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On The Prowl (IC)

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Date: March 3rd, 2010

The street became more and more crowded as the police began to rope off the area. "Stand back, stand back," one of them said. He was making his best effort to push the crowd away from the crime scene.

Two bodies lay on the concrete where the sidewalk met the alley. The blood that had poured out of their gunshot wounds had recently caked dry on the side walk. "We need you all to step back!" the police officer commanded. Despite the frantic waving of his arms, it was clear they were fighting a losing battle against the crowd.

Another car arrived at the scene just as the police got the crowd under control. The black sedan's doors opened, allowing more of the police force to step out. The two new arrivals were no patrolman, they were detectives. Leading the way was a woman in her late 20s. From her gait and the look in her eyes it was easy to see that she was tired in both body and mind. "Well, Jameson," she addressed the officer controlling the crowd as the man that was her partner stooped to check the bodies. "What have you got for me?"

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The officer related his findings to the detective. Standing in her pressed black slacks and pea coat she listened. The two victims had been shot. That much was obvious. The rudimentary ballistics report bored her, and she brushed some of her brown hair away from her eyes.

She was more concerned with the area this occurred in. The Fens were a dangerous section of the city. A shooting in daylight like this was more than likely gang or drug related. Or both.

The victims were teenagers. That was sad. "...haven't found any prints either." the officer had been saying, "Detective...Detective, are you listening?"

"Yes! Sorry, I was just thinking. It looks like this is going to be a tough nut to crack."

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The crowd on the street was growing louder. They wanted to know what had happened as badly as she did. She forced herself to tune them all out.

"Detective," the voice caught her attention. It wasn't the officer, it came from the crowd. "Detective, I think I can help you."

The voice was cool and commanding. Is that why it had stood out? Or was it because just hearing it made her jumpy? More than usual, anyhow. The sound of the voice made her uneasy. She had the feeling of being watched, of being vulnerable and unable to hide or run. There were plenty of louder voices in the crowd, but that voice had stood out.

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The detective turned to the section of the crowd where the voice had come from. People were pushing and shoving. All except for one young man who was standing still. He looked at her, expectantly. The voice couldn't have come from anywhere else. She motioned him forward and joined him at the yellow police line. "Detective Candy Ostair," she greeted him. "You say you know something?"

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"No, I didn't," the man replied, "I said I could help. My name is Thomas Young." he shook her hand.

"Okay," Candy replied slowly, her patience waning, "How can you help?"

"I don't know who did this." Tom replied frankly. He lifted the bottom of his grey sweatshirt hoodie and shoved his hand back into the pocket of his jeans. "But the good news is I might be able to find them."

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"My grandfather is a spirit shaman of the Shawnee tribe." Thomas explained as Detective Candy pulled the tape up to let him under. "I have been taught a few things by him and I might be able to use that to find the killers." He lied.

Candy handed a pair of gloves to Thomas so that he wouldn't contaminate the crime scene. "So how's this work? Do you need anything? Or what?"

"No," Thomas replied, strolling over to one of the bodies. "I don't need anything, but we'll be moving soon. So get ready." He kneeled down next to the hardened pool of blood. Kneeling low over one of the bodies he took a deep breath while the detective readied some of her men.

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Death, iron, dirt, and gravel. A trash heap. The various scents of the body assaulted Thomas' nose. There it was, the steel of the bullet. He smelled the sleek construction of the deadly object. He was getting closer. Finally, gunpowder. That was what he needed. He drew another breath, sucking up the airborne fire, the smell of dusty destruction. He opened his eyes and kneeled back. He pulled himself into a squatting position like a wolf sitting on its haunches, balancing with his hand on the ground.

He smelled it and he didn't, the trail of gunpowder. All of his senses began bleeding together, and he began to see the smokey trail of the gunpowder smell as it retreated down the alleyway. It appeared as a very light red cloud hovering about three feet off the ground. "There." Thomas spoke, pointing down the alley.

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"We will be bringing two patrolmen with us." Candy told him. "My partner, James, will stay here and oversee the crime scene." Thomas nodded and turned back to the trail.

