"We interrupt this program to bring you this late breaking message. An alien transmission has been picked up by the US Army. The aliens appeared before them by transmission as a group of duck-like creatures with beady eyes like marbles and white bodies with little coloured rings on their necks. They have only one message.

Bring us Courage.

"Linguistic specialists are baffled by this message, and they shall provide more information if possible. We now return to your regularly scheduled program."

Bloody Courage

A fanfiction by Zack Gregson. All characters are copyrighted to their respective creators.

File Report of Nowhere Institutional Asylum

ID Number: 02-1394967

Name: Courage

Race: Purple (Dog)

Causes For Imprisonment: Aggravated Assault; GBH; Murder; Arson

Age: Unknown

Bios: History of ownership is unknown apart from the Bagg family, the victims of the subject's actions. Subject claims of abuse from Mr Eustace Bagg and motherly protection from Mrs Muriel Bagg.

Possible Diagnoses: Oedipus Complex

Chapter 1

The Show Starts

The staff had read this report quite a few times. Not many animals were admitted to the Asylum. The dog was the most unusual and certainly one of the most infamous of the patients in the Asylum's entire history.

The guard on duty had to take the dog for a "walk". It wasn't even a walk, it was rather a strapped journey as he was taking the dog on a gurney. Taking him to the "vet". And not a good kind of vet either.

One who was willing to probe anything into you, relentless in his search for a cure even to the cause of the patient's death.

The cells were all lined along stone corridors of cold unfeeling history. Stone grey walls as cold as ice with metal doors all underground, deep under the ground where all the quaking of the Earth's restless sleep was enough to unhinge the inmates.

Centuries of suffering in Nowhere itself led to such depravation, the asylum being the worse of the buildings. It wasn't crumbling, but it was old. Old enough to be traced back to Colonial times.

It was just...evil. Evil infested the place with enough negative atmosphere to make even the most cold-blooded of humans feel a shiver in the nape of their necks.

The guard stopped at one cell. He peered through the bars carefully to see the most unusual creature.

It was a purple-furred canine. Possibly a beagle and an unknown breed cross. It had purple all over its fur with black ears and a large black spot on its back, like the cursed mark of death favoured among pirates. At first the dog looked pitiful, with large triangular brown/black coloured nose, wide soulful eyes as piercing as moonlight.

But then he smiled.

Ohh God, that smile.

When that dog smiled to fully show his teeth, it was a goofy looking construction that on a child or a normal dog was laughable. But on an insane creature, it was chilling. The teeth were oddly spaced apart with two more prominent at the front (not buck teeth but something near without sticking out of the mouth).

And then there was that large hole in the farthest right tooth, as if a dum-dum bullet had shot through it.

This was the dog named Courage. It was another piece of irony on a silver platter for such a nervous wreck of a pathetic creature.

He was intelligent, more intelligent than most dogs. But when you're insane, it doesn't matter how many philosophers you've read or how much history is memorised in your head.

You're a nutcase, and always shall be marked as one, even when the nuts have all been cracked and scraped from you.

"Hey," called the guard in a gruff tired voice that spoke of slight anxiety, "wake up, mutt. Time for walkies."

At hearing the guard, the dog turned his head around. He made a small moan from being woken from sleep and peered through the slatted bars of the cell door, seeing a gormless looking guard staring back at him.

He almost had enough urge to look into the guard's soul. But he thought against it. He was tired enough, his fur felt like lead on him. He got up and padded on two legs towards the door, his small three-fingered paws making him walk with a sort of strange waddling, jumping pace.

He heard rope falling down from the ceiling but he did not look up. He knew it was coming. The straitjacket spider. Cords from the ceiling that latched onto a patient to bind them in a straitjacket, without worries for anyone to handle them.

The dog did not mind. It wasn't the first time he had worn one. And he knew it would not be his last.

As he felt the white disinfected cool fabric slide over his pencil thin arms, binding them so tightly to his chest that he felt his heart panicking against the coiled ribcage, he then saw another object come from above. It went straight for his face and latched on. A caged muzzle that tightly bound leather straps behind his head. He could feel his eyes pop out slightly from the constriction of the muzzle.

Then the door opened and the guard stood before him. The dog's height only reached up to the man's knee (including his ears), so he always saw things larger and more dangerous than they are.

Not that it made a difference of perspective in Nowhere's Asylum.

The dog was taken from his cell by gurney towards the operating theatre. It would be odd that even when before he came here, he'd have a leash. But he didn't, Muriel never did that to him. All patients were treated like dogs here. At least the actual dog had no higher or lower status than the rest of them.

He was however treated like a glass model in a carefully bound box. He had to be moved and treated with care. The guard knew this and had the leash tight with a practised pace of marching, keeping the length always the same.

The dog felt the air around him weigh deeply on him, even along the corridors stretching to the left or the right after passing every 4 cells. It made his head sink, his feet trudge along the ground down to the toes. He tried keeping his mind blank by staring at the walls that passed behind him, keeping his thoughts as emotionless as the walls themselves.

His eyes were no longer the pure white of a beautiful china saucer like they used to be. They were cracked, run through with ravines of red blood. His vision had faded somewhat from insomnia. The brick walls doubled themselves, like cells of the body splitting apart to form clones of themselves. One brick became two, and then one again, his vision shifted between double and single. He somehow managed to keep in a straight line, following the leash or between the two leashes. It was a short while later he arrived at the end of the hallway. The lights of the ceilings were the same as well, but pierced into his brain with an intense light that made the dog want to whimper. But he kept himself silent.

The room was a square room with an empty space in the middle that was illuminated with a harsh spotlight. It glowed like a false sun, offering fear instead of hope. All around the rooms were assorted pieces of metallic items. Some were dirty and stained brown, red or orange. Others were well-used but cared for with a sickening gleam of a warped kind of affection.

The guard wheeled the gurney and the patient under the light, the dog's shadow lying back on the flat bed with cowardice. But he knew he couldn't help being like this. As the guard left the room with the doors locking shut, something padded its way nearer to the dog.

After a long time in the asylum, fear was not so commonplace for Courage. But he still had his heart rising. How that adrenaline coursed through his blood so easily. It was undeterred in its power to either strengthen his body for attack, or his legs for escape.

He soon felt a shadow hang over him, a shadow that wasn't human. As the light adjusted in his eyes, he focused on the dark visage of the "vet".

Dr. Lu N. Atic. World renowned parapsychologist and neurosurgeon. And also one with a certain disposition. He was actually a canine like Courage, but taller, a dull yellow colour similar to urine like a golden retriever, and eyes that seemed to rotate in his sockets. His voice was slightly crackled.

Now then...Mr Courage. We have heard a lot about you but this is the first time I have a chance to meet you in...person. Hehehe... his short chuckle was wheezing like a geriatric smoker's laugh. Well...anything to say to me?

Just...do what you have to do. The voice of Courage, muffled by the muzzle on him, was a whiny low-toned type of voice that elongated the O and U vowels a little more than others would in passive speech. Looking at him, you would never think of him as insane. Not until Courage laughed would you ever guess his state of mind.

Very well, Mr Courage. I shall...eheh...experiment. The vet bent over to let the patient see him. Courage peered at him. The face had several cuts into the fur and a look behind the eyes that told of having gone inside perhaps TOO many insane depths of the minds in captivity here. The eyes were bloodshot and tight on the edge. The black nose looked as dry as stone, and the fur was clean but dulled.

Nevertheless, the vet seemed able to control whatever disposition he had. That placed him one rung above Courage on the mental ladder. The vet moved his head left and right slowly and sometimes quickly, almost a twitching movement, as he investigated the subject behind the mask.

Now...Mr Courage...tell me your very first memory.

That was already a hard question. He couldn't remember his past very well before the Bagg farm. He tried, closing his eyes and allowing his mind to relax, a futile thing to try but he had to do it.

And then it came to him. Straitjacket. Yes...

I...I can't remember a lot. I remember the first time I ever saw...Muriel. he made a pause before mentioning her name, wanting silence before he could speak it, as if it were the name of a god of great power and respect.

Yes? How did she find you?

I was in some alleyway...near some old trashcans, and...in a straitjacket. I was abandoned, I can't remember who abandoned me, where I come from, or even my parents.

So...you've either escaped from an asylum in the past, or was abandoned by whoever had a straitjacket in possession?

I..guess so.

Fascinating. You're the first mental patient with abandonment issues from an asylum. The vet turned away and found a piece of paper. Courage heard some scribbling sounds. The vet's head reappeared.

I must say, Mr Courage, that you're an awfully quiet and patient patient. A slight chuckle from the verbal joke.

I...guess so. Not sure...I bet I was in an asylum sometime ago, this whole place, the procedures and stuff...I...seem to-

And then a flashback came. The first one he had ever had in his life.

He felt the rushing of air. The air screamed in his ears, he felt himself fall from a great height, but he was blind. Blind to the world, he heard himself breathing hard, panting small breaths of air that turned into icy clouds as soon as they passed his lips. Wait...was that air? No...it sounded...like words...a word...there was a word...out of the air it came...

"M-"

Courage yelped and jerked forward as the flashback suddenly shrunk back into whatever cave it lurked in. What did he hear? Dr Atic looked at him.

Are you alright, Mr Courage? Are you having a seizure?

No...I...it was nothing.

It was certainly not nothing, my dear patient. Now come on, let me hear what you saw.

Can..we not go into that? He felt the nape of his neck stiffen slightly.

Oh no no no, if you want to get better, then I must learn every piece of you I can gather. Come on, let's hear what your brain has to say.

No...I don't wanna...leave me alone, doctor. Courage knew something was wrong, that flashback wasn't just random. It sent shivers of cold up his arms, making him wince in reflex. That was a fear he hadn't felt. He knew all about fear. And that fear he was feeling now was unlike any other.

Don't toy with me, pup! The surgeon went to the back of the room and brought back two plier-like objects. They seemed to shine with a slight tingle.

Do you see these? I use these for my more uncooperative patients. And right now, you seem to be one of them. The doctor put the two together and they emitted a jolt of lightning. Courage wheezed in panic.

Leave me alone! Doctor, please, I don't wanna remember, I don't wanna! He felt the memory to be bad. As much as he was curious of his past sometimes, he knew some things should just lie.

yes...uncooperative...ehh... the vet soon bent over and placed the clamps on Courage's chest. A shot of electricity shot through him, through his whole body, his muscles under attack as he had a seizure.

ARRRRGGGHHHHH! The pain was hard and hot, it made his body jig, as if he were in the control of an epileptic puppeteer, his arms and legs in their restraints weakly moving left and right and everywhere in panic. He felt his body, his heart, his brain quickening in fear, fear of the pain killing him, fear of being in the hands of this mad doctor.

Now, puppy, tell me what you saw...tell me NOW!

NNOOOOOOAAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!

He didn't submit, he knew something bad lurked in his mind, he didn't want it to be released, he knew something was wrong. Horribly wrong. As he felt the pain reaching a higher climax, he suddenly felt it disappear. He heard a voice...it was unfamiliar to him, but somehow...he knew he heard that female voice somewhere.

This...isn't happening...not yet. Not for courage-ARGH!

The voice ended in a scream. He squinted his eyes from the sharp scream, and saw the doctor still administering electricity to his body. But...he couldn't feel the pain. He couldn't feel it at all.

And then, as he was in that painless zone yet knowing he hadn't died, he saw a flash before him. A flash in the room, the doctor fell back in surprise, he could just see the outline in the white brightness, the clamps flew from his body. It seemed to happen in slow motion.

And it was there and then that he saw...a star shine before him. A bright blue star twinkling in the room itself. It then suddenly disappeared, and the room had darkened all of a sudden, probably the light blinding him enough to misadjust his eyes.

He also felt the leather straps begin to slip from his body, easily, as if they had become worms. Courage sat up and looked to where the doctor lay. He had knocked out his head on the machine powering the electric clamps. Courage felt his muzzle straps loosen somehow as well, as if an invisible being was unbuckling them. It soon fell from his face and onto the floor with a clang like a dull church bell, next to the clamps.

And then something made him get off the gurney, pick up the clamps by the handles and with care, place them onto the chest of the vet, tightly onto the flesh, and then reach up to the machine. He slowly turned up the dial to a lethal power of voltage, twice the power he had been given. He wasn't sure why. He just knew somehow that he had to do it.

No reaction came from the vet. The clamps weren't sparkling. The power must be off, explaining the darkness of the room.

Someone had cut the power.