Body Parts Trilogy by Larisa

 body parts

Body Parts Trilogy
By Larisa

Part 1

Bloodshot blue eyes look down at the naked body of the victim; a surgical glove covered hand rolls the body from where it lay beneath the large oak tree in the dense woods along the Appalachian Trail. When the brutality is revealed, a grimace crosses the Detectives tired face. Her voice hoarse from too many hours on duty, she asks the first officer on the scene.

“Is the ME here yet?”

“Nope.” The young officer cringed when silvery blue eyes shot through to his soul. “They’re sending his assistant instead.”

“You mean his flunky! God damn it, just what we fucking need. Some damn weak in the stomach young punk.” She stood up to her full six foot height and towered over the officer.

“No choice Detective Sallano, Doc had a heart attack last night, he’s in the ICU.”

She pulled the gloves off, stuck them into her pocket and then ran her long fingers through her shoulder length tangled dark hair. Sighing deeply, she tipped her head back trying to loosen the sore muscles in her neck and shoulders. “When the assistant gets here, I want to know the second the body is taken in and I want all the reports on my desk in the morning ya got that?”

“Yes ma’am, you want me to call you at home or the dispatcher?”

“At home, no matter what time it is.” She walked under the yellow crime tape and headed for the dark blue Crown Victoria. Driving the fifteen miles to her small house in the small town of Brunswick Maryland, she pulled her car into the drive along side her house and got out. Stretching her back and shoulders, a low groan escaped when a sharp pain tore through her lower back and left hip. Pressing on a pressure point in her hip, she fell against the side of her car and swore. “To damn old for twenty hour shifts.” Limping to the back door, she pushed it open and her small furry dog attacked her.

“OK, I’ll feed you Bear.” She leaned down and scratched the cinnamon colored coat of her Pomeranian. “I know I’ve been a rotten mother lately but I’ll make it up to you.” She pulled a stick of beef jerky from her pocket and handed it to Bear. Filling the large dish with Bear’s name on it with food, she filled the matching water dish then headed for her bedroom, she shed her wrinkled clothes as she went. Going out onto the small deck that was off her bedroom, she turned on the Jacuzzi’s jets and sunk down into the water. A long deep sigh bubbled from her lips as she sunk her head beneath the water and stayed there for a few moments. This was the only luxury she had in her home; she didn’t see the need for much in the way of extravagant things. She was a simple person with simple needs; all she needed were the creature comforts and her dog. An hour went by as she lay letting the water jets soothe her aching muscles and frazzled nerves. Climbing from the Jacuzzi, she wrapped a terry clothe robe around her and headed to the kitchen for something to eat and a much needed beer.

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A bright desk light shinned down on to the cluttered desk in the small 6×8 office in the back of the gloomy morgue. The room was packed with over flowing boxes of files and personal items belonging to the medical examiner. Hanging off the back of the old wooden desk chair was an over stuffed backpack with the name ‘Brian’ written across the flap in red magic marker. A sound came from the bay doors as they were raised to admit the newest stiff as the medical examiners called them. The squeak of the gurney wheels echoed in the large room and then the sound of tennis shoes squeaking down the hall to the small office. A low groan came from the new Chief Medical Examiner as she dropped wearily into the hard chair. She had only been there one day and already she was exhausted. In a period of twelve hours, she had performed four autopsies and signed numerous death certificates. She had applied for the position of assistant medical examiner the month before; she had been surprised when she received a phone call from the Hospital administrator the night before offering her the job as the new chief. She was saddened by the fact that she been hired for the position because of the former chief having a heart attack and retiring. However, she knew that some things happened for a reason. Now she would have to hire an assistant to help her. That was something she was not looking forward to doing. Leaning back in the chair, she picked up the phone and called the number the young officer had given her.

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Detective Sallano rolled over on her worn lumpy couch and grabbed the phone off the end table. Clearing her throat, she barked into the phone.

“Sallano!”

“Hello, this is the morgue. I was told to call you when the Jane Doe was brought in.”

“I’ll be right there.” She rolled onto the floor and crawled to her bedroom, she knew better than to fall asleep on the couch. With her bad back and left hip, she would be lucky if she would be able to walk afterwards. After dressing in faded Levi’s, T-shirt and old work boots, she hobbled to the back door and out to her car. Glancing at the clock on the dashboard, she saw that it was close to two o’clock in the morning.

“Jesus Christ what took them so long?” She muttered to herself.

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“What a rude person!” Brianna mumbled. Hanging up the phone, she went out into the large examination room and readied the body for the autopsy. Normally, she would wait until the next day to do the autopsy but with this being the third body in as many months with the same type of wounds. It was a priority case. Or so she had been informed by the officer on the scene. Jumping up onto a nearby steel exanimation table, she lay down and closed her eyes; she intended to just rest them until the Sallano person showed up. But fell asleep instantly.

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Sallano pulled up to the dock for the morgue. Taking the steps to the door beside one of two bay doors, she went inside and followed the dark hallway to the autopsy room. Looking around, she saw two sheet covered bodies on tables. Going back down the hallway, she looked into the small office and found it empty.

“Where the Hell is he?” She mumbled and went back down to the autopsy room to wait. Moving up to one of the tables, she leaned against it to take some of the stress off her left leg. She looked to the wall clock, she would give the ME ten minutes and then she would tear the Hospital apart looking for him. Forgetting what was on the gurney behind her; she put a hand back and felt the body beneath the sheet move. She jumped back and pulled her .357 from her shoulder holster. Taking a step forward, she grabbed an edge of the sheet and whipped it back from the body. “Son of a bitch!” Putting her .357 back in its holster, she shook the shoulder of whom she assumed to be the ME.

“Later baby…need sleep.”

“I didn’t drive all the way here so I can watch you sleep.”

An eye peeked open and gazed with blurred vision at the tall dark women before her.

“Uuhmm who are you?” A light blush covered her face at being caught sleeping in the autopsy room. She asked as she swung her legs over the edge of the gurney.

“Detective Xepher Sallano, homicide, who are you?”

Brianna froze when she looked into the bluest eyes she had ever seen. “Sorry about that.” She offered her hand. “I’m Chief ME Brianna Meadows.” She jumped a little when the larger hand took hers. Covering the reaction by jumping off the gurney, she released Sallano’s hand and walked over to the far wall for her apron and other items she would need. “Let’s get started, I’d like to go home sometime in the next week.”

Xepher rolled her eyes at the attitude the young blonde headed medical examiner threw at her. As if she really cared if, she got to go home in the next week, month or year. She herself didn’t know when the last time she was allowed to sleep more than two hours without someone calling her to report some kind of sick crime. Taking a spot on the other side of the examination table, she waited for Brianna to start.

Brianna couldn’t believe how rude the woman was. I didn’t come all the way here to watch you sleep. She repeated in her head in a whiny voice. She was exhausted and this was the last thing she needed. Watching the tall woman from across the room, she noticed the dark circles beneath her eyes and deep lines along side each corner of her pink lips. She also noticed how she favored her left leg by placing a good majority of her weight on the right side. Snapping on her gloves, she went to the table and drew the sheet from the body. Jumping up, she pulled down the microphone that hung from the ceiling and flipped the switch to the recorder on.

“Chief Medical Examiner Brianna Meadows of…Frederick County Hospital, the time is 0248, date June 26 2002. Case number 23672. Jane Doe. Deceased found in wooded area on the Appalachian Trail near the C&O canal. On initial exam, deceased is female between the ages of 21 and 30. Jane Doe has been decapitated between the fourth and fifth cervical vertebra at post mortem. Tissue damage is ragged, showing that possibly, a serrated type large knife of saw was used.” She looked up briefly through her face shield to see blue eyes studying her findings. “Tissues on remaining area show thoracic bruises and crushed trachea. Possible strangulation, will know further along in autopsy.” Brianna moved down the body, using her hands, she palpated the ribcage, upper and lower arms to stop at the ends of bloody stumps where the feet had been cut off. “Broken second and third ribs on both sides of ribcage, along with bruising. Hands and feet have been removed in the same manner as the head. Abrasion’s on elbows, knees and shines. What looks to be limestone dust ground into wounds?”

Xepher was amazed that in just a short time the amount of information she was learning about the deceased. This was the first time that she had been in on such a detailed first examination. Most of the time, she listened to the ME say “Ohh look they’re dead. I’ll send you my report in the morning.” Then she would have to track him down and practically hold him at gunpoint for details. Clearing her dry throat, she waited for the ME to look up at her.

“Was all the damage done post mortem and can you look at the back area and tell me why it was done?”

“The head was done post mortem but I can’t really tell with the feet and hands yet. Most likely they were done while she was still alive.” She took a deep breath and looked into tired blue eyes. “I looked at the back out in the field and what it looks like is that she was skinned of a tattoo.” She rolled the body part way over and motioned for Xepher to join her. “If you look here at the edge over the right hip, you can see a small amount of black and red.”

“So you’re saying who ever did this wanted to make sure that we couldn’t identify the body.”

“Pretty much yeah. No finger prints, head, the works. I’ll do X-Rays and see if they can be matched to any missing persons. Other than that?” She shrugged her shoulders. “It’s in your ball court Detective.”

“How long has she been dead?”

“I’d say within three days or so. There’s no lividity on the body anywhere. I’d say that she was hung by her feet when the head and hands were removed and then disposed of.”

“How about sexual penetration, can you check and I’ll be out of here.”

Brianna nodded her head; she went over to a table along the wall, picked up a small plastic evidence bag and a rape kit. When she was finished, she nodded her head and said that the women had been penetrated vaginally and rectally.

“I’ll know more in the morning.” She looked at the detective and saw the anger that filled her eyes.

“Thanks. When can I have the full report?”

“By noon tomorrow at the latest. You want me to send it to you?”

“No, I’ll come by and get it.” Without another word, she left the ME standing there.

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Brianna placed the remains into the cooler drawer, shed her apron, scrubs in the biohazard containers and then went to the small office in a pair of boxers and T-shirt to start her report. She had no reason to go back to her small apartment. She had only lived there a little over a month since moving to Maryland from Ohio. She was living out of a suitcase and eating take out food when not looking for a job in the area Hospitals. The small single bedroom apartment still had boxes sitting all over the place for the simple fact that Brianna didn’t feel like unpacking. She didn’t have enough room for all of her books and the clothes she did have could fit in a suitcase. Her main attire was surgical scrubs and lab coats. She had left Cleveland where she was an assistant medical examiner for Fairview Hospital because of a relationship with a doctor that became unhealthy. The older doctor became possessive and started stalking her during off duty hours. She had quit her job and moved after the woman attacked her one night outside of the Hospital and beat her to the point of Brianna ending up unconscious and rushed to surgery. Now weeks later, she was starting over and was not enjoying it at all. After turning on the ancient PC, she went to get a cup of coffee while it booted up.

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Xepher dropped face first into her bed still fully clothed, using her toes, she pushed her boots off and then rolled to her right side. Her hip was killing her and she knew that it was because of not getting any sleep. Reaching out to her alarm clock, she set the alarm to go off in two hours. That would give her 20 minutes to get to the office. If she was late, they could bite her ass. Dropping off to sleep, she dreamt of a little ME with a nasty attitude.

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Brianna dropped into the wooden chair and started typing like a woman on speed. The thick black coffee was like drinking 10w100 motor oil and tasted just as bad, but it had given her enough of a caffeine boost to get the initial autopsy report started. She never bothered with listening to the recorded tape because she remembered everything about a case. That was one of the reasons she was able to skip two years of medical school and move up the ranks to become an assistant me before most others. One of her other talents was to be able to see things that others couldn’t when looking at a victim. With the first two pages done, she saved it and then left the small office to go to a small room she had found earlier that day. It had a cot and a small table and chair in it. She wondered if maybe the former medical examiner used it to get rest during long workdays or when the weather was too bad to travel. Either way, she would use it when needed. Lying down on the small cot, her eyes fluttered close and she drifted off to sleep and to dreams of being in the darkness and excruciating pain.

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Xepher walked into her small cubicle and saw the folder sitting in the center of her desk. Setting Bear in her in box, she opened the folder and scanned the initial finds of the first officer on the scene. The body had been found by a couple of hikers walking the trail when they had stopped to rest. No evidence had been found at the scene as far as clothes or any other personal articles that would identify the victim. Pulling a dozen pictures from the folder, she spread them out on her desk and closely looked at each one. From what she could determine, the body had been carried to the spot and laid the way it had landed on the ground when dumped. The MO checked out to be the same as the other two bodies found in the area. Checking a map of the area, she noticed that a dirt road used for railroad maintenance was roughly a quarter of a mile from where the body had been discovered. Pulling the other two files, she checked those off on the map as well. They were miles apart and showed nothing as far as a pattern except for the fact that they were all dumped around the C&O. Placing three pictures next to each other, she saw that two of them had areas of the body skinned. The last one the back from shoulders to hips and the other was the left calf area from back of the knee to ankle. As with the new body, hands, feet and heads were missing.

As of yet, none of the body parts had been recovered. They may never be and the bodies may remain as Jane Does.

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A dark blue Crown Victoria cruised slowly along the streets of Hagerstown Maryland. The whip antennae bouncing with each pothole the tires dropped in to. The driver looked through the tinted windows at the prostitutes standing on the corners and up close to the doorways of apartment buildings and storefronts. Not seeing anything to his liking, he turned the next corner and got back onto the highway to leave the city limits. He knew that with the time of year, he would be able to find a young person walking the roads on their way towards the campgrounds in Frederick or farther west towards West Virginia. During spring break and summer, it was a time when the college students lived off the land and traveled by foot across the east coast. Taking a side road outside of Frederick that ran parallel to old Rt. 40 and to the Green Briar State Park. Taking a sharp right turn down through the large metal gates painted yellow, the driver scanned the areas with picnic tables and small two person tents. Flipping the blue lights on hidden behind the cars grill. He pulled over to where a young woman was pulling the stakes for her tent from the ground. Taking the nightstick from on the seat beside him, he slipped it into the plastic ring on his Sam Browne belt and left the car. Sticking his thumb on his left hand into the top of his belt and over his pistol grip, he had the other hand on his leather handcuff pouch.

“Excuse me ma’am can I see some kind of identification?”

The young woman looked at him quizzically, her dark brown eyes widened at the site of the tall officers hand resting close to his pistol.

“What have I done?” She asked while reaching for her wallet.

“Nothing ma’am, just checking for runaways, you resemble a young women that’s missing. Could you take a seat in my car while I run this through the computer?” He took the license from her dirty hand and motioned to his car. He stepped beside her and opened the car door then closed it once she was inside. Getting back in the car, he glanced over at the nervous woman and reached for the radio mic.

“Officer, I am not nor have I ever been a runaway. Besides, I’m 22 years old and not missing. Aren’t you supposed to have a computer in here?”

“The department is a little behind in outfitting our cars.” He keyed the mic, reached for his nightstick and swung it at the young woman’s head. A loud crack echoed in the car and the woman fell across the seat unconscious. The officer got out of his car, searched her campsite for her belongings and once everything was collected, he threw it all in the trunk of his car. Flipping the lights off, he left the park behind and drove off into the early morning hours.

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Brianna rolled from the cot and stretched her back and shoulders, shivering at the coldness of the room; she wrapped the thin blanket around her shoulders and left the room. Shuffling still half asleep to the Hospital cafeteria, she got in line for her breakfast. Loading her tray up with enough food to feed a small army, she carried it to a back table and sat down. She was halfway through her meal when the hair on the back of her neck stood up. Looking from beneath her lidded eyes, she saw a tall dark form at the coffee urn. Dropping further into her chair, she hid behind her coffee cup.

Xepher poured cream into the dark brew and watched, as the color didn’t change one bit. “Shit will kill me for sure.” She mumbled under her breath. Handing a dollar to the cashier, she pocketed the four pennies she got back. “Price of crude oil’s gone up again?” She asked and walked away with out getting an answer. Blowing over the edge of the cup, she let her pale blue eyes scan the room. They stopped when they found a tousled blonde head at a far table. Walking with a slight limp, Xepher stopped to stare down into guarded green eyes.

“Dr. Meadows, can you answer a few questions for me?”

Brianna’s voice was harsh when she replied, her eyes a dark angry green as they bore into Xepher’s.

“Don’t you ever sleep or did you just stay up so that you could terrorize me on my second day of work.”

“No, yes and yes.” She took a seat across from the pissed off ME and set her cup in front of her. Pulling some papers from her pocket, she laid them out on the table. “These are the reports from the other two murders, what I don’t understand is why there’s no mention of the condition of the tissues around the amputated appendages?”

Brianna pulled the reports closer and scanned the information, her dark brows dipped down over the bridge of her nose.

“Who did the autopsies?” She flipped through the pages again looking for the signature.

“I would take a guess and say that old creep that you replaced.” She shrugged her shoulders and took a hesitant sip from the awful coffee. “I never got the full reports from who ever. I was told that they were confidential.”

“That’s bullshit.” She looked up at Xepher. “How long have you been a cop?”

“Sixteen years why?”

“Then you should know that you get the full report not what the ME wants to give and there’s nothing confidential about an autopsy report.”

Xepher gave her a lopsided grin. “I know, and believe me I tried to get everything. And holding him at gunpoint didn’t work because he called my boss and had me banned from the morgue.”

“If you held me at gun point I’d have you banned to.” Handing the papers back to her, she went back to eating.

“Are you always so rude?” Xepher questioned Brianna.

“Only with cops.” Getting up from the table, she motioned for Xepher to follow. “Let’s take a look at the files.”

Xepher limped behind her mumbling under her breath about stuck-up doctors, and how she would love to plant a foot up a little blonde’s ass. She jumped back a step when a small foot shot back at her.

“Same goes for tight ass cops. Now be nice or I’ll have you banned from my morgue.”

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They moved all of the boxes of files into the small room with the cot so that they would have more room to search and to give Brianna more room in the tiny office.

Brianna was at her nerves end, the filing system was like looking through a garbage heap. Nothing was in any kind of order and the files seemed to be just dropped in any old box. She was finding files that were a month old in with stuff ten years old. With her hands covered in filth, she wiped at her runny nose and left it black.

“Detective this could take us days to sort through. Dr. Blane had no idea how to file anything.” She tossed a stack of files into another box.

“I’m tempted to go to the ICU and shoot that son of a bitch!” She rubbed a hand across her face and left black streaks down her cheek and chin behind.

“Ohh please let me do it!” Brianna looked up and busted out laughing.

Xepher cocked an eyebrow over a bloodshot blue eye. “Has the stress gotten to you?”

“No, but you look like a zebra with those stripes on your face.”

“I’d rather have stripes than a black nose.”

“Goes with the job, I’m going to have to kiss ass to get some help in here and clean all this shit outta here.” Getting up from the floor, she stretched and groaned. “I have an autopsy and a report to finish.” She stopped at the door and looked back at Xepher. “Have fun.”

Xepher could hear her hysterical laughter all the way down the hall. Falling back on the floor in defeat, she lay there for a few moments thinking of what to do. A wicked grin came to her face, pulling her cell phone out; she called the station house and requested three uniforms to come to the morgue. With the help of three sets of hands, they would have the files sorted out at least by the year they were done.

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Donning scrubs, her apron and safety shield, Brianna started on the Jane Doe from the night before. She examined the sites of the amputations closely and found that the head had been in fact removed perimortem and the cause of death. The hands and feet were postmortem. Shivers went down her spine at the thought of having her head cut off while she was still alive. It made her more determined to get a look at the other two cases to see if they were the same. If that were the case, this would be the first serial killer case for her. The only draw back that she saw was a certain maddening detective with beautiful blue eyes. An hour later, she had finished and was working on her report. The hair rose on the back of her neck and made her shiver.

“I found them.” Xepher said from behind her.

Brianna tilted her head back to see a grinning detective waving two file folders in her hand.

“You found them in that mess? I’m impressed.” She then saw the three uniforms walking behind Xepher and snorted. “You cheated!”

“Of course I did, I’m not stupid.”

“Right.” She went back to her report and ignored Xepher.

“Hey are you going to look at these or not?” Xepher stepped behind her and tapped her on top of her head with them.

“You know you’re very pushy and irritating? And I’ll look at them when I’m good and ready.”

She dropped down close to Brianna’s ear and growled. “No more than you are. I’m going to get lunch, I’ll come back later for my report.” She placed the files next to the PC and left.

Brianna rubbed her grumbling stomach and sighed, she would kill for a meal not from the Hospital cafeteria. It’s no wonder the former medical examiner had a heart attack.

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Xepher couldn’t keep the grin off her face as she walked out into the parking lot. She was enjoying the little headbuttings with the small medical examiner. She wasn’t used to having someone go up against her at anytime, her stoic looks and intimidating ways kept most people at bay. Getting into her car, she drove to the nearest restaurant and went inside to order take-out. The cashier gave her the weirdest look when she ordered enough for four people. Taking the six bags of food out to her car, she pointed a finger at Bear.

“You’ll get yours when we get back to the Hospital.” Her dog whimpered and begged so much that she gave in and gave her a piece of roll. “You have me whipped ya little shit.”

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Brianna pulled one of the drawers out containing one of the prior victims. With one glance at the ragged edges of the neck area, she knew that this victim was the same as the Jane Doe from the night before. What she couldn’t figure out was why it was left out of the autopsy report. Looking down at the other report, she found the drawer number. Pulling it out, she grinned when the same results were seen. She now had three bodies with the same injuries. If not for Xepher questioning the reports, she may not have found them until to late. The now recognizable feeling of Xepher being near made her turn. A raised brow over a green eye was zeroed in on the bags in her large hands.

“I have lunch and I’ll even do something that I only do with my partner.”

“What’s that tease him with the food and not share so that he hates you as much as I do?” Brianna shot back.

“I’ll have you know that my partner is a female and she likes me.”

“She must be insane. Where is she locked in the car or up stairs in a straight jacket?”

Xepher brought a bag up to her chest and groaned. “Ohh you wound me with your razor tongue.” She winked at Brianna. “She’s out in the car waiting for the left overs.”

Green eyes caught fire, Brianna stomped towards Xepher and jabbed her in the chest with her index finger.

“You give your partner leftovers? I’m surprised she hasn’t shot you yet!” She walked past her and down the hallway. “You know how hot is out there in a car? You dumbass cop!”

“She can’t come in here!” Xepher yelled and went chasing after her. She stopped inside the door and groaned when she saw Brianna looking through the window of her cruiser.

“There’s no one in there!” She turned and glared at Xepher. “And why is your car running you lying sack of shit.” She planted her hands on her hips and glared.

“Because the air conditioning needs to be on that’s why.”

“So that the delicate flower that you are not doesn’t have to get into an oven of a car?”

Xepher raised an eyebrow at the insult. “You are so good at insulting me, is that the reason you’re a doctor for dead people because you have a rotten bedside manner?”

“I’ll have you know that I’m a nice person, I just don’t like you!” She rattled the locked door handle and jumped back when she heard a deep growl come from inside. “What the Hell is wrong with your partner?”

“Nothing, she hates blondes.”

Brianna snorted at her, walked over to Xepher and stuck her hand into her front pocket to search for her car keys.

“Hey! What the Hell are you doing?” Xepher felt her face turn red with arousal from fingers fumbling in her pocket.

“Getting your keys.” Pulling them out, she waved them in front of Xepher and went back to her car.

Xepher’s eyes closed and her head fell back. “Ohh man, don’t open the door.”

The second the car door was opened a furry cinnamon tornado jumped out, raced to where Xepher was standing and jumped at the bags of food in her hands.

“Now you did it.” She raised the bags above her head.

“Your partner is a dog?” Brianna busted up laughing; she couldn’t believe that the stoic detective had such a small dog.

“Yeah, gotta problem with that? Since you let her out, you can share your lunch with her.”

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Xepher felt betrayed, her precious little dog was sitting on Brianna’s lap and was quietly waiting for pieces of the baby back ribs that she had brought from the Outback restaurant. No matter how hard she tried, she just couldn’t be mad at either one of them.

“So did you finish my report?”

“Yeah and I’ll have you know that all three bodies are here. I found the other two in storage and the wounds are the same.” She filled her mouth with food and waited for Xepher to say something. When she looked up, she saw the normally pale blue eyes were silvery. A fear rose inside her at the sudden change in the tall detective.

“Son of a bitch! Why was that left out of the report?”

“Don’t know, maybe Doc Blane didn’t think it was significant.” She knew something was wrong with leaving the information out of the report but had no idea of why he had done it.

“Is he out of the ICU yet? I wanna know why he did it!”

“Not as far as I know. Remember, I’ve only worked here two days.”

Xepher felt her phone vibrate against her hip, answering it she barked out her name. She listened for a few moments, grunted and hung up.

“May have a name for one of the earlier bodies. Fax just came in from Pennsylvania about a missing Grad student that never returned home after she hiked out here last month. X-Rays are being sent courier service to you.” She put her trash in a bag and stood up from where she had been sitting on the floor. “I have to head back to the office. Let me know if you get anything.”

“As soon as I get them I’ll check. Thanks for lunch.”

“No problem.” Xepher walked from the small room and heard the clicking of toenails on the floor behind her. “Come on Bear, we have lots of work to do, you little traitor.”

Brianna stood in the hallway smiling as she listened to the tall detective talk to her dog. The woman was defiantly strange and not as un-caring as she wanted people to believe. Her little dog was proof of that. Not as if Brianna cared either way, her history with cops made her leery and untrusting of their work ethics. She returned to the small office and pulled up the latest autopsy files from the last month. Typing in the case number she hit enter and waited for the PC to kick out the results. When the file came up, she compared it to the copy that Xepher had found. She double checked it twice and noticed that the reports were completely different. On the first victim, it stated that the cause of death was asphyxiation due to capillaries in the eyes being burst. She knew that was wrong since it didn’t have a head. The second report read that extensive bruising around the larynx and throat was conclusive with strangulation.

“How the Hell can you say that when there’s no damn neck!” She had a bad feeling that she had just walked into a very bad nightmare. Checking her in and out boxes for any paper work that needed completed, she signed a few lab reports and then went back into the autopsy room and pulled all three bodies from the storage drawers. Lining them up side by side, she pulled a clipboard from a drawer and started taking notes as if she were doing the first preliminary report.

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Dropping behind her desk into her worn office chair, Xepher booted up her PC and waited. She looked at Bear who was spinning in circles in her in box before she dropped down with a low snort. “Rotten little traitor, made me look bad in front of Doc.” Her words hit her and she wondered why it mattered what the doctor thought of her. The woman could skin Xepher with her razor tongue quicker than anyone she knew. With a glance, she had her heartbeat slapping her ribcage. She dropped her forehead on to her desk when the memory of a small hand scrounging around in her front pocket had her center thumping with her heartbeat. “Gods I don’t need this, not now after all these years.”

“Need what, your head examined?”

Xepher raised her head enough to see a pale yellow dress shirt and the tip of a pale blue tie.

“Captain, I can’t believe your wife let you leave the house dressed like that.” She raised up and leaned back in her chair.

“Like what?” The older gray haired man looked down at himself. “I don’t see anything, my flies closed, shoes match and I think my jockeys are on right.”

“Ohh never mind, just loose the tie before you clashing kills one of us.” Picking up a rawhide chew, she spun in through her fingers waiting for her Captain to give her the bad news as he always did. “Soooo?”

“Sew buttons on your underwear.” He remarked and dropped into the chair next to her desk. “Get anywhere on the new case, I called you at home and then found out that you were at the morgue bright and early.”

“We may have identification for one of the victims; I’ll know as soon as Brianna…I mean Doctor Meadows takes a look at the X-Rays.”

“Doctor Meadows? Where’s Blane at?”

She filled him in on all that had happened over the last two days and how she had come across the complete files on the other two cases at the morgue. She asked him if any one else had complained besides her about reports being sloppy, inaccurate or incomplete.

“Ohh just a few guys, but it was nothing that harmed any of their cases. Why?”

“Nothing matches between the bodies and the reports and I want to know why.” Her voice had deepened and her expression became dark and dangerous. “How many more victims were there that I don’t know about?”

“Check with the other detectives and see if they have anything not solved that matches what you’ve got.”

She nodded her head and grumbled about never taking a vacation again until she retired. She had been forced into taking a two-month vacation due to an injury while apprehending a man who had killed his wife and mother in-law. No matter how much she fought, the doctors refused to release her back to full duty. Even a desk job was out of the question for her and them. So now, she was trying to get caught up with everything that had happened while she was gone.

@@@@@@@@@@@

The dark blue Crown Victoria pulled around to the back of the two-story house in Burketsville Maryland. The officer got out and went into the house by way of the back door that led into the large country kitchen. Taking the servants stairs to his bedroom, her quickly changed into a dark green uniform with a patch over the left breast pocket that said Jeff’s lawn maintenance. Running a comb through his thin brown hair, he splashed after-shave on and went back downstairs to find his mother. At the age of 40, he still lived at home because his mother was in her 70’s and had health problems. It used to bother him that he was trapped living at home but since she became wheelchair bound, he found that he had more freedom to live as he wanted. During the hours that he worked a nurse came into check on her and make sure that she took her heart medicine. Once home, he took over until she retired for the night. Making his way through the dark house, he heard the low murmur of the TV set and followed it to the small setting room that she stayed in during the day. He remembered having to stay in the same room when he was growing up, never allowed to run through the house as other children did or go out and play under the clear skies.

For hours after school, he would sit in the small chair against the wall and listen to her preaching about the sins of man and how her son would never be like his father. She would describe his father as a sinful man that only wanted to experience the flesh of woman and take their pureness. Many nights, he would sit naked in the chair while she showed him pornographic pictures of men and women coupling. If he got an erection, she would hit him with a ruler across his penis until the erection went away. He remembered pissing blood and being so sore that he would cry at night in his small bedroom upstairs. After months of conditioning, he no longer had erections period. He would have thought that his mother would be proud of him; instead, she felt that he was ready for the next step. One day, she had him bend over the chair and lay upon his stomach. Using a long piece of rope, she bound his hands and feet to the chair. He knew better than to ask her why. He screamed out in pain when she forced the plastic end of an enema bag in his rectum. For hours she forced it in and out of his body until he had passed out from the pain and blood loss.

Now as he looked at the frail birdlike body strapped into the wheelchair, the rage boiled inside to the point that he wanted to do to her what she had done to him. He was now the caregiver and the preacher of sin. What stopped him was that she was no longer aware of what went on around her. A series of strokes left her to nothing but a shell of a human. He often sat and stared at her empty eyes and wondered if it would be better to just suffocate while she sat in her chair.

“Hello mother how was your day. I have a new girlfriend.” He sat down across from her and looked for some kind of emotion from his words. “She will be cleansed like all the others, I will drain the sin from her body and show her the way of living in purity.” He cackled at the drool slipping down the old woman’s chin. How he hated her for all she had done to him, it made him ecstatic to see her so helpless. He left his mother sitting in the dark room and headed out to his car. Opening the trunk, he pulled the bound and gagged young woman out and carried her down to the cellar. Flipping the bright florescent lights on in the center of the room. He lay her down onto the stainless steel autopsy table. And went to prepare for his night of ritualistic fun. Striping down to bare skin, he danced around the room to religious music coming from the small CD player in a corner of the room. Pulling a leather strap from under the table, he fastened it around the waist of the frightened woman.

“Don’t be afraid, when I’m finished you will be a pure as the driven snow. All those sinful thoughts about sex will be erased from your mind.” Using a filleting knife, he cut the duct tape that bound her feet and then used the leather straps attached to the end of the table to hold her legs splayed apart. After he had her hands fastened, he used a pair of surgical scissors to cut her clothes off and threw them into the old coal furnace against a far wall. Standing at the end of the table, he examined her athletic build and made a harsh noise through his nostrils.

“Disgusting whore!” He screamed at her so loud that she flinched and closed her eyes. Pulling a drawer out from under the edge of the table, he waved a disposable razor in front of her eyes. “To be pure is to be pre-puberty.” Forcing her legs further apart, he roughly shaved her pubic area not caring if he cut her. Cries were mumbled from behind the duct tape across her mouth, tears flowed down her cheeks and into her hair as she tried to move away from him.

“I’m not hurting you! YET! With pain comes pureness!”

@@@@@@@@@@

Brianna finished with doing the autopsies on the other two bodies over again. She knew that she could be fired for doing it but at this point the injustice of what Dr. Blane did, weighed more on her mind than anything. Because of his incompetence, if that in fact is what it was? The police would have known everything from the beginning and they may have already apprehended the murderer or been able to investigate into the purchase of weapons with serrated edges. Now they would know what to look for as far as type of weapon used and other consistencies overlooked or ignored from before. She would need to get in contact with the maddening Detective and relay the new evidence that she had found. Going into her small office, she searched for the piece of paper that had Xepher’s phone number on it. After searching the entire place she came up empty handed.

“Dumbshit call the police station. But which one?” She pulled a phone book from a desk drawer and seen all the phone number listings for all the different agencies in the area. “Pick one and maybe they know who she is and can give me her number. It’s not like she’s one you would forget, tall, gorgeous, striking blue eyes…I’m talking to myself and getting hot over that damn women!” Calling the first number on the list for the Frederick police department, she spoke to an officer at the front desk. He knew who Sallano was but didn’t know if she was in the building. He best he could do for her was to call the homicide division and leave a message.

“That’s fine, if she can’t reach me here at the morgue, this is my home phone number. Tell her to call no matter what time it is.”

She repeated her home number twice to make sure that he had it right then hung up the phone. Sitting in the peace and quiet for a few moments before she called up to the ICU ward to see how Dr. Blane was. The runaround she received from the head nurse had her temper flaring. She locked her office door and took the steps up to the ICU ward. Following the blue line on the wall, she spotted the nurses station and whom she supposed she had just spoken to. Stomping up to the nurse, she made it a blatant point to look at her nametag.

“Nurse Reynolds, I’m Dr. Meadows, I just called up here to check on my colleague. I would appreciate the fact that I am a member of this staff and am entitled to have my questions answered to the best of the other staff member’s ability. Now where is Dr. Blane’s room and his chart?” The young nurse was at a loss for words, no one had ever read her the riot act before.

“Excuse me Dr. Meadows, but I don’t know who you are or what kind of doctor you are?”

“What the Hell difference does it make?” Brianna threw her hands in the air. “I’m the Chief Medical Examiner, so that means I out rank most of the bags of hot wind here. Never mind I’ll find his room myself.” She pushed past the nurse and wandered down the hall looking at the names on the charts outside the doors. She stopped at the last one and was spun around by a young intern.

“I’m sorry but you can’t go in there. He’s very frail and needs his rest.”

“What is it with you people here? Have I dropped into a Robyn Cook medical mystery or something? Since when can’t another doctor look at a patient?”

“Ma’am, you’re the coroner.”

“Yeah and I know just how to kill you so that no one will ever find any evidence or your body! Now get the fuck out of my way!” She pushed him away from her, took Blane’s chart and walked quietly into the room. She heard voices out in the hallway and then the squeaking of shoes on the tiled floor. Scanning Blane’s charts, she looked at the blood tests and noticed that there were elevations in some of the lab results that couldn’t be explained. She took the folder down the hall to the nurse’s station and ran copies off of the chart. Sticking them in her pocket, she replaced the chart next to Dr. Blane’s door and was met halfway down the hall by a Hospital security guard.

“Ma’am I need you to come with me please.”

“What the Hell is it with this place? Am I being arrested?”

“Just come with me ma’am.”

Her green eyes caught on fire, her breath ragged from the rage she was feeling from her roughshod treatment by all her so-called co-workers. “Fine, let’s go!” The security guard tried to take her by her arm and found, that she maybe a small woman but she could knock him on his ass. She jerked her arm hard enough from him that he stumbled. “I want to see the Hospital administrator!” She growled.

“Sorry ma’am but he’s not in right now.” He took her all the way to the emergency room and escorted her out the doors.

She spun on her heel and faced him with her arms crossed over her chest. “What the Hell is this, are you kicking me out?”

“Yes ma’am, I was told by the chief resident to escort you from the Hospital.”

“Under what reasons, I work here you stupid ass!”

“Sorry ma’am you’ll have to come back on Monday and speak with the Hospital administrator. There’s no record of you working here.”

Brianna threw her hands in the air and howled. “Fucking asshole men!” She stomped off towards the parking lot toward her car and them remember that her keys and everything were in her office. All she had was the key to it and her useless ID badge. “This is a fucking nightmare!”

@@@@@@@@@@@@

“Hey Sallano, you have a pissed off woman on line three!” Xepher looked up from her paper work to one of the other detectives.

“She say who she is?”

“I am not asking her anything! That woman’s insane! I’m deaf in my ear now.”

“Ohh for Christ sakes, you men are useless!” She snagged the phone and barked into it. “Sallano!”

“You had better come and get me, because I’m on my last damn nerve and I’m going to commit premeditated murder! DO YOU HEAR ME!?”

Xepher yanked the phone from her ear and looked at it with raised brows. The voice on the other end was still screaming at her.

“I’m going to zap every single one of my co-workers with 2 million joules and watch them turn into crispy critters!”

“Brian will you calm down.” Xepher whispered over the phone. “Give me ten minutes and I’ll be there. Don’t kill any body; I have enough paperwork as it is.” She heard traffic in the background and became confused. “Are you still at the Hospital?”

“No, I’m at a pay phone in front of a store.”

“Just hold on and stay out of the street.”

She picked up Bear and ran from her office. She had no idea what was going on with the medical examiner but if she was threatening mass murder, then something was wrong. She started to laugh when she pictured the small doctor chasing nurses through the hallway with the paddles in her small hands. “Shit, I’m as bad as she is!” She got into her car, hit the lights and sirens and tore down the street towards the Hospital. Rounding a corner she saw a couple of punks running towards her trying to flag her down. She ignored them and continued on her way with the punks running behind her car. “Is there supposed to be a full moon tonight or something?” She saw a fight up ahead on the sidewalk in front of the store Brianna was supposed to be at. “Ohh shit!” She stopped her car up on the sidewalk and slide across the hood to pull Brianna off a teenager. “Brianna!” She struggled with the small woman who was punching the shit out of the kid. “BRIAN!” She yelled into her ear as she wrapped her arms around her and lifted her off the ground and stumbled to her car. Opening the passenger door, she forced Brianna in and closed the door before going back to where the kid was laying on the ground gasping and holding his broken nose. “What’s going on here?”

“That crazy bitch jumped me!”

She turned her head when she heard the whirl of the window going down. “Don’t you get out of the car!” She pointed a finger at Brianna.

“That little fucker was robbing the store! Arrest him!”

“You were robbing the store?” She cuffed him on the side of his head. “What’s wrong with you?” She pulled her handcuffs from their pouch and cuffed him to the guideline for the telephone pole. “You know she’s suffering from PMS and if I hadn’t come along, you would have been the fourth guy she killed this week.” She left the teenager laying on the ground with his mouth hanging open.

@@@@@@@@@@@

She turned in her seat to look at the red-faced medical examiner.

“You’re in the wrong line of work.” Her eyes grew wide with the thought of Brianna having a gun. “Changed my mind, you with a gun is to scary to think about.”

“Ohh fuck you, now get me out of her before I go back out there and beat someone else up!”

“Let me call this in first.” They waited for a uniformed officer to pull up behind them, Xepher told him what happened and for him to take the punk in and bust him for the collar. She pulled her car back onto the street and headed for a small coffee house that she stopped in every morning on her way to work. She glanced over at Brianna and snorted. She met fiery green eyes and winked.

“Don’t start with me!” Brianna growled. “I’m tired, hungry, pissed at the world and want to beat some one up!”

The car stopped at the side of the building, Xepher turned in her seat to capture green eyes with her pale blue. “I was right about your bedside manner wasn’t I?” She wasn’t prepared for Brianna to launch herself across the car and pounce on her. She felt a sharp pain above her right breast and yelled loud enough to send Bear scurrying into the back seat. They wrestled on the front seat until the driver’s side door was opened and a uniformed officer peered in at them.

“You need some help Sallano?”

She looked up from where she had Brianna pinned to the seat.

“Nah, just had to force her to take her prescription.” She looked into dark green eyes. “Prozac wasn’t it?” Her answer was snapping teeth and a deep growl. “Thanks, we’ll be alright as soon as it kicks in.”

Brianna snarled and bared her teeth. “You just wait Xe! When you least expect it!”

“Next time you bite me Brian, make it lower.” She got off of her and then pulled her from the car. “Come on I’ll buy you a coffee and donut.”

“Figures you’d bribe me with a donut after police brutality.”

“You’re the one who bit me. I was just restraining you.”

“More like humping me.”

Xepher snorted and raised a dark eyebrow at her. “Believe me, I prefer a bed over the front or back seat of a police cruiser. And who says that I would want to hump you?” She gave Brianna a huge smile that dimmed the sun and left the small woman speechless. Brianna kept glancing sideways at her on their short walk to the coffee house. She couldn’t get her heart to stop pounding erratically, their wrestling match had her aching in places long forgotten.

She called me Xe, no ones ever called me Xe before. Her mind was spinning with thoughts of laying across the spitfire medical examiner. She would have no problem doing anything with the little doc anywhere and she knew it. A heat flooded her senses as she held the small hand in hers. She didn’t remember when she had taken her hand but wasn’t about to let go even as they went into the coffee house. Xepher led them to a table in the back and sat with her back to the wall. She had a phobia of not being able to see who came through the door. She gave Brianna a funny look when she squeezed into the booth beside her.

She narrowed her eyes at her. “I like my back to the wall, so get over it.”

“No problem.” She ordered for them and sat quietly thinking of everything that had happened in the last couple of days. Taking a deep breath, she picked up the scent of a light musk perfume and Aussie shampoo. Stretching out her long legs, she groaned at the sharp pain in her hip.

“You dying?”

“If I said yes, you’d be happy. So no I’m not.”

“Damn, just my luck. I’m stuck with super cop and her Pomeranian sidekick.”

“I got the short end of the deal here. You’re nuts and you attack innocent police officers.”

Green eyes filled with flames, Brianna jabbed her in the ribs until she yelped. “Are you calling me short?”

“See you just admitted that I’m innocent.” The grin never had a chance to form on her face. Brianna wrapped an arm around her neck and put her in a headlock. Xepher gave her no fight what’s so ever when she found her face pressed against soft breasts.

The waitress placed a plate of pastries and their coffees on the table. “Hey Xepher no breast milk with you double mocha.”

Brianna let Xepher get up from where she had been holding her down. “You want to explain that remark?”

“Nope.” She picked up her coffee and took a small sip and ignored Brianna.

“Nope? What kind of answer is…” She replayed the sentence over in her head. “breast…milk…grrrrr.” She looked to a grinning Xepher who wiggled her dark brows. “You could have told me!”

“Ohh yeah, like I’m gonna say to a strange person. Ohh by the way I’m a dyke and I like breast milk with my mocha.”

“I see your point…you just called me strange didn’t you? Never mind.”

Xepher hid her grin behind her coffee cup and fought not to have coffee shot out her nose when Brianna gave her a dirty look.

“What happened today that you wanted to kill everybody?”

“Today? I think it started yesterday when I met you.” She took a deep calming breath and released it through clenched teeth. “I found all kinds of stuff wrong with the reports, autopsies, files and you can name just about anything and it’d be wrong to.”

She told Xepher everything she had found while examining the other two bodies and comparing the reports she had found to the computer reports. Then about trying to see Dr. Blane in the ICU and finished with her being thrown out of the Hospital until Monday when she could straighten every thing out with the Hospital administrator.

“We can always sneak you back in through the door off the dock.”

“Nope, I locked it when I was done.”

Xepher rubbed her jaw with long fingers while she tried to think of how to get Brianna back into the Hospital. “OK how about the other doors, they can’t be watching all of them.”

“If it’s like the other Hospital I worked in, they lock the front door after a certain time and the only way in is through the ER. So, I’m screwed until then.”

“I can get in. I’ll just go and get your stuff.”

Brianna shook her head and sighed. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed but the doors all have this security lock on them. You have to use a badge to open them and…”

“Yours doesn’t work because you don’t work there according to them.”

“Exactly. I’ve been using my keys to get in the back door until they could fix it in the computer. Which the administrator was supposed to have done today!”

Xepher leaned her head back against the booth, tilted her head to the side to look at Brianna’s profile. “Getting out of a state pen would be easier than getting into the morgue.”

“I could always sit on the dock and wait for a meat wagon to pull up.”

“Nah, come on lets get out of here.” Dropping a twenty on the table, she waited until after Brianna got out of the booth. She took Brianna’s hand and led her from the coffee shop. “You can stay at my house tonight and we’ll figure out something tomorrow.”

@@@@@@@@@@@@@

They rounded the corner and pulled up Xepher’s driveway, Brianna looked at the small house and then to the detective.

“I figured you for a big huge butch log cabin.”

“Nope, I like the simple things.” She parked the car and got out and waited for Bear and Brianna to join her at the back door. “I only have one bedroom, the other is my office.” She pushed the door open and waited for Brianna to walk through. “You can have my bed and I’ll sleep on the couch.”

“I can’t take your bed.” She argued and lost when she realized that Xepher was not going to give in. She was given the nickel tour and given a T-shirt and shorts to sleep in.

“Go ahead and take a shower if you want. I’ll be out on the deck if you need anything.” Xepher limped towards the sliding glass doors leaving Brianna to her own devises. Turning on the Jacuzzi, she shed her clothes and let them drop in a heap on the deck. Slipping into the water, she closed her eyes and let the warm water and pulsing jets relax her aching hip and lower back.

@@@@@@@@@

Brianna took in the large modern bathroom and thought of her small apartment. Adjusting the water, she undressed and stepped into the shower and let the water beat the exhaustion from her tensed muscles. When she felt the water growing cold, she stepped from the shower, dried off and dressed. She listened for Xepher but heard only silence. Going out the door she had seen Xepher use, she stopped dead in her tracks. The tall detective’s eyes were closed and a soft snore came from her parted lips. Brianna moved closer, letting her eyes trail over the sharp features of high cheekbones and strong jaw. She felt a pull deep in her chest to let her fingers caress the woman’s face. Her breath caught when the clouds moved from the full moon and cast a silvery glow across her. Her heart jumped when Xepher’s eyes opened and took on a glow that shot straight to her soul.

Stuttering over her words she spoke in a soft tone. “I ahh…was just going to…wake you.” She looked everywhere but at Xepher. “You may drown in there.”

“That would be bad.” She tried to get up but slipped back down into the water with a deep moan. Resting her head on the edge of the Jacuzzi, she waited for the pain to go away.

“Are you alright?” Worried, Brianna stepped closer and placed a hand on Xepher’s muscular shoulder. “What’s wrong?”

“Just old.” She raised up from the water and sat on the edge. “Gets worse when the weather changes. She swung her legs over and eased up to her feet. Limping into her bedroom, she leaned against the wall until the pain subsided. Brianna stopped beside her and looked down to see a scar that went from her pubic bone up over her left hip to end at her lower back. Tracing a finger across the pink scar, she watched as goose flesh raised across the skin.

“What happened?” She asked and helped Xepher over to her bed so that she could sit down.

“Got shot bringing in a murderer.” Unashamed of her naked body, she closed her eyes and fell back onto her bed with a low groan and lay with her arms over her head.

Brianna sat on the edge of the bed next to her and took in the full extent of the scar and saw the dips in her hip where the muscles had been damaged “Where was your partner when you were doing this?”

“He was the one I was trying to bring in. He killed his wife and mother in-law and then called me and told me what he had done.”

Brianna felt tears building up in her eyes, she couldn’t imagine the emotional or the physical pain of what the detective dealt with every day. The only person cops truly trusted were their partners and then to have that person shot you.

“I’m sorry.” Was all she could say. She wiped the tears from her face but not before blue eyes saw her.

“It’s OK, it happens sometimes.” She pushed herself up and grimaced from the sharp pain. “Got a new hip joint out of it, just wished the damn thing didn’t hurt like a bitch.”

“Hold on a minute, lay on your stomach and let me try something.” She held up her hands when blue eyes narrowed at her. “I’m a doctor remember, I’m not getting fresh with you, I promise.” She helped her roll over. Slapping her hands together to warm them, she laid them on Xepher’s lower back near the scar. Using a slight pressure, she pressed with the heels of her hands until she felt the muscles relax under her fingers. Moving them over the long muscle of her glute, she pressed with her fingers in a pressure point and felt Xepher’s body go rigid.

“That hurts like a bitch.”

“I know, it’ll go away in a minute.” When she felt her body relax, she pressed on another pressure point and waited. She finished her treatment with a massage of the affected area. Don’t move just yet. She massaged her leg all the way to her ankle and pressed pressure points at the area near her ankle, outside and inside of her foot. When a low sigh came from the detective, she smiled. “Feel better?”

“Yeah it does.” She rolled over and eased up from the bed with very little pain. Taking her robe from the foot of the bed, she pulled it on and sat back down. “Where’d you learn pressure points, I know you don’t need them on dead people.”

Brianna’s face paled at the question, her hands started to tremble and tears flowed down her cheeks. Xepher was at a loss.

“You don’t have to tell me, I’m sorry if I hurt you in any way by asking.”

“It’s OK, it’s still painful.” She looked into confused eyes. “Let me show you, it’ll make more sense.” She stood up, turned her back to her and lifted her shirt to show a long scar running the length of her back along her spine. Pulling the left side of her shorts down, she revealed a scar that ran from her hipbone to mid thigh. She felt warm fingers touch the scared area and looked to see pale blue eyes taking in the spots where metal pins had been sticking through her flesh.

“What happened?” She raised her eyes to misty green.

“Hit by a car in the parking lot at the Hospital.” Rearranging her clothes, she sat down next to Xepher. “That snapped my leg; I had a compound break in the femur and some damage to the tendons and ligaments around the hip joint and knee.”

“But the scar up your back, what did they do there?”

“That was from the baseball bat that was used to try and kill me after I was hit by the car.” She took a deep breath and willed the emotional pain away; she hadn’t spoken to anyone about what happened that night except for the police who did nothing about it.

Xepher took her hand and held it between her; to her that they both had a lot of emotional and physical scaring that made them who they were. Hers was from trying to prevent her partner from taking his own life and Brian’s was from someone trying to take hers.

“One of the reasons I left Ohio and came here was, I had been having a relationship with a doctor. Everything was going fine at first, dinners, movies, and staying up late and just talking. Everything changed the fist night we became intimate.” She felt the blush work its way up her neck to color her face. With bashful eyes, she glanced quickly to see Xepher paying close attention. “While I was at work the next day, I kept getting phone calls every ten or fifteen minutes. Who ever it was kept hanging up on me, finally I stopped answering the phone. If it was something important, the Hospital would page me.” She moved back on the bed so that she had her back against the headboard. She continued with her story after Xepher stretched out beside her and lay with her head resting on her palm. “When I got home the phone was ringing, the biggest mistake of my life was answering it. My new lover ripped into me for not answering the phone at work and wanted to know who I was fucking behind her back.” She cast a sideways glance to see if Xepher had caught on to what she had said. A faint flicker washed through blue eyes at the mention of her lover being female. “I calmed her down and told her that I would talk to her the next afternoon. Everything was fine for about two weeks and then it started all over again, phone calls, dropping by the morgue to make sure I wasn’t doing anything wrong, following me when I left the Hospital, sitting outside my house all night and threats against my life.”

“Did the police know about all this?”

Brianna gave out a short bark of a laugh. “I called them, went to the station, filed complaints, told them about stalking laws and even had a restraining order put against her! You know what they said?”

“They couldn’t do anything until she hurt you bodily.”

“You got it! It took her running me over with her car and using a baseball bat to damage my back bad enough that now I have a steel rod in me.”

“This woman, where is she now?”

“Living her life as if nothing ever happened.” Wiping the tears that flowed down her face, she tried to stifle the sob that wanted to come out. She had never cried after what happened that night. Her rage at the injustice done to her wouldn’t let her. The gates flew open the second she felt arms wrap around her and pull her against a warm body. It felt like forever that she cried into Xepher’s chest. Wiping her eyes and sniffling, she pulled back and looked down at her hands. “I’m sorry, I don’t even know you and I’m crying all over you.”

“It’s OK, sometimes that’s the only thing to do is sit and cry.”

“You don’t exactly strike me as the crying type.” She said softly.

“I’m not, I go out and arrest bad guys instead.”

“Maybe if you’d been around I wouldn’t have had to go through what I did.” She rolled to her side and looked up into Xepher’s compassion filled eyes. “They didn’t even arrest her because no one saw her do it, it was my word against hers.”

“I don’t understand, even after all you did with the restraining order and complaints.”

“She’s the head shrinker for the police department, they seemed to have lost all the reports and she had a solid alibi for that night.”

Anger filled Xepher’s eyes, turning them to a silvery color that sent chills up Brianna’s spine.

“Fucking assholes!” She growled. “What about getting a lawyer and fighting it, you had your copies right?”

“Xe, that crazy bitche’s father is a judge.”

“Now I know why you hate cops, I want you to know that I do what ever I can to keep people safe. Right now I would do anything to catch that psychopath out there killing women.” She fell back on the bed and grumbled under her breath. “I just need one little thing to steer me towards him.” Brianna got off the bed and went to where she had left her scrubs, she returned with a handful of papers. Sorting through them, she handed a majority of them to Xepher.

“Those are the preliminaries that I did on all three of the bodies and full autopsy reports.” She gently gripped Xepher’s hand. “Xe, he cut their heads off while they were still alive.”

“Holy shit!” Her eyes were wide and a disgusted look came onto her face. “What kind of sick fuck am I looking for?”

“A very dangerous one, I need to get into my office or into my apartment. I have on CD every known weapon or instrument, I can match the wounds to a weapon and maybe you’ll be able to track that down.”

A dark brow raised over a narrowed eye. “You’re not a normal medical examiner are you?”

“No and you’re not a normal cop. You have your good points.”

The tall detective grabbed her chest and gasped. “A compliment! I don’t believe that came from your mouth. I’ll have you know that I have many good points.”

“And an ego the size of the moon.” She got up from the bed and went to the bedroom door. “Good night Xe, I’m stealing your dog.”

Whistling for Bear, Brianna dropped down onto the couch, pulled the little dog to her chest and breathed in the scent of Xepher’s cologne that lingered on her dog. “Your momma is something.” She spoke into the soft fur and drifted off to sleep.

@@@@@@@@@@@

Xepher lay across her bed thinking of what just happened. “She stole my dog.” A grin came across her face then faded as she looked at the reports in her hands. “You have your good points too Brian.” For hours, she combed over the reports and made notes of things to check. This was the first time she had ever seen such a detailed autopsy come from the Frederic Hospital. When her eyes started burning, she gave up, flipped the light off and drifted off to sleep with the facts of the murder case’s running through her mind.

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The phone rang waking Xepher from a troubled sleep, blindly reaching for the annoying receiver, she barked into it.

“Sallano!”

“Sallano, this is Jenkins. We’ve got a murder over at the Hospital.”

Xepher rolled over onto her side and looked at the clock. “Why are you calling me, can’t someone else get it?”

“I think you want to see this one…it’s the medical examiner.”

Her heart slammed in her chest, dropping the phone on the bed. She jumped from her bed and ran to her living room. She breathed out a sigh of relief when she saw that Brianna was asleep. Going back into her bedroom she picked up the phone.

“The medical examiner is here with me, so she’s not dead.”

“It’s Dr. Blane; someone decapitated him in his Hospital room.”

Rubbing her forehead she groaned. “OK, give me a half hour to get there. Don’t let anyone in there, close it off and put a guard on the door.”

“I have to warn you that some nurse at the Hospital said she saw a blonde haired woman leaving the room.”

“When? Before or after he was murdered?”

“Afterwards.”

“Shit! I’m on my way.”

Hanging the phone up, she quickly dressed and went to wake Brianna. Leaning over the sleeping woman she shook her shoulder. “Brian wake up.”

Brianna mumbled into Bears fur. “No more sex, need sleep.”

“Sex? Can I share your dream?” She shook her harder. “This is a sex free zone, wakey wakey, dead bodies to look at!” Leaning close to her ear she yelled her name and jumped back to avoid having her face busted when Brianna leapt from the couch.

“I hate that!” She rubbed her eyes with her fists. “You just lost points.”

“Someone killed Dr. Blane, he’s missing his head. Let’s go.”

“But I’m not dressed!” She ran after Xepher.

“Can change on the way.” She was out the back door before Brianna could utter a word. Running to the bathroom, Brianna grabbed up her clothes and shoes and ran through the house and out the back door to the waiting car. She shot a glare at Xepher, pulled the T-shirt over her head and tossed it into the back seat. “Do you ever get to sleep more than a few hours?”

