Bark at the Moon Ch. 01byCrazzyGuy©
Hey, folks. This is my first story on Lit, and firstly, I'd like to thank you all for reading, off the bat. There's not much in the way of sex in the first chapter, but I do like to bring up the plot. Enjoy, and please, review, comment, and enjoy!
Kara Archer sat in the passenger seat of her brother's car. She had her eyes closed, and her entire body was on edge. "I dunno if I can do it, bro." She said. Her hands were on the dashboard, spread out as she tried to calm herself.
Her twin brother, Jason, put his hand on her shoulder. "Hey, Kara, sis, you're good. Don't you worry." His voice was, as always, calm and confident. "You've got this. I did some digging on this DL who's training you, this Reese guy."
She smirked. That was Jason, always the reporter. She looked over to him, opening her eyes. Their eyes met. Jason had the same dark blue eyes she did, a leftover of parents they had never known. "So, yea, what'd you find?"
"Oh, he's a big shot in Major Crimes, one of the original detectives from when it was formed five years back. He's got a big fan in the DA's office. Real door kicker."
"Is that a hint of displeasure in your voice?" Kara smiled, watching her brother's face.
Jason smiled just a little. "Okay, he does have one or two notes of possible brutality. No comments about over-aggressive stormtroopers or anything, I promise."
"Nice to know you have such a high opinion of my colleagues, Jason." She rolled her eyes. "I'll text you on my lunch break, tell you how it's going."
"You'll do good, sis." He said, sure of that. "Go get 'em, Kara."
Kara smiled, and she opened the door. She was outside the San Francisco Police Department, Precinct Four. The red brick building was a holdover from the past century, and had seen use as one of the core precincts of the San Francisco PD for ninety years.
She heard Jason drive off, and Kara fidgeted with her jacket. "Well, might as well just get on with it."
Kara headed into the precinct, where she found the desk sergeant. She showed her badge. "Inspector Archer, here for Major Crimes, Lieutenant Reese."
The sergeant on desk, a Latino with a receding hairline, nodded. "Third floor, detective's desks."
"Thanks, sir." She nodded, politely, and headed to the elevator. It was marked as out of order, so she just hiked the stairs. Kara was glad she'd worn flats, then.
She popped out onto the third floor. The detective's desks occupied the majority of the floor. Dozens of the same cheap desks were spaced all across the floor. She just decided to start scanning the names on the desk, walking along the rows.
"Inspector Archer?" A male voice popped up as she walked through the desks. She turned around, facing the source.
Lordy, that could not be Lieutenant Reese. No training officer should be that gorgeous. "Uh, yea, that's me. You are?"
"Owen Reese, Detective-Lieutenant, Major Crimes." He stood up from behind his desk. Kara was of an average height, but Reese was, just plainly, huge. He was six-four, easily, and had shoulders that you could have put two officers into. He wore a black t-shirt, revealing muscular arms that had sleeve tattoos, intricate body art. "I'm going to be supervising your detective training."
Kara swallowed down a little lump in her throat. Butterflies started to flutter in her stomach. She told herself to shove it, that she was a professional woman and that a superior officer was definitely off-limits. "A pleasure to meet you, sir." She extended her hand. "Inspector Kara Archer."
Reese placed his hand in hers, shaking it. He had a strong, firm grasp, and his hand was callused. Was there anything small about him? "Well, you ready to kick things off? We don't usually put you new kids on Major Crimes for detective training, but the Captain liked you."
"The Captain?" She'd heard buzz about the director of Major Crimes. He was a legend in the City police department, and one of the pioneers for the creation of Major Crimes to stem gang activity and serial crime. "Well, thanks. So where do we start?"
"We're going to take a drive, and I explain what we do here, and about my current case."
"Right, sure thing, Lieutenant."
Reese smiled, and he took a moment to grab a leather jacket. He gestured for her to follow to the stairs, and she did, matching his speedy clip. "So, Archer, tell me about yourself a bit," He said over his shoulder as they headed into the stairwell.
"Well, I graduated from Cal with a degree in criminal justice, worked traffic for a few years, and I got the promotion to Inspector this past April after doing some leg work for the Special Victims Unit."
"Special Victims? You've got a stomach then." His voice was like a little low growl, and it sent a shiver through her. "That's good. We do a lot of murder cases."
"Gang stuff, right?" She asked.
"Some of it. I'll explain some more in the car, all right?"
"Sure thing, Lieutenant."
