Category Archives: Detective Keaton Files

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  

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

Deep Web (Leonard #4)

PLOT: The stern detective is introduced to the sadistic side of the Internet know as ‘the dark web’ after he comes across gruesome snuff films. Now, he must go on a trek to find who made these despicable videos-along the way he meets a calm and collected Jack Russel Terrier named Leroy and discovers what it means to be truly disturbed by a a case.

Leonard 4: Deep Web

Aaron B.

Chapter 1

The new car started beautifully as he pulled out of the garage. He decided to take a longer route home just to sort of relish in his new vehicle. The top came down slowly, the weather sunny and breezy, but summer had pretty much come to an end as the leaves were already starting to change and the chilly weather kicked up a tad bit. He poked his head out the window slightly as the brand new, grey convertible accelerated. The Charles River right along side him, a few furries and humans glanced at the shiny car and the sort of handsome looking black Labrador driving it. Apart from the red flannel shirt and faded jeans he wore-he also adorned a new, grey vest made of denim-which was something he had wanted to buy for a while. Upbeat jazz music by Dizzy Gillespie played from the radio-for once Leonard Keaton felt content. Not tense, not thinking about some other case-he felt ‘peachy.’ He took a few sips from his iced coffee and rested his elbow out the side of the window. He turned and he saw a sign, held by a group of furries and humans that read: Honk for Gay rights, without hesitation-he did so. Rarely did he do that sort of thing-but when else would he feel this at ease? He wanted to sort of take advantage of it, sure he didn’t crack a smile-but his body wasn’t ready to fight, a half hour before, he had hopped into a hot tub-which was also something he had wanted to do for a while.

As he pulled up to his home, Chris was a bit baffled to see his dad had bought new wheels. From a station wagon, to a convertible, of course, Chris wanted to take a quick ride in it-so the two of them did so. They both spoke a little bit of school, and Chris’ new aide-the bouncy and talkative kangaroo named Logan…who was actually the perfect fit.
Now, Chris didn’t have to worry about bullies or getting lost in the school, him having a one-to-one aide was awesome. Plus, Leonard could call him and give him a rundown of Chris’ day when he wasn’t talking much or when he was irritated.
Logan was more like the human’s best friend; he didn’t act like most teachers, or even dress that professionally. Logan was upbeat, took Chris out shopping to teach him about math and even drove him home a few times-which the school could not know about. Leonard felt extremely fine with letting the kangaroo take his son anywhere or to drive him home. Leonard and Chris ended up going out to the mall and out to eat-no drama had happened until the evening.

John Hulbert had clicked the link his boss sent him. The time was 8:00PM, John wore only pajamas. His badge and gun put away, the black and white husky scanned the site.
The background white, links were to one side of the page Really disturbing names like ‘furry / human torture’ and ‘human kidnapping live!’ Videos were located all over the page; he really didn’t want to click on anything here. He was hoping this link would be for illegal movies or something small, but no-this was a side of the Internet John had only heard of. As an officer, he had to look into this-if people are being hurt, then that’s not allowed. He knew Leonard would agree-and he truly looked up to his friend. He sighs deeply and click the top viewed video. The content is not only violent, but sadistic.
A poor human, screams for his life in a video that is sort of pixilated and the audio slightly muffled and three furries chuckle around him and perform horrendous acts, the video was about two minutes….two agonizing and terrifying minutes. The video is over…Hulbert’s stomach turns and before he knew it, he ran to the bathroom to vomit. He stays knelt by the toilet bowl for a while; the video seemed to replay in his head a few times. He felt lightheaded; he begins to take deep breaths. “I’ll be okay…I’ll be okay…” he repeats to himself. He stands up slowly and washes his mouth out with mouthwash, sends Leonard the link to the site and lies down-hoping to forget about the video. He shudders in terror a tad bit and can not sleep….

Chapter 2

The Next Day

He looked at the site for the first time; he only watched part of the videos as he did not want to poison his brain with too many bad images.
After skimming through about three videos, he understood what this was-and it needed to be stopped. A good portion of the individuals being hurt were missing person’s cases-Leonard really couldn’t believe what he saw.
He knew this side of the Internet existed-a sick and depraved side, but actually seeing it and knowing that more videos would come, made the lab wince a bit. Once the dog heard his son sneaking up behind him, he closed the browser. Chris lightly hugged his dad from behind. “You okay d-dad?” Chris asked in a very innocent tone, knowing that sometimes his father got stressed over things at work piling up. The lab glances at him and pats his son’s back gently. “Yes, I am content, ready for school?”
Leonard put on a white dress shirt, black tie, jeans and brown boots to complete his outfit. While at work, Leo tried tracing the website URL, but with no luck, who ever was behind this, knew what they were doing when it came to computers. The site not only had horrendous video clips, it also had do it yourself instructions on how to make Chloroform, gas, darts, silencers for guns, holsters and next to the ‘video link’, photo albums of every sick and twisted ideas a furry or human could ever come up with, which Leonard could barely stomach the thumbnails, let alone an enlarged photo. The dog rubbed his eyes slowly and closed out of the browser-he decided to get out and get some lunch, his office, but not before stretching and clearing his head.

Leonard decided to take the extra walk and go to Faneuil Hall Marketplace. He wasn’t too interested in the jugglers, but he did enjoy the singers sometimes. He also did like to ‘furry and people watch.’ He loved seeing how others react to the various clothing stores and prices. He decided to go the extremely crowed eating area and get a salad and listen to quite a nice singer, he needed something laid back like this.
The sun bet down on him, crowds of people spoke and laughed, aligned on the sidewalks of the market place, a comic book store, peculiar named restaurants and bars and some venders. Suddenly, his phone went off, John Hulbert’s face showed up on Leo’s iphone.
Leonard quickly answered as he tossed out his salad once he was finished and walked back to the office. The furry spoke, a lump was surly forming in his throat. “Hey dude, c-can I talk to you privately?” Whether it was true or not, Leonard felt he needed to protect John a bit. John was his partner, younger, more naïve to the world, and certainly a lot more bubbly in personality obviously. John felt like a little cousin sometimes, Leo deep down knew that because he was a police officer-he may get shot or hurt or ridiculed.
That feeling of being a protector just sort of ‘happened’ when the black lab was around the husky. It couldn’t be helped, he knew it-so he went with the feeling and because of this-went to John anytime he needed to vent or let off steam after work.
Hulbert also made Leonard feel good, something about his optimism and bad, but well meaning jokes made Leo sort of have more hope for others. Knowing that this sort of kindness existed, with these thoughts Leonard entered Hulbert’s office and went to John’s side

Hulbert’s office is bland, apart from some photos of family members on his desk and a ‘Support Human and Furry Rights‘ mini-poster on his wall. Hulbert looked at his feet, his paws folded, his pointy ears slightly drooped. Leonard waited for him to speak, he knew he’d have to offer some piece of advice, sort of have the mind of a psychologist. One of Leo’s many talents ever since adopting Chris and having to extend a helping hand more so than he had even as a detective.

John looked at Leonard, sounding as distressed as he did over the phone. “Leo, I-I’m going to be honest with you. I can’t work on this case…” The black lab felt a ping of surprise-John the loyal husky cop everyone could trust…not being able to finish a case had never slipped from his mouth before. “It’s that damn site Leonard…seeing those videos. H-hearing the poor furries and humans scream-I got NO sleep last night. All I heard was the muffled screams and the clips repeating….i-it’s killing me inside.” Just saying these words, made Hulbert sniffle and get a bit teary eyed. Leo placed a paw on his shoulder, and John knew exactly what sort of answer he’d get.

When you came to Leonard for advice, you of course didn’t get the hugs or the sweet nothings or the patting like with 80% of furries. You would get a somewhat empathetic, calm, collected and realistic answer. You’d get options, you’d get a choice, you’d perhaps get a free lunch or drink or a ride home, but nothing to the extent of that the majority of the time. To John, Leonard was a guide-perhaps not a good choice being that Leo also had a lot of weight on his shoulders. Leonard now had his arm around the husky, in a sort of ‘man-to-man’ talk way. “John, if you really feel the need to take a break, do so. I also have to be honest with you though, you’re going to come across sickos like this. It’s our job to stop them or in the very least, slow them down. If that’s something you can’t handle, then….I would highly recommend a job change. You don’t want to go through life depressed-I’ve been there. I understand how you’re having trouble. I won’t fault you for taking a leave of absence….” The husky still felt ashamed, the feelings John had towards the videos only prompted Leonard to want to look further into it, really look closely at details and see if anything comes up. It wouldn’t be easy, he’d have to mute the sound since the sounds of pain were even a bit too much for Keaton to handle.

That Night

As soon as Chris fell asleep, he realized he had forgotten his jacket in the back seat of the patrol car. As he opened the front door, he removes the small pistol from his coat pocket and placed it in the glove compartment where it should be. Was Leo getting that forgetful due to his case? Seemed unlikely, but very true.

He would only watch the videos late in the evening, if someone should see him looking at horrible videos, a person may get the wrong idea-or worse, his son would see it and be traumatized. One thing the lab noticed about these videos is that the setting was always the same, a creepy large barn, the walls seemed to be grey colored, but it was hard to tell because of the film quality. The camera man, was sometimes shaky, sometimes steady. All the victims were put on a metal slab, strapped down with leather belts.
Of course, the furries causing harm to these humans were well hidden, there voices disguised-all appeared to be male however. All Leo knew now was that the videos were filmed in some barn and that the killers were male-doesn’t seem like much, but he didn’t give up.

The time is eleven thirty, Leo had been scanning through the torture videos for about an hour, and frankly-was getting a bit ill.
There’s only so much of that shit he could watch before he’d begin having nightmares and worry about his son and so on and so on.
The lab stood up and went to the bathroom, leaving the website opened. He came back to the site-with a shocking realization, a new video had just been uploaded! He began to sweat a tad bit, new video meant new evidence of course. He immediately clicked on it, the duration of the video four minuets. This video did not open inside the same creepy barn, but outside on a dirt road. Whoever had uploaded this, perhaps wanted to give his sick viewers a bit of a prologue to the violence that would sadly happen.
The camera man shaky, the sky pitch dark, on top of the camera, a flashlight to light the scene. Nothing but trees surrounded the road, the cameraman said nothing…just a bit of heavy breathing. It almost felt like a first-person horror video game.

Leonard sat silently, the creaking of his house and the sound of the air conditioner hum, seemed to go away.
He didn’t blink, he listened for every detail, leaning in further to the screen. The camera pans up-and for a brief moment, Leonard gasped. The camera had gone high enough, and for a split second, a street sign could be seen. As the camera made this jerky motion, the one filming cussed. Leonard re-wound the video, then paused it as the sign showed.
Presumably, the camera man tripped on his own feet-Leo did recognize the sign alright. It was a bit of a drive, but he could do it. He knew he had seen the dirt road before, just about a month ago. He wrote down the sign, then continued the video. A bit more walking was shown, same dirt road-it killed Leo that the barn was THIS close by. The scene cuts and Leo was treated to yet another violent scene-the lab unhappily watched the rest of the bloody mess.

Leonard laid in his king sized bed, still fully dressed, even his boots were on.
His front paws behind his head, all the lights off.
The sounds of crickets could be heard, the dog tired to sleep, being at the computer and focusing so hard had made him tired. He wanted to go to the damn barn though-he needed to see what was in there.

What if someone was being tortured right now and he could stop it? Unlikely since a video was just posted-but Leonard couldn’t get it out of his head that it would be stupid to wait until morning. The black lab looks at the alarm clock beside him, 5 in the morning.
He cussed out loud then leaped out of bed to make himself some coffee.
His mind races hyperactivity as he briskly walked to the dimly lit kitchen. He splashes some cold water on his face, straightened out his tie a bit and sipped the sugar filled substance as he dialed John Hulbert’s number-he was the only one he could count on.

The husky had been asleep as to be expected, his cellular phone went off, he rubs his eyes-his tone not annoyed, but tired. “John here…” The lab sounded perky, but dead serious at the same time. “John, I need you to come watch Chris.” The husky stood up quickly. “Is everything okay?” Leonard tucks his shirt in and grabs his badge, hooking it on the left-front belt loop of his blue jeans as he speaks. “Yeah, but I have location. I want to go to the barn now, where the videos were shot. End this shit load of fuck now.”
John sighed a bit, he threw on light blue sweatpants and a grey t-shirt “Leonard…you’re going out, in the middle pitch dark night-to catch a killer. You’re crazy!” Leo smirks, knowing how to annoy John a bit. John had really hoped for him to say ‘yeah, you’re right. sorry.’ Leo instead spoke with a bit of sarcasm in his voice. “Like a fox..get your tail here.”

During all the commotion, Chris had woken up. The human came out of his room, shocked to see all the lights on in the living room and his father getting ready to go out. “D-dad? Everything okay?” The lab nods, making sure to let his son see that he’s not too anxious as he puts on a fresh pair of socks and slides his feet into his brown cowboy boots. “Yes, but I’m going out. John is coming over to watch you-you can either go back to bed or stay up with him…” Chris cocks his head in confusion, what was going on? The young man sits on the couch, eagerly waiting to see Hulbert. “You going to c-catch a bad guy?” The black lab looks at his son. “Yup.” Chris now became interested. “Don’t get hurt.” The dog scoffs. “Don’t be daft, I’ll be back in a few hours.”

Chapter 3

John Hulbert sat with Chris, Chris was fast asleep, his head rested on the husky’s shoulder. The teen felt content, but he always preferred his own dad sitting next to him.
Not just because they loved each other of course, but because Leonard was more experienced in fighting, he had a certain commanding and protective presence John did not have-John was a cop, and if something bad happened, the human knew Hulbert would be right there, Chris was like a little brother to him-but still Leo’s son would really get good shut eye when he knew his dad would be back home. John watched TV, yawning a few times, resting his eyes a bit, then re-awakening. The sun now was coming up, looks like he’d have Chris for the morning.

The clock on the dashboard read six-thirty in the morning. Leonard had a certain perkiness about him now that the coffee kicked in, the chill had called for him to get his trademark brown leather jacket on-he drove his patrol car for about an hour. The sun was blinding as it popped from the clouds, Leo through on some shades. Not many furries or humans were on the roads at this time, maybe a few school buses making there way to gas stations to fill up for this Tuesday morning. Leonard’s focus however, was on this road sign he had seen before. He knew where to go, he had been on this abandoned road before-so now it was a matter of finding the barn, which presumably would be close by. Dammit, it was so close.

He takes a deep breath as he reached the dirt road, his heart pounded a tad bit. Memories of the videos came flooding back-he knew it would be hard to actually be in the location where they were shot. The ride is bumpy, gravel is squished beneath the car tires. The trees seem large and ominous, even in daylight. He takes his shades off, the trees covered the sun now. It was impossible for Leo to enjoy the nature, since such despicable things happened not far from here. The sky is grey, dew is still present on the little grass there was here. The lab knew what he was doing was right, he sits silently, just driving straight ahead. He remembered where he had seen this dirt road-when Chris was first adopted, Leonard took him here on a nature walk. He hoped this place would only bring happy thoughts, not thoughts of bloody snuff films-but here he was, here he drove.

