Warning: I don’t generally do bleak, but this story is bleaker than the vast majority of my writing. It’s an Underdogs-universe story, but with the first arguably evil canidae I’ve written.

Note: Ten years ago, on October 30, 2007, I became a published author. I owe that to this website, to the people who found my work here and believed in me. Back then, I was just a writer who liked posting online and hoped to one day do more. Now, I have over 30 published novels, I’m an official author of Stargate SG-1 fiction, and one of my books has been turned into a webseries with actors I’ve been a fan of for years (Liz Vassey! Connor Trinneer! And if we get a season 2, MARINA SIRTIS!!!).

Thank you to everyone who read my stories, both before and after I made the jump to professional writing. Here’s to ten more years!

Wolves Eat Dogs

by Geonn Cannon


Copyright © 2017 Geonn Cannon

Halloween sat on the cusp between two seasons, cold enough for the rain to chill you to the bone but not cold enough for it to become snow. The little ghouls and goblins were out, only their masks visible above the heavy coats their mothers wrapped them in. The paper of their bags rustled as they moved, fat with candy. I stepped aside to let a troupe of them pass me, nodding to their chaperone as she hurried to keep up. She probably thought I was a man, what with my short hair and most of my face obscured by the brim of my fedora. I was dressed casually, which could also read as “male” in the dim light: rumpled white shirt, suspenders, loose red tie, all of it underneath an oversized trenchcoat.

If she did assume I was a man (and to be fair, I have the jaw for it), she probably thought I was a coward. Any man worth his salt signed up as soon as the US declared war. As much as I hated the war and feared for our boys, I had to admit a little gratefulness. It was because of the war that I had my job. Crime didn’t stop just because there was fighting happening in Europe. People robbed, people killed, and someone had to investigate it. Detective Berringer didn’t like calling me in, but he didn’t have a choice on nights like this.

The light falling out of the diner window ended just before the mouth of the alley. Berringer had parked his car so the headlights shone into the darkness. I blocked the beams as I arrived and he looked up, squinting, and curling his lip when he recognized me.

“Hey, you’re the one who called me, Bear.”

He grunted. The combover had never really worked to cover his bald spot, but now it was completely haphazard. His clothes were rumpled and unwashed as always, but the shirt was misbuttoned. He’d been pulled out of bed. I tried to feel compassion for him but it was hard to muster. He gestured toward the dumpster.

“Another one,” he said. “Just like Burr Park.”

I muttered a curse under my breath. Like Burr Park, but like so many others, too. Berringer didn’t know that because the cops apparently didn’t like talking about the weird and unsolvable cases. They didn’t admit to each other when they had called me in to do their work for them.

I stepped around him and moved closer to the spot he’d blocked off with yellow tape. There was no body, but there was most of an arm. It ended just above the elbow with a tangle of shredded meat and blood. A pair of shoes were tossed against the back wall as casually as if someone had kicked them off at the end of a long day. I leaned closer and saw that the shoes weren’t empty.

I shuddered and looked down to make sure I wasn’t standing in the blood pool before I crouched down. The alley smelled like the clove cigarettes snuck by the diner’s cooks, and the air was completely permeated by the nauseating grease-smoke smell belching from its vents. I was grateful for those odors since they covered up the grisly smell of blood and viscera.

“Someone called about screams?”

“Cook in the diner,” Berringer said. “He locked the doors and kept all the customers inside until uniforms appeared on the scene. Didn’t see anyone coming or going from the alley.”

I put a hand over my mouth and considered the scene. Two weeks ago, just around midnight, cops responded to reports of a woman screaming in Burr Park. They didn’t find anything but, in the morning, the woman’s hands washed up on the shore of the little lake in the middle of the park. Her jewelry also showed up scattered behind some bushes. The grass was stained red with blood, but it wasn’t as big a pool as someone might expect. It was very contained, just like this one. It was just one of the crime scenes I’d visited in the past year.

“It’s gotta be a wild animal, right? Like, I dunno, I hear about the mountain lions coming down from the, the mountains, I guess...”

“Sure,” I said. “That makes sense. But why’d you call a private dick?”


I stood and looked at him. “You want me to investigate a mountain lion? I’m not animal control. I’m a detective.”


I held up a hand to stop him. “You don’t call a detective to deal with a wild animal.”

Berringer grimaced. “I’d be a laughingstock if I said this to anyone at the precinct.”

“And I’m already a laughingstock, so what do I have to lose? Right?”

“That’s pretty much it, yeah.” He exhaled hard, fists on his hips as he glared at the crime scene. “I think some sick bastard is doing this. I don’t know what he’s doing with the bodies, but I do know that he isn’t likely to stop ‘til someone makes him stop.”