"Call me Reese, Archer." He insisted.
They got into his car, a black sedan, one of the typical g-cars, and started off. "So, where are we going?"
"A place called the Cauldron. It's a coffee place that Major Crimes cops frequent."
"Cauldron? Sounds sorta hippy-ish."
Reese chuckled. "Yea, well, it's our place." He pulled out from the police parking garage onto the packed San Francisco streets. "So, you worked with SVU. Any cases I'd have heard about?"
"I did some legwork on the Harper rapist."
Reese looked away from the road to look at Kara for a moment, flashing a grin. 'Really? Heard he was a real piece of work. Ran for like, ten minutes, didn't he?"
"Yea," Kara smirked just a little. "I ended up tackling him. Outran half a dozen cops who were also on his tail."
"You took him down? Impressive."
"I'm a gal of an average height, average build. If I'm going to be taking down perps who weight twice my weight, I keep myself in tip-top shape, study martial arts." She now grinned. "Can kick my brother's ass."
"A brother, eh?" Reese muttered a curse as someone tried to cut them off. "Tell me about him." His brown eyes fluttered with a little glimmer of pleasantness. "We're gonna be working together for a few months, so I figure we ought to get to know each other."
"Well," Kara relaxed back into the seat. The upholstery in the car wasn't great, but after all, it was a cop car. "He's a reporter for the Bay Shield."
"The Bay Shield?" He gave her an inquisitive look. "Jesus Christ, he's one of those reporters?"
Kara sighed. She'd had to deal with this for years, ever since it got out amongst the uniformed officers that her twin brother worked for a news site that, on a good day, could be viewed as liberal. Most days, it was viewed as a government-scathing outfit that questioned police methods and did what they would have called muckraking a century ago.
"Yea," Kara answered. "He's not a bad guy. Just..."
"A bleeding heart, with a mad-on for making our kind look bad?"
"Yea, on the first part. He doesn't cover cop cases, but he's big on human rights." Kara sighed. "Listen, can we get this out of the way, Reese? Can I be straight with you?"
"Sure thing, Archer." Reese said. The lieutenant pulled into the Castro, and found a spot on the street. "We're partners now, for what it's worth."
"Jason and I are two sides of the same coin. We're twins, and our parents died in an arson a few months after we were born. Grew up, raised together in foster care. We both wanted to work so that people wouldn't have the shit that we got raised with. I became a cop...Jason took the more radical route."
Reese smiled, just a little, as he turned off the engine. "In a weird sort of way, I can respect that. Still doesn't excuse the fact the man works for the Shield. Come on, let's get some joe."
They walked into the Cauldron. Like Kara suspected, it was a bit of a hippie place, lots of wood, and with a big chalkboard with the daily specials on it. The woman behind the counter was a brunette, in her mid-thirties, rather pretty. She wore her hair in loose pigtails, and wore a gray apron over her sun dress.
"Heyya, Owen," She had a bright cheery disposition. "Who's the new fish?"
Reese grinned, and chuckled. "This is Kara Archer, my new trainee. Archer, this is Jasmine Carlisle, owner of the Cauldron."
Jasmine grinned. "Oh, really? Reese's Pieces here give you the four-one-one on what he does yet?"
"Uh, no," Kara looked between the tall lieutenant and the small brunette. "That's why we were here."
"Well," Jasmine Carlisle whistled. "Yea, have fun with that. Your first one's on the house, Inspector Archer."
"Yea, well, surprise me." She replied. "Always up for trying something new."
Reese ordered, and they both went to a seat. "So, Archer..."
"Want to explain what this was about?" She asked.
The dark-haired man tugged on his jacket just a little. "All right, listen, Archer, we've got some stuff to discuss."
"Go for it," She crossed her arms across her chest. Kara wasn't sure what to think of Reese yet. It definitely seemed like the man was hiding something.
"Major Crimes handle organized crime, serial crime, that stuff, but only of a certain...breed, Archer."
"A certain breed?" She furrowed her brow, in confusion. "I don't follow."
Here it was. Owen hated telling a new kid this, but it was part of the SOP for inducting them. "Archer, do you believe in ghosts?"
"I don't follow. Are you going somewhere with this?" Her brow furrowed, crossing across her pretty features.
Owen sighed. "First of all, don't dodge the question. Christ, you've never been on the stand, have you?"
