Category Archives: Leonard Series

To Fetch A Dog (Leonard #7)

Plot: Leonard gains a disturbed admirer..

November 1

The shout of the word “SURPRISE!” jolted the detective back a bit, but he quickly shrugged and smirked as his fellow officers shook his paw and gave him congratulations.

A long, white table sits in the middle of the break room, covered in dog treats and some cookies and candy for the human interns.

John Hulbert, dressed in his trademark police uniform approached Leo and hugged tightly, his happy tone made those around him light up, it seemed he was the type of husky that could brighten any day. “Leo you mutt! How did you do it?” To the detective, this was all part of his work. Catching a serial killer seemed quite routine, but  he had alluded everyone and left not much of a trail-but it was Keaton’s dedicated and heartfelt nature that kept him up the entire night when everyone else was asleep to get evidence he needed. It didn’t seem harder than his other cases, he had run into more unsavory anthros and humans in his life.

The forty year old (in human years) shrugged and loosened his black tie, matching his black suit and white dress shirt, he grabbed a cup of water and stood chatting to John. “Perhaps it was that I got more time alone, Chris has been busy with a few house sitters.” John nodded. “How is Chris? Still the same loving human I hope.” The lab let out a quick chuckle, the only way to get him to truly smile was the mention of his son. “For sure, hyper as ever. Damn, I would think with all the crap we’ve been through he’d be more leery, I’ve always been afraid he’d go back to being more scared, like he was before. Seems he’s happy though.” John placed a paw on Leonard’s shoulder. “I think he feels protected, he’s very proud of you. He knows you both make a good team.”

As soon as the husky left-a young, beautiful black panther approached the dog. Wearing a blouse and grey skinny jeans. Perhaps in her thirties, her blue eyes big and full of emotion as she looked at Leonard. Her triangular ears moved about, her voice sweet, but had a certain peppiness. “Hey Mr. Keaton. I’ve read all about you. You’re quite a legend.” She had always listened to his rough British accent from a distance, but hearing it up close made her heart flutter. He looked at her as he rubbed the back of his neck and shrugged. “I suppose, thank you. Nice to meet you.” Really, he was flattered, but he’d never been called such a thing, Chris did put his dad up a pedestal, and it seemed cute. This seemed more weird since he had never even seen this feline. “I’m Vanessa!” She shook his paw excitedly.

Vanessa took up Leonard’s time, not that he cared-she had good questions about human rights and what it was like for Chris to have an anthro father, what his disabilities were and what he did at home. Seemed she had done her homework on him and this meeting was something the intern had been waiting for.

As the crowd died down and Leo grabbed his first and final dog treat before exiting, she spoke as he looked for his car keys in his suit coat. “If you ever need anything, let me know. Papers copied, coffee made-really I’m learning the ropes and anything like that would help.” He nodded. “Thank you. Have a good evening.” He gave a toothless, but genuine smile and left.

Chris loved his new apartment, staying with Ashley, the arctic fox did not turn out so well, irritation got the best of her. The human also loved that new anthros were coming into check on him when he got home from school, as amazing as Leo was to him-these younger anthros were more willing to take him out and have fun.

Plus, his father felt that he should be around furries his own age. More positives than negatives seemed to have come out of this new change.

In the evening, when Leo got back from the office, Chris was napping on the couch wrapped in a blanket. A note was left on the kitchen table by one of Chris’ helpers, telling of the day’s activities.

November 2

The morning started off normal, as Leo came downstairs after showering and combing his fur, Chris was the first jump at him with questions. The morning had presented Keaton with a tired state of mind, but he didn’t want to offend his son by telling him to stop talking.

A few years earlier, he would have sternly stopped his son from berating him with unending hyperness and love to him as he busily got ready for work-but now the lab knew how far his own sternness would get, and knew that letting little things get to him was not worth it when most days his life was on the line. His son was happy, and that in turn made his dad was content about it. “Hey dad, when you get home-can we go out? Can we see a movie maybe?” Leo smirked, fixing his grey dress shirt and red tie and hooked his badge to the waist of his faded jeans and patted his son on his shoulder. “Depends what time I get home, go get ready for the house sitter coming over.” They both exchange a quick hug and the black lab grabs his brown leather jacket.

He shook a bit of water off of him before entering the building, the sound of the rain could still be heard as he walked through the large hallways, his brown dress shoes squeaked against the marble floor. He placed his black bag on the floor once he entered his large office which overlooked the entire city of Boston. His large desk not extremely messy, the only thing always on their was the framed photo of him and his son. He opened his laptop as he slumped in the large chair.

He suddenly heard a knock on his door, his ears, perked. “Come in.” He thought it would be John, offering him a beverage or a snack like he always did-but it was the same panther from last night.

Leo looked to her, she wore an all black outfit-brand new. Not super fancy, but not cheap considering the brand name. Her skinny tail flicked as she sat across from the dog, she places a fresh coffee in front of him, she sounded upbeat. “For you, Leo! I noticed you didn’t have a coffee with you, like usual.” He rolled his sleeves up to his elbows and leaned back. “Oh, well-thank you.” She stared at him, up and down, Vanessa stood to his side, looking over his shoulder. “How was your morning?” He typed at an email, glancing at her. “Not bad.” Clearly, he was busy. She continued to talk. “Can I get you anything else or are you good?” He looked to her one last time. “I’m alright, we can talk during break, okay?” His tone was soft, last thing he wanted to do was to offend her for just being a bit overly curious, but he knew she wouldn’t go away unless he explicitly stated her to leave. The cat felt a slight surge of anger, but she smiled and nodded. “Okay, see you then Mr. Keaton.”

Venessa had a lot to do, the boss had given her more than enough papers to copy and type, but today would be difficult. As her claws hit the keys in a quick and methodical pattern, the thought of the black lab detective invaded her brain. She sighed, continuing her work-but the image came up again and again. She typed harder, faster tried to be more concentrated. She groaned as her work was not coming out well, sighed and clenched her fist. The words had no spaces, no paragraphs. Just a jumbled mess of words that all seemed to collide into one another.

She stood up nervously. Those around her either on computers or answering 9-1-1 calls. She was one of the few not dressed in a cop uniform, but she knew that was not the life for her-but she did find officer’s quite cool.

She was startled by Mr. Hermin, the doberman and her boss approaching her cubicle. She wished she could cover it in images of hot anthros, but knew that was not work acceptable.

His pointed ears moved a bit, his brown suit looked quite good on him. “Vanessa? Everything okay?”  She nodded and placed her paws on her hips slowly. Her tone sounded distracted. “Yeah, just tired and stuff.” He nodded and he crossed his arms. “Why did you go see Leonard this morning?” She looked him in the eye, her tone more upbeat once the name of her hero was mentioned. “To get him a morning coffee, and we talked for a bit.” He smiled. “He’s a good guy. Get those papers done, my friend!”

Once he left, the panther grabbed her laptop and headed out of the office. She walked down the main hallway where all the main offices were, she took a seat on the floor, a few feet from Leo’s office, resting her back against the wall. Her mind now able to focus on her work a bit easier, knowing she could hear what was going on in his area. She enjoyed envisioning the dog working on his next case, being all heroic and strong. This is what her mind wondered to until lunch.

“So, Leonard-I just want you to know that if you ever need anything, like a sitter for your son or any help outside of work as well as here, I’m here for you.” They were the only two sitting in the break room, other officers came in and out, but Vanessa sat across from her inspiration. Leonard nodded, and while deep down he really wasn’t comfortable with someone he just met coming into his house, he shrugged, figuring nothing would come of it in the future. “Thank you.” Being kind was the best action Leonard figured he could do.

The cat wanted so badly to hold his paw, she let her fear slide by and attempted to inch her paw close to his. Once she grasped it, he gently patted it and went up to clean his dish in the sink.

She smiled, figuring maybe he was shy of her-she knew she was pretty, Leo certainly wasn’t like the other males who’d jump at an opportunity to have someone as sensual as her, her skinny body, her black silky fur, her huge blue eyes, her smell flawless and her clothing tight.

She silently stood to his side as he began to walk out of the room, hoping that maybe he could get some more emails written up. The panther stopped him nonchalantly but grasping his shoulder, this question had been burning in her brain ever since she laid eyes on the muscular canine. “There’s another lucky girl-o-or guy in your life, hm? I-I understand, and I’m sorry for being so naive.” He shook his head. “Just Chris and I.” Her ear flicked and she smiled a bit. “YOU? Single? Hard to believe, you’re such a nice guy.” The lab exited the room without a word, she walked to his side-he really hoped she wouldn’t, but knew she would anyway. It was no doubt Leonard was good at reading humans and furries, and right now it seemed this panther was desperate. Perhaps she had lost someone? Perhaps something happened that made her so clingy. Honestly, he felt no danger from her, sure maybe she was touchy, but that was a trait of the average furry as far as he was concerned. “Well Leonard, nice to see you! I’ll chat with you whenever. Just shoot me a text or call.”

He nodded-and realized he had no way to contact her, which sort of made him feel better. She would be a work furry, not an outside of work furry, with that logic it would not matter how many questions she asked. Leo felt he could handle this.

Vanessa made her way through her front door, her home quite large and elegant. Tiredly, she put her bag down and began cooking a meal for herself, she preferred home cooked meals and almost never ordered out. To keep her figure, she had a very strict diet.

As the food simmered, she decided to go online and research Leonard a bit. She found the same articles she had read before, she found what college he went to, and for the first time she decided to print some photos of him. Not that she went online to deliberately do this, but she figured why not? He wouldn’t care if he never knew. She would go out and buy some frames shortly, she did feel a ping of weirdness, but again-not like he’d ever know.

Leonard and Chris spent some time on the couch, his son flipped through a few TV channels, but spent most of his day telling his dad about school. His son placed an arm around his dad. “Dad, have you you e-ever thought of leaving the FBI?” Leo was surprised this question came out, he glanced to his son. “Not really, why? Do you not like when I’m gone?” Chris said nothing and just shrugged. “I understand your worry, but it is what I do best. I know that, and I think you know it too.” Chris nodded. “I’m probably not going to work weekends anymore though, my boss is very open minded and understands that I need to see you and hang out with you. That would help, hm?” With his thought interrupted, Loe’s cell phone went off, which meant a text came through. Hey Leonard! It’s Vanessa! How was work?

A text? From her? Leo didn’t answer right away, and Chris of course asked who it was.

No secrets anymore. Keeping his son away from his life was not fair to him, Chris knew that sometimes things in Leonard’s life got scary and he had a right to know what was up.

He’s eighteen, he’s an adult, he can know. “Well Chris, it’s a girl. A panther named Vanessa. I think she might have a crush on me.” The human smirked. “O-oh! Really? Do you like her? Is she pretty?! Can she come over?!” The dog chuckled at his son’s sudden burst of excitement, but spoke seriously and honestly. “I don’t know, Chris. She’s a bit much. Not that I think she’s dangerous, but she’s a bit too touchy and-I’m not comfortable with her coming into our lives, maybe if she became a bit more subtle. I doubt it though.”

He stood up to go get changed out of his work shirt, putting on a simple tight brown t-shirt.

Suddenly, his phone went off again, this time she was calling him. He sighed and decided to pick up, staying in his bedroom. “Hey Leo! What’s up?” He could tell this was a huge moment for her, her tone of voice said it. “Going to make some food soon for Chris, how did you get this number?” As he spoke, he looked out his window-expecting to see her there for some reason. “Asked someone at the office…I hope you don’t mind.” He did mind a bit, and now was a good time to begin to chip at the truth. “I don’t mind a text a day, but-I am rather busy at my house. I can’t be on the phone too long.” Not a lie, not even a ‘white lie.’ Keaton’s time at home meant a lot to him, and it meant even more to his son. “Oh! I’m sorry, I will see you at work then, have a good one!” She hung up right away to the dog’s surprise. He headed downstairs to make Chris a sandwich, well Chris actually would make it while his dad watched.

The panther rubbed her eyes, she hoped she wasn’t too forceful with her texting or call. After eating her homemade chicken meal, she decided to have a glass of wine and set one of the photos of Leo by her laptop.

November 3  

Leonard had meetings to attend, he wore his black suit and loose red tie complete with his cop badge on his waist, a cup of coffee sat by him. He spent his time shuffling papers. Like every morning now, the panther entered his office-freshly showered, wearing a floral sundress, this time with a container of food. “Hey you! I thought I’d cook some stuff up for your son, I had leftovers and thought you’d like them.” Okay, even Leonard had to admit, this WAS a thoughtful gesture. She stuck the delicious looking food in the fridge next to his desk. “Meetings today, Mr. Keaton?” She knew at work, she probably shouldn’t call him by his first name-even though to her, they were on a ‘best friends’ agreement.

She casually walked around his desk, picking up the framed photo of Leo and his son. “Chris looks quite happy here. Only thing missing is a beautiful wife…”

The dog glanced to her, no smile, not even a smirk. “Hey, I’ll see you at break. Okay? I have tons of papers to sort through.” He now had to put his foot down, even if it was in a calm and hopefully friendly way. She paused, her happy personality seemed to dwindle ever so slightly. She nodded. “Yeah, I understand. Totally. See you later!” With a wave, she left and headed to the bathroom.

She took a few deep breathes, speaking to herself. “It’s okay…he still likes you…it’s fine! FINE!” After the scream…she took a deep breath and whispered to herself. “No need to get upset.” She slammed her fist into the porcelain sink once, causing a nice bruise to form on her fist then briskly walked out.

The meetings went well, new interns wanted to ask Leo all types of questions, since everyone knew his name and knew the cases he’s solved, he was content with everything for the most part. Tiredly, he went to the break room to settle with some coffee and a snack. The break room had a few officers walking in and out, but for the most part was empty. He sat at the large white table, the counter with the sink and coffee maker directly behind him.


Of course, Vanessa walked in again. This time, not as invasive, being careful what wording she used. “Meetings go well?” He nodded and drank his beverage. “Went fine, thank you,” He didn’t want to seem interested, he wanted her to learn that he has limits. He knew if he started asking her questions, she’d stay forever and follow him out. She knew he wasn’t interested in her like she had hoped. Being friends was better than nothing, but her mind kept nagging for more. If she ignored it, she’d lose sleep. She’d scream. She’d regret it. She wanted to go full force. A rejection would be better than his unknown reaction.

She sat next to him, purring slightly, a sound that Leo found odd, yeah he was a dog and dogs never made that sound, but he still found it a bit off putting, especially that she started as soon as she was a few inches from him. “Leonard, I really want to help you.” The dog’s ears went down, so did his tail, speaking softly and perhaps feeling a bit jaded by this point. The meetings made him tired, which didn’t help anything. “Vanessa, I’m fine. Really, I have all the help I need.” With a sigh, he looked her in the eye. “I don’t have time to debate this every single day. Okay?” The panther put an arm around his shoulders, perhaps he needed calming. “Leo, I don’t want to debate-I just want to tell you how I truly feel.”

With a snap in his tone, he stood up and placed his hands on his hips, the yell was a quick burst and only lasted a second. “I know how you FEEL! You don’t need to keep telling me over and over. I get it.” His voice so cold and full of hate, the panther coiled back a tad bit.

Vanessa took a deep breath and began to cry ever so slightly, embarrassment washed over the dog, his sternness turned to sorriness. “O-okay Leonard…b-but you didn’t have to yell.” She cried a bit more.  He didn’t want to comfort her, he knew getting closer to her would only provoke this strange behavior. Also, he did not want to be a complete jerk, he needed to find some sort of inbetween. He slowly sat across from her. “Vanessa, please don’t cry. I need you to realize that, I can’t be with you twenty four hours a day. I think you’re reasonable enough to understand why. Okay?”

With a brisk walk, she approached the drawer full of knives and she pulled one out, Leo’s heart skipped a beat.

Time moved in slow motion, he got ready to defend himself for any attack. The dog slowed his breathing down, eyeing the cat. She raised the knife and slowly dragged it across her wrist, red fluid dripped onto the floor.

Now in full protective mode, Leo ran over and knocked the sharp object out of her paw and grasped both of her soft wrists. “STOP!” The panther hugged the dog as soon as he had yelled, rubbing her face into his chest like he was some live formation of catnip. “You left me no choice!” The detective gently grabbed her paw, changing his tone from stern to vigilant. “Vanessa, you need help. Right now.” He grabbed napkins, placed them under cold water and applied pressure to the wound. After calling in medical professionals, she was calmly whisked away, she did not put up a fight-she merely took one last glance at her lover…

 

November 8

Saturday morning proved to be stress free, for some odd reason-Venessa had stopped texting.

Driving down the road in his freshly cleaned convertible with the top down, his brain wasn’t filled with thoughts of some gruesome case. The sun shined, the afternoon breeze was cool because winter would be just around the corner. Two full cups of coffee from a local coffee shop were by the dog’s side.

