“What do we got?” Detective Borjas steps into the crime scene with his typical cup of coffee. Day or night, you usually will see him with one. He is careful to not spill any on his brown suit that his father helped him pick out, as he doesn’t quite have the eye for style like his father. His green eyes and wavy tied back hair, however, are straight out of his father’s book.
He scans the tiny hotel room that is too expensive for his salary. He sees the victim laying on the bed, naked with his face turned towards the window and old bloodstains that have pooled around his neck.
The room was a single bed in a remote part of the city. This was a hot spot for the rich to hire escorts, more than likely how this went down. Privacy is great until someone is murdered.
The thick blinds would have obscured anyone’s view from the outside, and the magically soundproof doors and walls would have stopped anyone from hearing any trouble. There is no sign of struggle, though. Aside from the tossed aside bedding, everything looks in place for a single king-size room.
“Dead male, Human, Miguel Vasa. Thirty-two years of age, district bank manager for Los Mitichas First National. The victim died from exsanguination, two puncture marks on the neck is where the blood was drawn from,” Dubani, the medical examiner on site, says while looking over the body.
Dubani is an Elvish woman. It is rare for big cities to be the home of the Elvish. What was more unique was that she didn’t practice magic at all. Most Elves practice spirit magic, sometimes arcane. Still, she was just a brilliant scientific mind that everyone was happy to be around. She was the no-nonsense type, but ever since last year’s end of the year party down at the station, people learned that she knows how to let her hair down like the rest of them. Borjas laughs to himself, remembering how he lost forty dollars in a drinking competition with her.
“Any Vamps around?” Detective Borjas chuckles. He then takes a sip checking around the bathroom for clues.
“Very funny,” Officer Chevalier, a Vampire beat cop, says from the door.
“Take it easy, Officer. I know you guys don’t do that anymore,” Officer Borjas comes from the bathroom. The only thing left behind in the bathroom was more than likely the victim’s. “So, who made the call?”
“That would be the cleaning crew. The victim was supposed to be checked out about half an hour ago,” Office Chevalier says.
“Do we have a time of death? And what was his check-in time?”
“Time of death is approximately midnight,” Dubani says, getting her supplies together.
“The check-in time…” Officer Chevalier is cut off by Detective Borjas’ partner walking in, Detective Salib.
“Was also around midnight. Is anyone going to make Borjas here do any police work?” she says, coming in wearing a dull blue suit with her hair tied back. She hated suits, Borjas knew that, but she couldn’t wear her dresses on the job. So she opted for boring little suits and kept her hair in a neat bun. She sported red dragon pupil eyes from her Talon heritage, but somehow she never looked frightening, unless she wanted to. “Geez Borjas, you’re always going to make me do all the work?”
“Well, you’re like my kid sister, I have to show you the ropes,” Borjas throws out behind a smile.
“Kid sister? Have you and your dad been watching those old movies again?” She giggles and her eyes go white as she scans the room.
“You listen here, sister, nobody talks about the greats,” Borjas says, trying to imitate the noir detectives he watches.
“Okay,” Salib says in her ‘I’m rolling my eyes at you’ voice. “Looks like the suspect is a shapeshifter, druid of some kind.” Salib’s eyes return to normal, and walking up to Borjas.
“What did you see?” Borjas says, gulping down the last of his coffee.
“There is a slight astral footprint left behind, and I do mean slight. We know that the suspect killed the victim near-immediately, from check-in time to time of death. Astral force does linger as they have to pull their powers from there to make it happen in our realm. So we’re looking for a person that can shapeshift into an animal that is known for sucking blood and leaving two puncture marks behind.”
“That’s easy enough, it’s got to be an Orc then. Plenty of them are nature types, work in the escort service, and bats are very common among their area up north,” Chevalier chimes in.
“That’s a good guess, but if you wanna get out of the little league’s kid, you have to stop using words like got to be, claro?” Chevalier turns back from the door, clearly irritated with Borjas’ accent and responses.
“Will you stop talking like that? You’re going to get me to do it, and I don’t want to watch old cop flicks with Baba for a week.”