The sign was to the left, broken a bit, rusty, the lab stared at it. The barn, where was it? Would he have to take some sort of detour? It wasn’t obvious, frustration hit him like a hammer. He thought and hoped the barn would be close by, but it wasn’t. Well, he couldn’t take the cruiser through the godforsaken woods, if he walked, who knows where he’d end up? He got so caught up with the sign-he stupidly thought it would be the magical cute. Everything would pop out at him. He TRULY didn’t want to turn back. He turned off his car, sat and thought. Not even his GPS knew where he was. Suddenly, something rustled in the woods, Leo’s ears perk and he cocks his gun….

Chris smiled at John as he left for school, the husky felt proud-he had never had a kid, but was able to get Chris up, have breakfast and help him zipper his coat before the bus arrived. The husky sent Leonard a text: Hey Leo! Chris is at school, will stay until you get back-hope all is okay. John decided to go to his car, grab some paper work, sit on the couch and begin writing up various projects he had to do for his office. He turned on music, Billy Joel to be exact and get himself focused…

He raised his gun slowly, using it more as a warning than anything else. A slight breeze was in the air, the wooded area smelt of pine. He stands in the middle of the deserted dirt road, trees are on both sides of the lab. Most of them tall and leafy. Birds tweet a tad bit, the area feels dry, desert like. Leonard stared at the rather large bush, he sniffed a tad bit, someone was definitely among the shrub. Leo’s favorite part about being a lab was his sense of smell, no doubt about it.

The furry slowly came out of hiding, Leo aimed the gun not so much at him-but in his direction. He is a Jack Russell Terrier, about as tall as Leonard-but not as muscular.
He was good looking, the first vibe he sent off was ‘cool dude’, maybe a bit conceded. His build not muscular, but not too bad at all, certainly not overweight. It was good that he naturally looked more handsome than the average furry-because this fellow looked a bit shabby as far as clothes though, he wore a grey tank top with an unzipped, dark green military-style jacket, faded ripped blue jeans and large sneakers. As far as his face, he looked like the classic Terrior. A white stripe went down the middle of his scruffy face, brown aligned the edge of his eyes and face, his ears small, and flopped a tad bit.
His fur stuck out a bit-not smooth, but sort of like ‘bedhead’ or spiky.

He looked at the detective as he stood up from kneeling behind the plant, he didn’t seem scared-but his paws were in the air as if Leo asked him to ‘freeze’.
The terrier spoke in a calm, smooth, Boston or New York style accent.
He appeared to be maybe 30 years of age, his movements calm and collected.
“Did I do something wrong, man? Not quite in my comfort zone to have a loaded gun pointed at me.” The lab quickly lowered his weapon. He secretly kept the safety off should an attack happen. He looks at the dog in the eye, telling exactly what kind of personality he had. Killer? Not likely, but looks and voice can be deceiving. No bad vibes hit Leo though, he usually could read others well-he had that ‘sixth sense’ about others.
Leo flashes his ID to the pooch. “Who are you?” The dog lowered his paws and reached into his jacket pocket and fetched a cigarette, he lit it with precision and quickness, his lighter flicked smoothly and he brings the lung killer up to his mouth.
“Name is Leroy-what seems to be the problem officer?” Leonard didn’t crack a smile at his little cliche quip, instead he folded his arms, Leroy seemed to be far from the kind of psycho that would tie up humans and film them bleeding out and seemed more like James Dean-and pulled it off perfectly in fact. “I am looking for a barn-I assume grey colored.”
Leroy took a puff and sadly sighed, right as he mentioned it-he knew why the detective was around. “Oh man…you don’t wanna go there. I have seen a barn, but not gone anywhere near it. I hear screaming sometimes too…fucked up dudes in there. Couldn’t report it cause I don’t own a phone.” What are the chances he would know so much?
Leonard kept his slight excitement of new evidence very well hidden. He prayed his tail wasn’t wagging. New evidence did that. “How far is the barn from here?” Leroy did not hesitate to answer-he obviously knew his way around here. “An hour and half, go down this wrecked road a ways, then make a turn to the left at the fork. It’s in the middle of a field.” The black lab nodded and looked at the complexion of Leroy, he seemed a bit dirty and a tad bit too thin after looking at him for a bit.
He cleared his throat. “One more question-when was the last time you ate?”
Leonard wasn’t at all surprised he had the nerve to ask-Leo was someone with a tough exterior, but really-would want to be the first to know if you were in any sort of pain and would address it. He looked the detective straight in the eye. “Calling me fat? Nah! Just kidding…erm…two days ago.” Leonard nods slowly. “Come here…” He does so and opens the passenger door of the cruiser. Leroy is sort of baffled. He hadn’t been in a car in a long while, it felt amazing to sit in a comfortable chair again. Leonard starts the car and he hands Leroy a bottled water from the back seat and some crackers. He did often keep snacks like Wheat Thins or Ritz Crackers in his vehicle for stake outs and it was better than nothing if he didn’t have time for breakfast. Actually, Leonard kept his car quite clean, snacks were the only sort of mess you may find. “Uhh…wow…thanks man.” The lab nods as the car moves forward.

Heat began to rise, the temperature was about 90 degrees outside, but the car kept the two cool enough. Leroy removes his jacket and props his feet up on the dash bored, which Leo this time didn’t mind-he only stopped someone from doing that if he was in a really bad mood. Leroy and Leonard made quite a bit of small talk while on the long drive, he spoke of his son for the most part.

Leroy Emmerson was born and raised in New York city, his family extremely kind, but not well off-poor in fact. His two parents died of illness and the Jack Russell Terrior was sort of left to fend for himself at a young age, he had made money by playing pianos and singing at bars. He traveled quite a bit and met a lot of nasty furries, who tried to get him hooked on drugs such as heroin and cocaine. He admitted to Leonard that he had indeed done these drugs once, but that was it. Sure, he smoked a bit here and there-but actually was quite adamant about telling street kids to stay off that kind of thing and instead get them into hobbies of interest. What was amazing to Leonard was that Leroy was generally good spirited, he didn’t seem down and out due to the fact he was practically homeless and only did odd jobs once in a blue moon. Leroy admitted that he used to be uptight and negative while on the street, being generally rude, but he learned quickly that being rude meant no one would give him a chance or let him stay at a cheap place for a night. So, he worked hard and Leonard would consider this pup to be laid back, a bit of a rebel maybe-but really, not a bad guy. He even risked his life once while joining a group of furries who fought for human rights. Leroy’s interest in humans was mild at best, but he believed everyone deserved equal rights-so he fought for them.
Now, in his long life and many travels, he was thrust into a detective’s cruiser and hunting for a serial killer. Something he thought would never happen…

Once Leo pulled the car over next to the giant field, the two of them look at the ominous grey barn. It stood a few blocks away from the car, in the middle of a grassy field, so grassy in fact that weeds about a foot high adorned it.
Flowers of all different types were scattered about as well, the sun beaming hotter onto the car now. The black lab hops out of the vehicle. “I’ll be back.” The Terrier looks at Leo, leaning out the passenger side window. “Ugh-man. Don’t get killed, want me to come with you?” He shook his head, pulled his gun out and headed for the creepiest looking cowshed ever.

The toned detective was sweating bullets, even with his tie undone and his dress shirt rolled up past his elbows. Flies buzzed about the dead ground and attempted to nip him. The sun got brighter, Leo threw on his pair of dark shades and walked ever so slowly forward, his ears perked and sensitive to even the slightest movement from a mile off. Another good reason he was a lab-dogs hearing can actually go to 1.5 miles in a rural area like this. Should anyone be hiding in this massive space, he could easily pinpoint it and head for it-fearless as always. Leo really just wanted to leave, the heat was getting to him, the nervousness of having to go into a serial killer’s den, he wished desperately he was home with Chris reading or napping by him. The dog takes a deep breath, he had one chance to figure this all out. If the furry caught him off guard, holding a camera-it would all be over.

The barn is two floors high, great..more investigation into this creep fest. The walls breaking apart, the door held by one hinge, the windows almost all cracked. A few bees hit Leo’s ears, causing great irritation-they didn’t seem mad, just minding there own business-he wondered where they came from until he noticed he was about to step on the biggest wasp nest he had ever seen. Oval shaped, grey colored and filled with honeycombs.
About 500 or more stinging insects must reside there. He swiftly moved to one side-sighing in relief that he watched where he was going. Okay, no more delaying the inevitable, the quicker this is over, the sooner he could get home. Leo briskly walks up to the barn door and with a slow movement, sneaks in.

Chapter 4

John and Chris escaped the heat by going to an air conditioned mall, they ate at the large food court, Chris without hesitation, filmed the whole thing on his cellphone, gosh-John was like a cousin to him. Of course, they talked about Leonard, school and life in general. John did not send Leo any texts, due to not wanting to bother him. He would call him if he wasn’t back by the time they got home however.

Leonard walked through the busted furniture, rotting floor boards, crushed beer cans and dried blood. His first instinct was to call for back up-however, he was doing such a great job sneaking about and didn’t want to alert anyone who might be home to his presence. Like everything else, he’d deal with it on his own unless he was hurt or the perpetrator of the videos revealed himself directly. Tucked in one dark corner, a large closet, which was half open-with a thudding heart Leo opens the door, half expecting Leatherface from “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” to jump out and slice him in two. Inside were large, blinking hard drives. So strange that any Internet access would be here, let alone a computer.
From his back pocket, the dog grabbed rubber gloves and a nearby clean trash bag and began to unplug them slowly and put as many of them as he could into the bag for evidence. Afterwards, Leo places the bag at the front door and proceeds to snap pictures of the awful looking place with his phone-he felt quite proud of himself, but of course still leery. He was in villain territory, and the idea of some maniac popping out of nowhere occurs to the lab more than once.

He then enters a kitchen type area, the smell that hits Leo’s nostrils is unbearable and coming from the filthy looking fridge. He snaps more and more pictures, getting too caught up in his work to check any new texts of course. Now, what’s in the fridge? He’d have to open it sooner or later-so he decided now would be a good time to check it out, again-with a swift nervousness-he yanks the door open with tug and barks a tiny bit in terror. The cold storage is not actually cold at all, but hot and mucky like everything else. On the plastic shelves, pieces of human flesh and limbs are crammed. Leonard actually felt faint-his stomach seemed to push and shove, he holds his breath, takes a photo of the gruesome happening and slams the door shut. He leans against the nearest wall and takes deep, rhythmic breaths-feeling like he could vomit. No..not here…not now. The dizziness hit him again, a slight ringing pierced his ears. He knew he was having a slight panic attack-he read the signs clearly-he closes his eyes, opens them and feels confident enough to move on. Panic attacks can’t kill-no big deal. he reasoned.

Every creak on the staircase makes Leo leery, he raises his gun-he speaks not a word, he still felt sick to his stomach-but pressed on. Dammit, he could do this! He knew he could.
His gun loaded, more sweat poured from him, soaking his shirt slightly. The upstairs smelt awful, the only two rooms up there were bedrooms, the beds unmade and more dried blood gruesomely plastered on the cracked walls. He snapped photos-suddenly a loud and deafening BANG filled the room.

It was the sound of a shotgun blast-the black lab drops to his stomach, the shots could be easily identified as coming from outside. He crawls on the floor and uses a nearby window as cover, the shot goes off again-breaking the glass of the window he was hiding next to.
Leo fires exactly three shots in the shooter’s direction. Leo picks his cellphone up-battery is nearly dead. Leo cusses softly and makes the phone call for backup…the black lab is then grazed by another shot gun blast, his right arm bleeds a tad bit. His phone runs out of battery. The shooting abruptly stops…sirens approach the building.

Two police cars pull up in front of the house, and two officers-a doberman and a snow leopard, both dressed in identical blue uniforms-burst into the barn-but the shooter is gone. A worried looking Leroy, a female officer-snow leopard, the doberman- macho male and Leonard all stand out front of the place. Leo does not speak-of course this is odd. Not like the lab was a talker, but for cases-he seemed always so direct and to the point. He places the plastic bag of hard drives into one of the vehicles-the snow leopard named Lia approaches him lovingly, truth is-she has a major crush on Leonard. She speaks softly.
“Detective-please talk to us. We’re all so worried about you, going out in the middle of nowhere to hunt a psycho.” The stomach pain hits the lab again, this time-nothing can be done. He staggers over to one corner and vomits into the woods. He then vomits again. Twice was all he needed. He was embarrassed-but too bad he thought.
Lia found it weird to see someone she looked up to so much be in this sort of state, she holds his paw and leads him to her vehicle. “Whoa… detective we need to get you back to the office.” His breathing is heavy, he nods-even he admitted he needed rest.

Leroy sits in the back of the car with the lab, his right arm bandaged and stinging a lot-Lia spoke a tad bit as she drove, careful not to hit bumps quickly-but really she let the two do most of the talking. Leonard sat gloomily and pale faced. Leroy saw his new friend was sickly-so much so that the Terrier almost felt like hugging him, but resisted. Leo of course is not the usual furry and would probably prefer just to lean his head back and be calm. He spoke like he was speaking to a sick kid. “Hey big guy, you did a good job back there! Haven’t had this much excitement in my entire life, dude!” Leonard spoke softly, he didn’t feel sick anymore, but sure sounded exhausted. “Leroy-come back to my place and I’ll let you stay for a bit if you need it.” The Terrier holds Leo’s paw and smirks. “Hey man-thanks. Just erm…don’t get sick on me, okay?” It was amazing to Leonard that Emerson had never been through something like this, and yet-he kept so cool and thoughtful. Leo did not sleep in the car, he just sort of looked out the window, watching the trees go by swiftly for hours…

Chapter 5

Once Chris met Leroy, he seemed to be better than he was-John had sort of told him what happened. Leonard’s stomach pain went away, but now he just felt dizzy and in desperate need of a nap. He had after all been up since about 5 in the morning. “Leroy-you can have whatever else you want to eat or drink, Chris can help you. I’ll sleep on the couch and you can have my bed.” Leroy nodded as he sat with Chris at the kitchen table with a turkey sandwich. “Sure thing man-you sure you want to give up your bed?” The lab nodded. “Yeah, I’d feel better. Thanks, keep Chris company.” Leonard stripped his sweaty clothing off, threw them in the wash and hoped into the shower. The cool water felt amazing after feeling like he was in an oven for so long. Leroy and Chris really spoke of music-they did share that common interest. The human felt extremely safe around this happy pup-which was rare. Normally the human took time to warm up to people, but something about Leroy was instantly trust worthy, he even felt cooler when he was in the room with him. The black lab sat on the edge of his bed, trying to get the image of the disgusting fridge out of his head. He had never seen anything so twisted and vile in his life-and he had been doing this job for a long time. This would be one of those unforgettable cases, he could feel it.

Evening fell, Leroy had taken a shower as well and was even given fresh deodorant and mouthwash, the three of them went shopping for fresh clothes-Leroy now wore new dark blue skinny jeans with a studded belt with a metal chain hanging from one side, a white t-shirt with the words “Today Has Been Ruff” written in black lettering and bright red sneakers, topped off with a new black leather jacket.
Leroy had certainly never expected this and had never came across so much kindness. After, Leonard felt like he could crash anywhere-he threw on pajamas and curled up on the couch with a soft blanket and took no time falling into a deep sleep. Upstairs, Chris and Leroy sang a few songs together-which was sort of adorable.
Leroy had quite an amazing singing voice, and it’s sad that no one but a few drunks at the bars he preformed at knew this. The human just loved listening to Leroy’s rockish tone and even filmed him singing to keep it as a memory. Leonard was in such a deep sleep, he heard nothing of it.