He became curious when an unknown car was parked rather close to his home. He removed his black sunglasses and entered the clean living room.

He nearly dropped the beverages to the floor when a pretty black panther sat a few feet from his son, the two were chatting away on the couch. A single white bandage was around her right wrist. She turns to meet his confused gaze. “Hey Leo! I was in town and thought of stopping by! Hope you don’t mind.” This had to be the last straw, he gestured Chris over to the kitchen, not angrily, but swiftly for sure, his son of course knew something was up.

He kept his voice low as the two entered the kitchen, which was separated by a glass door. “D-dad? You okay?” The lab nodded. “Stay in here, I’ll explain later, I promise.” Chris rubbed the back of his neck, he knew not to disobey his dad. Leo swiftly grabbed Chris’ coffee and handed it to him so he could sip it calmly as he waited. He knew Leo knew what was best for him.
The muscular canine entered the living room, she looked him up and down in his tight grey v-neck shirt and green slacks. His brown eyes read a sort of dark puzzlement as she walked up to him to grasp his paw. “Nice house Leonard.” Her tone full of sweetness with a hint of seductiveness, she raised her right hand and was about to touch his muzzle. He grasped her paw before she could do so and put it to her side. “Leave, now.” His tone austere, she was surprised that after the crying fit, he still treated her this way. “L-leo. What did I do wrong?” The dog sighed deeply, scratching his flat ear. “I have to be stern about who enters my home, and from the way you’ve been acting-I frankly am uncomfortable.” Vanessa frowned, letting her tail rub his stomach, she was way too close for comfort. She sighs and heads for the door. “I’m glad your son has more respect than you, dog.” Slamming the door, Leo relaxed once he heard the sound of her car speed off. Chris slowly walked in and put an arm around his dad. “A-are you scared?” His brown eyes didn’t read fear, but concern. “On edge, but not scared.” He locked his front door and windows.

For the next half hour or so, he explained the issue to Chris over the coffee and snacks.

“I’m sorry d-dad, if I had known, I wouldn’t have let her in.” His father shrugged. “I know, you were only trying to be nice to her by letting her in. As I’ve explained, I don’t think I’m comfortable with her. No matter what she says, don’t take it as one hundred percent truth.” After a quick tuck in, Chris was asleep on the couch.

Meanwhile, Leo got into his pajamas and decided to block her phone number.

November 11

Vanessa stopped Leo in the hall with urgency, handing him a very expensive bouquet of roses. “Leo, sweetheart I’m so sorry for everything. I’m sorry for stressing you out, I’m sorry for coming over. I’m sorry. I want to remain friends. You’re a good boy!” She sounded so motherly, the dog declined the flowers, looking to her with a scrutinizing look in his eye, but said not a word as he headed to his office, glancing at the officers making copies of records and hearing the sounds of office ambience. She surprisingly did not follow him, perhaps she knew he wasn’t in good spirits or perhaps she knew the wrong she had done.

As he sat at his computer, the office door opened to reveal John Hulbert. He shut the door and crossed his arms, looking at the lab with his blue eyes. “Leonard? Can I talk to you?” He nodded and leaned back in his chair. John pulled up a chair and he stopped smiling, whatever this was-was serious if Hulbert didn’t have a puppy smile on his face. “Are you okay?” Leo was rarely asked that question at work.

Are. You. Okay? The words jingled in his brain, a truthful answer is what his best friend deserved. This was the moment to open up, he needed and help and there was no two ways about it. “Not really. I do have an issue.” He didn’t give a ‘sad puppy dog’ face, but remained stoic.

John leaned forward, his paws folded, the handcuffs on his uniform jingle a bit. “What’s up, bud?” Silence filled the room. “The new intern, Vanessa. She frankly makes me uncomfortable. After she cut herself, she ended up in my house, talking to my son. I flipped out. Typically, I can take care of things on my own, but I can’t risk my son being in danger. It’s all my fault. If I hadn’t talked to her during the party.” John stands up and gives a deep sigh. “No, she’s crazy. She would have gone after you anyway if she was so nuts about you. Your concern is beyond okay. Obviously, she’s dangerous.” Leo knew he was right after he thought about his words. She IS insane and most likely nothing would have kept her away. She would have found some excuse to be with him. Her determination and darkness filled the detective up with nervousness.

Venessa did not show during break time-however another furry walked in on Leonard. Mr. Herman, he sat himself down. “Sorry to bother you on break, Leonard. Wanted to tell you that Vanessa has been fired.”

He paused to let Leo think on that for a bit. “Leonard, I’m so sorry for all the stress she caused you. It’s never okay to feel uncomfortable in your own workspace. John Hulbert told me everything, and you can put all that nasty stuff behind you.” As calming as Leo’s boss was, somehow the black lab knew this would not be the end of her, and that now it was time to be more careful than ever.

 November 17

Strangely, she didn’t try to show up to work, the detective was able to do his normal routine of paperwork, which actually was really nice. No cases were to be solved, he was able to go home early on a few occasions and go to the mall with his son, which was his favorite activity.

Her bookstore bag full of items, she was in a good mood. The cashier did notice all of the magazines had the same black lab on them, articles written over the years by human rights organizations and police officers. Not that he was famous really, but furries knew he had made a positive dent in the community.

Her home, two floors and a basement. The feline spent hours sitting at her kitchen table with a pair of scissors, cutting out images of Leonard and listening to music. With papers scattered over the floor, she began gluing the pictures to various walls in her living room. A feeling grew inside her she had never felt, a feeling of accomplishment and perhaps a bit of erotic tension. Once an hour was up, her living room was plastered with glued images of Leonard, from magazines and a few from Facebook searches. She was away from Leo’s work, but due to her having his number-she could call him anytime. She sighed happily and went through her contacts, she scrolled threw a few names-but Leonard’s was there, but was not clickable.

Scratching her ear, she decided to dial his number, she put the phone on speaker phone, an automated voice came on. The number you are trying to reach has blocked you. Goodbye. She chuckled, figuring this was a one time occurrence, a mishap with the phone company or her service. She dialed again. The number you are trying to reach has blocked you. Goodbye. Vanessa dials again, this time pressing her paws into the phone more firm. The number you are trying to reach has blocked you. Goodbye. Her mind became more concentrated, she sat down with a slump. She sighed, dialing again. The number you are trying to reach has blocked you. Goodbye. He blocked her. He. Blocked. Her.

The panther now knew it-and she didn’t want to admit it to herself. Her soul felt crushed. Her brain swarmed with anger and deep, unflinching and undying love. She screamed at the top of her lungs and tossed her phone clear across the living room. “FUCK YOU LEONARD!”

November 18

The dog walked in from work as his son took his nap, a ritual after school. The sun shined through the windows of the house, he bid farewell to the teenage housesitter who had watched Chris for a few hours, paid her some money and placed his bag to the floor.

Loosening his tie and removing his suit jacket, he sat at the clean kitchen table after closing the glass door. Opening his email, he saw much of the same pointless advertisements  he always did.

One email did strike him, something at the very top. The subject line read: OPEN ME from VanessaWalton@gmail.com. Moving his mouse almost hesitantly over the message box, like it would reach over and bite him in the face. He needed to click it, what had the crazy furry sent him? Clicking on the message, no words were written, just a link to a video posted on some social media site. Leo dreaded seeing what it possibly could be, he clicked it with a quick and slightly uneasy sigh.

The camera faces Vanessa, dressed in a pink bathrobe, her backdrop nothing more than an expensive bathroom. She appeared to be holding her cellphone to her face and recording herself, the angle above her head, like a mini bird’s eye view, her blue eyes staring deep into the lense lovingly, but with an edge, the angle also purposefully revealed slight cleavage.

Her voice not sweet and sensitive like it was most times they met, this time their was an air of desperation. Her voice slightly echoed through the bathroom, her hand steady, her fur combed neatly, most likely especially done for filming flattering frames. “Hello Leonard. This is what everything has come too.” Leo folds his hands and leans into the computer monitor. “I didn’t want to say it, I didn’t want it to be true, but you’re ignoring me.” She coughs, her hand less steady now, a lump forms in her throat.

Her sharp claws painted a deep purple color, her teeth revealed slightly as she spoke the disheartening words, a cat’s teeth were quite sharp and thin. “I know in your mind I’ve done wrong things, maybe I’ve said some stuff that rubbed you the wrong way and I am deeply sorry. Cats and dogs, always complex.” She softly chuckled, her voice pounded in Leonard’s brain, not because she was loud or her voice was annoying-but because he hated her heart so much that hearing her speak sent crazy and dark images to his mind.

“You don’t know what it’s like, detective Keaton. At night, I envision you…NO I envision us. Your muscular arms wrapped around me, protecting me from the uncertainty of the night and of my own bad memories. Your deep brown eyes, staring at my body-both of us at ease. Your head smooth and fluffy as I rub my claws through your perfect body.”

She smirks, her tone going up in happiness, Leonard’s heart feels nothing but dark and empty. “We speak to each other about our days, about our jobs, about our son-Chris. We’re so proud of him and how he’s able to overcome his special needs. You, no longer saddened by the cases that drill your mind, me no longer an uncertain feline with no man to come to for warmth. Chris, happy that he has not only a loving father, but an amazing mother to nurture him and tuck him in at night.” He growled a bit, getting extremely irritated by what he was enduring, it was like a boxing match. Does he face the terror head on and get a bit damaged, or does he tap out and let it all end like a failure? “Leonard Keaton I love you. Do you understand? I think you do-and I think this perfect life can happen. We have to erase the past, go beyond our friendship. Every night..this image of a perfect life hurts my brain, it hurts my heart, it hurts my soul. Losing sleep over the imagination is frequent-but our life doesn’t have to BE imaginary Leo.” The video cuts to black. He hopes it’s over. He hopes this feline has the decency to cut him off from the madness. Once the video cuts back, it is of Vanessa’s living room, no longer facing her visage, but a wall. A wall of cut out images of Leonard himself, plastered with glue and scotch tape, her voice heard clear as crystal as she shows him each individual image. The lab shivered in horror. “Call me crazy sweetheart, but I think this is nice. I think when we’re together, I will keep this all here. Here’s you in a tie, in a t-shirt, shirtless on the beach. Sometimes, I’ll even put myself in these pictures and imagine what it would be like to be in your presence. It is euphoric.”

The camera flips back to the bathroom and to her face which now looked much more grim. “Leo, I don’t mean to be firm o-or drive you away, but you are driving me crazy. You really are.” A tear escapes her eye, a frown begins to form, the camera shakes a tad bit. “I want this so badly, and I’m sending you this-because it’s from the heart, it’s from my spirit. Those times a-at the office when you grasped by paw, I n-never forgot that feeling. How I long for it again, your brown eyes, your puppy dog face. I want it. For me. I want you to know the life you c-could have. If you don’t respond within three days of this-then you’re a monster.”

Her voice goes a bit deep, her blue eyes no longer full of wonderment and happiness, but of slight anger. “I know you’ll respond, but just know that if you deny to even write-then you’re heartless. Look at me Leonard…look at the loneliness, LOOK into my eyes. You’re the only one f-for me, a-and you know it, you son of a bitch!”

Her soul was cracking, revealing the true underbelly, she hisses a tiny bit. “I love you, but I can be your worst enemy if you dare cross or ignore me! M-maybe I’ll even take Chris…i-if I don’t feel you’re fucking respectful enough. Everyone knows you can’t be a single parent with a-a human, Leonard. You NEED me…I hope you’re watching and listening. You love me, you need me for yourself AND for your son. Got it? Don’t be an asshole, write me.”

With that, the screen goes black.

Leonard removes his headphones and stands ever so slowly to prepare a meal for his son, he knows Chris is up from the sound of his ipad in the living room. His paws shake a bit as, his breathing is a bit heavy. Was he having a panic attack? Maybe a small one. Taking care of Chris was not really an issue, but trying to get work done was a bit tougher. He jotted a few words for his report he had been working on for a few days, but the feeling of being watched waved over him like a dark cloud refusing to dissipate.

November 19- Morning

Today, the energetic husky had a day off.

He started off his morning by showering and singing, throwing on a yellow t-shirt and light blue sweatpants and grabbing his suitcase.

He was going to a family get together, and he couldn’t be more happy than to see his mom, dad, cousins, brothers and sisters. He checked the upstairs, flicking off all the nights and humming to himself, the sun shining and the weather a bit cold. He sent a few last texts to his grandfather, who was scheduled to meet him at the train station soon.

All the lights were off, stove turned off, window blinds shut, he smiled and hoisted his suitcase towards the front door, opening it quickly with a wag from his bushy tail.

His heart went to his throat, he barked ever so slightly in fear and he dropped the suitcase with a bang, the panther he had seen at work,Vanessa was standing in the door frame. Smelling of sultry perfume, wearing a skimpy blue dinner dress, matching her energetic, but slightly chaotic blue eyes. She smirked as she saw the rightfully shocked officer’s facial expression. “Mr. Hulbert! I’m so sorry! I wanted to ask you a question, you busy?” Returning to his normal demeanor, but feeling a tad bit of fear as he knew the mental breakdown she had and the ‘obsession’ with a certain black lab detective. He rubbed the back of his neck and lifted his suitcase again with a chuckle that read surprise, but a warm heart. “Venessa! Jeez, been awhile since I’ve seen you. Staying healthy and happy I hope?” She nodded, her body read ‘I’m fine’ but her heart screamed in pain, pain of wanting love and affection from only one anthro. She spoke again. “Thank you, Mr. Hulbert-I’ve been better actually. I wanted to know if I could use your phone? See, I think Leonard blocked me by accident and I know about his depression and his son, I want to make sure he’s okay.” The husky sighed, his ears drooped ever so slightly. “I’d love to help, but I really need to go. I’m late for a family get together.” She interrupted him, stepping up into the house, her movements slow and sensual, he was a bit worried she might be coming onto him now. The dog watched the panther’s kinks, her sexual walk, her velvet smooth voice, the clicking of her highheels prominent as she made her way into his house. She smirked. “I’ll only be a moment, I promise dear.” He had no choice, he was not like Leo who would have scolded her a long time ago, this all happened so quickly.

John gave a nod and a half of a smirk, his nerves not shown at all. Being an officer, he knew he needed to stay in control of himself and watch her.

He was not quick enough for her, as he attempted to back away and let her into the living room, he felt an intense pinch go through his stomach. With a whimper, he tried to lunge to the cat to defend himself, but the dog found himself feeling quite drowsy within a moment or two and fell to the hardwood floor. This medicine did not knock him out totally, it was more of an anesthesia, making his brain and body go limp. His surroundings slowly disappeared as the medicine kicked in and soon all he could see were vague shapes, her voice echoed, the sound of the living room door slamming was a bit painful to his now fragile brain, he barely had enough strength, but he managed to turn himself on his back, facing upwards towards the villain who had tricked him.

She must have had a hidden hammer, because she suddenly held one, silver color, one that could be bought at any hardware store. Her eyes narrowed in anger, her dark heart coming out in full.

Vindictive and evil was all that went through John’s brain, and he could not defend himself from whatever would happen. “John, I know you can hear me. That medication will tire you, but you should be quite aware of what I’m saying. Nod if you understand.” He groggily did so, his voice sounded hoarse. “Y-yes. S-stop, now. Please.” She lifted the hammer, he didn’t have the strength to stand let alone try and fight back. “Tell me where Leonard is. I can’t get a hold of him and his boss won’t let me into the office. Where can I find my true love?” The husky sighed deeply, his fur stood up on end. “I-I don’t know.” With a whack from the hammer, John knew she had aimed and hit his arm, and judging from the snap it was broken. He barked loudly, a tear formed in his eye. She walked around his writhing body. “John, I can make this very hard for you, where is LEONARD?”

Mr. Hermin had not given Leo much to do, but he needed to fill out some papers for a case, Leo sat in his usual spot-his large office, leather jacket slung over his big leather chair, in a flannel shirt and jeans with dress shoes, he felt today would be quick and easy and he’d get home just in time for Chris’ school bus in the afternoon.

As he reviewed a case file for a colleague, his cellphone went off, which he usually turned off during work. Without really thinking, he picked it up, strangely no one said ‘hello’, all he could hear was two voices. One of a drugged up husky named John Hulbert and the bitchy voice of Vanessa yelling. “WHERE IS LEONARD?” He could hear she was breaking various objects, Leo leapt from his chair and briskly walked to Mr. Hermin’s office, he felt dizzy, but his brain was on a one track destination. “Hermin, we need to send officers to John Hulbert’s house-NOW. He’s in trouble.”

The doberman nodded, Leonard was never one to sound urgent, nor was he one to call for backup, but this time was different. A few officers of varying species came out in blue uniforms, heading for their police cruisers.

John could not focus on her yelling, the damage from the broken arm was worsening, the medication was wearing off, the dog looked pale, his eyes tired, he could not speak. He was in shock. He tried not to move his arm, the cat stood over him, various objects broken in and around the living room, her dress partly torn.