“Well, why not? Mr. Salib is cool people.”
“Fine, then I will remind your mother about her favorite musical. When was the last time you paid her a visit?”
“That’s just dirty, Mal,” Borjas says to Salib. “So all that aside, what are you thinking?”
“What Officer Chevalier said has some points, but it’s too early to narrow it down. More and more people are practicing spirit magic these days, so it’s really just a toss-up. I tried to get some footage of the victim and the suspect walking in.”
“But the privacy, right?” Borjas says before she can finish.
“Exactly,” she returns with another eye roll.
“Can we trace his phone’s location for the last, say, twenty-four hours? See what he’s been up to?”
“I’ll call the boys at the station and get them on that,” Salib says, then pulls out her phone and walks out of the room.
“Excuse me, detective, but I’m all done here. I won’t be able to get you more until I get him to the morgue. Do you need anything else at the moment?” Dubani says.
“Nah, go ahead and tag’em and bag’em,” Borjas says, then gives the room one more look over. Checking under the bed, through the nightstands, and even behind the tv, he can’t seem to find anything. Guess the killer didn’t want to chance it and didn’t waste any time in the room at all. Can’t check the carpet. There has been far too much foot traffic to see if there are any traces of dirt or anything around. Annoyed with the lack of clues he has to go on, he leaves the room and catches up with his partner.
“Did you find anything?” Salib asks.
“Nah, the place is clean. We’re going to have to wait on the test from the autopsy to know more.”
“Yeah, I figured. Well, you can buy me the breakfast you owe me.”
“What? I don’t owe you breakfast.”
“I’m your best friend, you always owe me breakfast,” Salib says, walking towards the exit.
“That’s not how that works. Unless I get food when I show up at your place.”
“Be my guest, but my mom will be the one that cooks.”
“So, I have to pay for your food, but you will let your mom cook my food?”
“I will only cook for me, my husband, and my children.”
“But you’re not married, and you don’t have any children.”
“That’s exactly the way I like it,” she says, smiling and opening the door. They walk out into the morning air. He checks his watch to confirm that it’s only eight o’clock. He decides that it would be a good idea to grab food with his stomach getting on board with the idea.
They hop into his lovely red muscle car, and he fires it up. The car has been his dream for the last couple of years. With a little patience and a lot of planning, he was able to drive it off the lot, not more than a couple of months ago. Salib still was not a fan. She would always hold tight to the seat belt for most of the ride, saying silent prayers to the Dragons as he raced through the city.
After they apply their seat belts, Borjas throws out, “so, what’s on the menu?”
“I’m dying for a nice juicy …”
“Steak,” Borjas interrupts.
“Enchiladas con pollo?” she says, not sure of why he would think she would say steak over Los Mitichas cuisine.
“Well, I know the best place we can get both of those things.”
“For the love of the Dragons, please do not take me there while I’m wearing work clothes.”
“Why do you care? We’re going as friends, and this isn’t a date… ouch!” he says after she twists his ear.
“I am still a woman and care what I look like when I go out.”
“I’m telling on you. That hurt,” he says, rubbing his ear.”
“Oh, shut it you big baby, I could have done worse.”
“You’re right, I’d rather my ear twisted instead of your witch magic.”
“Precisely, now call it in so we can eat when we get to the office.”
“You know, for a badass detective, you’re kind of girly,” he says, backing out of the parking spot and heading towards traffic.
“You say that as if it’s a bad thing. Must I be some tomboy to be a good, badass cop?” The words don’t come out right as she still isn’t quite versed in the art of cursing.
“I mean no, but it’s weird when I’ve seen you fight guys twice my size, and completely pummel them. But you can’t go to any non-fast food joint without dressing up first.”
“Would you let me if I tried?” He thinks on her question for a second.
“Yeah, you’re right, it would be too weird if you did.”
“Cassandra!” The yelling of her mother could be heard all the way downstairs.
