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Authors: D N Simmons

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Marshall nodded. “Same coven. The first thing I did was measure the distance between each puncture wound and they were identical to those on the first victim and one was identical to the bite wound I found on the second victim.”


Anything else?” Matthew asked.


That’s all for now,” Marshall answered.


Okay, thanks Galen,” Warren gave the slimmer man a pat on his back. He left the morgue with Matthew behind him. They went to their desks and sat down. “We need to find out if there’s been any murders similar to ours in other cities.”


I was doing that earlier with the first victim.” Matthew rose and left, returning minutes later. “I had left it in the car, here.” He handed Warren a file-size manila envelope.

Warren pulled out its contents and began scanning the documents.


From what I could gather, there’s been a series of skinless or naked, bloodless corpses discovered in various cities around the world and several in the States.” Matthew picked up their coffee mugs and walked way, returning once again with both cups filled to the brim with the bitter hot liquid. “Here.” He handed Warren his mug.


So,” Warren began, pausing to take a sip, grimacing slightly. “Tastes like shit.” He looked into the mug. “Why is it black?”


Because we need all of the caffeine we can get,” Matthew said.


A little sugar and cream wouldn’t hurt.” Warren placed the mug on his desk. “It says here there’s been at least fourteen dead bodies of shifters that have been found flayed like ours over the past four years. Why are we just finding out about this shit now?” He looked up at Matthew.


Other countries don’t have our resources, knowledge, hell, other countries, with the exception of England and Japan, don’t even have a S.U.I.T. organization. You and I both know that local cops aren’t equipped to handle what we do, hell, we’re barely equipped our damn selves.”


You’ve got a point there.” Warren ran his hands over his face. “What time is it?”

Matthew looked at his watch. “Two A.M..”


Fuck, when was the last time we slept?”


At least thirty hours ago.”


I can’t fucking think straight right now and I don’t even know where to begin.” He looked up just in time to see detectives Johnson and Weinstein approaching them.

Detective Gabriel Johnson slapped a folder on Warren’s desk. “I just want you to know that it’s really shitty that you two get all of the high-profile cases, and I’m not above declaring it favoritism either.”


That’s what we had on the second victim. Do with it what you can,” Barry Weinstein said. He was upset as well, having their case yanked away from them and given to the famous “Golden Boys”, but he was a bit more contained and professional than his partner.


Look, Johnson, neither Matt nor I asked for this case,” Warren said, biting down on his own rising temper.


Just like you two didn’t ask for the last one, right?” Johnson shot back.


Right. We’re just here trying to do the best we can, and we don’t have time for your fucking petty-ass jealousies.”


Then explain to me why our fucking case just got snatched away?” Johnson waited for a response.

Matthew remained silent as he reached over his desk, picking up the envelope Gabriel had slammed on Warren’s desk. He began searching through it, reading the information.


Trust me, we didn’t ask for your case either, but unfortunately, it’s a part of ours. And if I remember correctly, one of the biggest high-profile cases that the S.U.I.T. had didn’t go to us. It ended in a million-dollar lawsuit and a bunch of new bullshit-ass procedures. I also remember it wasn’t Matt and I that fucked that one up.” Warren watched the other two men’s facial expressions. He remembered how most of the officers were pretty high on themselves for having arrested Darian Alexander and how lacks the investigation had been to the point where the entire S.U.I.T. had to be held responsible when a group of civilians solved the case the S.U.I.T. was supposed to.


That wasn’t us, had it been, it would have turned out differently!” Johnson was getting more agitated. His partner grabbed his arm, attempting to calm him down.


Enough! Shit, what are you guys, twelve?” Weinstein whispered, “at least keep your fucking voices down.”

Warren tossed him a glance, then looked back at Johnson. “Listen, Johnson … Weinstein, Matt and I respect you two. We don’t doubt your ability to do your jobs; you’re two of the best on the team. But the truth is, whether you like it or not, we’ve solved more cases than you, that may be why the captain picked us for his case.”


That’s only because you’re assigned more cases.” Johnson crossed his arms over his muscular chest.


I’m not going to argue with your ass anymore, you’ve got a problem with us taking your case, take that shit up with the captain. Go and blow smoke up her ass!” Warren rose from his chair and stalked off.

Weinstein patted his partner on this arm. “Let’s go.” He walked away. Johnson gave Matthew one last look of pure rage, before he followed his partner back toward his desk.

Matthew watched the two detectives retreat to their side of the room. He understood why they were so pissed, although, he didn’t approve of the exchange of schoolyard insults between his partner and Johnson. Warren returned fifteen minutes later. He was more composed.


Are you okay?” Matthew asked.

Warren nodded. “Yeah, I’m fine. Can you believe that asshole? Like I asked to be up for thirty straight hours!”


Warren … drop it.”

Warren opened his mouth to protest and then closed it, knowing that his partner was right. It was over and done with. “What does the file say?” He pointed to the papers Matthew was holding.


That this case just took yet another turn for the worse. The second victim was killed hours ago. Galen has the TOD clocked in at 3:00 P.M..”


What the fuck?” Warren reached over, snatching the papers from Matthew’s hands. “Are you sure that just isn’t when they found him?”


Based on the condition of the body, we’re looking at him possibly being killed by a vampire when the sun was still high in the sky.”


It also says here that the body wasn’t completely drained of blood. He could have been bled to the point of death, then left to die, finally doing so around that time.”

