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Chapter 03

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      Trembor hit the answer button, setting it to voice only; he wasn't really presentable for visuals at the moment, "Trembor speaking."

      There was a moment of hesitation, "Hi, it's Jaxca, am I interrupting something?"

      "Somewhat, we're finishing breakfast, packing what's left for processing. Can we call you back after we've cleaned up?"

      "Please do," the frog sounded queasy, "I'd rather not see blood on anyone who's still walking around."

      The lion chuckles "alright, give us ten minutes." He hung up and joined Marlot in the adjoining room, like him the wolf was naked and almost completely covered in blood; he was moving the remaining chunks of their meal to the center of the tarp they'd laid on the floor. "So much for licking you clean," he told his partner with a grin, "That was Jaxca, I said we'd call him can as soon as we were clean." Trembor grabbed a haunch and swung it on the other pieces, feeling a primal satisfaction in having eaten on the floor, ripping flesh off the body with his teeth and claws. He didn't do this often since it tended to get messy, most of the time he enjoyed his meat pre processed in a nice an civilized way, but one in a while he had this need to just bury his muzzle in his prey and not care how long it would take him to clean up the mess. He was fortunate that Marlot also enjoyed this more primitive form of eating.

      Marlot looked at him his eyes taking in his blood stained golden fur and licked his chops as another hunger started building. Realizing what he'd just done he looked away, his ears folding back and focused on wrapping the meat and making sure it was properly sealed, it was annoying to have it drip blood all the way to the processing store.

      Marlot handed the package to Trembor to put in the cooler and went to the shower they had installed for just this kind of occasion. Eating unprocessed meat wasn't something he'd experienced before meeting Trembor, it was ironic in a way, with him being from such a little back water town that he'd been raised to eat in the 'proper' way, and that it would be when entering civilization that he'd learn about eating in such an uncivilized way.

      He stepped under the warm water jet and let it cascade off his back for a minute, looking down as the water turned red. Trembor joined him and rubs his back, and then pressing himself against him, licking his neck. The wolf closed his eyes and signed contently thinking that he could stay like this for a very long time.

      "You taste like breakfast," Trembor said lazily, "maybe I should have you for lunch."

      Marlot smiled at the image this brought up, and then remembered that Hela'Han was just behind a door that might not be locked and he tensed up. His tail bent between his legs in shame at the reaction. He didn't want to feel this uncomfortable about the situation; he simply couldn't seem to help it.

      Sensing the change Trembor let go of the wolf and grabbed the bottle of fur wash. He reached for the shower head and reduced the stream to a trickle before applying a generous portion of wash on Marlot's back. He kept his touch from becoming affectionate to avoid making the situation worst.

      It took them a good hour to get almost all the blood out of their fur and dry themselves, one of the reasons they didn't eat like this often. Once they were dressed Trembor called Jaxca back.

      "Good morning," the red frog said as he saw them, "I take it breakfast was good."

      "Very good," Trembor replied with a toothy grin.

      Jaxca shook his head in amusement. "I don't understand why you enjoy eating in such a sloppy manner."

      "It's a predator thing," Marlot commented, "we wouldn't expect you to understand. I take it you've never has someone lick you clean after a meal."

      Trembor looked at his partner, ears perked in surprise.

      "Ha ha," the frog said, "very funny, no I've never been licked. Anyway, maybe we should proceed." Marlot inserted the proper slate in the reader and a series of thumbnails appeared on the side of the screen. Jaxca looked though them and touched four of them, they tiled over the screen. "As you can see from the x-ray, her neck was broken; the break wasn't fatal, but it blocked her airways. She choked to death."

      "Were you able to determine if the break was done on purpose?" Marlot asked.

      "Not from the break itself," Jaxca waved the pictures off the screen and pulled two from the list, showing part of the victims arms, with the fur shaved off the skin shoeing signs of bruising, "although the fact that no one tried to help her breathe is a good indication that it wasn't an accident, but on top of that she was held down, you can see that the bruising is in the shape of someone's hands. Because of the lack of signs of fighting in the room I'm guessing that he broke her neck and held her down while she choked."

      "You were able to determine a male killed her?" Trembor asked, surprised.

      Jaxca pulled up another picture, showing her bruised vagina, "he raped her, probably while she was dying. The person who did that is one sick individual."