I looked at the body parts. I thought of the other pieces I’d looked down on. The finger behind a supermarket, the thumb which a dog had pulled out of a drainage ditch, or the arm a garbage man had found behind some bags of trash. I’d been called to these scenes by uniformed officers or the unlucky people who discovered them.

“I think you’re right, Berringer,” I said, “but I’m not sure what would make someone like this stop unless they’re dead.”

“Well then,” he said, “there’s your answer.”


I told Berringer I would keep him informed of my progress on the case and dragged myself home through the icy rain. My apartment was a single room - sitting area to the right, bed to the left, and a kitchenette in a nook beside the front door - with a connected bathroom. I hung my coat and hat up next to the door where they could drip themselves dry. The clothes underneath were damp, but I could survive that.

The bathroom door opened and I looked at the floor before turning my head. It was a calculated move so I could start from the toes and go all the way up Bev’s long legs, slowing around the curve of her naked hip, ignoring the towel she held in front of her perfect breasts, and ending on her face. Her hair, normally thick and wild, was darkened and flat from the shower. It hung over her shoulders like a pair of crow’s wings. The natural brown color was darkened to black. When she smiled, her hazel eyes sparkled with reflected light.

“Mira. You’re home early.”

“Did I catch you with a fella?” I asked as I crossed to the bed. I hooked my fingers in my suspenders and shrugged out of them.

Bev shuddered; it did wonderful things to certain parts of her. “Don’t even joke. And stop right there.” My right hand was on the knot of my tie. She came out of the bathroom door, lowering her chin, her expression becoming downright predatory. “That’s my job. Sit on the bed.”

I did as I was told. Bev walked around the foot of the bed to her side. I heard the towel hit the hamper. The weight of her made the mattress sag and sway as she walked on her knees until she was behind me. She put her hands on my shoulders and massaged the tension out of them. My eyes drifted shut and I leaned back against her.

“That’s nice...”

“Poor baby works so hard,” she cooed.

Her hands drifted to my neck, teasing the skin just below my short black hair. It was long for a man’s cut, but unfashionably short for a woman. She wanted just enough to grab onto, and I obliged. I liked having her grab it, liked the feel of it when she closed her fingers and tugged. I passed my tongue over my lips and smiled as her fingernails tickled me before sliding around to undo my tie. She left it hanging as she began to unbutton my shirt to expose the white V-neck underneath.

I’d met Bev a year earlier, not long after the first grisly crime scenes began popping up. I was looking to buy a little liquid amnesia, hoping the alcohol would blunt the edges of the worst things I’d been seeing. The bar was down a short flight of stairs, with no posted sign or bouncer at the door. I slipped inside, went to the bar, and ordered the closest thing they had to paint thinner. I don’t know how many glasses I’d had when the music started.

It wasn’t a nightclub, not the kind of place that would pay for a singer, so at first I thought I was hallucinating. When I turned around and saw her, I was positive the hooch had taken over my brain. Her emerald green dress wasn’t particularly revealing but it showed off every bit of her in such a way that I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She saw me watching and focused on me. The corners of her lips curled up in a smile and she directed the rest of the song to me.

You came to me from out of nowhere. You took my heart and you found it free. Wonderful dreams, wonderful schemes from nowhere...”

There were no instruments, no music of any kind. It was as if the song had just possessed her as she stood against the wall, the words bubbling out of her. The bartender and the other patrons didn’t dare tell her to stop. Normally my voice would have been the first and the loudest calling for silence, but I wanted to hear how the song ended. That and I was more than a little hypnotized by her eyes.

She joined me at the bar when she finished. She told me her name was Beverly, but I could call her Bev.

“I thought you were a man at first,” she said.


“A very pleasant one.”

She put her hand on my thigh under the bar. I looked down at it, still halfway convinced I was hallucinating. I kept my tumbler in my right hand while my left dropped down to cover hers. It felt warm and real under my palm. I could feel the muscles move as she squeezed, and I pulled it higher. Bev turned on the stool, getting a better angle while also blocking my lap from the rest of the room. Her lips parted in excitement and surprise as she pressed her fingers against the crotch of my pants.

“Just in case you still weren’t sure,” I told her. I casually took a drink.

Bev began to massage me. I closed my eyes and tucked my bottom lip under my teeth. My back was ramrod straight, shoulders square, feet pressing down on the rail underneath the bar. It was the first time she got me off but it wasn’t the last. It wasn’t even the last time that night, as she pushed me over the edge again once we got back to her apartment. By the time she finally let me turn the tables, I’d twisted and tumbled three times.