TWO WEEKS LATER

Leroy ended up staying at Leonard’s place for a while, just until he could earn enough money to move on. He worked in slightly more upscale bars than before-and what was good was that Leonard could drop him off on the way to work.
He wore the same outfit he had bought with the lab two weeks earlier, Leo wore a blue dress shirt, red tie and black jeans with his boots-the two of them wore there leather jackets. “Leonard, I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done. Truly, this all has been a dream come true-even if…ya know, a psycho was involved kinda.”
The lab glances at the Terrier just before pulling up to the bar. “Yeah, well-that’s what I do. Change lives.” Leroy pats the detective on the shoulder. “Have a good one, man!” Leo watches him leave-suddenly, a thin, tight wire wraps around the lab’s neck and only gets tighter as he struggles. A deep and eerie southern accent sneaks into the lab’s ear.
“Drive fuckhead…” The detective does so with no hesitation, he breathes calmly, the wire does loosen a bit-but not by much. The furry behind him is a paint horse, almost all white with brown splotches all around his eyes and nose. A strong stallion. His arms ginormous, he obviously knew how to handle himself. He wears a flannel shirt and blue jeans, he smiles as he now has Leonard under his complete control. His voice, is like what a rattlesnake would sound like just before jumping at his prey.

“One rule-do not reach for anything-keep your paws on the top of the wheel, if I see ONE out of place movement-this wire can slice through your little furry neck like butter. Anyway, where are my manners? Pleasure to meet you Leonard, my name is Billy. You broke into my farm. You have it all, you found out more than any living furry or human. You probably even watched my videos-hope you enjoyed them. But you know what-I’ll be honest with you and tell you everything. Why? Because I like you, you’re the one who adopted the human. Speaking of, I want to be able to talk to your son after I’m done with you-so we have stuff to talk about.
Chris does look mighty tasty…especially that fucked up brain of his.
Sucks that he’s so dumb, fun for me though to stick him in his first movie. So I can say ‘KID! I KNEW your father and watched him bleed out all over his own car’…but that’s for later! Really, there’s not much to tell-I’m a sicko who enjoyed everything he did. Boom. That’s the answer. Ohhh..but that’s not how detective thriller should end! I’m a filmmaker, we need to cover all of our bases! We need to know MORE! Why is this psycho the way he is? Weeeeell….I came from a middle class family-I wasn’t abused, mommy didn’t hit me, daddy didn’t throw me in some closet. I just picked up a camera one day and began…filming things I liked. Suddenly, I became bored and jumped in on the action…the videos I made of those humans were amusing, especially once I got a pack of wolves involved in my little games. Then, I wanted to share my passion-so I discovered the deep web and found out I could make money off of this stuff, so I did.”

Leonard swallowed hard and continued to drive down a major highway. “So, you shot me, you got others involved in your matters. Plus, the going after my son cliche. Hm, typical serial killer shit. I’m not impressed. What a coward.” The patrol car cruises down a long bridge, hardly any cars are upon it. The horse grows irritated. “Too bad you feel that way” he tightens the wire more. So much so that Leo’s breathing is cut off ever so slowly. He gasped for air. His eyes began to water. The lab then began mumbling something-the horse quickly leans into hear what his final words would be.

Billy got quite a shock when the lab SLAMMED on the break of his car, the two were projected forward, Leo turned around with lightening speed and fired a bullet into the horse’s throat. Blood sprays out of his neck like a sink faucet, the car screeches to a halt.
As the horse leans back in the seat, gasping for air and getting over his pounding head injury from the brutal car stop-he began thrashing about like a mad man-the entire back of the car is covered in thick, red fluid. The back windows, the back seat and the floor is a massive blood puddle. Leo hit an artery for sure. His throat is wide open, a gaping bullet wound like a throat operation gone horribly wrong. Leonard watches his slow movements-his breathing becomes more shallow, his eyes glaze over as the sound of muffled hyperventilation is heard. Leonard takes a deep breath, watching this psycho who tormented so many humans finally get the fate that was probably coming to him.

Chris got to visit his dad at his office and hugged him tightly, he cried just a little.
The news of what had happened in the car was such a shock to everyone. Leonard told John all the details. Leroy sat with Chris in the front of the office while his father went over all the case details. The human was shaken up. The Terrier stayed by his friend. “Leroy? I l-love dad, he’s amazing…b-but too often he gets in trouble.” The white and brown dog nods and places his shoulder around the human boy. “Well Chris, I can understand that. Having a loved one in danger is never easy, you’re an amazing human who really goes with the flow, you’re cool.” Chris shrugs. “I-I guess, but should I worry a-about dad?” The terrier shrugs as well. “Well, I think it’s understandable if anything, eh-it’s natural.”

“Leroy, you never worry.” He smirks. “Some are more prone to it than others-but be yourself. Keep your dad good company, you both are just too awesome.” Chris hugged Leroy for the first time, the pup really put a lot in prospective. Leroy did help Chris not too worry so much-I mean, when you’re dad is in danger like that day, sure-worry would come. Leroy had spoken to Chris about the ‘little worries’ and how to shake them off, would it work? Somehow, Chris related to Leroy-perhaps more so than John Hulbert or Logan, his aide. Leroy was ‘just a guy’…not a mentor or officer of the law, the two were sort of in the same league. No doubt Leroy had changed Chris’ outlook on certain life aspects though, especially about being happy in your current situation and just being glad to be alive. That’s who Leroy was-if you can groove and breath-then you’re great and life can offer you a lot. He was poor, but he played in bars and got to sleep in a warm building sometimes-it was enough for him. He secretly hoped deep down maybe Leroy taught Leonard the same thing-jeez, Leo could be depressed with a full roof over his head and a bed. Leroy had never been depressed in his life-not anything overly serious anyway. Maybe when his parents died of course.

The farm in which the snuff films were made, was torn down-but the lab would truly never forget the spot where it all happened.
The hard drives full of snuff films were put in lock down, never to be viewed by the public, the deep web account was also taken down and destroyed by the government. At the end of the day, Leonard happened to over hear that perhaps a film would be made about this entire case-as long as he wasn’t in it, he didn’t care. Leroy chuckled at this news as all our main characters ate at a restaurant. “I know who can play you Leonard! Christopher Walken! Plus, they better include your kick ass convertible as well.” The dog scoffs, knowing full well Leroy was teasing again. Leonard was engaged in conversation, John and Chris were sort of nattering all at once to the lab, he gladly answered questions.
Would the case fully disperse from Leo’s mind? No. He remembered details of every case he ever had.

Those damn video clips would haunt him-but he supposed the most telling sign of the entire thing was a bit of a mark around his neck.
Normally-no case left identifiable scars like this one had-perhaps a bruise or broken arm which would heal in time-but this was most likely permanent.
As Leo ordered his drink and looked amongst John, Chris and Leroy-he had felt glad, which was shocking. He speaks in his monotone, everyone stops talking. “I think I’m going to take a few months off…do some teaching and be with family.” He even sounded tired as he spoke, like he finally realized all the hard work he does for the FBI and innocent lives in general. John smiled and nodded. “Wow buddy! Nice to hear that, you’re like-the only one who hasn’t taken days off unless ordered too.” Leo had done it for his son mostly-after seeing how shaken up he was about the car incident. Putting the two through more stress in a short amount of time would be awful-the videos gave Leo a sort of deep pause for reflection especially.

How easily a son or daughter could be taken by a mad man-all those humans had families, aunts, uncles, friends-all of it was taken away by a few furries, all for some sick website.
That’s what bothered him about the case the most and that’s what would stay with him.
Not so much the gruesomeness of the clips-but knowing that all those humans had something to live for-Leo wanted to embrace life with his son…and maybe for the first time in a while, actually feel like the father Chris deserved. For the first time in a long while, right before Chris went to bed that night-Leonard gave his son a genuine hug.

END

A DOG AND HIS BOY (LEONARD #3)

PLOT: In the third part of the furry series,  Leonard and Chris have some ‘father-son time’, not in a conventional way however….

A DOG AND HIS BOY
(LEONARD #3)

Aaron B.

The city of Boston was hotter than usual. The sun beat down upon the furry town Chris and Leonard lived at.
If anyone was outside for a lengthy period-they enjoyed the heat. Leonard vowed to spend more time with his son. The last 4 weeks of school was upon students in school. It had been a little while since the lab had actually hunted a killer, which was good. The dog spent most of his time doing boring paper work, maybe texting John Hulbert once and a while. However, with summer rolling around and school nearly coming to an end, that doesn’t mean something hectic is around the corner…for we know Leonard can never get a break.

CHAPTER 1

Our story starts with our hero, once again-Leonard Keaton, taking a brisk morning walk. Chris was still asleep-it was a Sunday.
A slight chill went through the air, a gentle fog hovered over the town. The sounds of birds could be heard, which made Leo’s ears perk up a bit.
The sky, a dark shade of blue, the sun was just getting ready to pop through the clouds. The suburban area looked quiet, discreet and harmless. The lab wore blue Adidas work out pants and a grey tank top-revealing his toned arms and stomach. He laced up his white sneakers once he was about too leave. It was no secret that some of the furs next door watched him, admiring him and they were also always curious about Chris.

He gently closed the front door and headed out onto the small side walk, only about a foot away from his home. He walked right past his house, taking a few deep breaths-but not before glancing at the side wall of the house, apart from the very front of the home, which is covered in pavement, the left and right sides are covered in grass and some flowers.
Right beside the small lawn which covered the back area of his home, a few neighboring homes-which had no lights on at the moment. The backyard completely woods, which gave Chris and Leo some privacy. Leonard walked to the left side of the house, stepping through dew covered grass, once he reached the very side of his home-Leo growled a tad bit. Someone has spray painted the side of his home-the paint still a bit wet.
It would be hard to get off, but what made him growl was the words the individual had written. In bright red paint, on the left side of Leo’s house read… HUMAN RETARD.
The black lab put his hands on his hips and stood still….analyzing the hand writing. Letting the hateful words hauntingly linger in his brain, his son’s reaction would be what he’d worry about. Something like this can not be ignored, if this furry is hateful-which he or she obviously is, then they may go after Chris.
Was this someone that was close to them, or some mere acquaintance from work or school? He took his iPhone out and snapped a photo of the crime.

Leonard then turned around; he walked down the sidewalk, away from his home, planning on continuing his walk. He took some deep breaths, but the image of those words danced harshly in his brain. The dog’s tail drooped, he kicked up his speed more, the more he thought about the words-the more he thought he should turn back. He did. He wanted to call someone; he needed a bit of advice. The dog rarely asked for it-but as far as his son goes, he’s still learning to be a parent. The teen years are so fragile. Leonard didn’t want to upset his kid-especially with a racist comment; Chris had a certain naivety about him, a certain innocence that Leo didn’t want to destroy in one swoop. Sure, he’d tell Chris-but he wanted to know HOW to tell him…

The furry enters his two floor home, he unties his sneakers and places them by the door, where all the shoes went. While Leonard does not have OCD, the home was very clean; partly because of Chris’ poor vision-he bumping into things wouldn’t be safe.
The only thing a real mess in his life was his office desk at times, perhaps his room too if he didn’t have time to clean up due to being busy. The first thing you saw when entering his home, is a couch, a medium sized television, and next to the TV, is a burrow filled with odds and ends. Scissors, a ruler, paper, pencils, glue-everything.
Under the brown colored burrow, a locked cabinet where Leonard kept his badge and his all black ppk walther p99. The floors in his home are all hardwood, easier to clean up messes, it’s not like he’d want to spend time on his paws and knees, scrubbing a rug with awful smelling chemical cleaners, this guy is not one for dusting and scrubbing. Across from the living room, is the dining room table, which really is in the center of the entire downstairs area. Behind the table, a very basic kitchen set up, and the only things upstairs worth noting are Chris’ room and Leo’s room and one of the two bathrooms in the house.

Speaking of Chris’ room, the time was about 8 in the morning; Chris came downstairs, and found his dad standing in the middle of the living room. The human wore only pajamas, he smiled to his dad as he limps across the living room and sits down at the kitchen table.
The human did not seem hungry, other wise he’d ask his dad to make him something, or Leonard would watch his son make something, he did not want Chris 100% dependent on others. The black lab didn’t move from his spot in the middle of the living room, the human glances at his dad, and in a sort of sweet tone, turns and speaks to him.
“You okay dad?” From living alone, thinking nothing of cases and where he would get booze, to having to change his life around and watch a human, is a huge change, an excellent change-but Leonard still did feel over protective of his son and it did add a lot of extra thoughts to his life. On the bright side, Leonard was never bored and Chris was an amazing son. The five foot tall lab walks across the living room and sits next to his son, looking at him, like he’s about to say something important. “Chris, has anyone said anything negative to you? About being a human? At school, coming home from school?”
The human pondered for a bit, and really-if this had happened he would have told his dad or some other trusted furry if he wasn’t around. Chris was not one to keep secrets.
“N-no, school has been good!” Even hearing his son speak made the dog feel more at ease, what was funny is that Christopher felt so much protection around his, as Chris call him ‘his bad ass detective dad’, but Leo felt so much more calm when his son spoke. There was something so genuine and happy in his tone, which is something that Leonard didn’t get to hear while at work-it was nice to see someone so optimistic. The human then looked at his dad curiously; curiosity seemed to be his favorite pastime. “Ummm…dad? Why would you a-ask me if someone was being mean? I w-would tell you…” The dog nods and holds his hand, in a sort of ‘man-to-man talk’ sort of way. His son listened as his dad spoke in that gravely British accent that he loved so much. Leonard took his own course of action, he spoke with his honesty-but not in a ‘these are the facts, deal with them’ kind of way. He had an air of sensitiveness to him. “Son, I have to tell you that-someone wrote something very nasty, spray painted onto the side of our house. I don’t want to repeat it, but I’ll show you the picture I took.” The young man frowns and looks as his dad, once his dad shows him the picture of the side of the house, Chris becomes instantly nervous.
“D-dad? Who would do that? Where are they?” His dad sighs and shrugs. Leonard stood up and dialed John Hulbert’s phone number, mostly to see what could be done about the spray paint, but also to cheer Chris up. He knew if he left Chris alone, he’d be having anxiety about the racist comment all day….