"Uh, no, I haven't." She really was a new fish. Probably wouldn't last long on a stand. It was a good thing that most of their perps never got to trial. Their cronies, maybe, but the big shots never made it to trial. You didn't arrest people like that. No way to restrain them properly. Besides, who'd believe it?
"Answer the question, Archer. Do you believe in ghosts?"
She shook her head. "No, I don't. I don't see how this is relevant."
"Then let me lay this out simple, Archer." He lowered his voice. "Major Crimes Unit specializes in unusual cases, particularly those with supernatural origins."
She laughed. "I'm getting punked, right?" She leaned forward, a little grin crossed her tanned face. The beast in Owen was curious over whether her entire body was that tanned. Maybe a bit of Hispanic background? "You can't be serious."
"Deadly." He said. Their order came up, and he stood up to grab the drinks. He came back with the two ceramic cups, balancing them on their saucers. "Archer, let me just run through this." He sat back down, and set the cups out. "There are a lot of things out there. Vampires, shapeshifters, witches. There are things that go bump in the night, and MCU is the thing that protects the people of San Francisco from those things."
Archer stared at him, in disbelief. "This is the weirdest hazing I've ever gone through."
"It's not hazing by any means. I'm telling the flat truth, Kara Archer. Monsters are real."
She froze. "Prove it."
Owen knew that this was the time. He glanced around. Cauldron was nearly empty now, with most of the usuals off doing their daily activities. Owen knew anyone who saw this would have already seen it.
He pulled his lips back from his teeth, showing his pair of thick, canine fangs, forcing that little bit of the transition. "Easy. I'm one of them, Archer."
Kara wanted to throw up. Or maybe scream. Everyone else wasn't freaking out. Was she the only one who had seen Reese grow a pair of freaking fangs? "What. The. Fuck." She hissed. "That..that..." She couldn't even think of how to respond to that.
"I'm a werewolf, Archer."
She shook her head. She'd never thought about this. She'd grown up with an idea of empiricism, that something like the supernatural was a bunch of bullshit. But, here was a freaking werewolf right in front of her.
"This is, really crazy." She whispered. Kara ran a hand through her hair. "Like, really insane. Werewolves? So, what, walk me through this...You're a werewolf. But you hunt them?"
"Most Supernaturals, as we're called, are happy, law-abiding citizens. But there's the usual thing that happens. A vampire who kills a girl to get his fill of blood, some of the odd supernatural drugs that run around, and a lot of organized crime that is involved with the various supernatural races."
"So, uh, what, we're supernatural cops?"
"We." Reese grinned. "You're coming around fast to that. We'll turn you into a Major Case gal yet."
"So, okay," Kara said. "You guys hunt monsters. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, magic, it's all real?"
"Yea. Jasmine over there is a witch."
"And we're not talking about New Age-y wicca crap, are we?"
He chuckled. "No, more like divination, fireballs, and spells that actually work. Though she sticks to coffee and cooking, more than magic."
She exhaled a sigh. Wow, magic. Like, real magic. "Okay, so, there's dozens of inspectors. Lots of them have already worked cases before. Why, me? Why do you think I'd be good at this monster hunting business?"
"You fit the criteria." He answered. "We search for inspectors with little family, combat aptitude, reckless personalities, and ridiculous work ethics."
"This is crazy." She murmured.
"Welcome to the jungle, Archer."
The next hour or so, Archer grilled him. After the initial shock, surprisingly, Kara was taking this pretty well. Sure, she had just had the bedrock of her existence shaken up, but there was something that made sense in the way that Reese all explained it. He laid out to her the "rules."
"First of all, what I've told you? Stays with Major Case Unit. If your reporter brother finds out about it and leaks this to the public, it'd be the apocalypse, Archer. You think the Cold War was bad? Imagine finding out your neighbor isn't a communist, but he's a fucking vampire."
History wasn't Kara's strong suit, but she could see the sense in not blowing the lid off this to the public. "Okay, all right. No telling the family." She promised.
"Second, we only take down a supernatural that's killed, or used their powers to exploit others. The director makes those calls, on a case to case basis. However, if it's self-defense, it's okay."
"All right. Will I get to meet the Captain ever?" Kara asked him.
"We'll see. Captain's a pretty private guy, very hands-off."
Kara noted that little evasion. "All right, what else?"
"Those are the two big ones. No killing unless it's necessary, no yapping. There's also a bunch of little rules each race operates on. For the vamps, they're about formality and etiquette. The weres, it's about pack law and the rule of the strong." He stood up. "But that's a lesson for another day."
"All right," She nodded. "So, what's on our agenda for the day?"
"Well, I was-" His phone rang, and he pulled it from a pocket. "Hold on a sec..." He answered the call. "Reese. Yea..Yea. Where is it? Fuck me..." Reese's voice descended into a growl. "All right, I'm bringing the new fish." He ended the call and jammed the phone into his pocket. "Shit, Archer. We've got a body, confirmed for one of ours. Ever worked a corpse before?"
She shook her head. "Only victims I've ever worked have been living ones, sir."
"Well, the dead ones are a lot easier, apart from the smell. How's your driving?"
"My driving, Reese?" Kara arched an eyebrow, inquisitive. "Fair enough."
"Good, you're driving."
The body was in the third floor of a building that had seen better days. He knew because he'd been around for them. In the late 1890s, he'd bought it as an office for a shipping business. After a fire in the fifties, he'd retooled it as a business on the first and floors, and housing on the third through fifth.
However, the building hadn't seen many tenants in the past twenty years. Corvus had done that by design.
He sat in a building across the street, peering into the building. A few uniformed members of the constabulary were already there. They had discovered the body, after he had phoned in an anonymous tip. Of course, he had the best source for the tip. Himself, considering he'd placed the body there.
It had been a simple matter. Corvus had done a similar killing in San Diego a few years ago. He had added a few things, taken a few things away, enough to not make a connection appear. But the ritual still had worked. The bottom feeder would be pleased, he was sure.
He watched as a black sedan pulled up at the street. He saw Owen Reese there. The man was a perennial thorn in the side of the various criminal elements of the supernatural. He saw a woman also emerge from the car.
She was an unknown. An oddity, as it was. He sensed something from her, something unfamiliar. She wasn't human. No, not entirely. She warranted some investigation.
"So, what's the call?" Kara asked as they entered the abandoned building.
"One-eight-seven." He answered. Great, homicide.
They trudged up the stairs. Reese took them two at a time, leaving Kara having to nearly jog up the steps to keep up with him. The man did nothing small, did he?
They stopped at the third floor, where a number of crime techs were already clustered. A uniformed officer was there for them. "Lieutenant Reese?"
"Officer Ryan," Her training officer nodded to the uni. He was a wiry redhead, a rookie by the way he stood. "How'd we find out about this?"
"Anonymous tip. Sergeant Rodriguez and I were investigating the scene, and we found the body. We called it in, and I guess it got tossed to you guys."
"All right, Archer, booties and gloves." Ryan called over to a lab tech, who gave them both coverings for their shoes, and gave them both latex gloves.
Kara looked down at her hands. "I always feel like a cartoon character when I'm wearing these."
Reese chuckled. "Gloved hands, big poofy booties? Naw, I feel like a backup dancer in an eighties video."
The two of them shared a laugh. They started into the hallway, which was a cheap carpet.
"Carpet's scuffed." Kara noted. "Looks like something big was dragged over it."
"Probably our body." Reese said. "Ryan, where's the body?"
"First door on your left, sir." The rookie answered. They walked down to the door, where half a dozen cops and techs already were.
The body was laid out in the center of the room, spread eagle. The woman- Kara corrected herself, the victim. She knew she was supposed to distance herself. The victim was female, early twenties. She was stripped bare, leaving her body for the world to see.
"All right," Reese started. "Who's the ME tech for this one?"
A short, geeky brown-haired guy piped up. "It's me, Reese."
"Great, Krazinsky." He smiled. "All right, I need everyone but Krazinsky out of the room, now." The order had all of the officers skittering for cover out in the hallway.
When they were gone, Krazinsky asked. "So, the new girl?"
"Yea. Archer, this is Lenard Krazinsky, the ME tech who covers most of Major Crimes' dead bodies."
"And the occasional one that resurrects on the operating table." The ME said with a resigned sigh.
"We check for vampire bites now, man." Reese said. "Anyways, what do we got?"
"Well, the first officer thought it was strangulation, which I'm inclined to go with."
"So what did we get called in for?" Kara furrowed her brow. "I don't follow."
"Wait 'til we turn her over. Give me a hand, Reese?" The lieutenant stooped down, and they slowly turned her over.
Kara gasped a little. This was not what she'd been expecting. The woman's back had been practically turned into a carving board. At the center of it was a five-pointed star, the kind that every kid learned how to draw in grade school. It was encapsulated in a circle. In every open space there was some sort of weird runic marking.