"So, Jo. We'll be back tomorrow at midday. Don't forget to feed Sammy." Jo's mother explained for the trillionth time. "Jo, are you listening?"

"Mmhmm." Murmured Jo, with her eyes stuck to the computer screen.

"I give up.", sighed Mrs. Fisher.

"You'll be back tomorrow. I'll be fine. I'm 16, mum, and if I need anything I'll call Gavin."

"Splendid." replied Mrs. Fisher. She wasn't a fan of Gavin; he was rude, unintelligent and played by his own rules, which was of course why Jo loved him so much. Mr. Fisher walked in with an old suitcase which looked as though it had been jammed shut, possibly by Mr. Fisher's polished black shoes.

"Care-bear." he called to his wife, "Just two other suitcases and we'll set off. We need to get going if we want to be in Suffolk by eight."

"Righty-o." she replied. "Bye, Jo."

"Bye, have a nice time." with her eyes still on the screen.

"We will."

That was a good thing; the Fisher's marriage had been on the ropes for months. Jo was surprised they weren't divorced yet. It was for the usual reasons: Dad gets a promotion, he's away for too long and never sees his wife and daughter (well, actually both of them barely saw Jo since she was out too often). This trip was supposedly a chance to patch things up again, rock the casbah if you will.

Jo heard a final bye from downstairs and the door slam shut ten minutes after her mum had said bye. Anyway, this was where the fun started; the house was empty bar Jo, and she could do all the things she usually had some sort of restriction on: stay up all night, eat until you puke, make out with Gavin on the sofa or maybe one step further.

Her momentary daze was abruptly ended by a barking sound of a dog. It was obviously Sammy, the German Shepherd outside. Jo planned to keep him outside tonight; after all, it wasn't cold or wet. She had nothing against Sammy but he would just get in the way if Gavin were to arrive, who wasn't a huge fan of Sammy in the first place. He would just be pissed off if a dog stopped them from do their thing, as would Jo.

It was five PM now so it would be wise to call Gavin now. Jo left the computer and picked up the phone on the desk in the hallway. Dialing Gavin's phone number seemed almost routine; she could almost certainly dial it without looking at the phone itself. The phone was ringing, a good sign; whenever his mum was on the phone, she'd be on for hours. Gavin picked up after the fourth ring.

"Hey, the Harwood's house." This was Gavin's trademark phone greeting, but something was different this time. Jo could sense a rush in his voice and other deep voices in the background.

"Hey Gavin, it's me." Jo identified herself while sweeping her dyed black hair to one side.

"Oh, hey babe. What's up?" Gavin sounded more rushed.

"Well…my parents are away for the night…and I was wondering if you…you know." Jo tried to sound as sexy and seductive as possible.

"Oh man." muttered Gavin, "Sorry babe…you don't know how sorry but I got people to see tonight." A surge of disappointment jolted Jo. She could hear another voice on the phone "Come on Gav, let's get goin'." She only said

"Ok, see you on Monday." and hung up.

The evening was not entirely ruined as you might thing. Jo had no idea how to cook so she ordered some Chinese food from the takeaway down the road, where she'd always eaten the same thing for the past five years: Kung Pao Chicken with rice and spring rolls. Their family was well accustomed to the delights of overseas cooking. Jo decided to let Sammy back in seeing as Gavin was unavailable and the other girls would be busy at this time with jobs or sex or drugs or booze. After finding Sammy's food (which took ten minutes since Jo's mum never told her (in fact, her mum had told her several times but she wasn't listening)).

Twenty minutes later, the delivery guy with the Chinese food arrived but received the grand total of £0 in tips. After a very irritated delivery man drove off in his van, Jo got the food out all over the place and watched TV for a bit. It was a good schedule tonight with such delights as Lost, Desperate Housewives and The OC. Sammy stayed in the kitchen with his dish and water. He wasn't a fast eater. For a dog, he had decent manners which were likely to have been developed over years living with the Fishers.

Jo had gone back to the computer and its Instant Messaging client once her TV shows had ended to speak to some of her girlfriends (or, at least the ones who weren't out on a Saturday night). The bright screen and the dark room were too much to bare however, and she signed off after half an hour. She suddenly noticed it was midnight. Better lock everything, she thought and with this thought came a new sense of fear. What if someone got in? Nah, it won't happen, she thought and locked both doors (but kept Sammy inside) and all the windows.

One of the windows wouldn't close. Of course, if Jo had listened to her mum, she would've known this window didn't close, so five minutes wouldn't be wasted of her attempting to close it. Screw it, she thought, I have Sammy to protect me. She ushered Sammy into her room and closed the door so he couldn't escape. Jo pulled on her skimpy pyjamas and somehow immediately fell asleep when she hit the inside bed covers.

She was awoken by a dripping sound at two AM. It's natural to be scared of bumps in the night when you're alone right? It's probably just the sink, she thought, or the shower or something. To validate her security, she stuck her hand under the bed without looking and felt Sammy's reassuring lick. She fell back to sleep.

An hour later she was awoken again by the dripping noise. Bumps in the night, natural she thought once more and again stuck her hand underneath the bed and felt a lick. She fell back to sleep.

Another hour passed, and the dripping could still be heard. I'm just paranoid right, Jo thought to herself. She could still feel her trusty dog's lick from under the bed. If it's just the sink, what's the harm in checking? She got up and half walked, half slept to the bathroom, where the noise was clearly coming from.

It was not the sink. The truth was more disturbing. Jo opened the door to find Sammy's lifeless body hanging from the shower nozzle. The bloody teeth nearly scratched the bathtub, which was a pool of blood, with a soft brown nose dipped into it. The dog was not only lifeless, but also armless and legless. His fur had dyed itself from a fair brown colour to a wonderful mesh of pink.

Something else caught Jo's horrified eyes. Something on the mirror, a message in the dog's blood. Until now, a brick in her throat had stopped her from screaming but the message cleared it out.

Humans can lick too.