She gave a gentle kick to his busted arm, he barked loudly. “John-we can sit here all day, tell me where he is! I don’t think you understand how important this is.” The dog took many deep breaths. “I-I can’t tell you…bitch.”

Like angels from heaven, he heard the sounds of police sirens, officers had the entire home surrounded. Leonard was the first to get out of his vehicle, gun drawn and ready to enter the home. He knocked on the door. “Venessa, open up. This is the police. You hurt John and I will make sure you never hurt anyone again. Understand?”

The panther’s thoughts turned from extreme anger, to extreme love in a blink of an eye. She smiled. HIS voice was calling her, HIS muscular body was right outside the living room, ready to be cuddled. “LEONARD! Sweetheart, you don’t need to be mad.”

She ran to the door, bloody hammer still in hand, she dared not open the door-as much as her soul told her to do so. Unfriendly officers were outfront, she wouldn’t risk getting herself or her lover hurt. “John is nothing but a terrible dog! Getting in our way!” Leo knew she’d pull this, he kept his voice calm and collected. “Please, open the door and we’ll get you straightened out. Okay?” A long pause, if she truly loved him-she would listen to him. She wouldn’t want to make things worse with him. With a sigh, she dropped the hammer. In death, she knew she’d never see Leonard, but perhaps in prison, she would see him? It was a possibility. With his gun drawn, he backed away as the living room door creaked open and a frazzled black panther stood. She gazed at the muscular lab, it was almost sad. Really, it wasn’t though-because he ignored her depressed and desperate look to go after his friend who was on the ground and clutching his right arm, as he leaves she nearly wanted to reach out and touch the dog one last time-but felt it would probably get her shot.

He kneels by the husky, holding his left hand and speaking to him-he had never spoken in this tone to him directly, but knew he had it in him when comforting Chris. “John, look at me-you’re okay. Breathe. It’s over.” John did not speak, really all he wanted was for the pain to go.

A german shepherd grasped Vanessa’s shoulder, cuffing her swiftly, she was extremely distracted by the black lab and felt a bit of jealousy course through her veins as he looked at how calm and sweet he was being to John-but held it in. She had proved her point, and maybe one day he’d come to his senses and ‘date’ her if she got off on parole.

This was the hope that filled her. This was what made her climb in the back seat of the cruiser. Seeing Leonard again, was all worth it.

All she thought about was that moment the two made eye contact, nothing before or after. It was the closest she may get to him in a long time.

November 19- Evening

Chris sat across from John’s bed, who was now dressed in a hospital gown. He was responsive and chatting a bit to the young human, an IV was placed in his wrist to get the drugs out from the attack, his arm was a large and comfortable sling. His family would be their to visit the next day, Chris insisted on staying with John the entire night. The beeping from the machines didn’t bother him, nor did the nurses coming in and out-he knew he made John feel good and that’s what was important. John had a bit of trouble sleeping, but the sounds of the hospital ambience and the doctors soon brought his mind to a calm state and he was able to rest.

Leonard entered the bar close by to his home, Chris fast asleep and John in a surprisingly healthy condition. He sits down at a table, waiting to be served. He needed to be alone, the excitement from the day had completely wiped him out. As he looked at the menu, deciding on his beverage of choice, a female voice spoke to him-someone he knew. Wearing all black, thin, golden fur and a smile that would light up any room. Her tail wagged in excitement, she had not changed a bit. “What can I get you, Leonard Keaton?” He could not believe his eyes, he stood up slowly, his brain connecting dots. “Sandy?” She wrapped her arms around him. “How are you? It’s been too long!” Leo nodded. “Sure has.” She held his paw and continued to speak, it was like time did not catch up with her. She was in her twenties when they first met, and she didn’t look a day over thirty. Sandy must have kept good care of herself. “Can we catch up sometime? I could meet your adorable son?”

Normally, he wouldn’t want anything to do with any female who was interested in him-and it was no secret to him that in college he was her crush. With an open mind and an open heart, he nodded. “Yes. I’d like that very much, it’s so good to see you.” Once he ordered his drink-he sat…feeling not content about Sandy, but happy. As happy has he was when they were first together. That was her. She made anthros and humans happy. Perhaps she would be the change he needed. Maybe this meeting would be the chance of a lifetime to get out of the dark hole known as depression and welcome new opportunities.

End

   

TRACKING RABID (Furry Short Film)

 

Leonard Keaton begins to investigate the brutal death of a human-stabbed and more bizarrely- missing a limb. What Leo uncovers becomes one of the most bizarre and brutal crimes in the furry community….

 

_______________________________________________________________

I wanted to put Leonard in a horror movie. Paw and Order to me, is an epic investigative thriller. Sure, a few dashes of horror are in there, but it’s more of a drama for sure. “Paw and Order” and “Tracking Rabid” are not connected, I made sure to make them both stand alone movies-you can go into this one not knowing anything about Leo and still ‘get it.’

While Cindy, my mom did film a good chunk of this movie-really this movie was made by my dad and I, we both switched off filming for the entire climax of the film, we both had no help when it came to shooting 90% of this, which adds to its uniqueness I feel. It’s not ‘polished’ like the first one-I’m going for a much more ‘handheld’ look with this. Lower budget, lower lighting….perhaps it helps evoking the fear?

For those of you who saw Leonard’s first adventure, while the scale on this movie is much smaller-I wanted it to be much darker. I love the 70’s horror movies the best-in fact the movie that inspired this was “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” by Tobe Hooper. A horror movie that still freaks me out to this day-hardly any gore, but the feeling of dread and madness are so effective. It really is a must watch for anyone who likes independent movies.

I really wanted to work on effectiveness using score, lighting and just ‘saying’ ideas and not showing them. Like the 70’s horror movies-this is not very bloody, there isn’t a whole lot of on-screen violence even, but I did work on editing techniques and I hope furries enjoy it because it is not the typical furry stuff at all-therefore, I hope it inspires interest and enjoyment…especially if you like horror movies.

Vulpes: Part 2 of 2 (Leonard #6)

PLOT: In the finale of our 2 part epic, Fenton lands in prison (and gets a run for his money.) Tension starts between Chris and Ashley- causing the teen human to do something he never dreamed of…

VULPES: PART 2 of 2 (Leonard #6)

Aaron B.

(Co-Written by Andrew St. George)

CHAPTER 1

Nighttime thunder showers approached, the rain was the sort of rain that the moment you stepped out, you would be drenched in water. A few lightning streaks lit the sky, causing a sort of horror movie effect. Along with the thudding rain and sounds of booming thunder, a group of cops  busted through quite a large door. The warehouse smelt musty, the floor smooth and hard, a boring grey color. Flashlights went in every direction as officers had taken over the area.

The area the German Shepherd cops were in was far from empty, sure it was a large space-but scattered about were large wooden crates, all of which would be opened at some point. The ceiling lights hung by wires, some of the bulbs flickered and made an ominous humming sound. The dogs were male and female, all dressed in blue cop uniforms wearing utility belts, pistols drawn and all senses, especially sight and sound at an all time high.

Fenton, the fox who ran this place was in prison, but who knew what sort of strange folks could lurk where someone like him used to operate from? The warehouse consisted of about 15 separate rooms, all with large metal doors leading into smaller rooms, a bit bigger than closets. Dogs banged and kicked in every door. Yelling for any potential hostages or anyone at all who may have a weapon-but the place seemed completely empty.

Through the now broken entrance door, soaked in rainwater and ears slightly perked came the toned black lab, Leonard Keaton. Dressed in a grey dress shirt, red tie and a dark blue jacket with bold yellow lettering on the back that read FBI, faded black jeans and black motorcycle boots. He held a flashlight along with his pistol-leading the team of cops and hearing the helicopter running in the air close by. Leo double checked a few of the rooms within the warehouse, the building had not been completely turned over just yet.

Leonard liked the scour areas on his own, it helped him to think. Rain still pounded on the metal roof of the warehouse, as thunder rumbled, sometimes the hanging lights would flicker a bit. The canine raised his gun and made his way to the large crates which covered a lot of the main warehouse, sniffing them, they seemed locked and he smelt nothing suspicious about any of them thus far. He breathed slowly, his hearing got to the point of where the sound of a pin drop would make him turn. This was a slow process to get the senses this responsive, much like Daredevil in the popular comics.

He heard a sound-he pretty much felt in his gut this was not his imagination. The sounds of soft sobbing. His heart sank-what had Fenton done to this hidden individual? He made his way through the crates, it was a tight squeeze but he managed to get behind them. Dust covered parts of his clothing, the smell of old wood was quite prominent. As the lab made his way through the large wooden crates, the only source of light was the lab’s flashlight bouncing around.

The sobbing got a bit louder, it was almost ghostly. He put his ear up against a crate-someone was inside. Leonard yelled to the officers in his gruff British voice. “OVER HERE! Right now! Someone is in a crate!”

All the cops came rushing over, Leo fired a bullet into the large lock which kept the crate closed-he opened the large box, guns were out and ready to fire. A furry was crawled in a fetal position to one corner of the tiny space inside, he wore grey jeans and a white t-shirt.

He is about 30 years of age, a cheetah. With tears streaming down his face, the lab spoke to him softly. “I’m a detective, we have the area surrounded by police. You’ll be okay.” The slender yellow and black stripped cat peaked his head out of the box, his arms and neck covered in what looked like very red freckles. His face pale, his breathing heavy, a panicked look in his black eye. He spoke with a bit of a crack in his voice, tears streamed down his face as he lunged at the lab to give him an extremely tight hug. “P-please tell me my son is okay! PLEASE!” Leo placed one paw on his shoulder, spoke again in a soft manner and looked the terrified cheetah in the eye. “Is he here in this building?” He nodded and perhaps was a bit too close to Leonard for comfort. “PLEASE! Find him!” Leo nodded and was able to get the large cat’s wallet and had German Shepherds search every single crate.

The lab led Idris the cheetah out of the warehouse and out to where other cops were standing, most of which were quite large. Rhinos and bulls, they all were sort of ‘gentle giant’ types as far as the detective could tell. They swiftly led him to a cruiser so he wouldn’t get drenched, he did not speak to the officer in the driver’s seat-he only stared out the window praying his son was alive. He must have fallen asleep-because soon everything faded to black. It was not a conscious decision, but he had felt nothing but fear and stress, and to finally be somewhere safe-gave his body the mental calmness to actually sleep.

CHAPTER 2

 

Idris sat in Leonard’s office, he sipped a cup of freshly brewed coffee. Thoughts swirled through his head, usually he was so calm and collected-but not tonight. The rain had stopped a bit, but it still drizzled. The sun peaked through the grey clouds, trying to welcome the grey morning.

The sounds the bobcat picked up on were faint sounds of phones ringing, distant chatter and a few horns of cars down below the police station. He leaned over to inspect a photo on the detective’s desk-a framed photo of Leonard and a happy teenage human. He smirked a bit, the kid’s smile was super contagious. Leonard shut the door to his office gently, holding an iphone and a Note Taking app opened. This dog was in really good shape, Idris had not noticed before. The lab rolled up the sleeves to his shirt as he spoke. “Idris, your son is in intensive care at the local hospital. As you probably heard, strange medication was found in his bloodstream. It will be a bit before he recovers fully.”  Leo paused and said exactly what he had been thinking  ever since he found his son, the lab looked to his feet. “I’m so sorry I did not find your son sooner.”

His thin yellow tail flicked as he took a sip of his beverage, his tone still shaky and covered in a nervous and saddened edge. Idris sighed deeply, the cat’s ears pinned flat to his head. “N-no detective….you…saved my life and his. Leonard, you a-are a hero.” Leo was certainly glad that this guy appreciated his efforts, mostly everyone did-but to hear that his actions made huge positive change straight from the individual who was rescued, really did put this in perspective. “Perhaps.” He then looks at his phone, but then immediately looks back at the fox. “Can you tell me perhaps how you ended up at the warehouse? Do you perhaps know the name Fenton?” Idris thought for a moment, he really did take his time. Time seemed to move so slow. “Y-yeah. My cub, Adam and I were heading home from the movie theater. Our area is pretty safe usually, but we were both knocked out. By some big dogs, I didn’t see there faces.”

Leonard’s ears perked as he typed in parts of this information onto his phone. Idris continued after he was done typing. Usually cheetahs were quite hyper, but to see one so solemn was rare. Leonard felt more and more dispirited as the story went on.

“We were locked in those crates for days-sometimes I heard crying from my son and him yelling ‘Stop!’ or ‘I want to see my dad!’. I cried everyday I was in there. I was taken out of my box a few times, but I could never escape. Two giant canines would always grab me and I was put under some drug. I was poked..a-and prodded, sometimes by four injections at once. My vision was blurry-I knew I was on some long table and I heard the eerily sweet tone of what I assumed to be a fox-I saw his bushy tail a few times.” Idris began to cry a tad bit as he finished his coffee. “What scared me the most was what he did to my son-because I had no idea what sort of evil was being put on him. I didn’t even know if he was conscious. When he was silent-I would get no sleep. I just thought he was dead and it was almost relief when I’d hear his soft sobbing.” Leonard placed his paw on Idris’ shoulder, his tone soft and consoling-he felt the cat’s pain. “Hey…your son made it, and so did you. I’m no psychologist, but please don’t…let this ruin your entire life. Adam is young and so are you-you have a lot to live for. You won’t ever truly forget those long days under the clutches of a psychopath-but your mind will adjust as long as you’re open and honest. Give yourself time.”

Idris quickly hugged Leo, something about having a dog to talk to seemed calming. Idris calmed down a bit-he asked about the photo on Leo’s desk-it was sort of rare to see a furry and human in a framed photo together. Leonard spoke with a bit of proudness in his tone, but not to much since Idris was going through a lot. “He’s my son-I adopted Chris a year or so ago.” The cheetah smiled and nodded. “Wow man, that’s amazing. Looks like a sweet guy.” As he adjusted his tie, Leonard was very glad the furry didn’t seem to be prejudice against him having a human son-he’d think those sort of stupid negative thoughts would go away from the furry and human community, but it didn’t. “He is, he does get nervous often due to his sad past-but he really is the best kid I know.” Idris stood up slowly. “Well, detective I thank you for speaking with me, and I wish you and your son the best. Being a father is truly special, keep your son close.” Idris and Adam did make a full recovery-with much mental scarring. Neither of them would be 100% the same again. Leo gave Idris his card in case he or his son wanted to talk-something he did for everyone he rescued.

 CHAPTER 3

The toned black lab wore an all black suit and loose red tie as he exited his police cruiser, showing his badge to everyone in sight. This was the A/H (Anthro / Human) Prison.

The blue sky and tweeting birds outside was complete trickery-the large brick building Leonard was about to enter was where psychopaths, rapists, sociopaths and any sort of violent gangs were kept. Two doors lead into the hell hole, Leo swiped his FBI badge on a complex looked scanner to gain entry. Hallways on both sides were crammed with cells, some humans and furries in the same room, some alone humans, some alone furries-all varying on how violent they were towards fellow inmates.

You would see a lot of species here, ranging from bears, tigers, panthers, pigs, lizards-every species was spread out, and no two furries or humans really looked alike. As Leo walked with his ears perked and his tail down, some of the inmates made rude comments-some even made fun of the fact he had a human son-the cop paid no mind to any of them. They weren’t worth getting angry at, these were insane and violent individuals who wanted to get a rise out of authority. They all seemed to begin yelling, one after another. Whether it was just profanity being churned out to annoy the guards and Leonard himself, or if it was direct threats that actually were cohesive sentences.

Along the many loud and obnoxious halls Leo walked down, security guards stood as well-most of the muscular wolves trying to hold back the inmates who tried to directly grab the detective.

The only thing the sort of made Leo angry was the white rabbit at the very end of the last hall. His ears tattered, his orange jumpsuit stained with blood and his teeth sharpened decided to spit a ball of saliva and phlegm right at the lab’s feet, which disgustingly hit the top of his shoe. He then rocked back and forth violently and laughed-the black lab stared at him and decided to give off a low growl, to which the rabbit simply stated in a high voice “Nice doggy! Come inside and I’ll PAT YOU real good!”

The room Fenton was kept in was quiet for a change, a large white room with a bolted door and fluorescent ceiling lights. His area looked more like hospital room than a cell-minus the sink and all the equipment. Fenton looked thin, actually more so than usual probably because he refused to eat for the guards at certain times. His short sleeve orange jumpsuit clean, spotless even, he did try hard to keep his boring clothing at least presentable. The table he sat in front of was smooth and made out of a hard plastic. His paws bounded by a large chain with a lock, same with his ankles. The fox’s tone, calm with a hint of happiness. The giant door shut behind the black lab with a slam, a security guard stood outside, his back directly up against the door. Leo sat across from the fox, his bushy tail wagging. Fenton smirked and rests his paws on top of the table. Just hearing his voice made the canine annoyed and slightly disturbed. “Detective Leonard Keaton, let me first say-sorry about the blown up home. Your son okay after that? I know he’s prone to anxiety.”