About twenty minutes later, John Hulbert knocked on the door. The white and black Siberian husky dressed in his dark blue police uniform, Leo dressed in a grey dress shirt and brown jeans with sneakers. He did wear sneakers in the house, which some might find kind of strange. The husky gave Leo a light hug and a quick smile, really hoping he’d be coming under different circumstances. “Hey Leo! I-I’m…sorry, about what you and your son are going through, can’t be easy…” He put his paw lovingly on Leo’s shoulder, the lab gently removes John’s paw and nods slowly. Chris came out from going to the bathroom, the husky briskly walks to him and gives him a friendly hug, but unlike Leonard, Chris of course reacted a bit more psyched. “Hiii Officer Hulbert!” The husky ruffles the human’s short blonde hair and chuckles. “What’s up champ?!” Chris’ smile dissipated a bit and he shrugs, the two of them end up sitting on the couch, of course, normally, John wouldn’t be so casual when talking to some furry or human about racism, but with Chris-he felt the more casual, the better. Chris was amazing at reading voice tone, and there’s no reason to get him all worked up really. “Chris, I gotta ask you about-the statement written on the side of the house. You know that, that isn’t true, right?”
The human nods. “Yes, but…I-I guess I’m worried about them coming back…a-and hurting me.” The officer nods and sighs. “I can understand why you’re scared; your dad will keep a good eye on you! He’s…the best protector there is, really. If you want to, call or text me though-you can!”

CHAPTER 2

Night time fell upon our furry town, Leonard and Chris sat at the kitchen table, and both had already eaten. Leonard never got into his night wear until he was in his room and alone. Chris’ tone content enough, but the words on the side of the house lingered with him. The black lab often helped Chris up the stairs during the night, being that Leo always turned off all the lights in the living room. As Leonard led Chris to his room, he places his hand on his son’s shoulder, because as independent as the black lab wanted Chris to be, he also wanted to show him he had his full support.

“Chris, I’ll be getting you up for school tomorrow and going to the office. If any student says anything bad to you, tell a teacher-then tell me straight away.” The young man sincerely nods and pats his dad’s shoulder lightly. “Y-yes dad, I promise.”

In school the next day, the human was not his usual happy self. He seemed on edge, and what was bad about this, is that he had a math test to take. Christopher hates math, so the fact that he’s on edge today-makes nothing easy. He was glad his dad was super honest with him about the bad words sprayed across the house, but he also kind of wished deep down that he didn’t know about it. Racism? This was something Chris had heard about, but to be smack in the middle of a furry town-where either a human or furry could be responsible for the sign-made simply walking around the school hallways, tough. Wait. Could a human have written the note? Sure, why not? The first word of the sign was ‘human’, and Leo’s mind and John’s mind went right to a furry being the perpetrator-but could a human be framing a furry to cover his own butt? Why would a human want to be held responsible for racism, why not blame it on a furry? Certainly makes an easier lie to tell ‘oh, a furry did it!’ So, in school this very day, Chris felt a tad bit concerned for his safety, the math test ended up being a disaster by the way.
He wouldn’t get the grade until later-but as the human looked over the complex number questions; he really just spent time looking at every other furry in the classroom, since furries calmed him. The human just knew he failed miserably.

Meanwhile, Leonard was on his lunch break, while in the police station-he briskly walks to the coffee / break room. His brown construction boots banged across the carpeted floor, a few German shepherds dressed in uniform said ‘hi’ to Leo and wanted to give light hugs, but he walked past them. He was thinking of three things, a case he was working on about a murder victim, Chris dangled in the back of his brain a few times and Leo also had a family issue going on. Which was strange, because he very rarely heard from either of his parents, and Leo knew he’d have to come clean to someone about the ‘personal matter’, so rarely did his parents come up-but on this day, they had.

The toned lab opens the door to the break room; the place itself is quite small.
Grey walls, a circular table sits in the middle of the room.
In front of the table, is a row of cabinets almost reach the low ceiling, below the cabinets is a kitchen sink, to one side of the sink is a coffee maker, a few feet from the black machine is some sugar, cream, cups, utensils, plates and other miscellaneous items. In this room, sitting at the table, is a grey wolf, average height and weight. He wore a cop’s uniform. Even from the tone of his voice, Leo didn’t like him. Okay-well, Leonard maybe wouldn’t be THAT quick to judge, I mean, the first time he met John-he hated how loud and hyper he was, but now he considered him a true friend. The wolf had two feet up, he spoke on his cell phone, he fiddled with the gold badge that was pinned to his uniform.
Leonard flicks the coffee machine on and leans against a nearby wall, listening to the trickling of coffee. Now, who ever was here before Leo-didn’t think to turn the machine on, so now the black lab had to stand and wait-and listen to some obnoxious wolf.

Obviously, he’s new, Leo could tell. His overly confident attitude, the “I’m a cop and better than you” smirk, everything read ‘newbie’. The wolf was young, about mid-twenties. He spoke in a loud and slightly irritated tone. “Yeah, humans-walking around! Eh, guess I don’t really care about them, but gosh-I’d hate to be the one responsible for one of those hairless freaks. I know some furries take them in….but yeah, no thanks!”
Leonard took deep breaths, trying not to listen to this guy ramble, Leo looks at his shoes and places his hands into his black jeans, he taps his shoe against the wall lightly.
Ignore…ignore…ignore…coffee is almost done, go back to my desk and forget this ass exists. As the coffee finishes, the dog walks over to the machine and grabs a cup, the wolf continues his tirade. “One thing I hate being about a cop? Protecting those I don’t fully trust, ya never know with humans. Majority of them should be in mental institutions. Anyway, gotta go! First day on the job! Bye!”
Leo nonchalantly pours his coffee; he places sugar and cream into it and stirs.
The wolf stands to one side of Leonard, now they’re two mere inches apart. The cop turns to Leonard. He seems a bit nervous, as he realizes from Leo’s appearance that he’s not just a cop-but an FBI agent. “I know, I shouldn’t be on my phone-but I really needed to let off steam, detective. Sorry, weakness of mine!”
The lab turns to the wolf, he speaks in a cold tone that sends shivers up the wolf’s spine.
“Just letting you know, my son is a human, and I love him very much. He loves me very much in return. I want to see him succeed, grow and become the best he can be, he’s sweet and kind on top of that.. I’d hate to see this whole ‘I can do and say whatever I want cause I’m a cop thing’ go to your thick skull…good day to you.” With that, the dog takes his coffee, gives a quick nod to the wolf and leaves. The cop’s ears droop-he lets out a soft cough and doesn’t budge from the coffee machine for a long time…he let Leonard’s words truly sink in.

CHAPTER 3

Christopher sat at the cafeteria lunch table, the thought of the test he had just taken still in the back of his head. He would tell his dad what honestly happened and Leo would most likely be okay with everything as far as the test went. The human felt he could be doing a lot worse. He let himself deal with being on edge-his father told him to try and deal with as much as he could on his own. Chris also didn’t want to bother his dad too much, he always felt a ping of guilt when coming to him…but really, Leo’s life is helping others, so maybe Chris shouldn’t worry too much, Leo never got mad at Chris for not doing well on a test in fact. The human was also sure the dog would have other things on his mind, but on the bus ride home-he did feel a little better, being that his dad would be home, he had requested to do work at home until this whole racist thing blew over-well, the bulk of it anyway. Both Leonard and Christopher knew, racism wasn’t going to disappear from the town, even after the culprit was found.

The black lab threw his leather jacket off, the sky pitch black. Leonard is covered in sweat as he runs after a dangerous psychopath, wielding a large butcher knife. His feet ached, his gun out of bullets-now it was just once big chase. The road seemed to form in front of him as he ran; nothing on either side of the lab could be seen-he ran on the cement. The killer laughed manically as he truly was able to out run the detective-as light began to form, he saw his son standing in the middle of the road, tied up and crying. As the psycho lifted his knife up to slice the human’s throat, the dog tripped and yelled, his whole body shook.

Leonard woke up and let out a terrified bark. He sat up in his king sized bed, breathing heavily-getting adjusted to the room around him.
Beside the bed, a lamp, and the alarm clock which read 1:00am. Leonard let out two long sighs as his heart rate slowed down. Leonard stumbled to the closet and grabbed the first pair of pants in reach and headed down stairs. His toned, naked upper body a tad bit chilly as he entered the living room.

The room, dead quiet, apart from the extremely soft sound of the air conditioning running. His pawed feet clicked across the hardwood floor, he stumbled a bit to find the light switch to the kitchen. The kitchen lit up in a blinding glare, Leonard’s movements slow, his tail drooped, his ears drooped as well. He grabs a glass from the cabinet and pours himself a rum and coke, after putting ice into the drink; he sits at the kitchen table. The black lab slowly lifts his index finger and places it into the cold beverage; he twirls the ice cubes around, focusing on just that. He listened to the ice as it rubbed against the cup, making an almost ‘chime-like sound’. The dog didn’t feel right, he knew exactly what was going on, but the feeling took him by surprise. He suddenly got a little chocked up, he took a swift sip of his drink. A few moments later, he suddenly got the feeling that the weight of the world was on his shoulders, all of his responsibilities came flooding back to him, along with some hurtful memories he never truly talked about.

The lab’s ears perk a bit as he hears his son sit right by him tiredly. He wears pajamas, his blonde hair a little frizzy. The human looks at his dad with a tad bit of a smile. “You okay, d-dad? I thought I heard you bark.” Leonard nods, a bit ashamed; he never wanted his son to see him at a point like this. Chris could read his father’s emotion like a book, while he didn’t quite understand the fullness of his sadness, the human felt empathy; he hated seeing his dad filled with such gloom. He wanted to-no, needed to cheer his dad up, that was always Chris’ goal in fact. He knew his dad was monotone and perhaps hard to read, but this was sadness, heavy and uncontrollable sadness.

Without warning, Leonard spoke softly to his son, looking over at him with kind of pathetic looking, almost puppy dog eyes-a look Leonard and just about every Labrador pulled off well. “I’m sorry, Chris…” The human cocked his head to one side; his tone went up a little bit. “What do you m-mean?” Leonard sighs; he felt holding in his emotions was awful. He could say ‘never mind’ or ‘forget it’ if he wanted to be rude, but no. Chris deserved to know about his dad, he’s seventeen and is well aware of Leo’s ups and downs. “I’m sorry for, perhaps endangering your life. I’m sorry about this racism going on, I’m sorry that you got abducted, and that I’ve put you through so much worrying about me and my….cases. You don’t deserve it.” Leo sounded like he could cry, whether he would or not-who knew? “D-dad, you’re being ridiculous. You took me away from m-my biological family, my mom and dad wanted me hurt everyday. You’ve…t-taught me so much, you’re kick ass. You’re protective, you’re s-soft spoken, you speak from your heart…”
The lab finishes his drink in a few sips and looks over to Chris, he felt like he should just get his true question out of the way. “Am I a good father?” Chris now felt almost as sad as Leonard had, the human had no idea Leonard had second thoughts about how good of a father he was. Chris hugs his dad from the side and speaks in a slightly upbeat tone, he knew that would get Leonard too smile a bit. “D-dad, you’re unlike any other furry-and I wouldn’t have you any other way. You are truly amazing. I-I love you so much…”

Hearing this, certainly made Leonard feel better-but the depression still stuck around. The ‘family matter’ had to be dealt with, should he tell Chris? Not directly, but if he asked about what else was wrong, his father would come clean. As if on queue, the human spoke.
“Dad, i-is something else bothering you? Normally, you w-would smile by now.”
Leo sighed. Gosh, he forgot how truly smart and perceptive his son was. “Chris, I don’t want to bother you with my problems….” His son puts his hand on his dad’s shoulder. “D-dad-you c-can talk to me. I care about you.” Leo knew this to be true, Chris was an amazing listener. While he perhaps didn’t always fully understand what his dad talked about-he still listened. “Well son, I got a phone call a little while ago, from my mom, who I had rarely heard from.”

The human now was all ears; he rarely talked about his parents. “I’m telling you this, because I’m sick of dodging the truth with you. You’re my son, and while I can’t tell you everything about my life-stuff about my cases and various things the burrow doesn’t want me to speak of. However, I feel like you have the right to know a bit. You’re seventeen and you’ll be an adult soon, so you deserve to know some truth about me. Keep it between you and I though, okay, our secret?” Chris nods understandingly. “She told me-my father committed suicide.” Chris’ heart sank, he knew what suicide was-but he never quite understood why someone would take there own life. “Dad, I-I’m so sorry. That’s sad…d-do you know why?” Leo nods slowly and takes a swig of his drink. “Well, you know how I get sad, for long periods of time, right? Well, my dad got really sad too-and he couldn’t handle it, so that is why he killed himself.” The human pauses for a long time, he then speaks in a soft and consoling tone. “W-was your dad, nice to you?” Leo nods a bit. “Yes, for the most part. In high school, I did some things I’m not proud of-but my parents stuck by me.” Chris couldn’t think of anything else to do, than to hug his dad lightly. The dog gave his son a quick kiss on the forehead and heads back up to bed with his son. Leonard lied in bed for a long while before going to sleep.

CHAPTER 4

The sound of the black lab’s cell phone ring jolted him awake. It was Monday, the time 8:00am. Leonard, still wrapped in thick blankets answered. “Yes?” The sound of John Hulber’s voice pierced his brain, his over excitement was too much to bare.
“Leonard! Haven’t seen you at work in a bit, I know you’ve been going-but it’s been a while. How’s Chris doing?” Leo rubbed his eyes slowly. “He’s fine-still worried about the whole thing was that racist though, but we’ll both take it easy today.”
The husky was clearly doing other things while on the phone, John never sat still for a moment. “You doing okay? We should get together sometime!” Leonard stands up, still in the same pants as he was when he woke up from his night terror. “Yes, we will, going to get going now John, bye.” The lab then hung up on him, not really feeling too bad that he did, as he threw on a white t-shirt and slipped his brown shoes on, one thought went through his brain. What the hell was the point of that phone call? Chris needed a mental health day, he had told his father this last night before tucking him in -and really, Leonard needed a day to recuperate from his depression. He knew that having Chris home would cheer him up.

Chris stood in the middle of the living room, looking a bit pale and shaken up. Way to start a ‘mental health day.’ Leonard automatically notices one of the living room windows smashed, a brick lay a few feet from it. The human briskly limps over to his dad and hugs him tightly. “S-someone threw it!” Leonard hugged him back quickly, and then slowly sat him on the couch. “How long ago?” “L-like three minutes ago, I was too scared to run…cause I didn’t want them to know I was here!” The black lab sighs deeply and runs to the closet to grab his trademark leather jacket. He pulls his ID out and slips it into the back pocket of his jeans, he then grabs the keys to his vehicle, the 1970’s woody station wagon as opposed to the cop car. He holds Chris’ hand, Leo didn’t bother putting on his jacket-weather was extremely warm. “Chris, don’t touch the brick. I’m going to find out who is doing this, now.” The black lab grabs a plastic bag from a nearby closet, then runs into the bathroom and grabs a pair of blue plastic gloves. He then sticks the brick into the plastic bag. The human stands up quickly, his voice shakes a bit. “D-dad! Don’t leave me! Please!” The lab nods and opens the front door. “We’re going down to the station to get this brick tested for prints, John is there too I think.” Chris doesn’t bother getting out of his pajamas to change into daily clothes, he follows his dad. He hops in the passenger side of the car. “Wh-why are we not taking your police cruiser?” The lab sits in the driver’s side and turns the key. “Because if this guy is still out there, he may be suspicious of a cop car driving from the direction of our house.”

