Received

I

Canis looked at Placebo with a look of anger crossed with concern. The first more than the second. Placebo, still staring at the cracked hourglass, didn't notice either look. In fact, it would seem that he had forgotten all about Canis standing beside him. That was until he felt a hand collide with his head. Canis hit him.

"Well, just staring at it all night won't do us any good. We need to look for some clues to where the darn things ran off to. Come on."

Placebo's green eyes wavered from the glass to Canis' figure walking over to the staircase. He had expected to get yelled at about leaving the hourglass and having to tell about how he gave himself away to Mrs. Caroline. He shook his head and thought of how Vitis must be rather comfy alone right now.

II

Vitis peered out into the darkness. She needed to think of a plan. The darkened electric mass type 3 or DEM3 called informally was slowly making its way to Mrs. Caroline. She needed to stop it before it ate Mrs. Caroline too. Her forehead crinkled as she thought about the charts graph once they returned from the mission. Talk about minimizing death, half the house was already gone.

Vitis released one of her beetles, but before it could go far it was shocked by the DEM3. She then sent out a fleet of them before and one made it without being tarnished. She sighed thinking of her next plan of action. If only she had a bit more time.

III

Canis walked to the window and peered out a bit before tilting his head. Placebo shook his black hair. He narrowed his eyebrows at Canis. This was the tenth window they had checked for the twist clowns. It was clear that they had moved on and were after Mrs. Caroline. How could 'the leader' not see that?

"Canis, this is pointless. It's not here. Let's go help Vitis." Canis, however, wasn't listening to Placebo. He listened to the walls before pointing to the window on the far right. Placebo, irritated, refused to walk over. He started to head towards the spiral steps before he heard a masculine scream.

Canis gave a grim look as they both stared down the hall towards one of the guest bedrooms. It was next to that window on the right. Placebo could see now what Canis was listening for. It was the slight sound of the ashes falling on to the ground. Placebo, not being a sense specialist, would not be able to hear such a slight noise.

Canis was going to tell Placebo to fall back while he identified the danger behind the door. Placebo though, not wanting to be shown up, hurried silently to the door and twisted the melted knob.

IV

The DEM3 swallowed the carpet and dresser before consuming part of the mahogany bed. The electronic bug crawled to the forefront. The beetle's wings folded as sharp metal teeth surrounded the bottom. It sliced through the cloud making the DEM3 half in size before being swallowed. Even with the slicing it still steadied forward. Vitis swallowed hard as she jumped out of the closet. The DEM3, seeing the burgundy haired more youthful seeming girl, turned to its new victim.

V

Placebo paused seeing a young man sitting in the room facing the window. He walked slowly forward curiously, but still with fear. The door behind him closed as he felt the room shake a bit. The television in the room fell to the floor as little sparks flew out all over the place. The youth flew to the other side of the room falling over some opened boxes. The lights in the room started to flicker. He could hear someone calling for him behind the door now.

Placebo raised an eyebrow as he got out of the toy box he fell into. The boy was unchanged staring at the window. Placebo walked over, with caution, ignoring the smoke that started to fill the small room. He touched the boy's shoulder as a baseball trophy fell off the wall crushing a glass frame underneath it. Inside the frame was a picture of a little boy and his father at a little league event. It was titled with a date from four years ago and the boy's name, James.

"James" Placebo said aloud without really thinking. The boy turned around, but his smile was stitched up and his flesh was a bluish color. Placebo heard loud banging on the door now. He tried to pull his hand away from the boy, but it sunk into his body.

VI

Canis knocked harder on the door. He touched his forehead thinking about how to get into the room now. He noticed the name on the room, James. The boy that the twist clowns were after. The name had been flipped over and dripped blood over every letter. This was one of the ways they learned that the soul of a child was gone. The Twist clowns had won this time, but he wasn't going to let them take Placebo too.

Canis felt the anger course through his veins. His teeth grew larger as fangs sprang out his mouth. His nails turned into large claws as hair began to grow over his body. His pupils constricted as the shape of his face narrowed. His final thought before he completely changed was of his given name, Canis Lupus.

VII

Mrs. Caroline blinked her eyes a bit before turning over to readjust herself. She usually didn't wake up because she was a heavy sleeper, but it would make it two times today after that thief broke into her house. When she flipped over her eyes flew open as she saw a black mass of murky dust filled with red and blue dots coming towards her. She noticed that her dresser had disappeared only leaving wood there. Her oriental carpet had been torn to shreds with only threads left. She looked around the room quick, not noticing the girl standing there, to find something to protect herself with. She grabbed her lamp and threw it at the beast. It swallowed the object whole. In deep shock, she backed up and fell off the edge of her bed. With a clunk, she fainted.

VIII

Vitis armed herself with her last resort. It was a new invention that she had not tried out yet. She

took out a small circular tube from her bag. It was lined with blue and green wires and they all connected at the end of the tube. She held it in her hand like a gun as jumped in front of Mrs. Caroline's body. She pushed the button as it swirled everything into it. The door began to unlatch from the wall and pushed the DEM3 forward as it came hurdling towards the small girl. The machine sucked in the covers and last part of the bed before the force of the door brought the monster close to the new invention. Vitis stood her ground as it was swallowed whole by the Black Hole Vacuum. The wall started to crack as it tore off heading towards her. She turned of the BHV, but it was too late. Part of the wall came hurdling at her and hit her through the mansion window. The section hit the ground and scattered around with red shoes glittering underneath it.

"Dots, I lost my shoe." Vitis said. She had a fleet of bugs in the shape of a large dragonfly carrying her. A smaller dragonfly flew out with beautiful gems and a one of a kind garnet necklace. The insects lowered her as she grinned.

IX

Placebo turned quickly as fangs dug into James' shoulder. He pulled his arm out and fell back. James let out an inhuman scream.

"SKiShYuAhsIK" James' tongue split in half and slithered out his now elongated jaw. Placebo stared in horror. He no longer cared about the jewels or the family here. He didn't care about the mission or the boss. He just wanted to leave now. He just wanted to be safe at home again before he was selected for this. He just wanted to see his parents again and for everything to be normal. If only it all could be normal again.

James' screamed again as the beast tore flesh out of his shoulder letting go. The wolf's eyes stared with anger as James' jumped out of the window letting various twist clowns enter the tainted room. The grey wolf tore through them with great precision. It did not care to spare the raven haired youth of the grim and violent strikes. Placebo stared in horror as he closed his eyes to the chaos. When the last one was destroyed the darkness in the room disappeared. The wolf gently walked over to its scared team member. It nudged him as its blue eyes widened. Placebo opened his eyes and touched the soft coat of the grey wolf. The wolf's blue eyes communicated sorrowfulness, but Placebo only said one thing.

"Thank you."

X

Placebo climbed on the wolf's body. It jumped out of the window and ran towards a pile of rubble where Vitis was waiting for them. Placebo walked over to Vitis staring at the debris. He then looked up at the broken wall. He looked back to Canis, but he had gone off somewhere to change back. He didn't like to be seen. It was insanely painful to change into his animal form as his bones warped in shape. Vitis shrugged and began to speak.

"Well this didn't turn out too well. Noth'in we can do though, but report back to HQ. Think we'll be murdered up there, eh P?"

Placebo gave a half small and tilted his head. He secretly hoped that Canis was alright. They did need a ride to headquarters or at least a hotel. If not they had a long journey ahead of them that only descended into the cold night.