The canine leaned back and straightened his suit jacket a bit, deep down, he was a tad bit nervous to be around this guy. “Fenton, I’ve been hearing about your work. I’m curious, what’s with the hypodermic needles and injecting medicine into your victims?” The fox drummed his nails against the table-Leo’s ears were perked. “You’re a special detective, so I’ll tell you the whole truth. I know about you-so you should know about me.”

Leonard was going to pipe in and say ‘you know nothing about me!’ but decided to hold off, for that would cause a distraction and Leo needed information, Fenton sighed. “Doctor’s always scared me, when I was a kit. I’d have the biggest temper tantrums ever. Biting my nurses, slashing my doc with my beautiful claws. It was fun. It wasn’t until I got my first injection that I strangely became fascinated with my doctors. Injecting a virus, into my bloodstream? Sounds like science fiction if you really think about it-but no. Anyway, I wanted more shots. I began trying to replicate this feeling by putting needles into my arms at night while my parents slept-but somehow it wasn’t the same.”

The lab had been audio recording all of this, he had all he could do not to shudder at Fenton’s never blinking eyes and soft voice. Evilness seemed to fill the room like a thick smoke which could not be seen, but truly stabbed Leonard’s soul. “I then went to a local hospital when I was 15-stole my dad’s car. Got some meds off of a nurse’s tray and I ended up injecting some teacher I disliked when they weren’t looking-they asphyxiated a few hours after. Rest is history detective. My injections are now carefully planned out, you probably found them in my warehouse. So neat-so clean-so deadly.”

The lab nodded.“One more thing, why did you stalk me for so long?”  The fox yawned a bit. “You were one of the first anthros to adopt a human, and I find that neat. Also, your line of work was cool. I mean, I knew we’d meet up after the various acts I had committed-but you’re not like any other furry.” Leo shrugs and looks at Fenton in the eye.

“You obviously don’t like hugs and you’re not super bouncy-you are…truly…an enigma of your own species. Born a lab, but never had the heart of one. Most dogs would look at you and laugh at your attempt to be some stern figure who thinks he’s better than everyone else. Bet you could raise your son better if you actually showed him some love and affection, hm?” Leonard narrowed his eyes and rubbed the back of his neck, he turned his phone off to stop the audio recording and left. Fenton sat, a smirk plastered on his face. The fox knew he had annoyed Leonard-he began humming as he looked to the floor. Turns out, the black lab wasn’t as careful as he thought-as they spoke, he had dropped a blue pen….Fenton chuckled, picked the pen up and spoke softly to himself. “Thanks Leonard-you stupid cop.”

 

CHAPTER 4

Christopher Keaton sat in his new room alone. The human had not been acting the same, and who could blame him? His entire house went up in flames and he had no idea why. Plus, he was with some fox he didn’t know-apparently her and his dad had met and now are great friends. Chris didn’t really warm up to her apart from the night they first met, and to be honest neither did she. All he thought of was his dear dad coming home so he could vent. Ashley sat, reading a book. She had just finished disciplining Chris. Leonard walked into Chris’ room, his suit jacket off, he shut the door and rolled his sleeves up, his dress shirt untucked, Leo looked nice in slacks and a tie his son would admit. Chris sat on his bed and looked at his dad. “Ashley is n-not being fair…”

The dog sits on the edge of his son’s bed. He thought his dad might say something angry, but he didn’t. Instead, he spoke in an honest and soft tone. “How so?” Chris looked into his dad’s brown eyes, his dad being a dog made it so much easier for him to just open up. Sure, he loved his human friends at school and at various stores he visited often, but something about a dog’s face read certainty and love. “W-well, um… she said to stop watching my ipad. It was annoying her, c-cause I was rewinding my favorite part of a movie over and over. I didn’t even do anything wrong.” The black lab nodded. “Well, I will talk with her. She probably just doesn’t understand your….um…” Chris piped in politely. “Habits?” The dog nods and pats his son on the shoulder. “You did nothing wrong, we just need to give her time to adjust. Like I did when I first adopted you. I know you’re kind and you have patience. Let’s give this another shot. We’ll have something to eat together.”

Early in the evening, Leonard dressed in black sweatpants and a grey tank top with white sneakers and went for jog. He needed to clear his head a bit. Between seeing Fenton and Chris being in a bit of a pickle, it was best for the lab to have a bit of space.

The breeze was cool, the sun was just beginning to set, the sky was a pinkish color. The sidewalk smooth, he ran uphill-his legs did hurt a tiny bit, but he was too deep in thought to care. His muscles pulsed, he was a bit proud of his six pack, but never gloated about it.

Would Chris be okay with Ashley? Would I have to see Fenton again? Would Chris really go back to his hyper self after all this crap? As the black lab made it up the cement hill and back down, no answers really came to him. Sometimes only questions popped up and no answers, but during his evening walks and jogs-things didn’t seem as jumbled. He was at least able to categorize his thoughts and fears better. As he became tired and started to pant, he headed back home.

Even in the shower, as the warm water seeped into his black fur and shampoo covered his upper body, tad bits of depression started mentally popping up. This had not happened in a while, but at least it wasn’t a flooding of sadness-it was more subtle. He stood in the shower with his head pressed against the tiled wall of the bathroom for a bit and closed his eyes, steam filled the room. The time is 10:00PM.

Once he got on his red bathrobe, he went to see Chris who was sitting on the couch, watching television. As his dad sat down, Chris put his arm lovingly around the lab’s shoulders. “Hi dad. You o-okay?” Leo leaned back before speaking. “Hey Chris. I’m just overwhelmed with thoughts, my job, you…Ashley. Lots of stress.” The teen nodded and placed his head on his dad’s shoulder. “It’s okay dad, I w-wasn’t happy today either.”

Just hearing from someone ‘it’s okay’ helped a bit. For now, things were ‘okay’. No one was being shot or stalked. Ashley hopefully would come around and be a bit more considerate. Leonard stared at the television, nothing really interesting was on but some ferret in a suit giving a weather report, his son liked mundane television. Sort of kept him calm and sleepy for when he could not actually sleep.

Before the detective knew it, Chris was asleep, cuddled up to his dad. Leo also fell asleep for the rest of the night.

The arctic fox came out of the shower wearing a white t-shirt and purple jeans and found the lab and human fast asleep on the living room couch, both using each other as pillows. Ashley knew that Leo had some major unpacking to do since they had just moved in with her a few days before, and so suddenly. She decided to walk over to one of the many boxes piled up next to the front door, something in her told her to look in one of them. After all, she barely knew anything about Leonard or his son-she liked him a LOT, and liked his son a little less now that she began to see what his personality was like. She knelt down and carefully opened the first cardboard box that caught her interest in the first place. Everything within the box was a bit old, old photos of a younger and more optimistic Leonard, the lab’s high school photos and family photos. His parents both black labs, both very healthy looking. As she moved some of the items ever so carefully, she came across a folder.

Leo tossed in his sleep, let out a tiny bark and fell back into calm dream land. Ashley sighed nervously, but now she couldn’t quit. She had to know what was in this folder. As she opened it, a photograph fell out. Someone she had never seen before. The setting of the photo, a beautiful beach, sitting in the middle of the tropical backdrop, a very beautiful yellow lab. She wore a colorful sundress and held a strawberry daiquiri in one paw. Her smile, radiant and adorable, a classic ‘yellow lab smile.’ with a bit of her pink, floppy tongue showing and her brown eyes looking straight at the camera. She flipped the photo over and to her surprise, in red ink and nice handwriting, a letter read:

Leonard, I dug this pic from our beach trip in ‘97. Thought you would want it. -Love, Sandy

Sandy…why has Leonard never mentioned her before? She tried to think deeply if he had during one of their conversations, but it really seemed like this was a piece of Keaton’s life kept hidden-until now.

CHAPTER 5

Two wolves, one young and slender and one older and fatter, walked into the white room. Fenton sat with hidden glee in the same spot he had been sitting. At the table, the two muscular guards gestured him to stand up. “Okay Fenton, you’re granted one hour out of your cell for a walk. We’ll remove your restraints.”

As the slightly overweight wolf approaches the slender fox, he felt an extremely sharp pain in his neck, a mix of an intense sting and pressure and felt warm blood dripping out of his neck. The fox had bitten into his throat, still holding on, Fenton jerked his head back and took a good amount of flesh and fur out of the neck-blood shot out like a geyser as he collapsed backwards, falling directly onto the second guard. Using the blue pen, he picked the lock quickly to his handcuffs and ankles.

The blood flew out in waves, covering the white floor in red fluid, the wolf tried to hold his neck-but his breathing lessoned and everything became dark as he choked slowly, bloody bubbles popped from his mouth and nose. The young security guard looked up at Fenton in extreme horror-this was his first day on the job and he had seen his mentor get his throat torn out by a psycho. The guard screamed, Fenton knelt down and covered his mouth with his bloody paw, the young anthro looked at him with pure, wide eyed terror, his throat closed-he wished he was sleeping and this was some horrible nightmare. “Shhhhhh…..it’s okay. I’m not going to hurt you.” With intense strength, the fox lifted the guard out from under the weight of the now dead and bloody furry. The guard begins to cry uncontrollably. “Remove your clothes…please.”

Not a single alarm had gone off, Fenton walked out of the cell, he wore a security uniform which was just a blue cop uniform with a utility belt, he whistled as he locked the cell he was in. Inmates tended to there own business and most of the guards were either asleep or not paying attention, Fenton went to the bathroom scrub off the blood from his paws and face. He fixed himself up in the mirror-feeling pretty cool in a cop’s clothing. The blue button up shirt with the golden badge on one side, the classic cap they always wore fit nicely between the fox’s ears. The utility belt, coming complete with handcuffs, a gun and a radio with black slacks and new dress shoes. He whistled a happy tune yet again as he made his way out of the prison and into the parking lot. Fenton was in heaven.

The weather was beautiful-the afternoon breezy, the sun shining down-things looked up for our psychotic fox. After he had managed to find a cop car he could sneak into-he found the keys not very well hidden inside the car visor. He smiled as the vehicle roared to a start and he left the prison. Feeling proud of himself, he turned on the radio-blasting music, The Who to be exact from the speakers. He threw on some black sunglasses to complete his look. He rolled down the windows and drove a bit over the speed limit, feeling a rush of euphoria as he turned on the sirens. This was it…this was the fun of being a rule breaking killer-Fenton bobbed his head up and down to beat of the music as he turned to a more deserted area in Boston. As the car continued its trek down a dirt road-the fox began to think of how to find Leonard again.

Maybe Chris would trust him and he could take his son for a joy ride? Trees of all shapes and sizes surrounded him. This supposedly was a quick way to get to where Leonard lived, the GPS said so anyway.

The joyful mood was broken abruptly when an extremely LOUD pop sound emitted from one of the tires of the police car, the fox tried to control the vehicle-but it spun so far out of control that it smacked right into a tree. The horn honked continuously, the windshield cracked in half and the engine barely worked. Fenton for the first time in probably his adult life, was furious. He shouted a few times. “WHAT THE HELL?!”

The engine to the cop car smoked and a deep burning smell flew into the fox’s nostrils. From out of the corner of his eye, he saw the biggest canine he had ever seen. This massive beast stood at exactly 6 feet tall, his body ripped.

This guy’s arms looked like they could bench the entire vehicle, let alone the fox inside it. His shoulders broad, his legs built of solid muscle. The pitbull’s fur, light brown, his ears were the only thing not ginormous, they were floppy, tender little ears. Part of his chest, white, his teeth definitely sharpened beyond their normal bite. He wore black ripped jeans, brown cowboy boots and a black tank top-his rock solid muscles easily could be seen under the fabric. He stood over the hurt psycho with a death stare-Fenton attempted to reach for his gun with speed, but as soon as he did-the pitbull let out an ear piercing bark as he lifted a hidden weapon-a large, metal billy club all black, custom made.

The pain made Fenton yelp loudly, certainly his wrist was broken-tears welled up in his eyes due to the intense whack. The dog then grabs the fox by the throat, lifting him out of the driver’s side of the beat up car, he brought his giant snout to his face. Fenton attempted to kick the pit bull in the legs and lower body, but it was no match for his tough body which had already gone through so much. As Fenton got a good look at this guy’s face, he noticed a nice scar going across his throat, he also had an artificial left eye. “Name is Parker-and you’ve been hurting the innocent for far too long, Fenton.” His voice was so deep, it practically rumbled into your brain. Fenton tried to gasp-but the grip was too much to handle….

THE NEXT DAY

The grey husky looked at the mangled carcass which lied on the dirt road, the slender officer wore a long sleeved police uniform, he rolled his sleeves up and looked to his partner who wore a grey suit coat, a pinstriped blue and white dress shirt, black tie, jeans and black dress shoes and smirked. Cop cars circled the area, the weather is cloudy with specs of rain falling. “Well Detective-someone hated Fenton more than we did!” Leo snapped on some rubber gloves and began searching the body a bit, after he got up from kneeling-he looked to John Hulbert, then back at the body. The black lab spoke into his phone. “Fenton’s body is in a curved position, obviously whoever did this had high amount of strength-the fox’s face is…well…barely noticeable due to the blunt trauma of whatever was used to smash his skull.”

Fenton’s body was put into a body bag, but no other evidence was found-no fur, no weapon. Just a smashed car and a beaten fox. On the ride to the station, John spoke up-his usual tone peaking in, a happy and confident one.

More rain began to fall as Leo turned on the windshield wipers. “Nice jacket, Leo.” The lab cleared his throat. “Thanks.” “How are things after your house…uh…blew up?” The lab thought for a moment. “Not horrible, but not great. Chris is really having trouble adjusting to Ashley. I need to have a talk with her when I get back. She’s been a bit too stern with him.” The husky sighed. “Poor Chris, can never catch a break sometimes…”

Christopher rocked back and forth on the couch and smiling, one of his many habits. He was happy until the artic fox spoke firmly. “Chris! Please stop, okay? Can you just sit and watch a movie?” The teenager’s heart sank, his throat got a bit tight.

He slowly stood up and frowned as he went to his room. The human lied in his bed, lying on his stomach-listening to the various sounds of cars driving. He looked out his bedroom window, the night sky covered, no star seemed to stand. The teenager began to think…when dad gets stressed, he takes a walk! Still wearing his pajamas, Chris took a deep breath and quicker than he thought, snuck out the front door without being noticed by the fox, who blasted music from her headphones. Chris didn’t feel fear, he was just careful where he stepped.

He walked down a long sidewalk, on the side closest to him-a field with a chain linked fence. To the further side, a cracked road with various cars driving down the road. Some rowdy teen furries out drinking and driving, others older humans getting home from work. The teen even saw some other individuals walking the sidewalks, a brown grizzly bear who could easily crush Chris with a rusty sounding tone spoke to him as soon as he was within ear reach. He wore a grey sweatshirt and baggy sweatpants. He held a medicine bottle, a cigarette hang from his mouth. “Human! Want some pills? You seem moody! I’ll give you a BIG discount, papa bear needs cash!” Chris shook his head quickly and walked much faster, the bear shrugged and attempted to get someone else with his narcotics. The nervous teen looked at his feet and saw a few empty beer bottles scatter on the sidewalk, he continued walking. Not letting his instincts take over, part of him wanted to go back-another part of him thought that it was good to get out and be independent. The night warm, he focused on more of the weather and less at his surroundings now. He walked for twenty minutes straight.

Once the fence ended to an opening, Chris cocked his head and saw a playground. It was a bit run down, but he decided to go in. Plus, who would be here this late? The ground made of dirt, he looked up the various slides and monkey bars. He decided to gently sit upon a swing set, he thought about his father actually. He thought about how thankful he was to have such a great dad, he thought of how loving furries were in general and how glad he was to be among them.

Headlights pierced the night and lit the playground up, the human got off the swing. The vehicle was a large white van, the shadow of a furry exited the driver’s side. He was the biggest pitbull he had ever laid eyes on. The ginormous dog walked casually, he didn’t seem threatening, he lit a cigarette and placed his paws by his sides, his boots smashing the tiny stones that laid by his feet. He wore the same outfit as before when he met up with Fenton. The canine sniffed the air and walked towards Chris. He held is smoke in one paw and calmly spoke, but even his calm tone was so deep that it made Chris’ hair stand up. “Hey kid! You okay?” Chris backed away, a lump formed in his throat-this was a bad mistake. He now regretted ever taking a walk on his own, this dog could smoosh him and his dad like ants. Of course, Chris looked like a little kid once the pitbull was in front of him. “S-sir…I’m okay…I-I need to go home now..” He was on the verge of crying, this could be it for the human. The tall dog puffed his cigarette. “I’m not gonna hurt you-I promise. Are you hurt?” Chris spoke, looking up at the dog. “N-no.”