Candy laid a hand on his shoulder. At the lightest touch, Thomas froze in his tracks, whipped around and glared. Candy was startled, and took a step back. As she looked on, Thomas' face calmed, and so did she. "You should know that I'm taking a risk with this. Allowing you to help is against policy." She shrugged, "But I don't know, I just had a feeling."

She was nervous. He could smell it. Thomas straightened his back. He exuded confidence, and smiled, "Trust me. This will work, but we must be going." He turned to walk down the alley.

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They followed the trail for a few blocks before Candy called a stop to the hunt. Panting, she asked, "How do you know where you're going?"

"That is a secret," Thomas responded. He was not out of breath at all, "I cannot tell you." He paused, thinking, "We must be going or we will lose them."

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After another block, Thomas stopped dead. The alleyway came to a T-intersection, and so did the trail. "What is it?" Candy asked. She was once again out of breath, and so were her patrolmen.

Thomas did not speak. He simply stood and took in the surroundings. Had there been more than one shooter? Had they split up? No. There was only one trail. But how did it go both ways? Thomas took a few steps forward and knelt down near the intersection. Touching the ground with two fingers he smiled, "I see what you did. You tried to double back."

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Like a fox chasing a hare, Thomas took off again. He made a left and ran down the new alley way. After another block, the trail turned and turned again. It finally led out to a side walk and street.

Suddenly, Thomas was assaulted by a series of smells. In the alleys it was easy to pinpoint the smell of gun powder. All he had to do was block out the damp and the trash and the occasional alley cat (which would always hiss as he passed). Here there were many more distractions. People. Cars. Hotdog vendors. All of the smells interfered with his tracking, but he concentrated and was able to block it out. Suddenly he could see the trail again. Across the street and down another alley. Thomas began running once more. Dodging traffic he made it to the other side. He was getting close. He could smell it.

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Finally, they came upon a warehouse. The trail led through the back door. "We are here," Thomas said, "And that means I must go."

"Wait, why?" Candy asked.

"The rest is police business. I will come by the station tomorrow to make a statement." He replied, then he ran off around the corner. One of the police officers called for a backup.

"No, we can't wait!" Candy said, she lent down and began to pick the lock. Before long, the lock snicked open. Pushing the door open, the three officers sneaked in.

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In the back of the warehouse, there were boxes piled up around the floor. The three officers took cover behind a waist high stack of wooden crates when they began to hear voices.

"You idiots!" one of the voices yelled. "You killed them in broad daylight?! That's called being reckless!"

Candy peeked her head over one of the crates to get a better look. She saw three men standing under a hanging light. The smallest of the three was doing the yelling. "You ignorant fools! You're lucky you got away. I wouldn't be bailing your asses out for a mistake like this."

Hiding once again, Candy whispered to her fellow officers, "There's only three of them. We can take them." She drew her sidearm and pulled herself up into a crouch.

Her attention was so focused on the three in the light that she never noticed the big man sneaking up on them.

"There's a lot more than three of us, sweetie." Said the big man just before he cracked her collar bone with a crowbar.

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Candy woke to a splash of cold water in her face and lancing pain in her shoulder. The pain of her shattered collar bone was so bad it nearly made her pass out again.

"Wakey, wakey, sweetheart." It was the same voice as earlier. Candy looked up to see the little man from earlier. "You're lucky Johnny surprised you. Your friends fought back. They weren't so lucky." The little man pointed to the corner where a large man with a crowbar stood over the two patrol men who lay in a crumpled heap. Candy could see the side of one of the officer's heads, it was caved in and bloody. Candy winced and turned away.

Some of the feeling in her arms began to return. That's when Candy realized she was tied up. There was some movement behind her. She was tied to her other patrolman. Cliche, but effective. Especially considering her broken arm.

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KSssss Hhuuh KSssssHhhuuh

The strange combination of a rasping, hoarse whisper and a sigh threw Candy for a loop. Was she hearing things? Was her pain wracked brain playing tricks on her?

KsssHuhh

There it was again! "What was that?" asked the small man.

"I didn't hear nothin', boss." The big man with the crowbar replied.

"That's because you're an imbecile, Johnny. Shut up and listen!"