While at the station, John Hulbert sat with Chris in the break room, eating donuts together. John tried cheering the human up by telling corny jokes and smiling a lot, and really-it worked only a tiny bit. What truly helped Chris was being with a police officer he trusted so much, seeing Hulbert in his uniform was reassurance in of it self.
Leonard sat with the two, dead silent. Suddenly, a black panther walks into the room, wearing a lab coat. “Mr. Keaton, lab results are in. May I speak with you privately?”
Leonard nods, his son watches him walk off into the hall way. “We found a slight paw print on the brick-and we matched it.” This was a great moment for Leonard, once he knew who was behind this-a lot of worry would disappear, or so he hoped, his tail almost wagged even. “The print belongs too William Monroe.” The lab’s eyes narrowed, his tone filled with disgust. “Chris’ high school principle-shit.” The panther felt extremely heavy hearted, this wasn’t some student or kid pulling racist crap-this was a trust member of the community. Someone CHRIS TRUSTED, this fox had always been quite nice to him. Leonard walked into the break room. “John, watch Chris please…” The husky nods. “O-of course.” Chris felt a ping of nervousness go through him, John held his hand.

CHAPTER 5

The station wagon pulled up at the school parking lott, the lab walks to the large brick building. He hits the buzzer, which is a few feet from the door. Once the office lady knows its Leonard, she lets him in right away.
The lab swings open the large, maroon colored doors.

Once in the school, he takes a left, the floor is a smooth marble, the cafeteria directly behind him, some students eye Leonard, while most just ignore him.
The office has white walls; a large table sits in the middle of the room, filled with paper work. A few grey chairs align the back end of the room, fluorescent lights light up the area, the office lady, a raccoon in a black skirt looks at the lab. “May I help you, Mr. Keaton?” Leonard nods and approaches the grey colored table, his tone stern. “I need to see Mr. Monroe.” She nods and points to the direction of the office, eyeing his toned muscles as he walks off.

Mr. Monroe’s office is a descent size, much like Leonard’s office as far as size went. Filled with family portraits and trophies of good deeds done for the school. The fox wore a green dress shirt and beige colored slacks with a purple tie. He is about thirty years of age, he ate some brunch, pasta with butter and green beans. As soon as Leonard walked in, the fox looked up and smiled. “Hey, Mr. Keaton!” The detective shut the door, he then places a chair in front of it, making it so that no one could open the door. The fox scoffs a bit and shakes his head. Monroe knew he was in deep trouble, he then remembered that he’s on the force, and telling him off would be a bad idea. He clears his throat and softly speaks, but irritation was boiling inside of him. “Leo, what ever is bothering you-we’ll deal with it, okay?” The lab stood and places his paws on the table, totally invading his personal space. “Don’t ever call me ‘Leo.'” William loosened his tie. “Well…Mr. Keaton, you have no right too barricade my room.” His tone now rising, his irritation showing. The lab quickly pulls out his cell phone and shows the picture he had taken of the side of the house. “What do you make of this, William?” The principle stared at it. “An act of racism-poor Chris, hope h-he’s okay.” Leonard was just about ready to yell and call him on his bull right away. Instead, he kept his tone soft, menacing though to say the least. “Hm, you going to pay for the window damage you caused too?” The fox breaks out into a sweating fit. Leonard spoke, his tone rising now-which rarely happened. “Do you get off on making humans or those you disapprove of feel like complete garbage?”

The fox’s eyes widen, he pushes back on his wheelie chair and drops his brunch, and it splatters onto the dark blue rug. William yells into the lab’s face, spitting on him slightly.
“What the hell are you talking about?!” Leonard pulls out a pair of handcuffs, and before the fox could truly escape-the lab leaps over the large table, banging his knee as he tackles the fox from the front, knocking him over with a loud crash, which broke the chair. The fox makes an attempt to squirm, Leonard smacks him across the face-William yelps and becomes too stunned to move now, his face begins to throb and sting in pain. “You’re under arrest for threatening a human, my son-directly. You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law…” The lab flips the fox on his stomach, crushing his face into the floor and cuffing him. Leonard kicks the chair he had placed at the door out of the way….

Once in the station wagon, Leonard calls for back up, the fox sits in the passenger side. “Leonard….I w-wasn’t going to hurt your kid.” The lab sits and says nothing. “M-Mr. Keaton, I’m sorry…f-for putting you through this. It’s just, I-I had prided my school on being exclusively furry…a-and Chris kinda, off set the balance. I got pissed, it won’t happen again-I PROMISE to accept your son…” He rudely reaches over William, from the glove compartment-he pulls out a cigarette and lights it. He rolls down the non electric window and takes a long puff. “Mr. Keaton, please understand-yo-you’re son is good…I spoke with h-him before I let my anger get the b-best of me, he’s a good kid! Maybe he’s being raised by the WRONG DAD!” Leonard can’t even stand the sound of the fox’s voice anymore, he grabs the fox by his shirt collar and speaks in a low, threatening tone. “Don’t talk about my son, don’t even mention his name, sit and shut up.” The sound of sirens approach….Leonard had secretly called them once Mr. Monroe was in the car.

ONE MONTH LATER….

The convention center filled. Furries of all different types had gathered; the roof high, chandeliers hung from the decorated ceiling. The floor, a golden, smooth marble, if you were here-you’d be in a suit. All the furries were dressed in colorful dresses and suits, high heals, dress shoes hair cut and freshly showered. The room echoed slightly, to the back of this huge room, long tables filled with amazing food, elegantly placed and ready to eat after the speeches were given. To the front of the room, a stage, on this stage sat a podium, with an amazing microphone system-but most furs did push to get front or second row seats. This convention was entitled “Furries For The Equal Rights of Humans“, since it was sort of new-no acronym existed. Of course, amongst the furries-humans, the number of people and furries were 150.

Christopher was there, he had gone with John Hulbert, they were both dressed in black suits, Chris had a red tie on, John had a maroon colored tie. Chris’ hair done perfectly, and John also didn’t look bad.
Believe it or not, Leonard was back stage. He was the guest of honor. See, this whole thing started once the racism story broke out-a bunch of furries who organized these sorts of events, sent an email to Leo-telling him how important it is for humans and furs to get along. The detective was just going to attend, but the organizers also added ‘we need you to speak at this occasion-you’re the reason this is happening, sir.’
Well, Leonard was mostly known for his work at the FBI, but it was no secret that he also had a human son and became a sort of hero in the whole community of ‘human and furry relations’. Something he truly didn’t think about for too long, but it happened.
Really, Leo didn’t hesitate-he knew this whole thing was for the greater good. So, here is was-wearing a black dinner vest, a black suit jacket, black slacks and floral purple tie. He looked at himself in the mirror, knowing that only a few feet away and through a stage door, an audience waited to hear his lecture.

The furs who were here, had probably read about every article Leonard ever wrote about Chris, there was even an entire issue of a magazine dedicated to him, with him posed on the front cover. Some of the younger, ambitious furs brought copies of this magazine for him to sign. John and Chris got reserved seats of course, and the lucky furs got to be in front, which meant Leo would be probably only be about a foot away from them.
Those especially in the front, were pumped, mostly college furries who were researching the relationship between furries and humans-most of them were fans of his already, so getting this opportunity was a treat. The lights dimmed, applause erupted from the audience-not crazy applause, but elegant claps. A grey, tall panther wearing a sparkling red dress approaches the stage. She smiles at the furries and humans. Her tone calm, but excited too. “Thank you all for coming. I don’t need to tell you how huge it is that we have Leonard Keaton in this very place tonight!” She lists sponsors and humans and furries who helped put this whole thing together, taking about five minutes. She paused, everyone knew what was coming. “Now, ladies and gentleman-it is an honor, to welcome to the stage, a furry that-truly changed my life, and made me look at the world in a different way. He has inspired me with his smart and meaningful words; he’s a true hero and advocate for those who may need a little help in life. Leonard Keaton.” The lab steps out promptly and sophisticated, he looks out into the audience, the clapping now a lot louder than before, with cheers thrown in. It was like he was a rock star.
He steps to the podium, some of college kids get goosebumps, hearing his British accent they’ve all heard from video interviews. “Thank you, thank you. Everyone shut it so I can talk.” He gives a tiny smirk. The audience quiets down, chucking…Chris thinks ‘yup, classic dad!’ He has no speech in front of him, a spotlight shines on him, and he takes a deep breath. His entire speech, he spoke in an almost ‘teacher like tone’…he certainly wasn’t monotone like he usually was. He did up his game with trying to sound interesting. A nice news camera also sat in front of him, but he paid no mind to it. His voice in the microphone sounded amazing, since his tone is so quiet-he had to really lean in, his mouth right against the mic. His baritone voice sort of rumbled the room. “When I was in high school, the problems of furries and humans, was a fact. A few humans went to the high school I attended, and were bullied, some even killed. The path of my life, was unknown to me when I was about 18. My father just said ‘do what feels right.’ Vague, but I got it, and it is the advice I give to my own son usually.
When I came across my first dead body, I knew…I needed to try and stop evil. I became a detective, I lived alone-well, I had two previous relationships. One with a male and one female, I’m single however, no time for relationships.”
Leonard sighs a bit and looks into the audience.

“Once I joined the force, I realized I was lonely. I would drink too much, come into work unprepared, and smoke way more than I do now. I remember, my decision to adopt someone, was actually quite astonishing. Me being a dad, probably shouldn’t happen. With my life, the kid would end up screwed up and practically fatherless.
Once I discovered Chris, and read his back story about how he was abused-how his happiness and hopes-were being squashed by his two parents, I couldn’t let it go on. I’d lose sleep thinking about him and humans like him. I got fed up, signed papers-and I can truly say, that I am so proud of Chris. He is such a….kind, empathetic, curious young man. While I’m not much into hugging, I can sincerely say I’m proud of him everyday-watching him grow, ask questions and learn. The facts of his special needs, I didn’t even really think of. While it was a learning curve, we both now get each other-we communicate well and as I’ve said, I wouldn’t have him any other way. Sure, he gets angry, envious of those who can maybe perform more tasks, but this is all part of emotion. Chris is a wonderful human who tries his best every day, and that’s all I can ask of him.
Grades don’t mean much, because I know he reads material and he has an interest in classes. What furs have to realize-is that humans are not too different from us. If we want, our society to grow, if we want less violence, if we want to be more open…we NEED to let humans into our lives. We need to realize our own strengths and weaknesses; we need to over come this petty racism that seems to divide us. Let’s work together, because furries aren’t perfect either. Not accepting humans, is as silly as alienating cats or Avians. Humans are part of our society, whether we like it or not. We can either rot and die a petty race who never opened there minds, or we can grow the hell up and look at ourselves, and be better. Thank you so much for being here.”

He nods, the audience again erupts into a thunderous applause. About twenty minutes later, Leonard steps out, his tie a bit loosened. He had no issue taking picture with furries and humans who had really wanted to meet him. He even signed a few copies of the magazine he was in. Chris, John and Leonard had left the party early, all of them were tired. Leonard actually enjoyed himself at this event, he liked talking to an audience, he enjoyed getting pictures with others-but he would never really admit it, well…maybe to Chris he would. As he left the building and drove home, a smile formed across his face-not a smirk, but a genuine, happy smile-and why did he smile? Why did this whole event happen in the first place? His son…he realized he truly would be nothing, without Chris….

END.

Extention (Leonard #2)

PLOT: Leonard-the gruff, British detective is now on a case in which a furry is murdering humans. Along the way, he meets his new partner and learns about how deep his son and him are truly connected…

EXTENSION
(LEONARD #2)
AARON B.

PART 1: AND SO WE CONTINUE….

The black lab kept his paws folded on his lap, furries around him crying, some bawling. Indeed, Leonard did have a giant lump in his throat-and found it hard to compose himself, but took deep breaths-and indeed looked depressed-because he was, his eyes got misty. He slowly rubbed them-he looked down at the grass beneath his feet, his muzzle down.
He felt the warm air hitting the top of his head-the wind crept up inside of his all black suit and tie. The clouds, a dark shade of grey-everyone had been slightly wet being that it had rained earlier as the coffin was being carried to the burial site.
This was the final part of the funeral, the coffin smooth, wooden-engraved the name of Leonard’s son-Christopher Keaton.
The coffin stood in a large hole in the ground-with all the furries surrounding it.
A priest stands in front of the coffin-and while Leonard wasn’t religious, his son was very interested in Catholicism-he held the beliefs of a Catholic of belief in Jesus and God, he did not get communion however. The brown and white spotted deer dressed in Clerical clothing clears his throat and speaks, finishing his statements, his voice deep and very commanding. “When you leave here shortly I hope that, like me, you will do so with a real sense of having shared in something special, for a very special young man. But for the moment please remain seated whilst we listen to a few minutes of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, and so we meet then, to say goodbye, and to reflect in a simple, private way on Christopher Keaton’s life….” Leonard sheds a single tear, being that his son loved classical music, Moonlight Sonata was his favorite classical piece of all time. Bosco the beagle places his paw on his shoulder….once they all saw Leonard breaking down-the depression grew that much more.

The black lab snaps open his eyes and falls out of bed-he grunts as his head hits the night stand beside his bed. He falls on his left side, the thick, blue covers still wrapped around his toned body. Some strands of black fur ended up on his large, king sized bed. He slowly stands up, his bedroom was quite large, he had his own bathroom-a large window covered the ceiling-the sky was dark blue-he check the black alarm clock, which had tipped after he had fallen out of his slumber. The time was 5:00AM. Leonard sighs annoyingly, being that he knew now he wouldn’t even bother getting back to sleep-his son needed to be up at 5:30. The canine sits on the edge of his bed, a slight chill went through him-he was nude after all. A deep sadness still went through him, he tried to remember that none of that nightmare mattered-that everything was as it was…Chris is fine…Chris is fine…Chris is fine were the words that he whispered to himself.

He stands up and opens his large closet-his clothes hung neatly, all color coded.
His causal clothing on one side, his dressy clothing on the other-he often meshed both styles together however. He put on a grey dress shirt, a black tie, black faded jeans and dress shoes. He got his son up, and once he was at school-headed right for the police station.

He’d be meeting his new partner, a cop by the name of John Hulbert-well, he had seen him around the office, but had never really spoken to him. In Leonard’s mind, a partner was something he felt indifferent about; he just hoped Hulbert wasn’t too much like most furries, clingy and overly happy.
Leonard signed in; most of the cops were German Shepards. Leonard gave a quick wave to his boss-who was soft spoken and not like most in that field-an all black Doberman. The lab’s office all the way down at the end, he chose to be there. It is quite large, white wallpaper covers the walls, a large wooden desk sits in the middle of the room, and a large leather chair and a Macintosh computer sit by it.

On the other side of the table, near the entrance way to the office is another chair. Sitting by the computer, is a full sized, framed picture of Leonard and Christopher, both smiling (well, Leonard gave off a content smirk; Chris has the biggest and brightest smile a human could ever give.) The photo was taken at a park by a professional photographer.
In this picture, the sun showed brightly, the sky a light color blue-Leo, short of Leonard-his neighbors called him this when they were being playful. Anyway, Leo sat under a large tree, wearing an unbuttoned flannel shirt, a black t-shirt and faded jeans. Chris sat on his lap, with his two arms wrapped around the canine’s bulky neck, wearing a white t-shirt and tan slacks. The human’s left eye slightly cloudy, and while he couldn’t see very well as far as distance, he did quite a good job as far as seeing and knowing where he was. Today, the lab sat at the computer, checking his emails and sipping on some coffee-two scoops of sugar and only a dab of cream.
Behind the desk, is a large window-over looking the city of Boston, where Leonard could sit and watch the traffic go by, and he also enjoyed listening to the distant sound of honks and furries chatting down below. Being that Leo is of course a dog, his hearing is quite incredible.