Now she was trying to recreate history. My rain-damp shirt was open, and she had just gotten my belt undone. I felt her breath on my neck as she pulled down the zipper. My hands had been flat on the mattress but I moved them up and back until I felt her thighs.


She scooted forward until her knees braced me, tight on either side of my hips. Her breasts were flat against my shoulder blades. I loved this position as much as I hated it. She had access to all of me (as she demonstrated by sliding one hand up to cup my breast through my undershirt) and I could only skim her edges. Oh, but what edges they were. I squeezed and left imprints of my fingers on her skin, however fleetingly.

Bev’s hand traveled back down and disappeared into my pants. I lifted my hips off the mattress with a grunt. She touched me and my toes curled. Her tongue traced a line up to my earlobe, which she nipped and licked. As I squirmed in her embrace, she massaged me with one hand while undressing me with the other. I obediently moved my arms as needed until I was topless. She pulled her hand out of my pants so she could hold my breasts with both hands, teasing the nipples until she could pinch and twist them between her fingers.

“Are you going to tease me all night?” I asked.

“As tense as you are when you first came in, I thought you might want a little extra foreplay.”

I twisted my neck until she could give me a proper kiss. Her lips and tongue were sharp and minty and I pulled back a little.

“Did you already brush your teeth?”

“I ate something that left a bad taste in my mouth.” She pecked the corner of my mouth. “I didn’t want to make you taste it, too.”

I brought my hand up into her hair. “Such a considerate lady.”

“What’s my reward?”

“Back up.”

She scooted away from me. I took off my shirt and tossed it as I lay back, hooking my hands in the waistband of my pants and pushing them down my hips. I left them bunched just above my knees as I reached up and drew Bev forward. She straddled my head and stretched herself over the length of my body. I opened my legs wide enough to give her head some room to work. I hissed through my teeth as her mouth touched me through my underwear, a tease before moving to my inner thigh.

I don’t believe in teasing. I went directly for what I wanted and I reveled in her cry of pleasure. I folded my arms around her waist. One hand was flat in the small of her back, and the other gripped the curve of her ass. I dug my fingers into the cheek and began kneading. She gave up any pretense of taking it slow and fought back, eager to finish me before I could finish her. She growled low in her throat and I felt the vibrations in her tongue, and I gripped her tighter, thrusting my tongue into her, lifting my hips to give her a better angle.

Her hands roamed over my sides and she drew claw-like fingernails over my sensitive skin, the not-quite-curvy line of my hips and back up toward my ribs.

I came first, whether that was winning or losing is up for debate. I was able to focus on my lover’s pleasure, and I was able to feel it when she went over the edge without being distracted by my own arousal, so I count that as a prize. My lips were wet with her, my brow damp with beads of sweat. She was a rag doll on top of me now, cheek against my thigh. I dragged my tongue over her one final time and was rewarded with a full-body tremor.

By the time she lifted herself and rolled to one side, I had almost fallen asleep. The loss of her weight brought me back, and I turned my head to look at her.

“Where’d you go tonight?”

She crossed her arms under her head. “Mm?”

“You weren’t here when I got home from the day job. I assumed you were going to spend the night at your place. That’s why I answered Berringer’s call in the first place.”

“I was just out.”

“Not at the bar. At least not at my bar.” I reached out and laid a playfully warning hand on her left buttock. “Have you been drinking at another establishment?”

Bev sat up on her elbows. It may have been an attempt to distract me with the way her breasts hung in that position. It may have worked.

“I got places to be, sweetheart. Are you starting to get possessive?”

“Maybe.” My hand flattened and moved up and down, traversing from her back to her thigh. “I’m glad you’re here now. I really needed that after tonight.”

Bev stretched to kiss my leg. “What happened tonight?”

“Cops found another body part. Stay away from that diner on Talman Street.”

“Oh.” Her body tensed just enough for me to notice. She pulled her hand away and repositioned herself so the pillows were under her back. I sat up as well and crawled to join her.

“It’s okay.” I put an arm around her. She rested her head on my shoulder. “Whoever this psycho is will get caught sooner or later. The city will be safe again.”

Bev said, “Until the war ends and the streets are flooded with boys. They were bad enough before they got a taste for killing.”

“Soldiering is different than killing,” I said. “You know better than that.”

She made a soft noise in her throat that meant she didn’t want to argue it. I got my arm between her shoulder and the headboard and pulled her closer.

“Just stick with me, Bevy.” I kissed her hair. “I’ll keep you safe.”

Bev put her hand on my stomach. “Promise?”

“Cross my heart,” I told her.