“Coming, mother!” she returns after closing her textbooks, with a proper bookmark to save her place. Cassandra jolts the antique spiral stairs and runs to the bathroom where her mother is soaking. Although she is called, she still knocks three times to alert her to her presence.
She walks into the dark bathroom only lit by candles that smell of lavender. The clawfoot tub sits to the far corner with the curtain pushed out of the way, to show the mound of bubbles that her mother is submerged in.
With the hard body of a Drow Goddess, Cassandra admires her mother’s lovely skin. At the golden age of one hundred and eighty, she is still very youthful for a Drow of her years. She was always the warrior, but after being convinced to move to the surface with some rich banker Dark Elf, she turned to a more feminine lifestyle. Now, as she lies in the tub, both sides of her are shown. The flawless skin of hers with well-tended to nails that Cassandra spent several hours on tutorial videos to manage.
“Hand me my phone dear, I believe someone tried to ring me. I would hate to have missed a call from your father,” her mother says. Her voice is rich with promise but stained by her age.
The rich banker, Cassandra corrects in her head. She goes to the small shelf where her mother’s clothes rest and grab her phone. There are no missed calls. Her mother’s mind has been the one thing that has started to decline over the years.
The rich banker caused this when he walked out on her. Cassandra had already made up in her mind that he didn’t walk out on her, though. He only gave birth to a stronger Cassandra.
“Here you are, Mother,” Cassandra says, so sweetly.
“Thank you, dear. I’m so happy we came to the surface, I would have hated for you to endure the harsh life of the Drow. You’re my sweet girl.”
“Yes, Mother, always,” Cassandra replies, looking into her mother’s soft silver eyes, the one’s they both share. Her wet white hair doesn’t quite match Cassandra’s natural color of red, but Cassandra had fixed that with dye. She wanted nothing to do with the rich banker. Not even his stupid hair color.
“I guess my mind deceived me again, child. I hate that I pull you away from your studies.”
“It’s okay Mother, I shan’t think of it. You are more important than moments of study. Is there anything else I can do for you?”
“Stay awhile and keep an old woman company if it shan’t bother you?” Cassandra’s smile is bright.
“For you, Mother, I have all the time in the world.”
“Tell me of your studies, my sweet girl,” her mother says, handing Cassandra the phone and sinking back in the bubbles.
“It’s nothing exciting like your tales of battle you told me as a child.”
“Battles are fought on more than just the battlefields. Legal work, you use your mind as a weapon. That is one I didn’t spend years honing.”
“Mother, you could have done so easily, if you so desired.”
“No child, I don’t want to pass with my sweet girl thinking that her mother is some all-knowing, perfect being. I have the mind for war, not legality.”
“Don’t speak of your passing.” Cassandra kneels beside the tub, grabbing her mother’s hand.
“Dear, worry not. We must all pass to the astral plan at some point. You know that my time is near, don’t worry yourself with it.”
“You still have twenty more years minimal.”
“That’s if I’m lucky, and my mind allows it. We both know that it’s slipping ever further from reality. You can’t protect me from myself always, Sweet Girl. You have your life and your work.”
“You are my life, Mother.”
“Hush now, child,” her mother grips her hand tight and tucks the loose hair from Cassandra’s face. “I don’t want to think I have not prepared you for this.”
“You have, but Mother, I love you.”
“And I, you, child. Knowing that you have these feelings, makes my heart swell. But dear, if you truly love me, know that I am ready to pass. It has been a long hard fight, and knowing I have a child that is a great lawyer and will make a great wife someday does me well. You’re nothing like…”
“Don’t bring up that heartache, Mother. I understand. Shall I change my form to your favorite animal?”
“You spoil me, dear.” Cassandra gets up and releases her mother’s hand. She stands by the door. Her body begins to glow white. As the magic forms around her, her body becomes a blob that starts to stretch into a large body with eight sprawling legs. As the blob gains color, it becomes a massive spider as black as Cassandra’s skin with huge fangs and eight eyes placed all around. Cassandra, in her spider form, shows her fangs and claws. Her mother looks on at her with a wide-tooth grin.
“My sweet girl has become powerful, indeed.”