Suddenly, a Siberian husky enters Leonard’s office-he wears a dark blue cop uniform. His tone is one of optimism and extreme friendliness. His ears stand up straight; they have a slight triangular shape to them. The top of his head has a big splotch of black which goes down the entire left and right side of his body, the backs of his ears are black as well, his face and snout completely white, apart from his brown nose-his eyes a beautiful shade of blue. He smiles at the black lab, looking around his office. He doesn’t seem to have accent, he is in his early twenties, which makes Leonard feel quite old in comparison. “Salutations Detective Keaton! I’m Officer John Hulbert, pleased to meet ya!” He stood at 5’9. Only a bit taller than Leonard. The tone of his voice quite loud for this early, Leonard nods and shakes his paw. “Pleasure to meet you…” When Leonard spoke, the husky would lean in, making sure he caught what he said since he spoke so much softer than he did.

Once the husky turned his back, the lab grabbed a near by container of hand sanitizer from his office desk drawer, and rubbed his paws. Who knew where the husky had been? Officer Hulbert looks around the office a bit, Leonard watches him as he smiles a bit at nothing. “So, Leonard…I’ve been looking so forward to working with you! I read an article about you in a magazine; you adopted quite an awesome human! Jeez, what a cool thing!” Leonard nods and thanks him as he sips his coffee and checks more emails and responds to a few of them, Hulbert sits across from him and hands him the folder he had been holding since the moment he walked in. A yellow folder, filled with photos and case notes. The lab looks at the folder. “This is our case?” he asks in an intrigued tone. The cop nods slowly, obviously not liking what it contained within the folder. Leonard leans back, logs out of his email account and begins shifting through the contents of the folder.
Large, gruesome photographs of dead humans from all different angles invade the lab’s eyes. Photos of dead humans did sadden Leonard-he always respected humans, but now that his son was one, these photos hit him harder than he thought they would. He glances at them and looks at a few of the notes contained within them, all the capture attempts, the killer’s profile, all the normal information. The dog clears his throat and looks at his partner. “So-a furry killing humans? Racist killings I assume? Either that or a human is picking off his or her own kind” The husky nods. “Yes-we’ve identified the killer as a furry, but have not been able to catch him. I will say too, when furries have killed humans in the past-the bodies are often more beaten…violated maybe, but these bodies hardly have a scratch on them as you can tell. All of them suffocated, judging by autopsies-probably by a plastic bag. It’s all too ‘clean’…this guy knows what he’s doing. We’ve found five bodies. I mean, all of these cases started off as missing human cases-and all were found dead within a short period of time. We also have to go investigate a new body we found, just outside of where you live.” The lab sighs deeply, trying not to show the nervousness that flowed within him. He felt like he should run to his son’s school, pick him up and not let him leave. Hulbert senses his nervousness right away-the husky had a way with emotions, with both humans and furries. Before joining the force, John got a degree in psychology and knew that reading emotions was his strong point, even more so than being a cop even. He leans forward. “Mr. Keaton, I know this case can’t be easy for you b-” Leonard knew exactly what he was doing, the husky was going to try to comfort him, he stopped him right away. Leonard sort of snapped at Hulbert a tad bit, a frown formed across his face. “I’ll be fine. Really…I don’t need calming down.”
The husky nods nervously, not expecting that sort of response. Leonard then swiftly stands up and picks his jacket up and heads to the cruiser with Hulbert…

A light rain falls from grey clouds, thunder rumbles in the distance and the rain becomes harder. Leonard turns on his windshield wipers and looks straight ahead, and not much traffic is on the road-so the lab felt he could be sort of in his own world and relax a bit-but relaxing wouldn’t happen. Leonard took a deep breath, trying to prepare himself for seeing a dead human for the first time in front of him. Hulbert turns on the radio, light guitar music plays-but then the black lab instantly shuts it off. “How can you listen to music at a time like this? Have you no damn respect?” The husky leans back in the passenger side chair and twiddles his paws and says not a word. He watches the rain bounce off the hood of the cruiser, feeling quite bored. Hulbert then grabs his slightly curled black and white tail and flicks it playfully a few times. “Detective, you okay?”
Hulbert was so used to furries being talkative, even the cops and other agents were a little more light hearted than Leo was. Sure, maybe some of the cops weren’t as bouncy and optimistic as John was-but they still spoke of other cases or what they were going to do after work, but to have a furry sit and just drive with no conversation going was taboo. “Why would I not be okay?” Leonard finishes his coffee in one swig. Hulbert glances at Leonard. “I don’t know, you seem…sad maybe?” Leonard shrugged and glanced at the cop, who was looking straight at him-trying to analyze his mannerisms. “I’m…content for now…” Hulbert crosses his legs and looks at the rain. “Sir, what’s it like having a human son? If you don’t mind me asking.” Leonard took a moment to think of how he would word it. “It is bitter sweet, my son is extremely kind and loving-but on the other hand, and I tend to worry about him way too much. The racism that could happen, I mean…he’s been abducted once…by a madman…I developed depression after that, but my son helps me with it…just by being there and chatting. He changed my life.” Hulbert smiled a bit, thinking fondly of Chris and how his life must be. “That’s so sweet, ummm…what was his life like before you came along? His old dad could not have been as cool as you!” Leonard shrugged. “Me? Cool? Hm, you’re the first furry to say that. Well, his biological parents were abusive, sadly. His father locked him in a closet everyday…his mother was a meth head-Christopher was malnourished and feared being killed by his angry father…he still has night terrors about it all. That can be tough.” Hulbert felt a lump go up into this throat. “Who could do that to a human? Gosh, that sucks…”

As the cruiser pulls up to the crime scene, Leonard and Hulbert quickly hop out, there is the body of a human in an alleyway, yellow police tape blocks the way in. A few cruisers are parked in front of the crime scene, red and blue lights flash all around the area. The rain is nearly pouring now, causing the black lab to shiver a bit, he zippers his jacket.
In back of the dead human is a dead end, a wall to be exact-the body was not very well hidden at all, not like the others were.

Leonard flashes his FBI badge to a few furries in uniform, some are taking photos of the body and some are speaking of the case in private.
Some pedestrians try to take a look at the body, but are quickly shoved away. The alley way is narrow; two large, dilapidated red brick buildings are on either side of Leonard as he walks up to the male human, his eyes wide open-a look of pure terror on his face.
Hulbert hands Leonard a pair of blue plastic gloves, as the officer puts some of his own on, he kneels by the body and lightly touches the carcass’s pale skin. “Suffocated, just like the others. Why was this body put out in the open? All the others were so well hidden.” Leonard bends down and looks into the human’s face-he is not much older than Chris, only eighteen, the canine sighs.
“How can this killer live so close to us, and yet we have no idea who is? This crime scene is so close to my house…only about half hour, dammit it all, I hate my job sometimes.”
John Hulbert nods slowly and watches Leonard examine the body a bit-but knows he’d be seeing the carcass up close during the autopsy, so he abruptly left, John quickly followed as his new partner headed for his police cruiser…

As Chris was on his phone during break, he had been chatting with some furries, most of which were his friends or acquaintances. Chris was very much accepted with open arms, with maybe one or two bullies. Trust me, once Leonard Keaton got mad at you-you never in your right mind would want to make him mad again, and you especially never would want to say anything like a racial slur or sexual comment around the lab, sure you could talk about that stuff…but only when Chris wasn’t around. The lab wanted to keep his son slightly sheltered from sexual things especially, I mean-Chris knew how it all worked, but as far as BDSM and leather or pole dancing and all that-Chris was pretty oblivious. Leonard felt that information shouldn’t hit Chris’ mind yet, the human asked questions about everything he learned-so he didn’t want some furry to get the wrong idea about his son. Leonard knew very well what to say in front of his son, and he rarely kept things secret-but he did indeed keep his cases secret. Can’t have Chris worried about the evil that some furries and humans have done in the city of Boston. As Chris was on the internet, he started to get slightly nervous when he saw various news reports of some furry killing humans…luckily; his friends were with him to keep his mind off of it for a while at least.

The young man walked down the street, Chris was home from school at this point, Leonard was still working-but being that a sitter was looking after his son, and he had plenty of time to look over the pieces of this killer’s trail. The rain had stopped, but the roads were quite wet. The human had never really been in this ‘furry town’ before-he walked right past the school Chris went too-the day was quite nice, spring was surly coming around the corner. The human sat on the curb of a near by sidewalk, he brushed his slightly long hair out of his face. No one was around, school was out and this human was just taking everything in-secretly hoping he’d see a furry since he secretly loved them.

The eighteen year old looks up as a large pick up truck stops in front of him; it is silver and quite beat up looking. The smell of cigarette smoke emanated from inside of the truck hit the human’s nose as he backs away. Stepping out of the large vehicle is a Saint Bernard. Dressed in a grey sweatshirt and baggy black jeans, with large brown boots. Everything about this furry was huge-his gut hung out slightly, he is about thirty years of age perhaps. His shoulders wide, his arms toned-much more toned than Leonard. The dog looks down at the human, his eyes sunken in-the young man clears his throat.
“C-can I help you?” The dog looks around, no traffic is on the road, no furries or humans are about. The teen becomes a bit frightened, as this Saint Bernard could easily just rip his head off if he wanted too. The dog has a deep, southern accent, but sounded very trustworthy as he spoke. “Yes, I’m lost…could you direct me somewhere?” The human then sighs of relief, this was his first meeting with a furry-he wanted to make a good impression. “Yeah, sure man! I mean-I-I’ve never been here…really…”
The dog smirks a bit. “Oh…well…I’m looking for a place to eat. However, if you can’t help me-don’t worry, young human.” The teen blushes. “This is the first time I’ve met a furry…s-so I’m kinda at a loss for words.” The dog extends his paw. “Howdy, name is Jeffery!” “Alan is my name, Jeff! Nice to meet a furry!” Right as the human grabs his paw, he is pulled to the ground-the force felt like a weight hitting him. The teen grunts as he hits the pavement and is knocked out for a moment, just enough time for Jeffery to hold the human down effortlessly with one arm, grab the plastic bag he had in his pocket and swiftly put it over the human’s head. Alan squirms, but with this canine holding him, it really did nothing. The beast was strong…the human tries to scream, but feels the air just escaping his lungs, the plastic tight against his skin, not being able to turn his head-Jeff then proceeds to take the back of the human’s head and slam it twice against the pavement, causing a terrible crack and blood to splat on the clear bag…Jeffery slowly stands up, looking at the dead teen. Seeing his pale face, frozen forever in terror. The dog walks back to his vehicle and whispers to himself. “Fucking human scum…”

PART 2: MORE PIECES

The black lab would not find out about Alan for a while, he loosened his tie and sat in traffic. The time was seven thirty; Chris would be hungry when he got back. Leonard hoped that he would calm down once he saw his son’s smile and his optimistic demeanor-see a few years ago, Leonard would go home, take a walk and have a cigarette. Now, he would talk to his son about his feelings and the two would either watch TV or even go out to eat, great trade. Christopher sat on the couch after eating dinner, and the article he had read about the furry killing humans swirled in his brain, and he knew he should talk to his dad about it if it worried him so much. From his mannerisms, his dad seemed slightly overwhelmed; he had for the past two days or so. His son knew it was cause of work and solving crimes-how couldn’t that weigh on someone after a long time?
As much as Chris wanted to see his dad, he had been worn out due to school-so his dad helped him to bed.
Leonard sat on the couch, wearing a red bathrobe-looking blankly at the television screen, watching himself as news reporters had interviewed him about the Saint Bernard. He wasn’t a fan of being on camera, he hated his looks and his voice-even though other furries and humans loved his gravely and British tone. The time now was about nine o’ clock, beside the couch is a small table which Leo sometimes ate on if he was hungry. Sitting on the small table, his iphone. It began to ring, Leonard slowly picked it up-John Hulbert was calling him, his tone chipper. “Heeeey Leonard! How are things?”
The black lab turns off the television and lies down on the couch. “Can not sleep-thinking about our case-you?” The husky lets out a ‘mhm’ as he lies in his bed. “Say, I found out something-one of our cops found a new body, an eighteen year old human named Alan-guys at the office are checking everything on this body, maybe we’ll hit something?” The lab doesn’t say  a word as he stares tiredly into the ceiling-listening to the husky’s tone and imagining his demeanor, made Leonard feel a bit better. Chris had done the same, but now that his mind was back on the case, his slight happiness disappeared and turned to worry. “John? This case…is weighing on me. I rarely take work home with me, but looking at photos of dead humans, sprawled out and terrified, gives me a lot of worry.”
Leonard was shocked he had said his true feelings to his partner, but he guessed if they couldn’t be honest with each other, then they’d be a bit distant and not on the same page emotionally. Not that Leonard felt emotions were of primary concern-heck, the dog was good at holding in emotions, but he also knew holding things in for too long was not good, the husky frowns a bit. “Leonard, if you need to take time off-you can. I know…with your human son, the worry must be that much more powerful. I wish him and you the best.”
“I should be fine John-speak to you tomorrow, bye.” The lab then hangs up on him, not letting him get another word out. Leonard heads upstairs to his large bed and falls into a light sleep.

Monday morning, Chris woke up feeling quite happy, and one of his routines was to take pictures of his dad-while also sort of poking fun at him while he made his son cereal. Leonard would sort of ignore him, but maybe give a quick smile if Chris said something amusing. However, Leonard had a lot on his mind; the humans that this unknown furry killed were in the morgue, some had been autopsied, the newest victim, Alan had not been thoroughly checked yet, Leonard was going to do that today. Chris had asked him a few times if he was okay, and Leo nodded of course, but his son could read between the lines and he knew when his father was overly stressed. In this case, Chris often showed his dad all the pictures he had of him on his phone to lighten the mood, and it was nice that Chris didn’t mention the serial killer furry.Once Chris was at school, Leonard sat at his desk-looking over Alan’s file. He wore a grey dress shirt and brown jeans; sort of listening to conversations being held by other cops. Poor guy, just an innocent human who wanted to see what a ‘furry town’ would be like, murdered in front of a school, Leonard sighed and took the framed photo of he and Chris and stared at it for a moment-the image of Chris being murdered didn’t leave his mind. Suddenly, officer Hulbert came in. “Detective? Boss wants to see you.” He gives a quick smile before leaving.

The Doberman wore a grey suit, his office larger than Leonard’s, the black lab sat with his legs crossed across from a desk. His expression read concern; Leonard was a bit baffled as to why he was called down so early in the morning. The black lab sits down, the boss’s office looks almost identical to Leonard’s-he wore a name tag that read Mr. Hermin. His tone calm, but very concerned. “Leonard, I know this case has been sort of stressful for you?” The lab sighs a bit, he hated when people harped on emotions, but he knew it was something that the majority of furries did…so he tried not to be rude about the whole thing, even though really-he wanted to say some comment that may land him in trouble. “I would say perhaps being that I have a human son, I am thinking of the whole case differently. I however am not having trouble with it-I am fine with it. This is my job.” Mr. Hermin looks at his employee in the eye, not really believing him, his ears that normally stuck up, drooped a bit as he could read Leonard’s true concern, he could tell he had not gotten much sleep, Leonard always took home a lot of the case files he had to work on-and Mr. Hermin figured that his poor son perhaps didn’t get to spend a lot of time with him.