Kkssss Huuhhh

"That's it." The boss said. He pointed to two of the men standing by the edge of the light. "You two fan out, and search the area. Johnny, get to the circuit breaker and give them some light. I'm not a total idiot. I've seen Batman."

KssHuhh

"Damn, that's creepy." The boss said as he watched his lackeys fan out.

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Johnny found the circuit breaker with his flashlight. Opening the box, he found the switch he had previously turned to turn most of the power in the building off.

Ksss Hhuhhh

Johnny flipped the switch, *Ka-Chunk* and shut the box, "Ahh!" he screamed.

Standing next to the box was a man in dark clothing. Johnny's startled eyes took in the sight from the floor to the top of the man's head. Black boots, grey jeans, a black hoodie, and underneath the hood, a gas mask.

Kksss Huuuhhh

Lukos slammed Johnny's head into the closed circuit breaker box.

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*Ka-Chunk* The lights flared on. Momentarily, the two thugs were blinded, but now that they could see, it would make their search much easier.

*Ka-Chunk* The lights died once more.

"@#$%!" One of the thugs cursed. "Boss! What's the deal?"

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"Hey, Boss!" the thugs continued to call out, fumbling around as their eyes tried to re-adjust to the sudden darkness.

"What gives? Where's Johnny?" their eyes finally adjusting.

"He's right here!" Lukos shouted from on top of a pile of boxes. The midnight clad hero dumped Johnny's limp form onto one of the thugs. He pounced on the other. Neither had time to draw their weapons.

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The lights flared on, temporarily blinding the boss. When they cut out a short time later, he was equally as lost. He heard his thugs calling to him, but he did not answer. If there was someone here, they would be as blind as he was, and he wouldn't help them find him any easier. He simply drew his revolver, and bided his time.

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Lukos drew the second thug up off the ground by his collar. Slamming his fist into the man's face once more made him go limp. Lukos dropped the man like a sack of potatoes.

Kkssss Hhuuhhh

"I know you are here." He let his voice echo across the ware house. "I can smell you. You are afraid. Surrender yourself now. Because I am going to find you, and when I do, that fear will be the least of your worries."

Kksssk Huhhh

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"Y-you should do what he says." Candy stammered.

"Never. If he wants to find me, let him. I'm ready for him." The boss shoved the revolver into his waist belt, and moved to one of the boxes piled to the side. He cracked open the top and pushed it off. There in the box looking up at him were a pile of 12 gauge shot guns. The boss reached out for one of the guns, but he arrested the motion half way. He caught movement out of the corner of his eye and ducked. The top of his head passed barely a hair's breath beneath the blade of a fire axe flying through the air. The axe slammed into another crate, and the blade wedged itself in the mood.

Kkssss Hhuuuuhhh

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Lukos stood within the radius of the light. Wagging his finger at the boss. "Didn't your mommy ever tell you not to play with such dangerous toys?"

"Who the @#$% are you?!" The boss spat the words as he crawled to the edge of the light.

"You might say I'm like a predator." Lukos' voice began as a flat even tone, before it sharpened and became like a growl. "Guess who the prey is?"

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Candy looked on as the boss scrambled backwards out of the light of the lamp. She watched as the strange new man in black stalked slowly towards him. She lost sight of the boss when he exited the light. Then suddenly there was a sharp crack.

Gunfire.

Crap.

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The man with the gas mask stopped dead. He raised a gloved hand to his chest. When he pulled it away, it glistened wetly.

Crack.

Crack.

More gunfire.

The man stumbled back a few steps. Two new holes had presented themselves in his chest. He fell to his hands and knees. He's dying. Candy thought.

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"@#$% you!" The boss spat. Strolling back into the light. "You come in here and beat the s*** out of my men. Even Johnny some how. Then you go feeding me this 'worst nightmare' bulls***. Who the @#$% do you think you are?"

"Lukos."

Candy saw the man twitch. Then he began trembling. She felt tears welling up in her eyes. This man had tried to save he, and now she couldn't even help him.

"Well, Lukos. You've cause me a lot of trouble today. But I'm going to be nice. Where do you want the next one? The head? The throat?"

The man's trembling grew worse.

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