“Nope, I would if people would stop killing each other.” Flooring her car, she whipped around the slower moving vehicles and took the exit to the Hospital. Sliding to a stop outside of the ER doors, she was out and jogging to the doors with Brianna still trying to get her shoes on.

She yelled at the tall detective and swore that she heard a growl come from her. “Xe damn it wait up!” She caught up to her with her shoestrings trailing behind her. “If I fall and break my neck, it’s your fault! Drive like a maniac.”

Flashing her badge at the guard near the front door, they took the stairs to the floor where the ICU was and saw a cluster of people standing in the hallway. Xepher reached down, took Brianna’s hand in hers and led her through the throng of people. Nodding to the officer standing guard, they went to the door and stopped at the threshold. The walls splattered with blood, the sheets and floor soaked in it.

“What a fucking mess.” Xepher mumbled under her breath. “We need some gloves and booties.”

“I’ll get them, be right back.” Brianna left her side and went down to a supply closet for what they needed. Xepher leaned as far as she could into the room to get a better look at the blood patterns on the walls. From in the hallway, she heard yelling and knew it could only be one person that could yell that loud. Leaving the room, she saw that a uniformed officer had Brianna up against the wall and was cuffing her.

“What the Hell are you doing?” She asked the officer.

“A nurse just identified this woman as the one she saw leaving the room of the deceased.”

“Bullshit!” Brianna yelled and struggled against the cuffs.

“Yeah it is.” Xepher pulled her towards her and took the cuffs off. “When was this that Dr. Meadows was supposedly here killing Dr. Blane?”

The officer pulled out his notebook and checked his notes. “About 50 minutes ago, she said, she was wearing a white lab coat when she saw her.”

“Tell that nurse to get her eyes checked, Dr. Meadows has been with me since 5 O’clock this evening.” She rubbed the reddened area around Brianna’s wrists. “I want the security tapes from this floor for the last 24 hours.” She wrapped an arm around a pissed off medical examiners shoulders. “I want all these people out of here except the ones needed to run the floor. Come on Brian, let’s get the supplies we need.”

They waited while the police photographer took pictures of the room, when he was finished. Brianna called the time of death and filled out the necessary paperwork that both she and Xepher would need. They then checked for trace evidence on the victim, bagged his hands, wrapped the sheets and blankets around his body. Diagrammed the blood splatters, and took sketches of the room before they moved the body to the morgue. While they had been in the room, the Hospital administrator was called. He was standing in the hallway waiting for Xepher when they pushed the gurney into the hallway.

Her stance showed the coiled power her body contained, eyes silvery with rage, she pinned him where he stood with a glare. “You had better inform your people that Dr. Meadows works here and get all the shit straightened out in the computer! You have screwed up my investigation because some asshole threw her out of the Hospital! Now fix it or I’ll arrest you for impeding a murder case!” She pointed a finger at the officer who had tried to arrest Brianna. “I want that door sealed and guarded. NO ONE and I mean it, goes into that room but me or Dr. Meadows.”

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A huge grin split Brianna’s face when they stepped into the elevator. She reached up with one arm, pulled Xepher down to her and kissed her cheek. “You just moved up on my hate list.”

Xepher ran her fingers across the tingling flesh of her cheek, her eyes twinkled with surprise. “What happens when I reach the number one spot?”

“Ohhh I give it a thought or two about maybe liking you.” When the door opened, she pushed the gurney down the dim hallway to the autopsy room. “I’ll take a look at the wounds and do the autopsy tomorrow. I’m in no shape to work this early in the morning.”

She spent 30 minutes examining the body of Dr. Blane, when she was done, she pushed the body into a storage drawer and went to find Xepher.

“He used the same weapon on Blane as the others.” She looked around the small office they were in for her backpack. “Did you see my backpack?”

“Nope, wasn’t in here when I came in. Did you put it in that little room?”

They searched the small room and didn’t find Brianna’s backpack, they went back to her office and checked every corner and came up empty. Brianna checked the top drawer of her desk where she had put her keys and swore.

“My keys are gone.” She slammed her palm down on her desk. “My backpack, the keys to my car and apartment.”

A panicky feeling tore through Xepher, her instincts were telling her that this was not a coincidence.

“Are there security cameras down here?”

“No, there’s really no need for them.” She moved closer to Xepher, fear showing in her eyes. “Do you think who ever killed Dr. Blane took my stuff?”

Xepher wrapped an arm around her and led her from the morgue by way of the back door. “I think so.” She scanned the area around the dock and small parking lot. “What kind of car do you have?”

“A burgundy Prelude. I parked it over…” She looked around the parking lot and didn’t see her car. “They stole my fucking car!” She was on the verge of throwing a world-class temper tantrum when Xepher pulled her into her body.

“Hold on Brian, let me call and see if it was towed away.” A few minutes later, Xepher told her that her car was in the impound lot at the police station. A Hospital security guard had it towed because there was no parking sticker in the window. “We’ll go get your car later right now I’m ready to drop from exhaustion. Let’s go home.” She realized what she had said and smiled. It sounded so right for her to say that to Brianna. “I’m warning you now, Bear’s sleeping with me.”

“We’ll see about that Xe.”

@@@@@@@@@@

Dressed in tattered clothes, Dundee hat and old combat boots, “The Preacher” as he liked to call himself ran the brush through the fur on the red fox he had just finished mounting on a piece of drift wood. From a young age, he showed an interest in taxidermy. Finding animals on the road became hard, so he then started killing neighbor’s pets and stuffing them. One day he was strangling a large dog. Became so excited sexually by its struggles that he gave up on looking for road kill or poisoning in favor of using his bare hands. By his late teens, he was torturing prostitutes and leaving them dead in the motel rooms for other men to take the blame. With the last one he had killed by strangling her with a thick gold chain that was around her neck. Her skin tore beneath the chain and coated the preacher’s hands with blood. His release ripped through him when the coppery scent reached his nostrils. With her last breath, the prostitute prayed for his soul before her eyes turned vacant. It was then that he knew what he must do; purge the world of sin by spilling blood.

Taking the red fox on its wood to a mid high shelf, he sat it next to the severed head of Dr. Blane. He didn’t want to kill the man but he knew too much and was getting too nosy where his sisters, the preacher’s mothers health was concerned. He had hoped that his little experiment with certain herbs in the old man’s coffee would have killed him instead of just giving him a heart attack. Now his problem was even larger. He picked up the backpack with the name Brian written across the flap. At first he thought it to be a man until he found the wallet inside and saw the young woman’s picture on her driver’s license. He would have time enough to take care of her when he disposed of the last woman he had brought home.

@@@@@@@@@@

It was past eleven o’clock when Xepher woke to Bear whining close to her ear. Pulling her pillow over her head, she whined back at her. “Go wake Brian up, she can let you out.” A smile came to her lips when she thought of the small feisty blond sleeping on her couch. No woman had ever stayed at her house before; she found that she wished it were permanent. When Bear pounced on her head and bit at her fingers, she rolled from beneath the sheet and staggered through the house. She stopped to look over the back of the couch at Brian and grinned. During the night, her shirt had crawled up her body to show her Sylvester and Tweety bird underwear. Snickering, she went to the kitchen and unlatched the doggy door for Bear. Starting the coffee pot, she pulled a bag of bagels from the refrigerator and laid them on the table.

Fifteen minutes later, she had bacon and eggs cooking and had just poured a cup of coffee when a still asleep Brian came into the kitchen snarling.

“Do you have to sing so damn loud?” She bared her teeth at Xepher before she sat down.

Xepher turned to lean against the counter, a brow raised above an amused pale blue eye. “I’ve never known anyone who hates everything.”

“Don’t hate everything, just you.”

“I thought I was moving up the list?”

“You are but I still hate you.” She sniffed the air and grinned. “You can cook?”

“Of course I can cook, doesn’t mean that I’m gonna feed you.”

“Feed me or call 911.”

“Why 911?”

“Because me and kitchens don’t get along. Three alarm fires are nothing compared to what I can do with a toaster.”

Xepher placed two bacon, egg and cheese bagels on a plate in front of Brian and then added a cup of coffee.

“You know you’re fun to tease.” She stood by the French doors to the backyard, the light coming in shone through the white button down shirt she had slept in. The sight of her firm breasts pushing against the thin material had Brian choking. Xepher moved quickly to her and smacked her between her shoulder blades. Handing her a glass of water, she leaned down to look into tear-filled eyes. “You OK?”

Brian looked down the front of the opened shirt and started choking again; water came out of her nose and mouth. Xepher tipped Brian’s face up and used the tail of her shirt to wipe her face.

“You’re not allowed to die at the kitchen table, so what’s all the choking about?” She followed misty green eyes downward to the area between her thighs. “What, did I miss something when I shaved?” She ran her fingers through the strip of dark hair and snorted when Brian began to cough and turn a deep red. Tousling Brian’s messy hair, she left the kitchen. “It’s almost noon, I’m going to shower and dress.

Brianna had no idea what had gotten into her, she had seen Xepher in all her naked glory the night before and had no reaction as she just did. Wiping the sweat from her upper lip, she shivered from the heat between her thighs. “I’m beginning to really hate her…a lot!” She jumped when Bear came charging through the doggy door and started to give out piercing barks at the door. Going to the door, she pushed the curtain back and looked out to see an older man with a paper bag in his hands. She tapped on the glass and mouthed the words “Can I help you?” He held a badge up to the window and yelled he needed to see Sallano. Opening the door, she let him in and gave him a curious look.

“I’m Captain Boggs, Sallano’s boss.”

“Ohh OK, I’m a homeless person.” She grinned up at the older man. “I’ll go get Xe for you.”

Boggs shook his head and took a seat at the table. “Homeless person…Xe? Ohh is she in trouble.” He chuckled.

@@@@@@@@

“Hey Xe! Your Captain’s in the kitchen!” She peeked around the corner of Xe’s bedroom door and watched transfixed as Xe pulled a pair of skintight faded Levi’s on.

“Boggs is here?” Xepher turned and started to walk past, but a pair of small hands on her hips stopped her.

“Button your shirt.” Green eyes bore into her. “You’re not going out there until you button your shirt.” She huffed and did it for her.

“You had better go put some clothes on…suuufffriiing succotash.” To get her point across, she lifted the bottom of Brian’s shirt and pointed to her underwear. “May give the old buzzard a heart attack.”

“I’m first in line.” She mumbled to herself and then searched through Xe’s drawers for a pair of shorts to wear. When she returned to the kitchen, Xe gave her a raised eyebrow.

The Captain noticed as well and couldn’t miss the chance to tease Xepher.

“So XE, you’re dressing the homeless women now?”

Dark brows gathered over her straight nose, then the left one rose when she saw the mischievous grin on Brian’s face.

“She’s gonna be more than homeless when you leave.” She gave Brian a lecherous look. “Boggs, this is Dr. Brianna Meadows the new medical examiner, dog thief, tease and she hates me.” She turned to her smiling boss. “What brings you to the house of terror?”

“I have a shit load of files, the security tapes from the Hospital and X-Rays that the courier couldn’t deliver. Because you probably had the ME tied to your bed.”

“Not yet I haven’t but the day is still young. Let’s go in my office and take a look at what you have there.” She grabbed Brian’s ass as she went past and ended up with a foot in hers. “Ya hate me?” She asked over her shoulder.

“More than ever! Where’s MY dog?”

@@@@@@@@@

Boggs and Xe sat in front of the small color TV in her office and looked at the security tapes. They came to one part and froze the frame. “That’s the last person to see Dr. Blane alive.” Boggs said. “From the report I got this morning, some nurse identified Dr. Meadows as the killer.”

“It wasn’t her; she was with me at the time of the murder. Plus look at the person here…Brian come here a minute.” They waited for her to show up in the doorway and Xe told her to stand there a second. “Now look where the suspects head is on the doorframe and look where Brian’s is.” Boggs compared the differences. “There’s a good two foot difference in their heights.”

He nodded his head. “And this is not a woman, the back and shoulders are wide like yours.” He gave her a wicked grin. “You’re built like a guy I can’t help it.”

“Not from what I’ve seen she’s not.” Brian ducked from the room and went down the hallway howling.

“So you were the one tied to the bed, must be loosing your touch XE.”

“Was not nor ever have been. Now she’s got you calling me Xe, in three days she’s turned my world upside down.”

“Seems to agree with you though.” He ignored her low growl. “Now, these files I have, I just picked up this morning. I had them forwarded from other precincts.” He flipped the one on top open and pointed to the date. “I called the chief there and he said that you can come up and take a look at what ever they have.”

“I’ll go today after I drop…shit I can’t leave her alone.” She pinched the bridge of her nose and explained to Boggs about Brian’s backpack and keys being stolen from her office the night of Dr. Blane’s murder.

“I’ll put a uniform with her when she’s at the Hospital. And then have the uniform take her home afterwards.”

Brian wasn’t to happy about the arrangement that the Captain had set up, the only cop she trusted was Xepher but there was nothing she could do about it. She couldn’t take the chance and loose her job because of a psycho stealing her keys and she was afraid of being in her office alone. Therefore, she would just have to deal with it the best she could. She had lots of work to keep her mind off the problem and knew that would help.
Part 2
The drive to the Morgantown police station took six hours; Xepher could hardly get out of her car when she got there. Her hip and lower back were killing her; she leaned against her car for a few minutes until she could deal with the pain. She wished that Brian were with her to hit the pressure points and take away the pain. The thought of Brian being alone with just a uniform with her, bothered Xepher more than she liked to admit. She felt that she should be protecting her and no one else.

Hours later, she had gone over every file they had, including the autopsy report. There were similar things with the case but she didn’t have the feeling in her gut that she relied on. She would take the files to Brian and let her look over the autopsy reports and see what she thought of them. She was beginning to rely on the doctor for her knowledge among other things.

@@@@@@@

Brian compared the X-rays from the Captain with the X-rays of the three women; she double-checked them again and sighed when she found that there was a match. She knew it meant closure for the girl’s family but it also meant that they had lost a loved one for good. She would let Xe know when she got home that night. Home was not her apartment, which she couldn’t get into anyway. Calling the apartment maintenance man, she explained to him what happened and arranged for him to change the locks on her door, to install a dead bolt and to leave the new key in an envelope in her mailbox. She was not about to take a chance on the psycho having a key to her apartment. Next was seeing if the uniformed officer with her could get someone into make a new key for her car that was still at the impound lot. After batting her lashes at him, she thought that he would fall over trying to get to his cruiser to call the police mechanic. When he came back in out of breath, he told her that her car would be delivered to the Hospital with new keys. “Ya still have it Brian, you can make them swoon with your charm.” She thought to herself then mumbled under her breath. “Too bad it doesn’t work on someone else.” Going back to her paperwork, she signed off on papers for the lab to run tests on blood samples of Dr. Blane. When she had performed his autopsy, she examined his heart and found no disease or reason for his heart attack. There was very little plaque in the arteries and the muscle was that of a younger man. She still thought that the previous test results showed something strange. She took more samples and sent them off to be checked for natural/organic materials. It was a gut feeling that made her do it and she never second-guessed that. Placing the closed file on the identified body, she scrawled across the top half of the folder the girl’s name. Picking up the phone, she called the girls next of kin and waited for the phone to be answered. She usually let the police call the parents but she needed to know something for her report.

“Hello this is the Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Meadows. Is this Mr. Levine?”

“Yes it is, is this about my daughter Laura?”

“Yes sir it is. I have identified remains here in Frederick Maryland as belonging to your daughter. A question if I may; can you tell me where she was during the time of her disappearance?”

“She was with a group of college students walking the Appalachian Trail. She had called us two days before she disappeared and said that they were camping along the river and that she would be heading home by the end of the week.”

“Did she say who she was with? Dorm mates or acquaintances, did she have a boyfriend? And how exactly was she going to get home?”

“She was with some kids she knew from campus. She didn’t have a steady boyfriend and that she was going to catch a ride, I presumed that she was going to hitch hike the same way as she had gotten down there.”

Brian was shocked, she hadn’t even thought of the victims hitch hiking. “Thank you sir, I will pass all this information onto the investigating officer.” She finished the call by taking down the information for transporting the remains and expressing how sorry she was for their loss. Replacing the receiver, she leaned back in her chair and let ideas run through her head. “Wonder if I can track down who she was with? I need to know if she had a boyfriend or significant other with her.” She was startled when the uniformed officer stepped into her office and handed her keys to her car.

“The shop just dropped it off, the mechanic said that everything is fine with it and the new keys work.”

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A loud roar echoed in the cellar, the preacher fell forward from where he straddled the woman’s limp body. His body jerked and trembled with his release. The pruning saw clattered to the floor, he smeared the warm blood over his chest and genitals and felt his scrotum clench tightly. Gripping his testicles in a blood covered hand; he squeezed until another release burst from him and his semen to spurt out to fall on her unmoving chest. Collapsing onto her cooling body, the preacher rested until he was able to catch his breath. Rolling to his feet, he pulled a hose down from the ceiling, turned the sprayer on and watched as the blood was cleansed from the dead woman and washed down the drain in the autopsy table. When she was completely cleaned, he stood in the center of the floor over a steel grate and washed the blood from his own body. Looking to the pale body, he felt his penis throb and come back to life. Slapping as hard as he could with his hand, he flinched and gasped at the pain. Reaching for the disposable razor he had left near the table, he started to shave his pubic area of all stubble. Nicks to his skin were ignored as his blood mixed with hers washed down the drain. When he was finished, he pulled her by her arm until she fell to the floor. Dragging her to a makeshift altar, he positioned her so that her body was resting on forearms and knees.

He screamed at the top of his lungs to the rough hand drawn picture on the white washed wall. “I have made an offering of this sinner to you; she is now cleansed of all sin by the letting of blood!”

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Brian thanked the officer as he walked her to her door, she knew that the young man was smitten with her and ignored his offer to come inside with her. After she convinced him that she would be all right, he went back to his cruiser and waited until she was inside before leaving. Flipping the light on, she went to her answering machine and saw that no one had called her. Not surprised since she had no one besides Xepher in her life at the moment. Dropping the files she had brought home on top of a nearby cardboard box, she went into the kitchen to see if she had anything to fix for supper. It was well past six o’clock and she had yet to eat anything since that morning. Finding nothing of interest, she headed for her bathroom for a long bath and maybe take-out later. She immediately thought of Xepher and wondered if she would join her for a pizza and beer. Flipping the light on, she gasped and stepped back into the hallway. With the eye of a medical examiner, she could tell that no one had been slain in her bathroom, but appeared to have washed the blood of another off. The sink, floor and bathtub had smears of blood. Lying on the floor in a bloody heap were surgical scrubs, booties and a white lab coat.

“That son of a bitch is trying to frame me!” Going into the kitchen, she picked up the phone and dialed Xepher’s cell phone number. She was thankful that she had asked for it earlier that day in case of an emergency. She waited for it to ring and prayed that Xepher was either on her way home at already there. She didn’t want to call the police station and have all kinds of cops traipsing through her small dumpy apartment.

“Come on Xe answer the damn…”

“Damn what Brian?’

“Thank the Gods! Get over here now, that fucker was here and left my bathroom full of bloody smears.”

“Where’s your apartment?” She asked as she slowed down in case she would have to cut across the grassy median strip. Once she had her address, she took off in the direction she had been headed. Brian only lived ten minutes at the most away from her. Turning down a side street, she shot across and pulled up in front of the small apartment building next to a burgundy Prelude she assumed was Brian’s. She wondered how she had gotten her car back and was a little afraid to ask her. But right now what weighed heavily on her mind was that Brian’s apartment had been broken into. She ran up to the door, pounded once before the door was ripped open and she was pulled through by Brian.

“That son of a bitch was here last night! What if I had been here when he showed up!?”

Xe saw Brian’s walls starting to crumble. Pulling her into her arms, she rested her head on top of Brian’s and just held her.

“Did you go in the bathroom?” She heard the low mumble of “no” come from where Brian had her face pressed against her breasts. “Let me call this in and get the photographer over here and the tech guys.” She pulled back just enough to look into frightened green eyes. “I don’t want you staying here. I want you at home with me, OK?” With the nod of Brian’s head, Xe placed a soft kiss to her forehead and pulled her back into her body. Pulling her cell phone from her belt, she called the station and then took Brian into the kitchen. Opening up the cabinet, she pulled down two coffee cups and readied the coffee maker. The whole time she kept glancing at the still woman sitting in a chair quietly. Moving behind her, she wrapped her arms around her and pulled her back into her body. Leaning down close to her ear, she whispered. “I won’t let anything happen to you, I give you my word.” Burying her face against her neck, she stayed that way until she heard the doorbell ring. Kissing Brian’s temple, she left her to answer the door.

@@@@@@@@

“I want pictures of everything. I want fingerprinting, fibers, and vacuuming of the floors in the bathroom, hallway and her bedroom.” When she had everyone doing what she wanted, she returned to the kitchen to check on Brian. Her mind was reeling with how close she had come to maybe loosing the small doctor. She knew in her heart and mind that she was lost to the argumentive, stubborn headed, sharp-tongued little blond. She would do everything in her power to keep her safe.

@@@@@@@@@@

Brian sat with her face buried in her hands, she was trying to hold herself together but it was getting harder by the second. She felt invaded both emotionally and personally. In all the years she had been a medical examiner, no one had ever done what this murderer had. She had no clue as to why he had come into her apartment and tried to frame her. She was on the verge of tears when, she felt Xe come up behind her to enfold her in her strong arms. Xe pressed her body against Brian to share her warmth. The one thing she now knew was that, she could count on the detective’s strength and friendship. Both times that Xe had been needed, she had been there in record time and offered comfort and understanding.

“Let me get us some coffee and when the guys are done we’ll go home.”

Brian loved the sound of the word home, a small smile came to her lips. She glanced to her left and watched her stoic friend prepare their cups. She couldn’t believe that Xe knew how she liked her coffee made. Not even her own mother knew that she like both cream and sugar. Turning back to where she could see the techs working, she wasn’t paying attention when Xe jumped back and slammed the refrigerator door.

“Son of a bitch!” She growled. “Don’t open that.” She pointed to the refrigerator and left the kitchen to get a tech in there. Brian could only guess as to what was in there. She knew if she had opened and found something gross, her cussing would have been heard clear to the West Coast. Sighing, she took her cup of coffee and sipped the brew without cream.

“Bag it and everything else in there, I don’t want to take a chance on having him screw around with her food. Take everything to the lab and tell them to test for every known biological and natural substance not normal for the article.”

“Got it detective. I’ll stay there until it’s all written up.” He opened the refrigerator and swore under his breath. On the top shelf were a pair of hands placed together as if they were praying. He carefully placed a bag over them and lifted them out touching the chilled flesh.

“Guess he knows about my cooking skills huh?” Brian was doing her best not to freak out and run screaming from her apartment. She knew that she would never be able to stay here now. She would look for a new place to live as soon as she had a chance. Tomorrow was to (too) late as far as she was concerned.

“Are you guys done in her bedroom?”

“All done, just be careful of the fingerprint dust and the luminal. We found some blood where it dripped from his hands or what ever.”

Xe took Brian’s hand and led her to her bedroom. “Get some clothes and what ever else you might need. Then we’ll go home.”

Brian took a total of fifteen minutes to collect all that she needed, including her laptop and the CD’s she needed. With everything stuffed in a gym bag and her laptop case slung over Xe’s shoulder, they left the apartment with Xe giving orders to the techs to lock it up when they were done.

@@@@@@@@@

“Do we have to go home right away?” Brian asked as she moved closer to Xe inside the cruiser.

“No, where did you want to go?”

“A bar, preferably a gay bar.” She looked at Xe’s strong profile and saw a small smirk form on her face.

“Are you going to get drunk and take advantage of me?”

Snorting out a laugh, Brian busted her bubble. “You wish I could get that drunk.”

“And all this time I was under the impression that I was irresistible.”

“You’re dog doesn’t count and she likes me better anyway.” You are way beyond irresistible! You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. She said to herself and felt a deep blush work it’s way up her neck. “I need a strong drink and to relieve some stress.”

“Relieve stress, how do you relieve stress?” Xe’s heart stopped and was on the verge of shattering into tiny little pieces. Please don’t tell me it’s by picking up some slag and screwing her in the bathroom!

“Dance my fool head off, that’s how.”

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Xe pulled her cruiser into the parking lot, turned the engine off and then turned to look at Brian. She could see the stress in her features, deep creases along the sides of her mouth making her look like she was scowling.

“This is the only place I know of, it’s not fancy or anything but the do have good music.”

Dark green eyes moved from where they were looking out the windshield to connect with silvery blue. A small smile came to Brian’s face almost erasing the tension and stress.

“Good, cuz I’m going to dance until I either drop or someone throws me off the dance floor.”

“Are you saying that you suck when it comes to dancing?”

“You’ll just have to watch and rate my abilities for yourself.” She didn’t give Xe a chance to say another word nor get around the car to open the door for her.

@@@@@@@@

Xe stood at the end of the bar drinking a Jack Daniels neat and watching Brian clear the dance floor. She was having problems with her heart beating against her ribcage to the point of pain. She could feel moisture building between her thighs and soaking her Levi’s from watching Brian gyrate on the dance floor. The sensual way Brian’s hips swayed to the music made her mouth go dry. Taking a sip of her drink, she watched Brian turn away a woman who approached her. She did the same two more times before one of them came up to her.

“Can I dance with your wife?”

With surprise shinning in her pale blue eyes, she asked. “Dance with my wife?”

“Yeah, the hot little blonde. She said I had to ask you first.”

“She did? Sorry but this dance is mine.” She placed her glass on the bar. “Maybe I’ll let you dance with her later.” She left the woman with an envious look on her face. Making her way to the dance floor. She stopped and watched Brian for a few minutes before she stepped up behind her. Placing her hands on her hips, she pulled her back into her body. Leaning down close to her ear she purred in a deep sensual voice. “Will your wife be pissed at me for dancing with you?”

Brian brought her hand up and placed it at the back of Xe’s head, pulling her closer she purred back. “That depends on how we dance.” She turned in Xe’s arms, ran her hand up her chest to linger on her cheek before brushing her bangs back from her darkened blue eyes. “Are you any good?”

“Ohh I’m bad…very bad.” She moved closer to Brian, running her hands up her back and back down to cup her firm ass. Slipping one thigh between hers, she stepped forward and pressed against her.

“Forget my wife, I’m going home with you.” She wrapped her arms around Xe’s neck and pulled her closer. A low moan came from her when Xe moved her hands up to caress her back and started to sing to her as they slow danced.

Love sure is something no one can explain
It can bring you such joy, it can bring you pain
And with every emotion, love puts us through
There’s nothing you can say, when love finds you

Love is the power that makes your heart beat
It can make you move mountains, make you drop to your knees
When it finally hits you, you won’t know what to do
There’s nothin’ you can do when love finds you

Brian felt tears forming in her eyes as she listened to the words of Vince Gills song being sung to her. She pressed her face deeply against Xe’s neck and ran her fingers through her silky hair. The only word that came to mind was “Destiny.” The last chorus went straight to her heart.

And when you least expect it, it will finally come true
There’s nothing you can say when love finds you

When the song ended, Brian pulled back and looked into dark blue eyes. What she saw there was pure unconditional love. “I hate you Xe.” She leaned up and brought their lips together for a lingering kiss. When they came apart, she whispered in a low voice. “I really hate you.” The kiss she gave Xe had the tall detectives knees going weak, their tongues seeking out each other and caressing. Moans rumbled in their chests as embers burst to flames and scorched their senses. They never noticed when the music stopped or the lights came on signaling that it was closing time.

“Out! Come on everyone clear out!” The bouncer yelled at everyone standing around.

Xe felt a tap on her shoulder, breaking the kiss, she growled at the interruption.

“Move it.”

“I’ll move it all right.” She gave the bouncer a glare. “Home to our bed.” Wrapping her arm around Brian’s waist, she walked them to the door. Just as she stepped outside, her cell phone rang. “Son of a bitch!” She flipped the phone open and yelled into it.

“What now I’m busy!”

“Not yet you’re not.” Boggs said. “We have another body, it’s near Cindy D’s restaurant up behind the liquor store in the trees.”

“Son of a bitch! When I catch this guy I’m gonna rip his head off and ram it up his ass!” She felt Brian fall against her side and whimper. “We’ll be there in 45 minutes.” She was ready to go on a rampage, her body was humming from arousal and there was not a damn thing she could do about it. Taking Brian in her arms, she buried her face against her neck and moaned. “Gods I’m so sorry. We have another body.”

“When you catch him, I’m going to help you kill him! I’m dying here!”

“Makes two of us.” She stepped back and took her hand. “Lets get this over with so we can go home.”

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Blue lights flashed and bounced of the liquor stores wall, the low murmur of the police radios droned in the background. Xe and Brian could see uniformed officers keeping the gawkers at bay, while the Chief spoke with a handful of reporters. Stopping the cruiser close to the other squad cars, they got out to see the yellow crime tape strung across a large area in the back. Xe went to the back of her car and opened the trunk for the stuff they would need. She treated each scene that she went to like she was walking into a sterile area. With Hospital booties, surgical gloves and her hair pulled back in a ponytail. She wanted to preserve the evidence as best she could and leaving her own trace evidence only made it harder on the techs. Taking a black nylon bag from the trunk, she handed it to Brian.

“What’s this?” Brian asked as she held up the heavy bag.

“Your tools of the trade.” Taking her hand, she led her to where they could get to the body without having to go near the reporters. Using Brian’s shoulder to steady herself, she lifted one foot and slipped the bootie on and stepped over the crime tape. Repeating the process with the other, she then helped Brian put her own booties on. Xe led the way with Brian walking directly behind her so as not to leave to many footprints or destroy vital evidence. Approaching a lone officer, she asked him who all had been near the body. He told her that it had just been him, another officer and the chief.

“In that bag is a UV light, do you think we’ll be able to pick anything up?”

Brian looked at the area surrounding the body, turning her head and using her senses to pick up humidity and the movement of air, she gave Xe a small grin. “We just might, the weathers perfect to preserve certain evidence. Let me check and see if he left us anything.” She pulled the UV light out and started at the ankles and worked her way up. She stopped and looked over her shoulder at Xe who was standing there with a notebook in her hand. “You gonna be my secretary?”

“Yep, just tell me what to do.”

Brian wiggled her brows and gave her a lecherous grin. “Take your clothes off.”

A dark brow rose to bury itself in her bangs. “Excuse me but how is that going to help with me taking notes?”

“Oh its not to help you, it’s to help me. I think better when I’m around gorgeous naked women.” She snickered when the uniformed officer choked and walked away. “Works every time.” She flashed Xe a grin. “OK, looks like we have some semen in the navel area. That’s a first for this guy, he must have been in a hurry.” Moving the light on the insides of the victim’s thighs, she stopped when a small spot glowed bright purple. “We have some more on the inside to the upper left thigh, 2 millimeters from pubic bone. She searched the entire body and found just small spots of semen that had not been washed away. After scraping the samples into a small glass bottle, she gently turned the body over and with the use of a small flashlight and the spotlights angled toward her. She found a blonde pubic hair. Placing it into a plastic evidence bag, she handed it to Xe. With close examination to the amputated areas, she knew that it was the same guy from before that had dumped this body. She got up from where she has squatting and led Xe off to the side away from prying ears. Pulling her down to her she whispered in her ear.

“He’s getting sloppy, he shaved her pubic hair like the others, nicked the Hell out of her and missed some spots. This body belongs to a brunette, so either the blonde pubic hair is his or it belongs to one of the other victims. I won’t know until I can look at it under a microscope and do a DNA test.”

“OK, lets bag this one and get her out of here. The autopsy can wait until later this morning.”

After giving the evidence to Boggs to be logged in and then sent off to the labs. They helped the paramedics place the body into the ambulance and gave them instructions to what storage drawer to put it in. Shedding the booties and gloves, they placed them into a small bio bag and put everything back into the trunk.

“Let’s go home I’m exhausted and my hip is killing me.” Xe handed the car keys to Brian and then limped to the passenger side and crawled in. Brian looked at the keys and grinned, she had always wanted to drive a cop car.

“Can I speed?”

“I’d prefer it, I wanna get home and collapse into bed.” She saw Brian’s face fall a bit. “With you.” She finished and saw a glimmer of a smile cross Brian’s face before she pulled the cruiser onto to RT. 340 and headed home.

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After letting Bear out, filling both of her dishes and leaving their cell phones purposely on the kitchen table, they headed for the bedroom. Xe had shed all of her clothes before she had even gotten to the bed. Dropping face first into bed, she rolled onto her side and waited for Brian. Fighting to keep her eyes open, she lost the battle the second a warm body snuggled up against her. Brian lay facing Xe, she traced a dark brow with her fingertip and leaned forward to kiss her parted lips. Snuggling closer to the detective’s body, Brian lay her head on a muscular shoulder and drifted off to sleep. With the comfort of each others arms wrapped around them and a warm furball nestled against the backs of Brian’s thighs, they slept deeply for the first time in years.

The ringing of the phone could not wake them; it rang for 20 minutes straight before stopping. Finally the caller got fed up and decided to pay the women a visit. It didn’t really bother Boggs that he would have to drive out to Xepher’s house. He felt as if she were one of his daughters. He knew that when he had seen her the night before that she was exhausted from the long hours working the case. He also noticed that a tell tale sign of her exhaustion was that she would start to limp and favor her left leg. He would never forgive himself for not listening to her when she had told him of how her partner of two years was mentally unstable. He had just chalked up her partners problems as job stress and long hours. He had no idea that the man would kill his wife and mother in-law and then shot Xepher in the attempt to take his own life.

He had asked her if she wanted to be partnered with someone else when she had come back to work. The answer he got from her still made his hair stand on end. The low keening growl that she made had every one with in hearing distance cringing under their desks. He made it a point to never ask her that question again and took it upon himself to be her partner when she needed help. The other higher ups of the police station called him her little pet, but knew that she really didn’t need a partner. They also knew that guilt was the reason Boggs was going out of his way and onto a limb for her.

So here he was at ten o’clock in the morning pounding on her front door. If she didn’t answer, he was tempted to crawl through the doggy door at the back of her house. The only problem with that idea was, he wasn’t the thin man he used to be. It would be the embarrassment of a lifetime to be caught wedged in the small door.

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“Go way.” Xe mumbled into the soft flesh beneath her cheek. “Damn pounding. Kill someone.” Bringing a hand up to cover her ear, she felt fingers buried into her hair. Opening one eye half way, she took stock of where she was and recognized her bedroom. The odd thing was, the pounding and a deep snoring. Picking her head up, she looked at the sleeping face of Brian. A smile came to her sleepy face as she looked into the calm innocent features of the woman that had worked her way into her heart. Then the smile vanished when a horrible snore rumbled in Brian’s chest and a snorting noise came from her nose. Chuckling, Xe kissed her breast and tried to roll from her arms.

“No, can’t leave.” Brian mumbled and pulled Xe closer to her.

“Brian, someone’s pounding on the front door.”

“Kay.” She let Xe go, got up from the bed and stumbled from the room. Xe lunged across the bed trying to catch her before she made it to the front door. Getting out of the bed Xe’s left leg gave out from under her and dropped her cussing to the floor.

Boggs raised his hand and was about to pound on the door again when it cracked open to show a blurry green eye peeking back at him. Before he could say a word, the door was pulled open and a naked Brian walked away leaving the older man’s mouth to drop open. Coming to his senses, Boggs stepped in and closed the door.

Xe stubbled and limped from the bedroom, as she stepped into the living room, Brian walked up to her and wrapped her arms around her waist and pressed her face into her silk covered breasts.

“Boggs.” Was all she said as she snuggled further into her. A low groan came from Xe as she saw her boss coming further into the room. He raised his arms and shrugged his shoulders at her.
“She let me in, is she trying to give me a heart attack?” He watched as Xe struggled with her silk robe trying to wrap them both in it to cover Brian’s bare ass. “I’ll go make some coffee.”

“Let me get Brian back to bed, I’ll be there in a minute.” She turned them around and half stumbled and walked them back to the bedroom. She couldn’t believe that Brian had gone to the door completely naked. She looked down into her face and saw that she was sound asleep. “Ohh great, you’re a sleep walker.” A wicked grin came to her face along with an equally wicked thought. “Wonder what else you do while still asleep?”

“Would have found out if he hadn’t shown up.” She proved her point by taking a hardened nipple between her lips and nipping the end. Xe let out a low moan and sunk to the edge of the bed taking Brian with her.

“Ohh fuck.” She threw her head back and moaned when a warm tongue circled her nipple. “He’s a dead man!”

Brian released her nipple and placed a warm wet kiss between her breasts. “Go see what he wants, I’ll be out in a minute.” She pulled the silk robe around Xe. “I really hate you Xe.” She gave her a kiss that had her gasping for breath and wishing Boggs wasn’t in the kitchen. With all the strength she had left in her body, she left a very tempting Brian to get dressed. Taking a deep calming breath, she walked into the kitchen to find Boggs toasting bagels.

“Now I know why you didn’t answer the phone or your door.” He turned and handed her a cup of coffee. “I don’t blame you one bit.” He took a cup of coffee and sat down at the table, his eyes sparkling with laughter.

Xe sat down at the table and took a sip of the hot brew, her pale eyes still a little unfocused. “I didn’t hear the phone, and we were just sleeping.” She arched a brow at him. “Why am I explaining this to you? Anyway, we were exhausted. I think I’ve had eight hours total sleep in the last week.”

“That’s one of the reasons I’m here. I’m giving you the day off.”

“Boggs, I have interviews to do, people to find and a shitload of reports to go over.”

Xe looked over her shoulder when she heard the shuffling feet of a still sleepy Brian come into the kitchen, taking in the clothes she was wearing sent a fire to her nether region. Brian was wearing only a button down shirt that Xe had left laying across the foot of the bed and a pair of her socks. Brian wrapped an arm around her neck and settled in her lap, burying her face against her neck, she mumbled something and fell back to sleep.

“That’s one of the reasons you have the day off, the other one is you look like shit. I can’t afford to have you getting sick.” He leaned back in the chair and grinned at her pensive face. “You two are exhausted and trying to work that way can get you both hurt or worse.” Leaning forward on one hand, he captured her eyes with his. “I pulled two detectives off their cases to comb the campsites, C&O canal and track down anyone who might have seen something. I put a rush on the lab reports and called Quantico for help with profiling. And I have an interview with the parents of the woman Brian identified. That leaves you two to sit here all day and come up with some ideas.” He refilled his cup and filled one for a now awake Brian. “You might want to track down the next of kin for Dr. Blane. I think he has a sister nearby.” She took a deep breath and shook her head in amazement, never had anyone done anything like this for her before.

“Why are you helping me?”

Boggs tried to hide the blush that was creeping up his face. “You remind me of my eldest daughter Sarah, you’re headstrong like her. She always tells me that I don’t pay attention to what goes on around me and I half listen to what I’m told. I wasn’t listening like I should have when you came to me about your partner. I feel responsible for you getting shot.”

“Damn it Dennis, I got myself shot.” She reached across the table and took his hand. “I went in there with out calling for back-up, I knew what he had done and that he was dangerous. But being the stubborn ass that I am, I thought I could handle it. I was wrong. I thought I could talk him out of using the rifle on himself, I never expected him to shot me and then kill himself.” She took a calming breath and leaned her head against Brian’s. “He wanted to die no matter if he took every one with him in the process.”

“Xe, you did what’s in your nature to do.” Brian cupped the side of her face in the palm of her hand. “You can’t go against what your gut tells you. Your partner didn’t want you dead, if that was the case he would have shot you in the chest or head.”

“I know but it’s still hard to accept that I couldn’t stop it.”

“Listen to Doc, your partner would have gone to prison for the rest of his life. All those guys you two put away would have gotten to him and that life would have been worse than killing himself. There was nothing you could do but if I had listened to you maybe I could have gotten him some help.”

Brian held up her hands for them to stop.

“Hold up you two. Neither one of you is to blame, the man had some serious problems and neither one of you is to blame for that. So throw the guilt out the window and lets get this new psychopath off the streets. Capish?” She looked between the two blushing people and smacked her hands together. “Let’s go for breakfast, I’m starving.”

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Boggs was amazed at the amount of food that the two women could put away. He asked them why they just didn’t pull their chairs up to the all you can eat bar and have at it. Brian grinned between him and Xe and spoke what was on her mind.

“If we did that, I wouldn’t have as much fun listening to Xe growl at me every time I stole food off her plate.” She looked over to Xe’s plate and stole the last bite of her blueberry muffin and got growled at. “See what I mean.”

“You’re a Hell of a lot braver than I am.” He glanced between the two and could swear that he saw some kind of deep connection between them. “How long have you two known each other?” He asked seriously.

Xe looked to Brain who shrugged her shoulders. “Seems like a life time instead of about a week.” Taking a piece of bacon off Brian’s plate she bit it in half and offered the remaining piece to her. She bit down on her bottom lip to keep from moaning when a wet tongue teased her fingertips. Boggs coughed and cleared his throat, he had never seen anything so seductive in his life. He had to get away from the two women before he made an ass of himself. Maybe lunch at home with his wife would be a nice change. Tossing some bills on the table, he pushed back his chair and stood.

“I’ve got some work to do, let me know if you two find out anything.” He gave them both a wave and walked away towards the door thinking he would definitely go home for lunch. It was the sight of a small hand playing with the detective’s zipper on her Levi’s that got him.

Xe rested her chin on her closed fist and locked eyes with a smirking medical examiner. “Brian, what do you think of making love in public?”

“Don’t know, I’ve never done it in public. Why?”

“Because if you don’t stop playing with my zipper, I’m gonna throw you on top of the table and clear this place out with your screams.”

Brian winked at her, then set a blazing fire down below by dragging her blunt fingernails up the seam of Xe’s Levi’s.

“I’m game if you are.” She teased her relentlessly until Xe couldn’t take anymore and grabbed her hand.

“Come on we have work to do, we can play later and I’ll warn you.” She purred into Brian’s ear. “I have great stamina and I play rough.”

Brian had to will her legs to hold her up, just the sound of that deep purring voice sent her senses racing wildly through her body.

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They were sitting in Xe’s small office at home going over the files of Dr. Blane. He had never really connected with anyone at the Hospital and very rarely spoke to the other doctor’s. He was what every one thought of as the stereotypical ghoulish medical examiner. Xe cast a sideways glance at Brian and shook the thoughts from her head.

“No I don’t, never will and that is soo gross! I can’t believe you think that of me!” She slugged Xe in her shoulder.

“What?” Xe whined and rubbed her stinging shoulder.

“Dead things, that’s what.”

Shivering, Xe rubbed her arms and gave Brian a strange look. “Did you just like read my mind or something?”

Brian raised just her eyes from what she was reading. “Believe me, it lasted a whole minute if that. Quite empty up there if you get rid of all the perverted stuff.”

“Perverted stuff, I’m not the one who plays with dead stuff. Do you read tea leaves too?”

“No I prefer reading blood stains on maxi pads.”

She looked up when she heard a low groan and a thump. Xe was spread eagle on the floor from where she had fallen out of her chair. Her eyes closed tightly, she mumbled something unintelligible. Brian slowly slunk from her chair and crawled across the floor on her hands and knee’s. Easing between Xe’s spread legs, she crawled up the tall detective’s body until she was hovering over her moving lips. She didn’t know what it was about this woman but she brought out the worst in her. Ducking her head, she captured Xe’s pink lips with her own, they still tried to move until she bit down on the full bottom lip and stroked it with the tip of her tongue. The second they stopped moving, she released her teeth and explored her lips with her tongue. Large hands came up to caress her ribs and graze the sides of her breasts. A deep moan rumbled between them when Brian lowered her body to lay completely on top of Xe. Deepening the kiss, Brian slowly teased Xe’s tongue with her own, every shared breath brought them closer to what they both wanted and needed. When lights flashed before Brian’s eyes from lack of air, she broke the kiss and buried her face against a warm neck that held the scent of Obsession and a hint of sandalwood soap.

Xe’s voice was deep and rough, her breathing ragged from the emotions Brian stirred in her with just a kiss. “Do you have any idea what you do to me?”

“I can imagine, ya know what I want to do?”

“Take advantage of me and make me your love slave?” That quickly brought up Brian’s head.

“You don’t strike me as the submissive type.”

“I’m not, I’m more of the…you ain’t getting me till I’m ready.” She rolled Brian off of her and took off running through the house with Bear barking at her heels.

Brian lay on the floor with her mouth hanging open, she couldn’t believe what had just happened. Getting to her feet, she ran though the house and out the back door. Xe was nowhere in sight. Looking around, she heard the squeak of a door and the Bear whining from inside.

“What the Hell is she doing?” Going back in the house she stopped and listened for noises.

“You looking for me?” A deep purring came to her ear, strong arms wrapped around her from behind and pulled her into a warm body. She gasped when hands went under her shirt. Her breasts were cupped in Xe’s large hands and rough thumbs ran across her nipples bringing them to a hard peak. Moaning from the attention lavished on her nipples, she pushed her rear into Xe and rubbed against her. She felt Xe’s body shudder against her and then she was picked up and carried to their bedroom. What she saw excited her beyond anything she had ever experienced. The room was lit with only candles and the soft fragrance of lavender hung in the air. The bed was now covered with a silky silver sheet that sparkled in the candle light. Gently, Xe laid her down on the bed. A whisper of a touch trailing from her collar bones down to her bare feet. The look in Xe’s eyes made Brian’s blood boil, dark and passion filled, glimmering with silver flecks in the candlelight. She slowly undressed and dropped her clothes to the floor to let the candle light play across her bronzed flesh. Brian’s breath lodged in her chest when large hands moved up to unfastened her Levi’s and eased them down her body with just a brief touch of fingertips on her heated skin. Thumbs massaged her insoles and brought a low moan from her and sent shivers up her spine when they softly trailed to her ankles and massaged her calves. Her muscles jerked when a wet tongue joined fingertips and then lips. Her fingers dug into the covers on the bed as Xe worked her way up each leg with her lips and teeth, nipping her skin lightly then kissing it. Each time she stopped dangerously close to her throbbing nether lips. She could feel her wetness soaking into the silk of her blue silk French cut panties.

Xe, crawled up to straddle her hips and helped her to sit up, slowly pulling her T-shirt over her head, she placed kisses from the edge of her panties all the way up to the hollow of her throat. After the shirt hit the floor, Brian’s lips were captured in the slowest most passionate kiss she had ever had. Xe’s tongue filled her mouth and moved sensuously across her own, deep moans were exchanged as hands trailed across warm flesh. Memorizing textures, shapes and causing tingles to travel through nerve endings. Brian felt like she was being worshiped, none of her other lovers had treated her like this, with the slow exploration of her entire body and gentle touches. She was lowered back onto the bed, hands turned to satin as they drifted down her upper chest to cup the weight of her breasts in their palms.

Arching her back to offer more of herself to her lover, she let out a long moan when a warm wet tongue traced her from neck to ear and circled the shell before slipping inside. A warm rush of juices flowed from between lips and soaked through her panties to coat her inner thighs.

“What…are you…doing…to me?” She gasped out when teeth nipped at the sensitive flesh below her ear.

Her voice deep and sultry, Xe answered breathlessly into her ear. “Loving you.”

Brian buried her fingers in to thick dark hair and pulled her lips back to her, she kissed her deeply and with a hunger she had never felt before. Xe pulled away and trailed open mouth kisses down the center of her chest and stopped. Gazing into darkened green eyes, she ran a fingertip across kiss-bruised lips.

“I love you Brian.” She said softly before dropping her head down to circle a hardened nipple with the tip of her tongue. She felt fingers massage her scalp and then pull her back up to waiting lips. The hunger of before was gone and replaced with an intensity that came straight from the soul. Brian’s hands ran down her shoulders to her back to stop at her hips. Kneading the tight muscles of her ass, she was pulled closer and felt a wet center press into her and grind slowly. Moaning deeply, Xe broke the kiss, and moved down to capture a nipple between her lips while rolling her other nipple between thumb and forefinger. She sucked until Brian thrust her hips upward.

“Please Xe!” She ground out from between clenched teeth. Switching to the other nipple, Xe sucked harder until her lovers back arched off the bed. The low moans had her wetter than she had ever been and so close to going over the edge that she had to squeeze her thighs together to control herself. Groaning deep in her chest, she licked the underside of a firm breast and down the side of Brian’s ribcage. Brian was panting and pressing her center into her lover. Placing her hands on Xe’s wide shoulders, she pleaded and pushed her lower.

“I need you Xe…please touch me.” She pleaded and let out a gasp when a wet tongue slipped beneath the waistband of her panties. Slowly, Xe slid the silk down her thighs until she could push them all the way off with her foot. She locked eyes with her lover and moved to lay between her thighs. Running her fingers across her lower stomach, she played with the short dark curls. Spreading her lips, she watched her lover’s center pulsate with need. “You’re so wet baby.” Blowing warm air across her center sent Brian to undulate her hips. The scent of her arousal made Xe’s mouth water. Keeping eye contact, she reached out with her tongue and licked at a swollen nether lip. By drawing her tongue back and forth slowly she was driving Brian insane.

Xe stopped what she was doing and gazed with love-filled eyes in to misty green.

“Tell me baby.”

“Oohh Gods Xe…I love you…please!” Her hips jerked upward when Xe slipped her tongue between her lips and licked the juices from her. A deep moan vibrated her engorged clit, she could feel her muscles tense and start to roll from her chest downward. Xe slipped two fingers into her center and pulled her clit between her lips and sucked. Slowly moving her fingers in and out, she tilted them upward and pressed into the sensitive area and pushed Brian over into an earth-shattering release. With her name echoing off the walls, she plunged her tongue into a clutching center and drank what her lover offered and sent her back over the edge with another scream. Panting from holding back her own release, she crawled up Brian’s twitching body and straddled her thigh. Capturing gasping lips, she kissed Brian with all the pent up arousal in her body and thrust her swollen womanhood against her thigh. Jerking her lips away, she threw her head back, her body arched and her release tore through her. Xe’s cries of release took Brian with her. Bodies still trembling with aftershocks, they lay wrapped around each other. Xe raised her head when she heard sobbing. Wiping the tears from Brian’s face with a fingertip, she kissed her cheeks of their moisture.

“Baby what’s wrong?” She asked with a low whisper.

Pressing her face into Xe’s neck she cried softly.

“Baby did I hurt you?” Xe was beginning to worry that she had done something wrong. Tears filled her eyes and she cried silently. Brian lifted her tear stained face and saw the tears trailing down her cheeks.

“Ohh Gods no you didn’t hurt me. You did something to me that no one ever has. You broke through my walls and captured my heart and soul.” She cupped Xe’s face with her hand and wiped the tears from her cheek with her thumb. “I love you Xepher Sallano. Even when I tell you that I hate you, I love you more than I can put into words.” She kissed her softly and moaned when she tasted herself on her lover’s lips. “I’ll show you for the rest of our lives.” She rolled over on top of her lover and showed her what was in her heart for the rest of the day and night until they fell exhausted into the land of dreams.

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Xe moaned, someone was licking the scar over her hip. Cracking one eye open, she saw the top of a tousled blonde head. Her hips jerked when Brian licked the area beside the strip of dark curls. “Ohh Gods I hope you’re awake.”

“Oohh I’m awake and very ready just like you are.” She proved her point by dragging her fingers through Xe’s wetness and then licking her fingers clean. Xe moaned and covered her eyes with her hands.

“Please wait just two seconds, I have to go…” She pointed towards the bathroom.

“Be quick or I’ll start without you.” She wiggled her brows when sleepy blue eyes looked at her. Xe fumbled with the sheet and hurried to the bathroom, she couldn’t help but picture her lover touching herself. Her center twitched and her nipples hardened. After relieving herself, she rushed back to bed to see Brian with a lifelike thigh strap-on. What she was doing with it almost sent Xe to her knees. She was lying on her back, knees bent and her legs spread apart. Her wetness glistening on the insides of her thighs and the tip of the dildo. A deep guttural groan rushed from Xe’s throat. She kneeled on the foot of the bed and licked her lips.

Her voice dropped an octave. “Do it baby, push it in.” Dark blue eyes watched as trim hips lifted and the dildo was slowly pushed into her lover’s center. Xe’s hips jerked forward, juices poured from her center as it clenched. She looked into dark green eyes before going back to watch the dildo slid in and out of her center. Her wetness coating it’s latex surface made Xe’s mouth water.

“Xe touch yourself.”

“Ohh Gods!” She moaned when her fingers slid through her own wetness, her hips pushed forward into her hand forcefully until she was steadily grinding to the same tempo of the dildo moving inside of her lover. She crawled the short distance to Brian. Her fingers buried deep inside herself, she ground her hips as she leaned down and licked her lover’s engorged clit. Brian tangled her fingers into thick dark hair and thrust her hips upward.

“So close…Come with me Xe!” She couldn’t hold back anymore, a low keening sound tore from her lips as she went over.

“Bri…ooohhh…Gods!” Xe thrust her hips once more and fell forward across her lover as her release ripped threw her. Gasping with each tremor, it was long minutes before she could catch her breath. Rolling onto her side, she placed a kiss on Brian’s mound and sighed. “I swear baby you’re gonna kill me.” She slowly pulled the dildo from inside her and placed a gentle kiss to her pulsing center. “We won’t be able to walk after what we’ve been doing.”

“Plan on it.” Brian growled. She moved out from under her lover and buried her face between her thighs. Low moans came from her lips as she licked and sucked at her lover’s juices.

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Screams echoed threw the small house as they climaxed together. A low howling came from the kitchen and then a barking joined in. Bear was under the kitchen table barking at the man who was trying to fit through the doggy door. He had one arm and part of his shoulder through but couldn’t get any further. Spittle flew from his lips as he struggled, he needed to end the sin coming from the other part of the house. The women’s screams of pleasure tore at his brain, it was un-natural what they were doing. Their blood needed to be spilt so that they could be free of sin. He had followed them and waited until it was time to take the blonde away and make her a sacrifice to his God. Now he would have to wait, he used his other arm and pushed himself backward with all the strength he had. A scream bubbled on his lips as the metal of the doggy door tore into the tender under part of his upper arm. The sound of ripping material and the clatter of the doggy door was all Xe heard as she ran into the kitchen.

“Bear? Bear where are you?” She called and looked under the table to see her small dog cringing with the hair going down the center of her back standing on end. Her legs still shaky from her climax, she sunk to her knees in weakness. “What was it girl?” She asked trying to catch her breath. Looking to where the doggy door was still swinging, she saw a piece of dark blue material and drops of blood on the floor. “BRIAN!” She yelled in panic when she heard glass shattering from the other room. Getting to her feet, she ran to where the noise had come from. She stopped in the living room to see Brian standing near the windows that ran along the side of the front door. In Brian’s hands was a baseball bat that she kept behind the door. Glass lay across the floor in jagged pieces around her feet. “Don’t move baby.” Grabbing her boots from near the couch, she slipped her feet into them and walked around as much of the glass as she could. Swinging Brian up into her arms, she carried her to the couch.

“What happened?” She asked while cupping her silent lover’s face.

“Some bastard punched his hand through the window.” Tear filled eyes connected with blue. “I smacked his arm with this.” She held the bat up. “Xe?” She whimpered and fell into her arms. “It was him wasn’t it?”

“I think so.” She hugged her lover tightly to her chest. “I have to call Boggs.”

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The house was full of evidence techs, uniformed officers and Boggs. He had cruisers patrolling the area looking for the man who had tried to get in to Xe and Brian’s house. Who ever this man was, he was escalating in his killings and Boggs was afraid that he had now set his sights on either Sallano or Dr. Meadows. His MO had changed as well, none of the other victims had been taken from houses, if they had, he was sure that someone would have placed a missing persons report instead of them having two unidentified bodies at the morgue. He had to literally throw Sallano out the front door of her house along with Meadows and the furball dog. He didn’t want them at the house incase the nut case came back. He would have two officers staying inside her house while the rest of them tried to find the nut. Giving Sallano the address of Dr. Blane’s next of kin, he told her to go question the woman and see if he had spoken to her about the serial of murders.

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Brian started humming the theme song from Psycho; she looked up at the huge house waiting for Norman Bates to pop up in a window somewhere. Shivers ran down her spine from the sight of the dilapidated two-story house. The grass was knee high, paint faded and peeling from warped wooden siding, singles blown off and looking like small horns on the roof and the front porch sagging from rotten wood.

“Xe are you sure this is the place? I mean, who in the Sam hell would live here?”

“Yep, it’s the place.” She looked down at the paper from Boggs. “Says here that there’s bodies stacked like firewood in the guest bedroom.”

“Oohh YeeeHaaa! Let’s have a BBQ!” Brian rolled her eyes at her lover. “Can we just burn down the eyesore and forget about going in there?”

Xe turned in her seat and gave Brian the raised eyebrow look. “Are you afraid to go in there?”

Brian crossed her arms over her chest, glared and Xe and replied in a strong voice. “Yes God damn it! I’ll have you know that I missed the ending of Silence of the lambs because it was so damn spooky.” She raised her left eyebrow at her lover. “I may have drooled over Jodi Foster, but when it came to all those bugs and the pitch black basement!” She shivered and rubbed her arms.

“I’ll protect you baby.” Moving across the seat, she gave her lover a deep intense kiss that left her eyes closed and her breathing ragged. “Let’s get in there and talk to who ever falls out of the shadows.”

“Nothing like embedding thoughts of horror.” Brian mumbled. Xe opened the passenger side door and helped her lover out. Taking her hand, they walked up to the front door skirting the rotten boards and holes. Xe took a deep breath and knocked on the wooden door and waited. “If Norman answers, run like hell.”

“Gee thanks for the ohh mighty warrior façade you gave me earlier. Big damn chicken.”

Xe leaned in close and licked her ear. “But I’m your big chicken.” She quickly pulled away with embarrassment when the door was opened and a nurse stepped onto the space. “I’m Detective Sallano and this is Chief Medical Examiner Meadows. Is Mrs. Gaston home?”

“Yes, she’s in but I’m not sure she’ll be able to help you.” She said in a low voice.

“Why is that?” Brian stepped in front of her lover. “This is rather important.”

“Well, you can try but she’s been unresponsive verbally for over a year now. She suffered several strokes that left her paralyzed and in a wheelchair.” She showed them into the large house and then to the small room where Mrs. Gaston was staring off into space. Brian latched onto Xe’s hand in a death grip. She hated houses like this one and was not about to leave her lover’s side for nothing.

“Can I speak to you for a minute?” Xe asked the nurse. She pried her hand free from Brian’s and asked her to check on Mrs. Gaston’s health.

Brian growled at her. “Don’t you leave me.”

“Never baby, I’ll be right here.” She pulled the nurse to the side but kept Brian in her peripheral vision. “I’m investigating the murder of Mrs. Gaston’s brother Dr. Blane, did he ever come here to visit her, call or anything?”

“He would come by once a week and check on her. He never stayed long, he and his nephew didn’t get along. They disagreed on Mrs. Gaston’s care.”

“She has a son? Where can I find him?” Xe’s mind grabbed onto the bit of information.

“He doesn’t get home from work until five o’clock, then he takes over her care.” She lowered her voice so that Mrs. Gaston wouldn’t hear her. “That guy gives me the creeps, looks at me with weird eyes.”

“Really?” A dark brow rose. “What’s this guy’s name?”

“Jeffrey Gaston, he owns that Jeff’s lawn care service that does all the banks and big businesses in Frederick.”

“What kind of car does he drive and what does he look like?”

“A big dark blue thing, not sure what it is but it’s huge and has one of those big antennae’s on it.” She thought for a few seconds then continued. “I’d say he’s a little shorter than you, maybe weighs around 175lb, bald, eye color is hard because his eyes are all squinty, I’d take a guess and say hazel. And he wears those clothes like farmers do, you know green work clothes. Funny thing is I’ve never seen him dirty. You would think with cutting grass all day that he would be or at least cut that jungle of a yard out there.”

“You would think huh?”

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Brian kneeled across from Mrs. Gaston and waved her hands in front of unmoving eyes. Snapping her fingers near her ears received the same response, none. Looking on the small table beside the chair, she noticed numerous bottles of medicine. Picking a couple up, she read the labels, opened the bottles to look at the pills and moaned. The pills in the bottles did not match what the label read. She wondered why the woman was taking those types of meds. “Haladol, Prozac and Demerol. Something’s not right here.” She pushed up the older woman’s sleeve and let out a low groan. “Xe…Detective Sallano can I see you a minute?” She watched her lover limp towards her, her heart sped up a beat at the sight of the beautiful woman that was all hers. Then remembered what she was doing and sighed. “Look at her wrists, this woman does not need to be tied down. She has a catheter and a colostomy bag and is pumped full of enough drugs to keep the local nut ward sleeping for a week!” She looked to the nurse standing beside her lover. “What meds do you give her while you’re here?”

“I just make sure that her bags are empty and that she’s comfortable. I was never instructed to administer any meds.”

“What about in case of an emergency, who’s her doctor on record?” Brian was reeling with the information she knew to be a little iffy.

“I’m supposed to call Mr. Gaston at work and tell him. He never told me anything about who her doctor is.” She took a deep breath. “Listen, I know this all looks bad me being a nurse and everything. I work for a nursing service, we do in home care and that’s it. Anything else is done by the person who hires us.”

Brian waved a hand at her and smiled. “It’s OK, I know how this all works, I’m not blaming you.”

Xe’s facial expressions became pensive; she walked over to the medicine bottles and started looking at the labels. She was no doctor but some of them looked a little suspicious to her. Looking back to the nurse, she saw that she was occupied with Brian. Palming one of the bottles closet to Mrs. Gaston, she rejoined her lover.

She rested a hand on her shoulder. “Brian, you ready to go?”

“Yeah Xe I am, I have some paperwork to do at the office.” She held out a hand to the nurse. “Thank you for all your help.”

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Xe drove like a bat out of hell towards the hospital. A mischievous look was firmly planted on her face.

“Alright Xe, what are you up to?”

“What makes you think that I’m up to something?” She glanced quickly to her lover and grinned.

“That look says so, what did you do?”

She reached into her pocket and pulled out the bottle of pills. “I wanna run it for finger prints. From what Nurse Ratchet described, Jeffrey is a strange bird and he may need his wings clipped.”

“Isn’t what you did like sorta illegal?”

“Only if I get caught, besides what you did last night is illegal in some states.”

Brian’s eyes grew huge; her mouth fell open to make a small coughing noise. “Me! What about you?”

“I didn’t cuff you to the headboard.”

“That’s ‘cuz you didn’t think of it.” She stuck her tongue out at her. “Do worse later.”

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Brian scanned all the admittance records for the last year and none of them was for Mrs. Gaston. She then did the same for Jeffrey Gaston and found an ER admittance for seven months prior for a tetanus shot. “Patient cut palm of left hand on wire, six sutures to close. Prescribed antibiotic cream. Dr. V. Lundel MD.” Getting up from her desk, she went into the small room where Xe was going over case files that Boggs had given her. Slowly opening the door, she found her lover lying on the small bed, folder open on her chest and sound asleep. Pushing off her worn out tennis shoes, she pulled her t-shirt over her head and dropped it to the floor and then her Levi’s. Taking the folder from Xe’s chest, she placed it on the small table and crawled into the bed beside her. Snuggling up to her side, she laid her head on her shoulder and fell asleep.

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Two hours later, Xe woke with a start. She had the strangest feeling that someone had been looking at her while she slept. Looking around the room, she saw that the door to the room was open. She leaned up on an elbow and then looked down to see that Brian was still asleep. Easing out from under her half-naked lover, she kissed her gently on her parted lips and then got out of the bed. Slowly walking towards the door, she eased it open and looked down both ends of the hallway. Closing her eyes, she concentrated on hearing anything out of the ordinary. Walking across the hall to Brian’s office, she looked in to see the place trashed. Every file folder were thrown on the floor, the PC’s tower was pried open with wires cut and what was left of Brian’s lab coat lay across the desk with a letter opener sticking out of where it had been jabbed into the desktop. Running back to the small room, she woke her lover.

“Brian get up, he’s been here!” She shook her shoulder until green eyes shot open.

“Who’s been here?” She asked groggily.

“The psycho, he tore your office apart. Come on we have to get out of here and to my office.”

Xe was collecting her files when she heard Brian using sentences with words that didn’t quite belong together. Looking over her shoulder, she saw that her lover was holding up a t-shirt and one shoe.

“Baby what’s wrong?”

“That fuckinggoodfornothingsonofabitchinassholecocksucker stole my CLOTHES!”

It took Xe a few seconds to figure out what came before the “stole my clothes” part. Getting to her feet, she pulled her lover into her arms and held her tight. “I’m just glad that you were in here with me when he showed up.” She tilted her face up to her. “I don’t know what I would have done if anything happened to you.”

“Right now I’m more dangerous than he could ever dream of being!”

After pulling, a pair of scrubs on, she and Xe went out the back door of the morgue. 25 minutes later, they were pulling into the police station parking lot. This would be the first time that Brian had been to Xe’s office, for some reason that drilled into her mind that she was in fact in a lot of danger. Before it was a subconscious thought but now, that had all changed when she walked in to the building filled with police officers. Taking her lover’s hand, she stayed close to her side as they wove their way to Xe’s office. They stopped on their way to see Boggs and then went to the area where they took fingerprints. Pulling the pill bottle from her pocket, she handed it to the officer at the small table.

“I need prints on this now! When you have them, run them through the computer. I think that’s the psycho stealing heads.” The young officer looked into steely eyes and nodded. “We need to check some things out then we’re going back to Mrs. Gaston’s house.”

Brian shuddered; she hated the idea of going back to the creepy place. Tightening her grip on Xe’s hand, she looked up into eyes full of fury and nodded her head. They went to Xe’s small cubicle and pulled up any information that they could find on the Gaston family. The only thing that they found was that Mr. Eugene Gaston had died in 1977 due to natural causes and that his survivors were his wife and son.

“Is having your head cut off considered natural causes?” Xe asked sarcastically. “Gardening accident?” She pointed to the screen where it told of how he had been found near a lawn mower with his head a few feet away. “What did he do stick his head under it and start the damn thing?”

Brain stood behind her with one hand on her shoulder and her chin resting on the other.

“More like someone helped him loose his head.”

“Talking about loosing heads little lady.” A young detective junior grade stepped up to Brian. “How about loosing Sallano’s and joining me for lunch.” He leaned against the edge of Xe’s desk and gave Brian a charming smile.

Brian returned his smile, brushing her fingers against Xe in a comforting manner; she turned to face the young man.

“I see only one problem with that.” She dropped her voice to a sultry purr. “You see, Xepher here has the sexiest little head that I’ve ever seen. I love to take it between my teeth and feel it throb beneath my tongue when I bite down on it. Run my tongue across it and flick the very end until she moans and thrusts against my lips. Suck on it until she wraps her beautiful thighs around my head.” She let out a deep moan and watched his eyes grow darker. “Just the feel of it becoming engorged in my mouth makes me cum.” She felt Xe shudder against her side. She let out a deep chuckle and looked down at the detective’s crotch. “From the looks of the stain on your pants, I’d say you have a problem with premature ejaculation.”

The young detective stumbled away with his Jacket pulled in front of him. Brian was chuckling softly and leaning against her silent lover.

“That was cruel Brian.” She ran her hand up the inside of Brian’s thigh and felt her jump a little. In a very low whisper meant only for Brian’s ears, she said. “He’s not the only one that has a problem being premature.”

“I’ll make it up to you when we get home.” She leaned against her lover’s side and ran her fingers up her ribcage to stop right below her breast. “For hours.” She whispered in her ear.

“Let’s get out of here.” She stood slowly, and pulled her pant legs down with a grimace. She gave Brian a low growl when she heard her snort.

“S’not funny.” She whined.

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Boggs told them that he had back up set up if they needed it even though he didn’t agree that Jeff Gaston was guilty of anything but being weird. The fingerprints on the man came back negative on any priors or warrants so he thought they were just jumping to conclusions. Not even Brian telling him her suspicions about the mother being over prescribed psychological drugs and the problem with Dr. Blane’s lab results. Or the fact that she had been singled out by some wack job who stole her clothes earlier that day while she was sleeping.

Xe wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her close to her side as they walked out of the station house.

“Don’t worry about it baby, if it isn’t him we’ll keep looking. Let’s stop at home so you can change and I can check on Bear.”

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After strapping on a bullet proof vest and pulling her t-shirt on, Xe pulled two Glock .9mm’ from the safe in her office, checking the clips, she put them into her double holster and added extra clips to the leather pouches. Going to the bottom desk drawer, she pulled out a boot knife and strapped it to her calf under her pant leg. She hoped that she didn’t need all of the stuff she was carrying but it was always better to be prepared than no at all. Leaving the office, she went to see if Brian was ready. She wasn’t prepared for what she saw. Her lover wore a bulletproof vest and had a holster at the small of her back along with her gold badge clipped to the front of her belt. To finish off her look, she pulled a black windbreaker on with Medical Examiner on the back in yellow letters.

“Baby since when do Medical Examiners carry guns?”

Green eyes lifted to hold pale blue, a small grin lifted the corner of her lips.

“Ya know how the stiffs sit up on the tables? Well, a .38 is how I put them back down on the table. I’m a pretty good shot too: only hit the oxygen tanks once so far.”

Xe’s eyes rolled upward, she knew she was in a shitload of trouble now. “Come on Dirty Harriet; let’s go scare an old lady.”

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Jeff Gaston pulled his car around to the back of the house; he knew that he had taken a big chance on being at the morgue earlier that day but he had no choice. He had to make sure that the Medical Examiner didn’t have anything on the missing women or his Uncle. Knowing that she had probably ordered new tests on him after his murder, he didn’t want her to know that prior to his heart attack, he had been given Bella Donna in his coffee. Pulling the door to the cellar open, he then opened the trunk of his car and lifted the black body bag from the trunk. Carrying it down the steps, he dropped it into a corner and returned to his car three more times. When he was finished, he went into the house to check on his mother. Walking through the house, he stopped long enough to take the sling from his arm off and lay it on the cluttered kitchen table. As soon as his arm dropped to his side, a sharp pain tore through it.

“Fucking little bitch!” He swore. “I’ll fuck you with a baseball bat for breaking my arm.” Placing a funny smile on his face, he went into the small room to dismiss the nurse for the rest of the day. He couldn’t understand the look on her face until he realized that he was dressed in a police officer’s uniform instead of his usual green uniform. He saw recognition in her eyes, quickly he reached out and punched her in the face twice and watched her slump to the floor. Taking her by a foot, he dragged her towards the kitchen and left her lying in the middle of the floor until he could change out of the uniform.

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“Baby I really hate this house, I still say we should just have it burned to the ground and be done with it.” Brian shivered as she looked up at the upper windows, she squinted her eyes when she saw movement in one of them. “I think Jeff’s home early.” She pulled Xe down and pointed to the upper window. “I saw him in that room.”

“Let’s go have a little talk with him.”

They walked slowly up to the door and skirted the new holes that were in the porch. Knocking on the door, they waited for someone to answer. A good ten minutes went by with no one answering. Xe shrugged her shoulders and motioned for Brian to follow her. They rounded the back of the house and saw the dark blue Crown Victoria sitting with the trunk open. Drawing her pistol, she motioned for Brian to stay behind her. Stepping next to the car, she looked inside and saw that it was empty. Moving to the trunk, she spun away and took a deep breath of air. Brian seeing her lover’s face turn an unhealthy green.

“Xe what’s wrong?”

“Take a good whiff and tell me what you think it is.”

Brian stepped next to her and didn’t even have to get close to know what the stench was. It was the combination of decomposing bodies, feces and formaldehyde.

“I think we have or guy Xe.” She pulled her .38 from its holster and checked to make sure that a bullet was chambered before replacing it.

“Let me call for back up before we go in there.” She pulled her cell phone from her belt and was about to hit speed dial when a scream pierced the air and a sharp pain shot up her arm. Falling to the ground holding her shattered arm she saw her lover pull her .38 and fire at a retreating figure that had disappeared into the cellar doors.

“Baby don’t go down there!” She screamed as her lover charged down into the darkness. “Gods don’t go down there.” She whimpered as the darkness claimed her.

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Brian hugged the cellar wall as she slowly made her way down the wooden steps. Her vision was still not adjusted to the darkness; she stopped and waited a few moments until she could see a few glints of obstacles off to her left. Slowly taking a calming breath, she eased down the last step and into the pitch-black darkness. Running her hand against the wall, she tried to listen for any sound or feel any movement around her. A breeze blew past her face making her throw her head back; a loud thump hit the wall in front of her face. Dropping to her knees, she swung a foot out and felt her shin connect with something and then a low grunt came to her ears. Crawling on her hands and knees, she fell over something covered in plastic. Sliding on her stomach over what ever it was, she scurried away from it to hit her head against something made of metal. Warmness trailed down from her eyebrow and clouded what little vision she had. Wiping it away, she picked up the coppery scent of her blood. Reaching her hand up, she felt the cool metal of what she determined to be a table. Running her hand across it, she felt a jabbing pain in the tips of her fingers. Holding back a yelp, she clamped her hand over her mouth and stayed still. She knew that she would have to find a light switch or leave the cellar; her lover was outside injured and she was becoming worried when she hadn’t joined her.

Standing up, she raised her hand over her head to search for a pull cord. She thought she had found one until she felt the rubber on an extension cord. Stepping forward a few steps, she stopped when her toe hit a wall. She was about to search for a switch when a biting pain slashed across her upper thigh. Spinning she fell into the wall and fired into the dark. The echoing of her shoots made her drop her head and cringe; it saved her as she heard the impact of a weapon bounce of the wall near her head and a grunt of frustration. Aiming her .38, she fired again and heard a squeal of pain. Fumbling along the wall, she found a switch and flipped it on. The brightness blinded her; covering her eyes with her arm, she waited until she could remove it with out the sharp pain. Looking around the bright cellar, she saw a blood trail across the floor and to a set of steps across the vast space. Limping from the pain in her thigh, she went to the stairs and looked up at the open door. Slowly she took the steps and clenched her jaw to keep from screaming out.

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Xe moaned and rolled to her back, the pain in her forearm was worse than when she had been shot. Rolling to her knees, she fell forward on to her good hand and lost what little bit of substance was in her stomach. Dry heaves racked her body, sweat poured down her face and into her burning eyes. She had to get up and look for her lover, she had a feeling that Brian was in serious danger. With her arm hanging useless at her side, she stumbled down the steps and looked around the large cellar. The sight of black body bags in a pile and the stench of the cellar made her stomach roll again.

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Brian kneeled by the nurse’s side and felt for a pulse in her neck, checking the dark purple bruise on her jaw and cheekbone, she knew that the woman was only unconscious and would be all right. Using the kitchen table to get to her feet, she slowly made her way through the gloomy house. She looked down at the floor and tried to follow the blood trail, noticing that it went towards where she had spoken to the nurse days before she stopped and listened for noises. The low drone of the TV and then a falsetto voice was heard coming from the small room.

“You finally did it this time Jeffrey! You are a filthy sinner and you must pay for your sins!”

Brian shook with the sounds of a loud slapping sound and then whimpers. She sunk down the wall and listened to the one-way conversation.

“NO erections! It’s the devils way of controlling man!” Was screamed in a high voice and then a loud male voice screamed NO!

Brian moved around the corner of the room and aimed her .38 at Jeffrey Gaston or whom she thought was the man. What looked to be a Halloween mask covered the face of the naked person before her. A shoulder length wig fell across wide shoulders and neck, breasts heaved as the person took gulping breaths as a hand clenched on the handle of a tree-trimming saw.

“Jeffrey put the saw down!” Brian said in a calming voice. “Just put it down and step back from your mother.” She felt the hair rise on her neck and knew that her lover had just stepped behind her. “Xe he has a saw in his hand.”

Ignoring the psycho, she was more concerned about her lover. “Are you OK baby?” She placed a large hand on her shoulder.

“Been better.” She replied without taking her eyes away from the crazed person. “Do your cop thing and arrest him or something.”

Before either of them could do anything, a loud scream of “Spill the sinner’s blood!” echoed through out the room and then a loud scream of pain came from the crazed person. They watched as the saw moved at a downward angle and blood sprayed across the room and continued to fountain as the jerking body fell backwards.

“Shit!” Xe yelled as she quickly moved past Brian and into the room. “Covering her eyes, she shook her head and retreated from where the body was lying. “Can’t help him baby.” She wrapped her good arm around her lover’s shoulder and led her through the house to where the nurse was just coming to. “He cut off his dick.” She looked down into her lover’s pale face and caught her before she fell to the floor. “Fuck baby you’re hurt.” She eased her down onto the floor, took off her belt and applied it above the slashed area of her thigh. Ripping her t-shirt off, she wrapped it around Brian’s leg and told her not to move. Slapping the nurse lightly on her hands, she pulled her the rest of the way to be conscious. “I need your help, Brian’s hurt.”

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Boggs face was white as alabaster, in all the years he was a cop he had never seen a more gruesome sight. When Xe had called and told him to send out the homicide team to the Gaston residence, he had no idea what they would be doing. As soon as he opened the door to Jeffrey’s room, his stomach rebelled and he covered his shoes with his lunch. The stench of rotting flesh was as thick as fog. On the shelves across one entire wall were decomposing heads of half a dozen women. Brian and Xe turned their heads at the sight until they were able to control their own stomachs and enter the room. The heads sat upon the women’s feet with their hands cupping their sunken cheeks. Sitting on a table next to a filthy blood covered bed was the head of Dr. Blane along with jaws with human organs in them. Both women had seen enough and left the room to go outside for fresh air. Standing outside reading a leather bound journal, Xe skimmed over the pages until she came to a section where Gaston tells of the reason why he killed it uncle. He simply stated that his uncle had caught him in the morgue one night trying to steal a body, and when he threatened his life, Dr. Blane laughed at him. He knew that his uncle hated him for drugging his mother with his pills and for all the bodies he was defiling because he was as his uncle called him “A sick fuck” So to protect himself, he had to get rid of the medical examiner. Closing the journal, she gave out a whistle through her teeth and handed it to Brian. Wrapping her uninjured arm around her shoulders, she placed a soft kiss to her lips.

“Love you baby.” She whispered to her as she rested her head against her shoulder.

“Love you to, let’s get out of here.”

They watched as an ambulance left the driveway with the nurse and Mrs. Gaston inside. Now that they were free to leave, Xe helped her lover to the car and drove them to the hospital to be treated for their wounds. Xe wasn’t worried about her arm as much as she was about Brian’s leg. The weapon that had injured her was the saw that Gaston had used to severe body parts with.

Brian told her not to worry that with the amount of blood she had lost that the wounds were clean. When the first ambulance had shown up, she had one of the paramedics give her a surgical scrub and used it to clean the wound to be on the safe side and to put Xe at ease.
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“So baby, what are we gonna do on our forced vacation?” Xe asked as she plopped down on the couch.

“Ohh I don’t know, how about if we stay home lounge around the house naked and watch dirty movies on TV?”

A dark eyebrow cocked above an amused eye, she gave out a snort and fell back on the couch with a groan. “We’re already naked. Watch dirty movies, why would we do that?”

Brian lay down beside her and tapped the cast that went from her lover’s upper arm to the tips of her fingers.

“Ohh because my handicapped warrior, you’re useless in plaster. And I want to watch dirty movies.”

“Hey I’m not completely useless, my arms in a cast not my tongue! Dirty movies are dumb, I like the real thing.” She wiggled her tongue and gave Brian the come-hither movement. “You still owe me from the other day.”

A wicked grin split Brian’s face, she crawled up Xe’s body until she was kneeling over her face. “And I’ll pay you back with interest.” Her head fell back when she felt warm fingers run up the inside of her thigh and tangle in her short blonde curls. “Double interest!” She cried out when she felt her lover’s tongue slip between her nether lips.

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Boggs walked up to Xe and Brian’s door with a huge grin on his face and a small black box in his hand. His wife had told him to wait and see them in a few days, give them some time alone to heal. But he couldn’t wait, he had to see Xe as soon as possible. Raising his fist to pound on the door, he stopped when he heard a blood-curdling scream through the open windows. Stepping back, he threw his shoulder against the front door and fell inward when the door jam gave way. Coming up onto one knee, he pulled his pistol and trained it around the living room. He let out a long gasp and covered his eyes. “Ohh Christ!” He mumbled.

“Damn it to Hell Boggs!” Xe rolled over on top of Brian to shield her lover’s naked body. “What the Hell is wrong with you, and why’d you break our door down?” Pulling the blanket off the back of the couch, she covered Brian up and got to her feet to smack Boggs on his head.

“OOWW! Why’d you hit me?” He looked up at her naked body, turned a bright red and dropped his eyes to the floor. “I heard god-awful screams and thought…” He stopped when he heard Brian laughing hysterically. “Oohh for the love of God, here this is yours I’m going home to hang my self from the rafters.”

After Boggs had left, Xe sat down on the couch and flipped the box over in her hand. Brian pulled her down to rest against her chest and took the box from her fingers. “What is it?”

“Don’t know open it for me.”

A gasp came from Brian’s lips after she opened the small box, she snapped it shut and placed it on her lover’s chest.

“What was it?” Xe asked.

“Ohh just a gold shield that has the word lieutenant across the top of it.” She rolled out from under Xe and looked her in the eye. “Since that means a raise in pay, you can buy me a ring.”

Xe blinked her eyes a few times. “A ring, you want what kind of ring?”

Brian waved her right hand in front of her lover’s face. “What kind of ring do you think I want?”

“Ohhh that kind of ring.” She pulled Brian close and kissed her with all the emotion she had in her body and soul. “I love you Dr. Meadows, marry me.”

“Under one condition…I get Bear.” She snorted at the shocked look on her lover’s face. “Just kidding.” She placed a soft kiss on her lips. “I love you Xepher and yes I’ll marry you. Now let’s go to bed.”

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The uniformed officer drove past the address that had been given to him over the radio, so far that night they had received numerous calls about screams coming from one of the houses. A huge grin covered his face when he saw the Crown Victoria sitting in the driveway with a sign saying ‘Just Joined’ across the trunk. He knew who’s car it was and there was no way in Hell that he was going to tell Sallano about the disturbing the peace tickets she was going to get. That was Boggs job. Before he pulled away, he heard a war cry that set the hair on his arms on end. Shivering he rolled up his windows, turned off his radio and sped off into the night.

The end

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Part 2 Lover’s Tryst
By Larisa
Sallano stood next to the grieving woman, her large hand supporting her at the elbow as she led her to the viewing room at the morgue. She hated bringing relatives and other’s to this room, there was no telling how the person would react once they saw the deceased. Even though it was a picture on the monitor, some people wanted to look through the window as this woman did. Sallano tapped on the adjoining window and watched as the curtain was pulled back by an unfamiliar figure. The man was young, maybe early twenties. His hair was a chestnut color that reached below his shoulders and hung across his face from a side part. Right off Sallano didn’t like him. Turning back to the distraught woman next to her, she asked her if she was ready to identify the deceased. At the nod of her head, Sallano had the young ME pull the sheet back.

“That’s my husband!” The woman screamed and fell into Sallano’s side sobbing. “He didn’t come home last night; I thought he stayed at his office.” She went on in hysterical sobs, Sallano was not good with the sensitive chat stuff, and she had no idea what to do with this poor woman.

“Ma’am I need to ask you some questions about your personal life with your husband.” She ran a hand across her face and mumbled to herself. “Please take a seat and let me get the ME in here to explain some stuff to you.” Leaving the woman in the viewing room, she ran down the hall to the small office where she hoped the Chief ME would be hiding. Rounding the corner near the viewing room, she ran into the young ME.

He shoved her in the chest and gave her an angry look. “You’re not supposed to be back here!”

Feral blue eyes drilled into the muddy brown eyes of the man, a low keening growl came to her lips as she lifted a fist before him.

“What in the Hell is going on here?” Was yelled from behind Sallano. “Xe, if you plow his ass into the tile I’ll have to do all the work myself.” The Chief Medical Examiner said close to her ear. “Now play nice or I’ll eat all the lunch I brought myself.”

“How about if I just hit him a little?” Sallano growled.

“I’ll leave ya the crumbs from the lasagna. Edwards take care of the body in there and then go to lunch.”

“What about her, she’s not supposed to be back here.” He was not about to let the tall woman before him get away with almost knocking him down and embarrassing him.

“Edwards, this is Lt. Xepher Sallano of homicide. She can come back here as often as she likes, now get to work.” She rolled her eyes at the egotistical man; she had nothing but problems since he started that morning. “Come on ya big bad cop, lunch is waiting.” She hooked her arm through Xe’s.

“I don’t like him Brian.” Xe whispered close to her lover’s ear. “Gives me the creeps.”

“You said the same thing about me once upon a time.”

“You’re different, you’re my little creepy ME.” She placed a kiss on top of Brian’s head. “Before we eat lunch would you talk to the dead guy’s wife and explain to her how he died.”

Green eyes rolled, Brian hated talking to relatives as much as Xe did. “OK, I’ll tell her he was a kinky bastard and should have stayed away from rope.”

“Ya know baby, maybe they have one of those Sensitive talk books for Dummies. I’ll get ya one.”

Brian stopped and pushed her lover against the wall and pressed their bodies tightly together. “I know plenty about sensitive talks, for one, I know all I have to do is whisper sensitive little words in your ear and you get all hot and bothered.”

“Bri telling me you want to eat me is not a sensitive talk.” She picked her lover up and held her at eye level. “And saying something like that to a grieving woman may get you a black-eye and a spot on the couch.”

“Soo you’re saying that you’ll punch me and she’ll make me sleep on her couch after we have sex?” She gave Xe a rakish grin. “Never know maybe an older woman can teach me something?”

“Bri I am older and you’re impossible.” She kissed Bri deeply until they heard a cough come from behind them. “And we’re busted.” She mumbled against her lover’s lips.

“That woman is still in the viewing room.” Edward’s gave them a dirty look as he walked past them and mumbled something about filthy dykes.

“I really don’t like him now.”

“Come on studly; let’s go talk to that woman.”

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“Ma’am I’m Chief Medical Examiner Meadows, Lt. Sallano has asked me to explain some things to you.”

“All I want to know is what happened to my husband, he just had a company physical and passed.”

Xe took a chair next to the woman and sat down beside her; she took a deep breath and looked to Bri before she started to tell the grieving widow what she knew. “Ma’am, your husband was found in a motel room by a prostitute this morning. What I need to know is did your husband ever ask you to perform any kind of unusual sex acts with him?”

The woman’s face paled, her mouth worked a few times before she shook her head no. Both Brian and Xepher sighed; they knew that this was usually the case with older couples. Brian placed her hand on the widows and gave her a small smile.

“Let me explain what happened to your husband, have you ever heard of autoerotic asphyxiation.” She continued to explain. “Some people believe that they achieve a better and longer orgasm by ways of strangulation. The only problem is that sometimes it’s taken too far and accidental death occurs. I believe that’s what happened to your husband.” Brian watched as the woman’s jaw clenched and anger filled her tear-reddened eyes. “This practice should be performed with a trusted and experienced partner.”

“He’s dead because he wanted to experience kinky sex with some hooker?” As her anger flared, her voice got louder and shriller. “That stupid bastard! How am I supposed to tell our kids that their father was a pervert?” She got up from the chair and stormed out of the room.

“Well that was another happy customer.” Xe sighed and leaned back in her chair.

“Good thing I didn’t tell her that I found semen in his rectum huh?”

Xe’s eyes widened at the information. “You found what? And here I thought he was alone.”

“Nope, I’d say you have someone to look for. I found a huge amount of illegal narcotics in him and Viagra.”

“Great! Here I thought I had an easy accidental death case and now it’s turned into something else.” Tilting her head back, she closed her eyes for a brief minute before connecting with Bri’s. “Anything else I should know about this guy, I got to the scene after he was already taken away…”

Brian was now pacing the floor; she knew her lover was going to be one pissed off cop when she found out. “Come on let’s talk in my office, too many damn ears around here.”

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After the last case they had worked together, Brian had decided to turn the small on-call room into her office. It was larger than the original and she could actually sit behind her desk without feeling as if she was in the hallway. She had also brought in a futon and gotten rid of the small cot that had been there. She felt more comfortable in her area now that Xe had put new locks and deadbolts on the doors. The first problem she had with Edwards was that he wanted a key to her office. She told him that there was no reason what so ever that he would need anything from her office. All pending files would be kept in the small office and both PC units were linked so that he could pull up anything that he would need. He argued with her until she threatened to fire him before he had even been there for a day. His face had turned a bright red, his jaw clenched hard enough that she swore she could hear his teeth cracking. If he insisted on causing her problems over the privacy of her office, she told him to speak to the hospital administrator. Before she could say another word, he was out the door and down the hallway.

An hour later, he was back in the morgue and had not said one word to her about anything. It was fine by her, she hadn’t hired him or been asked to speak with him before the hospital administrator had hired him. She was under the impression that she being the Chief ME, it was her place to find assistants and not anyone else’s. She found out that morning that it had been taken out of her hands by some pencil pushing dickhead and there was nothing she could do about it. If he caused further problems for her, she would let Xe knock the shit out of him and dump his body out the loading dock door. Closing her office door and locking it, she pulled Xe over to the futon, pushed her backward on to it and then crawled on top of her. Snuggling her face against a warm neck, she sighed and played with the dark locks that fell across the pillow.

“How about we hide here until both our shifts are over with?”

“I could only hope that neither one of us is needed, ya know that will never happen. My luck, Boggs will pound on the door looking for me.” She wrapped her arms around Brian and rolled them over so that they were face to face. “Tell me about the dead guy before I fall asleep.”

“Now ya have to promise me that you won’t get mad.” She held pale blue eyes with her own until Xe nodded. “I sent Edwards out to the scene, I told him to wait until the body was released by the officer in charge, which was you.”

“I was in charge but Boggs held me up, when I got there the body was gone and only the hooker was there for me to question.” She closed her eyes and tried to think of who else was on the scene who could have released the body. “I’ll find out who went over my head, now what’s with the stiff?”

“Asshole Edwards brought the guy in, he walks up to me with a manila envelope with an evidence sticker on it. I think nothing of it, thinking you sent it over to me. So I opened it and inside was a couple lengths of rope, used condoms, pantyhose, a silk scarf and a pack of Camels.”

“Son of a bitch! I’m going to kill someone, who the fuck…” She was stopped by fingers pressing over her lips.

“It gets better; none of the items were in plastic bags. It’s all contaminated.” She could tell that her lover was ready to go on a rampage. “Baby, I think we have a cover up here. That stiff is some big shot public official going up for election or some bullshit.”

“Just fucking great, I have a dead official, a hooker that by chance found him, a pissed off wife and someone screwing with the crime scene and the evidence.” She wiggled down towards the foot of the futon so she could bury her face in her lover’s breasts. “Hate my job.”

“I know baby. Now for the bad news on the stiff, the ropes that were in the envelope were untied so there are no knots to run through the VICAP. But I do know that he had his hands bound behind him because he has rope burns on his lower back and a few marks on his ass from his fingernails. “I don’t see it as a kinky sex thing, I think someone killed him.”

“But we told the widow that it was most likely accidental death, she’s gonna be really pissed when I have to tell her that he was murdered.”

“I don’t think so; I think she’ll take him being murdered easier. She can save face amongst her peers that way. Her saying that he strangled himself getting off will make her the laughing stock of Maryland.”

“And me the laughing stock of the precinct.” She mumbled and buried her face further in her lover’s breasts, what she did then brought a low moan from Brian.

“Keep that up and we’ll both be laughing stocks.” She pinched Xe on her ass and rolled away from her when she yelped. “Come on I’m hungry for lasagna and garlic bread.”

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Boggs was ready to go through the ceiling after Xe told him of the screwed up crime scene. He got on the phone, called the dispatcher, and asked for all the names of the officers who were at the scene. Scribbling them on a piece of paper, he handed it to Xe and asked her if she remembered any of them still being there when she got to the scene.

“Who’s this Officer Vance, I’ve never heard of him before?”

“That’s a new guy that just started last month; he transferred in from the West Coast. Said his family is here and his mother’s ill or something and that’s why he came back home.

“Can you get them all into the conference room and find out who the Hell released the body? If we find him, then maybe we’ll know who screwed up the evidence.”

“Sure thing, just promise me you won’t shot anybody.”

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“Edwards get in here NOW!” Brian was fit to be tied; it seemed that every time she turned around something was being screwed up. She had done the preliminary report on the dead city official Davidson and saved it in a file under the man’s name. Now when she pulled up the file folder all she found was an empty folder.

“Is there a problem?” Edwards asked from the doorway.

“Where’s the preliminary report on Davidson?”

“How am I supposed to know, you’re the one who did it not me.”

Brian was getting closer to embalming the punk; she had never had any problems before he came along. “It’s not in the folder where I put it and I want to know what happened to it and I want to know who gave you the evidence envelope at the crime scene.” She noticed the worried look in his eyes. “That evidence is no good, it’s all contaminated! How the Hell is Lt Sallano supposed to solve a murder with no evidence?”

Edwards held up his hands. “No one gave it to me; it was lying on the bed next to the body. It had a note on it to give it to you.”

Brian rubbed the area between her eyebrows trying to release the pressure of the on coming headache. “Who released the body to you?”

“Some cop that I passed going into the motel, when I turned around he was gone. So I just loaded up and came back here.”

“Son of a bitch!” Brian tossed the files she had in her hand onto her desk and waved for Edwards to precede her from the office. “I’m going to the police station and talk to Sallano and Capt. Boggs. Page me if we get anything urgent.”

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“I want to know who fucked up my crime scene! Either someone starts talking or I start playing Russian roulette!” She reached for her Glock and stopped when everyone started talking at once. “Hold on you dumbasses! One at a time.” She pointed to an officer and told him to go first.

“I didn’t go inside; I was keeping bystanders from getting near the scene.”

“Anyone else with him?” She asked as she looked around the room. Three hands went up out of the six officer’s present. “What about you three, where were you at?”

The new officer raised his hand to get her attention. “I was first on scene, I checked to see if he was alive and then I stood outside to call it in.”

“When you checked him was he still tied up?”

“No ma’am, he was just lying there on his back.”

“Who released the body to the ME’s office?” She watched the officer’s look to each other and then everyone shook their heads no. “Just great! I have someone releasing the body and screwing up the evidence and no one did it!” Xe spun on her heel when she heard the door to the conference room slam open and saw Brian struggle to get past an officer.

“Either you let me past or I’ll have you tiny nuts in a jar!”

“What the fuck is wrong with everyone today?” Xe walked towards the officer. “You had better let my wife past or she’ll make good on her threat.” She took Brian’s hand in hers and pulled her into the room. “The last time she used one of those plastic sporks, and let me tell ya, it wasn’t pretty.” She wrapped an arm around a pissed off Brian and kissed her temple. “What brings you to the most screwed up police station in Maryland?”

“I need some tiny dicks to go with my shrunken head collection.” She narrowed her eyes and let them travel around the room of pale faced men. “Who’s fucking with my office?” She pulled a plastic Spork from her pocket and waved it around. When no one said a word, she raised an eyebrow at Boggs. “Boggs, when I find him and I will! Do you want his head made into a keychain?”

Boggs gulped and nodded his head. “Sure Doc, can always use a new key chain.” He waved the frightened officers out of the room and dropped into the nearest chair. “You two should do the interrogations here. In minutes you two would have them confessing to just about anything. Now what is going on here?”

The three of them sat down at the table, Brian told her lover and Boggs the information she had gotten from Edwards and then learned what they had found out in the meeting with the other officers. So far, they had nothing.

“I think that who ever did Davidson in is the one who set the scene up. Now to question everyone in the area and see if they saw someone go into the room at some point.” Boggs leaned back in his chair and looked between the two women. “I’ll get some uniforms on it as soon as I get back to my office. Now you two get out of here and don’t kill or maim anyone on the way out.”

Once he was gone, Xe turned to Brian and wiggled her brows at her. “Would we do that?”

“Hell yes! Come on good cop, let’s go home.”

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Bear had a collection of their clothes in a pile at the end of the couch; she had placed everything to her liking so that she had a nice comfy little bed to lie on. She had just formed this habit as of late and Xe thought it was because she was left alone so much since they were back to work after a short vacation. She had an idea of what would help the poor little dog but she didn’t know if Brian would go for it or not. All she could do was ask and see what she’d say; her problem was she was a chicken shit when it came to broaching new subjects. She looked over her shoulder and saw that Brian was heading for their bedroom, now would be her chance to talk it over with Bear. Brian still found it strange that she asked the little dogs advice on something’s but she came to realize, that for so long Bear was the only one her lover had to talk to. Xe dropped down onto the couch and lay on her stomach facing Bear, she did her usual baby talk and grinned when Bear started to whine and show her teeth at her.

“I know you feel neglected since we went back to work, and you’ve been stealing stuff so that we notice you’re around.” She rested her chin on her folded hands and stared into little brown eyes. “I was thinking that maybe we could get you a baby sister to keep you company. But you’ll have ta ask Bri.”

“Xe, I think you need some serious mental help.” Brian dropped down to lie across her lover’s body; she rested her chin on a strong shoulder and whispered in her ear. “If you wanna get another dog why didn’t you just say so?”

“Because I’m a chicken shit when it comes to you.”

“Only with some things.” She reached out with her tongue and traced the edge of Xe’s ear. “You are defiantly not a chicken shit in bed and now I know that I’m double jointed.” She chuckled at the deep moan rumbling in Xe’s throat. “I’m just glad your cast is off, damn thing left more marks on me than your teeth do.” Being the evil little seductress that she was, she rolled her hips into Xe’s. “We’ll talk about another dog after you take me to bed and I ravage you for a good six or seven hours.” Rolling off Xe, she took her hand and pulled her off the couch. “Which reminds me, where’s my ring? You called me your wife today so you better make good on that.” She slapped her blushing lover in the stomach.

Xe had been looking for a ring for her lover, which was one of the reasons she was late getting to the crime scene. She had asked the help of Boggs and his wife. She had a ring design in mind but didn’t know of any jewelers who did custom work. Now all she had to do was sneak away and get it taken care of with out Brian knowing about it.

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The rustle of leaves came to no ones attention as the dark dressed figure wove their way through the trees and brush towards the convertible parked at the top of the local look out area. At the top of the mountain, you could pull over to the small area and see out over the Shenandoah River and to the old part of Harpers Ferry. The light from the bell tower of the Catholic Church is a focal point, it’s part of the history of the siege of Harpers Ferry during the war-between-the states. It’s the only church that survived the war without being damaged beyond repair. There is a ghost story that says that at certain times, a priest can be seen walking towards the side of the church and then disappears through it. No one is for sure but they think at one time that side of the church had a door and was blocked off during the war for added protection. That was not what the couple in the convertible was concerned about that night. Low moans and groans came from the back seat as the couple moved against each other in the age-old dance. Sweat glistened on their bodies from the tendrils of light from full moon hanging overhead. Lost in passion and each other, they never saw or heard the figure step beside the car and aim the spear gun at them. A soft click and a whoosh broke the stillness of the air and then silence.

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The chirp of a cell phone and then the buzz of two pagers went off at almost the same time. A long fingered hand reached out from under tangled sheets and searched the nightstand for the annoying noise. Finding the phone and knocking the pagers to the carpet covered floor a low thick voice growled into the phone.

“Sallano.”

“Hey Xepher this is Boggs, get your ass out of bed and get to the junction of RT 65 and 34. We got a weird one for you and Doc. Bring the meat wagon with you.”

Xepher rolled into her lover’s body, pressed her face into the center of her back, and whimpered. They had just fallen asleep no more than an hour before sunrise. Xe knew it was getting close to that time of the month for her lover, she became insatiable a week before and Xe paid for it by way of no sleep and sore muscles. Now with sandpaper for eyelids and a tender area between her legs, she would have to face the gargoyle Brian became when she didn’t have enough sleep. She would be sure and make Boggs pay dearly for it later.

“Bri we have to get up, that was Boggs on the phone.”

“Tell him to bite my left ass cheek.” She mumbled and then pulled her pillow over her head. “Can’t people kill each other later in the day, like at two o’clock in the afternoon?”

“I’ll send out a memo to all the murderers later.” She nipped the tender flesh before her and felt Brian push her rear back into her. “Later baby when I can do something about it.” She rolled out of bed and cringed at the stiffness of her back and legs. She was getting too old to be bent into Gumby like positions. Picking up her clothes from the day before, she pulled her faded Levi’s on and then her wrinkled button down shirt. She knew that the minute Brian saw that she wore not T-shirt or bra, she would be all over her about it but she was too tired to look for them or get clean ones from the drawer. Slipping her feet into her tennis shoes, she grabbed the edge of the blanket and sheet and yanked them off her lover.

“Come on baby, I’ll take ya to Cindy D’s when we’re done.”

“You’re working your way down my hate list.” Brian lifted the pillow, opened one bloodshot green eye and held Xe where she stood beside the bed.

“I’ll make it up to ya later. We didn’t try that new love gel we got the other day.” She bent down and gave her a lingering kiss.

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Boggs stood back from the picnic area and lit up a cigar, he would never admit to anyone that the stench of blood and decomposing bodies still turned his stomach after thirty some years on the force. He had made sure that no one not even his own officers got anywhere near the crime scene, he knew that the two women would be in foul moods after being woken at five o’clock in the morning. And there was no way in Hell that he was going to add to their meanness. Especially Brian, she maybe small but she could knock the biggest man down with one punch. Watching the road in the direction that they would be coming from, he hoped that they made it there soon before the area traffic picked up and caused all kinds of trouble. Pulling his cell phone from his pocket, he was about to call them when he heard the siren and then the flashing blue grill lights of Xepher’s car. What he didn’t expect was for Brian to be the one driving or Xepher covering her eyes as they came to a screeching halt beside his car. From the wide evil grin covering Brian’s face, he knew that she had scared the living daylights out of her lover. He couldn’t help but laugh when Xepher got out of the car on shaky legs and cast a raised eyebrow at Brian.

“Where’d you learn to drive?”

“That’s right! I never told you, I don’t have a driver’s license.” She laughed at the shocked expression on Xe’s face. “Guess ya never looked in the glove compartment of the county car huh?”

Xe leaned over the roof of the Crown Victoria. “Knowing you there’s probably some forgotten body parts in there.”

“Nope just forgotten speeding tickets.”

Boggs waved at them and started to walk away. “All right you two, come on so we can get out of here.” He had never seen Xepher act the way she did around the Chief Medical Examiner and he thanked anyone who would listen for the day the women had met. Brian brought meaning to his Lt’s life and it was something that the tall woman drastically needed.

He stopped just outside of the yellow crime tape and pointed. “A trucker stopping to get some sleep found them. He called it in on his cell phone and waited around so no one would disturb the scene. He’s back over in the parking lot sleeping in his rig.”

Xe looked around the small park just outside of the Antietam Battlefield. In a couple of hours, the place would be flowing with tourists trying to take a piece of history and make sense of it by walking the trench lines and climbing to the tower that overlooked the surrounding area where one of the civil war battles took place. Her attention was pulled away from the picnic area by a pair of rubber gloves being dangled in front of her pale blue eyes.

“Come on Xe; let’s get done so I can spend your paycheck on breakfast.”

“You are such a generous lover; I know you’ll eat like a pterodactyl!” She held onto Brian’s arm as she pulled a booty over one tennis shoe, stepped over the tape and then pulled the other one on.

“Got that right, after last night and this morning, I could eat a whole cow.”

“And ten pounds of chocolate.” Xe mumbled to herself, she knew all to well that PMS caused chocolate cravings in her lover.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Brian snorted at the sight before them; she had never seen anything like it before. “Guess the whale hunting expedition didn’t quite work out the way they wanted.” She touched the tip of the spear that was pinning the two people together.

“Hey Bri, are they still connected in the biblical sense?” Xe was trying her best not to be crude in front of the other officers, since she was promoted to Lt. she tried to tone down her gutter mouth.

Brian looked between the legs of the man and snorted. “Yep, dicks still in the game.” She looked up and wiggled her brows. “Not as big as yours but…”

“Brian!” Xe growled from between her clenched teeth.

“Gotcha!” She gave her lover a huge smile and went back to taking notes. “OK, let’s bag their hands and feet in case there’s some trace evidence. One thing is for sure, they weren’t killed here.” She pointed to the picnic table and the ground. “Not enough blood for two people, that means someplace there is one huge puddle drying out. And more evidence that we won’t get.”

@@@@@@@@@@@@@

After taking pictures of the couple, Brian pulled the microphone down and touched the pedal on the floor to turn it on; she and the ambulance crew had a Hell of a time getting the couple into the ambulance with the spear sticking out of them. A body bag was out of the question since she wanted them transported as is. All kinds of crude things were running through her mind as she looked at the joined lovers. She cracked a slight grin and looked at Xe.

“Brian you’re a sick pup.”

“I wasn’t gonna say anything; she turned her attention back to the stiffs. Just wondered if he’s still hard in there?” A deep chuckle erupted from her as she bent over to get a better look at where the spear had gone in through the man and out through the woman’s back. “Autopsy case number 41264, July 21 2002 Frederick town hospital. Chief Medical Examiner Brianna Meadows. Two people, stacked with what appears to be a three-pronged spear entering the males back at the fifth rib, 3 centimeters from the left side of the spine. Entering at approximately a 33-degree angle. The male appears to be in his late twenties to early thirties. No apparent struggle prior to assault. ‘Cuz his main brain was the only thing functioning.”

“Does anyone ever listen to these tapes?” Xe asked close to her lover’s ear.

She looked up from below her brows. “Depends, you know you’re getting me wet.” She looked down the front of Xe’s shirt at the bare breasts clearly on display.

“Ya know you’re gonna get it when we get home.”

Brian turned her body so that she was facing Xe’s side, stepping closer to her; she rubbed her self against a hard thigh. “I hope so, and then I’m going to hide all your underwear.” Xe shuddered and stepped back from her horny lover, she didn’t know how much more she could take before she either ran screaming from the room or made use of one of the autopsy tables. Her mind changed gears when Brian waved a small hand held saw in the air.

“Can you help me roll them on their sides so I can cut the spearhead off? I want to do the exploratory with the shaft in place.”

With the spear cut and the couple now ready to be separated, Brian extracted the penis from inside the female, her bladder released and urine splashed onto Xe’s legs and shoes. Jumping back, she gave Brian an evil look.

“I don’t get into golden showers.” She growled.

Brian pointed to the female. “She really didn’t have a choice in the matter.” She couldn’t help but notice the pale coloring of her lover’s face. Pulling her gloves off, she took Xe’s hand and led her away from the tables. “You don’t look to good, why don’t you go tell Mrs. Davidson about what we found and I’ll finish up here and meet you at home later.”

“Are you sure? I could stay and help if you need me.”

“Baby, Edwards will be here in fifteen minutes. I’ll put his sorry ass to work.”

“How about putting him in a storage drawer?”

“I think that’s where he sleeps.” She pulled Xe’s head down and gave her a kiss that had them both breathing heavy. “I’ll see you later, love you Xe.” With one last quick kiss, Xe pulled back. “Love you Bri.”

“Disgusting!” Edwards said from the doorway before he walked in and started to gown up. “Uncivilized heathens.” He stepped back towards the door when low growls came from his boss and the Lt. “Not you two, there’s two people in the ER with huge meat hooks through the flesh on their backs. I over heard them saying something about having it done at some night club.”

Xe looked to her lover and grinned. “Kinky sex might be a lead on Davidson. Where better to find someone who would be the other part of the autoerotic asphyxia scene.” She kissed Brian quickly and ran from the autopsy room.

“Come on Edwards we have a lot of work to do.”

@@@@@@@@@

It wasn’t hard for Xe to find the couple; they were dressed in leather straps hiding only the essentials, body, face piercings and hair three different colors. She took a seat across from them and held out one of her cards.

“I’m Lt. Xepher Sallano of the homicide division, could you give me some information on the night club you were at last night?”

The young guy looked at her as if she was crazy. “No one was killed there.”

“What I need is information on what goes on there, do they have certain rooms with themes, people who are willing to act out sexual fantasies, that kind of thing.” She took a deep breath and looked between the two people. “Listen, its research for a case I’m working on.”

The female pulled a plastic chip from her pocket and handed it to Xe. “The address is on there.” She gave Xe the once over and shook her head. “If you want information you won’t get any looking like you do. You have to dress the part.”

“Just great.” She mumbled to herself. “Bri will love this.” She stood, thanked the couple and left for her office. The whole way there, she ran scenarios through her mind as to what happened with Davidson and the new one with the spear. She knew she would have to ask Mrs. Davidson some questions pertaining to the sexual part of their life together and chase down all his friends and employees for the info his wife wouldn’t know about. She knew that not everyone’s relationship was like her and Brian’s, they had no secrets between them and that’s how it would always be. Secrets caused problems and mistrust, trust was the main part of a good relationship, with out it you had nothing.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Xe pulled her car up the long driveway of the widow Davidson, the house was one of those fake Tudor type mansions with the huge crescent shaped driveway, manicured lawn and every flowering what ever that could be stuck into dirt. The only thing missing was the little lawn jockey holding the lantern in his outstretched hand. But knowing the rich assholes of Maryland, they probably had a midget run out at sundown and stand there all night with a lantern blazing in the yard. She climbed from her car and groaned when a sharp pain radiated from her hip and shot into her lower back. Grabbing the afflicted area, she pressed on the pressure point and saw stars form before her eyes. A few minutes passed and so did the pain, she would have Brian work on her hip and back later that night, mostly because it was her fault she hurt that day. She was too old to doing some of the sexual acts they were doing almost every night. Walking up the marble stone walkway to the front door, she looked at the huge knocker and grinned. Taking it by the edge, she beat the hell out of the door with it until some opened the door and glared at her.

“Once would be enough to get my attention, you don’t have to destroy my door.” Mrs. Davidson said as she blocked the doorway with her immaculately dressed body. “What do you want Lt. Sallano? I’m grieving for my husband and I wish to be left alone.”

You really look like you’re grieving you bitch. Xe wanted to tell her but held her tongue between her teeth. “It’s about your husband ma’am, upon further investigation from the ME. It’s been determined that he was murdered.” Xe stopped when she saw a light flicker across the woman’s eyes. “I need to know if your husband had any enemies.”

Mrs. Davidson stepped back from the door and motioned for her to follow, at first sight of the foyer, Xe sucked in a breath. The place was filled with antiques and had more gaudy paintings than she had ever seen.

“We’ll talk in my parlor, it’s quiet there and the servants won’t disturb us.”

“Yes ma’am that would be fine.” What she was saying to her self was. That you are nothing but a slave owner and you should clean your own fucking house. Taking a seat on a chair that looked like it was made of toothpicks, Xe tried to look comfortable in the dainty uncomfortable thing.

“My husband was a politician, he had many enemies. It would surprise me that he didn’t; I can’t see anyone hating him that much that they would want him dead.”

“People don’t need much of a reason to kill someone these days Mrs. Davidson. I need to know any one who your husband was associated with before his murder, a business partner, friend, mistress?” She held back the snort that wanted to escape when the woman’s face turned a horrid red, she would swear that the temperature in the room dropped 50 degrees in a matter of seconds.

“My husband was faithful to me, we were happily married and neither one of us strayed from our vows. Now I want you to leave before I call your superior and report you for harassing me during my troubling times.”

“Let me ask you one last question and I’ll be out of your way. Was your husband bi-sexual? The ME found sperm in his rectum.” Xe couldn’t help herself, she hated when the uppity rich assholes thought that they were at the top of the food chain and she never passed up a chance at a cheap shot.

“GET OUT!” The angry widow screamed as she swung her arms at Xe’s retreating body. “CHARLES THROW HER OUT!” An elderly man in his 60’s came shuffling into the room; he took Xe by her upper arm and led her away from the woman who was now throwing a temper tantrum to rival all two year olds.

“You will have to excuse Mrs. Davidson, Officer; she’s been under a lot of stress since the Councilman died.” He stopped and waited for Xe to step outside the door.

“Charles can I ask you something?” She held out one of her cards to him. “Were they as happy as she said they were?”

The elderly man shook his head and looked over his shoulder. “I can’t say anything about that, I need this job. I’m sorry.”

“It’s OK, if you think of anything that might help me, please call me.”

“Yes ma’am, I will.” He closed the door quietly and watched as Xe went back out to her car with a slight limp to her gait.

Xe sat behind the wheel of her car and looked up at the huge house, she knew that there was something going on with the widow Davidson and she was going to find out what. The uppity bitch just made her way on to the suspect list.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Brian was standing in the kitchen bent over at the waist peering inside the refrigerator. The hair on the back of her neck stood on end and signaled that her lover was now standing in the doorway watching her. Being her normal evil self, she swung her hips back and forth. Reaching back with a small hand, she ran it down her bare ass and moaned deeply. She peaked under her outstretched arm when she heard a loud thump come from behind her. Snickering under her breath, she closed the door with a pop and walked to where Xe was laying spread out on the floor with her eyes closed tightly. Placing her feet on either side of her lover’s hips, she dropped down so that she was sitting on Xe’s hips.

“Are ya dead?” She thrust her hips downward and grinned when Xe moaned. A pale blue eye peeked open and looked into mischievous green.

“Give me a minute and I will be.” She reached up and pulled Brian down to her waiting lips, for what seemed an eternity, she explored her lover’s mouth and tasted the mint of their toothpaste. When they parted, Brian was gasping for air. “Why are you running around naked?”

“Feel…like it.” She collapsed on top of Xe and just lay there trying to catch her breath. “I’ve been thinking about you all day and what I wanna do to you.”

“Well, your ideas are going to have to wait a little bit.”

Brian lifted her head up from Xe’s breast and glared at her. “You are dropping down my list at lightning speed ya know.”

“Ohh I’ll redeem myself by the end of the night.”

“Ohh you sound so sure of yourself Sallano.”

@@@@@@@@@@@

Brian was lying with the top part of her body across the small kitchen table with Xe behind her on her knees. Her hands were gripping the edge of the table until her knuckles showed white from stress. Low rasping moans bounced from where her face was pressed to the tabletop. A deep rumbling growl came from Xe’s chest, she pushed her tongue deep inside of her lover and felt her muscles clamp around her tongue. Pressing on her engorged clit with her thumb, she pushed her over the edge with a deep cry of her name. Not one to give her lover a breather, she pulled her tongue out and captured Brian’s still twitching clit between her lips and sucked. The vibrating of her cell phone on her hip distracted her for a second, pulling it from her belt; she slid it across the tabletop and continued with what she was doing. The noise was driving Brian to distraction; she grabbed the phone and flipped it open. “OHH GODS YEEESSS!” She screamed as another climax tore through her body.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Boggs mouth dropped open so that his jaw was touching the top of his desk; he pulled the phone away from his ear and looked at it in confusion. Placing it back to his ear he listened to heavy breathing and then heard a deep moan join in. He felt his face turn a bright red and felt sweat trickle down from his temples. He was about to hang up thinking he had the wrong number when he heard an unmistakable growl he knew to be Xepher come over the phone. He clamped a hand over his mouth and continued to listen.

@@@@@@@@@@

Xe stood behind Brian and thrust her hips against her lover’s still bent over body, she was so wet and swollen that she knew it wouldn’t belong before she lost the battle and crashed into oblivion. Resting her face in the center of Brian’s back, she heard her pleas.

“Come for me baby.”

Her body started to shudder, muscles tensed and then all Hell broke loose when her climax hit her. She cried out Brian’s name against her sweat dampened back and fell with all her weight onto her lover’s body. Her eyes flew open when she heard a distant voice coming from the table.

“Baby the phone!”

“Ohh shit Xe I forgot.”

@@@@@@@@@@@

Boggs was gasping for air; he was going to kill both women the next time he saw them, that is if he survived.

“You perverted bitches!” He rasped over the phone and hung up after he heard laughter.

@@@@@@@@@@

“Think he’s mad?”

“Don’t care, let’s go to bed.”

“Xe I can’t walk.” She felt her lover’s body shake against her with laughter.

“Neither can I, I think I broke something.”

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
Edwards had come into the morgue three hours before shift to get things done that he felt were important to running the morgue in an efficient way. Hearing the squeak of shoes on the tile floor, he quickly hung the phone up before Brian could overhear his conversation. It was none of her business who he talked to on his phone but he didn’t want any problems with her. He needed this job and was willing to ignore the fact that she was nothing but a disgusting dyke in his eyes, and should not be chief of the Medical Examiners office. In time, he would show the hospital that he was more than just an assistant and should be the Chief. He spent long years going to school and studying for just that spot and he would have it no matter what. He would expose Dr. Meadows for what she was. An incompetent Medical Examiner and a pervert. He had already copied all of the files in the small office and had been going over them during his off hours. He would find her mistakes and once he had enough evidence, he would go to the hospital administrator and turn everything in. Shoving the file folders into his briefcase under the desk, he strode from the room and walked with an air of superiority past her in the autopsy room.

“Edwards where’s the bodies they brought in the other day?” She looked at his haughtiness and wanted nothing better than to beat the shit out of him. “The ones that had the spear shot through them, where are they?”

“Gone, a funeral home came and got them yesterday after you left.” He held back the smirk that was fighting to split his face.

“What? Who the FUCK!” She ran from the autopsy room, unlocked her office and reached for the phone. She had to get those bodies back ASAP, she was nowhere close to releasing them to anybody and besides they were not even identified. She waited until the first click of the phone being answered before she started yelling.

“Sallano get your ass over here now!” She hung up the phone and went in search of the clipboard that would tell her who signed the bodies out and when. She tore the autopsy room apart and then headed for the small office that Edwards was sitting in. “Where the fuck is the sign out log?”

His muddy brown eyes rolled at her. “Where it’s supposed to be, by the back door. I left it on the hook after the driver signed for the bodies.” With out a word to him, she went back into the autopsy room and searched next to the door. All she found was the clipboard and no sign out sheet.

“Motherfuckinggoodfornothinggoddamnstupidsonofabitchinasshole!” She screamed at the top of her lungs and waited for the echo to stop before her next terrette syndrome outburst.

@@@@@@@@@@@@

Xepher tore up the street towards the hospital; she had the lights going, siren and was screaming out the window like a maniac for the slow driving people to move. “God damn Virginia assholes get off my fucking road, go home and stay there!” She hit the siren button so that it made a whooping noise at the car in front of her. When all the driver did was go slower, she got up to their bumper and started pushing them. Grabbing the microphone and flipping the switch to the PA system. She barked over the loud speaker, “To get the fuck out of her way!” A huge evil snarl came over her face as the driver now scared shitless swerved off the road and stopped along the side. With in five minutes she was whipping her car back behind the hospital and to the morgues bay doors. She no sooner opened the side door than she heard Brian’s voice screaming out in her normal ‘I won’t breath until I’m damn ready way.’ The string of curses that came from her lover’s mouth and the banging and clanging noise made her grin. “The PMS Gargoyle is pissed.” She said to herself before she eased down the hall to stand outside the door and watch Brian mangle a steel bedpan by bashing it on the floor numerous times. She looked over her shoulder at the frightened face of Edwards.

“What did you do to her?” She growled in a deep voice.

“Nothing…she…I’m leaving.” He ran down the hall away from all the commotion and the two crazy women. His first stop would be the cafeteria to get two cups of coffee, one for himself the other for the hospital administrator.

Xe walked into the room, bent over, took the pan from Brian’s clutching hands and then pulled her against her chest. “Calm done baby I’m here now.” She swept Brian up into her arms and carried her to her office, laid her down on the futon; and locked the door before she sat down next to her. “Here take these.” She dumped three Midol’s into Brian’s hand and handed her a bottle of water. She knew that they were no miracle cure for the PMS but every little bit would help her survive the next four or five days. After Brian swallowed the pills, she dropped back onto the pillows and growled.

“They’re all on my list! I’m gonna kill every single god damn man who comes within 50 foot of me!”

Xe cringed at the rough voice coming from her sometimes-sweet lover; she was waiting for the Linda Blair set of emotions next. Brian sat up in the bed and got to her knees to be closer to Xe, her dark green eyes burned with flames of insanity. “Give me your gun!”

“Uuuhh aaahh nope can’t do it. I left it at home.”

“I’m gonna kill Edwards!” She tried to get up from the bed but found herself pinned beneath her lover’s heavier body. “Please Xe; just let me kill him a little!” She wrapped her arms around Xe’s neck and buried her face in her hair as the sobs tore through her body. Xe held Brian until her emotions calmed and she was able to ease off of her. She knew of women having serious PMS, but Brian was down right scary as Hell when she got it. Her hormones were so screwed up that she could go from complete insanity to a sobbing mess in a matter of seconds.

“Baby are the cramps bad?” That brought a pouting look from Brian and more sobs. Picking her up, she cradled her in her arms and rocked her until she quieted down. “I’ll get you one of those heat packs and you…” Her cell phone vibrated against her hip causing a low rumble to come from her throat. “This better be good!”

“Ohh it is Xepher.” Boggs said of the phone. “We have the car the couple were killed in; they found it at a junkyard in Harpers Ferry.”

“Shit! I’m on my way.”

“Hey bring Doc with you to collect evidence. Our CSI crew is out at another scene.”

“Uuhhmm Boggs, Bri is…” A low keening growl and crazed green eyes drilled into her. “Coming with me.” She closed the phone and gave her lover a bright smile. “Ya know you’re sexy ass hell when you look insane.”

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Police cruisers crowded the small junk yard and prevented Xe from getting any closer with her car. She swore under her breath and pulled her car up onto a small hill alongside a cruiser. Looking down to her lap, she ran her fingers through Brian’s messy hair and sighed. She hated to wake her from her sleep, she knew that she was in pain and only sleep would give her the peace everyone walking the earth needed. She decided to leave her in the car until she saw the car; they may not be able to get any evidence from it if it had been exposed to weather. She eased out from under Brian and headed towards the crime tape that was strewn across the back area of the junk yard. Seeing Boggs standing next to a small ancient man, she walked over and stood just behind her boss to listen.

“So you have no idea how the car got here, none of your men towed it in.”

“Nope, asked them already. I think it was brought through the back there and just left.” He pointed to an area where the fence was rusted and pushed down into the dirt. The car sat no more than fifteen feet from the opening and well hidden behind an old rusted out panel truck.

“Sir just how did you find the car?” Xe asked and snorted when Boggs jumped, spun around and gave her a look that made her grin at him.

“I was looking for a transmission for a customer, I knew we hade the car back here so’s that’s how I found it. Didn’t think nothin of it until I saw all the blood in the back seat.”

“Thanks.” She turned to Boggs and motioned with her head to follow. “Is there anything that can be taken as evidence or was the car cleaned?”

“Well, there’s some dirt and stuff on the floorboards that can be sent to the labs, maybe we can get some hair or something.” He scratched the razor stubble on his chin. “Plates are still on the car so we can trace that to the owner.”

“You’re telling me that who ever killed the couple stole their belongings but left the plates on the car?”

He grinned at her and shook his head. “Never said criminals were smart. Where’s Doc at?”

“Sleeping in the car, she’s ahhh…” Xe blushed and lowered her head.

Boggs eyes grew wide. “She’s not naked is she?”

“What? Gods nooo, she’s got the curse.”

“Oh…oohhhh!” Boggs draped an arm over her shoulders and gave her a hug. “Do like I do, lock myself in the garage for a week. It’s safer.”

“I had to rescue the entire hospital today. On the way here before she fell asleep, she told me that some funeral home came and got the couple that were in that car.”

Boggs groaned and rubbed his face. “It gets better; the sign out log sheet is missing, so she has no idea who took the bodies.”

“Son of a bitch!” He then turned and yelled over his shoulder to one of the uniforms. “Get a couple of the guys and hit every funeral home in a 25 mile radius of the hospital, we’re looking for a couple that were picked up from the morgue yesterday sometime.” He started walking towards the car and motioned for Xe to follow. “Take a look and see if you think Doc can find anything.”

@@@@@@@@@@@

Xe took a deep breath and ran her fingers across her lover’s cheek. “Bri I need your help.” Kneeling down outside of her car, she leaned over Brian and whispered into her ear. “Baby, we have some work to do then we can go home.”

“Hate work, hate the world, and hate you.”

“I know baby and you can hate me all you want when we get home.”

They pulled the equipment that was needed from the trunk of the car and went under the crime tape to start collecting the trace evidence. Xe placed a small shop vac near the rear door of the car and readied the evidence bag inside of it. While Brian worked in the front of the car, she would vacuum the floor and seats of the rear and then switch with her lover. They didn’t expect to be able to pick up any fingerprints since the top had been left down and nature had destroyed any oils left behind. An hour later, with Bri’s hormones turning her into the exorcist, they decided that they had everything that could be taken from the car. Placing all the evidence bags into one large manila envelope, sealing it and then signing both their names across the sticker covering the flap, Xe placed it with the evidence-collecting box and waited for Brian to finish packing up her stuff.

“Baby I’m going to give this to Boggs and I’ll meet you back at the car, OK?”

“OK.” She turned with pleading eyes to her tall lover. “I’m hungry; can we stop and get something to eat?”

“Sure baby, anything you want.” She leaned forward and softly kissed Brian before going to look for Boggs.

@@@@@@@@@@

“Hey Boggs me and Brian are all done and I want to know when I get my raise for being a CSI officer.” She handed him the envelope, crossed her arms over her chest and glared into his tired eyes. “Ya know I’m the only cop that does everyone’s job, why is that?”

Boggs grinned at her and shrugged his shoulders. “Cuz you’re sooo good Xe that’s why.” He held up a finger and told her to wait a second that he would be right back. She rolled her eyes at him and did as he asked. A few minutes later, he came back into the small office where she stood and handed her a small furless animal.

“What the hell is this?” She held it up and looked into pale blue eyes like her own.

“Your raise, no need to thank me.” He clapped her on the shoulder and walked from the office.

“Oohh geez, you are the…ugliest dog I have ever seen in my life!” She went nose to nose with the puppy and grinned. “Bri’s gonna love you.” She put the tiny little puppy inside her shirt and left with a huge smile on her face.

@@@@@@@@@@@

When she got into her car, she found Brian stretched out across the seat asleep. Taking the puppy from inside her shirt, she placed it up against Bri’s chest and snickered when it curled up against her and yawned before it fell asleep. “I know you’re gonna kill me when you wake up.” Easing the car down off the small hill, she turned out of the junk yard and headed to the only place she knew that would have enough food to satisfy her lover’s appetite. It was a new restaurant in Charlestown called the Spice Garden; they had just about any kind of food that you could have an appetite for and that’s where she would get back into her lover’s good graces. Pulling her car up close to the front door, she cracked all the windows a good eight inches and set the air conditioner to low. The puppy may not have any hair but the inside of the car would still be too hot for the small thing. Ready to face the Gargoyle, she brushed blonde hair away from Brian’s forehead and trailed her fingers across her cheek.

“Baby time to wake up, foods waiting.”

“Hate you Xe.”

“I know, and you’ll hate me even more when you open those ferocious green eyes.” She held back a snicker when Brian growled at her. Brian was the only person that she could be sarcastic with and it mean a compliment. Most people cringed when they heard the two of them toss insults at each other. What they didn’t know was that it had always been that way between them and if they didn’t act that way, then someone was pissed off and walking on eggshells would do nothing to help. 20 lb. of chocolate and slave labor were the only things that worked when Brian was pissed. Covering her ears for the onslaught of road rage language, she squinted her pale blue eyes in readiness for when Brian went off on her about the ugly little puppy sleeping against her chest. Green eyes flickered open and as her usual habit, Brian stretched her back and went to scratch her chest and stomach, but stopped when her hand landed on something warm and funny feeling. She tilted her head up and grinned at the way her lover was watching her with her ears covered. An eyebrow cocked when she noticed that what she was feeling was not part of Xe. A small hand explored the strange thing until a small warm tongue licked her finger.

“Uuhmm Xe what in the hell is this ugly little thing?” She looked down into pale blue eyes and snorted. “Looks like your baby pictures.”

“Gee thanks baby, you do wonders for my ego.” She couldn’t help but smile when Brian lifted the puppy up to look at it.

“Xe it’s bald and the ugliest damn thing I’ve ever seen.” She turned pleading green eyes to Xe. “Can we keep it?”

“You can have anything you want.” She leaned forward and got a kiss from both Brian and the puppy. “Let’s go eat, I’m starving.”

“I’m taking Fugly with me.” She lifted it up and looked for spare parts. “She’s too little to stay out here and where did you get her from?”

“I asked Boggs for a pay raise and that’s what he gave me.”

“You’re cheap labor Xe and this had better not be a replacement for a ring.”

“I never said I was getting you a ring, why would I want to make an honest woman of you when I like you kinky, perverted, sex slave material…”

“You better stop while you’re ahead there studless; I now have two dogs to keep me warm.” She smacked Xe in the stomach as she walked past her into the restaurant.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@

An hour later and with numerous empty plates scattered on the table, Xe settled the bill with her Visa card and left a tip of twenty bucks because Brian the Gargoyle had harassed the poor waitresses with her PMS and her appetite. When they had first sat down at the table, Brian asked for a booster seat and got a funny look from the hostess. She went on to say, that their daughter was too small and couldn’t reach the table. Xe covered her face and dropped her head to the table.

“Now listen here.” Brian narrowed her eyes at the hostess and pointed to Xe. “My wife just happens to be a Lt. in the homicide unit and she has this really big gun. If I don’t get a booster seat, I’ll take her gun, shoot you and get it my self! And believe me I know where to shoot you because I look at dead people all day!”

During their meal, Fugly sat in between them on the booster seat getting handouts from both women. At first, the other customers were going to throw a fit until Brian growled and threatened to castrate men with her fork. Xe was wondering if they would ever be able to return to the restaurant ever again. On the way home, Brian laid down across the seat with her head on Xe’s thigh and Fugly sleeping in the center of her chest. Xe took one look at the bald little puppy and sneered.

“That’s my spot you…I can’t believe I lost my pillows to a bald puppy.” An evil grin split her face; she narrowed her eyes at the snoring puppy. “Just wait until Bear sees you!”

With the new puppy settled in and now the boss over Bear, Xe and Brian fell into bed exhausted from lack of sleep from the night before. Hours later Xe woke to being poked in her stomach and whimpering noises near her ear. Opening one eye, she looked around their dark bedroom and latched onto tear-filled green eyes.

“Xe it hurts.” She dropped her face against her lover’s neck and cried.

“OK baby, I’ll get you some drugs and the heating pad.” Xe was whipped when it came to Brian being in pain, she would move heaven and earth to help her. Even if it meant getting up half a dozen times in the middle of the night. After giving her three Midol’s and the heating pad, she ended up rubbing her stomach and singing close to her ear before Brian fell back to sleep. Xe would be so thankful when five days were up, then she would have her ornery lover back with out the exorcist personality.
@@@@@@

The sun shone in to the room and directly into Xe’s bloodshot eyes, she rolled over looking for Brian and found a cold spot in the bed. A low groan came from her; she knew her lover was up to no good if she was up before her. Crawling from the bed, she crawled through the house on her hands and knees. Listening for noises, she was drawn to the kitchen where she found Brian making breakfast and both dogs sitting on a kitchen chair. She wondered if her lover was cooking for them or the dogs.

“Baby help.” She mumbled as she pressed her forehead into Brian’s thigh. “My hip hurts.” She whined and looked up with pleading eyes.

“We’re both falling apart at the seams, ya would think that we’re in or 90’s.” She knelt on the floor beside Xe and pushed her thumb into the pressure point on her lover’s hip. She grimaced when Xe let out a howl and crumpled to the floor. “Sorry baby, I know it hurts.”

Xe rolled over onto her side and pulled Brian down on top of her, giving her a soft kiss she then asked. “What’s for breakfast baby?”

“Warmed up pedigree and scrambled eggs.”

“I think I’ll pass on the pedigree, how the kids doing?”

“Better than us, I think I need a blood transfusion.”

A worried look crossed Xe’s face but lingered in her pale blue eyes. “Will you please for me go to the crotch doc?”

“I know what’s wrong; I kinda…stopped taking my birth control pills.” She shrugged her shoulders and grinned. “Like I needed to worry about getting pregnant. So now my bodies screwing with me.”

Relieved, Xe wiggled her dark brows. “Can I brag to the guys that you have to take the pill because I’m a stud?”

“Why not, I brag to the nurses that you’re a stud.”

@@@@@@@@

With the phone resting between her cheek and shoulder, Xe called the precinct and arranged for some detectives to go door to door to see if there were any neighbors who would tell what they knew about the Davidson’s home life. She had already checked with Boggs about the missing bodies and so far nothing had been found, her next thing to accomplish was to have an officer run checks on any other crimes that matched what the were facing with the speared couple. Her job was quite different now with the promotion, she had an entire office at her beck and call and didn’t have to do all the work herself anymore. One thing she needed to do would be to check out the nightclub she had learned about. The only problem would be to convince Brian that she was only going there for information. At first, she thought about taking her along but with her female problems, she didn’t want to over stress her. Leaning back against the warm body of her lover who had tried to sneak up on her, she finished her phone call and spun her chair around.

“How ya feeling Bri?”

“Like I want to donate my uterus to science. What are you doing?”

“Being a bossy bitch.” She grinned evilly. “I sent out the troops to do all my legwork, tonight I have that nightclub to go to so I can find out if Davidson ever visited the place.

Brian dropped down into her lap and wrapped her arms around her neck. Bringing their foreheads together, she shook her head no.

“Baby I have to, I might find some answers to my questions.”

“You’re not going anywhere without me.”

Closing her eyes, Xe counted to ten. “Bri, you’re not feeling good and I don’t want you to get any worse by tromping around in a nightclub.”

“And if you don’t want to sleep outside in your car, you’ll take me with you.” She bit Xe’s chin and growled at her. “You wear the collar I hold the leash.”

“Hey that’s not fair! I’m taller!”

“I know, that means you get to crawl on the floor.” She kissed her quickly and ran from the small office laughing hysterically.

“I am soooo screwed.” Xe mumbled to herself. “I wonder if she has any Prozac?”

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

“If I had known you were this kinky, I would have wore leather the second time I stepped into the morgue!” Pulling the leather vest every which way to keep her assets from falling out, Xe gave Brian a raised brow. “If my pants get any tighter my lips will turn blue from lack of circulation.”

Brian stepped up close in front of her and pressed their bodies close together. “It wouldn’t have mattered; it’s the chase and run that turns me on.” She pressed her breasts into her lover’s and ran a hand between her legs.

“Ohhh geez Bri, stop or else!”

“I thought you needed some CPR.”

“It’s not those lips I was talking about and I will if you keep that up, I can barely breathe.” Her breath caught in her throat when Brian captured her lips in a kiss that turned her knees to jelly and had her pulse pounding between her legs.

“Come on Stud, let’s get in the club before I loose control and throw you on the hood of the car.” She leaned in close and whispered into her lover’s ear.

“Ohh Gods stop!” Xe clutched her chest and shivered. “I am on soo much trouble!”

“Damn right you are!”

Brian had gone on a shopping spree during her lunchtime and called in some IOU’s to the police department correctional area. What she came up with was nothing short of Xe being the submissive partner to her. Xe wore a tight black leather vest, her motorcycle boots, and skin-tight leather pants tucked inside the tops. A thick leather dog collar around her neck, an inmate’s waist belt and a leash attached to the dog collar that Brian held.

“Baby I don’t like you wearing that skirt out in public.” She jumped back from the rakish grin on her lover’s face.

Brian lifted one side of the skirt to show the thin leather G-string she wore underneath. “Why is it too long?”

“Aaahh…no.” She moaned and whimpered. “It’s gonna kill me.”

“Good, I like dead things.” She yanked on the leash and pulled a stumbling Xe after her.

@@@@@@@@@

Inside the club, both women let out small gasps at the crowd. Never had they seen such things except on TV and that was nothing compared to this place. People walked around in practically nothing except for maybe a piece of leather strap to conceal private areas. Xe felt better knowing that Brian had on a leather Bikini top, she knew that if she had on any less and if anyone even looked in the area of her lover’s breasts, she would send them to the ER. Their eyes scanned to the set of spiral stairs that was across the room. People walked up and down the stairs in all manners of undress, sounds of clinking metal and whipping noises came from another area of the club. Pulling Xe closer, Brian leaned up to her ear and yelled.

“This place is fucking scary!” Xe nodded her head and stepped closer behind Brian. “Let’s go talk to the bartender, maybe we can find out what goes on in here besides being a meat market.” Xe had to follow behind Brian; she just hoped that she hadn’t forgotten the cuff keys in the car.

Pinhead had nothing on the bartender who looked like he had been attacked by a nail gun. Xe looked closer at the top of the man’s head and cringed when she saw the pointy horns sprouting through his flesh. She felt Brian jump back into her body and looked to see the man smiling at them, what scared Brian, were the sharp canine fangs hanging over his bottom lip.

“What can I get you two?”

“Uuhhmm…a case of holy water and some stakes?”

“Fresh out.” He grinned and shrugged his shoulders

Brian nodded her head and smirked. “OK, two bottles of Killians red.” She handed one to Xe and motioned for her to kneel at her side, she ignored the raised eyebrow look and turned back to the bartender. “Is there someone here that can give me some tips on autoerotica?”

“To be honest with you, I don’t really know too many of the people that come here, I’ve only worked here maybe two weeks. You might try asking one of the people upstairs, that’s where they have the specialty rooms.”

“Thanks, I appreciate your help.” Giving the leash a gentle tug, she had Xe rise to her feet and follow behind. She held back a grin when she felt blue eyes burning a hole in her back. Making her way to the stairs, she stopped when she was two steps above Xe. Turning to face her, she ran her fingers across the tops of her breasts and whispered in to her ear. “Love you Xe.”

Xe knew she was in trouble; the glimmer in her lover’s eyes scared the living Hell out of her. She hoped that no one was there that knew her as a tough ass cop; the way she was now, would kill her reputation quickly.

“Let’s go see what we can find out; remember my tall dark love slave, you drop when I stop.” She placed her fingers across Xe’s lips to stop her from speaking.

They walked up the stairs, looked into each room and flinched. Neither one of them had ever thought of some of the things that were going on in them. One room did look promising to Brian; it gave her some ideas of what she could do to Xe when they got home. They came to the last room and saw two couples in the middle of an autoerotic sex act. Both women shivered as they watched.

“There is no way in Hell that can help.” Brian whispered down to Xe who was on her knees at her side. “If someone tried to strangle me I’d go ballistic and kill them.”

“Baby you’d have to beat me to it.”

They continued to watch until one of the couples was through. When a dark woman came to the door, Brian motioned to her.

“Can I ask you some stupid questions about what you were doing?”

“Sure, better to know how to do it than screw up.”

“It’s not that I don’t know what I’m doing, it’s that I’m looking for someone.” She pulled a picture of Davidson from inside her skirt and showed it to the woman. “Have you ever seen him here?” The woman looked at the picture and held up a finger, she walked over to the man in the room and showed him the picture.

“You’re looking for him?” The man asked.

“Yes and no, I’m trying to find out if he came here and if he came with someone or alone?”

“Used to come in here sometimes with an older woman dressed like Elvira, last time I saw him he was with this short dark haired woman dressed like a catholic school girl.”

Xe snickered from beside Brian and received a smack on top of her head for it.

“Catholic school girl? That’s different, is there anything else you can tell me about these women?”

“Nope sorry, if I were you I’d forget about them and keep what you have.” He winked at her and walked down the stairs.

“Would you put on a plaid skirt for me Xe?”

“Hell NO! I don’t do skirts, dresses or any other girlie thing.”

“I know one thing you’ll do.” She gave the leash a tug and led Xe to one of the rooms with chains hanging from the wall. “Up against the wall baby.”

“You’re not gonna chain me up and run off are you?”

“Depends on if someone better looking comes along.”

“WHAT!” Xe yelled and then lowered her voice. “You wouldn’t would you?”

“Only one way to find out.” She pushed her lover against the wall and cuffed her. “Now that you can’t run away or get any phone calls from Boggs. Where’s my ring!” She ran her hand up between Xe’s legs.

Xe pushed her hips towards her lover and groaned. “I’m…Gods do that again.”

“Nope, not unless you give me a ring. You’re cut off until then.”

Blue eyes grew wide with the information, she stuttered and fought for words but found none. She nodded her head and whimpered. “Love you Bri.”

“Ain’t gonna work Xe.” She wiggled her ring finger in front of her and pinched a nipple. “I get my ring and I’ll ring your bell.” She walked away leaving Xe struggling against the wall.

“BRIAN! Don’t you leave me here!” She yanked and pulled as hard as she could until she turned and put both feet against the wall and pushed off. A loud creaking and then she was lying on the floor looking up into smiling green eyes of a very strange looking woman.

“Guess maybe you should be tied down instead of chained up. Come with me and I’ll tie you down for the next week.”

“Don’t think so she’s mine.” Brian pushed past the woman and clipped the leash on Xe’s collar. “Find your own slave.” She pulled a grinning Xe past the woman and all the way down to the bar.

“Thanks baby I could have gotten some.” She jumped back when insane green eyes bore into her. “Just kidding baby.” She dropped to her knees and buried her face against Bri’s breasts.

“Ohh my Gods! A catholic girl!” Brian pointed to the door and caught a glimpse of a woman dressed like a catholic schoolgirl going out the door. Xe jumped to her feet and tried to break through the crowd to catch the woman before she disappeared. Brian ran after her lover and caught up with her as she stood outside.

“Do you see her?”

“Nope, God damn it!” She looked both ways and saw taillights in the distance. “I think she got in that cab.”

@@@@@@@@@@@

“What was Lt. Sallano doing at the club?” Mrs. Davidson asked Edwards.

“I don’t know all I know is that they were upstairs and asking about your late husband.”

“Son of a bitch!” She turned to face Edwards. “Get rid of her bitch, I don’t care how but you do it soon or else.”

Edwards nodded his head, he knew the bitch would take him down in a heartbeat and there was nothing he could do about it. She had too much on him and if she talked, he would be put away for a long time. He sat silently playing with his pigtails and looking out the window.

@@@@@@@@@@@

Xe rushed through the hallways of the precinct towards Boggs office; he had called her on her cell phone while she was just five minutes away. He had said that he had some information from the Santa Monica Police Department about a couple of unsolved murders in their area. She didn’t understand the significance until he said that they were couples that had been killed while in the act and that out of the three murders, two of them had been at a place known as make out points. Rushing past officers, she burst through his door to find him looking at crime scene photos with a jelly donut hanging out of his mouth.

“Here.” He mumbled as he slid a folder across his desk to her.

“Lover’s Tryst cases?” She read off the label. “Sounds like a movie or something.” She scanned the files and when finished looked up at Boggs with a pale face. “They were killed with a whale harpoon.”

“Yep, and this is the part that has me a little weirded out. Officer Vance is from the Department that investigated the murders. They haven’t had another case since he left and came here.”

“And all of a sudden we have a Lover’s Tryst case and Vance is in the area.” She pinched the bridge of her noise and groaned. “Guess we had better find out where he was when the couple was killed, anything on finding their bodies?”

“Well…uuhhmm, there’s this place that seems to have had a problem with their crematorium. This helped us out, since the bodies were found lying outside the back of the building.”

“So you’re telling me that who ever took the bodies were just going to cremate them without the family’s knowledge?” She closed her eyes and leaned back in her chair. “Gods that really sucks. Who found them?”

“Officer Vance.” Boggs watched the red crawl up Xe’s face. He reached across his desk and grabbed her hand to keep her from going on a rampage. “I have two internal affairs officers investigating him now.”

“A lot of good that does since he may have already killed a couple of people.” She went on to tell him of her and Brian’s findings from the night before. When he asked how she got the information, she dropped her head and told him.

“I would give a months pay to see you with a dog collar on!” He laughed so hard that tears streamed down his face. “You’re whipped Xepher, and by a tiny little blonde.”

“Shut-up Boggs I am not.” She knew damn well that she was but would never admit it to anyone.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Edwards looked into the Brian’s office and watched her work on files for a few moments before he walked quietly to the autopsy room and out the side door. Looking for her car, he spotted it sitting towards the end of the building. Pulling a screwdriver from his pocket, he walked over to it and forced the lid to the gas tank open then broke the locking gas cap. Taking a 16oz plastic bottle from his coat pocket, he dumped it into the tank and closed everything up.

“May not be the most professional but it’ll have to do.” He said to himself before returning to the building.

Brian grabbed her cell phone and grinned at the caller ID read out. “Dead things ‘R’ Us.”

“That’s sick baby.” Xe replied from the other end.

“OK, how’s Queen bitch, can I chain you up?”

Xe’s face turned an unhealthy red; she cleared her throat before she spoke. “Baby don’t remind me. Can you bring over the files you have on the spear gun couple.”

“Sure, what’s this about?” She searched her desk, found the file and stuffed it into her backpack.

Xe went on to tell her about the other cases in California and about finding the missing bodies at a crematorium. She also asked her to find out what she could on the lab results so that they could compare them to the ones they had from the other cases.

“I’m on my way, I’ll bring everything with me and then we can all sit down and go over them.” She hung up her phone, set it on the desk and collected everything she needed before leaving her office. She had just started her car when she remembered leaving her cell phone on her desk. Taking the key for her office, she left her car running and ran back into the building to get her phone. Brushing past Edwards on her way back out, she gave him a quick glance and saw an evil glare in his eye. She was getting closer to the point of firing his ass just because he gave her the creeps. Jumping down the four steps near her car, she reached out a hand to the guardrail and felt an enormous amount of heat blast into her.

The sound of the explosion rattled all the windows on that side of the hospital, employees ran for the doors to see what happened. Debris was still falling from what was left of Brian’s car, flames licked at the bent metal and burned from spilled fuel on the pavement. The hiss of the fire extinguishers trying to put out the fire and the yelling of voices to get back never came to the crumpled body dressed in hospital scrubs and a white lab coat. Brian lay against the stairwell with her body slumped at an angle, blood dripped down her face to soak into the collar of her lab coat.

@@@@@@@@@@@

Xe shot up from the chair she was sitting in across from Boggs’ desk, grabbing her phone she hit the speed dial to Brian’s and received no answer except for a message from an mechanical voice, saying that the number she was trying to reach was no longer working. Her face paled as she looked down at her phone and dialed again.

“Xepher are you OK?” Boggs asked as he got up from his chair and laid a hand on her shoulder.

“Brian…” Was all she said before she ran from his office with Boggs on her heels.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@

The fire department pulled up and started extinguishing the flames; it was then that one of the firefighters found Brian. Yelling over the noise of the fire and the sirens, he got the attention of a police officer and one of the hospitals doctors. Easing Brian on to a stretcher, they took her around the building and into the ER. The nurse that accompanied Brian, grabbed a doctor from one of the triage rooms and dragged her with her to the room that the firefighter and officer had just went into. Giving the specifics of the case, she grabbed a plastic covered triage tray as they walked into the room.

“Call X-ray and get them down here with a portable, get the burn unit down here to.” The doctor said as she started examining Brian. What she saw made her wince, Brian’s one arm had sustained first and second degree burns from wrist to elbow. With further examination, she saw that she had second-degree burns on her leg. She pushed the officer and firefighter from the small cubicle and started cutting Brian’s scrubs from her body, low moans alerted the doctor that she was coming around.

“Don’t move doctor, you’re in the ER and you’ve been hurt,” She placed a hand on Brian’s shoulder to hold her down. “Just lay still for me.”

Green eyes fluttered open to look at her. “Xepher…call Xepher.” She mumbled and then gasped when a burned area was touched.

“Who’s Xepher?’ The doctor asked as she gently peeled part of the scrubs away from Brian’s hip.

“Lt. Sallano…homicide.” She groaned as she tried to sit up. “She’s gonna be really pissed at me.”

“Don’t move Doctor, I’ll have the officer outside call the Lt for you.” Brian lay back on the table and passed out within seconds.

@@@@@@@@@@@2

Boggs screamed like a little girl and gripped the dashboard with white knuckled fingers. “You’re gonna kill us both and I need a clean pair of shorts!”

“I have to get to the hospital so just shut-up and hang on!” She took her car up onto the sidewalk, ran along the edge of a building and jumped back down into the busy street. “GETOUTTAMYFUCKINGWAY!” She screamed at a car in front of her. “Don’t these people know what a siren is meant for?”

“Jesus Christ Sallano!” Boggs screamed and dropped down in his seat as they jumped the curb and came to a screeching halt outside of the hospital. Fire trucks, Police cars and ambulances blocked her from getting around to where the doors were to the morgue.

“What the Hell happened here?” Boggs asked as he stumbled from the car. “You go find Brian and I’ll find out what happened.” When he looked back over his shoulder, he saw that he had been talking to himself. Xe was already through the ER doors and running down the hallways looking into each triage room, she ran right into officer Vance.

“She’s in the room down the hall Lt. Sallano.”

Xe’s eyes narrowed as she pushed past him. “Get out of my way!” Barging through the doorway, she ignored the doctor and nurses and went to Brian’s side. Brushing the hair from her forehead, she mumbled close to her ear. “I’m here baby, it’s all right.”

“Hey you can’t be in here.” The doctor barked and reached a hand towards Xe’s arm.

“Get your hand off me!” Xe growled and bared her teeth. “What happened to her?”

“They found her at the back of the building, you’ll have to check with the police officer that brought her in. Now get out of here.”

“I’m not going anywhere.”

“Listen lady…” The doctor reached for her again. “I’ll call the police and have you taken out of here.”

Xe pulled her wallet from her pocket and tossed it to the doctor. “Go ahead, you’ll need that so you can spell my name right.” The doctor opened the wallet and saw the gold shield and ID with Xe’s name in big letters.

“She wanted me to call you but I didn’t…”

“I’m here, now help her.” Tears formed in her worried blue eyes as she looked at the angry red skin on her lover’s arm and leg.

@@@@@@@@@@@

Brian was placed in a private room against her will and Xe’s, after she threatened to beat the Hell out of a nurse and doctor, she was given a shot that knocked her out. Xe sat beside the bed until she knew for sure that her lover would sleep for a while. After kissing her forehead, she pulled the sheet up to her chin and left the room to search for the officer who had found Brian. Taking the stairs down to the bottom level, she went out a side door near where the explosion had occurred. What made her blood boil and rage to build up to volcanic proportions was the site of what was left of her lover’s car. Striding over to the fire chief and arson inspector, she flipped her wallet open and showed them.

“I want to know what happened.”

The inspector held out a 16oz plastic bottle and waved it in front of her nose. “Smell that? That’s a mixture of bleach and urea. It was poured into the gas tank of the car, when it was started and the fuel made its way to the engine it blew.” He pulled the burned gas cap lid from a bag and showed her where there were pry marks on the metal. “Someone wanted the owner dead.” That’s all Xe needed to hear, she took off to where Boggs was standing with a couple of officers.

“Boggs someone wanted Brian dead! I want the officer who found her.”

“Xepher calm down a minute, Vance found her…”

Xe took one look at the officer next to Boggs, grabbed him by his throat and lifted him off his feet. Before anyone knew what happened, Xe had lifted him above her head, thrown him onto the hood of a police car and started beating him senseless.

“Damn it Xe he didn’t do anything!” Boggs jumped on her back and wrestled with her, he was no match for the younger and pissed off woman. It took four fire fighters to drag her off the now badly beaten Vance. She found herself handcuffed and lying with her face being pressed into the wet pavement. “Do I have to take you in or are you going to behave yourself?” Boggs asked from where he was kneeling beside her.

“I want his ass dead!”

“Xe he didn’t do it, he was clear across town with his partner when it happened. He’s been on duty since 11pm last night.” He watched the strong face before him collapse, the sharp angles became slack and tears slid down her face. “I’ll let you loose but you stay away from Vance.” She felt the cuffs being removed and then hands helping her up. “He’s not pressing charges against you and I’m not saying a word about what happened. Now go see Brian before I have to put up with her temper to.”

@@@@@@@@@@2

Tears slid down Xe’s face at the site of her lover lying in the hospital bed, a white bandage covered the right side of her forehead and one on her cheek below her eye. Sitting on the edge of the bed, she leaned down and pressed her lips gently to Brian’s. Her tears fell from her cheek to drip onto her lover’s neck causing tired green eyes to flutter open.

“Xe?”

“I’m here baby.” She croaked out and buried her face against the warm skin of Brian’s neck. Soft sobs tore from her throat as she cried out her relief.

“Xe I don’t know what happened.”

Xe hugged Brian and tried not to hurt her anymore than she all ready was; lifting her head up, they connected eyes. “Someone tried to kill you; they were hoping that you would be in your car when it exploded.”

“Just great and here I thought I’d be able to sue the car company.” She ran her fingers through her lover’s hair and pulled her head down to her. Kissing her gently, she then deepened it to assure Xe that she was still alive and kicking. “I know you’ll find out who did it.” She gripped Xe’s hand in hers and saw pain in her blue eyes. Looking down at the swollen and bloody hands, she sighed and rolled her eyes at her. “Who’d you beat up?”

“Uuhhmm…I sorta lost it on Officer Vance.” She dropped her eyes. “I thought he did it because we were getting close to bringing him in for questioning.”

“He wouldn’t kill me, he’d go after you.” She ran a finger across the bloody knuckles of her lover and smiled. “And you call me a gargoyle.” She chuckled at the shocked look on Xe’s face. “Didn’t think I heard you huh?”

@@@@@@@@@@@@

Mrs. Davidson paced her parlor floor in a rage; she couldn’t believe that Edwards had done something so damn stupid as to try to blow the Medical Examiner up in her car, let alone right outside of the hospital. She stopped and pointed a finger at the young sheepish man; the glare in her eyes was enough to singe the skin on his face.

“You stupid little boy, what the fuck were you thinking? Ohh wait that’s right you didn’t, at least not with your brain!” She threw an expensive vase against the wall and kicked over an ottoman. “Now what the fuck are you going to do, burn down the Hospital or maybe the Police Station?”

“How was I to know that she forgot something and had to run back to her office, if she hadn’t, she would have been away from the hospital when the car blew up.” He jutted out his weak jaw at her. “I won’t fail next time.”

“You won’t because you’re not doing anything.” She came to stand within inches of him and jabbed him in his bony chest. “Stay away from them, let me handle Lt. Sallano.” She waved a hand at him and walked over to look out the window to the large back yard. “Stupid little twit!” She said to herself as she was trying to come up with a way to get rid of Sallano or at least get her off the case. Picking up the phone, she dialed and waited for the other end to pick up.

“Hello Commissioner, this is Mrs. Davidson the Councilman’s widow. I’ve been having a problem with one of the officer’s working my husband’s case.”

@@@@@@@@@@

Brian held on to Xe’s arm for dear life, she had never seen her so enraged as she was right now. The rage seeping from every pore, muscles tensed and straining and the look of pure hatred burning from her silvery blue eyes. If she got loose, the hospital administrator would be the victim of a murderous rampage.

“Where have you been keeping your fucking head…up your ass?” Xe asked in a low dangerous voice.

“I do not appreciate you speaking to me like I’m some criminal off the street.” He wiped the nervous sweat from his brow.

“Excuse me!” She bellowed. “You’re wrong, I speak to them like they have brains!” She felt Brian wrap one arm around her waist and lean into her body.

“Xe let me handle this…please.”

Xe lowered her voice so that only Brian could hear her. “I want his head on a pike!”

“So do I but I don’t think we’ll get placed in the same prison cell.” She rubbed her lover’s tight stomach in what she hoped was soothing motions. “I don’t know who gave you all that bullshit information, but I think you had better look at it again.”

“I don’t have to, it’s obvious that you are incompetent and not able to perform the job as Chief Medical Examiner for this hospital.”

Brian growled and had to be held back by Xe. “You really are clueless aren’t you! Look at the fucking dates on the files, I wasn’t even working here at the time you stupid son of a bitch!”

The administrator pulled one of the files from the stack and looked at the date on top of the coversheet, he then pulled others out randomly and looked up at Brian. With out a word, he left the hospital room.

Xe sagged back into her lover’s body and mumbled under her breath, rolling onto her side, she buried her face between Brian’s breasts and screamed.

“Can’t we like buy an island out in the south pacific so we can be away from the miniscule brains of the male gender?”

Xe looked up at her lover and grinned. “I’ll buy the island if you wear one of those tiny little leather breach cloths and nothing else.”

@@@@@@@@@@

The night was humid, dampness hung in the air like a fine mist of rain. The surface of the small parking lot glimmered like diamonds from the reflection of the single security light hanging from the back of the building. Only one vehicle was in the lot of the small 24-hour store, inside sat a man drinking from a bottle of purple MD 20/20. He had just spent the last four dollars from his paycheck for a cheap drunk and nasty hangover. His gaunt face turned to watch rats running around a Dumpster looking for garbage to feed on. What stepped from beside the Dumpster didn’t faze him, he saw plenty of homeless in the area fighting the rodents for rotten food, or to go through garbage cans looking for half-filled bottles of anything to drink. Leaning his head against the seat, he closed his bloodshot eyes and drank from his bottle. For the last time. A thwacking sound echoed in the parking lot and then a thump. The man’s eyes shot open from the pain in his chest, he looked down to see the feather tip of an arrow lodged in the center of his chest. He tried to lean forward and realized that the arrow had gone completely through his body and pinned him to the seat. He opened his mouth but not a sound came forth except a gurgling noise as he choked on his own blood. Seconds later, sightless eyes starred through the foggy windshield.

A crossbow was placed in the back seat of the car by a glove-covered hand that then produced a pair of side cutters and snipped the broad head off the end of the Crossbow bolt. The victim was pushed over into the passenger seat and then rolled to lie on the floor where he was out of sight. Within a couple of seconds the car pulled from the parking lot and headed out of town, the only sound coming from the car was the low murmur of a police radio.

@@@@@@@@@

Boggs kissed his wife goodbye and ran from the house they had lived in for over 20 years. When they had first been married, they bought the small house, which back then was considered huge with its three bedrooms and one and a half baths. Now the yuppie assholes that took over the area considered it a starter home and something that wasn’t worth their time or effort to look at. That was fine by he and his wife, it was paid for and all theirs. Climbing into his car, he headed to the hospital to find Xepher, he had something for her that would haul her ass out of hot water. When he got to the room that Brian was in, he covered his eyes and groaned.

“Damn it you two, ever heard of locking your door or at least closing it!”

Blurry blue eyes peeked open to see a bright red Boggs hovering in the doorway. “Come on Boggs, we were just sleeping.” She stretched her back and moaned when a sharp pain jabbed her in her hip and lower back. “Son of a bitch.” She mumbled into her sleeping lover’s neck. Grabbing her lower back, she eased up in the bed and tried to swing her legs over the edge without screaming. Boggs face took on a look of fatherly concern when he saw the pain that she was in.

“You OK Xe, you look like you’re gonna pass out on me.” He stepped forward and took her elbow to help her up. “Jesus Xe, I didn’t know you hurt this bad.”

“Everyday Boggs, every single day.” She took a deep breath to chase away the swirling colors in front of her eyes. “Gets better when I start moving around.”

“Or after I torture her for a few minutes.” A sleepy voice said from behind Xe. “Come on baby, bend over the bed.”

“Bri.” Xe whined but did as she was told, Boggs cringed when he saw Brian use her thumb and push it deeply into Xe’s hip. The paleness of her face told him of excruciating pain she was in. Moments later a sweat covered Xe stood up with more ease.

“What did you do to her Brian?”

“Pressure points, it helps with her sciatica. She really needs to stretch out before going to sleep.” She cast a stern look to her lover.

“Like what you do to me doesn’t stretch out muscles I never knew I had.” She didn’t need to look at Boggs to know that his face was bright red. “So Boggs, what brings you here to the Gargoyles torture chamber?”

He ran a hand across his face and jerked a thumb over his shoulder towards the door. “Top secret stuff here, the Queen has a message for you.” He looked to see green eyes narrowed at him. “Queen Boggs that is.” Xe followed him out into the hall, crossed her arms over her chest and raised an eyebrow at him.

“Out with it, what did I do this time?”

“The same thing you always do, fall down on the job.” He pulled a small black box from his coat pocket and handed it to her. “My boss said to give you this and if I didn’t I’d be sleeping outside with the dog. I do not want to piss off mama.”

She opened the box and gave Boggs the biggest smile he had ever seen come across her face. Inside were two matching rings, they were the capital letters of XB joining to make up the circumference of the ring. With the X in silver and the B in gold and an alternating sapphire and emerald stone set in the center of the X.

“Well what do ya think there Xepher?”

Blue eyes twinkled at him, a croaked grin came over her face when she snapped the box closed. “I think you just kept me from having to sleep in my car.”

“Hey remember me!” Brian yelled from the room. “I know you two are talking about me!”

“Go on Xe before she kicks your ass.” Boggs clapped her on her shoulder, turned and whistled a tune as he walked down the hall. Xe tried to wipe the grin from her face before she went back in to Brian’s room, it was impossible.

“You two are up to no good, what have you done now?”

“Ohh I think I just got myself out of the doghouse so to speak.” She dropped to her knees beside the bed and took Brian’s hand in hers. “I know I’ve been kinda slow in this department but I have a good reason for it.” Placing a kiss on Brian’s ring finger, she looked up into questioning green eyes. “We exchanged our vows to each other in private quite a while ago but we never exchanged rings.” She placed a finger to Brian’s lips to stop her from interrupting. “I had to find just the right rings and to be honest I had to have them made.” She pulled the small box out and flipped the lid open, taking the smaller ring out, she slipped it onto Brian’s finger and smiled into misty green eyes. “I love you Brian, now, always and forever.”

Brian looked down at the ring and tears flowed down her cheeks, she pulled Xe up to meet her lips. What started out as a soft gentle kiss turned into one of complete passion and undying love. When they parted, all either one of them could do was stare into each other’s eyes and try to catch their breath.

“Is it OK?” Xe asked hesitantly.

“It’s beautiful baby.” Brian took the box and slipped the other ring onto her wives finger. “I love you Xepher, now, always and forever.” When they pulled apart from another long kiss, they heard sniffling noises at the door.

“You two are giant mushballs.” Boggs said while wiping tears from his eyes. “Bad news Xe, we got a freaky one over by the truck stop on RT. 270. From what I’ve been told, it’s gruesome.”

“I’m going with you Xe.” Brian said as she climbed from the bed, rummaged inside the small closet for her clothes and flashed Boggs when she tossed the flimsy gown on the bed. Xe rolled her eyes at her wife and stepped in front of her to keep Boggs from passing out from seeing her in all her glory.

“You two have no shame!” Boggs spun on his heel and faced the doorway.

“If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.” Brian mumbled as she pulled a sweatshirt over her head.

“My wife has never looked like either one of you.” Boggs groaned and slapped a hand over his mouth.

“Sounds like blackmail material to me. Right Bri?”
@@@@@@@@@
“What in the Hell?” Brian leaned over and tilted her head to the side.

“What I’m trying to figure is how in the Hell.” Xe said as she stood behind Brian doing the same funny moves and almost falling on her head when Brian looked back at her.

“Ya have to give the sick fuck credit, he is getting quite inventive.”

“Baby this is just plain gross.” Xe said as she walked closer to where the two male bodies where being displayed. “EEEWWW! Brian!”

A large tree was used for the display of the two male bodies, one man was suspended upside down against the tree, and the other was right side up. What interested Brian and grossed out Xe was the fact that they had been tied to the tree with their own intestines. A bloody gore pooling on the ground at the one man’s feet. Brian snorted and looked to her wife.

“This is definitely not the way we do 69’s.” Her grin grew larger when Xe’s face turned a bright red.

“I swear you two are the most outspoken women I know!” Boggs knew his color matched that of Xe’s, he was beginning to wonder if it would be his permanent shade.

Brian pointed to the tree and then to her and Xe. “We have never done anything up against a tree, now the kitchen table is different.”

“Oohh geez, remind me to never sit down at your table again.” Boggs continued to mumble as he walked away.

“Baby you are going to be the death of me yet.” Xe said as she tried to take calming breathes, the picture that had formed in her mind of her and Brian was not something that should be there considering where they were and what was in front of them.

“Let’s bag, tag and load.” Brian said while pulling baggies from her pocket. She flinched when the tender skin of her forearm brushed against her scrub shirt, she knew that she would catch holy Hell when they found out she had escaped the hospital. She didn’t much care, Xe needed her and she would walk through Hades itself to be by her side. Xe saw the pain shot through her wives eyes and laid a hand on her shoulder.

“I’ll bag their hands and feet, you go get the ambulance crew up here.”

Brian’s eyes blazed and then calmed when Xe leaned in and whispered in her ear.

“I know you hurt, you shouldn’t be out here in the sun.” She kissed Brian’s neck and nuzzled against her for a few minutes. “Please baby.”

“I’m whipped!” Brian mumbled.

“Makes two of us baby.” Brian went to the parking lot to get the ambulance crew ready, she gave them specific instructions on how she wanted the bodies moved and if not done her way, she threatened them with the wraith of Xepher.

Xe gagged when she got close to the bodies, the stench of open guts and stretched intestines was getting to her. What was different about this and being in the autopsy room where there was ventilation, there was no breeze in the 90-degree weather or under the tree, she was sharing with every known insect. “Should have become a manager at McDonalds.” Xe looked closely at one of the men and had to turn and run, she made it outside of the crime scene and lost her breakfast. Bent over at the waist, she heaved and shivered.

“Baby you OK?” Brian asked and rubbed her wives back.

“One of them was alive when he was put on the tree…he bit…the other guy’s dick off.” She heaved again, but nothing came up. Brian pulled a towel from her pocket and wiped Xe’s face off and then led her away from the area to a quiet place. She eased her down against a tree, sat down next to her and pulled her head against her chest.

“You know Xe, this world is full of fucking freaks and it’s our job to catch them. Some times the hardest thing I do, is to look at what someone will do to another human and I wonder why? Why do they doe such cruel and sick ass things?” She kissed Xe’s temple and sighed. “There’s no answer, no one knows except those sick fucks and they won’t say.”

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Flipping the overhead light on and pulling down the microphone, Brian uncovered the bodies of the two men. Taking extreme care, she lifted the head of the man on top and turned his head to the side. Noticing a deep purple bruise running along the area above his left ear, she palpated the area for any sign of fractures. Finding none, she ran her fingers through his short blonde hair for any other injuries. At the crown of his head, she found a small gash and dried blood. Titling the light down, she saw that there were two small gashes with a space in between, what came to mind was the end of a crowbar. Pulling her camera from under the table, she took a couple shots of the wound and then finished the roll off by taking shots of the bodies.

“Edwards! I need some help in here!” She yelled loud enough that the floor above them could hear. She waited ten minutes and then went in search of her assistant. “Where the Hell are you?” She mumbled to herself.

“I fired him.” Brian turned to see the hospital administrator coming down the hall towards her. “I called the hospital that he used to work at and found out that he was trying to pull the same thing here as he did there.” The older man leaned against the wall across from her, removed his glasses and rubbed his bloodshot eyes. “I owe you an apology, I should have known he was up to something.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I overheard one of the nurses in the lounge talking about him. He was seen coming in the hospital at weird hours and using the terminals upstairs. The next day, the head nurse had to call in the computer company to fix the computers on that floor. What ever Edwards did, he managed to delete half of the records for the ER, Morgue and Pediatrics.”

“Son of a bitch!” Brian tilted her head back and closed her eyes. “Are all the files on my computer missing now?”

“No, you computer is on a different server than the other ones, when you moved your office it was easier for the computer technician to run your PC lines to the server that the surgical staff computers are hooked to.” He stepped closer and held out his hand to her. “I truly sorry Dr. Meadows, truce?”

She opened her eyes and stared down at his hand. “Under one condition, I get to hire my assistant and the hospital buys me my own coroner vehicle set up to my specs.” She watched him fight with the numbers in his head. “Remember, my car was blown up in the parking lot, I was almost killed and I could sue for lack of hospital security.” A light flush took over the administrators features, gulping he nodded his head.

“Anything you want, you let my secretary know and she’ll get it for you. You pick out the vehicle you want and have the dealership send the bill to my office.”

“Thanks, now I have to get back to work.” She walked away from him and noticed that he had followed her into the autopsy room. With one look of the man with a severed dick hanging from his mouth, the administrator ran from the room gagging. “Love this job.”

After pushing the gurney over to one of the tables, she rolled the top body off and began her autopsy on the other. It would take her most of the day to do both of them since she was now all on her own. Taking a bread knife from the tray of instruments, she started the Rokitansky method and hummed Beethoven’s fifth piano concerto under her breath.

@@@@@@@@@@@

Xe looked at the reports from the fire inspector and then the ones that came back from the fingerprinting department. The inspector had turned in the bottle found at the scene for printing. What they found were numerous prints of one kind and then one partial of another. The first name was Agnes Bancroft, a 70-year-old woman who worked at the hospital in the cafeteria as the cashier. “I can see her being pissed at Brian for the amount of food she would have to ring up.” She snorted at the thought of the old woman seeing Brian and running from the room. The other name was an EJ Holmes, numerous felonies, misdemeanors, assault and batteries and couple dozen counts of sexual exhibitionism and indecent exposure . “Ohh great! I’m looking for some fucking pervert who likes to whip out his tiny ass dick and play with it.” Dropping her head onto her desk, she let out a low moan. “Hate this job, Burger King is hiring. I could clean fry baskets.”

“And miss out on all the fun you have here?” Boggs sat in the chair beside her desk and dropped a folder on top of the already huge pile. “Take a look at that, just came in from California. It’s a profile that was done for the Santa Monica police department.” She scanned the report and snorted.

“Boggs this doesn’t mean anything, we know we have a sick bastard out there.”

“That’s not what I’m getting at, look closer at the personality of the perp. It’s too perfect a fit for Vance, it’s almost like the profiler knew Vance ahead of time and wrote a report on him.”

“Gotcha, I’ll look into it. Right now I have to get over to the morgue and see what Brian came up with.” She got up from her chair and was picking up the files she needed when Boggs jumped to his feet and almost knocked her over. “What the…”

“The commissioner just walked into my office!” Boggs had sweat pop out across his forehead. He looked down at his shirt and tie and up to amused blue eyes. “Do they match?”

“Hell no, you need help dressing in the morning or those little animal tags on everything. You know monkey goes with monkey, lion goes with…”

“I got it Xepher, you’re no help.” He jogged towards his office and came to a screeching halt when the commissioner stepped through the door. Xe could see them talking but couldn’t hear a single word. What she did pick up was that Boggs was pointing at her and motioning her to come into his office.

“Ohh shit, this is not good.”
When she entered the office, she automatically felt the tension coming off the two men, she looked from one to the other and waited.

“Lt. Sallano, I had a phone call from a Mrs. Davidson.” The commissioner said. “She has informed me that you are harassing her.”

Xe rolled her eyes and snorted. “You have got to be kidding, I spoke with her for about three minutes before she had me thrown out of her house.”

Boggs knew what had gone on with the interview, he couldn’t for the life of him understand why the widow had involved the commissioner after almost a week and a half had passed.

“When exactly was the last time you spoke to her?”

“The day after I escorted her to the morgue to identify her husband, I had to inform her that the case was being investigated as a murder. I asked her some personal questions and she got all bent out of shape over it.”

“That’s not what she told me.” He rubbed his jaw with the tips of his fingers and nodded his head. “She told me that you’ve been sitting outside her house and following her all over town. Not to mention that she thinks you broke into her house and tapped her phone lines.”

“Come on John.” Boggs shot a look to the commissioner. “The woman is not a suspect and that’s not Sallano’s style. If we had her under observation, she would never know about it.”

“I think she’s delusional, I’m more interested in who her husband was meeting at a kinky nightclub.” She watched the commissioners eyes widen. “Guess you didn’t know about that huh?” She told him about her and Brian going to the area kink club and questioning the bartender and employees about the Councilman.

“You took the Medical Examiner?” He questioned.

“I take her everywhere.” She gave him a look of ‘don’t fuck with my ways.’ “She’s more than the ME, she’s trained in clinical psychology, forensic medicine, criminal sciences and if I don’t take her, she will make my life a living Hell.”

His mouth dropped open with the massive amount of credentials the ME had. “And why isn’t she working for us in Homicide Special Units?” He looked to Boggs for his answer.

“John, she works at the hospital as the Chief Medical Examiner, so in a way she does work for us, well she works for one of us.” He looked to Xe and received a nod of her dark head. “She’s married to…”

Who? I want his name.” The commissioner was getting riled, he wanted the ME on his side. It would look damn good for him come election time, if he could get the murders solved and the ME in his pocket.

Boggs raised an eyebrow, he knew damn well what the commissioner was thinking. He and John had gone to school together and then joined the police department almost at the same time. Where Boggs was for the department and protecting the people, John was for the political world, self-centered and a pain in the ass at times. “Lt. Sallano.”

“What! You’re kidding right?” He looked between the two of them and sighed when he saw the glimmer in Sallano’s eyes. “Damn it to Hell Sallano.” He dropped his head in defeat. “Just get that sick bastard off the streets.” He left a grinning Boggs in his wake.

“Asshole.” Boggs mumbled. “Thought he was going to get Brian in his pocket.”

“Fat chance, even I can’t do that and I sleep with her.”

“Xe I don’t want to know anymore than I already do about your sex life.”

“I’ll tell ya anyway, I’m going to get her and maybe something else when we get home.” She wiggled her brows at his red face. “Later Boggs.”

@@@@@@@@@@

“Ohhh you were a naughty boy weren’t you?” Brian handled what would have been a normal liver had it not been pickled from years of alcohol abuse. She was afraid that it would fall to pieces in her hand before she got it into the tray on the scale. She had seen the yellow tint around the deceased eyes and knew right off that he was suffering from a liver condition, jaundice or maybe hepatitis. With further examination, she found no rectal scaring and knew that the man was not a homosexual and neither was the other victim. She had a gut feeling that the men hadn’t even known or been in the same area as the other and that it was two different killings placed at the scene to be passed off as something else.

She hoped that Xe would show up so that she could show her what else she had found in an unlikely place. She had in an evidence bag, a blood soaked business card that she could just make out the gold foil of a police shield. She would have the lab see if they could clean it up and be able to make out what else was printed on the card. After dictating the weight of the diseased liver, she placed it inside a plastic bag and put it into the man’s body cavity. Taking out her stapler, she closed up the Y incision she had made and closed the area that the killer had done while gutting the victim. What ever he had used to gut the men was a sharp as her own instruments, and the way each man was cut, she had a suspicion that the killer had some medical training or was a hunter.

The bodies had basically been opened so that only the intestines could be drawn out from a small incision in the abdominal cavity. She pictured in her head how the men had been placed against the tree, the man on top was still alive when he was cut open, and she believed that he had come around from being unconscious at the time his intestines were being pulled from his body. That was the reason he had bitten the penis of the other man off. The suffocating is what had killed him though, a far better way to go then slowly and in excruciating pain. In time he would have died when the sunlight dried his intestines out and from the shock that the body had gone through. Brian knew as soon as she had examined the one man that he had been killed in a similar fashion as the other couple, the entry and exit wound in his body were made by an arrow of some sort that much she knew.
Part 2
Edwards was walking out to his car when Xe pulled in, she cast a look his way and caught the glare in his muddy eyes. Ignoring him, she went through the back door to the autopsy room and looked around. Everything was clean and shinning in the dim light from the overhead cabinet lights over the smaller work areas. From a distance, she could hear whistling. Her wife only whistled when she was working or knew something. Silently she walked down the hall to Brian’s office and stood in the doorway watching her, the small wicked grin on her face gave way to a full-fledged smile when she saw Xe.

“Hey baby you’re late.”

“I got pulled into the office on my way out, the commissioner wanted to talk to me about Mrs. I’m a bitch Davidson.” She sat on the edge of Brian’s desk right in front of her and told her everything that had happened that day once they left the crime scene. She tried to ignore the fact that Brian was running her hands up the insides of her thighs. “Sooo what happened to you, I heard you whistling?”

“Later, right now I want to go home and try something.” She pulled Xe down for a deep kiss that had both of their pulses racing. “Plus we have the kids to check on; they may even let us in the house.” She slapped Xe in her stomach and waited at the door for her. “Come on stud.”

Xe counted on her fingers while walking towards Brian, when she finished a huge grin covered her face.

“What are you grinning at?”

“Ohh lets just say that you’re no longer a danger to society.” She was happy as Hell that Brian’s monthly curse was over with.

“That doesn’t mean that you’re safe.”

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

“BEAR YOU ROTTEN LITTLE SHIT!” Xe picked up a pair of Brian’s underwear from in front of the door and continued to pick up clothes all the way through the house. “Where ya hiding ya little rat bitches.” She looked under the bed, chair and dresser before she went out into the living room and found Brian down on her hands and knees looking under the couch. An evil grin came across her face, sneaking up behind her; she dropped down to the floor, crawled on top of her back and nipped her neck. “Whatcha doin?”

“Taking our toys from the kids.” She dangled a chewed vibrator in front of Xe’s face. “At least it’s not our favorite one.”

“Wonder where they’re hiding?”

“I’m afraid to even think about where they could be.” Brian collapsed on the floor and rolled so that she was facing Xe.

Blue eyes grew huge when a thought came to her. “Please don’t let them be in the office!” She jumped to her feet and hauled Brian up; they took off running to the small office. With one look, their worries were confirmed. Papers were everywhere, file folders that at one time were on the desk were scattered across the floor and a pile of their clothes was in the center of the desk with two little dogs cuddled together in them. “Rotten little dogs.” Xe whispered and watched as two sets of eyes looked up at her.

“Guess you better take them to work with you in the morning.” Brian chuckled when Bear rolled onto her back and offered her belly to Xe.

“Ain’t gonna work you destroyer of homes and you Fugly, picking up her bad habits.” She gave in and rubbed her dog’s belly, she was whipped by both women in her life.

“IF I roll over will you do that to me?” Brian growled close to Xe’s ear.

“I’ll think about it.”

“Ohh you’ll do more than think about it.” She slipped her hand up between her wives legs and ran her fingernails across the seam of her Levi’s. “You’ll do a lot more than think about it, I can feel how wet you are already.” Xe moaned and fell forward to rest on the palms of her hands.

“You better believe it Bri.” She turned around, swept Brian up into her arms and carried her to their bedroom.

After hours of reacquainting themselves with each other and taking a few more shingles off the roof, they lay wrapped in each other’s arms.

Xe rolled them over so that she was looking into green eyes. “You gonna tell me about what happened at work today?”

“You mean the part where the administrator apologized and fired Edwards?” Brian had just finished telling Xe about her day, when her soft even breathing signaled that she had fallen asleep. Pulling the sheet up over their naked bodies, Xe was careful not to get it near the burns on her wives arm. Brian’s leg was still covered in gauze but she refused to have her arm swathed in anything. The burns weren’t as bad as they were but with wearing pants, she kept her leg covered to keep the material from irritating the tender skin. Snuggling closer to Brian, Xe closed her eyes and surrendered to sleep.
@@@@@@@@@@

Brian mumbled in her sleep and ran her hands across the bed searching for the warm body that was normally beside her. Not finding Xe, she opened one eye and gasped. Looking down towards the foot of the bed, she saw a lump between her legs and two sets of eyes looking up at her. “Gods I hope that wasn’t one of…Gods!” Her back arched when she felt a warm tongue lick at her center. “You evil bitch Xe!” She groaned and flipped the sheet back to see her wife lying between her thighs.

“Morning baby.” Was all Xe said before she went back to licking the wetness from Brian. Soft moans and groans came from her lips and vibrated against Brian’s engorged shaft. Using her thumb, she pressed it against the throbbing shaft and slipped her tongue into Brian’s center. Pulling her tongue out part way, she pushed it back in and felt muscles clamp down around it. Flicking Brian’s clit with her thumb, she felt her arch against her and go over the edge with a deep groan. With juices dripping from her chin, Xe crawled up to lay her head on a warm breast and sighed deeply. Brian’s body was still quivering with the effects of her climax, she lay taking deep breaths and rode them out to the very end. She watched as Xe yawned, took a deep calming breath and fell asleep. “I don’t believe you.” She grabbed an ear and wiggled it and got no response from her lover. “You wake me up like that and then fall asleep?” She used all her strength and rolled them over so that she was lying on top of a sleeping Xe. A wicked smirk came across her face as she thought of paybacks. Looking down at the dogs still sitting on the foot of the bed, she wiggled her brows at them and grinned. Moving so that she was kneeling between Xe’s legs, she slipped a finger between her nether lips and felt the wetness gathered there. Doing something that her wife would never think she would ever do, she pressed a finger to her tight opening and slipped her finger part way in. Watching a blue eye pop open, she grinned and dropped down to lick at her center.

Xe’s back arched as a small finger entered her, she gripped the sheets in her hands and gasped when the finger was twisted inside of her. Bracing her heels against the bed, she raised her hips and pumped against Brian’s face. “Bri…an…harder.” She begged and felt her muscles clench and colors float before her eyes. “Com…ing!” She screamed out as she went over the edge and collapsed limply on the bed. Brian licked the last of the juices from her wife and crawled up her body to stare down into her slack face.

“Xe? Don’t tell me you fell asleep again.” She watched for a few seconds and saw no signs of normal sleep. “Baby?” She caressed her cheek and then checked her pulse. Tapping her cheek gently, she saw eyelids start to flutter open. “Baby are you alright, I didn’t hurt you did I?”

“It was sooo peaceful there.”

“Huh, where?”

“Where ever I was…nice and warm, quiet and all the little tinkling of bells.” Xe had a dreamy look on her face as she described where she was.

“You passed out on me!” A huge grin formed on Brian’s face, she was damn proud of herself for what she did. “Damn I’m good!” She placed a sloppy kiss on a shocked Xe’s lips and chuckled at her expression.

“I did not pass…on second thought I may have.” She gave Brian a sheepish grin. “Damn you’re good.” She rolled them over onto their sides and then she snuggled her face against Brian’s breasts. “Love you baby.”

“Love you too stud.” She ran her fingers through dark hair and grinned some more. “How come you bury your face in my tits?”

“Cuz their nice and soft.” She mumbled and sighed.

“OK. Xe, I’ve been thinking about selling my apartment.” She looked down as a dark head popped up and blue eyes looked at her.

“I was thinking the same thing about this place, how about if we sell both places and buy a house away from the city. There’s this farm about 20 minutes from here for sale.”

“You want to live on a farm?”

“We could raise fugly little dogs and maybe get a horse” The look on her face was like a little kid at Christmas.

“A horse, you want a horse?” She raised an eyebrow and for some strange reason could see her wife riding a horse across an open field with her dark hair streaming out behind her. “You gonna get a tiny little Shetland pony that pulls a cart for me and the kids?”

“Nah, I’ll just stick you and the kids in the saddle bags.” That got her a smack on top of her head.

“I’ll remember that when it comes time to clean the stalls.”

@@@@@@@@@@

Xe was at her desk going over all the files that the other officers had dropped in her in box during the last couple of days that she hadn’t been into the precinct. What she had was a running list of people that knew Davidson but refused to say anything about the man or his bitch of a wife. Even people that had come out during the election and opposed him, had nothing to say. That gave her a feeling that someone was shutting everyone up and she didn’t like it one bit. Pulling another folder open, she looked down at the lab results from all the victims and the evidence reports. What interested her, was the fact that the hair found in the first car did not match any of the victims nor anyone who was a friend or family member. The same hair was found at the other crime scene on one of the victims. The police had yet to identify the two men and were working on sending out pictures to all the area police department’s missing peoples units besides having the press help them by showing composite drawings on the news. The break that Xe was waiting for was the business card that Brian had found stuck to the one victim’s body. She had told Boggs about it and asked if they could bring Vance in for questioning. His answer was no that the man had an iron clad alibi. He and his partner had been at the hospital visiting his mother on their lunchtime and were together the entire time that the bodies would have been placed at the truck stop. What irritated her was that there had not been one witness to either of the crimes. She found it hard to believe that no one saw anything. It was like the murderer was invisible.

Taking a sip of her coffee, she frowned when she realized that it was empty. Closing the folder, she pointed to Bear who was in her in box.

“Guard this and don’t let anyone near my desk.” Bear stood up, stretched and walked over to lie down on the folder. “Fugly, you guard my donut from Bear.” The pup tilted her head sideways and looked at her with blue eyes. “OK, just sit there. Can’t believe I talk to them like I do.” She mumbled on her way to the Juan Valdez crude container, the coffee at the station was bad enough that the EPA had issued a bulletin against pouring it down the drains and the health insurance carrier refused to pay for ulcer treatments. Filling her cup with half milk the other half crude, she dumped in sugar and prayed that the spoon didn’t deteriorate in her cup. Hearing a low growl and a yipping noise, she turned and looked over to her desk to see Officer Vance standing there. Dropping the spoon on the coffee stand, she calmly walked up behind him.

“What can I help you with Vance?” She sat down in her chair and looked up at him with cold eyes.

“I wanted to talk to you about the case you’re working on.” He fidgeted with his hat and tried to make eye contact with her. “I know that you’re looking at me as the prime suspect.”

“And how do you come to that conclusion?”

“It’s happening all over again.” He sighed and motioned to the chair beside him.

“Have a seat and tell me what your thoughts are.” She was interested in what the young man had to say on behalf of himself.

“It started when I was in High school; a good friend of mine was murdered and hung from the one of the showers in the locker room. At first, they thought it was a suicide until they saw that his hands had been bound behind his back and had bruises around his ankles. The coroner determined that he died from manual strangulation and not from being hung.” He paused to take a breath and looked into her eyes. “I was the last person to see him alive; they took me in for questioning but couldn’t do anything because at the time of death, I was playing football three counties away.”

“What kind of football game was it?” Xe asked because he could have been just playing with a group of friends.

“I was the quarterback in the State conference game. Two more friends were killed before the end of my senior year. Each one was worse than the last.”

“When you got out of school did the murders end?”

“For a couple of months, I left home and went to California to attend USC on a football scholarship. After I was there for six months, my roommate was found lying on the hood of my car with his intestines wrapped around it.” His face paled and he took a hitched breath.

“Let me ask you something.” She leaned forward in her chair and connected eyes with him. “Can you think of anyone who would want you to be blamed for these murders, is there someone that has followed you from your home town to California and now to here?”

“No ma’am, I don’t have any friends. Who would want to take a chance on being my friend when they could end up dead?” He shrugged his shoulders. “I’m an only child, I have no relatives except my Mom and she’s in the hospital being treated for cancer.”

“Hold on a minute and let me check something out.” She placed Bear back in her in box and pulled Vance’s file and the one with the evidence report from the first crime out. She scanned both files until she found what she was looking for. “What’s your blood type?”

“B negative.”

She nodded her head and then pulled the file on Davidson; she had a hunch but didn’t know if it would pan out or not. “Would you be willing to give a blood and semen sample?”

“Will this help clear me of any suspicion?”

“Yeah, at least for two of the three cases.” They had the semen from Davidson and a couple samples of blood not belonging to either of the first two victims. She believed that the perp had accidentally cut them selves on the spear while moving the bodies.

“I can give you a blood sample…” His face took on paleness. “But I can’t give a semen sample.”

She tried to make him feel comfortable. “Vance, no one will be in the room when you give that sample.”

“It’s not that Ma’am…I don’t have any testicles, they were removed when I was eighteen. I had testicular cancer and all I have now are artificial implants.” He pulled a wrinkled business card from his pocket and handed it to her. “That’s the cancer specialist that treated me; you can call her if you want.”

She leaned back in her chair and looked at him. “Can I ask you why you came to me?”

“I love being a cop; I don’t want to loose my job because someone has a grudge against me. I want to help you, so you can clear me and get this person.”

“This is what I want you to do.” She handed him one of her cards. “I don’t care what time of day or night it is, I want you to call me if you see anyone following you during shift or off duty. Take down descriptions of people around you; if you see the same person twice for no reason at all, we might be able to get to the bottom of this. Before I forget, I need your mother’s full name and that’s including maiden name.

“My mother was never married to my father, her name is Meredith Vance.”

“OK, if I find out anything I’ll get a hold of you. Watch your back Vance.”

“Yes Ma’am and thanks.”

Xe sat in her chair with thoughts running through her mind as to why he had waited so long to come to her. She was happy that she didn’t have to fight Boggs about talking to Vance but she knew he would be curious as to why no one had questioned Vance when he applied to the police academy about the murders during his years in both High School and College.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Throwing her feet up on her desk, Brian leaned back in her chair and mumbled under her breath. She had called three car dealerships and not found what she was looking for in a vehicle. She wanted a 4×4 truck with the extra cab for the kids. So far, she had found zip, then, it jumped out at her under the used vehicle heading. A 1999 fire engine red Chevy Tahoe, fully loaded for on and off road driving. Taking up her phone, she called the number and thought she had dialed wrong when the area fire chief answered. After fifteen minutes, she hung up the phone, jumped from her desk and gave out a yell that had the ceiling tiles shaking.

“YES!” She screamed and punched a hand in the air. The fire chief had bought a newer model and was selling the red Tahoe for practically nothing. He had even offered to come by the hospital to show it to her. Searching through her backpack, she pulled out her keys and checkbook, slung her backpack over her shoulder and locked up her office. She had just stepped out the back door when the Fire Chief pulled up. A huge grin split her face when she looked over the Tahoe; it was exactly what she wanted.

“I’ll take it! Can you run me by the bank and I’ll get you the money?” An hour later, she was pulling in the police parking lot and parking next to Xe’s Crown Victoria. The biggest thrill of her life was hitting the button on the key chain and hearing the three beeps of the alarm system. “All mine!” She ran gentle fingers across the hood and jogged to the precinct doors.

@@@@@@@@@

“Don’t you two move or eat my M&M’s.” Xe pointed a finger at the dogs and narrowed an eye a Fugly. “I saw that little grin.”

“Wanna see a bigger one?”

Without turning Xe remarked. “I’d rather see something else grin.”

“Later, right now you’ll have to settle for my pearly whites.” The second Xe turned around; she found her arms full of a grinning lunatic wife. “I got my truck!” She plastered sloppy kisses all over Xe’s face not caring who saw them. “I have my own lights and siren!”

“What no rifle rack?”

“On order, come on I’m buying lunch.”

@@@@@@@@@@

They stood in the parking lot looking at Brian’s Tahoe; Xe had to admit that she got a very good deal on the truck. Ten grand was theft as far as she was concerned. “You did good baby.” Xe wrapped an arm around Brian and kissed her temple. “You driving?”

“Yep, we’re going to Ruby Tuesdays to celebrate my new truck. The administrator said that he’d buy me a coroner wagon, but I decided to pay for this out of my own money. Once the insurance company cuts the check for my car, I’ll be over what I spent on my truck.” She grinned up at Xe. “When you catch the guy who blew my car up, I want to shake his hand before you shoot him.”

“You know Bri, you’re strange.” She hugged her tightly to her and kissed her gently. “One of the reasons I love you, now come on the kids are starving. Plus, we have to go to a sign shop and see about getting the Fire Chief removed and what ever you want on the doors.”

They got into the truck, put the dogs in the back seat and headed out of the parking lot; Xe knew that Brian’s fingers were itching to hit the lights and siren on. She sat with one hand on the ready to keep her from doing just that. “Don’t even think about it Bri.”

“What? I wasn’t gonna do anything?” She cast an innocent look at Xe. “OK, so I wanted to hit the siren and stuff, meany won’t let me scare anyone.” She stuck her tongue out, heard Xe groan, and saw her slid down further in the leather seat.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Their waitress shook her head and stumbled with the weight of the dish-covered tray, she had never seen two women eat so much in her life and then order food to go. She would need hernia surgery before long if they kept eating. Dropping the tray onto the scullery table, she headed to the desert case and pulled out two New York cream cheese cakes and then a goblet of French vanilla ice cream. She was tempted, to just push the display case over to their table and be done with it.

Brian was armed with two spoons in her hands and she was getting ready to start banging the utensils on the table like a Viking Warrior. The look on her face was that of a crazed lunatic and her language was of a petulant child.

“Where’s my food!” She chanted until Xe threw her napkin at her.

“Bri stop before they poison our food.”

“Can’t be any worse than my own cooking.” She smirked and then shot her wife a brilliant smile. “Ya know what I’d like to do?” She leaned forward and spoke in a seductive voice. “I’d like to smear cheese cake all over you body and lick it off.” A wiggle of brows and a chuckle came from her when Xe blushed.

“OK, ladies here’s your desert. If you need anything just give a yell.” The waitress said and then mumbled under her breath. “If you need shovels or a feeding trough I drag it on out.”

“I could use a spade!” Brian yelled to her and grinned when the woman’s face turned red. “See if I leave her a tip.” Taking part of her ice cream, she spooned it over one of the pies and offered some to Xe. “Come on its good.”

“Ahhh uuhh, it looks gross.”

“Pussy.” She waved the spoon in front of Xe. “Come on, try it.”

Xe rolled her eyes and opened her mouth, after swallowing; she took the rest of the ice cream and covered her cake. “I’m whipped, tied up and in deep shit.”

“Why do ya say that?” Brian asked around a mouthful.

“Cuz I just realized that Boggs is right, I’m pussy whipped.” She winked at a narrowed eyed Brian. “And loving it.”

Just finishing off the deserts, Xe’s phone vibrated against her hip. She looked at the number and sighed. “It’s Boggs, can’t be good.” She flipped it open and closed her eyes.

“Sallano.”

“Get your asses out to Brian’s house, one of the victims cars is parked in her driveway.”

“What? You’re kidding right?”

“Nope, now get you wives ass moving.”

She clicked off her phone and gave Brian a look of utter confusion. “Ready to play with all those buttons in your car, there’s a car in your driveway that they think belonged to one of the last victims.”

“What the Hell is the wack job doing, I mean why me?”

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Xe held on to the dashboard for dear life, her face was pale and sweat ran down from her temples. She now knew how Boggs felt when she was driving Hell bent to leather. She prayed to every Goddess that she knew of that they would make it to Brian’s house without an accident. When they slid sideways in front of the small house, Xe fell from the truck on shaky legs and pointed a shaky finger at a grinning Brian.

“You’re giving me grey hair!”

“And you’ll look good with it too.” They walked to where the crime tape was blocking off her driveway and found Boggs talking to one of the neighbors that she had yet to talk to.

“Boggs what’s going on?” Brian asked the older man.

“About an hour ago, someone parked this car in the drive. Your neighbor noticed it when he was leaving for work, what clued him in that it didn’t belong here is all the blood on the trunk and bumper.”

“Have any gloves and baggies in your car?” She asked after remembering that they didn’t have Xe’s car.

“Yep, I have everything you guys will need. I tried to get the evidence crew out here but you guys are better than they are.” He shrugged his shoulders and handed Brian his keys.

Brian donned a pair of gloves and stuck evidence baggies in her back pocket. Looking through the window, she saw blood stains on the steering wheel, seat and window. Gripping the door handle, she was just about to open it when she felt Xe come up behind her.

“Whatcha think Bri, does it take away from the neighborhood?” She looked over her wives shoulder and shuddered at the thought of the killer parking the car in Brian’s driveway.

“Hope not, I was hoping to get a Queens ransom for my tiny ass apartment.” She pulled on the handle and heard a click too late, the explosion sent her back into Xe. They were tossed a good twenty feet away. A blast of heat rolled over them and pinned them where they lay, Xe could feel her clothes burning and rolled both of them across the grass and away from the inferno of heat. She got to her knees and looked down into Brian’s slack face, picking her up; she stumbled to a safe distance before laying her down in the grass. Placing her fingers to her wives neck, she felt her pulse beating.

“Baby wake up!” She screamed but couldn’t hear her own voice. Green eyes fluttered open and small hands pressed against Xe’s cheeks.

“Are you alright?” Brian yelled at her.

“What the fuck happened?” Boggs dropped to his knees and wiped a trickle of blood from his cheek. “Why the Hell are you two screaming at each other?”

Xe cupped a hand to her ear and yelled. “I can’t hear you!”

Boggs threw himself across both women as another explosion came from the car, when the debris stopped falling around them, he pushed himself back up and blushed.

“Did I squish you two?” He pulled Xe up from the ground and waved a hand in front of her startled face. “Come on you two are going to the hospital.” After fighting with both women and feeling it in his back and shins, he dropped down in the seat of his car. “Damn why the Hell did I try and pick Xe up and put her in the ambulance or let Brian get close enough to kick me?” He rubbed his sore shin and grimaced. “Fuck! All the evidence is gone!” He looked to the charred remains of the car.

@@@@@@@@@@@@

“I don’t give a flying fuck Boggs! I want the asshole who keeps trying to blow my wife up!” Xe paced the small waiting room in the hospital; she refused to be seen by the ear doctor and now was trying to cause Boggs to go deaf right along with her.

“Damn it Xepher stop your hollering, I can hear just good…well maybe not now but.” He rubbed his ears and glared at her. “How are we supposed to find this person, is it the one killing all these people or some sick fuck who just wants to try and make you a widow?” He thought of what he just said to her and raised a hand to her. “Sorry Xe, you know what I mean about the bombs.”

“I know Boggs.” She dropped down into a chair and let her head fall into her hands. “I want complete background checks on Vance, Edwards and Mrs. Davidson.” She looked up at him with a worried expression.

“Why those three?”

“Because, Edwards is a dick, Vance has prior experience with numerous murders and I can’t stand rich bitches.”

Boggs chuckled at her reasons, he had to hand it to her; she had a way with words. “Anything else?”

“Yeah, get a hold of that FBI Profiler. I want to know what made him think it was Vance killing all his friends.”

“HEY XE!” Brian yelled as she came from the examination room. “DOC SAYS IT”S JUST TEMPORARY!”

“I’m outta here before you two make me completely deaf and insane. I’ll drop your kids off at your house and tell them to hide.” He covered his ears to block out their conversation. “Damn crazy women.”

@@@@@@@@@@@@

Boggs left the precinct with his arms full of folders, he didn’t know how she did it but Xe was scaring the Hell outta him. Worse than she did with the body parts case, he had the FBI run the backgrounds on the three people she wanted and checked on the profiler. What he had was going to make her one happy cop, now if he could survive being in the same room with them both yelling at the tops of their lungs. Taking a few shortcuts to their house, he made it in less than fifteen minutes, now he knew how she got to work so fast and without breaking any laws. It took him some fancy talking to get her out of all the disturbing the peace tickets from the last time she decided to break the law. Going up to the door, he pounded and heard the dogs barking. Remembering the other times he caught them in the middle of something, he covered his eyes and walked in.

“Hey Xe I got something for you!”

“Will it make me all hot and bothered?”

He took a chance and peeked between his fingers to find her standing in front of him with a huge grin on her face.

“Depends on if you get that way about work.” He handed over the files and cringed when Brian came charging into the room in a robe.

“Just for you Boggs!” She went to whip the robe off and saw him cover his eyes. “For the love of the Goddess will you look?”

“I’m afraid to, you know I’m an old man and seeing you naked might kill me.”

“Boggs I’m not naked.”

Taking her word for it, he uncovered his eyes and busted out laughing. “Where the Hell did you get those boxers?” She modeled her Deputy Dawg boxers for him and did a little bow afterwards. “Hey wait a minute, you two aren’t yelling.”

“Walmart and it was only temporary, good thing too, the dogs hid all night long.”

Xe pumped a hand in the air and let out a war cry that had Boggs dropping to the ground and the dogs running for the bedroom. “I knew there was something freaky about that little fucker Edwards!” She handed Brian the file and sat down on the couch to look at the others.

“This says that he’s not really Thomas Edwards but Edward J. Chalms? How did you get this Boggs?”

“I had the FBI run his picture from the hospital employment records. Seems Mr. Chalms is not who he appears to be.”

“You’re telling me!” Brian chuckled then wondered what she was chuckling about. “He has a record longer than his dick…Hell that would be about one traffic ticket. Anyway, he has at least 20 arrests here for everything under the sun.”

“What I want to know is why no one has ever run his background? Or figured out that he never finished high school let alone went to college.” Xe handed another file to her and started on the last one. “What I want to know is Vance told me that his mother never married his father but she put his fathers name on his birth certificate.”

Brian snorted and waved the copy of his birth certificate at Boggs. “I’d say this right here is enough to bring him in for questioning. William J. Davidson, man did definitely got around.”

“Take a look at Chalms birth certificate.” Boggs wiggled his eyebrows.

“Let’s see…Ohhh this is good! Seems our number one bitch is his mother, but they have never claimed to having a son.”

“I did not give birth to that freak of nature.” Xe threw a pillow at her wife. “That would mean that I had to fuck a rat and I don’t do rodents.”

“Does that mean you do other animals? Sorry Xe but you left yourself wide open…,” Boggs cringed when he received ‘The Look.’ “Uuhh forget I said anything.”

“Son of a bitch!” Xe handed the file to Brian and pointed out one section to her.

“What the Hell? Is this like a family thing or something? Davidson is Edwards/Chalms mother and Vance’s aunt. Did the councilman sleep with their mother to?”

Boggs shivered and rubbed his arms. “That I don’t want to know.”

“Can we get all three of them in to the precinct and play them against each other?”

“All we have to do is the paper work.” Boggs waved goodbye and headed out the door, he would get the ball rolling and have all three suspects picked up and brought in. It would really get him in hot water but he had murders to solve and didn’t give a shit.

@@@@@@@@@@@@

Brian and Xe were leaning against the headboard of their bed reading files. With the concentrated looks on their faces, they looked like bookends. Xe flipped through a file and came to the last page; her left eyebrow buried itself in her bangs.

“Bri, do you carry your business card in your scrub pocket?”

“Baby.” She turned to face and irradiated Xe. “My patients don’t need a business card to call me after I’m done to ask questions. If ya haven’t noticed their all dead, so why would I give them one?”

“Because the lab sent back this.” She handed her the plastic enclosed business card.

“When we catch this fucker, I want to know where they had this made up.” She handed it back. “Nice style and easy to read, to bad the dumbass put the wrong middle initial on it.” She leaned over and pointed to the F. “My initial is a D.”

“What’s the D. stand for?” Xe knew she would have to beg and plead; she had tried numerous times before to get her wives middle name out of her and had never succeeded. “Come on baby it’s important.”

“Xe it’s just D. no other letters behind it, I had it changed years ago because I didn’t like it.”

Rolling onto her side, Xe buried her face in her wives breasts and sighed. It was a losing battle and she didn’t have the energy to fight. “OK.”

Brian rolled her eyes, she was hoping for the pleading begging thing that was so unlike her bossy lover. “OK it was De De, and if you ever repeat it I’ll deny the entire thing and cut you off for a month.”

“EWWW!” Was vibrated against her breasts. “Thought Alanda was bad.” She raised her head to look at the shocked expression on Brian’s face.

“Alanda? Why in the Hell would your parents…same reason mine named me Brianna De De. So we need to find out what the F…ohh my Gods!” She jumped from the bed and rummaged through her backpack. Finding what she was looking for, she handed a business card to Xe.

She took one look at the card, jumped from their bed and yelled over her shoulder. “I gotta call Boggs!” A half-hour later, she came charging back into the room and found Brian dressed. “You scare me sometimes, let me get dressed and we’ll get out of here.” She rolled her eyes when Brian held up some clothes for her. “Wack job.”

@@@@@@@@@@@

Xe went into the computer files and found where Dr. Patricia Franks was listed as the Psychiatrist for the Cleveland PD. Until she had quit, she was now consulting for the FBI in Quantico Va. “Assisting the profilers?” Xe looked around her office for Brian. “Hellooo did ya hear me? Guess not.” She shrugged her shoulders and went back into the files to trace all known areas where Edwards/Chalms had lived. What she was doing was illegal but she really didn’t care if she was infringing on peoples lives. Two hours later, she had an entire list of places he had lived along with his juvenile record. It was enough to have him brought in and held for suspicion of car bombing.

“Hey Xe I’ve got our paperwork, lets go bust some assholes!” Brian waved the papers at her and ran for the door.

@@@@@@@@@@@

Brian sat in the passenger seat of the Crown Victoria looking over the arrest warrant for Edward Chalms. Boggs had arranged for two cruisers to pick up Mrs. Davidson and Officer Vance. She had offered to have Xe arrest Chalms because she wanted to see his face when his world fell around his ankles.

“Ya could have waited on me, I’m not as young as I used to be and chasing after you…”

“Xe after what we did all last night, do you really think that I would even believe two words of what you just said?”

Xe ran a hand across her jaw and smirked. “Noooo, but I had to try. Where we going first?”

A huge grin split Brian’s face, her nose wrinkled at the sides giving her a mischievous look. “Were gonna bust Chalms!” Xe dropped down into the seat beside her and gave her the eyebrow.

“We?”

“Yep, you don’t think I’d miss this do ya, after all I had to put up with that asshole.”

“Under one condition, don’t shoot at him until I’m out of the way.”

“How do you know I’m packing?”

“Brian, you sat at my desk and spun the cylinder on your .38 until I thought you wore it out.”

Brian said just one word “Ooohh.” And then hit the lights and sirens on. She and Xe fought over the buttons and switches all the way to the small apartment building where Chalms lived.

@@@@@@@@

The apartment building that Chalms lived in was in the poor section of Frederick. Junky cars lined both sides of the littered cluttered streets, garbage cans sat over flowing at the curbs with rodents and stray dogs and cats fighting over scraps of food. Filthy children played in the alleyways with the occasional passed out drunk of drug addict. To make the area even more appealing for someone to consider it a place to call home, were the drug dealers standing on the sidewalk advertising what they had to sell. The area was known for its reputation of being filled to the brim with cop killers, a cop would rather loose his job than make a call to this part of town. Xe flipped a switch under her seat that disabled the ignition from working, checked her weapons and made sure that Brian was ready before she opened her door.

Brian stuck to Xe’s side like glue, it wasn’t that she was afraid of where they were, it was Xe’s wraith she didn’t want to play with. “Baby can we buy a house in this neighborhood?”

“Only if you run the serpentine wire and walk a twelve hour shift of guard duty.” Xe rubbed at her burning eyes, the stench of urine in the hallway was killing her. If she had known it was this bad, she would have worn a bio suit. “How can these people live like this?”

“I have no idea but I think we should call in a missile strike when we leave, have the entire place flattened and turn it into a state park.” They went up the stairs and down the hallway looking for apartment five. The sight of the door made them stop in their tracks. The framework was chewed up and the doorknob was lying on the floor.

“Shit, we would have a B&E to complicate things.” Xe pulled her phone from her belt and called in to the precinct to Boggs. She wanted him to know of everything they were doing to protect themselves from getting screwed out of a conviction if they found evidence in the apartment. After hanging up, she motioned for Brian to get on the other side of the door and wait. Pulling her revolver, she held it at shoulder height and with the other hand, she reached low on the door and eased it open. Listening for sounds coming from within, she heard nothing but the purr and rattle of the refrigerator. Motioning for Brian to stay, she swept the living room/kitchen with her eyes before going down the short hallway where she thought the bedroom and bathroom would be. She was no sooner down the hallway than the over powering stench of decomposing flesh hit her like a brick wall.

“Mother fuck.” She mumbled and covered her mouth and nose with her hand. Easing down the hallway, she looked into the small bath and saw nothing. The only place left was the bedroom and she knew without opening the closed door what she would find.

“Son of a bitch!” She mumbled and closed the door. “Brian I need you!”

Brian peeked into the room and cussed a blue streak. “Just fucking great! I wanted to see you bust his ass now I’m gonna have to…Oohhh boy!” A wicked grin crossed her features. “Think the family will notice if I cut his balls off?” She looked to her wife.

“Bri take a closer look, someone as sick as you are already did that.”

After going back down to the car, getting their gear and calling Boggs to have him send out a couple units and the meat wagon. They went back in to the bedroom to start collecting evidence. The late Edward Chalms had a little bit more trouble than usual when he shaved his legs. That was one thing that grossed out both women and made them a little envious.

“Damn freak, look how smooth he shaved around his knee caps.” Brian ran a gloved finger over the area. “Not one single nick on his legs and here we practically need to call 911 when we shave our legs.” She looked further up between his legs and chuckled. “I can see why whoever didn’t cut his dick off with his balls, they couldn’t FIND IT!” She pointed to the tiny flaccid member. “He was a real stud!”

“Brian you are the sickest person I know, here I thought I was bad but you’ve got me beat by a long shot.” She looked closely at where his hands were tied to the bedposts and grunted. “How in the Hell are we gonna get him moved without damaging evidence?”

Brian leaned over her shoulder and handed her the camera. “Take a couple shots and don’t worry about it. The knots are the same as the other murder. Although this is a little more gruesome.” The murderer had gutted Chalms and used his intestines to tie his hands and feet to the bed. Brian could tell that he had still been alive when his testicles were cut off from the spay patterns on the wall. The arcs started up high and lowered as his heart slowed. Guessing, she figured that was when his gut was opened and he was tied to the bed. She would know more once they got him back to the morgue and she was able to do a preliminary to establish the pattern of death. She was thinking that maybe he had been knocked out and then killed. It would fit with one of the other murders.

“This really sucks Xe, I was hoping that he was the one killing everyone but now.”

“I know, we only have two suspects left. Let me call Boggs and…,” At that moment her phone vibrated against her hip, she flipped it open and barked into it.

“Sallano!”

“Damn it Xe do you have to break my ear drums?”

“Sorry Boggs, whatcha got for me?”

“I have Mrs. Davidson in an interrogation room and Vance has been at the hospital since last night. I need a guess at the time of death on Chalms.”

“Hold on and I’ll put Bri on.” She handed the phone to Brian and finished with bagging the hands and feet.

“I would guess at about eight hours of so, I can’t take a liver or rectal temperature because he was gutted and that would cause the body to cool faster than normal.” Rolling Chalms to his side, she looked for levidity and got back to Boggs. From what I see right now, it’s a good guess, no rigor has set in yet and the bruising isn’t deep. Why did you need this?”

“Because our other suspect just got a clean bill on an alibi, Officer Vance has been at the hospital since before shift end yesterday. His mother took a turn for the worst and he hasn’t left her bedside since. I have all the nurses and doctors to back it up. That leaves…”

“The widow bitch.”

“Exactly, she has no alibi for the last two days except for herself. We’ve got her in a room and she’s cooling her nasty mouth off.”

“OK, as soon as the meat wagon gets here and I get a better look at Chalms I’ll know more.” She hung up and handed the phone back to Xe. “This really sucks the big one, this would have been my first bust.”

Xe pulled off a glove and rubbed the bridge of her nose. “Baby we have a big problem.” She handed over another business card that she had found under Chalms head. “We need to find your ex and soon.”

@@@@@@@@@

Xe paced in front of the widow Davidson, she knew the caged animal act wore on suspects nerves, especially if she stopped and then jumped at them. More than one guy had pissed himself with her doing that. The cleaners weren’t too happy and neither was the officer who had to take the person down to lock up but it gave her a cheap thrill.

“Ooohh come on! You can do better than that!” She leaned over the table and glared at Mrs. Davidson. “Your baby boy was gutted, his nuts cut off and shoved in his mouth and all you can say is ‘I don’t know why someone would not like him?’ He was a prick! He tried to blow up my wife not once but twice! When the first time didn’t work, he parked the car that someone was murdered in, in her driveway and rigged it to blow!”

“Edward was only responsible for the first one, I told him to leave Dr. Meadows alone. He didn’t do the second bombing.”

“Am I supposed to believe that? He had a record for being arrested for making bombs, arson, aggravated assault, assault and battery with a deadly weapon, stalking and so many other things that I can’t remember all of them. And you’re going to sit there and say he didn’t do it? Get real lady, your son was a nut case and should have been put away years ago. But because of your husbands influence, all Edward ever did was a little bit of community service and pay a fine or two.” She went back to pacing behind the women and mumbled and growled under her breath. “Fucking rich assholes don’t have to abide by laws!” Tossing the spare chair across the room, Xe started yelling close to Davidson’s ear. “Guess who just became the number one suspect in his murder? And if I can, I’m going to pin all the murders on you, because we found a notebook in Edwards’s apartment.” They didn’t but she would try anything to get the woman to talk. “Interesting reading it is and right now it’s with the district attorney and she’s writing up all kinds of papers to make sure you hang! How’s that for retribution for being a bad mother?” Xe looked up when the door opened and saw Boggs motion for her to come out.

“Xe, get over to the morgue right now. Brian found skin under his fingernails and a couple strands of hair that is neither his, Vance’s nor Davidson’s.”

“Shit! Who the Hell can it be if not one of the remaining two? Wait, I found another business card. It might be Brian’s ex doing all this, we need to find a Dr. Patricia Franks. She’s working for the FBI in Quantico.”

“I’ll call out there and see if they know where she lives, we can pull her in and question her.”

Xe shook her head no. “Just find out where she’s been for the last twelve hours or so. The woman is deranged but I can’t see her doing something like this. Plus I don’t want her anywhere near Brian. She tried to kill her once and I don’t want to risk her life.” Xe ran her fingers through her hair and sighed, there were so many thoughts running through her mind at that moment that she couldn’t think clearly. “Boggs, I think the widow bitch knows something.”

“Leave it to me.” He gave her a puppy dog look. “Time for the good cop to play with the mouse.”

@@@@@@@@@

When Xe walked into the autopsy room, she saw that Brian had tears running down her cheeks. Going over to Brian, she pulled the face shield off and pulled her into her arms and held her tight. Caressing the nape of her neck with callused fingertips, she heard a low growl at the back of her throat.

“Why are you crying?” She asked in a low soothing voice.

“I wasn’t really crying.” She pulled back and looked into concerned blue eyes with tear filled green. “I’ve been laughing my ass off for the past hour. My stomach is killing me and I almost pissed myself.”

Xe’s brows drew down over her nose, she was hoping that her wife wasn’t loosing her mind from all the stress she was under.

“Why?”

“Because, when I started to do the exploratory on asshole there, I found some things that are so bizarre that I thought they were hilarious.” She took Xe by her hand and led her over to Chalms. “OK, now look real close at the genital area, especially the tiny little dick.”

“I really don’t want to look at his dick, I hate dicks, there the reason the world sucks.”

“Humor me Xe and you’ll see why I was laughing so hard.”

“If I’m not amused, Bear sleeps on my side of the bed.”

“Deal. Now look and tell me what you see.” She tilted the overhead lamp down so that Xe could see better.

Pale blue eyes widened and shoot up to catch green. “Tell me that’s not a vagina.”

“OK, it’s a weird looking snatch. Look some more.”

“Eeeeww Baby this is gross!” She wrinkled her forehead and went back to looking. “What the fuck is that?” She pointed to what could pass as a penis.”

“Something that the other guys would laugh at. Seems to me that Edward could also have been called Edwina.”

“A hermaphrodite?”

“You got it baby, It looks like at one time the doctors tried to do a sex change but stopped and then years later it was tried again but going in the opposite direction. Edward wanted to be Edwina.”

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

“I’m sorry if Lt. Sallano was a little rough with you.” Boggs said in his most regretful voice. “She gets real testy when someone tries to kill her wife.”

Mrs. Davidson narrowed her eyes at him and snarled. “Those kind should all be killed, they are unnatural.”

Boggs narrowed his own eyes, his face took on a light redness from anger. “Those two women have never hurt anyone by them loving each other.”

“Would you think that way if one of your own children was like them?”

Boggs leaned forward towards her and held her eyes. “I love those two women as if they were my children, so no, it would not bother me and I would treat them no different than anyone else. Why do you have a problem with Gays and Lesbians, was that what Edward was?”

“I will not discuss my son with you or anyone else.” She sat back in chair and examined her fingernails.

“Ohh I see now, Edward was gay and that’s why he was never mentioned at all.”

“It wasn’t because of that, he was always in trouble. Right up until he was killed.” She took a deep breath. “My husband always treated Edward like a freak of nature and swore up and down that he was not his. Red headed stepchild had nothing on the way William treated him. When he turned six, he was sent to boarding school after boarding school. He would last maybe three or four months and be kicked out.”

“At the age of six he was thrown out of school?” Boggs rubbed his chin and shook his head; he had lived through the terrible twos with his daughters but never had a problem after that. He had a hard time believing what she was saying.

“Captain, Edward was born a hermaphrodite. When he was a baby, the doctors tried to make him a male but the surgery was botched. He did not look like a normal boy. Back then, they did not do the hormone testing that they do now. Later, he went to other doctors and tried to become a female but once again, the surgery was a failure.”

“As I understand it, they have excellent doctors that do those procedures. Couldn’t he have sued for malpractice?”

“Captain, Edward was cut off from his family. He went to quacks because that was all he could afford. To get money, he did all sorts of illegal things not to mention he worked at jobs that he was nowhere qualified to do.”

“So you’re saying that the reason he tried to kill Dr. Meadows was because he was a hermaphrodite?”

“He wanted her job.”

Boggs knew that was only part of the reason and suspected that he and Mrs. Davidson had something to do with Mr. Davidson’s death along with the others. “I know that he tried to discredit her job performance and failed. Now tell me about Officer Vance, what is it with him?” He watched as her face paled and her hands twitched on the tabletop.

“He’s my nephew and William’s illegitimate son; William slept with my sister before we were married.”

“Would he kill your husband?”

“I don’t know, I don’t really know the man. It’s been over twenty years since I spoke to my sister.”

“Then I think you should know that she’s in the hospital dieing of cancer.”

He watched tears form in her eyes, before she lost her composure; he helped her from the seat and to the door. “Mrs. Davidson, don’t leave the area, we may need more information and thank you for answering my questions.”

@@@@@@@@@

Xe sat at Brian’s desk going over the coroners reports from the other victims, she knew it had to be the same person responsible for all of them but she couldn’t figure out where or if William Davidson fit into the picture. She knew from Brian, that Vance could not have been the one that had left semen behind as evidence and neither could Chalms. What she needed were all the personal effects from Chalms apartment, her gut was telling her that he was involved in the whole scheme some how.

“Brian, I need to go back to Chalms apartment and look through all his papers and shit.” She leaned back in the chair when she felt Brian step behind her. Resting her head on her wives chest, she groaned when strong fingers dug into the tight muscles of her shoulders.

“He’s involved in this some how huh?” She asked as she ran her thumbs against the base of Xe’s neck and caused her to drop her head forward. “If we find woman’s clothes in his closet, I’m taking them to his bitch of a mother.”

“OK, just hope that’s the weirdest thing we find. Who knows maybe he had a strap on for when he was trying to be a man.” She tilted her head back so that she could look into Brian’s eyes. “What did the lab results say about the semen found in Davidson?”

“Not much, the person was a non-secretor. Just like millions of males, I sent off the fingernail scrapings with an urgent on them, hopefully they’ll get it back to us with a DNA typing and Blood type in the next couple of days.” She gave Xe a sneaky looking grin. “I put your name down as the contact and put a note on the bottom of the forms that you’d kick ass if they didn’t get them back ASAP.”

“Like that’s going to make them rush? Those people hate me.” She pouted and yelped when her ear was twitched.

“I also put down my name hyphenated, if that doesn’t get them, I will.”

@@@@@@@@

Mrs. Davidson sat in her small parlor and waited for the phone to be answered on the other end. She had tried getting a hold of both her daughters earlier that day but reached their answering machines. Even though neither one of them really knew Edward, they were family and should know of his murder. In less than a month, she had lost her husband and her son. It couldn’t get any worse, if it did she didn’t know what she would do.

“Hello, Christine is that you?”

“Yes mother, what can I do for you?”

“It’s Edward, he was found murdered in his apartment. I would like for you and your sister to come home for a week or so.”

“I’ll try but I have class and I don’t know if my boss will give me the time off.”

“Christine, he was your brother whether you liked him or not. Please do this for me.”

“I’ll try. Do you want me to get a hold of Cissy?”

“Yes, I’ve called three times today and I haven’t been able to reach her. I’ve planned Edwards funeral to be this Wednesday, can you both make it then?”

“Yes mother, as for the rest of the week I’ll let you know then. I have to run, I’ll talk to you later.”

Mrs. Davidson was proud of her daughters, both were in college in Boston and majoring in Medicine. She couldn’t figure out where she had gone wrong where it came to Edward, maybe if she would have stood up to her husband things would have turned out differently. She knew that William was a good father to the girls and would do anything he could for his favorite Cissy. They were so much alike that it would seem that they were twins. Where Christian was dark and brooding like her, Cissy was fair with shinning green eyes and long wavy blonde hair. She was the complete opposite of her brother and sister. A bit flighty at times but she was a fun person to be around and had many friends, where Christine was a loner and preferred her studies to dating.

@@@@@@@

Xe searched through the numerous boxes of papers and notebooks that she had found stashed in a closet in the small bedroom that was Chalms. Nothing so far had jumped out at her and was becoming boring. She had never liked this part of an investigation, she preferred to let the uniforms or one of the other detectives, do this part. She was more in to the adding up the facts from questioning suspects, friends, family and acquaintances of the victims. She was nowhere near being a people person but she was good at reading people. Right now she was reading something very erotic in the way Brian was kneeling in front of her. They had left right from the hospital and Brian had not changed from her surgical scrubs. She was glad that no one else worked with her because she would have to shot them.

“Baby where’s your bra?”

Twinkling green eyes and a small wicked smile sent shivers down her spine. Xe knew she shouldn’t have asked because she knew she would get a smart-ass answer.

“Same place yours is, lost in the heat of the moment.” She handed over a picture and pointed to two young women in it. “They all look related some how, doesn’t the bitch have daughters?”

Xe looked at the two young women standing on either side of a smiling Edward Chalms.

“I think these are his sisters, from what Boggs got from the bitch, they didn’t like Edward.” She handed back the picture. “I’d say that was a lie, they look awful damn happy to be with him in that picture.” Brian flipped it over and noticed that it was only two months old.

“I think he probably got along better with them than his parents. Maybe you can have them checked out, see where they are.” She sorted through more pictures and gave out a yell that had Xe jumping. “Look at this one!” She waved the picture in front of Xe until her wrist was grabbed to hold the picture still.

“HE was our catholic school girl? Son of a bitch! So he was involved some how with his father’s death.” She looked closer at the picture and grinned. “I don’t think his father knew who he was, he looks completely different dressed like a women. To bad the councilman is dead, I would love to…,”

“Tell him he was fucking a man that just so happened to be his son?”

“Evil minds think a like. Come on baby lets get out of here, I feel…nasty.” She wiped her hands on her thighs and stood up but not without looking down Brian’s scrub shirt again. “Really nasty!” She lifted a corner of her mouth and winked.

“Soooo ya gonna dress like a catholic school girl for me?” Brian wiggled her brows and laughed at the sick expression on Xe’s face. “OK, I’ll settle for grape jelly and peanut butter.”

“Huh? What are you…Ooohh, you’re kinky Bri.”

@@@@@@@@@

The day of Edwards funeral brought out a different side of Lt. Sallano and Dr. Meadows. The entire way to the funeral home, Brian sat facing Xe and just stared at her. Her chanting of “Mine all MINE!” was getting on Xe’s last gay nerve and at any second she would gag her until they reached their destination. “What is wrong with you today?”

“Mine alllll mine!!! Eat your hearts out boys!” She licked her lips as her eyes traveled over every inch of her wives black Armani suit covered body. “You need to dress like this more often.” She ran a finger over the black suit sleeve from wrist to shoulder. “Or a black tux!” She grabbed at her heart and fell over in the seat.

“Come on BD before Boggs kicks my ass.”

Brian shot her a quizzical look. “BD?”

“Yeah, stands for what you are today, Brain dead.” She gave Brian the once over and smirked. “You need to dress like that more often.” She took in the dark gray suit jacket, trousers and pale blue dress shirt. “Gillian Anderson has nothing on you baby.”

“I know.” She took Xe’s hand and walked beside her into the funeral home that was lucky if it had a dozen people in the place. “He had a lot of friends didn’t he?”

“Screws up our blending in thing that’s for sure.” They took seats as far away from the other people as possible. Xe’s eyes scanned the room for the two woman in the picture and finally found them in a far corner on the opposite side of the room from their mother. “That’s just too weird, talk about a dysfunctional family.”

After the service, Brian and Xe made it out of the funeral home before the others, they wanted to get to the cemetery and be someplace that they could observe without being obvious. It was a chance but, sometimes the murderer showed at the funerals for kicks. Standing a distance off, they watched as the two sisters stood opposite of their mother. One would think that a mother and her daughters would be closer in a time of mourning. Not this family, they made the Adams Family look normal. Once the casket was lowered into the ground and everybody left, Brian and Xe hung around for another half hour to see if anyone showed up. Just the grave keeper came by to rake the fresh dirt over the grave.

“You know Xe, this is kinda sad.” She looked out to where Edward now rested. “He really didn’t have anyone in his life. Granted he was a sick bastard but even Manson had friends.”

@@@@@@@@

Brian had gone in to the hospital to take care of some autopsies that needed to be done before the next day. She left with Xe working at her desk trying to figure out how all the pieces of the puzzle fit in and who their murderer could be. Xe knew that there was no way that Mrs. Davidson could have killed the other people. Her stature alone proved that, she would be lucky to be able to pick up a five-pound bag of sugar let alone a dead body weighing over 180 pounds. Edward would be able to but with some trouble, Vance would have no trouble at all, his body was of someone who worked out regularly at the gym, the only problem was that he had his partner as an alibi. She would under normal circumstances think that the partner was covering for him. But she knew his partner and had rode with the twenty plus career cop. There was no way he would cover for Vance no matter what. She had gone over the recent lab results on the evidence collected and noted that the hair found at one of the sights matched the DNA of Chalms, the only problem was how the scene was set up. It would take a very strong man to hold a body upside down and tie it to a tree. It kept bouncing back and forth to Vance.

“I need a break. Bear, Fugly wanna go for a walk?” She heard the sound of nails on the tile floor coming towards her.

@@@@@@@@@

Brian felt the air move around her, she looked back over her shoulder to see one of Edwards sisters standing in the doorway of her office. Closing the file she had been working on she turned in her chair to address the young woman.

“Can I help you?”

“Are you Dr. Meadows?”

“Yeah I am.” Brian replied while getting to her feet.

“I’m Christian Davidson, Edwards sister.” She held out a large hand to Brian but did not move any closer to her. “You were his boss weren’t you?”

“Yes I was, for a few weeks. Is there something I can do for you?”

The woman looked around the place she was and shivered. “Can we go someplace else to talk, I really don’t like being down here.”

“It’s not the dead that can hurt you, it’s the living but I understand.” She motioned to the door leading out to the docks. “We can go outside, I have a couple of chairs on the dock.”

“That’s fine, I wanted to come and see you to…I want to know about my brother.”

Brian opened the door and pointed to one of the chairs she had bought for her and Xe to sit in while they were at the hospital.

“I didn’t know him at all, we saw very little of each other and then the administrator fired him.”

Christine brushed her shoulder length dark hair back from her face and neck, her dark eyes looked down at the ground between her feet. Glancing back up at Brian for a minute, she cleared her throat before speaking. “Edward was always looking for the easy way, shortcuts, you name it. When I would see him he would tell me of some scheme he worked up to get a head in life. It very rarely worked, he falsified documents about his college degrees. Edward never finished high school let alone attended any college.”

“Miss. Davidson, why was he doing all of this? I know about his sexual problems and the cost of surgery but why lie about so many things?”

“It was Edwards way of getting back at the rest of the family, he wanted to crash the high and mighty William Davidson’s social reputation. He figured that if he got in enough trouble, our father would have to acknowledge him.”

“But it did the opposite didn’t it, your father just turned a blind eye and continued as if he had no son.” Brian leaned back in the chair and watched the shocked expression on the young woman’s face. “Can you tell me if Edward would have posed as a woman to embarrass your father…maybe have pictures taken and used as blackmail or some other angle?”

Christine’s face paled, her words came slowly as if to keep from stuttering. “Edward didn’t know what sex he wanted to be, he dressed as a woman when he went out to bars. As far as setting up my father, I never thought of it until I was told how he was found dead in a motel room under unusual circumstances. I know that Edward could not have killed anyone, he was strange but he had problems with death it’s self.”

“Why did he want to be the chief medical examiner or even work around dead people if that’s how he felt?” Brian was confused, there had to be some other reason he had tried so hard to ruin her career.

“It wasn’t the job, it was being in a hospital where he could make contacts with doctors.”

“I see, he wanted free consultation and maybe a surgery or two. Getting off topic here for a second, Edward and your father were customers of a nightclub that specializes in kinky sex and other things. We were told by an employee that Edward was always seen with an older woman.” She leaned forward in her chair and held the dark brown eyes without blinking. “Did he have any female friends that you knew of or do you know who could have gone with him?”

Christine sighed and rubbed at her temples, she nodded her head yes. “He went with our mother, she was trying to teach him how to be a female.” She looked unflinchingly at Brian. “I think my mothers crazy, I think she had something to do with our fathers death.”

“Why do you say that?” Brian was on a roll, Xe would jump for joy if she got some information on the rich bitch.

“My mother and father had one of those marriages that was for public only. They slept in separate bedrooms in different parts of the house. It was almost like they were housemates, they were civil with each other but that was all. I often wondered why they had any of us kids to begin with.”

“Is there only you and your sister left?” She watched a spark cut across the dark eyes.

“Yes, Cissy lives a couple of minutes away from me in Boston. Cissy is a…slut to put it bluntly. The typical loose female college student that is the center of every Frat party or has been known to have slept with the entire sports team roster. She pushed up the sleeves of her sweatshirt and watched as Brian’s green eyes grew intense. She lifted her left arm and indicated the scratches. “I teach a class on self defense at the college, one of my students refuses to trim her nails so I suffer frequently from scratches and bruises.” Brian noticed the inflamed redness around them and became a little worried for the woman.

“Have you had that looked at, it looks like it’s infected.” Her green eyes continued to examine the area. “Would you mind if I take a look?”

“No go a head, I’d forgotten about them actually.” She held out her arm for Brian and winced when she felt tender fingers probe around the area.

“Does this woman have a filthy job or is around a lot of bacterial agents?” She was worried because it looked like a staff infection and could cause other problems if not treated properly.

“Ohh shit! She works at a pet store near campus. Should I go in to the ER and get a prescription or something?”

“I can take care of that for you, just give me a minute and I’ll be right back.” Brian went back into her office and pulled one of her prescription pads from her desk drawer, she would tell Xe what she had seen and have her do a back ground on Christine Davidson. It was funny that the woman would come to see her and then to have defensive scratches on her arm. She just placed the woman on her list as most likely to have killed Edward. Returning to Christine, she handed her a prescription for a strong antibiotic cream and Tetracycline pills. If that didn’t kill what ever she had only amputation would.

Christine looked at the script and arched an eyebrow. “How many medical degrees do you have?”

“Just five.” She grinned. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I knew it was a field in medicine.”

“Excuse me for saying this but you don’t look old enough to have even passed your internship.”

“I guess taking college courses when I was still in grade school paid off in the end.” Brian handed her one of Xe’s business cards. “If you think of anything or just want to talk, call that number on the bottom. It’s my wife’s cell phone but she can get a hold of me.” She noticed the funny look on Christine’s face. “Does it bother you that I’m married to a woman?”

“Ohh no not at all its just that not many people would address their partner like you did. I have no problem with same sex relationships and no one else should either.” She held out her hand to Brian. “Thank you Dr. Meadows, if I think of anything I’ll give you a call. I have to run, I’m meeting my mother for an early dinner.” She searched through her pockets until she found a small leather carrying case. “Here’s one of my cards in case you need to ask any more questions, thanks again.” She gave Brian a small smile and jumped down from the dock to jog around the side of the building.

“Ohh boy Xe are we ever in some deep shit.” She mumbled and then looked at the business card before sticking it into her pocket.

@@@@@@@

The dogs ran around the open field back behind Xe and Brian’s house, it wasn’t often that they were outside of the fenced in yard and now they thought they were in heaven. Xe sat in the grass under a small tree watching them chase butterflies and grasshoppers, poor Fugly, being so small, she kept tripping over the grass or Bear would run her over as she chased after something. Their little barks and growls were carried on the breeze back to the house where Brian was just getting out of her truck. A smirk covered her mouth when she realized that Xe was playing with their kids out back. She looked into the back yard and saw nothing, confused, she looked around until she saw a cinnamon colored fuzz ball jump up and charge towards her. Brian heard Xe yelling at her to get her little hairy ass back where she’s supposed to be. Of course Bear was just like her other mother and never listened. Clapping her hands, Brian urged the little dog on until Bear jumped into her arms.

“Let’s go terrorize your Ma, she deserves it for skipping out of work today.”

Placing Bear back down, she jogged towards where she had come from and found Xe chasing Fugly around the field.

“Come back here you ugly dog!” Xe yelled and made a tackling dive at Fugly. “Rotten little shit!” She lay on her stomach in the grass, and watched as Fugly stopped dead two feet away and laid down to look at her on the same level. “Bad ass!” Brian couldn’t pass up the chance to get one over on Xe, she quietly stepped behind her and fell forward to land on top of her wife.

“Yes I am and there ain’t a damn thing you can do about it.”

“I know that Baby, but can you do something about our rotten kids?” She pointed a finger at Fugly and growled. “Especially that one!”

“I’d rather do something with you but first I have this.” She pulled the business card from her pocket and held it in front of Xe’s eyes. “I had a nice talk with Christine Davidson at work today.” She told Xe everything that she had heard from the younger woman, and told her about the infected scratches on her forearm. “She says she teaches a self defense class and that’s where she got them.”

“Let me see that card.” Xe looked it over and swore under her breath. “It’s the same type of card that we found on the bodies.” She pointed to a small symbol in the lower left hand corner.

“Ooohh shit! She could be the murderer.”

“If she does teach self defense then she knows how to render someone unconscious quickly. I’ll get on the computer and see what I can find out about her and her sister. If I wait for the other detectives to run it, it might be too late.”

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

“Son of a bitch, she’s mother Teresa! She doesn’t even have bad credit!” Xe was getting frustrated with every passing second. She had pulled up everything she could find On Christine Davidson and came up with nothing. The young woman was on a full scholarship to Harvard, on the Deans list for the past three years and seemed not to have a life at all except for school.

Brain was leaning on Xe’s shoulder and looking at the screen with her. “Baby how about her sister, see if she’s at the same school. She said her name was Cissy.” Xe went into the search area and typed in the name, after a few moments it came up with nothing. She typed in every way possible that it could be spelled and still found nothing. Even just putting in the last name only came up with half a dozen people and none of them was Cissy.

“Only one thing to do and that’s to go to the bitches house and talk to her.” Xe tilted her head back and rubbed her cheek against Brian’s. “We don’t really have enough evidence to bring her in but she might give away something if I trip her up.”

“OK, let’s go then before she skips out on us.” Just before they were to go out the door, the phone rang. Brian looked to see Xe plugging her ears with her fingers. Rolling her eyes at her, she grabbed the phone and barked into it.

“I play with dead things!” A male voice hesitated on the other end for a second.

“I…uhhmm…I thought this was…Lt. Sallano’s number.”

“It is this is Dr. Meadows can I help you?” She swayed her head to the side for Xe to come over to her.

“This is Officer Vance; I really need to speak with her, its urgent!” He sounded very worried to Brian so she held out the phone to Xe.

“It’s Vance.”

Xe’s brow shot up to her hairline, he was the last person she thought she would hear from that day. “Vance this is Sallano what do you need?”

“Ma’am, I really need to speak to you in person. I’m at the hospital down in the part that they don’t use anymore. I think the boiler room is near by.”

“We’ll be there in twenty minutes or so.”

“Please hurry!” Were his last words before the sound of a loud click and then the dial tone.

“Bri do you know where the old part of the building is that they don’t use anymore?”

“Yeah it’s down at the end of my hallway, the doors always locked so I’ve never been in that section. Why?”

“Because that’s where Vance is.” A pensive expression came over her face. “He didn’t sound right to me, like he was scared or something.”

“Wouldn’t you be if you were in an abandoned part of the hospital? What I want to know is why he’s there?”

“Me too, time to vest up and hope he just wants to confess to murder and not commit two more.”

@@@@@@@@@@@

Vance had sweat pouring off his face to drip down the sides and land on the old gurney that he had been strapped down on. His shirt was torn open and a gleaming surgical bread knife hovered over his abdomen.

“Very good pretty boy but I lied when I said I wouldn’t gut you.” The voice was wispy as it traveled through the dark mask covered face. Vance had no idea who it was besides the person who had been trying to send him to prison for most of his life. “You have some kind of guardian angel on your shoulder; I’ve tried getting rid of you for years now.” The blade lowered and just gently touched the skin beneath his nipple. He let out a forced breath when he felt the burning of his skin parting beneath its razor edge. He felt his blood flow down his side and soak into the dirty sheet beneath him. “If you had only paid attention to me all those years ago, none of this would have happened. I wouldn’t have had to kill all those people.” An insane hysterical laugh burst forth then nothing. “Now the councilman, was a gift to everyone, he was a royal ass and should have been killed years ago.”

“Who are you?” Vance forced out between clenched teeth.

“You’ll never know, it’s my secret and not even in death will you find out!” With a quick flick of a wrist, the knife came down and sliced open Vance’s abdomen. His screams rang out in the abandoned room and died out as he passed out from pain. The sound of a heavy door slamming had the masked person running from the room to hide in an old supply room. Leaving the door opened part way, eyes pierced the darkness and waited for the next victims.

@@@@@@@@@@

“Xe I feel like I’m enclosed in a suit of armor here.” She tapped the front of her body. “Why do I have to wear a Kevlar vest and you don’t?”

“Because I’m wonder woman and bullets ricochet off my wrist watch.”

“Bullshit! You carry a pocket watch.” She pointed a finger at her and jabbed her in the chest. “If you get shot I am not calling 911.”

Xe wrapped an arm around her shoulders and pulled her close. “Yes you will.” She kissed her temple and grinned down at her. “Because you hate me.”

“Damn.” Brian mumbled and opened the door that had always been locked before. The sound of it slamming behind them made her jump. “You know I hate places like this, it’s almost as bad as that creepy ass house we went in.” The hallway was dimly lit with just the emergency lights and the red exit sign over the door they had just come from. Dust covered the floor and cobwebs hung from the ceiling panels. And the skittering of rodents could be heard if the breath was held.

“Nothing can be that bad…what’s that up ahead?” She saw a low gleam of light coming from underneath a door. “Stay behind me.”

“Ohh so you can get shot first? NOT!” Xe turned and went nose to nose with her.

“Brian humor me will ya? Vance is not going to shot me.”

“Well if he does, I’m still not calling 911.” Xe rolled her eyes and stepped in front of Brian as she quietly moved towards the door. Placing her ear to its surface, she listened for any sound coming from inside. When she heard nothing, she turned the door handle and eased it open.

“Xepher.”

Not turning around Xe waved a hand behind her.

“Allanda!”

Xe turned and froze before the word ‘what’ could come from her mouth.

“After all these years someone has come close to catching me. But it seems that you won’t get the chance.” Brian was held at knifepoint, one thick arm was wrapped around her neck and the knife was pointed at her stomach. Xe’s eyes went icy cold as they locked on the mask-covered face of who she knew was the person behind so many murders. “I expected you to come alone but I must say, this will be more interesting and a huge thrill to me. You see…,” The knife moved up and down across Brian’s windbreaker, making a whisking noise as it scratched the surface. “This will be the first time that I gut someone with a witness.”

Xe’s voice dropped to a dangerous purr. “Let her go and take me, she’s not a cop.”

“Her profession has nothing to do with this. You see, she knows Vance and all the others.” A crazed laughing sent shivers up Brian and Xe’s spine. “Vance spilled his guts…twice!” More laughter and then it calmed to a low throaty voice. “But nothing like that weak Edward, sure he fought at first but once I cut him he cried like a baby and begged me! I did the world a service, they were all weak!”

Xe took a small step forward and stopped when the knife was pressed tighter against Brian. “You sick mother fucker!” She raised a hand and stopped.

“Ahhh aaahhh! Hand away from your piece of I’ll…well I’m going to do that anyway!” Xe connected eyes with Brian and tried to send her a silent message, all she saw was a stoniness she had never seen before in her wives eyes. “Are you ready Dr. Meadows?”

Two voices rang out, Brian yelling ‘Do it!’ and Xe yelling ‘NO!’ as she lunged forward towards them. Brian bent at her knees as the knife was raised, tilting her head back, she jumped upward and connected the top of her head with the taller persons chin. A loud click of teeth hitting together and a loud yelp came from behind her. She reached up with one hand and grabbed the wrist with the knife in it just as Xe collided with them and took them to the floor. Bodies fought for purchase of the knife skittering across the floor until Xe got to her knees and pulled her pistol. In the dim light, she couldn’t distinguish between Brian and the other person.

“Brian get out of the way!”

“I can’t!” She yelled back and then a yelp of pain came from her. “FUCKER!” Then a loud cracking noise filled the hallway and more cries of pain. Xe holstered her gun and tried to pull the two bodies apart, a searing pain shot through her side as the knife flashed past her. She howled in pain and fell backwards gripping her side.

“You’re dead!” More sounds of a fist hitting flesh and then Brian yelping in pain. “MOTHER FUCKER!” A loud banging sound erupted in the hallway followed by another. Then all was quiet except for the heavy breathing of two women. “Xe will I go to jail for this?” Brian asked as she rolled off the lifeless body beneath her and holstered her .38.

“Only if I do.” Xe holstered her .9mm and covered her side. “Uuuhhmm Bri I think I have a slight problem here.” She pulled away her hand to see it covered with blood.

“I told you that I’m not calling 911.”

“But I didn’t get shot.”

“Sometimes I wonder what you would do without me, lets go in that room so I can see if I can fix it with duct tape.”

“You are so generous, just make sure that thing is dead, I don’t want it walking out of here.”

“Oohh it’s not going anywhere without part of its head. My aim was off a bit.” She rolled to her feet and helped Xe up. “From now on, you will wear a vest and I won’t argue with you about it.”

“But…” Was all Xe could say since a hand covered her mouth.

“You will wear one, now get in there.” Brian pushed the door open and ran into the back of her wife. “Why’d you stop?”

“Brian call for help, it’s Vance.”

Both women walked over to the blood soaked gurney, Brian checked for a pulse at Vance’s neck and looked up to Xe. “He’s still alive; help me get the gurney out of here!” They pushed the gurney down the hall and towards the elevator near Brian’s office, she took Xe’s phone and called the ER desk and told them to have the ER Doctor on call waiting for them. “He’s a lucky bastard; I don’t think his intestines were damaged except for a little bit of drying out.”

“I have to call Boggs and get a unit over here.” Xe took the phone from Brian and made her call, the entire time she was trying to staunch the blood flow from her side. The second the elevator doors opened, the ER team pulled the gurney out and rushed it down the hallway towards the surgery wing. “Brian are you hurt anywhere?” Xe asked as she spun Brian around to face her, she saw rips and tears in the front of the windbreaker and blood smears and splatters on the tops of Brian’s small hands.

“I’m OK, but my…I mean your jacket is trashed. I think I may have fractured my hand when I smashed the psychos face in.”

“Come on lets have one of the doctors take a look at it.” Xe turned and walked a few steps and stopped when she realized that Brian was not beside her. Looking over her shoulder, she saw that Brian was standing behind her with her arms crossed over her chest and a foot tapping the floor.

“I don’t even think so wonder dummy, I’m not the one dripping blood all over the floor.” She pointed to an examination room. “Now get your ass in that room!”

“Briiiiian.” Xe whined and found out it didn’t work. “Oohh all right I’ll go, but you better not use duct tape on me, I’m allergic.”

“Big baby.” Brian mumbled. She made Xe get up on the examination table, helping her remove her windbreaker and shirt; she then helped her pull her sports bra over her head.

Blue eyes narrowed and gazed into dark green. “Why couldn’t I have left my bra on?”

“Because I’m a perverted doctor and I wanna drool all over your tits. Now let me see where all this blood is coming from.” She had Xe sit sideways on the table, with gentle fingers she examined the knife wound. “A couple thousand staples ought to close it.”

“Haaa! Funny baby. Just put some butterflies on it and I’ll be good as new.” She looked up when the door opened and an older nurse stepped into the room and glared at both of them.

“Excuse me but what are you doing in here, this room is off limits with the exception of hospital personal.”

“Xe I want my credentials tattooed on my forehead!” Brian spun around and gave the nurse a leveling glare. “Which credential would you like, the one that says I’m a surgical specialist in the reattachment of severed limbs, forensic pathology, abnormal psychology, general surgery or that I just so happen to be the Chief Medical examiner for this hospital!” Brian was on a roll, her temper was flaring by the second and the only thing that saved the nurse from a sudden death was Boggs stepping into the room.

He ignored the fact that Xe was sitting there with an amused smirk on her face and topless. “Jesus Christ you two! I can’t leave you two alone with anyone before you start picking fights or shooting them!” Nurse if you will excuse the Doctor and her stubborn patient, I heard a commotion in the waiting room and they need your help.” The older woman left with out a word but a backward glance at Brian. “You two have some explaining to do!” He pointed a finger at Xe and then turned a beat red from embarrassment.

Xe told Boggs the entire story starting with the conversation Brian had with Christine Davidson earlier that day, the similar business cards and then the call from Vance saying that he needed to speak with her.

“We left the body downstairs in the hallway.” She shrugged her shoulders and then flinched with pain. “Baby will sew that up before I bleed to death?”

“After I scrub the shit out of it, that knife was probably taken from my autopsy room and used on Vance.” She watched Xe’s face match the paler of her own with worry. “Just for precaution, I want to start the Meds to prevent AIDS on both of us and take blood.”

“Gods Xe, I never thought of that.” Boggs ran a hand through his thinning hair; his eyes showed enough worry for all three of them. “I’ll send down the team to get the body and take it into the autopsy room and them I’m going over to Mrs. Davidson’s to have a chat.”

“Hold on Boggs, we’re going with you.”

“Ohh no we’re not Xe! We’re staying right her and take our meds.” She turned to Boggs. “You’ll bring Davidson here for identification right?”

“Yeah, I’ll see you two in your office in a little while. Brian take care of that stubborn ass wife of yours.” He squeezed her shoulder and winked at a pouting Xe.

“I can’t believe I’m gonna let a dead peoples doctor sew me up and what’s this with all the credentials?”

“I wasn’t always the party animal I am today.” She grinned up at Xe. “At one time not so long ago I worked my ass off studying all kinds of medicine before I picked this one as my career.”

“OK Dr. Frankenstein sew me up but I like my parts just the way they are.” She rolled her eyes when Brian gave her a rakish grin and latched her eyes onto the bare breasts in front of her.

“So do I. Now hold still.” Brian scrubbed up and donned a pair of surgical gloves before cleaning the injured area with a strong astringent. An hour later, Xe had 45 small sutures from above her right hip angling upwards towards her ribcage. It was time for their shots to help prevent any unwanted virus from invading their bodies. Xe couldn’t figure out why Brian was doing that since the knife hadn’t cut her. Her eyes widened when Brian pulled the windbreaker off and showed her the deep gash in her forearm.

“Ohh Gods Brian, I didn’t know you got cut.” She took Brian’s arm and looked closer at the nasty wound. “Let me go get a doctor to suture that for you.”

“Come on Xe, I can do this myself. Just hold the suture tray for me and help me tie the knots.” Xe had to hand it to her wife; she was talented when it came to neat sutures. Neither one of them would scar too badly from this altercation with evil. Now with Xe wearing a scrub shirt and Brian a long white lab coat, they went down to her office to examine the murderer and wait for Boggs to get there with the head bitch Davidson.

@@@@@@@

Police officers stood guard outside of the autopsy room, they each nodded their heads at the women as they went through the doors and over to the blood soaked sheet of the murderer. Brian took a corner of the sheet and pulled it back to reveal the tattered black hood that covered the face. “Well we have one bullet hole under the chin that’s from me and one in the throat that’s from you.” She looked up at a still pale Xe and smiled. “I’d say they were both kill shots.”

“Just tell me that you’re not good with axes or other things that can hack a body up.”

“Xe if I was a nut case and wanted to kill you, I’d do it in bed. Now help me here, I want this bitch ready for Boggs and her mother.” She eased the hood off and stared down at an unfamiliar face. “Who in the Hell is this?” Her confused green eyes locked with equally confused blue.

“I have no idea.” She ran her fingers down her face and swore. “Shit, I guess we’ll have to run finger prints.” She turned when one of the officers called her name and handed her his radio. “What’s going on?” She asked him.

“It’s Chief Boggs; he’s been relayed through the switchboard.”

“Go ahead Boggs what have ya got?”

“Bad news Xe, Mrs. Davidson is on her way to the morgue in a body bag and I’m bringing in Christine Davidson as soon as the paramedics give me the go ahead.”

“We’re going to need the fingerprint guy here; we have no idea who this woman is that attacked us.”

“Don’t worry about it.”

“OK, later.” She handed the radio back to the officer and sighed when Brian looked at her. “Can this get any more complicated?”

“Yeah if you don’t sit down you’ll pass out on top of nameless here.” Brian stepped up to Xe, wrapped her arms gently around her waist, and leaned into her body. Tucking her head under her wives chin, she mumbled against her. “Don’t you ever scare me like you did tonight.”

“Me? You’re the one who was wrestling on the floor with a knife-totting nutcase. You scared the Hell outta me when you did that head butting thing.” She kissed the crown of a blonde head and then rested her cheek against the soft hair. “I couldn’t let you get stabbed or hurt; if I lost you it would kill me.”

“Don’t you think I feel the same way? You were unprotected; I had on a SWAT vest. All I could think of when you lunged at us was you getting stabbed in the stomach or chest.”

“From now on, neither one of us does anything this stupid again, deal?”

“Deal. Now let’s go sit down and wait for Boggs. My adrenaline rush is long gone and I’m exhausted.”

@@@@@

After the paramedic on the scene cleared Christine, Boggs drove the distraught young woman over to the hospital. He had gone over to the house to question Mrs. Davidson and found Christine lying in the front yard unconscious. The side of her face was covered in blood and a deep purple bruise was forming from her temple to her jaw line. He had immediately called for back up and went into the house. After searching the entire downstairs, he was just about to head to the upstairs area when one of the officers came through the front door. The two of them searched the rooms until they had come to the master bedroom and found Mrs. Davidson lying on the bed with a plastic bag over her head, wrists tied to the headboard and her ankles tapped with duct tape. From the blue color of her face, he knew that they were too late. His only witness was the young Davidson who was outside; he hoped that she could recall what happened. “I’m taking you downstairs to Dr. Meadows office; Lt. Sallano is there right now. I know she’ll have some questions for you.”

“Where’s my mother?” She asked in a low shaky voice.

“I’m sorry, we found her upstairs. Some one suffocated her with a plastic bag.”

“Who’s killing all of my family?” She broke down into tears and soft sobs. “I want this person found Chief! I may be next when they find out I’m not dead.”

“Do you remember anything of what happened to you?”

She shook her head and groaned as a sharp pain shot through her temple. “I just got home from seeing a friend of mine, I remember walking towards the front door and that’s all.” She searched her pockets for her phone. “Did someone pick up my cell phone I need to call my sister.”

@@@@@@@@@@@

Brian and Xe had fallen asleep on the futon in the office mere minutes after lying down. The long day and the adrenaline rush had taken a lot out of them. The only way that they could escape from the horrors of the jobs they led was in the land of sleep wrapped in each other’s arms. Xe’s eyes flickered open when she heard her name being called in a deep whisper. She squinted her eyes at the dark figure and groaned.

“Five more minutes Boggs.”

“Sorry kid no can do, I have Christine with me. The girl is ready to go off the deep end. She can’t get a hold of her sister and she thinks the killer may have gotten her.”

“OK, let me wake up Bri and we’ll be there in a minute.” She watched her long time friend leave the room and console the grieving young woman in the hall.

“Christine, Lt. Sallano and Dr. Meadows will be out in a minute.” He placed a hand on her shoulder not knowing what else to do, with his own daughters; he would have held them until they stopped crying. With this young woman, he didn’t know how she would take it. Xe and a sleepy Brian coming from the office saved him. He gave them a small smile and stepped off to the side. He had to admit, seeing Brian still half asleep brought out fatherly feelings in him. He could still see as plain as day even though it had been many years ago, his own daughters looking very much the same.

“Miss Davidson I’m LT. Xepher Sallano, I believe you already know my wife Dr. Meadows.” Xe wrapped a supporting arm around Brian and pulled her close to her side. “I’m sorry to hear about your mother, I believe we have the person who killed your brother and your mother. Maybe you can identify the person for us.”

Tear filled brown eyes looked between the three people; she nodded her head and wiped the tears from her cheeks. “I’ll try but I don’t know if I’ll be much good.”

“That’s all we can ask. Boggs would you take her to the viewing room and Brian and I will get everything set up?”

“Sure no problem.”

On the way to the viewing room, Christine asked Boggs a question he often wondered himself.

“Do they always cross over into each others professions?”

“Come to think of it, yeah they do, strange since Xe and Brian hated each other at first. Guess it’s true about opposites attracting.”

Boggs tapped on the window to the viewing room and saw Brian pull back the curtain a little and mouth the words ‘monitor or real time?’ “Would you prefer to see the person on the monitor?”

“No Chief, I can handle this. I’m a Medical student; I see dead bodies all the time.”

Brian nodded from the other side; obviously, she had read Christine’s lips. She stepped back and nodded to Xe who removed the sheet. Christine’s first reaction was to cover her mouth, the next was to grab onto Boggs’ arm and sink to the floor. Boggs bent down, picked the young woman up, and placed her in a chair near the back wall.

“Are you OK, can I get you some water or something?”

“That’s…my sister Cissy!” She pointed to the window and let out a wail. Boggs pulled the sobbing woman into his arms and held her as she cried out her pain. He didn’t care if she later brought charges against him for his conduct, he was a father and seeing young women like this hurt him. He looked up at Xe and Brian and mouthed the words ‘Her sister Cissy.’ to them. They nodded and closed the door leaving them alone.

“Oooh boy Xe, this is a real fucking mess ain’t it?”

“You’re right about that, I have to check on Vance and see how he’s doing.”

“I’ll stay here with Boggs and Christine.”

Xe pulled her into her arms and gave her a hug, pulling back a bit; she captured her lips for a lingering kiss. “Love you Bri, I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

“OK, love you to.”

@@@@@@@@

Xe talked to the doctor who had operated on Vance, from what she could understand, the surgery was successful and Vance had a very good chance of having a long and healthy life. It would not be until the next day that she could speak with him, so she arranged for a police guard to be at his door until he was moved and safe from further danger. With everything that had happened that day, all she wanted to do was go home and sleep for a week. She knew that it was an impossibility and that she had plenty of paperwork to do. Taking a deep breath and stopping at the cafeteria for coffee on her way back, she found Brian and Boggs sitting with a much calmer Christine.

“I brought us coffee, I knew we would all need the caffeine by now.”

“Since you’ve been gone Xe, we’ve solved some things concerning the time and place of the past murders.” Boggs took the coffee and moaned with delight at the heat penetrating his chilled hands. He hated the basement area because it was always so cold and dreary. “Christine has told us that they lived close to Vance when they were growing up and had gone to the same school as he did. Francisca or Cissy as she wanted to be called; had a crush on young Vance.”

Christine cut in and relayed the rest of the story to them. When they had been younger, Cissy would follow Vance around and scare other girls away from him. She claimed that they were dating and if she caught them, she would do horrible things to their families and them. Shortly before their sophomore year in High School, they moved to California for a year before coming back. By then Vance was in his senior year and would leave for college in the fall. Cissy never forgot him. When she turned 18, she took off and was missing for months before she came back home. Her excuse was that she wanted to have some fun before she was locked away in school for another four years.

“So during those times that she was having fun, she was killing the people close to Vance?” Xe was beginning to see a pattern, she looked at the calendar Brian had on the nearby wall and saw that at the times of the murders, they had been on long weekends or during a holiday where the colleges would have had no classes. “Your sister went all the way to California so she could kill Vance’s friends.” She rubbed the bridge of her nose and sighed. “What about all the others? She told us that she killed them because they were weak. Any idea what she meant by that?”

“She was my sister but I didn’t really know her, she changed from day to day some times sooner than that.”

Brian whispered into Xe’s ear ‘MPS’ “Did she ever see a Psychiatrist or any other kind of mental health type help. That brought a chuckle from Christine.

“Every day, she was studying abnormal Psychology; she wanted to apply for either the FBI or Law Enforcement once we graduated.

“Interesting? That’s strike two for me.” Brian grumbled and got a pinch on her thigh from Xe.

“What’s your major in college?”

A brow raised across Christine’s smooth forehead. “Pediatrics, I like kids.” She shrugged her shoulders. “Are we done here, I have a lot to do.” She glanced to where the curtained window was and tears filled her eyes. “I don’t even know where to start, I’m all alone now.”

Xe and Brian saw the emotions run across Boggs face and knew what he was going to do.

“Christine, if you’ll come with me I’ll help you get things sorted out.” She took his offered hand and said goodbye to Brian and Xe. “I’ll give you guys a call later if I find out anything about Vance.” He waved to them and escorted Christine from the room.

“He’s gonna play the daddy to her isn’t he?”

“Yeah, but he does a good job and it’ll be the first time in that women’s life that she’s had a real one.” Xe kissed Brian’s temple and pulled her close. “Speaking of kids, we have two at home that are probably having a Hell of a time with your underwear.”

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

With the water in the tub cold enough to cause chattering teeth, blue eyes flickered open at that sound. After getting home, Brian had run a hot bath for them and they had fallen asleep quickly after submerging their aching bodies. Neither one of them gave a damn about their wounds getting wet they ached and this was the best medicine.

“Bri come on wake up before you get hypothermia.” She eased Brian away from her body and swore when the cold water hit her chest. “You sleep like your patients, dead to the world.” With difficulty, she got them both out of the tub and carried Brian to bed. The sound of the telephone ringing next to the bed had Xe growling and cursing Bell for inventing the damn thing, she couldn’t get her eyes to open and fumbled for the receiver. “Sallano you’re dead meat!”

“Funny that’s what my wife says about our sex life.”

“Boggs what time is it?” She rolled over and buried her face against Brian’s back.

“It’s going on ten o’clock, you two are still in bed huh?”

“I feel like a steamroller hit me. Why are you calling me anyway?”

“I talked to Vance this morning; he remembers Cissy stalking him but never thought she would kill people because he didn’t pay any attention to her. He wanted to know if you two were all right and wanted me to thank you guys for saving his life.”

“Glad to hear he’s going to be all right. Is his record going to be cleaned?”

“Yep, and he’s asked for a transfer to Homicide and it’s been approved. I think he’ll make a good detective, he has that edge to him now.”

“If you see him before we do, tell him we were glad to help and not to eat the meatloaf, it’s hazardous.”

“Got it, now get some sleep you have lots of paperwork to do tomorrow.”

“Yeah right, more sleep no paperwork.” She clicked off the phone, dropped it between them and went back to sleep.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Two weeks later with all the loose ends tied up on the Lover’s Tryst case and Vance in the clear and a new detective in homicide. Brian and Xe were able to take a breather from chasing maniacs. They sat on the back deck of their farmhouse and watched Fugly and Bear chase each other around the field behind the house. What brought a smile to Xe’s face was the 2-year-old strawberry roan filly running in circles around the playing dogs. She now had everything she ever wanted or needed, a loving wife, their own home, two dogs and a horse. “Baby can I have some of that ice cream?”

“Nope all mine!” Brian said around a mouthful of butter pecan ice cream.

Well almost everything.
The End
*******************

Part 3 Ripper’s Heart
By Larisa
The sound of a deep voice cursing every thing that breathed and the sound of a loud snap came to Boggs ears. He cringed and wanted to be anywhere but where Xepher was, she was beyond cranky and had been that way for the last three hours. Who could blame her after being called out in the middle of the night to a crime-scene? What made it bad was, they were out wandering around the woods in a torrential downpour, mud shin deep and the worst murder he had seen since their last case. He like the easy ones, the drive by shooting, wife goes nuts with a frying pan; husband cuts brake lines on wife’s car and all the other cut and dry murders. This one was going to be the death of one of them and he was sure it was him.

“BOGGS! Where the fuck are you?” Boggs covered his ears and pretended that he hadn’t heard a thing, which was his first mistake. His second was laughing at his LT. Xepher tripped, slipped sideways and ended up sprawled out on her stomach at his feet. She looked up, spit muddy water all over his shins and growled. “You son of a bitch!” He held out a hand and helped her to her feet. “I’m in that fucking mess and you’re out here hiding!”

“Come on Xe, I was just coming back with the evidence bags and this.” He handed her a towel and held back the grin when she found out that it was just as wet as everything else was.

“Gee thanks Boggs, this will help.” She wiped the mud from her face and draped it over her head. “Let’s get this done so I can go home and get my ass kicked.”

“Ohh the little woman’s pissed because you left her at home.”

“Noooo, she’s still sleeping. I didn’t wake her up…”

“Wanna borrow my couch?” He winked at her; he knew how Brian got when Xe didn’t tell her stuff.

She turned and gave him a glare. “I’m gonna tell Bri that it’s all your fault that I have pneumonia!”

Xepher ducked beneath the crime scene tape and adjusted one of the spotlights on the corpse. The victim was a female about 25 years old; she had hundreds of deep knife wounds covering her entire body. One went so deep that it penetrated the tree that she was leaning against. With the weather such as it was, there was no way of telling if all the wounds had been done at the scene or just the one hitting the tree. Her hands were bound behind her with wire as well as her ankles being crossed and bound. Taking care not to disturb the way the wire was wrapped around the victims ankles, Xepher helped place the body in the black body bag and place it in the basket stretcher. It would take them close to an hour to get back to the road from where they were. Normally they would not be working in this area since it was out of their jurisdiction but a reporter had called the precinct and relayed a message from the killer that Lt. Sallano was to be the one to work the case. That was the reason she had not woken Brian up, she didn’t want her to know this soon about the killer’s requests. By the time they got back to the road, it was seven o’clock in the morning. Xepher stretched her aching back and limped towards her car, shedding her wet coat and T-shirt; she tossed them on the floor and got in. With the heat on full blast, she headed the 43 miles to the hospital to get her ass kicked by her wife.

@@@@@@@@@@

Music blasted out when the back door to the morgue was opened, the paramedics covered their ears and looked inside to see one pissed of Medical examiner looking out at them. They jumped when her voice was heard over all the noise.

“MY WIFE HAD BETTER BE IN THERE!”

“No ma’am, she’s not with us.” One of them said while his partner pulled the door on the ambulance open. “Lt Sallano left after we did.”

With furious eyes, Brian watched Xepher’s muddy Crown Victoria pull in next to the ambulance. The first words that fell out of her mouth were “Holy shit!” Xepher slowly got out of her car and limped up the steps to stop right in front of Brian. With her head down, she whimpered, looked up with watery eyes and wiped her runny nose.

“Baby I feel awful.”

Brian’s anger disappeared instantly when she looked at her wife, Xepher was covered in mud, twigs and leaves littered her hair and the pallor of her skin showed she was getting sick.

“Put the body in a drawer for me guys.” She took Xe’s hand and pulled her out of the rain. “What have you been doing? I swear you can get in to the damndest things when I’m not around.”

“It’s Boggs fault, you should kick his ass.” She sniffled and sneezed. “Are you mad at me for not waking you?”

Brian looked up at her mess of a wife and shook her head. “In a way I’m glad you didn’t.” She smirked. “I got to stay in a nice warm comfortable bed, snuggle into your pillow and sleep to the sound of the rain on the roof. So no, I’m not mad at all.”

“I just can’t win; my own wife won’t show any pity for me.” She sneezed again and wiped her nose on Brian’s scrub shirt.

“EEWW! Gods you’re sick!”

“I know and I feel like shit.”

Brian pulled her into the office and to the small bathroom. Pushing a shivering Xe down on the toilet, she turned the shower on. “Just sit there and let me get you something to wear.” Xe couldn’t move if her life depended on it, her hip was killing her and she was shivering so hard that her teeth rattled. Using her toes, she pushed her soggy boots off and started working on the button of her Levis. “Let me get that, you just sit there and don’t sneeze on…” She ducked the second she heard Xe take a deep breath. The sneezed racked Xe’s body so hard that she smacked her head against the wall. “Boggs is a dead man!” Brian mumbled then helped Xe stand up, once she was undressed, she got under the hot water of the shower and just stood there shivering.

“I see this is going to work well.” Brian undressed and crawled into the shower; she pulled the debris from her wife’s hair and washed her entire body. “When we’re done, you’re going right to bed.”

“Will you leave me a little piece of Boggs to stomp on?”

Brian gave Xepher some Nyquil before she got into the futon that was in the office, the second Xe’s head hit the pillow a God awful rasping snore filled the room. “This is going to be so peaceful. Damn dummy going out in this weather without raingear.” She covered her wife with another blanket and left her to sleep.

@@@@@@@

It’s 9 am August 29, 2002. This is Dr. Brianna Meadows-Sallano Chief Medical Examiner of Frederick County. Case number 87210; victim is a white female approximately 20 to 27 years of age. Remains found in wooded area, weather has completely washed away all trace evidence from the body.” Brian hit the pedal on the floor to shut off the recorder and went over to the papers that the paramedics had left with her. Scanning the notes that Boggs had written up, she saw that the body had been under a canopy of trees, but that the rain had washed down the hill and around the body. “Just fucking great.” She went back to the body and continued her examination.

“Upon further examination we have complete severing of the right carotid artery at an angle starting just above the junction of the shoulder and trunk of neck to end beneath the jaw on the left side. Weapon was handled by a left handed person and at this time I have no clues as to what type of knife was used.”

She continued to examine the body until she heard someone clear their throat behind her. “If you’re a sick fuck who likes to play with dead things, the jobs already taken.”

“I’ll share my cookies if you share your body.” Brian spun around and gave out a loud yell, she pulled her apron and gloves off before she wrapped her arms around a brunette that was just a bit taller than she.

“I’m so glad you took up my offer Sam.” She pulled back and looked in to the odd golden eyes. “Did you just get here?” She let go of the woman and took her over to the counter where the coffee pot sat.

“Nope, late last night. Had a Hell of a time finding a place to stay.” She said and took the offered cup of coffee. “We finally got a hotel room at the Red Horse or some bullshit name.”

“So where’s Dan? Still sleeping or out tearing Maryland apart?”

“Where I’d like to be right now, in bed with the covers pulled over my head.” She grimaced with the first taste of the dark brew. “Gods I missed this nasty shit, so when do you want me to start?”

Brian looked over at the body and back to Sam. “How about now?”

“You got it, where’s the scrubs and stuff?”

“In that cabinet there, and if ya give me a second I’ll get you a new apron.” Brian was ecstatic; she finally had a competent assistant that she trusted with her own life. Not wanting to disturb Xe, she took Sam down the hallway to the larger bathroom/locker room so she could change. “When you’re done just give me a yell and I’ll give you the penny tour.”

“Damn must be rough here if it’s down to a penny tour, the less inhabitable the better I like it.”
@@@@@@@@

Brian was examining the knife wounds when she heard a slurred voice echo through the room. Recognizing her wife’s voice, she ignored her and kept on working.

Xe stood weaving in the doorway of the autopsy room and blinked her bloodshot eyes a few times to focus on the spinning room. “Hey bartender gimme another Tequila!” She grabbed onto the nearest thing and wobbled on her feet. “Yeeee haaaa baby!” She looked down into golden eyes and winked. “Here hold this!” She took Sam’s hand and brought it up to cup her bare left breast. “That’s better now it won’t fall off. Where’s my…hey why’s the room spinning?” Sam snorted and looked up at the tall woman before her. Xe blinked her eyes a few times and slurred. “You’re short and not the bartender.” Her eyes rolled up in her head and she fell sideways into Sam’s arms.

“Hey Brian I think we have an escapee from upstairs.”

Brian turned and rolled her eyes, pulling her gloves off; she walked over to where Sam was cradling Xe in her arms.

“Yeah she escaped all right but from my office.” She helped Sam carry Xe back to the futon and covered her back up with the blankets.

“Do you always keep naked women in your office?”

“Nope just her, wonder where she threw her scrubs?” She looked around the office and found them laying across her PC monitor. “Sam you want to have some evil fun like we used to?”

Sam recognized the look in her friend’s eyes, that meant only one thing: trouble.

“Toe tag time?”

“You got it and maybe some other stuff.” She grinned and then looked down at a snoring Xe.

Sam looked down at Xe’s large hands. “Uuhhmm Brian, who is she?” Picking up her hand, she looked at the wedding band on her finger. “You have a naked woman in your office, she’s drunk as shit and she’s married?”

“I’ll let her tell you when she wakes up again, it’ll be much more fun that way…for her.” She slapped Sam on her back and pulled a blank toe tag from her pocket. “It’s all yours have fun.”

@@@@@@@@@@

Brian was hovering over the victim with a micrometer measuring the distance between the entry wounds. She was confused because each one was the same distance apart. “Sam is it possible that the knife was double bladed, you know one of those fantasy type weapons?” Sam took the micrometer from Brian, measured on a piece of paper, and then drew two blades.

“Is the flesh at both sides of the entry a clean cut or one side blunt from say the flat part of a blade?” Brian checked again and shook her head.

“Both sides are clean, so that means we have a double edged weapon that has two blades.”

“And I know just the place to check for one.” Sam turned her head and saw a groggy Xe leaning against the doorjamb. “Time to play Brian, how bad do you want this?”

“Drop dead embarrassing.”

Sam gave her a wicked grin, yanked her gloves off, tossed them in the air and messed up her long dark hair. “Ya got it Bri.” She approached Xe and licked her lips seductively, cracked her knuckles in front of blurry blue eyes and grabbed both of her breasts. “Not bad, little saggy but that can be fixed.” Xe’s eyes shot wide and looked down at Sam. “Nice ass could use some tightening up.” She slapped Xe on her ass and turned to Brian. “Two bucks not a penny more; we got a deal or what?”

“Hey what the Hell?” Xe wobbled over to Brian and tried to hide from an advancing Sam. “Bri who is that, what’s she talking about and why’d she grab me?”

“Ohh she’s from upstairs, she’s a transplant specialist.” She moved from in front of Xe and pushed her towards Sam. “They need some spare parts so I told them to come on down.”

Sam rubbed her chin and looked over to Brian. “Now that I think about it, what’s her teeth look like, I can make some dentures out of them.”

Xe’s foggy mind started to clear the more she moved around, she grabbed a hold of Brian, pulled her back against her, and hung on for dear life. “Take her she’s smaller and takes up less room!”

“I would but she’s not wearing a toe tag.” Sam pointed to the large tag hanging off of Xe’s toe. “So let’s go so I can go to lunch.”

“Brian! Have you finally lost it?”

“No but you did earlier, wandering around naked just like you are now, ordering shots of Tequila and letting strange women play with your breast.”

“I didn’t do that…did I?” It hit her that she was in fact naked and felt like she had a hang over. “That stuff you gave me, was it Nyquil?”

Brian tilted her head back and looked into panicked blue eyes. “Yeah why?”

“I have bad side effects from that stuff; I didn’t do anything else did I?”

“You mean besides trying to hump a dead body? Nope.” Brian stepped away and grabbed Xe before she hit the floor. “Oohh nooo you don’t Xepher, you are not passing out on me!” She leaned her against a gurney and cupped her face. “Damn you’re burning up.”

“Baby I feel awful and the rooms spinning, want you…hold me.” She whimpered and buried her face in Brian’s neck.

Sam stood back and watched her friend and the tall woman, Brian wasn’t telling her something and she was ready to drop kick her ass real soon.

“Hey Sam can you get me a clean pair of scrubs and some ice in a towel?”

“If I get it will you tell me what’s going on besides me scaring the shit out of her?”

“Yep, I’ll tell ya everything.”

They fought Xe so that they could get her dressed, Brian had no idea she was this bad when she was sick. She now had a six-foot, 190 lb. toddler to contend with. Making her lay down on a gurney, she placed the ice-filled towel on her forehead and held it there. “You move and I’ll kick your ass.”

“Hate you Bri.”

“Good because you’re still top of my list.” She placed a soft kiss on her warm lips and sighed. “What am I gonna do with you.” She brushed the hair from her cheek and blushed when she noticed Sam watching her.

“Spill it Bri or else?” Sam raised a dark eyebrow at her and grinned with a knowing look. “Ohh soo the mighty Meadows has fallen.”

“More than you can possibly imagine.” She ran a fingertip across a dark brow. “This is Lt. Xepher A. Sallano, my wife.”

Golden eyes widened at the information. “Holy shit Bri, you got married!”

“Hard to believe huh? Xe’s not normally loopy like this, she went out last night to investigate a crime scene and…”

“Was out in all that shity weather.”

“Yep, guess Nyquil is out of the question from now on.” She felt Xe’s cheeks then rested a hand on her chest. “Will you watch her while I go raid a supply room upstairs?”

Sam pulled a stool over to the gurney and sat down; she studied the classical structure of the sleeping woman’s face and shook her head. “Damn if you didn’t pick a good one Bri, glad you did better this time.” She had been Brian’s assistant in Ohio when all the problems had started with the Psychopath Dr. Franks. Even before they had become serious, she had told her that she didn’t like the woman but there was no convincing Brian of anything. She and her wife had tried time and again to get her to see the whole picture. By then it was too late and Brian was in the hospital in critical condition. When Brian left Ohio, she had been saddened because she was losing a friend but knew that she had to leave. They had kept in contact by e-mail and occasional phone calls but Brian had never said anything about meeting someone, let alone getting married. A wide grin covered her face. “Just wait until I tell Danny.”

@@@@@

After checking Xe’s temperature and giving her a shot to bring it down, Brian covered her with blankets and left her sleep right there in the autopsy room while she and Sam finished up on the victim. When they were done, they went into the office and went on-line to a knife company that Sam dealt with on occasion. They went through page after page until they found what they hoped was a close replica of the murder weapon.

“I’ll go ahead and order it and have it sent here.” Sam said. “It should take maybe two days at the most, they like me.” She grinned and completed the order form.

“Isn’t that the place in Toledo where you order all your swords from?”

“Yep, they own me.”

“OK, now if that knife fits the wounds, what are the chances that the killer bought the knife from them?”

“Come on Brian you know as well as I do that nothing is ever that easy.”

They left the office and went back into the autopsy room for more coffee.

“Who says I can’t hope, after the freaky cases we’ve had I’d love to solve one in a day or two.” She told Sam about the two big cases she and Xe had worked on and how both times one of them had been hurt.

“You mean that you go out on calls with her?”

“Sure, she helps me collect evidence and I take out the bad guy.”

“By letting them grab her first.” Xe mumbled and then rolled from the gurney. “I’m sleeping in the autopsy room?” She looked down at her feet and saw the toe tag. “And I’ve been tagged for the city pound?” She pulled the tag off and waved it at Brian.

“How do you feel?” Brian asked her and checked her temperature.

“Like shit but not as bad.” She wrapped her arms around Brian and nuzzled her neck. “I’d kiss you but I’m sick and there’s a strange woman looking at me.”

“I know she’s strange but Sam doesn’t care if you kiss me.” She kissed her softly on her lips and smiled up into her pale blue eyes. Turning to face a grinning Sam, she introduced the two women.

“About time you picked a good one Brian.”

“Sam you’re an idiot but you’re right about Xe. I asked Sam to come here from Ohio to be my assistant. And don’t worry; she may be insane but not like that other one.”

“Hell my wife would have killed me if I pulled shit like that bitch did.”

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

With the autopsy room put into order, the three women left by way of back door. Brian looked around but only saw her truck and Xe’s Victoria. “Sam where’s your car?”

“Danni’s got it; she dropped me off this morning.” She looked down at her watch and counted on her fingers. “She should be here in an hour or so.”

Brian pulled her keys from her pocket and tossed them to Sam. “Take my truck, we’ve got Xe’s car and she can drop me off in the morning.”

A huge toothy grin came across her face. “Cool I get to play with the lights and shit!”

Xe looked at the twin grins planted on the women’s faces. “Bri are you sure you two aren’t related?”

“She’s my cousin, does that count?”

“Ohh shit, Maryland is doomed.” She watched Sam take off out of the parking lot with both lights and sirens going. “Let’s go home before all Hell breaks loose around here.” She went to get in her car but was blocked from the door.

“You’re not driving, you look like you’re about to fall over.”

“But you’ll get all wet, the seats…”

Brian cupped Xe’s face between her hands and gently kissed her. “Sallano, I get wet just thinking about you.” She took the keys and got behind the wheel. “Come on LT. the kids are waiting and I’m hungry.”

@@@@@@@@

They were met at the door by two wiggling little dogs that had one of Xe’s sports bras’ stretched between them. Bear went running towards the kitchen and dragged Fugly right behind her and out the doggy door they went.

Xe covered her eyes and murmured. “I don’t even want to think of what else is out in the yard.”

“That’ll teach you to let your clothes lay on the floor.” Bri snickered until she looked out the window. “I’m gonna kill them! BBQ spitted dogs!” She yanked the kitchen door open and looked at all of their clothes spread through the back yard.

“That’ll teach you to put your clothes away.” Xe said over her shoulder. “Ohh look, they have all our shoes to. Maybe we should leave ’em there and dress outside.”

Brian turned and poked her in the chest. “You have the worst damn dogs in the world!”

“Ohh so when they’re rotten they’re mine.” She grinned and gave Brian a quick kiss before going to collect their clothes. She looked down at the two little thieves and pointed a finger at them. “Mama’s mad at you guys, you better go make up to her or no supper.” Bear and Fugly went running into the house and left Xe to clean up their mess. That’s when she found the huge pile of fresh dirt in the far corner of the yard. Looking closer, she knew that there was no way in Hell two little dogs weighing five pounds combined could dig a hole that big. “BRIAN I NEED YOU!”

Brian came to the doorway and yelled back. “Not tonight you’re in the dog house.”

“Come look at this, I think the kids rented a back hoe.”

Brian came to stand beside her in front of the pile of dirt; she looked up at Xe with a worried look on her face.

“Come on Bri, let’s go call Boggs.”

“I’ll see if I can get a hold of Sam and have her come out.”

@@@@@@@@@

Brian and Xe were sitting in the kitchen when Boggs came through the door, he looked at them and then through the kitchen window to the back yard. “So the kids rented a back hoe?”

“Looks like it, is CSU coming out just in case?”

“Nope, I figured we’d dig what ever it is up and if we need them then I’ll call. I know you guys don’t want them to see all you underwear buried in a hole.”

“Believe me that’s all I want to find out there.” Brian shook her head. “I leave work at work.”

“Thank the Gods she doesn’t bring any of it home with her.” Xe shivered at the thought of finding a stiff sitting on the couch.

With the three of them with shovels, they started digging away at the pile of dirt. Xe kept glancing at Brian and wondering when her tirade was going to start. Every time she tried to dig, she hit a rock or one of their shovels. Boggs was red in the face and was soaked in sweat from his efforts, they were all given a break when Sam and Dan stepped into the back yard and started singing a chain gang song. Xe looked at the two women and saw what she and Brian must look like to others. Where Sam was dark and stoic, Dan was blonde with a quick smile.

“So what’s going on Bri?” Dan asked and held out her arms and engulfed her friend in a huge hug. “I’ve missed you Bri.” She placed a kiss on Brian’s head before releasing her.

“I’m so glad you guys are here, come on I want to introduce you to my wife.” Danni’s hazel eyes grew wide. “Did you just say wife?”

Sam wiggled her darks brows at Brian. “I didn’t tell her Bri, I knew you’d want to shock the Hell outta her.”

“Gods Bri let you run off for a little while and you go off and get married.” She followed behind Brian to where the others were still digging. With one look at the tall muscular woman, Danni knew she wouldn’t have to worry about her friend. The look that came over the woman’s face with one glance at Brian was enough to light up the darkness.

“Xe this is my friend Danni Shepard, Sam’s wife. Danni this is my wife Lt. Xepher Sallano and that old man there is her boss, Chief Boggs.”

Danni reached out a hand, laughed when Xe held hers up and showed it was covered with dirt. “Don’t worry about it, a little bit of dirt never killed anybody. Glad to met you Xepher.”

“You can call me Xe.” Her pale blue eyes studied Danni for a second and a smile came over her face. “Glad to met you too you look familiar to me.”

Boggs snorted and threw a clump of dirt at Xe. “She should you big dummy.” He reached out to Danni and shook her hand. “Nice to meet you Judge Shepard.”

“Oohh shit, sorry about that.” Xe gave Brian ‘The look.’ “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Why? She’s just Danni to me, well she was my PD at one time but that was a long time ago.”

Xe’s brows raised into her bangs. “PD as in Public Defender?”

“Yep, actually she was both of ours, except I kept her after she got us out of the charges.” Sam wrapped her arms around her wife’s stomach and nuzzled her neck.

“It was cheaper to marry me than to pay my legal fees.” She pulled the hair on Sam’s arm and grinned when she gave out a yelp. “You didn’t marry an angel Xe, between her and Sam I was in court at least once a week getting them out of trouble.” She gave Brian a raised eyebrow. “Right Bruiser?”

Xe cast a glare at Brian and growled. “Uuhh huh? I think someone has some explaining to do after we dig up the buried treasure.” She pointed a finger at Brian. “We will talk about this later.”

“Ohhh this is different! Xe wants to talk!” She smacked her wife in the stomach as she went past. “It would kill you if you saw my rap sheet.” She took Danni by her hand and pulled her to the house. “We’ll make supper, you slaves get digging.”

Boggs looked at both Xe and Sam and shook his head. “Damn women always bossing us around.”

@@@@@@@@@@@@

30 minutes later Boggs gagged and crawled out of the hole leaving Sam and Xe in there. “Gods how can you guys stand the stench?” His face paled as he gagged and stumbled towards the house.

“Men always acting like wimps.” Sam said and then dropped down on her haunches and carefully moved the dirt around with her hands. “Jack Pot! Tell the womenz ta get the BBQ sauce ready it’s hog spittin time!”

“Who the Hell would bury a hog in our back yard?” She looked down to see the snout of the pig and then the front hooves.

“What the fuck is that?” Brian asked and pointed to the long tail sticking out of the dirt. Sam and Xe pushed the dirt away and moved away from it. “Some sick fuck put a donkey’s ass on the front of a pig?”

Xe looked at her wife and took a shuddering breath. “I’m just glad that it’s not a roan color.” She looked towards the barn and saw her filly’s head sticking out over her stall door.

Danni placed a hand on Brian’s shoulder and whispered in her ear.

“Oohh nooo! It can’t be.”

“What?” The three voices of Boggs, Sam and Xe asked.

“The pig is you Xe and the donkey is Danni. You’re a cop and Danni’s a Democrat.”

“I don’t get it.” Xe crawled out of the hole. “You guys just got here last night, how could you be involved and who would connect the two of us?” She pointed to Danni.

“The same person who contacted the reporter in Chicago.” Danni said and watched Xe and Boggs lock eyes. He held up his hands and shook his head.

“Don’t look at me I didn’t say a word, not one tiny little word.”

Brian’s eyes narrowed, she stepped in front of Xe and grabbed her by her scrub shirt. “What the Hell is going on Sallano?”

“Boggs shoot me now, it’ll be less painful than what the Boss is gonna do to me.” She dropped her head, scuffed her toe in the dirt, and then let out a yell when her ear was grabbed and Brian pulled her into the house.

“Well that settles it, you owe me Sam.” Danni held out her hand and wiggled her fingers. “Pay up, you owe me five bucks.”

“Damn I never win, you cheat!”

Boggs busted up laughing at the way the two women acted towards each other. It was like looking at a different version of Xe and Brian.

“Ain’t fair Danni, you do that voodoo lawyer thing.”

“Haa! I just know Bri and she’s the boss here just like when you two were little. So there!”

“Was not!” She ran after her wife continuing to chant ‘Was not,’ the entire way.

“Gods have pity on the world, there’s four of them.” He shook his head and followed them.

@@@@@@@@@@@

After everyone was cleaned up, Brian pointed to the ‘Hot seat’ as she called it and made Xe sit down. She then had the dogs stand guard and told them to bite her if she moved.

“Turn my own babies on me; you’re a mean woman Bri.” She crossed her arms over her chest and pouted. Which got her absolutely nothing from her wife but snickers from the others.

“Now what about this reporter and I want ever single nasty little detail.”

Between Xe and Boggs, the re-told the story of how a reporter from the Chicago Tribune had called the cop shop and requested to speak with Xe. When he found out she wasn’t there he asked to speak to the Chief of police because it was a dire message he needed to pass on. He faxed a copy of the letter he had received at the paper along with a detailed map of the wooded area that the person wanted Xe to search.

“So that’s when you two were out in the weather last night and this morning. You were going on this reporter’s message and found that woman’s body.” She dropped onto the couch next to Sam and Danni. “How does this involve you then?” She looked to Danni with a raised eyebrow.

“About two weeks ago I started getting threatening letters from some nut case, which isn’t that strange since I’m a Judge and former Prosecuting Attorney. What had me scared was that they kept referring to a botched murder and that I should have kept my nose out of it. So I went back over all my dockets for the past year and I had only judged two cases where there was an attempted murder. None of them had anything that would cause a person to threaten me. One was a woman who tried to kill her husband after years of abuse and the other was a guy who ran over a friend with his car because he had lost to him during a poker game.”

“Then a few days ago, she got a letter in the mail with the medical caduceus drawn in the center of the page and below it were your initials.” Sam said and looked to a shaken Brian. “That’s why we came down here, to protect you and try to find out who it is.” Two sets of eyes went to a disturbed Xe. “We had no idea you were married or to a homicide lieutenant.”

Xe stood up from the chair and got two little dogs attached to her pant legs. “And when were you going to tell her?”

“In the morning.” Danni answered. “I spent all day today trying to find out from the FBI in Quantico if they had anything on the letters. They were sent off to the handwriting analysis people, I told them to get a sample of Dr. Franks handwriting for comparison.”

Brian stood up, pulled Fugly off Xe’s leg, and hugged her close. “It’s got to be that psycho bitch; she’s the only one that would know about the connection between me, Sam and Danni.”

“Did the FBI say anything? We know that Franks is a profiler for them down at Quantico, it would be no problem for them to go and get a sample of her hand writing.”

Danni ran a hand across her face and looked up with concerned eyes. “They don’t know where she is, she’s not been at work for the last month. All her files are gone and her apartment is empty.”

“Son of a bitch!” Xe threw her head back and took a deep breath before looking over to Boggs. “Can we find her boss?”

“Shit Xe, if the feebies don’t know where she is how are we gonna find her?” He saw the look coming over Xe’s face and shook his head. “Oohh noo, we can’t do that. No way it’s beyond illegal.”

“Have you known me to ever do anything legal?” A corner of her mouth twitched and filled out to a full grin when Boggs sighed.

“I don’t know a damn thing, you hear me?”

Brian held up a hand and looked into mischievous blue eyes. “Hold on there a minute, what are you going to do?”

A huge grin covered Sam’s face; there was nothing she liked better than trouble. “I’ll help!” She ignored the glaring look Danni gave her. “What’s one more black mark on my record?” She shrugged her shoulders.

“Hack into the system and run her credit card numbers, see if she’s used them in the last month and where. I’ll try to get into the phone companies files and check for her name, if she’s used her cell phone I’ll be able to look at the phone numbers and then see where she’s pinged.”

Boggs shook his head at her, he had no idea she knew all that stuff. “Where’d you learn about this?”

“All those boring ass courses you send me to down in Quantico. You know they do let us have lunch and that’s when I get all kinds of interesting info.”

Brian stepped up to her so that they were nose to chest, she grabbed a nipple and pinched it hard enough to make Xe’s eyes widen. “Not tonight you aren’t, it’s late, and you’re sick and ready to fall over. Now get your ass to bed.”

“You are so mean to me, hate you Bri. Night everyone Ma’s sending me to bed.” She grinned and gave her a quick kiss before heading to their room.

Three whip lashing sounds came from behind her and then snickers. “Hey someone’s gotta keep her in-line.” She waved at Xe who she could see peeking out of their room with her tongue sticking out at her. Keep it up Xe and I’ll show you where you can put that.” Turning to her friends, she gave them a smirk. “You guys can stay here tonight; we’ve got plenty of room, you too Boggs.”

“Nah I’m gonna head out, the boss wants my ass hanging from a tree as it is. Nice meeting you guys, hope you have ear plugs.”

“OOHH is someone a screamer Bri?” Danni nudged her shoulder.

“Yeah Xe, she takes the plaster right off the ceiling. Come on I’ll show you to your room.”

“Uuhh huh, I think it maybe the other way around.” Sam slapped Brian on her ass then ducked behind Danni.

@@@@@@@@@

Xe was in the shower when Brian went into their room; she shed her clothes, dropped them on the floor and pointed to the dogs. “Don’t even think about it.” She stepped into the shower and wrapped her arms around Xe from behind. Resting her head in the center of her back, she moaned when the hot water splashed down onto her shoulders. “Gods that feels good, my shoulders are killing me.” Xe turned in her arms, turned her so that she was facing away from her and then started to work the soreness out of her wife’s shoulders with strong fingers. “Keep doing that and I’ll fall asleep right here.” Xe pulled her back against her chest and placed her lips close to her ear.

“I’ll find her Bri, I promise and I’ll make sure she goes away for a long time.”

After their shower, Brian noticed that the dogs were gone and so were her clothes. “Xe did you close the doggy door?”

“Nope I thought you did why…oohhh shit! The kids and that nasty stuff out there!” She ran from the room, down the hallway and stopped when she found the kids on the couch with Brian’s clothes. Fugly was doing little spins and then plopped down on Bears head. “You two are so lucky!” She went into the kitchen and locked the door, the last thing she wanted to do was give the dogs baths after they rolled on the disgusting carcass in the yard.

Brian was snuggled under the covers waiting for Xe to come to bed, a grin came over her face when she heard a slap, Xe yelp and snickers. She knew that one of her friends had caught her in the hallway and just couldn’t pass up the change to smack her on her ass. It was one of her favorite parts of her lover and couldn’t help but smack it every chance she got.

@@@@@@@@@@@

After calling a guy that she had busted years earlier for hacking into a banks files, Xe had all the information she needed to start her search for Dr. Patricia Franks. With notebook in hand, she left her office to head over to the morgue where she would use Brian’s computer to start her project. The last thing she wanted was for the police commissioner to walk in and catch her hacking systems.

@@@@@@@@@@@

“What have we got boys?” Sam asked as she jumped down onto the dock and opened the back door to the ambulance.

“You’re new here aren’t you?” A young paramedic in his middle twenties asked with a deep cracking voice and then finger combed his hair.

“I’m Brian’s new assistant and just forget the pussy primping, I wouldn’t touch you with a ten foot pole and my wife would just love to test the new tazer I bought her on you nuts.” She gave him a wicked grin and snarled at him.

“Play nice Sam or I’ll tell Xe you’re a peeping pervert.” She looked into the ambulance and saw the very thin body on the stretcher. “Did you bring me a charley bones?”

“No Doc, he got smushed during a domestic violence fight.”

“Damn!” Sam looked at the paramedic. “What did she do run him over with a steam roller?”

“You could say that.” They pulled the stretcher out and took it into the autopsy room, once they were gone; Brian lifted the sheet and stared.

“What ever she used it worked.” The man was basically crushed; his chest and ribcage were nothing but mush. She picked up his arm and noticed that every single bone was broken. “I hope I never run into this woman.”

“I’d like to know what she looks like, maybe like Chyna.”

“Well, let’s get started.” She looked up with a grimace. “Think if we put down; say cause of death is smushing we’d get in trouble?”

“How we gonna do this, unzip him shake him into a garbage bag and zip him back up?”

The sound of a horn honking came from the back of the room near the bay doors; Brian looked over and saw Xe coming through the side door with a look of complete shock on her face.

“Baby you will not believe what’s sitting at the dock.” She threw a thumb over her shoulder and shook her head. “You guys gotta see this to believe it.” She went to the door and hit the button to raise it. When it was up far enough, they saw a flatbed tow-truck backing up to the door. On the flatbed was a lump covered with a blue tarp. “Did you guys order something?”

Two heads swung back and forth and then looked to each other. “Sam you didn’t order a hog for a BBQ did you?”

“Nope, not me this time.”

The driver got out and limped around the side of his truck, he looked up at the lump and then to the women. “Where ya want her?”

“Want who?” Brian asked.

“The woman on my truck, where ya want her?”

Brian and Sam looked to the smushed body on the table, then to the lump on the truck.

“Ohh my Gods…” Brian whispered.

“It’s the steamroller!” Sam ran across the room jumped on the back of the truck and pulled the tarp off. “Holy shit Brian! She must weigh five or six hundred pounds!”

Brian ran a hand down her face, looked to a gawking Xe and back to a grinning Sam. “Ohh my Gods!” She repeated.

“Hey I got a couple of cars ta pick up, where ya want her?”

“Uuhhmm…Bri?” Xe asked.

“Will she roll off if you raise the bed on your truck?”

“Yeah but ya better stand back cuz once she starts, she’ll smush ya.”

@@@@@@@@@@@

They were in the middle of the floor, dressed in surgical scrubs, aprons, safety gear and big yellow boots that they had borrowed from the firefighters that came to help them roll the woman over.

“Can’t we use the sucky thing?” Sam whined and struggled to hold back the fat in the abdominal area so Brian could extract the organs. “I don’t think anyone would notice a few hundred pounds missing.”

“How about a jumbo shop-vac?” Xe asked from the other side of the woman’s body where she was doing the same as Sam.

“GODDAMNMOTHEFUCKINGSONOFABITCH! How about someone help me get unstuck, my arms being crushed in here.” Xe got up from where she had been squatting, wrapped her arms around Brian and pulled. A loud suction noise was made and then both of them were falling backwards onto the floor. “I’m ruling cause of death as too many fucking Twinkies!” She dropped her head back to rest on Xe’s shoulder.

“Ohh my Gods, if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I wouldn’t believe it.” Boggs stepped closer and looked at the women.

“What brings you here Boggs, come to see us struggle?” Xe asked from where she and Brian were still lying on the floor.

“I had to bring two officers here for treatment; they came back to the cop shop holding their nuts.”

“Uhhmm they wouldn’t have been anywhere near this one would they?” Xe pointed to the corpse.

Sam wiggled her eyebrows and asked. “Hey Bri whatcha think Inguinal Hernias?”

“Glad I’m not them.” She sat up and shivered. “Will they get a medal for wounded in the line of duty; ya know a tiny little pair of nuts to hang on their chest?”

“Bri sometimes I wonder about you. And yeah they were trying to subdue this woman when she started to fall, those dumbasses tried to catch her.”

“EEWW, we could have had three smushed cases in one day!” Sam got up from the floor and stretched her sore back. “What I want to know is how are we gonna get her out of here?”

Xe got to her feet, pulled Brian up and groaned when a sharp pain shot through her hip. “I don’t know about you two but I need to sit down, plus I need to play on the computer.”

“Go ahead baby, we’ll think of something to do with this.” Bri pointed to the corpse on the floor and shuddered.

@@@@@@@@@@

Sneaking in through the back door of the phone company’s firewall was easier then she thought it would be. She searched through pages of information until she found what she needed. Writing down notes and numbers, she checked her note pad and typed in what her hacker had instructed. Seconds later, she knew where the cell phones signal was coming from by tracing the satellites it pinged off. “Florida? Can’t be.” She rechecked and sure enough, the phone was being used in the state of Florida. Covering her tracks as she backed out of the phone company’s records, she started to hack into the credit card companies one by one to see if Dr. Franks had used her credit cards within the last month. This part was a little trickier and she knew she had to have set off at least one alarm within the American express firewall security system. She didn’t much care; the sign on name would come back to one of the upper management people for the company.

Her hacker friend knew a little too much about the companies for her comfort, but she could careless what he did. Finding Franks account, she noted that it had been used at gas stations in the state of California three weeks ago. When she was finished, the four credit cards that Dr. Franks had, were all used in different states at the same time. The only thing that explained the use of the credit cards was that they were stolen and sold on the black market along with maybe the cell phone. Shutting down Brian’s PC, she went back out to find Brian and Sam sitting on a gurney watching mist rise into the air from the tarp covered lump in the center of the floor.

“What did you two do?” She watched the white smoke rise and disappear.

“We’re trying to freeze dry her.” Sam used a squirt bottle, sprayed the tarp and chuckled when steam rolled off it. “I love playing with dry ice, Bri remember when we blew up that phone booth?”

Ice blue eyes narrowed and zeroed in on a blushing Brian. “You two blew up a phone booth?”

“It was on campus and they refused to come out and fix it, so…we did it for them.” She shrugged her shoulders and elbowed Sam in her side.

“It was a bitch stealing 200 pounds of dry ice and filling that damn thing. The fun part was after we taped the door closed and poured bleach threw a hole on top.”

Xe covered her ears and gave them both nasty looks. “We will talk later.” She pointed to Brian. “I have to go into the shop and check something out, Dr. Frank’s phone is in Florida and all her credit cards are through out the US. I need a court order to check if she reported them stolen.” She sighed and ran a hand through her hair. “Finding a judge to grant it will be another thing.”

“Go see Danni, she’ll do it.” Sam slid off the gurney and handed her a business card with Danni’s cell phone number on it. “She’s being sworn in today as a sub-judge and taking over as Prosecuting attorney.”

“Wait a minute here Sam.” Brian slid off the table and stood beside her. “She has to be licensed in Maryland.”

“Ohh she’s always been, she’s licensed in West Virginia, Virginia and Washington DC.” She scratched her head before speaking again. “I think she has Kentucky too?”

Xe raised an eyebrow at them. “Brian are the three of you like all child prodigies?”

“Nope, just me and Danni are prodigies, Sam’s the child.”

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Xe tracked Danni down at the court and had her court order in her hand with in minutes. Danni told her what ever she needed to just give a yell; she would do everything she could to help get Dr. Franks behind bars and that included being the prosecuting attorney in the trial.

“How do you know it’s her for sure?” Xe was interested in the Judges theories and wondered if they matched her own.

“It’s easy Xe, she has a history of being violent, she has attempted murder at least once that we know of but daddy saved her ass.” She sat down on the table in the courthouse hallway and crossed her legs to sit Indian style. Playing with the threads on the torn knees of her faded Levi’s, she looked into pale blue eyes. “That woman has been out of control for years, after Bri was attacked I started working up a case against Franks but was more or less threatened to stop all my investigations.”

“Her father stopped you didn’t he?”

“Yep, said that it was none of my business and it was all lies where his daughter was concerned. She’s an upstanding citizen and a highly respected Psychologist. You know the normal bullshit to cover the monster that she really is.”

“Do you still have the stuff you got on her?” Xe knew that any little bit of information could lead her in the right direction.

“It’s all at the motel; I can get it to you or Brian later today. And Xe, be careful, Franks is a manipulator and can have people eating out of her hand in seconds. There are a lot of cops on the streets in Cleveland that shouldn’t be there.”

“Fuck, you mean she convinced the police board and everyone that mentally unstable cops were fit for duty?”

“That’s exactly what I’m saying; her alibis for the night Brian was attacked were cops that she treated. And for her credit cards being used all over, what better way than for her to have proof she was nowhere near Maryland when crimes were committed.”

“Son of a bitch.” She ran a hand through her hair and tried to think. Her main concern was Brian’s safety and how to remedy the time that she couldn’t be near her. “Have you and Sam found a place to live yet?”

“No, we were going to go this weekend and look at apartments and condos.”

“Would you consider staying with us, I know Brian would love to have you guys close and…”

“You don’t want her being alone” Hazel eyes looked calmly into Xe’s and then took on a protectiveness that Xe herself had.

“Yeah, I mean I know she can handle herself but I’d feel better if you guys were there with her.”

“No problem, I know that Sam will be thrilled to death. But I’ll warn you, Sam and Brian together can be a Hell of a ride. They can find trouble where none exists.”

“Can’t be any worse than what Bri has put me through already. Thanks Danni, as soon as I find out something’s, I’ll let them know about the arrangements we’ve made. May keep me out of the doghouse.” Giving Danni’s shoulder a light squeeze, she smiled and left.

@@@@@@@@@@@

Xe pulled two of her best investigators into her office and divided between them the credit cards and the phone numbers. She instructed them to find out as much information as they possible could on what city the cards where used in and to call all the numbers to find out who the people were and if they knew Dr. Franks or where she was at the moment. It was a long shot but maybe they would be able to find something that led them to where Dr. Franks was hiding. After they had left her office, she got on the phone and called her connection within the FBI down in Quantico. A few minutes later and Agent Montgomery was on the phone.

“Hey Monty its Xepher, I need a big favor.”

“I can’t guarantee that I can help but go ahead and ask me.”

“You guys have a Dr. Franks down there as a profiler; I need to know where she is right now.”

“Give me a second and let me call down the hall.”

While she was waiting, she scribbled down some notes and then started making the initials B&X all over her paper. When she realized what she was doing, she felt the heat run up her neck. “Just like a damn kid.” A small smile came to her face when she started drawing hearts around the initials.

“Hey Xepher, I just talked to her boss down there and they have no idea of where she is. He said that about a month ago, he went in to consult a case with her and her office was empty. Everything is gone including her case files. And you know those cannot leave this building without proper authorization. He went over to her apartment and he said it looked like a cyclone went through it. The place was destroyed to the point of walls having huge holes in them.”

“Just fucking great, did she have any one there that she talked to? A co-worker or anything?”

“Not as far as her boss knew, she basically went to prisons and spoke to serial murderers, rapists and all the other low lives to compile information for the computer.”

“You mean she was getting the stuff so that the computer could spit out a profile?”

“Kind of, she updated the computer files with new information. Like MO’s, techniques in stalking, everything that the death row inmate did, down to what color socks he wore during his crimes. What has the FBI worried is that those files are the ones that are missing.”

“Fuck me! If someone gets a hold of that stuff, they could copycat what ever murderer they wanted and get away with it.”

“Exactly.” He replied and then groaned. “I don’t even want to be around if we all of a sudden have a crime spree of copycats. Why do you need to know where she is anyway?”

“She tried to murder my wife about a year or more ago and got off Scott free because Daddy’s a judge. She told him about Danni and the threatening letters, the reporter being contacted by whom they think murdered a woman in the area and the mutilated animals buried in their yard.”

“Damn Xepher, I had no idea about Brian and our former Profiler, her record was clean as the Virgin Mary and she came highly recommended from her boss up there in Cleveland.”

“Of course she did, she had her daddy to tighten the screws on everyone. I’ve been told that she turned mentally unstable cops back out on the street. We need to find this bitch before she does something with those case files.”

“I’ll start calling all our other offices and put out the word, I’ll send a courier up to you with a copy of her personnel file along with the picture they took for her FBI badge.”

“Thanks Monty, if I find out anything I’ll give you a heads up.”

“Appreciate it Xepher, tell Brian I said hello and be safe up there.”

“You too Monty, Later.”

She hung up the phone and rested her face in the palms of her hands. If the world only knew the kind of people running around loose, everyone would carry a gun. Rubbing her eyes, she sniffled and sneezed so hard that her ears popped. Moaning from the pain, she pulled out a bottle of sinus medicine and thought better of taking the small pills. “Damn things will knock me out.” Tossing them back in her drawer, she stuffed her pocket with Kleenex before going in search of Boggs. He had to know what they might be facing if Franks was indeed the one behind the threats, murder and dead animals. She would then need to call the reporter in Chicago and see how he figured into the picture.

“I need 40 hours in the day to get everything done.”

@@@@@@@@@

Xe came down the stairs to the morgue; she had been upstairs to see the injured officers from earlier that day. She still couldn’t get over what she had helped Brian and Sam do in the autopsy room. As soon as she came through the door, her sore noise twitched at a slight scent of polish sausage. By passing the autopsy room, she went into Brian’s office and found the slow cooker with sausage and sour kraut cooking. Taking a bun from the bag, she made herself a sandwich and moaned at the taste of herbs dancing on her tongue. Even with her cold, the flavor came through. She walked through the door to the autopsy room moaning each time she chewed. Stopping to lean against one of the empty tables, she saw Brian and Sam working at the long table against the wall. Taking one more bite, she headed towards them.

“Damn this is good stuff guys.” She held the sandwich up and rolled her eyes in ecstasy.

Brian looked over her shoulder and smiled at her wife’s display of pleasure. “Just made it after you left today, it’s one of our specialties.”

“All fresh herbs, meat and made with our little hands.” Sam nudged Brian with a shoulder. “Ain’t that right Bri.”

“Hey you guys got rid of Orca.” She walked closer to the two women and seen that they had a sausage maker and buckets full of fresh meat.

“Right after you left matter of fact. So ya really like the sausage?” Brian asked with a smirk on her face. “We only use the freshest of meat, a few hours dead.”

“Xe stopped in mid chew, looked down at her half eaten sandwich and paled. “Bri…Oohh my Gods!” She rushed over to a trashcan, spit the mouthful out, and tossed the sandwich with disgust. “BRIAN!”

“What it’s good, we didn’t poison it or anything and we make sure there’s no funny stuff in it.”

“And we managed to fit all the bodies into one drawer afterwards!” Sam tossed in at the end and gave Xe a huge toothy grin.

“I’m gonna be sick!” Her face was turning a nice shade of green and her eyes started to water.

“Xe baby it’s not what you think.” Brian wrapped her arms around her and pulled her head down against her neck. When Xe moaned and shuddered, Brian started to laugh and Sam joined in to the point that she fell over on the floor and had tears rolling down her face. Danni walked in and gave out a holler.

“Where’s it at!” Brian pointed to her office and watched Danni take off running.

“See it’s safe, we didn’t use anything but pork, spices and herbs. But you have to admit it was funny.”

Danni came back into the room with two sandwiches and a mouthful. The second she saw Xe’s face, she knew what had happened. Swallowing, she started to chuckle. “They got ya didn’t they?”

“So I’m not the first victim?”

“Nope, one of the reasons I was in court with them. Improper use of the autopsy room at the college, they were using the cranial saw to cut the pork bones with.”

“It was sharper than that damn hand saw.” Brian mumbled.

“And it made this really neat noise!” Sam said from where she was still lying on the floor.

Danni looked around Xe and Brian to see her wife. “Sam what are you doing down there?”

“Hoping a nurse comes in wearing a skirt.”

@@@@@@@@@@@@

The four women sat around the table in the small office discussing what Xe had found out from Monty and what she was doing to try and find Dr. Richards. Danni handed her the file she had started after Brian had been attacked and pointed out a handful of names.

“Those women all dated Dr. Psycho at one time, I spoke to them and she did the same stalking thing with them. The only way they were able to get away from her was to move away.”

“Did any of them go to the authorities like Bri did?” Xe asked while she took down notes.

“All of them and they got the same treatment, until she did them bodily harm there was nothing they could do.”

Brian snorted and rolled her eyes. “Lot of good it would do once she was finished with either her car or that damn baseball bat.”

Sam looked at the other three and groaned. “You don’t think she would go after them do ya, I mean she did work for the Feebies and they can get information on just about anyone.”

Danni smacked her forehead then looked to Xe. “Can you get their numbers and get a hold of them?”

“I’ll call the shop and get some detectives on it right now.” She pulled her cell phone out and made the call, giving one of her detectives the information; she made sure to have them not start a panic with the women. That they were just to warn the women and have them call her if Dr. Franks tried to contact them.

“Are you going to tell Boggs about this?” Brian asked.

“Yeah, maybe the five of us can meet at the house and have a round table kinda thing, ohh and Bri,. Sam and Danni are going to stay with us for a while. Is that OK?” She knew it was as soon as she found her arms full of a hyper little Medical Examiner. “Let’s go home, I still have to figure out what to do with the freaky animal in the back yard.”

“Already done,” Sam said. “We called the protein guy and he said he’d take care of it. That’s one job I wouldn’t want, picking up road kill all day long!” She shivered and looked to see three raised eyebrows. “What?”

Danni smacked her in the stomach. “You two already pick up road kill.”

“Yeah but we can pick their pockets, big difference.”

@@@@@@@@@@@

Xe and Brian went home while Sam and Danni went back to their Motel room to collect their clothes and other items. The rest of their stuff was packed and would be sent to Maryland as soon as they sent word. They decided to rent out their home in Ohio as furnished so the only things that would be shipped were clothes, odds and ends and the stuff that they could not replace. Now with them staying with Brian and Xe, they would make the call in the morning and what ever they didn’t need, they would put into storage. When Brian and Xe got home, Xe automatically started picking up her and Brian’s clothes from the floor, couch and their office. The kids even had the towels from the bathroom piled up into a nice little nest in the middle of the living room floor. Brian shook her head and went down the hall to ready the largest of their spare rooms for her friends and make sure the bathroom had clean towels. Xe wandered into the room and fell across the bed to watch Brian, leaning up onto an elbow; she leered at Brian when she bent over to check the dresser drawers.

“I know what you’re thinking so just stop.”

“What am I thinking?” Xe asked and continued to try and will Brian’s clothes away. Brian looked over her shoulder and raised an eyebrow at her.

“You just wait until later, right now I’m hungry and food comes first.” A wicked grin came over her face. “Want some spaghetti with homemade meatballs?”

“Should I ask what kind of meat they’re made out of?”

“It’s a mystery; no animals were harmed in the making of them.” Xe rolled her eyes and fell back on the bed.

“Please don’t let them be human rocky mountain oysters.”

Brian crawled across the bed and laid on top of Xe, running a hand up her ribs to cup a breast, she ran a thumb across her nipple. “It’s a special recipe that I got from a famous person.”

“Who Dom Delouise?”

“Nope, Jeff Dahlmer, he was a Hell of a chef.”

“That’s it, from now on we eat take out.” She wrapped her arms around Brian and rolled them over so that she was hovering above her. “Are you OK?”

Brian gave her a confused look. “Yeah why?”

“With all that’s happened in the last couple of days, I just want to make sure that you’re alright.”

Brian pulled her down for a deep kiss, ran her hands up her back and into her hair. When the kiss broke, she looked into worried blue eyes and smiled. “I’m alright Xe, I have you to protect me, plus with Danni and Sam being here…”

“Figured out my plan huh?”

“You’re easy Sallano, come on I’m hungry.”

@@@@@@@@@@@

Xe had just set the table when Sam and Danni came into the house lugging backpacks and suitcases. Brian took them down to the bedroom and helped Danni unpack while Sam went to terrorize Xe and the dogs. Both women had seen a connection between their spouses immediately, Xe and Sam were kindred spirits as were they.

“How long before they arm wrestle?”

Brian looked up from what she was doing and smiled at Danni. “How long before they wrestle period? They’re like guys; ya know the guns, swords, who’s tougher and meaner…”

“Who’s the real boss?” Danni added.

“We are.” They said in unison.

“Come on, supper should be done, I made spaghetti and Jeffballs.”

“I bet Xe was squirming, speaking of squirming.” She opened her backpack and pulled out her baby. “I almost forgot about you huh?” She kissed the top of her blue Iguana’s head and placed her on the dresser. “You stay right there and leave the dogs alone.”

“You brought Lubriderm, I was wondering what you were going to do with her.” Brian ran her hand across the lizards four-foot back and chuckled when it’s back arched into her hand. “Still think you’re just an ugly cat in disguise.”

“Speaking of ugly, that little bald dog, what is it?”

Brian smirked and rolled her eyes at the thought of Fugly. “Xe gave her to me and she’s not ugly, she’s Fugly and my spoiled baby. Bear is Xe’s master and I bribed her so she’s mine to.”

“I never thought of you going after a cop after what happened with the Psycho.”

“Believe me it wasn’t love at first sight between us. First time we met, I was sleeping on a gurney in the autopsy room and she pulled a gun on me.”

She told Danni about their head butting and how things made a drastic turn and they found themselves inseparable. They spoke on their way to the kitchen where they found Sam and Xe arm wrestling and the dogs sitting on chairs watching them.

“We knew it would happen.” They said together.

@@@@@@@@@@@

After eating supper and cleaning up it was close to ten o’clock, the four women headed to their rooms for the night. None of them had the energy to do anything but fall into bed and surrender to sleep. Early the next morning, Brian felt warm fingertips caressing her from hip to breast in tantalizing movements. Pressing her body into Xe, she kissed the closet skin and arched her back when her nipple was stroked.

“Xe what are you doing?” She murmured still half asleep.

“Hinting.” She flicked the tip of her tongue across a breast. “It’s been weeks!”

“Hint harder and it’s only two days.” She fell onto her back when warm lips enveloped her nipple and sucked gently. Xe’s hands ran across her body with such gentleness that it felt like butterfly wings. Low moans escaped her lips as she arched upward to her lover’s wandering lips. Grabbing Xe’s ears, she moved her head to where she wanted her. “Love you Xe.” Brian mumbled incoherently when lips traveled down her stomach and nuzzled the cinnamon curls at her center. Spreading her legs apart and lifting her hips upwards, she felt Xe’s warm body settle between her legs and her tongue flick out to tease her clit. Tangling her fingers in dark hair, she thrust upwards with each flick of a warm tongue. “Faster…Xe…Gods…faster!” Her control was spiraling away from her, lower nerve endings danced against each other until finally, her back arched and her climax claimed her with a loud yell of Xe’s name. Xe crawled up her body and captured her lips for a long deep kiss that set fire to both of them.

“Turn around Xe.” Brian murmured against her lips then pushed on her shoulders. She wrapped her arms around Xe’s upper thighs and pulled her down so that she could bury her tongue deep inside of her center. Xe’s head dropped forward to land between Bri’s thighs, a deep moan came from her and she pressed her hips downward before licking at her lover’s center. With soft moans and growls. They pushed each other higher until Xe was pushed over and let out a howl against Bri’s nether lips. From the vibration, Brian followed; the kids soon joined their noises. Bear and Fugly sat near the door and howled until Brian threw a pillow at them. Laughter came from the room down the hall and then a loud thump.

“Serves them right.” Brian mumbled in between trying to catch her breath.

“Uhh huh.” Xe rolled over onto her side and moved so that her head was resting on Brian’s stomach, small hands worked their way into her hair and massaged her scalp until she fell back to sleep. “Love you Xe.” She said before closing her eyes and falling asleep.

@@@@@@@@

Brian was making breakfast and Xe was out feeding her filly when Sam and Danni dragged themselves into the kitchen and dropped into chairs. Their yawns were so wide that Brian could see their tonsils. Smirking at her disheveled and half-dressed friends, she showed pity on them and handed them cups of coffee.

“Didn’t you two sleep good?” She asked and dropped down into a chair across from them.

Danni looked at her with bloodshot eyes and pointed a finger at her. “We were until about three o’clock this morning when two little dogs started doing back-up to your howling.”

“How do you know it was me?”

“Because I don’t think Xe would scream her own name, only I do that.” Sam covered her grin by taking a sip of coffee. “How come this stuff tastes better than the nasty sludge at work?”

“Because I made it.” Xe stepped into the kitchen and received strange looks. “What?”

“Nice look Xe.” Danni smirked at the way Xe was dressed in Brian’s Deputy Dawg boxers, half shirt and cowboy boots.

“This is one of the reasons I cancelled the Playboy station.” Boggs dropped into a chair and took Brian’s coffee. “We got another call from that reporter in Chicago.” He slid the note across the table to Xe.

“Water water every where and not a drop to drink?” She read aloud. “What the Hell does this mean?” Four sets of shoulders shrugged, she dropped down to sit on Brian’s lap and reread the note. “Is this idiot telling us that there’s a body in a river?”

“If he is, then we have a lot of water to search and with all the rain we’ve had there’s no telling where it will end up from the drop point.” Boggs laid a map on the table that showed all the rivers and small creeks and streams that ran into them. “No clues or fancy maps this time guys.”

“Xe closed her eyes and tried to think of the easiest way to search.” Boggs can we get the water rafter guys out to help us, they know every inch of the river.”

“I’ll give them a call and I’m gonna see about getting a chopper to fly the river, maybe we’ll find something that way.”

“Hold on guys.” Brian pointed to the note. “‘Water water every where but not a drop to drink’ is a quote about being out on the ocean but I think what the killer means is that the water is all around the body but the bodies not in it. The bodies on the shore, if he’s copying the Green River Killer, one of the bodies was on the shoreline under that bridge. I think it was the Peck Bridge or something.”

Xe leaned close to her ear and whispered to her. “You’re scary Bri but I think you’re right.” She pulled away after nipping the small ear to face the others. “OK, we need to find all the bridges around here and have search teams check them. If anything is found, we head there.”

“Boggs the victim if there is one, that the murderer is copycatting, she’ll be a hooker.”

He nodded his head. “I’ll put the word out to contact us of any missing persons, we still don’t have anything on the first victim but the FBI is searching their database for us.” He scratched his stubbled chin and shook his head. “Why do I feel like I’m looking at an Amazon war party?”

Boggs left to head back to the office to get things rolling, while the four women got dressed and decided to take Xe’s car as well as Brian’s meat wagon truck. The scary part was that Sam would have the truck.

@@@@@@@@@@@@
A grouping of fifty volunteers including the near by joining of Virginia and West Virginia Troopers, started searching the rivers shore from as far away as Whites Ferry and Martinsburg. Xe and her crew of five would start in Frederick and work their way east towards where the three states touched. The river was still high and flowing quickly over rocks and downed logs, every once in a while, they would see debris floating past and getting hung up on the large jagged rocks. Xe knew that if the body was in the water, it may take weeks or possible never to find it. Numerous people were lost every year in the Shenandoah and Potomac River, with the amount of underwater sinkholes and tangled snares of trees and debris, a body could easily become lodged beneath or sucked into a hole. That’s what she was hoping wouldn’t happen this time. They had split up with Sam and Danni on one side of the river and she and Brian on the other. Boggs being the oldest and out of shape, was their point driver. He drove up ahead a quarter mile and used binoculars to check the riverbanks. Xe handed out rescue harnesses and now had Brian tied to her, it was a precaution that she insisted on. If one of them was to slip and go into the water, the other would be able to pull them back out. They now walked as close to the tree line as possible but still able to see far the bank and surrounding areas.

“What happens if we find something, how are we going to get it out of here?” Brian asked and looked upward to the steep climb through trees up to the road.

“Boggs calls the chopper in and if that doesn’t work then we have the river rescue guys that should be somewhere around here.”

They continued to walk and at the same time keep an eye on the other two across the river from them.

@@@@@@@@@@@@

Miles away a set of maroon eyes watched through a high power riflescope for the small party. One of them would be taken care of that day, but it was a long ways off from total revenge. One by one, they would all die and only then would the world be right for the killer.

“Which one of you caused the most problems for little ol me?” The scope trained up and down the riverbank, searching for a target. “Would it be Dr. Cold as ice Meadows, steroid dyke, the honorable Judge Shepard or the tall dark thief?” The scope stopped and pinned a rescue boat in its cross hairs. “Nah, you assholes are nobodies. I want one of the others to start the game. Keep on going little tin policemen, you’ll not find what you’re looking for here.” The killer looked down at the crumpled form the woman’s naked body and gave it a nudge with a booted foot. “You don’t mind waiting a while do you?” A horrible cackling laugh came from between pink lips. “Ohh this is sooo much fun! Come on little ducks, line up for me.”

@@@@@@@@@@@@

“Xe I’m hungry!” Brian bellowed and grabbed on to the backpack Xe had on. “Gimme food or I throw you in!” Xe stopped and gave the rope a yank until Brian was pulled up against her chest. She dropped her head and kissed Brian until she saw lights dance before her eyes. When the kiss broke, she watched dark green eyes flutter open.

“Still wanna throw me in?”

“Maybe I’ll wait a while for that but I’m still hungry!”

“Look in the side pockets, I filled them with Brian food.” Brian opened the pocket and pulled out what amounted to the junk food isle at the grocery store. Choosing a super Slim Jim, she ripped the plastic with her teeth and offered some to Xe. “Where’s Sam and Danni?” She looked to the other side but only saw trees.

“Nature call, I saw them head up into the trees.” Xe pointed to a small break.

“Better only be that and not calling nature.” She chewed on her Slim Jim and teased Xe with the other part by hitting her on the nose.

“Like you wouldn’t do the same thing.” Xe took her hand and pulled her along beside her. “I remember quite well what we did in the back yard when we first moved in, poor squirrels will never be the same.” They trudged their way up the bank until they came to a spot that they would have to go up into the trees to get around. Waiting until they saw Sam or Danni. When Danni came out of the tree line pulling leaves and twigs from her long curly blonde hair and Sam trying to get her shirt fixed under the harness, they knew exactly what kind of call they had answered.

“See I told you!” Brian slugged Xe in her shoulder and started to wave at their friends. Getting their attention, she pointed to the blocked path and then to the trees. “Nature call my ass.” She grumbled and dragged Xe behind her. “Make my own call.” She kicked a rock out of her way, spun around and jumped Xe. They hit the wet soggy ground and rolled around like rabid animals until Xe felt them sliding towards the bank. Grabbing a small tree trunk, she kept them from the icy river.

Sam pointed to where Brian was laying on top of Xe and trying to rip her clothes off. “See that Danni, we didn’t have to go up in the trees.”

“She sure has changed hasn’t she?” Danni shook her head and pulled Sam away from the shoreline. Come on pervert lets give them some privacy.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

“There you are, I was beginning to wonder if you’d ever get here.” The scope stopped to where Brian and Xe were laying on the shore. “Filthy animals!” Moving the scope back to the other side to see Danni and Sam walking close to the shoreline. “Looks like its time for you to meet the little group.” A booted foot kicked out and sent the woman’s body down the muddy slope to stop in a thicket of branches and trash. “Come closer to your fate, just a little more now, come on…stop!” Was echoed by the sharp snap of the rifle firing. Without taking a chance on getting caught, the killer took off up the embankment and disappeared into the dense trees and freedom.

@@@@@@@@@@@@

Danni felt a searing pain in her upper chest and shoulder and then the icy cold water covering her body. She panicked and swallowed a mouthful of water before she was able to close her mouth and fight to stay above the rapids. Sam was trying her best in the water to tow her closer and swim back towards the shoreline. The water was winning. Sam struggled but was pulled under into the murky darkness. Grabbing the rope, she held on tight and worked her way to where Danni had been pulled under.

@@@@@@@@@@

Xe let go of the tree and held onto Brian as they slid down towards the bank of the river. When they stopped, she rolled over on top of her and looked to see where the shot had come from, that’s when she saw Sam fighting and then go under.

“Fuck! They’re in the river.” She got up, pulled the backpack off and unclipped the rope from her harness. “Bri call Boggs tell him we got two down.”

“What are you doing?” He eyes grew wide with terror when Xe kicked off her shoes and then pants.

“Going in after them.”

“Xe! You can’t do that, I’ll go!”

Xe gave her ‘the look’, pulled a rope from the backpack and clipped it to her harness. “You stay here and pull us in.” She handed her the rope, ran down the bank until she was ahead of the couple and then dove in.

“I’ll kill you if you die!” She screamed and then ran after her while calling Boggs on her cell phone.

@@@@@@@@@@@

Sam dove under the water and found where Danni was wedged against a huge log. Swimming up to her, she put her lips over hers and gave her the air from her own lungs before going up to the surface. Taking another couple breaths, she went back down to Danni.

Xe saw Sam shot upward from the water then back down, she swam as hard as she could against the current until she hit the end of the log. Looking back to shore, she saw Brian tying the rope off to a large tree. Taking a deep breath, she dropped under the water and tried to see through the murkiness. Finding the rope, she followed it to where Sam and Danni were. She grabbed Sam by her leg, pushed her upward towards the surface, and went over to Danni. Placing her mouth over Danni’s, she gave her air and then resurfaced to see a panicking Sam.

“Her legs stuck under the tree, I can’t…” She took a ragged breath.

“You breathe for her, I’ll get her loose.” Both women went back under, Xe swam to where Danni’s leg was stuck beneath the tree, she dug with her hands in the area around her leg but all she found were rocks and sticks. Shooting back up to the surface for air, she took hurried breaths before going back under to try and figure a way to get her loose. She turned and looked into green eyes and felt her heart slam in her chest. Brian held out a long thick tree branch and pointed to the tree. Together they wedged it under the tree and rocks and put all their weight on it. The tree did nothing. Xe grabbed Brian’s arm and shot them to the surface.

“Are you nuts?” She yelled over the roar of the river.

“Yes goddamn it!” Brian yelled back. “We need leverage!” She felt Sam come up against her body, resurface, and take a couple breathes and go back under. “Rocks or something.”

“Come on lets try again.” Moving to the side of the tree nearer to the shore, Xe found a spot where the tree was balancing on the edge of a large rock. Pushing the branch under it, she pointed to it and Brian. Moving back to Danni’s side, she put her hands under the tree, braced her feet against the bottom and pushed with all her strength. The tree rocked, settled and then rocked again to be pushed away by the current. Xe reached out, grabbed Danni’s shirt, and pulled her and Sam to the surface. Looking around, she didn’t see Brian until her name was called and she saw Brian crawling up onto a large rock. Helping Sam, they fought the current over to the rock. Brian pulled a limp Danni onto the rock and started CPR while Xe and Sam crawled up beside them.

Danni rolled her head, coughed up the dirty water, and then clutched her chest. Brian saw the bullet hole in her shirt, taking the material between shaking fingers, she ripped it open to see the hole in the upper part of Danni’s chest.

“Oohh Gods Danni.” Sam cried out and ran her fingers across her wife’s pale face. “Xe we have to get her out of here.” She moved so that she was cradling Danni in her arms. “I didn’t know Danni, I didn’t know…” She broke down into tears as she held her wife.

“Brian please tell me you have the phone.” Xe was as close to panic as she ever got. Looking to where they had been to where they now were, she knew that they were stuck. The road was on the other side along with civilization.

“Of course I have the phone.” She handed Xe the watertight hip bag with the phone in it. Then ripping her shirt into pieces, she folded them and placed them over the seeping bullet hole and applied pressure. “How ya doing Danni?”

“Fucking hurts like a bitch.” She reached up, tangled her fingers in her wife’s hair, and brought her head down. “Sam I’m not dying, just freezing.” She knew how scared Sam was it was the only time she ever cried or lost control.

Xe covered her one ear and yelled into the phone for Boggs to get the chopper to where they were. She gave him a landmark so that the pilot would be able to see them and then told him that Danni had been shot and to call the nearest hospital and have a surgical team waiting. Closing the phone, she checked on Brian and then Danni. She just hoped that the shooter was gone because they were all sitting targets. Pulling Brian into her arms, she kissed her temple and hugged her tight.

“Didn’t I tell you to stay put?” She whispered hoarsely into her ear.

“When have you known me to follow orders?”

“Never. I couldn’t have done it without your help. Thank you.” She hugged her tighter and sat there wondering why the killer had gone after Danni.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

“I don’t give a flying fuck that it’s your lunch time!” Boggs screamed over the radio. “I’ve got a Homicide Lt. in the river with a wounded Judge and two other public officials. You get here or I’ll send Sallano herself after you sorry ass!” The pilot stuttered on the other end when he heard Xe’s last name. He guaranteed that he would be there in ten minutes if not sooner.

“Doesn’t care that I’m a damn police Chief but one mention of Sallano has them pissing themselves.” He grinned knowing that he had the best officer in the Tri-state areas and she instilled fear even in a National Guard chopper pilot. He tried calling Xe back but her phone must be dead or turned off. He got into his car and drove with his top hat and siren on back in the direction he had come. At certain areas, he could see the water between the trees. Stopping at the next clearance, he used the binoculars and saw all four women sitting on a large rock in the middle of the river. He knew they had to be freezing and wished there was something he could do. He sung his head back the other way and saw something lying close to the waters edge. Stepping closer to the trees, he looked again and saw what he thought was a foot. “What is that?” He said to himself and tried to get closer, in a split second, he was sliding down the muddy embankment on his back. He came to a jarring halt seven foot away from the woman’s body.

@@@@@@@@@

“Xe was that Boggs bobsledding down the hill?”

“Yep, I wonder what he’s doing the old fool.” They watched as he got up and then started waving at them and pointing to the ground. “I think he’s found the body, we were so close to it that I know this was a set-up.” She looked to the sky and saw a chopper dip down over the trees and hover above them. A bright orange rope and harness was being lowered from the bay doors, Xe reached up, grabbed it and pulled it lower so that she could hook it onto Danni’s harness. “OK Danni, they’re gonna pull you up so hold on.” Xe waved and helped Danni to her feet, with in a minute or so the rope was coming back down and Xe was hooking it onto Sam’s harness. “Go take care of Danni and we’ll be at the hospital as soon as we can.

“OK, thanks guys.” She squeezed Xe’s shoulder before she was pulled into the air.

“What about us? I’m not staying out here until I can learn how to walk on water.”

“Damn I thought you already knew how to do that.” She kissed her cheek and buried her face in her neck. “As soon as the rope comes back down, I’ll have the pilot swing us over to Boggs.”

@@@@@@@@@@@@

While Xe ran back down the bank to get their stuff, Brian went to where Boggs was standing near the body.

“Brian what in the Hell happened?”

“I don’t know, one minute everything was fine the next Danni and Sam were in the river with Xe going after them. I don’t even know where the shot came from. But it hit her in the upper right quadrant of her chest, I’m just glad that the waters so cold.”

“Is she going to be alright?”

She gripped his upper arm and smiled. “Yeah, she’s tough and the water kept her from bleeding too much.” She looked into his worried eyes. “We were set-up Boggs, the killer was waiting for us.”

“I kind of figured that out once I got down here.” He turned and pointed to the two paths in the mud and brush. “One of those is mine the other ones from the victim.”

“And that’s where the shooter was at when she shot Danni.” Xe pointed to a cluster of trees right above where the body had rolled down. “If we check up there we’ll find foot prints from the shooter.”

Boggs finally noticed that both women were standing there in their underwear; he blushed a deep red and covered his eyes. “Damn you two, will ya put your pants on before I keel over.”

“Why? I kinda like standing here and being able to see my legs turn blue.” Brian chuckled when he peeked from behind fingers and looked down at her legs.

“Come on I’m an old man and I can’t carry the body up that dam embankment.”

Xe raised an eyebrow at him. “What body?”

“The first guy on the scene that drools over you and Brian kills, that body.”

@@@@@@@@@@@@

After the CSU crew took the body up the embankment and transported it to the morgue, Boggs called the nearby hospitals but couldn’t find Danni or Sam in any of them. “What the Hell?” He looked at his phone and closed it. “They lost Danni and Sam.”

“Ohh I know what they did!” Brian took Boggs phone, called her hospital, and asked the ER for a Mrs. Maria Janas. In three seconds, the ER admitting nurse told her that Mrs. Janas was in surgery.

“She’s in surgery at our hospital; Sam must have had the chopper pilot take them there.”

Boggs raised his hands in the air. “But how did you know?”

“Easy, she used my aunt’s name to check Danni in. Come on lets get out of here, can you take us to our cars?”

“I’ll run you two to the hospital, I had the guys take your vehicles back to the cop shop.”

@@@@@@@@@@@

The waiting room was packed with patients and family waiting for news, Xe and Brian walked in and searched the room for Sam. Brian spotted her sitting on the floor in a corner of the room. The look on her face broke Brian’s heart into thousands of pieces and caused tears to fill her eyes. They walked up to her, Brian kneeled down in front of her and enveloped Sam in her arms. The sobs that came from Sam tore Xe’s very soul; she kneeled down, wrapped her arms around the two women and felt tears come to her eyes. Helping them up, she ushered them from the waiting room and out the doors to follow the side of the building around to the back. They went in to the morgue and back to Brian’s office, to calm down and clean up before trying to figure out what to do.

The next morning, they were in Brian’s office with the local newspapers and the small TV tuned to the local news station. Brian had the front page of the Frederick Sun in her hands reading while the others had the Jefferson County journal and the Washington Post.

“They did good.” Brian held up the paper with a color picture of Danni on the front. “Local Judge Daniela Shepard was shot yesterday while walking along the Shenandoah River, police have yet to apprehend a suspect and have no clues at this time. Judge Shepard had just been sworn in at the county court house this week after leaving a distinguished career in Ohio. Her spouse Deputy Medical Examiner Samantha Shepard survives her.”

Sam turned the volume up on the TV and sniffled. “My babies on TV.” The same report was said on the news with the exception that a reporter was on scene at the river. Xe turned and grinned at everyone. “You look damn good for a dead woman.”

“They could have used a better picture of me though, that one sucks.” Danni tossed the paper on the foot of the bed and picked up another one. “Pretty damn good I get famous after I’m dead, I feel like Elvis.” She rolled over, snuggled into Sam’s side, and closed her eyes. “Wake me up when it’s time to eat.”

Brian sat on Xe’s lap and laid her head on her shoulder. “Where are we gonna hide Danni when she’s released?”

“I’ll get some of my FBI buddies out to the house to put in an alarm system. Once that’s done then no one will be able to get near the house without us knowing. We should be fine there as long as Danni stays out of sight.

“OK. I’m hungry Xe.” She whined and tugged on Xe’s shirtfront.

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A loud nerve-shattering laugh came from the dilapidated shack near the C&O Railroad. The place was well hidden amongst the dense tress and tall brush, if not for finding notes on the place in a serial killers journal, it would never have been found. The killer sat amongst scattered newspapers reading about Danni’s death.

“Just perfect! Once there were four little Amazons…”

@@@@@@@@@@@

“Now there’s three, all because of little ol me.
Who will it be, only you will see?
Sam I’m coming, so watch your back
If you’re wondering whom, the name is Jack.

Xe handed the note to Brian and dropped down behind her cluttered desk. “I need to talk to this reporter; I want to know why the killer keeps sending him the notes.”

“Now is Jack the person’s real name or one they’re using for the next crime?”

“Either way we have to tell Sam and Danni.” She got up from her chair and waved to Boggs where he sat in his office. “Tomorrow night, seven OK with you boss?”

“I’ll be there with the pizza!”

Brian took Xe’s hand and held on tight, she looked up at her wife’s face and saw the fine lines around her eyes and at the corners of her mouth. She knew the stress was getting to her because she couldn’t sleep at night. She reached up, ran her fingers through the hair at her temples and noticed more pure white hair showing. “Come on baby, I hear a Jacuzzi calling our names.”

“When we get home I want to call the Psycho’s father and have a nice little talk with him.”

“Won’t do any good, he’ll deny anything and everything. He’ll protect her if she takes out a whole country.”

“Not if I say that the Prosecuting attorney will bring charges against him for with holding information concerning a murder case, obstructing justice and harboring a fugitive.”

“We’ll see Xe, but I’m telling you that he won’t say a word.” They walked out of the police station and ran right into a herd of reporters and flashing cameras. Xe spun them around and headed to the back door hoping that they weren’t waiting there to. “Damn vultures.” She mumbled and hustled Brian out the door and to her car.

“You know that you’re going to have to give them a statement sooner or later.” Brian said as she crawled across the seat.

“I’d rather it be later. Let’s get home before they find out what we just did.” She pulled out of the lot and took the back way home; she was glad that it wasn’t on public record where she and Brian lived.

She pulled her car in next to Brian’s truck and waited for her to slide across the seat, taking her hand; they went through the side door and into the kitchen.

“Honey we’re home!” Brian called out and went into the living room. “How do you feel Danni?” She dropped down onto the couch next to her and Sam.

“Like a truck ran over my chest. I think I have pneumonia or some strange disease from the river.”

“If you turn into swamp thing, Xe will dig you a pond in the back yard.”

Sam looked up from where she had her head resting in Danni’s lap and grinned. “Can we have little baby ducks to swim around Danni?”

Brian looked into dilated golden eyes and snickered. “You’re wasted.”

“She took Nyquil an hour ago and has been weirder than usual ever since.”

All three women jumped when an ungodly yell and a string of cuss words came from Xe.

“HolyshitGoddamnsonofabitchwhatthefuck!” She came running out into the living room with a terrified look on her face and shaking. “There’s a damn lizard in the Jacuzzi!” Brian covered her mouth and looked to Danni and Sam.

“Ohh so that’s where my babies been!” Danni moved out from under Sam and went to retrieve her iguana.

Xe stomped towards Brian and pointed a finger at her. “Why didn’t you tell me?” Brian shrugged her shoulders and busted out laughing. “Sorry baby I forgot all about Lubriderm.”

Danni put Lubriderm on a sleeping Sam’s chest and dropped back down onto the couch. “Sorry Xe, I thought you knew about her.”

“It’s OK as long as she doesn’t eat the kids. She won’t will she?”

“Nooo, she’s a vegetarian so the kids are safe.”
Part 2
Xe and Brian retired for the night and fell asleep wrapped in each other’s arms, into the early morning hours, Xe shot up in bed drenched with sweat. Her heart was pounding and she could hardly breathe after seeing Brian’s death in her dream. It was the same night after night; Brian dying at the hands of a maniac and she not being able to do anything but watch. Getting out of bed, she went to their small office and pushed the dogs out of the chair. She booted up the computer and had to chuckle at the background picture that someone had put the screen. It was a picture of Brian and Sam doing an advertisement for their sausages. With the Medical Examiners sign at the top left corner of the screen. The caption read, ‘No animals came to harm in its making.’ “Sick puppies.” She mumbled to herself. Going on-line, she pulled up everything she could on Jack the Ripper, Green river serial killer and some other well-known killers. After spending three hours reading, she sent off an e-mail to Monty to see if he could give her a list of the serial killer files that Dr. Franks had taken. Linking into her computer at work, she checked on any updates that her detectives might have found while researching Franks credit cards and cell phone numbers. So far, everything was still being used in different states at the same time.

“Damn there’s got to be something.” She ran a hand across her tired eyes and sighed when she felt small hands massage her sore shoulders.

“Nothing yet huh?”

“Nope, not a damn thing.”

“Come on lets go back to bed.” Brian took her hand and pulled her from her chair. “You’re exhausted and we need you healthy.” She pulled Xe into bed with her, took her into her arms, and held her close. “I’m here Xe, I’m not going anywhere.” She brushed her fingers across the lines on her wife’s forehead until they smoothed out and she fell asleep. “I’ll never leave you.” She whispered before she fell asleep to the sound of Xe’s deep breathes.

For three days all was quiet, Sam and Brian had a few autopsy’s to perform, tests to run and each other to terrorize when it got to be too boring. Danni was home cleaning house, cooking their meals and doing research on all known serial killers, she was using Sam’s sign on to gain information from the FBI’s records and Xe’s when she needed to get information from the police files in different states. So far, she had found four missing person cases that could be the unclaimed body of the first victim. She requested medical and dental records and had them sent to the morgue under her wife’s name. Creating a new screen name, she went into the webpage for the State of Ohio’s court cases and pulled up Judge Franks, she wanted to know what he was up to, if he was still on the bench or had taken any time off since the disappearance of his daughter. Going to the page where it listed all the monthly cases, she didn’t find his name mentioned once. “How strange, maybe you’re not in Ohio.” Picking up the phone, she called Xe’s cell phone number and told her what she had found and if she could find out where he was without causing too many questions.

“I’ll have Boggs give the court system a call; he’s good at making up bullshit.”

“OK, it’s just odd ya know? He’s the senior judge on the bench and it’s not like him to not have any cases.”

“I’ll give you a call if Boggs finds anything out. What’s for supper tonight?”

“I was thinking maybe BBQ baby back ribs, corn on the cob and Cole’s slaw.”

“Wanna marry me?” Xe chuckled when Danni said sure, as long as Brian was part of the wedding package.

When Xe got off the phone with Danni, she called the Chicago Tribune and asked for the reporter who was sending her the notes. When he got on the line, she was surprised by his voice. He was no spring chicken that was for sure, she asked him if he knew any reason at all why the killer has chosen him to be the go between.

“I think it may be the article I did a few months ago about how our tax dollars go to taking care of inmates. I was nowhere kind when I wrote it but I was telling the truth. We spend 40,000 dollars a year to take care of people who committed a crime; they live better than most working people do. I put in the article that if someone is on death row, they should be executed within a week of their conviction. And that its bullshit that a convict can get a college degree while incarcerated when we have kids that can’t go to college because of lack funds.”

“I agree with you but obviously the nut case has a different opinion about it. How are these letters coming to you?”

“In the mail, I’ve checked the post marks and they’re coming from different states. Every time I get one, I call your chief and have the letter and envelope sent by courier. I was hoping that maybe you people could lift prints or something.”

“We’ve tried but the killer is being really careful. Maybe you could do me a favor?”

“Sure anyway I can help would be a pleasure.”

“I’m trying to get information on Judge Franks; he’s a judge in Cleveland.”

“That old buzzard? I hate that son of a bitches guts. Sorry but he overturns more cases and puts more criminals back on the street than he puts away. I think he’s senile, I may be 63 but I have more of my faculties than he ever did.”

“His daughter is just as bad, she does the same thing. She’s one of the reasons I need information on him. She’s missing and no one seems to know where she’s at.”

“Give me a couple days and I’ll see what I can find out for you.”

“Thank you Sir, I appreciate it.” She hung up the phone and leaned back in her chair. “Maybe just maybe you’ll screw-up Judge Franks.”

@@@@@@@@@@2

“That is such a preeety color Bri.” Sam leaned over Brian’s shoulder and watched her paint the toenails of their latest victim. “It matches his lipstick.”

“I just wish we could be around when he wakes up.” She closed the bottle and whispered back. “Let’s get out of here before we get caught.” They crept from the ER call room and ran down the hallway to the stairs. Once they were far enough away, they high fived each other and burst into laughter. “Now we page him to the ER and see what happens.”

@@@@@@@@@@@@

Xe came through the back door of the morgue, she hated to have to do this but there was no other way. She pulled the backpack off her shoulder and set it on the desk in Brian’s office. Pulling out two cardboard boxes and a paper bag, she put them in the center of the desk and went in search of Brian and Sam.

“Bri? Sam? Where you guys at?” She looked around the brightly lit autopsy room. “Maybe you’re upstairs?” She mumbled to herself and walked towards the door and ran right into a very pissed off doctor.

“Where’s Sallano and Shepard?” Spittle flew from his lips as he yelled.

“I don’t know, I was looking for them.” She crossed her arms over her chest and studied the doctor’s face, he had bright red lipstick smeared across his lips and chin and an ungodly red color of fingernail polish on. “What do you need them for?”

“I’m going to kill them! That’s what I want them for, look at me!” He held out his hands and then pointed to his feet. “I got paged to the ER and everyone started laughing. I went to sign off a case file and see that someone painted my nails while I was sleeping!” He ran both hands across his face and smeared the lipstick more.

“If I see them I’ll tell them that you’re looking for them.”

“Just wait till I get my hands on them! I thought it was over when we got out of college!” He stomped off towards the elevator mumbling about diseases he wanted Brian and Sam to contract.

“Ooohh was Danni ever right.” Xe began to chuckle when she thought of the doctor going back upstairs with his face covered in lipstick. She crossed the floor and was going past the storage drawers when two of them slid out and scared the shit out of her.

“God damn son of a bitch!” She yelled and clutched at her chest. “What the Hell!” She pointed a finger at the two culprits. “I could have had a heart attack!” Brian and Sam looked up at her with huge grins planted on their faces. “What are you two doing in the drawers?”

“Hiding from Dr. Wayne.” Brian said as she crawled out of the drawer. “Is he gone?” She looked around Xe and then helped Sam out of the other drawer.

“Yeah and he wants to kill you two.” She smiled and messed up Brian’s hair more than it already was. “He left here with lips stick ALL over his face. Tell me something, why?” She crossed her arms over her chest and waited for an answer.

“Ooohh it’s like this.” Sam said and they launched into a song.

Jesse James was an outlaw man
He was always breakin the law
Six guns firing from both his hands
Fastest you ever saw
Did he do it for the money?
Or was it for the fame
Finally, somebody asked him
Jessie, why you wanna rob them trains
And Jessie said
It’s just what I do when I can’t get no lovin’
It’s just what I do when I can’t get no lovin’
I the meanest hombre you ever saw
‘Cause lately I ain’t gettin’ no lovin’ at all

She winked at them and grinned evilly. “I swear you two are just like little kids, can ya do it to Boggs?”

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

“OK, now on the first victim we have this weird ass stab wounds, we thought it was this knife.” Brian held out the one from the knife company. “But the damn blades and the wounds don’t match up. So Sam the walking armory here pulls this out of her back pack.” She held up a very flashy collectors knife and lined the blades up with the wounds. “This knife is made by Gil Hibben, he’s one of the most famous fantasy knife makers around.” She handed the knife to Sam and then looked at her wife. “That knife costs about $250.00, and not meant for use, why did the killer use it?”

Xe rubbed her jaw and shrugged her shoulders. “Hoping maybe that we wouldn’t be able to match up the murder weapon? If that’s a collector’s knife, don’t they come with a registered certificate?”

“Yep, and they only make so many of them. I think like maybe 100 at the most.” Sam searched her bag and came out with a Bud K knife company catalog. “Some of his knives are in here, maybe one of us can get a hold of their office and get a listing, Lt. Sallano?” She fluttered her lashes at her and grinned.

“I got the hint you sick pup, I’ll have one of my investigators check it out.” She took the catalog and practically drooled over the swords. “Can I have this?” She fluttered her lashes at Sam and stopped when Brian gave her a raised eyebrow.

“Wanna see my sharp pointy things?” Sam asked Xe and shook her backpack.

Brian rolled her eyes at them. “You two and weapons, just give me a big stick.”

Xe took both their hands and dragged them towards Brian’s office. “I got something you’ll like a whole lot better than a stick. She pointed to the two boxes and bag on her desk. “I just picked those up on my way here, they’ve been registered in your names and Sam if you don’t have a concealed License I’ll get you one.”

Brian opened the box on top and whistled under her breath, taking the matte black Glock from the box, she checked the clip, aimed it at her wall and dry fired it. Sam pulled the other one from the box and did the same, a low evil laugh came from her that made the hair on Xe’s arms stand up.

“Xe this won’t fit in my sock ya know.” Sam threw her leg up on the desk, pulled her paint leg up and showed the long throwing knife strapped there.

“You can’t go through metal detectors can you?”

“Nope, tried at the court house once and ended getting the nickel tour of what’s in the basement.”

“Yeah and who had to come bail you out?” Brian asked while still playing with her pistol.

“Wasn’t you, we had that tour together.” Sam turned to Xe and whispered in conspiracy. “She’s really the reason behind our arrest records, I was an innocent bystander.”

“HAA! Don’t believe a word she says, they were her ideas too. Here moron, put this around your neck and tighten it.” Brian handed her the shoulder holster and took the other for herself. “Xe are these from the police supply room?”

“Would I take something from my own department? Hell yes that’s where I got them. I’ll be damned if I pay for the stuff out of my tiny paycheck.” She wiggled her eyebrows at her. “I got us four of the new swat team vests too.”

@@@@@@@@@@@@

The kitchen was full of smoke, grunting and cursing. Boggs rubbed his bloodshot eyes and spoke around the huge cigar in his mouth.

“Gimme three ya sucky ass dealer.”

Xe switched her cigar to the corner of her mouth and growled at him. “I don’t suck ass you baldheaded geezer. I suck on Brian so there.”

Danni threw her cards down, leaned back in her chair and blew smoke all over Brian. “Who doesn’t know that is deaf or dead, three continents hear you two.”

Sam snickered and looked at Xe out of the corner of her eye. “Shut-up Sam; put that damn lizard in our bed. I just about had a heart attack, and then Bri screams right in my ear when she thinks Lubriderm’s biting her ass.” She smacked Sam in her head for the Hell of it. “Damn false teeth in there with us!”

“I told you they were trouble when together.” Danni pointed a finger at her wife. “Leave Lubi alone or I’ll take the batteries from your toy!” All eyes swung to gapping mouthed Sam.

Brian wiggled her eyebrows and spoke in a deep purr that had Xe squirming in her chair. “What kinda toy Sammy, does it have multiple heads?”

Danni dropped her head on the table, Boggs cleared his throat and Xe was sinking lower in her chair.

“No but it’s got two arms.” She grinned, placed her Energizer Bunny on the table, and turned it on.

Danni whined from where her head was pounding on the table. “You just had to do that didn’t you Bri.”

Brian gave everyone a big toothy grin. “Of course I did, who needs more beer?” She left the table before Danni could beat her senseless. She heard everyone yelling for Cheetos and pretzels. She searched and found the former but had no idea of where the cheese puffs had gone until she saw little orange footprints across the tile floor. “Ohh some little dogs are going to get it.” She followed the paw prints to the laundry room and found them both with their heads inside the bag. When they looked up, all she could see were orange muzzles. “Uuhh huh, guess what little dogs, its backpack time.” She scooped them up, put them in Xe’s backpack and carried them back to the poker game with the rest of her refills. Dropping a full beer in the holder on Sam’s head, she passed out the others then handed Xe her cheese puffs and waited for her to eat some. As soon as Xe swallowed, Brian handed her the backpack.

“What’s this?” She asked with a questioning glance.

“Look at their faces and you tell me.” She sat back down and waited for the explosion. Xe looked into the backpack and two little orange faces popped up and licked her face.

“You guys smell like Cheese…,” She narrowed her eyes at Brian. “Puffs and your mom let me eat some!” She shrugged her shoulders, put the backpack on and went back to eating her Cheese Puffs. Brian threw her hands in the air and groaned.

“What’s a little dog slobber?” She grumbled. “I am not kissing you until you brush your teeth Xepher.”

“Look dog slobber!” Xe gave her a rakish grin and then stuck her orange tongue out at her.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Xe lay in bed with files all around her and Brian, she ran her finger down the list of serial killers that Boggs had gotten from the FBI and wrote side notes next to them. Out of the seven names, only two of them fit any of the crimes committed that she was investigating. She had a copycat somewhere but a lot of good it did. The one who originally did the one crime was dead and the other was on the death wing. They were not fond of police to begin with and there’s no chance of any of them saying, “Yeah I told her how to do it.”

“Bri take a look at these lists and see if you see something that I’m not. These are the death wing scumbags and these are the scumbags that Franks interviewed.” Brian took the lists and held them side by side.

“OK, the ones on death wing. According to the list from Monty, some of them talked to her. I’ll highlight them in pink, the ones she couldn’t or didn’t get to, I’ll highlight them in green.” She cross-referenced the lists and came up two names not high lighted, she wrote them on the bottom of the paper. “OK, I’ll give you a name; you tell me where they are. Then we can check to make sure they didn’t pull a Hannibal Lecter on us and are now the Psycho’s sidekick.”

When they were finished, they still had two names that they had no idea where the men were.

“Xe could these guys be in a mental facility somewhere? I can’t see her only talking to inmates, not all of the killers are in prison.”

“Son of a bitch!” Xe fell back on her pillow. “She had free reign over who she talked to, that means she could have gone to any institution and spoken with any number of people. How in the Hell are we going to find all of them?”

“Especially since all her files are missing, the only thing that I can think of is if the hospitals kept a log of all visitors coming in to the hospitals.”

“I’ll call Monty in the morning and have him get me a list of every Government mental facility that they have record of and all the private ones. She could have talked to people that were put away by family members.” She became very quiet, her hands flexed on the sheet and then a low growling noise rumbled in her chest. “Mother fuck! Bri who would be able to make a chest shot at a long distance, with the air flow coming down a river, change in pressures from temperature and everything else?”

“Someone from SWAT or a Sniper.” Her green eyes flashed with what they may be up against. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

“Yep, we may have a lunatic cop or a war Veteran helping her, Hell she could have half a dozen lunatics out there committing crimes. This could explain why her credit cards are all over the damn place. Likely, it’s one or more that she has gotten off the hook, now we have more stuff to dig through. Problem is that we don’t have Danni to throw her weight around to get us the information.”

“That’s why she was targeted! What about Sam, why has she been targeted?”

“No idea, it could be that she’s married to Danni and that’s a link to you. Plus she’s your cousin and you were her boss in Ohio. Might be something totally different.” Xe shrugged her tired shoulders. “Maybe if you two go over all the cases she worked up in Ohio you can find something. Look for the ones that a cop was involved in the shooting, after a cop shots someone…”

“They are put on leave and an investigation along with a Psyche evaluation is done.” She rolled over onto her side and rested her head on her wife’s shoulder. “You know the saying, needle in a haystack?”

“We have a whole fucking field of hay to search through.”

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

The low glow of an oil lamp lit the old shack, cobwebs swayed with the breeze coming through the gaping slats. Dust swirled around the floor in a small twister and picked up tiny shreds of papers. The crickets choir was interrupted by the creaking of a rusty chain, the person suspended from it swayed back and forth and reminded the killer of a marionette.

“So many to slay so little time.” Was chanted as the killer paced the dirt floor, with each pass, a pasty white hand pushed on the hanging body of the captive. “But who will pay, for your evil crime?” The killer tap danced around the body and kicked up more of the choking dust. “You are here, you are there, thanks to me, you are every where.” A knife blade flashed in the dim light and slashed the pale skin of the body; a low groan came from between dry cracked lips. “Will they find you, do they care? Will they come, for my bloody fair?” A horrible ear-splitting scream rushed out on the winds to stir the silence.

@@@@@@@@@@@

Between the files that Boggs, Monty and Danni gave to Xe, she was buried up to her knees. A headache pounded behind her eyes and made it hard for her to concentrate on anything but the pain. Her lower back and hip were screaming from the constant bending and sitting, she wanted to just throw a match and run from her office. After ten hours of shuffling papers, she was no closer to singling out a perp or even close a specific location to start looking for one. A low growl came from her throat when her phone rang, moving folders and boxes; she found the pain in her ass and yelled into the receiver.

“SALLANO!”

“You called.”

“Called who?” Her eyes narrowed at the strange voice she heard.

“Called me.”

“Me who?”

“The one you called.”

“Who the fuck is this and what do you want?”

“I want you studly!”

Xe slouched back in her chair when she heard her wife laughing in the background. “Sam you’re an asshole.”

“I know that but don’t tell anyone, especially my boss. She thinks I’m great. In fact right now she’s worshipping at me feet.”

“And why is that?”

“Ohh because we found a couple of cases I worked where the same cop was involved. Former swat team sergeant, suspended for police brutality a couple times. Huge asshole on the force that just happened to be treated for anger management by Dr. Psycho Franks.”

Xe pumped a hand in the air and did a silent ‘YES’ “Tell Bri to worship for both of us, I’m bringing lunch what do you guys want?”

“Ohhh something dead and entirely bad for us.”

@@@@@@@@@

Boggs came trotting down the hall to Xe’s office; he leaned against the wall and tried to catch his breath. Wiping the sheen of sweat from his brow, he then waved a hand at her and tried to get the words out in between pants.

“Stiff found…mental hospital…Boston…hacked up…nasty.”

“For Gods sake Boggs take a seat before you fall over.” She stepped over the files and pushed a chair towards him. “Now what about a hacked up body in Boston?”

He took a deep breath and started over. “Monty just called me; they just got a report in from Boston Psychiatric ward about a patient being hacked up in his cell. They thought it was a self-mutilation thing at first but they found his straight jacket in a corner of the cell. They checked his records and he’s been strapped for the last month because he kept ranting that he was next.”

“Next for what and who’s been into see this guy?”

“No idea and the last person to see him was Dr. Psycho.”

“Ohh shit!” She grabbed her leather jacket and ran past Boggs. “Get the file for me.” She yelled from down the hall.

“When did I become her lackey?” He asked himself before going back to his office.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

“This cop was more than brutal.” Brian ran a finger down all of the wounds that had been inflicted after the victim had been shot point blank in the chest. “What was his excuse for the victim having all his limbs broken to compound breaks, crushed skull, four ruptured vertebras and most of his internal organs smushed?”

“If I remember it right, I heard the cops saying that the guy tried to run away. Amazing since the chest shot was an instant kill, it took out his heart.”

Brian opened another file that they had downloaded from the Ohio ME’s office. Scanning the information, she coughed and looked over to Sam. “This isn’t police brutality, this is homicide! I’ve seen less damage to a body that’s fallen from a ten story building!” She read off the injuries from the ME’s report. “Crushed spinal column, nemothorax, crushed left hip and fib, ruptured bladder and testicles, dislocated left shoulder, compound fracture to left clavicle, crushed cheek, upper and lower mandible, crushed orbital bone and ruptured eyeball. What did he use on these victims a steamroller?”

Sam pointed to all the areas of damage and named the weapon. “I matched some of the wounds up with a nightstick; the others were steel toed shoes, a metal pipe and the butt of his .357”

“And this guy was trying to run away to I bet.”

“Yep, kinda hard when I found rope burns on his ankles and fibers from the rope forced into a wooden beam in the ceiling.”

“Sam this has got to be the killer, all we have to do now is figure where all of us fit in.”

“Who’s the killer?” Xe asked from just inside the doorway. She carried the four huge bags of Chinese food in and put them on the small filing cabinet.

“This cop, look at the damage he did to these two people. I mean carjacking is a good reason to be arrested but not smushed.”

Xe read over the reports and groaned. “And Dr. Psycho released this guy back to the force after his anger management classes. I’ll check into it and see if Internal Affairs have him under surveillance. Plus we have a hacked up mental patient in Boston to look into. Either one of you have any contacts up there?”

“Yeah we do.” Brian pulled one of the bags onto her lap. “Thank the Gods for ME conventions and the Chinese for eggrolls.” She slapped at Sam’s pawing hand with a pair of chopsticks. “Get your own this ones mine ALL MINE!”

“Thank the Gods for my huge expense account; hope they don’t figure out that this isn’t a meeting between me and the FBI.”

“Gotcha covered Xe.” Sam pulled open her long white jacket to show a black T-shirt with FBI in huge white letters.

Xe’s brows arched upward into her bangs. “Female Body Inspector?”

“Got a CIA one too, says below Clitoris Inspection Agent. I tried and got slapped.”

“Did not, you got stepped on.” Brian said around a mouthful of food. “Told you not to lay under the professor’s desk.”

“Yeah that too, Danni slapped me when she found me under her desk.”

@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Piles of papers littered the desk in Xe and Brian’s office, Danni had been down loading the docket from the Ohio court system all day so she could go over them and try to find out what Judge Franks was up to along with trying to find court cases where police officers were involved in wrongful death suits. One name in particular was a Sgt Dean L. Patterson; Xe had called her with the name and wanted her to snoop around. She was able to use a friends ID number, get into the Internal Affairs files, and see what they had on him. What she found just about had her falling out of her chair. Pulling a highlighter from the desk drawer, she set down to reading the numerous dockets and court findings.

She heard her friends and wife come in the house way before she saw them; at times, she wanted to turn the living room into a giant playpen. The noise they could make was louder than a day at the races.

“I DID NOT!”

“DID TO!”

“DID NOT!”

“OHH YES YOU DID!”

“WAIT A MINUTE! SO WHAT IF I DID?” Sam yelled back and ran down the hallway to hide from Brian’s wrath.

“For Gods sake do you two have to yell when you get home?” Danni massaged her temples, dropped down into a kitchen chair and laid her head on the table. “What were you arguing anyway?”

“Ohh you’ll see as soon as Xe gets in here.” She ran from the kitchen as soon as she heard her wife’s mumbling outside the door. Xe came in to the kitchen with a look on her face that could melt steel. “Where did those two delinquents go?”

Danni pointed to the hallway and then raised an eyebrow at the steaming cop. “They ran that way, what did they do this time?”

“Ohh something that I would have been harassed about if I had gone back to work instead of hanging out in the parking lot waiting for two juveniles.” She turned around and showed Danni her ass. “I’m a walking billboard for their sausage business.” Across her ass was a bumper sticker promoting B&S homemade sausage with their ‘no animals were harmed’ motto at the bottom.

Danni held back a chuckle at the sight. “Just how did they get it there without you knowing?”

“I thought it was Bri playing grab ass with me, instead it was Sam slapping a damn sticker on my bumper.”

“While you guys were playing, I found some information on Patterson. He was fired from the Police force. He beat the shit out of his wife, put her in a coma and then tried to take out the officers that came to investigate the disturbance call. Right now, he’s wanted for not appearing in court. After Judge Franks released him on his own recognizance, some dumbass at the jail gave him back all his gear. He’s out there with his police issued weapons, Badge and everything else a SWAT guy would have.”

Worry showed clearly in Danni and Xe’s eyes. Xe dropped into a chair and closed her eyes to think.

“Does it say what his specialty was on the SWAT team?”

“Sniper, he’s the Grand Champion at all the shooting competitions.”

“Just peachy! Do you have a picture of this guy?”

“Yep and in color to. You want if faxed out for an APB?”

“Yeah, to every police station and the FBI, just maybe we can pick the fucker up and get him put away. What I can’t figure out is how everyone fits into this assholes little game and why the name Jack?”

“Now if we could get a hold of Dr. Psycho’s transcripts on him would answer some questions. Of course, those are all gone, so I can only make a guess that he’s pissed because 1. I was the Judge issuing the bench warrant to bring him in on a brutality and wrongful death charge. 2. Sam was the Deputy ME that did the autopsy and ruled the cause of death. 3. Brian was her boss who agreed with her. 4. You’re a good cop.”

“Where does Dr. Psycho fit in?”

“She’s a sympathetic ear, kindred spirit of sorts?” She shrugged her shoulders.

“Call the children in here and let’s see if they can come up with anything else.”

Danni winked at her. “So are you getting the hang of being a parent?”

“Never thought I’d need to know how, til now.”

“Watch this, this is lesson number one. TIME TO EAT!” The sound of feet pounding down the hallway and then two bodies sliding across the floor in their socks announced Sam and Brian’s arrival.

“Hey where’s the food?” They asked in unison.

“In the refrigerator.”

“Please tell me we don’t have to cook.” Brian whined.

“No, I got two buckets of chicken. You know I don’t trust your cooking even though you’re learning.”

“Gee thanks, love you too.” She stuck her tongue out and then fought Sam at the refrigerator.

With the food spread out on the table, Xe pulled Brian onto her lap to show that she wasn’t mad.

“OK guys we have a good suspect but we need him to show himself or make a mistake. How are we going to do this?”

Danni took a deep breath, looked to her wife and then spoke in a low voice. “Resurrect me, I’ll be the bait.”

Both Xe and Brian shook their heads. “Danni you can’t do that.”

“You sure as Hell can’t!” Sam took her wife’s hand and held onto it tightly. “I can’t handle going through you getting shot again and it’ll kill me if I loose you.”

“Listen guys, it’s the only way. I have a vest and if I stay close to Xe how can he get me without showing himself?”

Xe was about to answer when her phone vibrated on her hip. “Hold on guys, let me answer this.” She flipped her phone open and groaned at the number showing. “Yeah Boss.”

“We got something at the hospital; a kid came in after being shot down at the C&O.”

“OK, I’m on my way.”

“Xe bring the girls with you, all of them.”

She hung the phone up and looked around the table. “Something’s going on, a kid showed up at the hospital after being shot down at the C&O. Boggs wants all of us down there.”

@@@@@@@@@

“I told that old dude, me and my buddy were down there smoking some weed, drinking a little Jack and all of a sudden someone starts shooting at us. My buddy went down and I took off running. Dude I didn’t know I was hit until I saw all the blood. Ruined my good shirt dude.” He pulled out the bottom of his blood-soaked Metalica and stuck his finger through the bullet hole.

She tapped him on his shoulder to get his attention back to her. “Where exactly were you and your buddy?”

“We parked at the liquor store by Cindy D’s and walked down the path towards the Ferry Dude.” He blinked his bloodshot eyes at her. “You gonna get my Buddy?”

“Yeah we’ll get him.” She turned to the nurse and nodded her head. “I’m done with him; Chief Boggs is arranging a guard for outside his room. So if you can let him know where Dude here will be after he’s patched up.”

“Sure Lt. Sallano, I’ll let him know.”

Xe went out into the hallway where Brian, Sam and Danni were standing she took Brian’s hand. “I want you and Sam to take Danni downstairs and hide in the old section. Now listen very carefully, do not open the door for anyone but me or Boggs, understand?”

Brian gave her click of her heels and saluted. “Got it boss, no password, no enter.” She gave her wife a lingering kiss before she took Sam and Danni the back way to the morgue. Xe waved Boggs over and whispered in his ear.

“I want a guard posted in the morgue; I can’t trust two of the three as far as I could throw them.”

“I know which two you’re talking about.” He pointed to one of his officers. “Look what your wife did.”

“I can’t believe her.” She shook her head and chuckled, at the sight of the officer with the bumper sticker stuck to his back. She lost it completely when Boggs stepped away from her and had one on his back as well.

@@@@@@@@@

With Xe walking point, she and ten officers walked in a line starting at the edge of the woods near the path and headed towards Harpers Ferry. After fifteen minutes, they came across the other kid. He was shot through the back of his neck and his head was held on by skin alone. Xe called the CSU unit in from where they were waiting in the parking lot and told them to bring a stretcher and body bag with them. Using a laser pointer, she estimated the kid’s height, projection of the line of fire and started in that direction with the officers in tow. Pulling her Glocks, she dropped down to one knee when a shack came into view. Holding out a hand, she pointed in the directions she wanted the officers to go. Easing up to the shack, she looked through one of the slats and saw a figure in the dim light. Signaling the officer close to her, she had him ease around the corner, past the door and wait. She counted to six and then took her position on the other side. She counted off on her fingers and then kicked the door in on three.

“FREEZE POLICE!”

“Ohh my Gods Lt.” The officer covered his mouth gagged and ran from the shack, she could hear him heaving on the side of the shack. She pulled her radio and called for an ambulance, then called Boggs.

“Boss better get down here.”

“Where you at Xe?”

“Just follow the path, you’ll see the CSU team, turn left and about 200 yards in you’ll see one of our finest barfing his guts out.” She stepped closer to the body that was suspended from the rusty chains, saw the boney chest move and heard a soft groan coming from between dry cracked lips. “Boggs get the paramedics down here now! She’s still alive!” She hung up her phone and looked for a way to release the badly beaten woman from her chains. Finding where the chain was fastened on an old hook in the wall, she pulled it off and slowly lowered the woman to the floor. The sound of bodies running through the brush and trees alerted her to the paramedics and the huffing and puffing Boggs.

“Hurry up and get in here!” She yelled then shined her flashlight on the skeletal woman. The paramedics brought the stretcher in, laid it beside the moaning woman and moved her onto it as carefully as they could. Within minutes, they had IV’s running, pressure cuff, heart monitor and the lead paramedic was calling in her vitals to the hospital. Boggs came panting in and grabbed onto Xe’s arm for support while he caught his breath.

“Too old…and out of…shape for this.”

“I told you to go on a diet.” She shined her flashlight around the shack, saw all the papers lying around and then stopped when she came to white file boxes. “Boggs I think we hit the jack pot.” She pulled Boggs to the side and out of the way of the paramedics. “I think that’s Dr. Psycho they’re taking out of here, her pet must have turned on her.” She pulled the lid of one of the boxes and shinned the light down onto the files. Across the front was the FBI seal. “We better get CSU in here, all this stuff is going to have to be dusted for fingerprints.”

@@@@@@@@@@@@

The police officer that Boggs had sent down to the morgue stood leaning up against the wall near Brian’s office. He had no idea why he was guarding an empty area. “Who in their right mind would come down to this place?” He asked himself.

“Someone who’s not in their right mind.” Another officer walked closer to him. “I have no idea why I was sent down here, except maybe to do this.” In a flash, a baton appeared in the officer’s hand and then struck the other across the bridge of his nose. Blood spurted out as he howled in pain. He grabbed his face and then fell forward when the baton came down at the back of his head. A loud crunching noise echoed in the hall and then a thud as his body fell to the floor and shuddered its last breath.

“That was fun.”

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Danni lay across one of the gurneys reading over some files while Brian and Sam played with her sharp pointy things she kept in her bag. She had no idea why her wife insisted on carrying more weapons than a mercenary carries. She knew what they were doing just by the whooshing sounds, seeing the flash of a blade out of the corner of her eye, she turned and watched them doing figure eights with short swords. Another mystery was how Sam fit them in her backpack.

“Someone’s gonna get hurt.”

“No we won’t ma, we’re real careful see.”

“Oooww that hurt you ass!” Brian rubbed her ass where Sam had jabbed her.

“Did not you sissy.”

“I’ll sissy you!” Brian kicked her in her shin and grinned when Sam hopped around on one foot while rubbing her leg.

Brian held up, hand and listened carefully. “Did you guys hear that?”

“Hear what?” Sam asked while still rubbing her leg.

“I heard someone yelling help.”

“You’re hearing things.”

“No she’s not.” Danni said as she got down off the gurney. “It’s coming from the other side of that door.” She pointed to the door that led to the morgue.

Sam shrugged her shoulders. “Too bad they’ll have to look somewhere else for help. Xe said not to move from here, until either she gets here or Boggs.”

“And what if it’s really an emergency?” She walked towards the door with Sam right behind her. “Just let me look and if it’s not a dire emergency I’ll send who ever upstairs, OK?”

“I don’t like this Brian.” Sam said but still followed.

“IS ANY ONE HERE? OFFICER DOWN!” Came from the other side of the door, Brian pulled her keys out and opened the door to see two officers in the hallway. The one yelling was leaning over the other who had blood covering his entire face and chest.

“What happened?” She dropped down beside the officer and felt for a pulse.

“Ohh just this.” He brought down his baton on the back of Brian’s head and was about to hit her again when a war cry split the air. He spun on his heel and fell back a step when Sam swung her short sword at his gut. Going on the defensive, he blocked each blow with his baton while backing down the hallway.

“I’ve always wanted to fight an Amazon but this is getting tiring.” He pulled his service revolver and aimed it at her. At the last second, Sam threw her sword over hand and watched it stick into his stomach. Then she dropped to the floor in extreme pain. The officer aimed at her again and ducked when bullets ricocheted off the wall above his head.

“YOU MOTHER FUCKER!” Danni screamed as she ran down the hall firing Brian’s revolver. She stopped when he turned and limped to the other door and disappeared. Going to Sam first, she checked her leg and then smacked her in her head. “What the Hell were you thinking?” She slid across the floor on her knees to Brian’s side. “Sam help me with Brian, I don’t know…” Tears were running down her cheeks making it hard for her to see. “She’s bleeding everywhere!” Sam crawled to Brian’s side, she lifted one eyelid and seen that her pupil was unresponsive. She checked the other one and found it sluggish.

“Baby go in the morgue and in the cabinet near the drawers is a cervical collar and a mini board.” She held Brian where she was and waited for Danni to come back. “Goods Brian don’t do this to me.” She rested her head against her friends back and sniffed back her tears.
@@@@@@@@

Boggs and Xe were helping the CSU unit load all the boxes and loose papers in the back of the CSU van. They knew that they would have to come back to collect the rest of the cache and post a cop at the scene until the place could be gone over with a fine tooth comb. Xe was carrying the last of the boxes that would fit when she felt a stabbing pain behind her eyes that was so sharp that she dropped the box, grabbed her head and fell to her knees with a loud moan. Boggs went to her side and kept her from falling over.
“Xe what’s wrong?” He squatted in front of her and pulled her hands from her head. “Gods Xe your eyes are full of blood, where’s the fucking paramedics!” He looked around frantically for someone to help. “Stay right there don’t you move!”

“Brian…have to go.” She stumbled to her feet, grabbed onto the van for support until her head cleared.

“Damn it Xe I told you…” He took a step back when he saw the feral look come down over her features. The low snarling sound that came from her sent shivers down his spine.

“He’s got Brian!” She took off at a stumbling gate until she regained her balance. Down the path she sprinted until she came to her car, jumping behind the wheel, she flipped on the siren and slapped a top hat on the roof. Other officers in the parking lot heard their Chief yell at them to escort her to the hospital. Three cruisers tore out of the lot under full sirens and lights after their Lieutenant.

Xe tore down the road back towards Frederick and the hospital, people who were moving too slow for the frantic cop found that a Crown Victoria could turn a two lane highway in to three lanes. She went around people by driving in the grassy median or taking over the burn area of the road. Calling the morgue, she hung up after the phone continued to ring. Neither Sam or Danni had a cell phone and Brian kept hers in her backpack. She called Brian’s cell phone and after the tenth ring, she was ready to hang up when Danni answered. With her first shaky words, she knew something was wrong.

“Where’s Brian!”

“Just get here Xe!” Danni yelled back and hung up the phone. She didn’t know how to tell her friend what happened. She paced the floor outside of the Triage room where both Sam and Brian were being treated. The curtain to the section where Sam was came down off the metal rod and crumpled to the floor. Sam shrugged of the attending physician’s hands and pushed past the nurse.

“Get out of my way! God damn incompetent asswipe!” She flung the curtain back where Brian was lying on her side on the gurney. She pulled a pair of gloves out of a box, grabbed a gown and mask and moved in between the attending ER doctor and a nurse.

“What the fuck are you people waiting on? She needs to be in the OR right now!”

“We’re waiting for X-rays to get here and she needs to be stabilized.”

“Stupid God damn people!” She went over to the wall phone and called for an OR room, a portable X-ray, catscan and the on-call neurosurgeon. “Get her up to OR #3 and when her wife Lt. Sallano gets here I’m giving her your name!” She pointed to the ER doctor and then checked the IV bags, portable monitors and Brian’s stats before ordering the nurse to take Brian to the elevator.

“You can’t take over in here!” The doctor yelled at Sam. “I don’t even know who you are and you have no right to order my staff around!” He found that grabbing on to the moving gurney was painful. Sam gripped his wrist so hard that they heard cracking noises.

“You wanna make a bet I can’t, I have more damn diplomas on my wall than paint. I graduated number two in medical school, number one is laying on that gurney. If you want to push it, I’ll have your body down on one of my tables in the morgue!” She pushed him up against the wall and growled at him. “And I won’t be the one to put you there, Sallano will be the one!” She thumped his chest and limped from the room to her waiting wife.

“Xe’s on her way she should be…ooohh fuck.” They heard her before they’d seen her. The sound of clattering trays and yelps of pain and shock came from the ER admitting area and then a feral looking Xe came busting through the doors and headed right for them. She faltered when she saw the blood covering both her friends.

“Where’s Brian!” She stopped in front of Sam and lifted her off the floor by the front of her shirt. “Where’s BRIAN!”

Danni grabbed a hold of Xe’s forearm and shook her. “She’s in the OR right now, put Sam down and let her explain.” She felt a coldness when icy blue eyes swiveled to look at her.

“What happened?” She shook Sam and heard a deep groan when she pressed into her body.

“She’s up in surgery with a head trauma.”

“I have to go to her, which OR!” She shook Sam again and ignored Danni’s strong grip on her arm.

Danni lowered her voice and spoke to Xe. “You can’t help her up there, let the surgeons take care of her.”

“Xe I’m dying here.” She pointed to the floor and saw the small puddle of blood forming.”

“Jesus Christ!” She eased Sam down and scooped her up in her arms.

“Put me down I can walk, just need a band aid.” She tilted her head back to look at Danni. “Help me baby!” Xe put her on the nearest gurney and flipped the surgical gown away from her leg.

“What the fuck happened and I want every rotten detail.” She ripped Sam’s pant leg open, poured betadine on the bullet hole and ignored Sam’s yell. “You want me to suture this while you tell me what happened or what?”

Danni put a hand on Xe’s arm. “I’ll tell you while you do it, Sam’s going to pass out the minute you start.”

When Xe pushed the suturing needle into Sam’s leg, she went white as a ghost and fell back on the table unconscious. Xe looked to Danni and shrugged her shoulders.

“We heard someone yelling for help, Brian opened the door and there were two cops there, one was on the floor covered in blood. She knelt down and the other one hit her with his baton. Sam went after him and he shot her, I took Brian’s pistol and shot at him. I think I hit him in his shoulder I’m not sure. But he left with Sam’s sword sticking out of his stomach.”

Xe brought her eyes up to connect with tear-filled hazel. “How bad is Brian?”

“I don’t know, she was unresponsive when we got her up here. He hit her in the back of her head and she was bleeding bad.”

Xe finished off the sutures in the front and side of Sam’s leg, pulling out her phone she called Boggs and had him put out an APB on Patterson and a warning of armed and dangerous. “I’m going up to the OR, when Boggs gets here send him up.” She took off at a sprint to the stairs, taking them two at a time, she burst through the doors and ran down the hallway to the door to OR #3. All she could see was Brian’s form under the white sheet’s, a stand was at her head with more sheets draped over it. She tapped on the window, flashed her badge and waited for a nurse to come into the hallway.

“I’m Lt. Sallano, how serious is my wife?”

“Right now it’s hard to say, she has swelling around the impact area and a small hematoma on the lower left lobe of the brain. The surgeon will know more after he’s done releasing the pressure. I’m sorry that’s all I know.”

Xe nodded her head, ran a trembling hand down her face and walked away. The more she thought about it the more the rage poured from inside of her. By the time she was back down stairs, she was like a wild animal that was cornered. She saw Boggs coming towards her and seen him flinch and grabbed his chest.

“I’m going after him and when I find him I will tear him into small pieces!” She went into the room where Sam was laying and slapped her a few times on her cheek. When her golden eyes opened, she pulled her up so they were nose to nose.

“Where’s your backpack?”

“Downstairs why?”

“Because I want the biggest god damn pig sticker you got.”

“We’re going with you.” Danni said while helping Sam off the table. “He couldn’t have gotten to far, he may still be in the hospital.”

Boggs stepped up between Xe and Danni. “I’ve got the doors sealed off on all levels, CSU is down stairs with the kids body and that woman is being treated right now. I’ll get other cops in here to do a floor by floor search and have the cruisers on the look out.”

“I don’t know where I’ll be but Patterson can’t hide from me!” She strode off down the hall and turned when she heard out of beat steps behind her.

“I’m going with you!” Sam yelled and limped towards Xe. “He hurt my cousin and shot me, I want a piece of him.” She took Xe’s hand and headed for a side door. “I have stuff in Brian’s truck.”

@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Patterson checked the door to the floor where all the physical therapy and rehabilitation was done. Turning the door handle, he listened for any kind of alarm to sound. When nothing happened, he stepped through the door and looked down the hall to the nearest door. He had stolen a lab coat after leaving the morgue, but knew his dark blue uniform pants with the stripe down the leg would give him away. And the fact that blood was soaking the lab coat and dripping from various wounds to leave a trail behind him. The worst of the wounds was the one from the sword, he never imagined that she would be able to actually spear him and the gunshot to his right shoulder hit the brachial nerve leaving his shooting arm useless.

Trying the door, he found it unlocked and dark inside. Going inside, he flipped on the light and started searching the cabinets on the wall. All he found were some ace bandages and metal splints for arms and fingers. Using one of the ace bandages, he bound his stomach and grimaced from the extreme pain. He knew he wouldn’t last much longer with the blood loss but refused to be taken down by a woman cop. He was already pissed that the Judge was still alive and had shot him, he wanted to know how she managed to survive the chest shot and the fall into the river. A voice inside told him he would never learn those details.

@@@@@@@@@@@

Sam and Xe went through the back door of the morgue and followed the blood trail up the steps to the first floor, laying by the door was the sword that Sam had been using at the time of the attack. Xe picked it up and saw the blood covered blade.

“This is what you were using?”

“Yep, Brian and I were doing sword movements, we didn’t have our pistols on us.” Xe saw the tears filling Sam’s eyes and felt her own eyes start to mist over.

“Let’s find this mother fucker, I want his head.”

Xe went up the steps checking for the blood trail while Sam stood below. When she found nothing, she went back down and they continued to search the ER area and asked the staff if they had seen anyone matching Patterson’s description. A cleaner said he saw a couple of police officers heading towards the lounge but that was all. Xe looked to Sam and then headed to the door adjacent to the lounge. At the bottom of the door, she saw a drop of dark blood and more once the door was opened.

“He came through here and most likely went upstairs to double back and escape without notice.”

“You want to split up and search that way or what?” Sam pulled the sword from the sheath on her back and laid the blade across her shoulder. “How about if we start at different ends of the hallway, we can trap him in between us then?”

“OK, well do that after we searched this floor.” She pulled her Glock from its holster and motioned for Sam to angle off from her. Stopping at each door, she listened before she looked in. They did that until the came upon a nurse who said that she was the only one on the floor besides a couple of patients and the on-call doctor. Xe had Sam go to the closest door while she ran back down to the other. Stepping through the door, she went up the stairs and then waited a few minutes before opening the next door. She saw Sam at the other end and they started their search. When they found nothing, the only place left was the roof. Xe knew that at the back of the building was a ladder attached to the wall for access to the air conditioning units and satellite dishes. She ran to the other door and sprinted up the steps, without waiting, she burst through the door and saw Patterson a few yards in front of her.

“FREEZE YOU MOTHER FUCKER!” She aimed her Glock at the center of his back and waited. “Hands up and turn your sorry ass around!”

“Ohh so you must be the Calvary that thinks she’s going to take me in?”

“No thinking about it, I take you in dead or alive, no difference to me!”

“Would you shot a man in the back?”

“No but that doesn’t mean I won’t take out your legs!”

He turned slowly and faced her with a smug look. “You must be Lt. Sallano, how’s is Dr. Meadows doing? I hear she has a headache.”

“None of your fucking business asshole! Ohh and I found Dr. Franks, you had her chained up for what, forced sex?”

“I wouldn’t touch that bitch with a ten foot pole, you fucking dykes! You’re the down fall of the human race!” He steadily walked closer to her until he was inches from the barrel of her gun. “The entire time I was with her in Quantico, all I heard was Brianna this Brianna that and how she was wronged. Then how Judge Shepard and the Deputy ME wronged her. She was supposed to help ME!” He jabbed himself in the chest. “I went to her because I had problems, not to listen to her sob stories! Then it was her job.” He held his hands in the air and waved them. “Ohh woe is me, my jobs sooo hard! She talked to serial killers! How fucking hard is that?” He groaned and grabbed his side. “You know it was her idea to have revenge against you dykes.” He started to sweat heavily and blood came to his lips as he breathed deeply. “All was going soo nice and planed out until she wanted me to kidnap Dr. Meadows so she could torture her. I swayed her to letting me have some fun by taking all of you out one by one and Dr. Meadows would be the last one to go.” He threw a hand in the air. “So I got kind of out of order, you’re the last one to go!” He pulled his pistol from his holster and it dropped to the rooftop.

“If you’re such a brave man, fight me like a man!” She kicked the pistol across the roof and went to take her shoulder holster off and felt hands touch her shoulders.

“I got it Xe.” Sam said from behind her. “Kill that fucker for Bri.” She whispered before taking a step to the side.

“Ohh so you think you’re more man than me? HAA!” Patterson pulled his baton from his belt and spun it in his left hand.

“Come on little man, give it your best shot.” She waved him forward and dodged the baton when it came towards her head. “Ohh what’s the matter, can’t beat an unarmed woman?” She threw her head back and laughed. “Fucking pussy! You can’t do shit!” He roared and swung at her head and missed, his face was getting paler by the second, blood was running down his chin to drip on his uniform shirt.

“Fucking dyke!” He pulled his cuffs and threw them at her face, when she turned her head, he caught her in her ribs with his baton. A sickening crack was heard and Xe gasped and wheezed.

“Lucky shoot dumb fuck, come on beat me like you do to all the woman you know.”

“Now you die! He spun the club over his head and laughed like a lunatic. “A word before you die, I got off killing your wife!”

Xe put out her hand and growled deeply to Sam. “Sword.” Sam threw the sword to her and without looking, she pulled it down out of the air. She did something that Sam had never seen before, she spun the sword in intricate movements so fast that the blade was a blur but made the air sing in her ears. Xe pulled the sword up high over her right shoulder, placed her left foot out and turned her left side to face Patterson. When he charged at her, she ducked, spun around with the sword level and took his head from his neck in one clean swing.

“May you burn in Hell!” She stepped forward and drop kicked his head up and over the roof. Using the headless corpse, she wiped the blood from the blade and handed it back to Sam.

“Come on Sam I need to go see my wife.”

@@@@@@@

Boggs and Danni were sitting outside of the ICU unit waiting for any word of Patterson’s location or to hear from Xe. When Sam and Xe came down the hallway, they knew that something had happened. The huge grin on Sam’s face was a tell tale sign that she had been an accomplice to trouble.

“Any word on Bri yet?” She stopped by the door to the ICU and looked through the window.

“The doctor wants to talk to you.” Danni said softly and wiped the tears from her eyes.

Boggs stood up and touched Xe’s arm, he looked into her steel colored eyes and knew what she had done. “Where did you leave him?”

“His body’s on the roof but his head is on the ground somewhere.”

“His head is on the ground?” Boggs looked to Sam and saw her shrug her shoulders. “How did it get there?”

“I was playing soccer and Sam sucks as a goalie.” She pushed through the door into the ICU and saw the doctor checking on Brian. She stopped slightly to his side and looked down at her wife. She felt like her heart was being torn from her chest, tears filled her eyes and trailed down her cheeks to drip onto her chest. He turned when he heard a low voice beside him.

“Lt. Sallano?” He stepped forward and offered her his hand.

“How is she?” She wiped the tears from her eyes but kept them trained on Brian.

“She’s stable and very strong willed. With the kind of injury she has, most don’t make it off the table in the kind of shape she did.” He held out a hand to stop Xe. “I didn’t put that right, she had no complications at all during surgery or afterward. From the blow that she received, it cracked her skull right above the cerebellum in the area of the occipital lobe.” He knew he lost her with the first word out of his mouth. “OK, at the back of your head, right near your neck is the cerebellum. It controls your balance, movement and muscular coordination. The occipital is right above that and it controls your vision.”

“So you’re saying that she may be blind?”

“If she comes out of the coma, it’s a possibility. We won’t know anything until then, your wife sustained a skull fracture in the occipital area, we would not have had to do any surgery except that a epidermal hematoma formed and caused pressure between the skull and the dura. I drilled a hole and released the pressure, but we found out from the CT scans that she also sustained a subdural hematoma as well. All we can do is wait and keep checking to make sure that the bleeding doesn’t get any worse. If it does, then I’ll go back in and try and stop the bleeding.”

Xe sunk into the chair beside Brian’s bed and took her small hand in hers. “So she may never come out of this coma and if she does, she may be blind.” She looked up at his weary face. “This hematoma can kill her if it doesn’t stop can’t it?”

“I’m afraid so, the pressure will get so bad that her blood pressure will drop and possibly send her into cardiac arrest. The pressure in her brain will increase while the blood flow to the brain will decrease.” He clasped his hands together and looked to Brian. “All we can do now is pray. I’m sorry.” He left the room without a backward glance.

Xe moved the chair closer and rested her forehead on Brian’s hand, tears flowed down her face and sobs tore from her tight throat. She had seen Brian’s death in her dreams so many times but nothing could prepare her to sit by and watch her slowly die. She continued to sob even though she felt hands rub her back. Sam, Danni and Boggs kissed Brian’s cheek and then left Xe to her pain. When nurses came into check on Brian, Xe refused to leave her side. Their threats to have her removed fell on deaf ears. At one point, a security guard came in, took one look at the gold shield on her belt and left without a word. Three days went by with Xe not leaving the room to even eat, she sat beside Brian and spoke in a soft voice to her. When the nurses came in to bathe Brian, she took the pan of water and bathed her. She took care of all her wife’s needs and forgot all about her own. Sam and Danni came by frequently and tried to get her to at least go and get something to eat. When she refused, they brought her food that went untouched.

They stood outside the door and watched Xe through the window.

“Danni we have to do something, she hasn’t eaten or slept in days. She looks worse than some of the bodies in my morgue!”

Danni ran a hand through her curly hair and nodded her head.

“Can you knock her ass out with something? A shot of tranquilizer that lasts for days?”

“Yeah but how we gonna do it? ‘Hey Xe drop your pants and let me jab ya.”

“Uuhmm…that would get us beds next to Bri.” They stood there in thought and then a low chuckle came from Sam.

“I got an idea, I’ll jump her and you jab her.”

@@@@@@@@

Xe sat hunched over the bed with her forehead resting on Brian’s upper arm, her body ached, eyes burned and her ribs kept sending sharp pains every time she breathed to deeply. She looked to the door when Sam and Danni came in. She was so tired that she couldn’t even offer them a small smile.

“Has there been any change?” Sam asked as she closed in on Xe.

Tears filled her eyes and she shook her head. “No, nothing, not even a flinch.” Sam leaned over her back, wrapped her arms around her shoulders and laid her head on top of Xe’s. Tears came to her eyes and trailed down her cheeks. “She’ll come back to us, I know she will.” She said softly before winking at Danni. Danni stepped close, laid a hand on Xe’s shoulder and jabbed the needle into her shoulder before she knew what was happening. She jumped up, looked at the needle sticking out of her shoulder and growled.

“What did you do to me?”

“Jabbed you with a big ass needle?” Danni’s voice raised an octave when Xe snarled at her.
“Just great what happens if…” Her bloodshot eyes rolled up in her head and she started to fall backwards. Sam caught her and laid her in the bed next to Brian.

“Sammy why are you crying?”

“Get a whiff of her and you’ll know why. Damn but she reeks! It’s bad enough that it may bring Brian out of her coma to tell her to take a shower!” She looked down at Xe’s blood splattered shirt and ripped it up the middle. “Ohh fuck I forgot all about her getting hit.” She ran her fingers across the large ugly bruise covering Xe’s ribs. They cleaned Xe up the best they could without dehydrating from crying, wrapped her ribs and covered her up with a spare blanket. When they were done, Danni put on her court room face and went to inform the staff that they were not to disturb Xe or Sam was going to have her hands full with bodies. Sam backed her up by cracking her knuckles and giving everyone an evil glare.

The next morning a small hand twitched and then moved up to tangle in long dark greasy hair. Brian’s nose twitched, an eye opened and she turned her head away from Xe. Swallowing a few times to get rid of the dryness in her mouth, she croaked. “Xe go brush your teeth, something died in your mouth.” She shoved on Xe’s shoulder a few times before she heard her moan. “Xe wake up, Gods you reek!”

“So what, don’t care.” She snuggled into Brian’s side and grumbled. “Tired, hangover.”

“I don’t care if you’ve been buried alive and just dug yourself out, you stink!” She yanked on Xe’s ear and grinned when she yelped.

“Hey why’d you…you’re awake!”

“Ya and you still stink!” When Xe went to kiss her, she covered her mouth with her hand. “Not until you brush your teeth and take a shower with lye soap.” Xe ignored her and buried her face against her neck and cried. “Why are you crying I haven’t been asleep that long.” Xe raised her head up and nodded her head.

“You’ve been in a coma for over a week, they said you might not come out of it.” She wiped her eyes and ran a finger across the white bandage covering Brian’s head. “Can you see me?” She looked into Brian’s bloodshot eyes.

“Yeah is that a problem?” She blinked her eyes a few times, looked around the room and saw all the equipment she was hooked up to. “Guess I kinda got hurt huh?”

“You could say that.” She cupped Brian’s cheek and softly trailed her fingers down to her lips. “I love you Brian.”

“I’d love you more if you went and got cleaned up.” She pointed to the door and pushed on Xe. “And bring me back some food, I’m hungry.”

@@@@@@@@@

Xe came back into the room still dripping from her shower, the scrubs she wore were wet showing that she didn’t even dry off before dressing. Brian looked up at her and snorted when she saw her bare feet stuffed into surgical booties.

“I don’t stink no more and I brushed the fur off my tongue. Can I come near you now?”

“Only if you brought me food.”

“Taken care of.” She came towards the bed, leaned over and kissed Brian gently. When she pulled back, Brian pulled her back down and kissed her until her ears buzzed. When they parted, Brian ran her fingers down her wife’s gaunt face.

“You look terrible, when’s the last time you ate?”

“Last week sometime, stubborn asshole.” Sam said as she and Danni came into the room carrying bags of food. “We knocked her ass out with a tranquilizer shot yesterday because she wouldn’t sleep.” Danni kissed Brian’s forehead and sat down on the edge of the bed.

“How you feeling?”

“Like I have cotton between my ears, what did they do to me?”

“Took some cotton out of your head.” Sam replied and handed her a carton of sweet and sour pork. “Should’ve put something between your rotten other half’s ears.”

“Ohh thanks Sam for fixing my ribs and Danni for knocking my ass out. I needed the sleep but I was…”

“Forget it we know, at least I got to see a master swordsman at work.”

Brian looked to a bashful Xe and waved a hand at her. “What’s she talking about?”

“Damn! Ya should have seen her! She makes us look like shit, figure eights, pommel spins and the head lopping thing was great!” Sam was just about frothing at the mouth when she finished.

“Sam sit down and eat.” Danni threw a container and fork at her and pointed to a chair. “Now Samantha!”

“Meanie.” She mumbled and started eating.

“You better explain to Bri what happened or she’s going to get out of that bed and knock the shit outta us.”

Green eyes narrowed at Xe. “Damn well will knock you around, now tell me.”

“Well, I kinda lopped Patterson’s head off and kicked it off the roof.”

A nurse walked in and interrupted Brian’s yelling spree she was about to go on. “I can’t believe you people are in here and with non-authorized food!” She stepped up beside the bed and was going to reach for Brian’s food, and thought better of it when her patient bared her teeth and growled at her. “You’re not supposed to be eating solid foods after being in a coma.”

“Go ahead and try and stop her.” Boggs said from the doorway. “I’ve seen her finger collection down in the morgue, she has every color of fingernail polish but yours”

“I’m reporting this to your doctor.” She started for the door and watched Boggs clap his hands and grin.

“That means she can make me a new keychain out of his dick and balls!”

The nurse left with a horrified look on her face. She looked back over her shoulder at Boggs and trotted down the hall.

“Hey Brian glad to see your awake and made that dirty dog take a shower. Made my eyes water being in the same room with her.”

“Thanks Boggs love you to.” Xe flipped him off and grabbed more food for her and Brian.

“I know you do, and we finally found Patterson’s head. It landed in the dumpster and gave the guys at the dump a heart attack when it fell out of the truck. Before I forget, did Sam tell you about Patterson’s tattoo?”

“Nope, what was it a tiny teddy bear on his dick?”

“Nope, it was a bleeding heart with Jack the Ripper inside of it, the man was a sick bastard!” He stole a shrimp from Sam’s container and jumped when her foot shot out at him. “Thanks Sammy, my wife won’t let me eat this stuff. She put me on a phony food diet, I think she’s trying to starve me to death.” He grinned when she handed him a container from the bag. “Ohh and Dr. Psycho now has a permanent bed in the nut ward, she’s vegetable soup.”

Brian looked to Xe with a raised brow. “You found her?”

“Yep, and it wasn’t pretty either.” Xe filled her in on everything they had found at the shack, and that the FBI now had all of their files back and then some. Sam and Danni told her about their fighting Patterson off and how she had come to be in a coma.

“I always miss all the fun!” She pouted and slapped Xe on her thigh. “When do I get out of here?”

“Don’t know we can always do like all the other times and sneak out.”

“Not this time you’re not!” The hospital administrator pointed a finger at her. “As of now you are on a mandatory vacation until you’re cleared by the neurologist. And I want to know who stuck all those bumper stickers on my car.”

Sam and Brian looked to each other and then to Boggs, in unison they yelled his name.

@@@@@@@@@

A week later, Danni and Brian were ready to throw both of their wives out into the backyard. In two days, they had not left their spots in front of the TV. They were playing a Nintendo game and refused to move until one of them gave up and declared the other Queen of Donkey Kong.

“OK Danni ya ready?”

“If this doesn’t work, we’re flipping the electrical breakers off.”

They slapped hands and walked out into the living room dressed in leather and literally cracked bullwhips at their wives. Xe and Sam moved after being threatened just once with the end of the whips snapping their nipples. Two nasty smelling women ran for the bathrooms knowing that when their wives dressed in leather, they meant business in a master/slave sort of way. Once again, the house of juvenile delinquents was back to normal.

The end

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