“Leonard, I want you to take a break from the case. You look tired and frankly-with the work load you bring home, you must be overworked. I normally applaud employees for bringing home work, but in your case-I want you to go home tonight and spend time with your son. Okay? Please, do not think I don’t want you back-I do. John Hulbert told me how you felt about this case, and I’m concerned. I’m not speaking as your boss-but as your friend.” He truly was overworked; he always looked at the images of the humans dead-which even in nightmares invaded his brain. The detective clears his throat softly, stands up and leaves-his boss didn’t bother calling him over, he just hoped he would take the advice to heart. Leonard had always been somewhat of an enigma to Mr. Hermin, he liked him surly.

However, he was often worried that maybe Leo had depression; in fact it wouldn’t surprise him. He also knew of the happiness Chris gave him, so that did put his mind at ease. Still though, who was Leonard deep down? He knew about his past and his accomplishments-he knew about all the detectives and police. Mr. Hermin had Leonard’s file, his picture, his resume-but who was Leonard? What did he constantly think about? Was he secretly yearning for emotional support, and just didn’t ask? Or, was he truly as even leveled as he appeared to be? He certainly wasn’t emotionless-he had seen photos of him with his son, which is the happiest you could see Leonard being, the happiness is certainly genuine, his determination is also real. Still, Hermin had never seen Leo truly content or truly relaxed; he always looked like he had something on his mind-maybe it was that the lab always thought ahead? What would he do an hour from now? Or, was it deeper? Mr. Hermin decided to just go back to work-but Leonard still dangled at the back of his mind.

The coffee plopped in front of the Saint Bernard, he wore green slacks and a black sweatshirt. He did not speak to the waitress-he had been driving for hours, and he knew he has to flee. Alan’s body was already discovered, if he wanted to continue getting rid of humans, he had to move from area to area. He took a few sips of his black coffee, his pick up truck one of the only vehicles parked in the lott outside of the small café.

The café small, only about three other furries sat in different areas, all on there phones. The building has yellow walls, a few small tables scattered about, tile floors and a glass door at the entrance. Only one black panther wearing an apron worked behind the cash register. She is young, about early twenties perhaps.

Suddenly, a new face walks in-he is tall, same height as Jeffery. His arms quite huge, however-unlike Jeff, this guy is slender. The wolf wears a dark green tank top and faded jeans with combat boots and a large brown belt. He is a grey wolf, yellow eyes, and pointy ears. His chest and stomach, toned. He sits next to the lab and smirks. His accent Southern, but not gravely like Jeff’s. “Hi Jeffery, nice to finally meet you.” He looks over at the wolf and nods, and then goes back to sipping his coffee, completely uninterested in what he has to say. From the sound of his voice, the wolf is probably in his mid thirties. He leans into Jeffery’s face and lifts the velvet, flimsy ear-whispering coldly. “So, humans are your thing huh? You do good work-but if we leave this place, I can teach you a thing or two to make the…erm…disposal of humans a lot more fun….” Jeffery nods, finishes his coffee and goes out to follow this new comer, they walks into the warm evening.

The sun gone, street light unlimited the outside of the café parking lott, they walked straight ahead to a red truck.
“Blaze is the name-I have a truck, but will need to get rid of it…can’t have anyone after me now…plus, one vehicle for the two of us will be easier to manage.” As he spoke, he opened the back door to the truck, a young human girl laid down in the back of the vehicle-wrapped in heavy rope and duct taped, she yelps through the tape-but ultimately, was not able to make much noise. Her hair brown, she wore sweatpants and a sweatshirt, she had been out running when Blaze abducted her. She is about five feet, about eighteen years of age. Tears stream down her face as Jeffery and Blaze stare at her-ready to bring her to Jeff’s secret home…

They threw the human girl in the back seat of the car, Jeffery tossed his keys to Blaze so he could sleep-the wolf’s tail wagged as he hoped in and turned the ignition, the girl hyperventilated-but Jeff fell asleep even so in the passenger side. Blaze turned on some calming acoustic guitar music as the truck sped down an empty highway…

PART 3: ONE WEEK LATER: THE ABDUCTION OF LAUREN GARDNER

The afternoon was quite pleasant; Leonard and Chris took a hike through a near by park, just the two of them. Chris took about one hundred pictures of his father, most without his consent. He even took some video, asking his father about all different kinds of topics, food, movies, and music-the usual topics Chris liked-and his father didn’t just give one worded answers, the two had a nice conversation going.

Leo’s favorite food was answered as ‘anything that’s edible’, he didn’t have a favorite movie-and for music, he spoke of a few Jazz artists he liked. Chris knew he would say Jazz, it was the music he and his dad listened to on long drives, plus if Leo was trying to relax, he often would play some in the kitchen. He liked slow jazz, nothing bouncy at all.
The two trekked up a large hill, the sun beating down on them and while Chris’ lack of vision inhibited him a bit, he still loved seeing what he could, feeling the breeze and listening to the various birds outside. Some very nice, full leaved trees surrounded them; the ground was a bit muddy due to the rain that had fallen earlier in the week. Not many furries walked here during this time, one or two maybe-but for Leonard, it was nice to really have the entire trail to himself. Chris spoke in a calmed, but happy tone. “Dad, I want to go to church on Sundays.” The black lab looked at his son, who was apparently getting tired; they had walked up and down hills, through the woods, over branches and under branches for a long while.

The two made it midway up the leafy hill, the lab guided his son to sit down next to him to catch there breath. The outdoors warm, the sun beat down on them, birds tweeted in the air, a brook could be heard in the distance. Trees surrounded them, Chris loved how full of life the woods were, made he and his father feel content. “Church? Well you can go-on a bus that comes early on Sundays. Or, I could take you if you want me there.”
Chris looked at Leonard. “Dad, I thought you were an atheist?””I am, but I would go-whatever. If I do not have too much work to do. Anyway, you look tired-let’s head back.” Chris sat in the passenger side of the Subaru, his legs ached a bit-but knew it was good exercise. Leonard smiled a bit as he looked at his son and pulled out of the park to head home. Leonard spoke in a calm and content tone as the Subaru coasted down the road. “Son, there is a nice man I know-his name is John Hulbert, he is my partner and I may have him watch you if I go to the office late. Is that okay?”
His son nods. “H-he’s a police man? That’s awesome; yes…I would like to meet him.” Leonard nodded. “John is very hyper and energetic, and very caring. If you do a nice job with him-I think I’ll have him watch you more, if you like him of course. He loves humans, I think you will like him, you want to meet him?” The human nods…

John jumped at the opportunity to be able to watch a human, Leonard had left the two alone one afternoon so he could get some paper work done at the library. John sat with Chris on the couch, the husky’s tail wagged; he and the human exchanged bad jokes and watched random television shows. It was as if the two were old time cousins or family members, after watching TV, the two went out to eat, the husky and human sat across from each other-only drinks were on the table as of right now.
“Your father is such a good person, he’s been busy at work. Does he seem…stressed to you?” Chris shrugs a bit. “A bit m-maybe. He’s so kind to me though, and listens to me-he doesn’t talk much. Well, I mean-it’s not l-like he talks a lot. He’s busy with work, as you p-probably know.” John folded his paws up to his chin. “You like being a human?” Chris smiled. “I g-guess….I don’t really think about it. I used to get bullied a b-bit, but dad talked to the students personally. H-he was mad….but now things are good.” The husky got a bit of a shiver. He could imagine Leonard getting angry-it must not be a pretty sight. “I’m sure your dad is very protective of you, which is good! I’m glad to consider you both friends-if you WANT to be friends of course!”
He playfully taps Chris on the shoulder and smiles, Chris chuckled at the husky’s enthusiasm. “O-of course!” Once Chris’ and John’s food came-they discussed what they would do once they got home, John paid for both meals.

The black lab had been in the library for about three or four hours, Hulbert sent him frequent texts as to what he and Chris were up to. Leonard smirked every time he got a text from him, and really the fact that his son was with an officer, made his worry go down a lot. It’s not easy to look at photos of murdered humans-humans that had families, cousins, brothers-most of which were the same age as Chris, and as he looked at the case files more and more, the worry of something happening to Chris-either at school, on the school bus or at home is Leonard had to go out for a moment, crept into his heart and brain, he swiftly shook his head to get the imagery out-and it helped for a few moments, maybe a bit more. The good part was, was that the latest victim-Alan had left a clue behind-a slight paw print on his neck-and while the department had even gotten as far as identifying the murderous furry as Jeffery-no sign of him was around. It was like he vanished. Leonard sat at a large table, book shelves surrounded him and large windows all around the walls let in bursts of warm sunlight. He loosened his grey tie and unbuttoned the top of his dark purple dress shirt. He sipped bottled water and read over Alan’s file, and the slight paw print seemed to be the only clue-a big clue yes, but finding Jeffery wouldn’t be easy. Leonard had realized he had been at the library for too long, he packed up his laptop and threw it in his black backpack-he preferred backpacks from briefcases or something more ‘work appropriate’. He threw it in the back of his car.

He rolled up his sleeves as he pulled out of the parking lott, he would be very happy to see his son again. He guessed Chris and John were at home, relaxing or reading or something. Actually, not reading-John and Chris were probably talking up a storm, John could most likely not sit through reading an entire book. As the lab drove down the small highway back home, he turned on the radio and light jazz began to play, as he reached a stop light-he surprised himself by reaching into the glove compartment and grabbing a cigarette, rolling down the driver’s side window and lighting it. Why was he smoking now? Stress? Anger? Sadness? All three? Very rarely did Leo smoke, maybe once a month-but he truly wanted to stay healthier, for the sake of his son.
He puffed away at it and the traffic began moving again, John had sent another text-the lab perhaps stupidly reached into the pocket of his tan pants and glanced at it.

He suddenly heard the sound of an oncoming pick up truck-he felt his Subaru swerve to the left, along with the sound of a deafening and heart stopping crash. He barked out of pure terror. The car ended up off the highway and into the grass beside the road. The car’s horn went off and on, off and on repeatedly. Glass from the left side of the windshield had sprayed on the dog, the driver’s side door completely flew off its hinges, the car did not tip over, it had only spun a few times. Leonard sat in the seat, unable to move…the dog looked down at his leg and saw a large shard of glass protruding from his thigh, blood dripped slowly onto the grass, the pain started creeping up the side of his right leg and only got worse, Leonard grunted as he moved his leg and spoke, his words separated by gasps of air. “Shit…shit…fuck…fuck…” Leonard slowly unbuckled his seat belt, luckily nothing else was broken, sure his face has a nice and bloody bruise on the side of the accident, but that hardly mattered-and the glass could be pulled out by a doctor. He didn’t dare stand up, he breathed heavily as he fell to the ground, the grass tickled his chin a bit as he slowly crawled out of his vehicle, the horn was starting to give the dog a migraine. The dog cussed and coughed with every movement he made-how could the day get worse? It did, once he was met by none other then Blaze…

PART 4: DESCENT

John Hulbert started to worry about Leonard, he rolled up the sleeves to his red flannel shirt-it was nearly supper time and no sign of him was about, Chris was sort of worried-but really, when Hulbert was around, not many negative emotions hit him.
It was strange, because if any other person had been house sitting for Chris, the human would be normally at the window like a little kid waiting for one sign of his parent and hero to come home.
John was so happy and collected. Chris sat on the couch; John glanced at the human, the husky smiled. “Chris, you want something to eat?” Chris smiled back nervously. “O-oh…I couldn’t ask you to do that, sir!” The dog spoke and ruffled the human’s hair. “You’re hungry! I knew it!” He stood up and headed for the kitchen, Chris glanced at the badge sticking out of the back pocket of his blue jeans and felt a bit more comfortable, he listened to his white squeaky sneakers, Chris limped to the kitchen table. “C-can I have a sandwich? Any k-kind will do!” The husky was extremely happy he didn’t have to cook-not that he would have cared, but cooking in someone else’s home was a bit awkward for him. “D-do you want me to make it, John?” He grabbed the bread and various meats from the refrigerator. “Nah-sit down and relax and I’ll do it!” Chris smiled, usually Leonard forced him to make his own food if it was possible-but John seemed insistent on doing it for him. Chris sat down and spoke. “M-mr. Hulbert? Where is dad? Have you heard from h-him?” John glanced over his shoulder as he got the sandwich ready and put on a plate. “You don’t need to call me ‘sir’ bud..and no, I have not. I’m sure he’s fine-your dad is a spitfire!”

The toned black dog was slapped awake, the glass did not protrude from his leg, but it did bled out onto the wooden floor of the cabin a bit-the pain was unbearable. Leonard is shirtless, his paws bound by thick rope. Blaze stood in front of him, this cabin is one floor, very bare, a bed in the corner. Only one glass window can be seen, on top of the bed is a teenage girl. She has long brown hair, she has an average body-she is knocked out. Blaze walks around, Jeffery is behind Leonard, making sure he does not escape. Blaze speaks in a cocky and menacing tone, Leonard is not really phased by his talk though. “Detective Leonard Keaton! Look at you! You know, I normally don’t kill furries-humans are my game…buuuut you’re interesting. You’re…different…I’ve read about you and your human son, maybe I’ll give him a visit-he seems nice.” The lab looks directly into Blaze’s eyes and gives an angry scowl. Blaze knew how to get to Leonard, threatening his son was the key. “Fuck you!” The red tailed wolf makes a fist and punches Leonard twice, causing blood to fly both left and right. “Leonard, I’m not going to kill you. You are so depressed, so insignificant…that killing you might be bliss. Look at the human girl over here though-what if I were to hurt her?” The dog wiggles in his chair a bit, knowing that nothing could really be done-if Blaze wanted to kill her, he could right now. Blaze turns around and smirks. “Leonard, I’m going to leave-but Jeffery will be here to keep you company. I need to find some information about your home and Chris…plug some stuff into the GPS and then-I can see your lovely home!” Leonard’s heart pounds in his chest, a feeling he rarely got-terror had gripped him.

If Chris were to die, Leonard felt he’d have no one to live for, no one to care for-thoughts swirled in his head, but as Blaze left the cabin, he took deep breaths, trying to keep his thoughts concentrated on escaping. The dog’s sense of smell was now at an all time high, detecting anything; he cocked his head left and right. Jeffery suddenly stepped in front of him, the mangy dog looked into his face, his deep Southern accent sending Leonard into an angry and scared state.

