The smell of sweet onions, peppers, spices, and chicken hit Detective Borjas’ nose, and he can’t resist another second. Taking a big bite of his burrito, then another, and another, he gets lost in the flavors of the famed Taco truck in uptown, Solo Tacos. Which was a weird name as they sold all assortments of Human cuisine. While he made the magic of making his food disappear, Detective Salib looks on with her fork and knife, astonished.
“You know, no one is going to take your food if you eat a bit slower,” Salib says, scooping a little in her mouth but unable to take her eyes off her partner. Borjas grabs a napkin and covers his mouth with them, akin to the way you would put out a fire. Grasping his lemonade and taking a big gulp, he looks at her.
“It’s just how a man eats,” he gives a boyish grin.
“Am I to tell Baba that he is not a man then?”
“Sure, he’s a gentleman. I’m a manly man,” His grin widens.
“So your father eats this way as well?” there is doubt in her voice.
“Come on, Mal, you know this is how I am,” he says, taking another bite, only to realize that it was the last.
“Yes, and I’m still amazed that manners haven’t taken a hold on you yet,” She says, continuing with her slice, dice, and scoop action.
“Come on, Mal, I’ve seen the way you attack burgers when you’re hungry,” He chuckles, but his laughter dies when he sees Salib take her hand off of her fork, and her eyes get a white glow. “Hey Mal, no need to, ouch!” He yells, jumping up from his seat. She changes the chair’s surface to spikes, but he is able to get out of it in time to not take any real damage.
“Would you like to continue your slander?” Salib says, looking over to him, rubbing his backside from the close encounter.
“Well, you know, in these close quarters, I have a huge advantage on a caster like you.”
“And would you hit a woman you call your kid sister?” She says, giving her innocent pout.
“Of course, I would. That’s why you’re my kid sister,” he says, shooting her an evil grin.
“Even when I could just tell your father?” She returns one back to him.
“I have a house I could go to until he forgets about the slight, and he has to catch me first,” he says, then starts to walk around the table. Salib moves her chair around to face the direction that he’s coming from and prepares a spell. Before either of them could start their mischief, there is a knock at the door. They both turn their attention to the door, and when it opens, Dubani steps into their small office.
“Am I interrupting?” Dubani says, her eyebrows raising in suspicion.
No one at the precinct knew for sure the relationship between Borjas and Salib, so in turn, many rumors had been spread. They were going to clear them up someday but found it funny to see how wild some of the stories got. From an arranged marriage, secret lovers, all the way to spies for the southern coast. They had heard it all. The truth is they were just boring old best friends. Almost since birth.
“Nah, Just trying to teach Detective Salib here respect for her elders.” Detective Borjas says, reaching his hand out to Detective Salib.
“And I was just trying to teach him manners,” Detective Salib says, waving her hand near his chair, returning it to normal and taking his kind gesture.
“I could come back in a few if you like,” Dubani says, all business.
“Nah, what’ya have?” Detective Borjas says, walking to the door. She then leads them down the hall and starts to explain.
“I was wrong about the cause of death.”
“Go on,” Detective Salib says, closing their office door and catching up.
“At the crime scene, it looked like the loss of blood was the cause of death, as shown by the victims pale skin, but after doing a toxicology report, I found large amounts of toxins that lead me to dig into it more.”
“What kind of Toxin are we talking about?” Detective Borjas says, but Dubani doesn’t answer, just signals to her lab.
She leads them to the table where the victim lies and starts up again.
“The first thing I wanted to check was if there were any blocks in his arteries.”
“Where there?” Detective Salib asks.
“Yes, there was a block to his major artery stopping the flow of blood to his heart.”
“So it’s a heart attack, right?” Detective Borjas adds.
“Not quite. It would have looked that way if we would have made it there just as the killer left, but this person died from a very rare toxin that is only found in certain spiders.”
“The Subterra Corruptus, also known as the Heart breaker spider.”
“So aside from having one of the most evil-sounding names, what’s so bad about this spider?” Detective Borjas asks.
“It has a particular toxin that travels to the heart, then clots around it, blocking all blood flow to and from it. When the blood can’t return, it finds other places and usually ends up in the stomach. From there, it looks like the victim dies of a heart attack, but it’s actually the toxin that does it.”
“Well, that doesn’t sound like a particularly peaceful way to go. How long does this take?” Detective Borjas inquires.