“Well, you can tell me if someone does fuck with you-okay? Hate seeing people hurt-especially humans. Name is Parker.” He extends his paw out. The teen shook it gently. “You need a ride home?” Chris thought long and hard. Should he go into this guy’s van? What were the chances he was as ‘cool’ as he seemed? Did he really like humans, or was he just some pervert? The teen then thought-why be so untrustworthy? What if this was a genuinely nice guy? “Y-yes…it seems…kinda dangerous around here, I-I suppose.” The pitbull nodded and stamped his cigarette out. The human had butterflies in his stomach as he hopped into the unknown van. It wasn’t to late to turn back he guessed. He sort of couldn’t believe he just accepted a ride in the middle of the night from some stranger. The seats were rather old, the grey leather which covered them torn up a bit.

It seemed like Parker got all the back seats removed, the area behind the two front seats was huge. The van had a strong smoky odor. Chris watched every movement the big dog made, from sitting down, to the tiny grunt he made as he put his seatbelt on, to turning the old ignition and feeling the rumble of the old van come to life, watching him as he turned his head to back up and head on the small highway. Oh gosh…no turning back now. Van is in motion. “I-I live down the street, to that side…” Chris pointed with his hand ‘left’ since he often forgot which was which, Parker nodded. “What were you doing out there?” Chris cleared his throat.“Thinking…a-about stuff. M-my dad mostly.” The van rattled a bit as they hit a speed bump, the pitbull chuckled. “Oh yeah? You like your old man?” Chris smirked, still looking at the pitbull, not really relaxing. “Love him, he adopted me. His n-name is Leonard, he’s a detective.” Parker nodded, he thought shit…maybe I made a mistake

Ashley backed away as the black lab scolded her, his tone cold as ice-his voice sounded like it could break into a yell at any moment. “Ashley, I truly can’t believe you. I trusted you with my son, even after you spoke so rudely to him…” The white fox was getting angrier by the moment, this guy was yelling at her in her own apartment, her voice was similar to his. “Leonard, I let you stay in my house-that should be enough. To be honest, your kid is not my problem.” Did she have a point? In Leonard’s mind, no. He crossed his arms and glared at her. “Well, you should have told me that before I left you with him-I would’ve taken him to work.” He let out an angry sigh. “You gonna hit me Leonard?!” She raised her voice, making the lab startle. “Of course not, I’m just pissed.” The white fox grabbed her purse. “Fine, sit and sulk about YOUR kid and ME watching him. Fuck you Leonard. Thanks for all this stress, and you’re welcome for being so frigging helpful when your house went to shit!” She slammed her front door as Leo sat at the kitchen table. Silence filled the room for five minutes, her heard the fox completely walk away-then silence again.

That is until a giant van parked in front of the house-the dog ran to the front door as his son stepped out of the passenger side. Leo wrapped his arms around Chris, to be honest he was too relieved to scold him. Around the opposite side, came Parker. Leo then looked to the large pitbull. “Where the hell was my son?” Parker spoke honestly. “By the playground, this area gets busy with crooks this late-I didn’t want him getting hurt.” Leo extended his arm, they shook paws. “I’m grateful he bumped into a helpful guy-Leonard Keaton.” Parker smiled. “You’ve gotta good kid, Mr. Keaton. Be seeing you.” The van shook a bit as it drove off.

Leonard’s tone was very much a ‘stern father’ tone. He had Chris sit at the kitchen table. “Christopher, why…why did you leave this place? I’m very…shocked..and frankly disappointed.” His son spoke with a sad honesty. “Dad, I was stressed. I w-was sad, I didn’t f-feel okay with Ashley. S-so I took a walk, like you do.” The lab took a deep breath. “Chris, if you’re going to take a walk-let me go with you. Actually, no-I am going with you. That’s a rule, and secondly…and most dangerously, you took a ride from a stranger. Luckily, he seemed fine-but you could have gotten hurt, or worse. What if he was dangerous?”

“Dad, he seemed nice. A-and it was dangerous out, Parker said so.” Leonard felt a bit of frustration, but held it together. “Chris, you are not allowed to take rides from anyone unless I tell you-not if someone says they’ll ‘bring you home’ or that ‘they know me’. I will tell you which cars to go into. If you don’t hear it from me and if it’s not public transportation, YOU are obligated to come to me or John. Got it?” Chris nodded and felt a bit teary eyed, Leo hadn’t scolded him a long while, the human sniffled a tad bit. “You’re sleeping down here tonight, I’ll sleep on the recliner.” Chris spoke through little bits of crying, Leo raising his voice a bit truly startled him. “Y-yes dad…I understand.”

Lastly, the black lab held his son’s hand, not in a firm way, but in a gentle and calming way-his son expected more hurt and anger even so though, Chris cried more within the next few moments. “Chris…I love you very much.” The teen nodded. “I-I know dad, it’s your job to keep me safe. You’re a detective.” Leonard nodded and pet his son’s shoulder gently. “Let’s both calm down, get ready for bed and we’ll watch TV or something.” Ashley never came back to Leonard, not that night or any day after that.

The two would need to find yet another apartment to go to, for all the crap the detective went through these past couple days, he felt content. His son slept on the couch as Leo sat at the kitchen table, not yet dressed to go to bed. He sipped a glass of red wine, glancing at Chris who was wrapped in blankets and snoring gently.

Parker entered his apartment, a rundown place, with a large closet filled with guns and other weapons. The living room floor, stained, he has no TV, a ratty couch-at least he has a clean dining room table. The fridge did work well, he had a stockpile of whisky, rum and vodka.

Stored in a few crisper draws, steak, chicken, ham and a few veggies. To one corner beyond his kitchen table, he had a nice looking table with his laptop-only to get directions to places and maybe download a movie, Parker was not one to have an email address or social media-he only texted and called people he gave his number too personally. He turned on his phone to listen to some light music as he did his nightly routine.  He stripped his clothes off, took a hot shower and crawled into bed. As he lied in bed, staring at the dark ceiling, he thought of how awesome it was a furry adopted a human. The two seemed so kind. Indeed, he spoke the truth-if Chris did ever need him, he’d be there.

However, thoughts of Leonard being a cop ruined everything. Secrets would come out, and he’d be hauled to prison most likely. If he were lucky, Chris would keep in contact-he hadn’t met someone as kind as this teen. Most of the ones he ran into were rude and took drugs, but not this one as far as he could tell.

The brown dog also thought Chris would need a lot of protection, heck so many people could take advantage of him. He made a mental note to remember who Chris was, he wanted to keep a good repertoire with him and his dad-maybe less so with his dad. Before he went to bed, he went to his bedside and picked up the only framed photograph of his son-an adorable pitbull puppy, who really was a tiny version of his dad. “Wish you were here buddy…wish you were here.” Suddenly, his phone vibrated, he got up and opened the drawer which was close by to his bed. The text read, from Chris Keaton: Goodnight, Mr. Parker *smiley face* Parker let out a smirk and sent: Goodnight, stay safe kid. Maybe Chris would be the answer to his lonely life….

END  

Meeting Leonard Keaton (Leonard #1)

Meeting Leonard Keaton

Aaron B.

 

I’m a 17 year old  human male named Timothy, I go to school on time, I don’t cause trouble, I love talking to others. I enjoy video games, comic books and a bit of music-big difference with me and most humans? I live in a town full of furries.

Majority of them I truly like.

Usually they’re huggable and generally quite excitable, good to talk to when you’re feeling down, honest and they tend to be open minded.

I truly love living here and going to ‘Anthro High.’ I meet mostly furries actually, some humans my age or older here and there-and most of them are like me, they moved to the city of Boston, MA for better jobs or a new location just because they like the big city.

However, my true ‘welcome party’ was far from typical-because I truly felt I belonged here when I met the most unique and trusting furry ever…if I were to introduce him to you, I’d tell you  he’s a black lab who hates hugs, is easily irritated and doesn’t have much of a filter. Yup-this is our hero.

Entry 1

Anthro High is generally an awesome school, lots of good education, lots of fun and hyper students (some of which get in trouble due to their somewhat over excitable nature.)

The teachers are perhaps not quite as energetic, but they’re all quite genuine. Very easy to talk to and get along with.

One student gave me issues, a tall and slightly overweight wolf named Buck.

Everyone loves a grey, mysterious wolf. I don’t mean to sound whiny, but he picked me because I’m a human. I know. It’s maybe typical for those who are different to sort of be overly sensitive and look down on themselves and think everyone is out to get them, but I will tell you of two encounters I had with Buck-the third I will save for the maybe dark finale.
The first time, he met me at the cafeteria. Things were going well that Monday afternoon, I had talked to a few huskies and panthers about tests and what they like to do for hobbies.

I stood in a line of happy looking foxes and dogs sort of conversing, telling little inside jokes and waiting patiently in a sort of long line with my hot meal.

The sounds of laughter and talking filled the large place, grey circular tables hooked to stools made walking around a bit cramped. I was still in line at the cash register, so no tables were there, to the left of the registrar was where you picked what food you wanted.

The female rabbit taking the student’s money seemed tired-she’s sweet mostly.

As I stood with my tray full of food, Buck walked over to me casually. He wore ripped black khakis and a blue denim vest.

He sounded about my age, but was much taller than I was. I’m about 5 feet-he’s about 6’1 and much heftier. He forced his paw on my shoulder and smiled a condescending grin.

“Hey tailless freak!”

I nodded, I knew who this wolf was, he had gotten suspended once for writing obscenities on school property, he also had threatened many students-but rarely carried them out, knowing this I chose not to talk to him.

He spoke again, his voice grinding on my nervous system-I hated his look, I hated his tone and I especially hated that he picked on me in front of all my friends.

“Hey human…you gonna say ‘hi’ or do your species not do that sort of thing?”

I shrug and speak in a low tone, trying to not upset anyone-the furries around me backed away, some scratched the backs of their fuzzy necks nervously. The rabbit behind the counter was to far away from me to notice the trouble.

“Please leave, I want no trouble sir.”

The wolf chuckled and stood in front of me, throwing the entire lunch line out of order and getting a few students to wonder what would happen.

“You’ve caused trouble already Tim…by being a human at Anthro High, let’s teach you how a furry hits…”

Before I could react, the wolf took the palm of his paw and rammed it right into my nose-before I knew it I was on the ground, my lunch had flown all over the floor-the tray fell with quite a loud crash, the cafeteria went to silent shock as I felt warm blood spill out of my nostrils. The principal (who was a fox wearing a tie) quickly walked over to me to help me up…

I came home that day with a bandage on my nose and a call to my mom, my mother-Melissa, is amazing. Most teens complain about there parents-but I will not. My mom is super open, her and I watch R-rated comedies, we go for walks, she lets me play video games after my bedtime (she figures if I stay up to late-it’s my fault and as long as I get to school on time and don’t flunk classes-she doesn’t mind.)

My father passed away two years ago, so my mom works the evening shift, the weekend is when we hang.

When I got home-I was 100% honest with my mom, like the principal was when he called. Of course, she talked to me about taking some days off and Buck’s parents would be spoken to. I was hoping the bullying would stop after that-I thought maybe things would look up as far as Buck and I were concerned.

Entry 2

The next week, I was certainly asked about my bully experience, it was nice because a lot of the students had made get-well cards and things were looking up for me. I didn’t do great on a few of the pop quizes (I was excused from written tests however.)

I forgot to mention by yellow labrador friend, Bingo.

He was the first friend I ever had at this school.

As I sat during the end of a class, we got a bit of free time. Most furries stayed put, listening to music and laughing at jokes that probably should not be said in a school. Instead of jamming to techno like Bingo normally would, the lab sat himself down next to me and spoke in his usual, upbeat tone.

He wore a grey t-shirt and light blue sweatpants with orange running shoes (which made sense, he was one of the best track runners the school had ever seen.) He’s about 18 years old.

“Hey buddy! You okay?”

I nod and smile, just hearing his voice really made me happy. He had this aura of energy that I embraced every moment of.

“Yes, I am. You?”

He smiled a bright smile, he had that ‘classic lab’ face-the brown eyes, the brown nose, the big floppy tongue hanging out every time he seemed psyched.

“Made the finals for the running team! YUP! Good ol’ Bingo!”

I chuckled as he pretended to have a huge ego-a running joke he did. Seriously though, he’s the least egotistical jock you’d ever want to meet. He’s a ‘jock with the heart of a warrior and a protector, but mostly a comedian.’

“Well, gimme a call and we’ll hang out this weekend! I’m free!”

I lovingly patted my shoulder, class was over.

I had missed the bus that Friday afternoon and mom was working, she normally didn’t but her job was understaffed.

I went through the side exit of the school.

The weather was a bit cloudy, but warm enough that I didn’t need my jacket. As I walked away from the school, I slung my bag over my shoulder-sensing that rain would fall.

The outside of Anthro High is quite large, made of red brick, with a slanted green roof and brick pillars at the entrance.

A very nice school, quite ritzy actually.

I walked down a long sidewalk, a few cars pulled out of the parking lot, filled with teachers and students. Most of the students who had to walk home, were already well on their way.

I walked at a brisk pace, sort of in a slight daydream and would be glad to take a nap once I got home. I had just reached the end of the sidewalk, exiting the school.

Quickly, I ended up tripping-something had blocked my way, once I caught myself, I saw Buck with his arms crossed and the same goddamn smug look on his face-wearing a black tank top and black sweatpants and shiny red sunglasses sat on his head.

“Hey tattle tale! Got me in quite a damn mess, a few weeks of being grounded to be exact!”

The wolf then lifts me up by the back of my neck and my heart skipped a beat a tiny bit, his non-clipped claws scratched my flesh a bit.

“You frigging human!”

His muzzle was right in my face as he plopped me down forcefully onto the pavement, making me lose my balance and trip, falling back first onto the sidewalk.

I felt light headed-no one could come to help me…I was alone.

Rarely did I feel anxiety in my life, but this was it. It felt so weird, it felt like a sickness had just gripped my stomach and heart and squeezed, and no matter how long I tried to level myself, it got worse as Buck wouldn’t back off.

I then hear, from a few feet ahead of me-a loud yell.

“HEY!”

Not from a student, and not a teacher I had heard of.

I stared at the dog standing close by, he had a bit of grey in his muzzle, he had slight jowls, about 5 feet and broad shouldered (he certainly worked out.)

Judging by his voice, he sounded like he was from Britain, but his authoritative and gruff edge made his voice unlike any other furry.

He wore a white dress shirt, the sleeves rolled up revealing a bit of his toned arms.

The top button undone and a loose black tie sort of flew in the breeze, he wore faded blue jeans and black dress shoes-what surprised me the most however? He wore a cop badge around his waist, I had never really come face-to-face with authority here.

He walked up, his gaze on Buck-fearless. I was so accustomed to furries cowering at him around the school as he harassed them into handing over their lunch money or even slapping them if they did not give answers to a test he had failed to study.

The lab stood, Buck was much taller than he. The cop spoke again as he showed off his FBI badge to the two of us.

“I’m a cop who doesn’t take bullying with a grain of salt-there a problem?”

Buck backed away from me, clearly nervous-but attempting to hide it.

“N-no cop! Honest, we were just fooling around!”

I look at the detective, he looked at me. The three of us had a sort of ‘stand off’ moment in the middle of the sidewalk.

He was a few inches taller than me, his gaze read ‘tell me the truth’-even though he knew it already. I sigh and stand up straight, my voice a bit trembly.

“Um, well o-officer, I was being harassed by this wolf.”

The lab’s tail drooped down, his ears perked as he nodded and approached the wolf, by now the tough wolf backed away.

He knew better than to mess with a detective or cop, especially this guy-looked like he had seen a lot of darkness in his life to be honest and wasn’t much for messing around.

The detective’s tone was icy cold, he crossed his arms and did not break eye contact with Buck, he knelt down in front of him, gently reached over and grabbed the sunglasses swiftly off of the wolf’s head and twirled them-I swore Buck had peed his pants.

“I want you, to apologize to this young man-then I want you to take your ass home, and tomorrow-I don’t want you staring at him, I don’t want you approaching him, I don’t even want you thinking about him-because the moment you do…you will regret it. So, my only question to you. You going to fuck with him again?”

The way he spoke sent shivers through my spine, Buck had no broken eye contact either-his fur stood up on end as the detective’s cold stare didn’t break.

A single tear rolled from his eye, seemed like this was the first time someone really reprimanded him.

“N-no sir…”

Leonard nodded, expecting the apology, the quivering wolf turned to me.

“I’m so sorry, Tim. Won’t happen again-o-okay buddy?”

I wave to him gently, I myself a bit intimidated.

The lab took the sunglasses-and snapped them in half with a single click and tossed the now broken shades to the ground, the lab’s tone filled with angry annoyance.

“Go.”