“Leonard, for so long you couldn’t find me…ME…a two hundred pound, six foot Saint Bernard serial killer! The plastic bags, I still like them-but more on that later. Once I met Blaze, I knew my mission of disposing of humans would be-easier. I did everything wrong, all wrong-I had killed so many of them quickly…that I didn’t saver it! The joy of destroying this awful species! Lauren, this human girl-will be my first true kill. You’ll be here to see it, and then you’ll be there when we go to your ever loving son Chris, and knock the shit out of him. Should be easy…” The dog pats Leonard’s shoulder and sits a few feet away from Leonard and Lauren. The black lab knew that the poor girl was still alive, she was covered in dirt, Leonard’s amazing ears picked up her shallow breathing, but she’d need medical attention. Most likely, the two had drugged her. Leonard turned to face the window and saw a grey hummer parked out front, the lab looked down, a plan forming in his head, and the problem was? Leonard was five feet, eight inches, Jeff was a whopping six feet, over weight and his punches most likely would knock Leonard out at this point and time.He figured if he wanted to fight him, he’d have to wait until he left-kill Blaze and then deal with Jeff once he was standing and pumped with energy-so waiting is what Leonard did.

An hour slowly passed, Lauren had tossed and turned a bit, but Jeffery would terrify her if she made too much movement. Leonard sat morosely, Jeff hardly said a word. Leonard had never been abducted before-but luckily, he had run through scenarios on how to escape. Not thinking he’d ever really need these tactics of course….
As evening fell, John got Chris to lie on the couch and ready to sleep-he had insisted on sleeping on the couch so he could hear his dad’s vehicle pulling up and greet him with affection. The husky spoke to the human. “Chris, I’m going to find out where your dad is, get some sleep and when you wake up-he should be here. Okay champ?” Chris smirked and nodded, completely trusting his new friend, Chris gave him a light hug. Hulbert walked into the kitchen and looked at his phone, he tried dialing Leonard’s number again-but not even an answering message came up. He then decided to call Mr. Hermin, luckily it was early enough that the Doberman answered. “Mr. Hermin, its John Hulbert! I’m looking after Leonard’s son, and his father is not home yet-and…I really want to make sure he’s okay, could you maybe put a trace on him or find out anything? It’s just…with our line of work, if he’s in trouble-that’s obviously a sign to worry.”
The Doberman smiled a bit, even though this was going on, John still sounded optimistic. “John, I can certainly do that-I guess I’d be concerned as well. I will call you with any updates, okay? Maybe I’ll try tracing his number or something.”

Jeffery and Blaze had both gone out to get supplies, the sun had now set-the cabin was lit by solar lights. Leonard was exhausted; his eyes like weights as he sat in the wooden chair, and it was at this moment, that Lauren decided to fully wake up-she knew that screaming would be horrible, in case Blaze and Jeffery were close by. The girl speaks in a terrified and soft tone. “You’re n-name is Leonard?” The dog speaks in his usual monotone voice. “Yes…I am a detective.” She really loved his gruff British accent. “I’m Laura Gardner-too bad I’m going to be dead…” The lab sighed. “Don’t say that-Lauren, we’re getting the hell out of here. Keep calm, I-I have a few ideas, I want you to listen to me very carefully.” A lump formed in her throat, she all of the sudden felt extremely uncomfortable with doing anything, without the fear of death hanging over her. “Leonard! I’m not a hero! I-I’m not risking my life!” The black lab rolls his eyes-he really was getting too annoyed to take the calm route, his tone became firm, like an angry teacher. “Listen, there are two options here-we sit and die or we fight and see if we can get out-which will it be, young lady? If you choose for us to die, you’ll never see your family and my son will be fatherless…so you choose how you want life to play out…now.” Lauren felt like she could cry, she started too-she sat on the edge of the bed, not looking at the furry detective in front of her, feeling too ashamed and only wishing she had the strength he has. His tone remains somewhat the same, but a bit softer. “Lauren, right now life is not playing in your favor, but you need to push yourself through it-because that’s part of what life is, breaking rules and taking chances, you’re only what? 18? 19? It all can’t end here-find your hidden strengths-and say fuck off to your emotions now. Think of the overall outcome, not the moment you’re in now.” The human girl sits silently, knowing that the dog is right.

The sky is pitch dark, it is now midnight. Blaze and Jeffery contently drove up a driveway, following there GPS. They had never been on-after some digging on a crappy laptop, the two dogs had found out where Chris Keaton lived. It was strange to look at Leonard’s home, it looked so normal. They didn’t really know what to expect, but to see a detective’s home look like anyone else’s, baffled them. One light was on-and John Hulbert was still awake, the two were almost tempted to just go in there and kill Chris in his sleep, then kill whoever else was watching him. They resisted. They wanted Leonard to see the act-to witness his son’s death-to have Chris’ warm blood fly on to the black lab and finally see him break down. To see him sob and wail as his son breathes his last breaths; to them…that was what would be worth it. The silver hummer they now drove in stayed parked in front of the quiet home for a while-but not long enough for John to take notice.

Leonard sat, still tied up, pain throbbing through his right leg and Lauren looking for any sharp object to release the detective. Lauren had mustered up a bit of courage, she knew Leonard was right. It was either help him now, or die. She looked at the sad looking black lab. She pushes her brown hair out of her face, the human felt like she could hug her new friend. “Leonard? I-I wanted to thank you, for being so honest with me.” The lab glances at her, too preoccupied with escaping to let the comments sink in. “Don’t thank me yet…we’re not out of here. Check under the bed for items.” She does so, but does not find anything. Lauren then decides to move the entire mattress off, and under the mattress-is when she finds a large nail, which if used right-could easily shred through the ropes the bind the dog. The toned, shirtless lab smirked as she began to poke, slight tearing sounds could be heard-which filled the dog with optimism. Once he got his wrists undone, the sound of a hummer approaching could be heard, Leonard’s flat ears stood up for a brief moment-Lauren’s heart stopped. “Get under the bed Lauren, now!”

The cabin floor squeaked, the lab slowly stood up, a shooting pain went through his leg. He grunts and cusses under his breath as he grabs the extremely large nail and limps to the wall closest to the large wooden door. The black wolf with the red tail approached the cabin; Jeffery took a nap in the passenger side of the still running vehicle. Leonard held his breath, listening as Blaze’s foot steps become louder-he had one shot to kill him…if he screwed up, he’d probably be dead. Lauren breaths heavily, Leonard could smell the booze he had drunk on the ride home, on his tongue. Silence filled the night for one second, and then the sound of jingling metal filled the lab’s ears instantly.

Blaze was now directly outside the door, fumbling with the large set of keys in his pocket. Leonard held the rusty nail, the sharp end pointed upwards. He gripped it like his life depended on it-which it did. Leo took two deep breaths as the cabin door opened, Blaze walked right past him-he looked around the room, scratching the top of his head-giving the detective just enough time to sneak up behind him. He swiftly jammed the nail into Blaze’s trachea. The wolf fell onto his back with a loud thump, blood flew everywhere. Pure terror and shock was in his face as Leonard ripped the nail out and jabbed it again, causing dark red blood to seep onto the floor of the cabin. Blaze gargled and breathed heavily, his body convulsed a bit-Leo heard the sound of his heart pounding no more.

Leonard’s left paw was drenched in blood, he breathed heavily, his right leg still throbbing in pain and bleeding-he stood up and limped to the door, Lauren stood up and gripped the dog’s shoulder. “I-I’m fine Lauren, stay behind me.”
He had taken the nail with him, but once he was outside of the cabin, he saw the hummer, in an area of tall grass.

The sun was now coming up among the trees, a cold air waved through the wooded area. Lauren had found a large piece of wood with a nail through it, just in case Jeff came after her-they both froze as they saw the giant Saint Bernard step out of the hummer. His footsteps large, his breathing heavy as he stalked towards the two of them, Lauren wanted to back away-but remembered that Leonard was pretty injured.

Mr. Hermin had traced Leonard’s whereabouts, his cell phone had slide out of his pocket as they dragged the detective out of the hummer and to the cabin. Leonard and Lauren stood at the doorway, Jeff came clopping towards them, as he neared closer, and the black lab lunged at him-ignoring his leg pain and headache. Leo had rammed his head into the gut of the six foot tall beast. They both fell into the grass, the Saint Berrnard gave about three punches to Leonard’s head-he became extremely dizzy. He felt like he could throw up, he lies in the dew covered grass, coughing and trying to stand up.

John Hulbert’s patrol car zoomed down the road, sirens blaring and panic through his heart. He had no time to change into his police uniform; Chris was currently at the police station, pacing around the office like crazy with a few German Shepard cops trying to calm him. Once he got the trace and pretty much knew that his partner was in trouble.

Jeffery had knocked Lauren out with one swing, even though she had indeed tried to attack him with her weapon. He then turns to Leonard, who now was standing up and trying to accumulate enough energy to swing a punch at him. The black lab stood, shirtless, covered in sweat, throat burning due to the strenuous attacks he delivered, bruised around the chest area and gut, bleeding from his nostrils and his right pant leg ripped, with a huge gash going down his right leg. As Jeff lumbers towards him, the dog remembers the hummer-what if there was away to get to that for cover? Leo bends down, Jeff then runs for him-breathing heavy and dripping with sweat, he would be delighted to kill off this pesky detective once and for all. As he got three inches from him, Leonard threw a chunk of mud into the dog’s face, he barks in pain and the black lab limped quickly towards the running hummer, he tried to skip his right foot as he ran, for putting pressure on it was what gave it the scream inducing pain.

John Hulbert’s vehicle had trouble going over the terrain of the woods, but he slammed the gas peddle and practically forced the car towards the cabin, he would be there in five minutes-either just in the nick of time…or too late.

Leonard made a small leap and barked in pain as his right leg felt like it had just been struck by lightening; tears rolled down his face as he slammed the hummer door and locked it. He was now alone in the running vehicle-he would have just driven off then…but the gas was nearly all empty, the hummer struggled to keep it self going, Leo pulled the key out of the ignition. Now what? Jeffery slammed the side of the vehicle and laughed. “LEONARD! You’re a tough son of a bitch! I wish you could join me in killing humans, humans were the root cause of so much evil. Us furries, we’re always so kind! IMAGINE a world without humans, no selfishness, and no evilness! Just hugs and shit! JOIN ME! NO MORE HUMANS!” The dog swiftly opened the glove compartment and found a loaded uzi was coming around to the driver’s side to pull Leonard out, the black lab’s ears stood up as foot steps became more and more prominent. He went on his stomach and gripped the door handle to the door, right as the Saint Berrnard reached for the door on the outside, Leonard gave a nice push, Jeff’s head collided with the swinging door, and he falls into the tall grass with a loud thud…the unexpected whack from the heavy car door had sent his brain into a confused and hurt state. Leonard then quickly aims the uzi downward, aiming directly at the dog’s face and pulls the trigger-a loud and bright series of bullets hits Jeff’s skull, blood spurts quickly every which way…leaving his face almost unrecognizable.

The dog drops the uzi as he hears the sound of sirens approach.  John Hulbert comes running out, another officer helped Lauren out-thankfully she was still alive. A few other cops investigated the inside of the cabin, they nearly threw up at the sight of Blake’s body with the large, rusty nail slammed into his throat. Officer Hulbert stepped over Jeff’s body and pulled Leonard out of the large hummer, his breathing heavy, he coughed violently…everything hurt, he was at the point where he could barely lift his leg. John never expected to see Leonard so weak and bloody. John whispers to him and rests Leo’s head on his leg. “You’re a spitfire, Leo….” The black lab does not speak…everything goes slowly dark…

PART 5: DEAR LEONARD

Leonard woke to the sound of a heart monitor beeping at a normal pace. His eyes slowly opened, an IV stuck from his arm, the smell of rubbing alcohol hits his nostrils, his leg still hurt a bit-but not nearly as much as it did before, the black lab’s voice sounded extremely weak-he felt like he had been hit by a train, that’s exactly what Jeffery’s punches had felt like. John sat across from the hospital bed, he had taken a shower and gotten a clean grey t-shirt and some khakis. “Wh-where’s my son?” John glances over as Chris looks at his beaten up father and his stitched up right leg, which was kept up by a small table. The seventeen year old human hugged his father as best as he could, careful not to hurt him, Chris spoke between a bit of crying, but mostly felt relief. “D-dad…I thought you weren’t gonna make it…” Leonard rubbed his son’s shoulder. “I’m a tough bastard, son….” Chris couldn’t help but chuckle-very rarely did his dad swear in front of him-he only did it to see his son smile a tad bit. John spoke softly and sweetly. “What we found in that cabin, Leonard….wow. I just…can’t believe you and Lauren made it out-not without a scratch, but still!” The black lab looks up at the ceiling; Chris now is resting his head on his dad’s chest. “Lauren? I-is she….” John stands up. “Alive and well, she is in a different hospital, but she gave you a note-I left it by your bed. I gotta go to the office to fill out this case; I might come back later to ask you stuff. Want Chris to come with me?”
Leo looked down at his son, who was most likely about to fall asleep due to the fact he had been up worrying all night before hand. “No John, I want him to stay. Text me with any updates….” The black lab pauses, then speaks again.

“John, I want to thank you so much. You’ve made my son so happy, and you saved me back there. It’s…so interesting that, before I adopted my son, that if I had been in that same situation a few years ago-I wouldn’t have cared whether I lived or died. As you know, I was drinking a lot then and smoking-health could go screw itself. Now that Chris is here though-all I was thinking about was he and you when I was trying to escape from those two sickos, you and Chris are two of the only individuals who keep me wanting to breathe. Amazing how life works, hm?”

John smiles a bit and shakes his partner’s hand and pats Chris lightly. “Until we meet again, Detective, good bye Chris. See ya soon!” Chris felt his father become more relaxed, the dog then rests his eyes, not so much sleeping-but meditating. Chris had awoken after about an hour, Leonard had fallen asleep. Chris had forgotten he was in a hospital room, he looked at the white walls, the television set a few feet away from his dad’s bed, he listened to the rhythm of his dad’s breathing and the smell of medication kind of annoyed him. He kept his head where it was and just became calm; he had gone through so much anxiety that his body was physically tired. He didn’t quite know what had happened to his dad, but whatever it was-was bad and maybe someday Leo would give his son the full story. The human slowly stands up, seeing his father sleep in such a calm state was rare, he then limps over to the side table of the hospital bed, glances at the framed photo of he and his hero and reads the note left by Officer Hulbert, maybe now he could get more of the story?

Dear Leonard,
My name is Lauren, I’m that girl you saved in the cabin in the woods.
I just wanted to say one final thank you, your courage and your firm but inspirational words, moved me more so than I thought they did. When Blaze and Jeff kidnapped me, I truly saw my life flash before my eyes-I tried to imagine all the things I hadn’t done, all the people who would miss me and my parents, who would attend the funeral of there teenage daughter.
When I saw a furry tied up to the chair, I admit I was skeptical as to how both you and me would escape-but once you started speaking I knew how smart you were. Sure, you’re probably not into hugs and ice cream and stuff, but you have an amazing soul. I was able to talk to your partner, John Hulbert right before I wrote you this letter, he told me of your adopted son, Chris-he sounds like a joy and I hope to meet him someday. Leonard, you truly changed my life and pushed me to the limit I had to go to survive, I’ll never forget what you did for me and I wish you and your family the best of luck.
Your Best Friend,
Lauren Gardner

End.

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Meeting Leonard Keaton (Leonard #1)

PLOT: A human living in a furry town meets detective Leonard Keaton who turns his life around…but that does not mean darkness has subsided for the innocent young man.

Meeting Leonard Keaton (Leonard #1)

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 quizzes (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.  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  trembled. “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 factually’ 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, out front 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 uninvited 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