February 27


I finally got to interview Mr. Catcher, but for every answer I had three new questions. 

People are saying that just because the mayor had chunks bit out of him, and the Dog Catcher has a pet dog that is trained in murder, this is an open-and-shut case. But after speaking to the accused, I’m not convinced.

I’ve seen Madame around town since I was a little girl, and she’s a good girl! Sure, she’s trained to hunt down mixed-breeds and viciously rip them limb from limb, but she has that little spark in her eyes.  And if you walk up to Mr. Catcher when he’s walking her and ask to pet her, she’ll roll over and let you scratch her tummy. Why would she hurt a human? I needed to find her and get answers.

Turns out, it’s not so hard to track down a giant dog that kills other dogs. Going around the neighborhood asking if anyone’s seen anything, I spotted a golden retriever limping down the street trailing blood. Instantly, I sprung into action. I raced past the dying, wailing animal and followed the trail back to the woods, where I found Madame sniffing around near the river, her mouth dripping from her most recent kill. Well, probably a kill. I didn’t stick around to see if that golden retriever made it, or try to help it, or even call anybody, but things were looking dire. Like, really dire. I could barely even make out a face. Even if it does live, who knows if life will ever be the same?

I followed this dog downstream for a while, and it led me to the O’Halloran Puppery. But why? And how would I get in?

Turns out it’s not hard to break into O’Halloran’s Puppery. The windows were open, but that didn’t even matter because the front door and all of the internal doors were all propped open as well with a whimpering mutt, including one set of double doors that I sensed harbored a deep secret. The sign next to it read “TOP SECRET: DO NOT PROP OPEN UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.”  The sign below that read “BUT IF YOU DO, USE A DOG.” 

I opened the door and Madame immediately bolted down the hallway of what I can only describe as Mr. O’Halloran’s super creepy, definitely illegal, secret dog laboratory.  

We’re talking mutt heads grafted onto bodies of other mutts, mutt heads grafted on top of other mutt heads, even human heads grafted onto mutt bodies. I saw a dog that was genetically engineered to look exactly like Tom Holland, except if he were a dog. Another one had basically all of its body parts replaced with cybernetic parts except for a fully original dog tail. There were artificially-alive monstrosities floating in giant vats with tubes hooked up to them, and I couldn’t tell if they were sucking fluids out of the dogs or pumping fluids into them. The room sounded like a cacophony of whirring machines, sizzling chemical brews, and most of all, the ghastly cries of tortured animals. I’m only twelve, but I think I’m traumatized for life from all of the fucked up — and again, I’m twelve so I don’t really even use words like this — fucked up shit I saw. I don’t even want to get into it any more. 

At the moment, I didn’t have time to process this potentially life-altering trauma I had just experienced: I had come upon the clue that just might explain everything. Since we had entered the lab, the dog-catcher’s dog had been clawing at a giant tub. The label on the tub read: “MUTT PHEROMONES.”


— A. Brown