The wolf ran faster than any furry on a track team.

He walked over and checked over me, I felt quite comfortable around him.

“Name is Leonard-you okay?”

I nod and pick my bag up from off the sidewalk. He looked at me, not in an icy way-but in a stern way, he certainly had an authoritative air to him.

“You walking home?”

I nodded and spoke, looking up at him.

“Yes, sir, missed my bus.”

Leonard reached into his back pocket to grab the keys to his vehicle.

“Want me to take you home?”

The police car was stopped at a light, I had never been in a cop car before.

The dashboard looked so complex, filled with buttons, a radio and a video screen.

The back seat, covered by metal black bars. Leonard hung his arm out of the opened driver’s side window, he held a lit cigarette in his other hand and took a few puffs from it as he drove. To me, he seemed deep in thought. He barely spoke to me, didn’t glance to me-he just looked straight ahead.

I kept my hands folded, all I heard was the sound of the car engine going. In the coffee cup holder was where his badge was, his black handgun holstered to his side.

I can’t explain it-but he seemed sort of sad.

“Leonard, sir? You okay?”

The old dog nodded.

“Content.”

Wow…one word. I really wanted to get a conversation going with him. I cleared my throat.

“Can I be honest with you, detective?”

He flicked his cigarette out the door, I hoped the smell would be gone soon.

“Yes, and call me Leonard.”

I speak not so ‘matter of factly’ but sort of nervous, I was a bit worried he might get mad or annoyed.

“You’re not like other furries…”

He shrugged and turned a corner.

“I am who I am. If I acted all excited, it would be dishonest, no one should have to hide the personality they have–especially for the contentment of others.”

Before I left, he gave me his card with his number and address in case anything else should come up. As much as he seemed stern and a bit of a ‘tough guy’ he obviously wanted to help out.

Entry 3

Bingo folded his hands after he was done eating his sandwich, he finished his soda and continued to talk about my encounter with Leonard.

“He’s different…”

The lab finished his drink.

“In what way?”

I sigh a bit, knowing I had a bit to explain.

“In every way. He just…he’s stern, but really nice. Helpful, but a tough guy. I don’t know. Like-he’s not someone you’d want to run up and hug.”

The yellow lab collected the check soon after, Leonard Keaton still bounced in my head a bit.

After going out-I lied on my bed. Unable to fall asleep.

I wanted to call Leo-tell him about my day, or something. I didn’t want the bully incident to be the only time I spoke to him. I tried to move onto other things, I tried playing video games, I tried using some social media-it didn’t work. I spent about twenty minutes staring at my cellphone, I sat on the edge of the bed. The room was so silent, I could hear crickets. I looked around my walls, I have one or two video game posters, my nightstand has a lamp and a place to charge my phone. My video game systems are all in the middle of my room, my TV is not too shabby to be honest.

I sighed as I looked at the card he gave me and dialed his number-I suddenly got butterflies in my gut as the phone rang on the other end, I REALLY hoped I wasn’t annoying him. That would be the end of that friendship. My ears seemed to go into a complete listening mode as I heard his voice on the other end, unmistakably his voice.

“This is detective Keaton.”

I stuttered a bit and stood up-the butterflies increased.

“Hey Leonard, it’s Tim. Just calling to see what you were up to.”

The lab I think was taking a sip of some drink, but I had no idea what it was of course.

“Came home from work, put my son to bed-now just sitting…”

I froze a bit.

“You..um, have a son?”

The lab seemed to be happy to speak about him to me.

“Yes, his name is Christopher. I adopted him a few weeks ago.”

We then got into a whole conversation about Chris. Leo told me he’s 17 and is in the special Education class at my school, which gives reason to why I never really saw him. He told me that Chris was sadly abused by his biological parents, his mom was a drug addict and his father locked him in a closet on a daily basis, not wanting to hear from him. From what Leonard said, he assumed Chris’ biological father was ashamed of his son’s disabilities.

Gosh, I’d like to meet Chris and tell him about myself and maybe become friends.

The lab actually seemed the most sad when he spoke of a bus incident-by now it sounded like he had had a few drinks.

“I got Chris off to school one morning, and as I got ready for work-I got a call from his cellphone. Some madman had somehow gotten control of the bus, a psychopath with a gun. It ended up this huge chase, I shot the furry who was responsible and no student was hurt. I still think about the day-because I blame myself for what happened. I can’t help it.”

By now I was sitting on the bed, intently listening to the detective-I think my jaw hung open. I had never heard of such evilness around here. Sure, on TV-but not so close to home.

“Leonard, I-I’m really sorry. I don’t mean to-pry or tell you how to run your life, but I’ve talked to buddies who deal with depression, and a few of my gaming friends online deal with stuff to. I tell them that life will throw stuff at you, but you’re still the same kind person-it’s all in how you react to things. You’re a great lab, you helped me so much-and I wish you the best.”

Leonard took a deep breath, whether he was annoyed of hearing the same thing over and over again, or he was tired-I don’t know, his tone low-so low that I had to turn up the volume on my cellphone all the way.

“Shit, I know you’re right kid.”

I sort of regretted giving someone like Leonard a lecture like that. He didn’t seem to mind I suppose. We didn’t talk much after-but we would be meeting again for sure.

School became quite normal again, and what’s even better is that I got to meet Leonard’s son, Chris.

We hung out during academic support class, he dresses quite preppy, his hair short and his tone has a certain nervous edge.

To be honest though, he seemed like he was quite with it.

See, I had never spoken to anyone in the Special Ed classes before for a long while (I hate using these terms, a student is a student-doesn’t matter there mental ability, but for the sake of expressing my true feelings, I think using this terminology is okay…I hope.)

Anyway, I don’t know what I expected-perhaps I expected someone who I’d have to really explain things to and be careful about joking and teasing, in case he got overly sensitive. Truly though, I loved talking to him and he did even joke around a bit with me.

He’s very smart and extremely caring (way more caring than some of the quote ‘regular ed’ students I’ve met), he does sometimes speak with a stutter, but it doesn’t matter to me. To me, it seemed like he was pretty much the least judgemental student ever-he seemed to be friends with anyone as long as they accepted him for who he was. School isn’t always that easy for me sadly.

I asked him about Leonard a bit, and Chris said that he’s rather stern and perhaps isn’t always 100% loving as far as hugs and words of affection, but it’s no doubt Leo and him get along very well, Leonard is the best for him as far as I can see. Chris referred to Leo as a ‘protector’ and a ‘fighter of evil.’ Not those terms-but I think that’s what I got out of it.

 

I talked to him about how his dad saved me from a harsh bully of course, we talked about movies and hobbies as well. We ended up sharing cell phone numbers. Meeting him ended up being a huge highlight of my time knowing Leonard.

Best part was I got to tutor Chris a bit during math, which was quite rewarding-I got a thank you text from the detective himself.

For two weeks, everything remained normal. I hung out with mom, by this time she had spoken to Leonard on the phone-thanking him for all the good he’d done, and Bingo and I got to hang out for a bit as well.

As I said, Leonard and I would meet again-and it seemed that bad luck would follow.

The next experience is something I actually have trouble with speaking about out loud, even to psychologists. This is the first time I’m writing it out, I am missing a few details of what happened after the attack-but I will try my best.

It happened Friday night, I was in my pajamas and my mom was working. I had been messaging a few friends on various social media sites using my laptop downstairs.

The house in complete silence, I was just about to head to bed, when I looked over and saw the trash at the back door. I sighed a bit, but knew that if I didn’t take it out-I’d regret it and have to do it in the morning. I grab a flashlight before heading out.

The night was a bit cold, I threw on my sweatshirt and headed off.

The garbage bin is located about 2 minutes from my house, it is not located out front-but out back.

Now, outfront is a nicely lit suburban area where people can walk and big street lights light up the entire area, outback is basically woods.

I step onto the cold grass, I had sandals on though because stepping on stuff is sort of expected when you’re walking through an area many people use for morning jogs normally.

The woods was not an unvisited area, but at night it did sort of have a foreboding atmosphere.

Holding the heavy bag and walk at a brisk place, my house begins to disappear. At first I was able to see the faint shapes of the leafless trees, but as the light got dimmer, so did my vision. I knew there were trees now the left and right of me, I feel leaves and dirt touch the tips of my toes-I now wish I had worn sneakers.

The wind picks up, I get a slight shiver as I now approach the garbage shoot, I shine my flashlight directly onto it and toss the bag in with a slight grunt and turn around to head back.

I then feel something that could only be described as terrifying, I feel two paws yank on my shoulders and toss me to the dirty ground below-I had no idea who the attacker was, because he or she had quickly taken my flashlight.

The figure pins me down with its weight, using his knee to press against my chest, I yell and I kick and pinch and try to fight..but the furry does not move. The attacker kneels on top of me-as I hear the canine’s breathing, I know who it is…Buck.

He was doing what he’d been wanting to for a long time, get to me outside of school.

The wolf covers my mouth with extreme force and slaps me across the face.

His muzzle inches from my face, I felt his warm breath and his cold voice-sounding more evil than ever.

“Bye human…”

I hear the sound of metal for a brief moment, I have now exhausted myself from trying to scream.

The pain excruciating, I remember groaning loudly-I felt the stab go straight through my stomach again and again, I then felt it a bit above my gut.

Five times I felt the stabs and five times I heard the disgusting sound of flesh being speared by the serrated blade, I want to close my eyes…but know that if I did I may never wake up.

Time seemed nonexistent, I stare facing upward towards the now slightly blue sky-the sun was coming up. I take one of my hands and ever so gently pat my stomach, I winced right at I felt the pain again and felt the warm blood slowly oozing out.

Breathing became difficult, I took little gasps-but really felt like my chest was being suppressed, no doubt the knife had hit there as well. I feel liquid right in the back of my throat and cough harshly-red liquid quickly and violently came out of my mouth, the taste was nothing short of  nauseating.

As I turn to my left, through the trees beginning to take full visual form-I see four flashlights dancing about, I hear footsteps nearing closer. I feel cold, not because of the outside-but I felt freezing from the inside.

The three furries who approached me were dressed in cop uniforms,  two were male German Shepherds and the other was a female snow leopard. They spoke to me, but I could barely make out what they were saying. I then felt a pair of paws grab me from the shoulders-he was closer to me, so I heard what he said-his tone urgent and melancholy.

“Tim…stay with us…talk to me if you can and tell me where you are….come on Tim…”

It was Leonard, and his presence at this seemingly random search and rescue team gave me hope.

The next thing I remember is the intense smell of medicine coming in and out of my nostrils and a plastic oxygen mask around my mouth.

I looked around in a sleepy and surprisingly calm state.

The room completely white, doctors and nurses running around-all different species of furries speaking to me I think, but again I couldn’t quite make out what they were saying.

I saw someone with a pair of scissors, I saw all sorts of instruments around me-my breathing became a bit rapid, I groaned slightly as now I was coming to and had no idea what was going on, I felt a paw gently take my hand and sound of a low ‘hush’, the smell of the medicine became stronger and I dozed off…

Entry 4

The sound of beeping filled my ears, darkness surrounded me and I had no idea if any of this was real-or if it was my mind shutting down, how with it are you right before death?

My eyes felt sort of sticky as I opened them, I look at my arm and see an IV-I look to my right and see a giant heart monitor, I looked to my right and saw Leonard standing and watching me intensely. The lab wore a tight grey t-shirt and dark blue skinny jeans with white sneakers.

He had an air of calmness, but with his ears perked I could tell he really was not calm on the inside.

I wore a hospital gown, so I really had no idea what sort of state my stomach was in. The black lab knelt by me, I reached to his toned arm and began patting it. Patting a dog actually did help me stay calm-he didn’t pull away as I thought he would.

“Tim…are you in pain?”

My throat was a bit sore, but I managed to speak.

“N-no Leonard…I’m…just…confused.”

Leo nodded understandingly.

“You had been missing for the entire evening, your mother called the police. You were…hurt, do you remember?”

I nod slowly.

“Buck was more than a bully…he was a psychopath. He knew he couldn’t get to you in school, so he followed your bus home on his way out of the school parking lot. Doctors said you…probably wouldn’t make it..I’m sorry I couldn’t be there that evening sooner.”

I shrug, still patting him.

“Leonard, you’ve been a-amazing. None of this is your fault, you were one of the detectives to find me…”

TWO WEEKS LATER

Yes, Leonard Keaton changed my life-I am so proud to be part of this town and to know someone as amazing as him-and his son of course.

I thought being in a furry town would be always happy and bubbly-and maybe get boring like a kids TV show-always happy WOULD be boring. Emotions keep life going in my mind.

I realized the exact opposite…and I was fine with it, as long as terror wasn’t to often present in my life again. Furries are part of who I am I guess.

 

Monday afternoon, I had insisted on seeing detective Keaton one last time.

Nightmares were getting unbearable, images of Buck with a knife and laughing-I wake up in a cold sweat still to this day about that wolf, I sometimes even skip school if memories get to awful.

I sat in Leonard’s home, with a beverage in front of me, I was in a wheelchair at the time due to the damage done to my back as well as my stomach. I still am in a wheelchair as I write this journal, probably won’t get out at this point.

He was dressed in the same outfit as when he visited me at the hospital, he had a glass of scotch in front of him, his home very clean.

It was strange to see him out of his element-kind of like seeing a teacher at a store-oh! You don’t live at the school?!

I look up at him.

“Leonard, um-thank you for letting us over. The main question I have for you is…what happened to Buck? D-did you see him after the attack?”

He nodded.

“Right after they loaded you onto the ambulance, I followed his scent, even though the cops told me not to. I didn’t care-this wolf would go after more humans, I knew he would. I know killers.

I caught up with him-quite nightmarish actually….”

He stopped-thinking I couldn’t handle it.

“Please Leonard, tell m-me….I need to know.”

He nods and takes a sip of his drink.

“He was covered in blood, I took my gun out and told him to get on his knees-he refused and charged at me…like his mind had snapped, I fired two shots into his face.

Tim-I don’t want you to be afraid of life after this. Realize that-you can still find happiness after a tragic event-yes, it will linger with you…I won’t lie. However, don’t let it consume you-like I did before I found Chris. Furries and humans will change your life for the better if you give your new life a chance.”

I smiled and nodded.

“Makes sense, um…do you have any new cases?”

Leo shrugged.

“Not at the moment, but this is about you-not me. You’re a good kid who really pulled through-I wish…everyone who’s been through a horrible experience like that came out as level headed as you have.”

I take a deep breath.

“I guess what I hate is…I know this sort of evil doesn’t just exist in horror movies. It bothers me that this sort of hate and violence happens.”

Leonard nodded and we didn’t speak for a bit after.

We were now ready to eat, my mother sat next to me, Chris sat next to his father and Leo, who sat at the head of the table (he insisted I did-but Chris wanted his dad there.)

The vegetables and meat sat on Leonard’s large table, a bottle of wine and a jug of milk sat there as well.

We all sat silently, until my mother spoke in a soft tone.

“Leonard? Do you want to say grace?”

The lab seemed a bit taken aback by this offer, he folded his hands slowly-silence filled the room, what would he say?

His tone went up a bit, not in an unhappy way-but in a sort of excited way.

“I got nothing!”

Mom and I chuckle-the food is then passed around.

END

Vulpes: Part 1 of 2 (Leonard #5)

PLOT: In this two part Leonard epic, the black lab detective is stalked by a vicious and methodical fox named Fenton and perhaps falls in love with an arctic fox….

Vulpes: Part 1 of 2 (Leonard #5)

Aaron B.

(co-written by Andrew St. George)

 

Chapter 1

John Hulbert rolled down the window a crack to the police cruiser and bobbed his head from the techno music coming from the radio. The husky wore a dark blue, short sleeved police uniform, minus the hat. He was on duty-but there wasn’t much to do but watch for speeders, he really wanted to go back to the office and have lunch, but he knew he had a job to do. This is what he signed up for, and being a cop was not all excitement-in fact most of it was not.

He wished Leonard could be by his side so he could at least talk to someone-or perhaps better yet, his favorite human in the world-Chris. Chris wasn’t cynical and laughed along with Hulbert’s bad puns and jokes. John offered Chris to do go for an off duty ride with him, but the human was too nervous. The husky thrived on socializing, and sitting in a car alone was not helping that, the music did help keep him alert.

The weather is chilly, it would most likely snow that evening. Winter was in the air, John was stopped at a busy street corner. Traffic seemed to hold up the other side of the road from which he was sitting. The blue eyed dog sighs of boredom, until out of the corner of his eye-a red ferrari breaks the speed limit drastically-not slowing down one bit as he passes the cruiser.