“Not long. Approximately around about a minute. And it’s quite the opposite of what you think, Detective. It’s actually a speedy process. Yes, there is some initial pain, but before it can become unbearable, you’re already dead.”
“So, if it’s a spider from the Underdark, then the person we are looking for is a Drow or someone who’s spent a good amount of time there,” Detective Salib gathers.
“Good luck with that Kiddo. There are Drow running all over the city, not to mention that anyone worth their weight in gold in business, medicine, Arcane arts, or politics went to a Drow University,” Detective Borjas states.
“That is not an understatement. Even I did my residency in the Underdark,” Dubani proudly proclaims.
“You heard her, lock her up,” Detective Borjas jokes.
“While that’s true, not many people practice Spirit Magic from these areas,” Detective Salib brought to his attention.
“While that’s true, we’re going to have a difficult time going through all the files of people that come from the Underdark or went to school there and finding out if they studied Spirit Magic. Since most Spirit Magic schools are not accredited, and some don’t even go to a formal school to learn,” He returns.
“I know, not everyone goes to school to learn to be a witch like my family and me, but it’s worth a shot,” Detective Salib replies.
“Yeah, I guess we can put the egg heads on it.” He says, scratching his head. “Is there anything else you can give us that may help?”
“No detectives. I mean, with as deep as the marks are, they would have to be extremely close to the victim to get their fangs in this far.”
“With the kind of money he was bringing in, and what the hotel is known for, it’s pretty safe to say that this was an escort. As much as I would like to say it’s a woman, there is no way to know for sure. Surely his wife wouldn’t have known,” Detective Salib adds.
“Unless this was a setup, and she’s the one who pulled the trigger.” Detective Borjas says.
“It wouldn’t be the first time a wife set up her cheating husband,” Salib says, waving to Dubani and thanking her. Borjas does the same, and they start to walk back to their desk.
“What are you thinking, Mal?”
“I think that this was an escort, near-certain of it. So let’s chase down the type of people that he hung around. I can go check with his wife and friends.”
“Well, what if this was for personal gains? I can go and check down at the bank and see if anyone is a little too happy with our friend’s untimely departure.”
“You always think it’s personal gain.”
“You always think it’s a person’s character.”
“He was with an escort.”
“That hasn’t been proven yet.” Borjas throws out as they go into their office and equip up and grab their coats.
“There is nothing that shows that this was done for monetary gains.”
“Any time some rich guy dies, there are monetary gains. Care to place a friendly wager on it?”
“What did you have in mind?” Salib says, her grin creeping across her face.
“If it’s for personal gain, you have to watch a marathon of Noir films with me.”
“If it is Poor character, then you have to take me dress shopping.”
“I’m not sure that’s worth it anymore.” Borjas giggles.
“What’s the matter, afraid of being wrong?” Salib says, hand outstretched and smile a mile wide.
“You know how to rope me in.” He says, taking her hand and giving it a firm shake.
“We’ll meet back up for lunch. We can grab a few burgers later.”
“That sounds swell,” Borjas says as they both walk towards the exit.
The office was in a fuss over the recent discovery of their client being dead, But Cassandra was calm and under control. The firm had recently lost two of their clients and was beginning to think that they were cursed, far from it. Someone was just taking out the trash. The thought brought a cheerful smile to Cassandra’s lips, which she promptly hide, not wanting to draw attention to herself.
Taking a break from clicking away on her keyboard, she takes a sip of her strong Drow coffee and another bite of her BLT with the luscious tomatoes and crisp bacon. She gives her usual ‘yum’ from the taste of her sandwich from the lovely elderly couple that sells sandwiches in their cafeteria on Mondays. She just feels a strange peace wash over her. Placing her sandwich down, she gets back to work. She was intent on finding anything that she can to make sure that her client would not have any issues with the zoning for their new location coming up in a couple of months. It had been a hassle trying to wrangle in all those permits to get the processing going. They were in the home stretch now with only the contracts for the builders.
Satisfied with her progress, she leans back in her seat and takes another bite, this yum louder than the last. The sauce used just kicks with flavor that most BLT’s with mayo just don’t have. Her neighbor pushes her chair out and gives her a look that she’s grown to know and love.
“Before you say anything. I told you to get yours earlier this morning.” Cassandra says, turning her attention to her Lycan coworker and friend, Suko.
“Well, it slipped my mind. I swear those kids will be the death of me one day.” