Lucas Freyton stepped out of the taxi, yanking his laptop case and satchel out of the seat as he did so.
"Huh," he remarked, his voice quiet. "I guess it doesn't rain much here after all." Freyton adjusted the satchel and looked at the police station in front of him. I'm really here, he thought, still marveling at it. Been at the Bureau this long, and I finally get an assignment without a leash. Well, not much of one, anyway. He pushed the doors open and stepped into the precinct. The secretary at the front desk spun around to face him.
"Name?" The man asked.
"Lucas Freyton...one second..." Freyton patted himself down, trying to find his badge. "Here it is...FBI. I'm here about the case involving the animal attacks? Someone told me the DNR doesn't actually think it's animals."
The man sighed. "Yeah, that one's been a real head scratcher. The chief's up in his office. I wouldn't expect a whole lot from him. He's been in one of his moods all morning. I think it's got him on edge, getting the feds involved."
"I imagine," Lucas said, cursing mentally. If he's already pissed, and I haven't even gotten started...he didn't like the thought. He turned away from the desk, beginning to ascend the stairs.
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE DON'T HAVE THE AUTOPSY?!" The yell came from the chief's office. Oh dear, he thought. I really did put my foot in it.
"WE NEED THOSE FILES RIGHT NOW!" The screaming voice continued, still loud enough to count as a domestic disturbance. "WE CAN'T PROGRESS UNTIL THE DNR PULLS ITS HEAD OUT OF ITS BUTT AND GETS IT IN GEAR!" Someone mumbled something, and the chief began roaring again. "I'LL MIX YOU, YOU MOUTHY LITTLE SKUZZBUN! WHERE IS THAT BOTTOM-FEEDER FROM THE FEDERAL BUTTHEADS OF INVESTIGATION?!" Someone came scurrying out of the office, and Lucas saw the expression of fear writ large on the rookie's face. What have I gotten myself into? He wondered.
Lucas pushed the door to the chief's office open, a little hesitant about it, but still determined not to be cowed, despite his better judgment.
"Lucas Freyton. Federal Bu...Bureau of Investigation." Strangely, he found himself liking the name the police chief had coined for the Bureau even better. He mentally resolved to use it behind his boss' back.
The chief, an older man with a beard and massive biceps, looked at him. the expression was decidedly unimpressed. "Why did they send me a stupid greenhorn? This isn't a rookie's piece of cake."
"I've been on several cases with the Bureau," Freyton replied. "It's not like this will be my first rodeo."
"Even if it's your second, then you still don't have the brass for this," the chief growled.
The FBI agent sighed. "Don't look the gift horse in the mouth, sunshine. I might surprise you."
"Okay." The chief, whose name on the desk read Captain Douglas Carter, rolled his eyes. "If you want to start, go ahead and talk to Lily Compton. She's in the next room. She's the hooker that found the latest body. And believe me, it wasn't a pretty sight."
Freyton turned away. "Then I'll get started."
"I don't know." Lily's voice was soft, barely audible. Her blue eyes were so liquid that he almost expected her to break down at any moment. "I'd never seen the poor guy before I found his body."
Freyton looked at her, his own brown eyes full of sympathy. "And how did you find his body? If you're up to answering, that is. You don't have to."
"It'd probably do me good to talk about it," she murmured, tears rolling down her cheeks. "It was just...I've never seen a body so messed up, y'know?"
"I know," he replied.
She shook her head. "No, you don't. You've never seen something like this. His body...it looked like whatever tore into him ate parts, left some...the whole thing was a gory mess. I just...I wish I'd never seen that...It was so...hideous..." And she broke down again.
"It's traumatic," he said, trying to keep his voice as gentle as he could. Trying to soothe her in the same way that one might a spooked animal. "Have you ever seen a dog attack somebody? Any kind of animal attack?"
"Just a dog..." she whispered. "This...wasn't like that...The creature had been dead for the while, but the dog just took bits. This...this was out of spite. Whatever attacked him took everything. It ripped him to shreds. Tore out his intestines. I think it's probably a cougar or something."
"I doubt it." He looked at her, quiet for several seconds.
She looked back, suddenly resolute. "You keep staring. See something you like?"
"It isn't your attitude, that's for sure," he murmured. Then, he said, loud enough for her to hear, "Is there anyone else I can talk to about this?"
She nodded, hesitatingly. "There are a couple of guys who showed up and..." the girl paused. "...a friend of mine. Here's his apartment address."
He looked at her. "According to your blotter, you hang around this building quite frequently. Care to elaborate?"
"He's my boyfriend," she replied.
"The kind of of boyfriend you go to see on your nights off?" He asked. She blushed. "Oh. Well, rest assured I won't be arresting him. Unless he's done something quite illegal."
"He's okay," Lucy said softly. "Just a little rough on the edges. You might wanna call ahead, since he's a little skittish."
The officer nodded. "I'll be sure to call." He whirled as the chief burst into the office.
"There's been another," he informed Lucas. "Get ready, 'cause this ones a double."
Lucas' eyes widened as he saw the crime scene. "The decapitation is new," he remarked. "Not odd, given that they're already missing half the contents of their chest cavities, but still...."
"This is definitely some kind of human," he muttered, examining. "Look at these. They're handprints in the vic's blood. We need to run DNA tests and try to find something, anything, that might lead us to this murderer."
"I don't know," Freyton said. "This could be a mess. If this is really a human this messed up, then he must be one ugly monster."
The chief sighed. "Ever heard of Jack the Ripper? Not quite the sanest creature God ever let pop out, was he?"
"True enough," Lucas murmured. He got back up, looking around. "So we just wait on the labs, then?"
"Got a better idea?" The chief asked.
The FBI agent nodded. "There's another option. She said she had a boyfriend off somewhere."
"A hooker with a boyfriend?" The police chief asked. Seeing Lucas' expression, he sighed. "Very well then. I guess so. Where does her squeeze live?"
"Just down the street," he replied. Seeing the chief move, Freyton sighed. "Let me go alone, okay? She said he was a little...nervous around law enforcement types.
"He a hooker too?" Doug asked.
Freyton shook his head. "Don't know. Didn't ask. Figured it wasn't important."
The chief sighed. "It might be." Seeing Freyton's face, he put up his hands. "Look, I'm just saying it isn't wise to go in blind, that's all."
"We have new evidence!" A yell came from outside the door. "Those witnesses don't know anything." A rookie burst through the door, his eyes wide. "They're gang members."
Douglas blinked. "What?"
"They're all gang members," the rookie said. "Nasty yokels, from the look of it." He tossed a folder onto the chief's desk. "Fancy a look?" Douglas took it and rifled through the pages.
"What. In..." He stopped, surprised. "What's your name...Isaacs? This is really, really good work. Remind me to get you reassigned to this case."
"Already working another one, sir," he replied. "Domestic dispute, daughter made a ward of the state. It's been difficult."
Douglas shrugged. "Then give it up."
"I can't, sir," he said. "It's a little personal."
"All right then. If we find something you can help with?"
He shrugged. "I can make time."
"Good." And he left the room.