His ears perk up as he turns on the police sirens and zooms after the perp-he turns off the radio swiftly, sits up straight as his hearing and sight goes to an all time high.John slams the gas pedal, catching up to the car-the brown lab inside of the sports car only goes faster. Traffic swerves left and right, as John accidentally rams into a mailbox, papers and bills fly all around the cop car-he yelled “SORRY!” out the window as he was speeding a bit to fast himself, but he was right on the bumper of the crazy driver. John called for backup. The red car had no license plate, removed by someone who knew what they were doing. The front end of the police car hits the rear end of the brown lab’s car, he began sweating. This guy was good-the red car swerved left and right, riding over sidewalks, the husky followed right behind him. Suddenly, the chocolate lab pulls out a revolver, leans out the driver’s side window and fires a bullet into John’s windshield. “Hooooly shit!” John muttered to himself.

The inside of the lab’s car spotless and smelt of a freshly bought car. He wore a plainly colored sweatshirt and khakis, the large revolver sat in the passenger side.
He smiled a bit as he saw the damage done to the front window of the cruiser. The husky turned around and sighed of relief as about six other cop cars followed the pursuit. The street was quite large, they were now on a highway. All sirens blaring, the racer only went faster, John sighed of pure annoyance and fear-fear that he would kill some poor pedestrian.

John goes on his P.A. system, his voice bellowed through the streets of the zooming car, all traffic had subsided. “Alright! This is the police…OBVIOUSLY! Pull over your vehicle or we will not be afraid to use force! Repeat, PULL OVER!” The rest of the cops driving had never heard John be so assertive-it was sort of strange, but showed his dedication and heroism when it really was needed. The cop cars speed down a straight stretch of road, on either side are orange cones. Hulbert taps his foot lightly on the break, his eyes narrow and he growls lowly. He then slams the gas pedal, giving his car momentum. Once he is right beside the lab, he turns the wheel to the left-a revolver bullet hits him in the shoulder, the stinging of the bullet is indescribable as he makes his maneuver. The red car is then slammed into the orange cones, forcing the lab to use the emergency break-as the car begins to spin, but it is too late. John slams on the break to his car and nearly spins out of control to get himself out of the way of the wreck that is bound to happen. After a deafening screech and the sound of glass and metal crashing, the red car slams into a guardrail. The entire front of the Ferrari is smashed to bits. The perp opens the driver’s side door, bleeding from one of his floppy ears and holding his revolver and aiming it at Hulbert-just then a German Shepherd hops out of his cop car and  fires the gun out of the shooter’s hand and body slams him to the cement, cuffing him swiftly. All the cop cars slow down, the road still deserted-in the middle of the street, a bleeding John Hulbert and a screaming lab who is being whisked away to prison. John gets on his radio, he is out of breath and his shoulder hurts more and more. “The speeder is now arrested-stolen vehicle is busted beyond repair.” Cones to the left are broken, the guardrail is snapped in two. Clouds begin to cover the sun as white flurries fall. Another officer helps John to the office. The husky is stitched up at a nearby hospital, no permanent damage was done-but it would hurt for a good few weeks.

The officer walks down the halls of the station and sees what Leonard is up to, his arm in a sling and looking quite tired. Meanwhile, Leonard was emailing one of Chris’ teachers-he had had a quiet morning and an even quieter afternoon. The black lab wore a grey dress shirt, loose black tie, black jeans and brown boots and his brown leather jacket slung over his leather chair.The toned lab was actually quite impressed, so much so he gave Hulbert a bit of a smile, he stands up and places his paws on his hips. Of course he had heard of the major highway kerfuffle that happened, and knew that his best friend was at the center of it all. “Well John, remind me never to piss you off on the highway.” he spoke in his usual monotone.  The husky smiled back and approached Leonard’s desk, glancing at the framed photo of Leo and Chris. “I was a bit scared, I’ll admit it. I guess that’s one more reckless driver behind bars. Found out the lab’s name-Sam. He had only done petty crimes-he barely came up on our registrar. Strange that he would do something like this.” Leonard nods, thinking deeply. “Unless someone told him to for money or some other reason….” Just then, from down the hall-the voice of Sam echoed through the department. An officer holding him firmly and walks him to a prison cell. The hallway with the prison cells is a marble floor, with barred windows aligning the walls. Every voice echos-so Sam yelling was quite ear piercing. Everything in the hall is pretty much white. “FUCK YOU John Hulbert! You ruined EVERYTHING! GO TO HELL!” The cop orders him to ‘shut up’, Sam begins flailing a bit-Leonard rushes down the hall to assist. “GET OFF OF ME BLACK LAB!” Leo wastes no time-he grabs the lab by the ear, pinching its velvet, furry skin. His voice, as cold as ice, but soft. He brings his face quite close to Sam’s, to seem imposing. “Sam…shut up or you’ll be in a cell next to my office…and you don’t want that-trust me.” The brown lab head buts Leonard, sending him into a quick dizzy state, his nose bleeds a bit. “GO AWAY DETECTIVE! GO AWAY! GO!” Leo sighs as he grabs a paper towel from his shirt pocket and presses it against his nose. “Put him in the cell next to my office, tell the guards that he can’t have any meals until tomorrow.” The cop nods-being that Leo was indeed above him, he had to listen. Leonard enters his office, the bleeding had stopped already. John looks at him, normally he’d question why a detective was so firm, but that was Leonard for you. Calm, until you mess with him. John knew Leo had a stern and sort of angry streak about him.

 

Chapter 2

 

A heavy snow falls from the grey sky, the road is slippery. A row of unhappy drivers sit as an accident up ahead stalls the day for a lot of furries and humans alike. Stuck in this bad traffic, an orange 20-something year old fox taps his paw against the steering wheel. All the other vehicles, honk in anger-but he sits and waits the event out.

The fox is about 6’2, slender, not very muscular-but not out of shape at all, in fact he’s quite athletic, more muscular in his lower body than upper. He stares out the driver’s side window, looking at the heavy snow piling up. His car, spotless, his windows are not smudged at all, everything is in a certain place-even though he wanted a sleeker car, he was proud of the cleaning up he had done with the current vehicle he occupied. You’d never see him with a beverage or food in his car, as he looked towards some other drivers-he noticed indeed some of them eating at the wheel, and shivered in disgust. Why would you ruin your own vehicle? Why send crumbs flying everywhere? What if you dropped your food and discovered it years later when it became a little science experiment? He took a deep breath and kept focused on the traffic-which at this moment was finally moving. The fox was just entering Boston, he indeed had a goal. He stared at the accident that held them up, a crashed vehicle-no casualties.

Fenton’s cell phone rang, he swiftly picked it up-his tone smooth as honey. The furry on the other end sounded a bit panicked. “Fenton, we have a small issue. That Ferrari you wanted? Sam was arrested by an officer Hulbert. S-so sorry! Car was totaled! Gosh-maybe Boston wasn’t our best bet! Not only that, Sam ended up being a complete dud!” The fox gently shushed him. “It’s fine-I’ll come back to our hide out. Calm down. I’ll be back, sit tight.” “O-okay sir…bye.”

Fenton’s large, bushy, orange and white tipped tail shook in happiness-he’d finally not have to rely on one of his men to sort things out, he could do what he had wanted to for a long time-go on a hunt on his own. His Subaru pulled into the large car lot, he buttoned his black overcoat, wrapped his black scarf around his neck and went to his back seat, in the back seat a large leather case-perhaps as big as a toolbox. He smirks and hums gently as he opens it, revealing an array of about 50 hypodermic needles. Some large, some small, before reaching for them-he goes to his coat pocket and slips on some skin tight black leather gloves. All of the needles, labeled as to what effect they had on the victim. He slowly picks one up, cradling it as he taps the side, getting air bubbles out. With methodical precision he slips it into his jacket pocket-always the left side since he had trained his brain to reach with that hand and could quickly jab someone. He then takes the case with him and hops out of the Subaru. He walks briskly to the car dealership in front of him. He had all the necessary paperwork filled out in about an hour, the only thing left was to test drive a vehicle-it was the only way his plan would work. A white, happy polar bear dressed in a golf shirt and wearing slacks (he did not wear a jacket, being a polar bear-he relished in cold weather of course) was helping Fenton pick a car.

The peppy bear led Fenton outside-he was quite talkative, the fox nodded and said a few things to him to butter him up so the two would trust each other. The lot is filled with all types of cars, sports cars, hummers, trucks, motorcycles-you name it, they had it. Fenton’s attention was brought to an orange ferrari with black tinted windows. The doors and roof, slick and extremely stylish. The bear looked quite psyched as his eyes landed upon the sports’ car. “Ah! Yeah! This car is a beauty, brand new Ferrari F12berlinetta! OR, the F12 Berlinetta as some folks call it. Can go 60 miles per hour in 2.9 seconds and-” Fenton interrupts him with a wide smile. “Let’s take her for a spin then, bud!”The fox knew all about Ferraris’, he did not need a lesson in them.

Fenton hooks his iPhone up to the radio, which is where he got his music when the time felt right. The orange sports car pulls out of the parking lot with the bear in the passenger seat, the car is a two-seater, the interior light grey, the gauges and all the driving information, looked like it was taken right from a race car. The bear begins going over every little detail you’d ever want to know about a new car. The fox smiles a bit as he accelerates down the road and a bit far away from the dealership, the fuzzy polar bear gets a bit nervous-maybe he shouldn’t have driven with this fox and starts having second thoughts, he keeps his kind tone to a maximum. He had a sixth sense for bad furries-and he maybe was in a bit of a pickle now. “Whoa bud, slow down. Why don’t we…uh…turn around and you can buy her?” Fenton glances at him and flicks his directional on and turns off to an unoccupied road, no cars, no buildings-just a snowy paved road surrounded by leafless trees and a bitter, icy cold wind. He had been to Boston before, and had a photographic memory as to where empty and abandoned roads were. “Awe, live a little Fozzie bear!” The bear rubs the back of his neck-he looks around at his surroundings. “Mr. Fenton, I’m frankly a little nervous-we need to turn around, okay bud? Lunch break is soon.” As the bear looks out the window-he felt a stinging in his shoulder. The fox then pulls the passenger seat back. “Shhhhh…..relax and enjoy the ride. I got everything under control.”

After 30 seconds of rubbing where the needle had gone in-the bear’s body begins to tighten, he convulses quickly and loses feeling in his paws and legs. He hoped he’d wake up, he hoped that this all was in his mind and that he was actually sleeping. It was not though…it was a living nightmare. He gasps in terror-which is the only thing he can do before breathing becomes impossible only a few moments after. His throat had closed like he had choked on a bone and couldn’t cough it out, he clutches the sides of the seat-he looks towards the fox in wide eyed terror and begins to sweat profusely. A sharp sting took over his throat, like razer blades were piercing the inside of his trachea. The car continues to drive as Fenton holds the bear’s wrist with one hand and casually drives with the other, feeling his pulse rise dangerously. “Calm down, it’ll be over soon, Fozzie. Just relax and listen to some music…” He flicks the radio on and gentle piano music begins to flow from the brand new speakers. The bear who Fenton called ‘Fozzie’ convulsed a few times more, turning his head left to right, he lost his surroundings-he suffered for about 40 seconds of pain…blood began to pour out of his mouth and onto the passenger side window and a terrible gargle sound followed…then life ceased within Fozzie. Right as Fenton opens the driver’s side door, he feels the cold and harsh snow sting him. He drags the bear to the back of the car and plops his body into the trunk. He slams it and runs back to the car, turns on the heat and hums the classical tune on the radio as he speeds off.

 

Chapter 3

 

The evening had been nice to Leonard and his son, Chris. They were able to go out and explore the city a bit. Going out to eat, watching a singer at a pub, watching the sunset over the Charles river-it all was pleasant. Leonard could not shake the feeling of someone watching over his shoulder-but shrugged it off. Being a detective, he perhaps was a bit neurotic or slightly over protective due to the fact that Chris was there. However, even when Chris was in bed and the two were safe inside of a locked home, Leo thought maybe he shouldn’t have ignored his instincts.

The brand new orange Ferrari pulled up to quite a large warehouse. The fox still dressed in his all black outfit, he gingerly collects his needles and gets out of the car and enters. The warehouse is #13. He has a plan, he sent three pit bulls out of the warehouse to do some work, each tall, well built and not the kind to be messed with-dressed in gangster-type clothing…their mission would be executed that week.

Fenton enters his bedroom, located inside the warehouse. His bed a king size, his room extremely neat-as neat as he kept his vehicles. He strips his clothing off and looks at the walls in his room, adorned with magazines of Leonard Keaton. Leonard interviews, pictures from online, pictures he had taken of the lab-Fenton truly loved this detective, even though he had never met him…as the orange fox lies down, he grabs a photo of Leonard from his bedside table and strokes it-he whispers lovingly. “Oh Leonard….you hunk.”

That very same night, Leonard was on one of his evening walks. He wore a brown pullover sweatshirt, baggy blue jeans and white sneakers. It had been a while since he had taken one, he did not however smoke as he did a while ago. In fact, he had quit smoking-well, was close to it. Instead of doing the nasty habit, he chewed mint bubble gum. He had quit for a few months now, and felt better that he did. A gentle snow began to fall, the evening was a bit chilly, but really not awful.

To one side of the lab, a chain link fence, to the other side, various shops, stores, bars and a movie theater. Bright streetlights illuminated the cracked sidewalk the black lab walked on. A few cars zipped by him as he crossed to the other side to do some window shopping-without his car he wouldn’t pick up anything. He walked past the movie theater and looked into some of the small stores. This was time for walking and perhaps even self reflection if he had that sort of mental energy this late at night.

His ears perked as he heard a noise come from the bar across the way and the sound of walking, she mumbled nervously to herself. Leo spun around to see who it was, she is a pretty arctic fox, about mid 30’s-a few feet away from Leonard. She wore high heel boots, black jeans, a black tank top. The fox is about 6 feet, her body quite slender, her structure average-not muscular or overweight. Her ears pointed, the defining feature that stood out was her black nose in among all the almost bright, white fur. She obviously kept good care of her looks. She wore no makeup, she kept everything on her face natural. She continued to mumble to herself, she took a deep breath as she took one last glance at the bar-had something happened? Did someone in the bar say something? Was she hurt? To Leonard, she didn’t seem hurt to be honest-just extremely irritated as he made her way to the edge of the sidewalk. Leo walked towards her, not doing so on purpose, but he was heading home.

He had been out for about an hour and the snowfall was becoming a bit heavy, as the young lady did not stop once she crossed the sidewalk, to see a speeding vehicle heading right for her. Leonard saw the entire event almost in slow motion. The lab turned to the left to see a pair of headlights dangerously close by-not just a car, an eighteen wheeler truck to be exact, had she been a moment later or earlier stepping out of the bar, it wouldn’t had happened-but as it was, everything was dangerously aligned. Her bitter attitude and lack of paying attention, the truck driver probably had a long night as well-but as Leo took his walks, his senses were at an all time high. The city could be dangerous, he was never off duty as a protector of innocents one could say.

As the toned lab cocked his head at the sight of the blinding headlights and heard her heel click against the highway-he ran with all of his might, making sure to stay on the sidewalk and pulled her to his chest. The truck swerved, missing the fox by only a couple of inches and honked loudly and angrily as it sped off into the night. The fox yelped a bit, and once she realized she had ended up clutching the lab. She pushed herself off of him in a sort of panic-her heart had leaps a mile at the sound of the blaring truck horn and the sudden tug from a stranger. It was funny, right as Leo clutched her to pull her away from what would have been sudden death-she got a good look at him-she thought he was more handsome than the average canine. Not that dogs were an ugly species of course, but he didn’t have the ‘puppy’ look that some labs had, he had a more stern and much less playful look. Big difference between a ‘cute dog’ and a ‘handsome dog.’ He looked to be about 40, his eyes brown, his fur well combed and the smell of shampoo radiated from him, he wasn’t the kind of dog you’d run up and hug. He looked more like a loyal companion, and judging from the size of his toned arms, a good protector.
Her heart pounded, no doubt this event took a bit out of her.

With his voice full of concern, but a bit of nervousness he speaks.“What were you doing?!” The fox glared at the black lab, still looking at the his handsome physique. She sounded younger than him, maybe mid 30’s. Leo would admit she’s cute. “My gosh-truly was not paying attention! Glad someone was!” As he looked at her speaking-she suddenly got an overwhelming urge to speak to the lab. She spoke in a nervous stutter, it sounded like she had the weight of the world on her shoulders and she desperately needed to tell someone about it. Why was she trusting this guy? Because he just saved her? Maybe he had his own things to do? He seemed to stand and listen, he didn’t stop to continue walking. It was like he knew she wanted to get things off of her chest. “I mean, I’m in sort of a pissed off mood-my boss fired from the bar I worked at. I barely have enough income to support myself in my crappy apartment. So many thoughts are swirling through my head…”Leonard sighed a bit and gestured her to walk with him.

