Humans Can Lick, Too

Jason Langlois

"In further news on this October 30th night, Trowa Barton has escaped from the Khushrenada Institute for the Criminally Insane last night. Barton, a veteran of the Colony Wars and accomplished soldier and Mobile suit pilot, was best known for piloting the Gundam 'Heavy Arms' in the strike against OZ on behalf of colony 03. Barton was committed to the Institute after brutally murdering his sister, Catherine Bloom, a year after the Mariemeia incident. It is unknown why Barton committed such a grievous act, but it took an entire squadron of soldiers to subdue him, costing the lives of 5 of them. Barton is to be considered dangerous, and was last seen in the vicinity of-"

Sally Po turned the radio off and sighed. It seemed that on cold, windy, stormy days like this it was almost obligatory to report the escape of some deranged lunatic or another. And this time of year, especially. Still, the name had driven an icy spike through her heart. She had known Barton, and his comrades. All of them had suffered from the war, from being shoved into the role of Humanity's saviors, but the quiet Barton had been the one to snap. Some said Catherine had been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sally believed that Trowa had snapped long before then, and that Catherine had been a symbol of something he felt he had lost... or never really had in the first place.

She hadn't actually seen the corpse, but had heard from the people who had. They told her that the blood covered the walls, and the body itself wasn't so much a body as it was pieces.

She shuddered to think of it.

A short yap brought her out of her reverie, and she turned her head, startled. The black chow who had been her companion since the Peace had taken hold put its paw on her knee, wagging his tail, the dark blue-purple tongue lolling out.

"Wufei, you SCARED me!" Sally gasped, scritching the wiggling dog behind the ears. Wufei had been a godsend, keeping her company on lonely nights now that a soldier was no longer needed. The dog had proven a (usually) quiet companion, and brave. She had named him after the boy who had helped her as part of the resistance, one of the five that had gone into space and fought for humanity.

One of the people who used to fight alongside Barton.

She shuddered, snuggling the dog to her. As if sensing her distress, he nuzzled his head into her neck.

It was a little known fact, but Sally Po hated storms. She could fight man to man against a foe she knew wanted her dead, she could handle the deadly rattle of machinegun fire, she could even stand up to mobile suit artillery. But put a little thunder and lightning with a rainy night, and she melted into a puddle of whimpering terror.

Wufei helped. The chow would lay next to her bed at night, especially stormy nights. When Sally felt particularly afraid, she would let her hand drop. Feeling the dog lick it was often reassured her enough to slip back into a soft slumber.

Wufei looked into her eyes with his own dark eyes, the only sound coming from him the soft noise of his breathing. Sally stroked the long, soft black hair, smiling reassuringly. Wufei answered in the only way he knew how.
He licked her nose.

"ACK!" Sally laughed, pushing the dog down. "OK, you're right. Let's hit the sack."

She had been sleeping soundly when the thunder crashed right outside. Her eyes flew open, but she couldn't move. She was paralyzed, listening to the howling wind, the rain pounding on the window and roof and walls as if trying to break in and assault her. To make matters worse, her memory refused to fail her.

Trowa Barton had escaped from the mental institute.

Trowa Barton, who had brutally killed his sister for no good reason.

He was free. He killed women from his past. Women he'd had contact with during the war.

Sally trembled, despite the rational side of her fighting to keep her from screaming. It seemed as if that voice was smaller and smaller.

She let her hand drop over the side of the bed, shaking. It took a short time, but she felt the soft warm wetness of Wufei's tongue on her finger. As if the sun were breaking outside, her fears began to vanish, and she smiled.

"Good dog, Wufei..."

She drifted off again into sleep.

The rain woke her, but it was daylight. For some reason a storm didn't seem so bad in the day time. She could SEE everything. No raindrops came from the darkness seemingly on their own to smash against her window. The lightning and thunder seemed farther away, no night to split open with a deafening crash, only to plunge one back blinking into black.

The storm didn't seem to bring evil with it during the day. It was easy to imagine a maniac slipping into the bedroom, noise covered by the crashing thunder and slashing rain. In the day, everything seemed more... peaceful.

"Wufei!" She sat up, smiling a little. The smile faltered when the dog didn't come bounding up onto the bed. "Wufei?"

She looked over the side of the bed. Nothing.

"Wufei, where are you?"

Her heart beat a little faster, but she calmed herself. Maybe he was in the kitchen, looking for something to eat. She stood, slipped into her threadbare robe, and padded there.

Again, nothing. And his bowl was still half full from the night before.

"Wufei?" Her voice came out a little less strongly, and she pulled her robe tighter to her.

The apartment was small, and there was one door that was slightly opened. The bathroom. She walked there, determined to get ready for the day. The dog would come out on his own.

When she opened the door, the sight before her cause her throat to clamp down on a scream. Her voice squeaked out in a horrified shadow of what was trying to tear through it.

The dog was hanging, suspended above the shower drain by one leg, blood still dripping, albeit slowly, into a red puddle that slipped through the drain's gate. Sally cast her eyes about, looking for a clue of what had happened, who had done this.

On the mirror, scrawled in blood, were the words "Humans can lick, too."

A hand clamped around her mouth, a strong grip the forced her back against a body that hadn't been there before. A whisper, cold, steady, and empty, reached her ears.

"It's true, you know... you tasted very good last night."

Before she could scream again, she felt the sharp metal against her throat.

The scream escaped in a hiss of air and blood.

This legend was looked up at Castle of Spirits!