Matthew shrugged one shoulder. “Still, it would put the vampire in the sun to dispose of the body.”

Warren lifted a perfectly arched eyebrow. “Or maybe we’ve got a vampire coven with human servants that do all of the dirty work. Maybe they dumped the body during the day?”


That’s likely, but wouldn’t that still put the vampire up and awake to drain him to the point of death around, at least twelve or one in the afternoon?”

Matthew was making perfect sense and it was getting harder to counter his scenarios with other possibilities. “Shit, Matt. I think you’re right.” Warren continued to read the report. “Wait, you missed something … a few samples have been sent off to toxicology, Galen suspects a drug overdose as well.”


Where does it say that?” Matthew left his desk to stand over Warren’s shoulder, reading what he’d missed. “Oh, I was just getting to that when you snatched the damn file from my hands. I didn’t miss shit.”


Yeah, whatever.” Warren gave him a playful smile. He still wanted to tease, knowing how thorough Matthew wa when it came to giving attention to details. “We have to wait on the lab result on whether he had enough drugs in his system for that to be a factor in his death. That’s going to take at least a day or two.”

Matthew agreed. He went back to his own seat. “You know, I was thinking … this case, as far as we know has manage to pile on three bodies in a twenty-four hour period. The second victim, regardless of the cause of death, which I still think is blood loss, was murdered during daylight hours.”


Okay, what are you getting at?” Warren leaned forward.


Well, I’m just thinking perhaps it’s not a bad idea to get some help on this case. As far as we know, this is a night and day killer. We can’t work twenty-hour hours straight and still think we’re going to do our best, shifters or not.”


Are you actually suggesting we beg for help?” Warren snarled.

Matthew chuckled. “Or maybe Johnson had a point. Your pride is showing, partner.”

Warren rolled his eyes. “I just think we can handle it on our own. We’ve never needed help before, and we don’t need it now.”

Matthew shielded his eyes with his hand. “Whoa! Your pride is shining even brighter than before. It’s blinding!”

Warren slouched in his seat. “You know what? Fuck you.”

Matthew belted out a hearty laugh. He hadn’t laughed like that in over twenty-four hours. He was glad to know that he still could. “Don’t be that way. Besides, you know deep down, past your seemingly impenetrable layer of arrogance, that I’m right on this one.”


I still think we can handle it on our own.”


Okay, fine … let’s do this on our own. I just think it wouldn’t hurt to have some help,” Matthew said, smiling. “We need to call our

Richard and Xander.” He almost said “Alphas”.

Warren nodded. “Yeah, I was just thinking that.”


Hey, I forgot to ask you, what did Xander say about Marshall when you told him what happened earlier?”


Oh that’s right. I kind of neglected to tell him earlier today.”


You what?” Matthew leaned forward. “You better tell him, Xander’s going to be furious,” he whispered.


Take it easy, I’ve already told him; just several hours later. He was pissed, had good reason to be, but what’s done is done and he told me not to fully trust Galen.”

Matthew chuckled softly.


What’s so funny?” Warren asked, both eyebrows rising.


I just think it’s funny how the elders are so much alike. Richard pretty much said the exact same thing to me.”


Oh.” Warren chuckled. “We need to call them both.” He pulled out his cell phone, calling Xander. At the same time, across his desk, Matthew was doing the same, talking to Richard. The area they were in wasn’t very crowded, so both men felt comfortable speaking with their Alphas.

Xander answered his cell. “Hello Warren, we saw the news report earlier about a third victim being found,” he said.


Yeah, they’re all connected.” Warren began to tell Xander everything he knew.


Thank you for this information.”


I’ll keep you posted.” Both he and Matthew ended their conversations.


What did Richard say?” Warren asked.


He’s not liking it one bit. Thinks it’s a challenge to Darian and his coven, mostly. But the first victim, being a shifter also brings us in it, too. He’s just not sure what’s really going on.” Matthew ran his fingers through his soft, brown curls.

A second later, Warren’s telephone rang. He picked it up.


Detective Davis, Supernatural Unit Investigation Team

Homicide, how may I help you?” Warren greeted.


You know, if you’d bother to check your caller ID, you would have seen that it was an inside call,” Marshall said. “And thus no need for the long introduction.”


Galen, It’s two o’clock in the morning, it’s amazing I’m still able to function enough to answer the damn phone. What’s up?”


I just got wind of another DB found in Dekalb, Illinois on the college campus,” Marshall told him.


You’re fucking kidding me, right?”


Normally, I’d have a sarcastic comeback for that, but I’m far too exhausted to be funny. I’m gathering my things now to head out there.”


Think it’s connected to our case?”


Could be. From what I’ve heard, I believe it is. I’m sure you’ll get a call soon, I’m just giving you a heads-up.”


Thanks for the look-out, Marshall,” Warren said before ending the call.

Matthew’s telephone rang a second later. He answered. “Yeah captain, I think we already know what this is about.”

Warren looked at him from across his desk. The information was identical. They had another dead body.


Get to the location as soon as you can. Galen will meet you there,” Captain Michelle Lawrence said.


On our way.” Matthew got the information they needed from their captain and he placed the receiver back onto the base. “Still think we can handle this on our own?” he asked Warren.

Warren smirked. “I plead the fifth.”

They grabbed their leather coats and headed out for the long drive ahead of them. Each called their Alphas, telling them of the newest victim as they drove to the scene of the crime.

 

 

 

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BOOK: The Lion's Den
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