She settled against me. I held her until she fell asleep, and I quickly followed her over that edge as well. As I was falling asleep, I turned my head and buried my face in her hair. It smelled of shampoo and conditioner, but underneath it was another smell, something I couldn’t quite place until I was almost completely out.

Clove cigarettes and grease-smoke.

By morning the memory wasn’t forgotten, but I’d convinced myself it was just my brain mixing things up just before shutting down for the day.


Over the next few months, more body parts showed up. Thanksgiving and Christmas were soured for me by calls to come investigate another pool of blood. I was starting to see the gruesome things in my dreams. I took long baths to scrub the reek of it out of my skin. Bev kept coming over and stayed as long as she liked, but she kept her own apartment. She didn’t want to draw any gossip about us living together, though people were talking anyway.

One night I woke up from one of my nightmares to find Bev standing by the window. She hadn’t been there when I went to sleep. I was chilled and jumpy from the dream and I was startled by the way she seemed to be lurking. I sat up in bed and stared at her, backlit by the moonlight, and we stayed silent until my heart dropped out of my throat.

“Bevy?” I whispered.

She lifted her head and turned a little bit. That’s when I saw she was naked. That’s when I saw her right arm was caked with blood.

“I wanted to stop,” she said.

“What do you mean? Stop what?”

Bev hung her head and sobbed.

My phone rang, a banshee shrieking from the wall. I yelped at the sound, and Bev recoiled. I got up and went to the phone, every nerve in my body electric and sensitive to the slightest assault. I jerked the receiver away from the cradle.


“Manners,” Berringer said. “I know it’s late, but I don’t have to call you.”

I closed my eyes. “I-I was... it’s the middle of the night, Bear. What do you want?”

“We got another one.”

I swore.

Manners,” he said again. “People are going to start thinking you really are a man.”


He gave me the address. I told him I would be there as soon as possible, hung up, and turned back to Bev. She was gone and the window was open. I crossed the room slowly. The air coming through the window was bone-chilling. I stuck my head out and looked down three stories into the alley. No sign of anyone, let alone my naked lover, and no indication anyone had passed under my window since the sun went down. A light snow had begun to fall and there were no footprints in the floury dusting that covered the concrete.

No human prints, anyway. There was, however, one set of paw prints, most likely belonging to a stray mutt, leading away from my fire escape and out into the street.


My nightmares got worse. I woke believing there was a massive black hound standing over me in the bed. I could smell its foul breath, feel the sharpness of its claws through the sheet, and the light reflecting in its monstrous eyes was something I didn’t believe I could imagine. But then my memory failed, I passed out or drifted back to sleep. When I woke, the only one in bed with me was Bev. I held her tightly and kissed the back of her neck.

I started crossing the street to avoid dogs. When one of the little hellbeasts barked at me from an apartment window, I almost drew my weapon.

Bev also became withdrawn. I would find her staring out the window, completely lost in thought, or she would spend days out of contact only to brush off my questions when she finally came back. I didn’t know if she was responding to my downward spiral or if she had some secret life of her own that was attributing to her mood, but I tried my best to be a good partner to her.

We spent evenings together reading, she taught me how to cook, we made love. During those moments, our relationship seemed perfect. But at night, when I was lying awake staring at the ceiling, I knew she was only pretending to sleep. I wanted to ask what was eating away at her but, selfishly, I was afraid I couldn’t bear the weight of her darkness on top of my own. So we remained silent.

I was grateful to have her in those days. I knew I could bear whatever murder scene I was called to because Bev would be there to hold me for the rest of the night. I only had to call her and she’d come running no matter what was worrying her.

Berringer found an arm. A week and a half later, most of a torso was found by garbagemen. It was the same thing over and over again, like a recurring nightmare. My nights got longer. Eventually I gave up on a normal sleep pattern and stole naps during the day when I could no longer keep my eyes open. Exhausted sleep rarely allowed time for nightmares. I stopped eating because even the most veggie-heavy plates reminded me of the carnage I’d been subjecting myself to.

And I was no closer to figuring out who the hell was doing this. No witnesses. No footprints or fingerprints at the crime scene. The victims had no connection to each other. Random crimes with no thread to pull. How was I supposed to find the person responsible?

I took other cases, easier cases, to keep myself fed and sheltered, and also to prove I could still solve a damn case. The killer didn’t have a schedule. The deaths didn’t stop when winter faded and continued into spring and summer. Bev and I continued clinging to one another during these hard days, even though both of us were beginning to realize there was no future to our relationship. I was keeping too much from her. She was keeping things from me, too. I may not have known the details, but I could see the empty spaces where the truth should’ve been.

