?'


He needs to check security. This is entirely too easy.

Soundlessly, Vincent slips into the lab.

There, in the farthest corner of its cage, sleeps Subject Galian.

Deadly and beautiful, in an odd way, Vincent decides.

Subject Galian looks up and growls at him, those violet eyes wide and wrathful.

"I kill dogs first," he says, reminding the thing just who kills who around here.


Vincent slams his remaining arm up against the metal cage."For the love of god, Hojo!"

There is no answer. In the corner, he can hear Subject Galian growling.

"Shut up!" He snaps.

The beast ignores him.

Vincent rattles the chain link with his arm. "Hojo, let me out! If this is some sort of sick joke---"

But it isn't a sick joke, he realizes, as Subject Galian begins to grow louder.

"Hojo! Hojo!" Vincent screams.

Subject Galian's teeth collide with his left leg.


---Where am I?

Dog killer, dog killer! Kill my cousins and seek an answer from me!

---Am I dead?

Not alive, Dog Killer.

---Who ARE you?

You. Me. Someone.

---I mean it. Who ARE you, and what are you doing in my head.

I don't have any answers to give to a Dog Killer.

---What's going on?


---Answer me!

I have no answers to give.


Thirty years later

"Who... Who disturbs my rest?"