Back down the cracked sidewalk, the snow still fell a bit. Her walk confident, she didn’t seem cold. She was an arctic fox after all, probably the cold did not bother her. She spoke about her one floor apartment, how lonely she felt. Her job at the bar didn’t offer much but some money-she was not fulfilled with her life at all. Leo listened to every detail, and in these details he found a lot of his old self. Of course, he was one to live alone and go to a bar-but instead of serving people, fists flew in his face as he fought for human rights at rowdy tables full of drunk uneducated furries. Before the night was over, Leo gave her his card, she with his cellphone number-her name is Ashley. Would she call? He secretly hoped so….

 

A FEW DAYS LATER

 

Leonard was tossed a bullet proof vest by his Doberman boss right as he walked to his office-which he promptly put over his white dress shirt and black tie. A bomb threat had been detected at the local high school where Chris attended. When Chris was in trouble, it was probably the only circumstance where the lab felt true terror, he rushed outside of his office, he made sure his handgun was to his side, he was still adjusting the vest as he opened the front door. Outside of the office parking lot, a giant black van with its backdoor open wide sat. A few canines and a few panthers sit in rows, quietly discussing the course of action that would be taken by the squad-now complete with Leonard. The inside of the van was filled with computer monitors, wires and tool boxes. The van sped out onto the highway. The school luckily was not far away. A sort of stressful blanket was over everyone, you could feel it as soon as you entered, was this a terrorist? Was this a hoax? Thoughts swirled in everyone’s brains-would students die today? Who would see and hug their parents again?

The school parking lot, filled with parked cars of students and teachers. All staff and students stood where they were directed, on the other side of the street, away from the red brick building known as Anthro High. Students and teachers stood quietly as the FBI van sped into the school parking lot enterance, a red fire engine run by dalmatians was close behind, then an ambulance. All vehicles parked quite far away from the building,

Cats and canines poured out of the van, each of them wearing bulletproof vests, some wearing FBI jackets, some in sunglasses, some scared (but hiding it well), others stern, but not too nervous. A snow leopard dressed in black took the lead, he had a detector in his paw. Leonard insisted on going with him, which was ill advised-but he was a great fighter and good in stressful situations. The leopard introduced himself as Thomas. Thomas is quite tall, 6 feet to be exact. He wore all black, his fur white with pretty black specs strewn throughout is look. He seemed confident and quiet as he and Leonard entered the school building. The other FBI agents stood outside, giving orders to teachers and students and how to act if scenarios were to happen.

The empty school building echoed, Leonard’s brown dress shoes tapped against the marble floor. Thomas held the bomb detector out, which sort of looked like a remote control with flashing lights and was making a high pitched beeping sound, which accelerated as they got closer to the bomb. Leo placed his paw on his handgun, who knew if some madman was here, maybe getting ready to self destruct himself in a psychotic frenzy?

Lockers of all colors aligned the walls, the large cat began to sweat a bit. His heart rate went up, and Leonard felt his stress right away-as Leonard told a lot of humans ‘dogs can detect how you feel in an instant.’ All the lights in school had been shut off-presumably by the furry or human who placed the bomb, but since it was daylight, flashlights were not on. The beeping from the remote hit a crescendo as they passed the Staff / Faculty bathroom. Leonard went a head of Thomas, his handgun raises and his senses heightening more and more as he pushed the door open. The restroom was quite big, separated by stalls-the bomb nowhere in sight. Thomas swallowed hard as he opened the first stall-the bomb was definitely in there. He put the remote down and slowly grabbed a pair of thick gloves, the leopard knew where the bomb was instinctively. Even now Leonard was beginning to feel nervous, would this be his last case? Would he go up in a big fiery explosion in front of his son? He slowly lifted the back of the toilet up, revealing a black box with flashing lights and a control panel-the box certainly looked suspicious. From the middle of the box, a silver antenna stood erect.

From his back pocket, Thomas grabbed a pair of small wire clippers-the black lab backed up as he slowly bent down to snap it in half. Every sound seemed incredibly loud-Leonard stood motionless, nerves were poking through-but Leonard did not let them take over. Leo even jumped a bit when the ‘click’ of the wire cutter sliced part of the bomb’s makings. The antenna, now gone…the box clicks, the lights stop flashing…nothing. Leo’s partner sighs in relief, but was also a bit annoyed. “Bomb was a dud. Filled with the real makings of one…but not made to detonate. Someone pulled a stupid prank.” Leonard looked down at the toilet, and behind the seat…an envelope marked DEAR LEONARD sat on the tiled floor.

The day had been one of the most stressful days of Leonard’s life, luckily no one was hurt. Chris was nervous-but surprisingly did not speak of the event much once and his father were home. Chris did not easily sleep though, he was concerned that something else might happen and certainly did not like that a weird letter was addressed to his father.  The envelope that was found, was sent to the FBI for paw print testing-which as Leo suspected, came up negative. The black lab had kept the letter (not telling anyone he did so.) He sat in the middle of the night at the kitchen table, wearing a white t-shirt and green slacks. The only light on in the house is the small chandelier. The dining room table had been cleared off, Chris sat on the couch watching Youtube videos. Leonard re-read the letter-it was his second time reading it, he had read it and analyzed it at the FBI, but the handwriting came up with no match. He sighs deeply and reads it to himself…

 

Dear Detective Keaton,

I was curious on how I’d get your attention, and once I found out how to get to your son’s school-it really changed everything. You were actually in-directly involved in an operation, that red ferrari you stopped-was going to be mine, until your bastard of a husky friend stopped him. It’s okay-I have a new one now. See you soon.

Your friend,

‘The Fox’ 🙂

Had he known a fox in the past? Sure, he had come across some-but really Ashley was the only fox he had hung out with recently. Silly thought crossed his mind-could it BE her? Was it that silly? Was this Leo’s first prejudice thought? Leonard shrugged a bit, stood up and looked out the front door to his house. The black lab had called John Hulbert over to watch the house-just to be safe. The lab saw nothing but ‘threat’ in the note. Chris spoke. “Dad? Why is John outside?” Leonard sat next to his son on the couch, he had put away his ipad. His son felt comforted as heard his father’s British accent. “To keep us safe, nothing will happen-don’t worry. It’s just a precaution.”

Suddenly, the dog’s cell phone goes off, Ashley was calling him, Leo stood up swiftly. Chris listened in-his father knew his son listened to his phone conversations. Well, only if he was in the same room-of course Chris knew better than to eavesdrop. “Thank you, we’re fine. Well-I was a bit scared and Chris is asking questions. I know you want to meet him…tonight? Ashley-that is…kind of you. Yes, I’m sure he’d love it……” Chris smiled a tad bit-Leo told his son Ashley’s story in a matter of a few moments.

The arctic fox and Chris hit off amazingly well, she seemed like such a well mannered and spunky fox. She wore a red t-shirt, faded blue jeans and sneakers. Chris told her all about his life with Leonard, Ashley told him about the job she used to work-and that she also loved helping humans. She volunteered at a human shelter for a few years-and her and Leo were in the talks of maybe letting her house sit with Chris while he went out.

The night grew on as the two laughed and spoke happily. Ashley did also get a look at Leonard’s amazing arms and listening to his gruff voice made her quite happy. She began to open up a bit.

Once Chris was sleeping on the recliner, she would give little glances at the lab. Watching him move, thinking that he’s the most unique furry she’d ever met. Not bouncy, not huggable, not overly hyper at all-he was one of a kind. She couldn’t forgo these thoughts, she wanted to pat and scratch behind his ears to see him smile. The 30 year old was fascinated by Leonard Keaton. The lab sat next to her on the couch, feeling her feelings right off the bat. Was he okay with it? He hadn’t had a girlfriend in forever…and he knew she felt all giddy. Truth be told, he had no idea what she saw in him. This gruff and boring furry-she could do so much better. He thought she really needed a typical furry, a kangaroo maybe or a rabbit or a ‘normal’ Labrador, one who talked fast and would play wrestle and be happy in every second of everyday.

Maybe that wasn’t true though. She had been around furries at the bar-and presumably they were huggable and talkative, maybe she was bored of that? The important question to him as far as Ashley went though-did he feel the same way? Did he ‘like her’ to the point of her being girlfriend status? He wouldn’t lie to himself-she WAS pretty and her personality very open. Rarely did Leonard meet someone who he felt could actually sit and listen,  John Hulbert being the exception. He had his amazing son, but maybe he was ready for more? The teen often asked for a mother, so maybe Leonard could offer him a ‘mother-like figure.’ Someone with the traits of a hugging, caring and honest mom-but not actually being married. Leonard loved how she didn’t feel the need to hug him and talk loudly.  He felt she was proper around him and just the right amount of friendly and helpful. It seemed in the moments of talking to Chris, she kept things more ‘bubbly’ and light-which is what Chris liked the most.

Leonard and Ashley didn’t really exchange their feelings by talking about them directly, it was by talking about the past and ideas of the future where the two seemed to shine the most. The unexpected happened to Leonard that night-Ashley planted a gentle, but sort of long kiss on his lips. Normally, Leonard would have stormed out and gone for an evening walk at the sign of a female showing this sort of interest…but instead of being repulsed and agitated-he felt it was meant to be.

 

 

Chapter 4

 

John Hulbert was startled by a sound outside of running shoes and scent of a fox, he had been listening to a talk radio show. The black and white husky quickly got on his phone to call Leonard. The now sleepy toned lab answered his phone. “Leonard…heard a noise! Smell a fox around here….be on guard!” The cop slowly exits his vehicle, the night sky calm. The houses in the neighborhood all have their lights off except Leonard’s. John upholsters his gun-the scent of the fox seems to be coming from the left. He slowly walks down the sidewalk, Leonard’s house only a few feet from him now.

This friendly neighborhood had quite an eerie side to it now. John then called his radio, which sat on one shoulder. “This is John Hulbert requesting back up-perhaps armed suspect is in the area.” Leonard quickly wakes up the arctic fox and Chris. “Guys, wake up, we’re in trouble.” The teenager felt his heart skip a beat, Ashley swiftly stood-foxes were extremely fast, her bushy tail sways as she walks around, collecting her leather jacket. Her tone frantic, but soft so she doesn’t freak Chris out too much, even though he already was scared. “What is it?” Leonard sighs and grabs his gun and throws on a bulletproof vest. “Will explain later-get Chris out of the house, through the back door and hide in the woods. I promise I’ll be back, go!” The teen held Ashley’s hand tightly.“D-dad? Please come with us…”a giant lump formed in his throat. Leonard spoke firmly, but calmly. “Christopher, I can’t. Stay with Ashley.” Poor Chris had not the faintest idea what was going on-but always trusted his dad.

A gunshot went off, John Hulbert was ducked behind his vehicle, praying that backup would come soon. Fenton stood on the other side of the cop car on the sidewalk, a shotgun in hand. He wore all black-including his black trenchcoat and scarf. A cigarette hung out of his mouth like some 1950’s gangster. His voice deep and cold, the cigarette slung out one side of his mouth as he spoke. He fires off another round of scattering bullets, John’s car was getting filled of holes. He walks closer to the vehicle. “John, please get out of my way. Leonard is my idol-my favorite detective. I’ve always wanted to meet him. Nothing to do with you, okay?” John stands up from behind his car and fires two bullets into the fox as he walks forward, he wears a bulletproof vest under the trench coat-so he merely stumbles a bit…but continues his slow and horror movie like walk.

The husky ducks down and cusses to himself. Suddenly, the orange fox is brutally tackled from behind, Leonard pins the fox down to the cold cement and with lightening speed picks up Fenton’s shotgun and aims it to his head. The action unfolding in the middle of the neighborhood causes stress-this little area was being shaken. Snow begins to fall, Leo shivers as he does not have his jacket on. The fox chuckles a bit as blood oozes from his nose. “Detective, you tackle hard! Nice to meet you, I’m Fenton!” Leo grabs a pair of handcuffs from his back pocket and hooks them onto his wrists-then picks the shotgun up again, pressing it against the back of Fenton’s head.

John Hulbert is filled with relief as sirens approach-Chris and Ashley are found by a doberman cop and whisked into a cop car. John Hulbert sits with the two, comforting Chris and Ashley. The fox begins silently counting down to himself…Leo leans in to hear what he’s saying. “5….4….3….2….1”

The black lab is knocked backwards-not by the shoving of a crazy fox, but by the fire from an deafening explosion, filled with large pieces of wood and glass. Leonard’s home-was up in flames. The lab shook his head-he just could not believe it. His heart sank to the bottom of his stomach. He stared into the bright, yellow and orange fire-the smell of burning wood fills the neighborhood. Sadly, two cops who were too close to the house-had died.

Christopher stares out the window of the cop car, pale and shaking. The explosion Leonard had anticipated had indeed happened, but not when and where he thought it would at the school. HOW did the fox rig an explosion? When did he sneak into the house to set it all up? Ashley hugged Chris tightly, but was in as much shock as the human was. No cop who stood there could truly wrap their brains around this, a fellow officer’s home-destroyed in the matter of seconds. Had all this not happened in the moments it did, Chris, Leonard and Ashley would surely be dead-engulfed in flames and blood. Even cops who didn’t really like humans, felt a burden as they knew the teen had seen his home explode. Leonard felt searing anger-the black lab looks down at the fox, who is laughing maniacally-but surprisingly not making a run for it.

Leonard cocks the shotgun, hearing this sound-John Hulbert rushes over to the two, the fox face down in the sidewalk, Leonard kneeling on top of him about to put a shotgun shell into his brain. The husky yanks the black lab off of the fox, the two now stand-face to face. “LEONARD NO!” It was one of the only times (if not the first time) Leonard heard John yell. The fox remains on the cement, cop cars surround the husky and black lab. Leonard slowly looks at the shotgun,  breathes in deeply and unloads it safely and hands it to the cop. “Good Leo….you did the right thing.”

The flames from the explosion illuminated the night, the cop cars now gone and Fenton now in prison-the fire department got there, but could save nothing of the house. Leonard’s home was nothing more than shards. The toned black lab, covered in dirt and looking exhausted-stood in the middle of the road, watching the fire department putting out the fire with large hoses-Leo spoke not a word at a dalmatian in a yellow firefighter’s outfit tried to get a story. Leonard was brought down to the police station….

 

AN HOUR LATER    

 

Chris, Ashley and Leonard sat in an empty waiting room in the police station-waiting for an officer to approach and ask questions. Ashley was currently not in the area, but had run to the bathroom-leaving Leonard and Chris sitting alone. The walls white, rows of seats covered the room, with books and children’s games strewn across the floor from a few hours before. Leo sat, tense, his hands folded, looking at his feet. Chris thought it best not to speak, but was boiling with questions and fear. A large desk sat in front of them where a receptionist normally would be, Leo had been here every morning. This is how he went to his office, this was the entrance to the police station. Chris looked to his father-both tense and filled with depression.Suddenly- something happened. Leonard cried ever so slightly.

The protector that Chris looked up to-Chris’ father and mentor…the dog who saved his life and seemed well-larger than life, was having a moment of perhaps sad reflection, or weakness. Leo saw it as a moment of weakness. The human slowly stood up and sat on his dad’s lap, Chris’ tone filled with concern that his father had never heard before. “D-dad…it’s okay…” He hugs his dad tightly, Leo cries a little bit harder-but with barely a sound….

END OF PART 1

 

Fenton The Fox Artwork by: Abrianna Atchison

An End for Leonard

People seem to LOVE the Leonard series, and I truly enjoy writing them. However, there is an end in sight. Not for a while, but as I write the fifth episode, I see that if I were to continue for too long-all the stories would repeat themselves and plot lines would become way to similar and characters wouldn’t grow enough. Plus, I have some big changes coming up.

I’m telling you this because I feel like fans should know that Leo won’t last forever in writing form, and I don’t want you guys to be upset when I decide to finish the series.

HOWEVER-I will be releasing all the stories in one .PDF and eBook format-I plan on doing two volumes (each lasting about 10 or 12 episodes-depending on how much juice I have left.) I want to do the “Breaking Bad” format-write each episode as best as I can and not let the series over stay its welcome. Thanks so much and the fifth story is currently being worked on!

 

 

Paw and Order (Short Film)

This is the result of about a week and a half of filming and a week more of editing. This movie I feel not only represents my fursona, Leonard-but I also hope this is a good nod to the furry fandom.

The furry fandom is filled with art and music-but not many movies. I think anthro animals in our world would make a GREAT first step to make a cool movie, and I know there’s a lot more that you could do with it.

Obviously, this movie takes the path of a crime thriller-but you could also make a comedy or drama or action…anything really. I of course want to thank my parents and brother for helping me with this movie. This movie also features: Eric the Red-playing an awesome drug dealer, Katherine Martin as Emily..a human who gets abducted, which this was her first time acting in front of camera, which I don’t believe. She was awesome. My grandmother, star of my other horror movie “Coven Nextdoor” played Washburn-Leonard’s boss and is always fun to work with. I hope all furries enjoy this movie, this one is to the furry fandom. 🙂