      "Or really, really angry," Trembor commented

      "Well, who ever it is I hope you get him, cause this is actually a double murder, she was pregnant."

      Both were stunned into momentary silence. Trembor was the first to regain his voice. "How far along was she?"

      "As best as I could determine, two months," he narrowed his eyes as he looked at the lion, "but don't you even think of bringing up that three month crap, a child's a child from the moment it's conceived."

      "I know that!" Trembor said with exasperation.

      It was Marlot who continued in a calmer tone, "but the law doesn't recognize a child's existence until the third month after conception, so we can't add predation of a child to the charge."

      Jaxca was fuming, and they could understand him, punishment for predation of a minor is to be eaten alive by the family or those appointed by them. For the murder of Aiden the man would be assigned to a work detail until he'd paid her PRT. The details were rough place to be that was for certain, but they didn't bring the satisfaction a kill brought.

      Trembor forced himself to calm down, "what can you tell us about the child?"

      "He's mixed breed," Jaxca said after he'd also calmed down, "I can't tell you what specie the father is, if you can bring me genetic material I can compare it to what I have and I might be able to find him."

      "How about the murderer, can he be the father?" Marlot asked, earning a horrified look from Trembor. The thought that someone might kill his own offspring really didn't sit well it him.

      "It's doubtful," the frog said forcing his tone to remain clinical, "unless they had a previous relationship, and he used protection, there was no semen or fur, so I have no way to find out."

      Marlot nodded, "anything else?" Jaxca shook his head, "ok, thanks. If anything else come up let us know." and he ended the call. He turned to look at Trembor, who still looked like he was going to be sick. "Are you going to be ok?"

      The lion closed his eyes trying to keep the content of his stomach inside. "I don't think I should have had breakfast."

      Marlot took his hand in both is his and moved close, "just relax, think about something else." To help the wolf nuzzled his neck, giving him gentle nips.

      Trembor's breathing slowed down after a few moments of this and the tension left his body. "Thank you," he said before kissing the wolf tenderly. Marlot returned the kiss, it became passionate and lasted longer then either one intended, leaving them breathless when they finally separated.

      Marlot stood and straighten out his shirt in a futile attempt to cover the state the kiss had left him in, "yes, well, I think we should get back to work," he said, sitting back in his seat

      Trembor gave a sheepish chuckled and nodded, happy he didn't have to stand. He put the slate with the police report in the viewer and they went through it, unfortunately it didn't have anything really useful on it. Aiden had failed to show up at work two days in a row, and she wouldn't answer her phone. A friend of hers from work went to her home but she didn't answer he knocks.

      Seeing that the car was in the garage she called the police, who overrode the locks and found the body. They inspected the house and found nothing amiss, the records indicated that door had been unlocked from the inside, so Aiden had let her attacker in, and then relocked fifty three minutes later.

      "How does someone walk around a house for almost an hour," Trembor mused out loud, "not to say rape a female, and not shed?"

      "I'm thinking by being well prepared," Marlot said, "but that raises the question of why she would let in someone in a shed proof suit, those things aren't exactly discreet. And why just leave the body lying there after taking that kind of precautions? Without a body it's just a missing case, the longer it takes to find the body the more deteriorated it is, the harder it is to even find out who it was. That's why we still have six bodies we haven't been able to close yet.

      "Which reminds me," the wolf added picking up the third slate, "we got a tip on the Sho'Avan body, we'll want to looked into it when we have the time."

      Trembor nodded, "ok, so we're agreed this isn't the work of a paid hunter." There weren't many of them, since their life expectancy tended to be short, but some people, usually males, were willing to hunt for others, some even outside the laws, for large amount of money. The last such hunter in the city had been how Trembor and Marlot had met.

      "No, this feel more like someone lashing out in anger, breaking her neck, watching her suffocate and raping her while that's happening. He wanted her to suffer like she had made him suffer."

      "So we're looking for a spurned lover; the file only lists two current lovers "Alicon Sharptooth, her contracted lover, and Telima Shortail."

      "That's the student from the house," Marlot commented, "I'm pretty sure he isn't our male."

      "Then that leaves Sharptooth, and the question of his he did it why didn't he pay the PRT."

      "Stupidity?" the wolf offered.

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