The last time I saw her was a few nights before Halloween. We made love and held each other afterward. I didn’t know it was the last time, but I had a feeling our time together was coming to an end. I knew letting her go was the right thing to do. It just made me hold her tighter. My head was on her chest, listening to her heartbeat.

“Mira,” she said.


“No, I have to say this.” She touched my cheek and I looked up at her. “You’re not going to see me again.” I started to speak and she put a finger across my lips. “Sh. What I’m about to say might not make any sense to you. But one of these days, if you put things together, I want you to think back and remember it. Okay?”

I nodded.

“What happened, and what’s going to happen, is right. And it’s what needs to happen. If it weighs heavy on your mind, just know that it was what I wanted. Okay?”

“What are you talking about?”

“Quiet.” She put my head back on her chest, stroking my hair. “Hopefully you’ll never understand. I hope to god you never do.”

I closed my eyes and tried not to think about it, focusing instead on the woman I was holding in my arms and who, for a brief moment, also held me in hers.


Halloween night. Another call, another piece of a body. It took every bit of willpower to get out of bed and respond. This time it was a uniformed officer named Payne, who sounded like a rookie. I could almost recite the call from memory after all this time. Fill-in-the-blank worker at such-and-such establishment found a body part, pool of blood, et cetera and so on. I dragged myself to the scene - this time in another park, at the edge of the woods. The person who called it in thought it was a decoration but Payne had already been a cop long enough to know the difference.

I introduced myself to Payne and let him shine a flashlight on the bloody pool. This time, there was a difference: the entire body was present.

“One of the detectives said you were the one to call about things like this.”

“Lucky me,” I said.

I crouched by the pool and looked at the body. It had been ripped to shreds, and chunks were missing, but I had no doubt I was dealing with the same fiend. I was still examining the scene when Payne made a strangled noise behind me. His flashlight beam jerked and swung away from the body. I heard the scuff of his shoes on the gravel as he backed away. I started to turn to ask him what was happening, but then I saw what had caused his panic.

A wolf had emerged from the woods. The fur was jet black, its eyes shining gold. Even in the dim light, I could see the muzzle was saturated with so much blood that it was dripping. The wolf bared its teeth at me and I saw more blood and gristle there. Payne fled, dropping his flashlight in his haste, and left me alone with the beast.

The pieces came together quickly. Of course it was a wild animal. Of course there was no human being who could’ve been committing these murders. My subconscious had been trying to tell me but I’d been too focused on looking for a human perpetrator.

Now the wolf moved forward. I didn’t want to stand too quickly for fear of startling the animal back into the woods. Our eyes locked. I moved my hand back to my gun, settled in my holster and heavy on my hip. For a long moment, neither of us moved. It was close to forty degrees that night, and I could see my breath, but I was sweating under my shirt. I forced my hands not to shiver my pretending they were made of stone.

And then...


I didn’t see anything.

There was nothing in the wolf’s eyes but a primal hunger. I just...

I imagined something (familiar, regret, acceptance) that couldn’t possibly have been there.

But when I drew my gun, the wolf remained where it was. It didn’t flinch, recoil, or attempt to run. It was almost as if it accepted its fate even before I revealed the weapon. I pulled back the hammer. In the seconds afterward, when the wolf must have recognized what was about to happen, it simply stood there and stared.

I pulled the trigger.


The murders stopped.

I have no idea what happened to the wolf’s body. I didn’t much care. About a year after I shot the beast, the war ended and our boys came home. Suddenly I wasn’t being called as much. Sometimes I went back to the bar where I’d first heard Bev sing, but no one there had seen her. It was like she had simply vanished off the face of the earth. Sometimes I still had nightmares. I saw Bev and the wolf in the dreams, the two whirlwinds I’d gotten caught up with for a couple of years while the world was going crazy. I started thinking of them as my angel and my demon. One brought the other into my life and, when one left, so did its twin. They were forever entwined.

I did find happiness again, a love that stuck around. She was sweetness and light. When she said she didn’t like the gunpowder smell on my fingers, I got rid of the gun and took a job driving trucks. It was an honest living, hard work, and it didn’t keep me awake nights or drive me to the bottle. It was a life I would’ve once called boring, but these days I was fine with boredom. I craved it.

Sometimes I went out to the woods near where I killed the wolf. I don’t know what I was looking for. I don’t know what I hoped to find or see. But I felt like I had to be there. I stood in the quiet and thought about that Halloween night, the night I finally looked into the eyes of the beast which had been killing people in this town for over two years, and tried to convince myself I’d seen something else. Something I didn’t recognize.

It never worked.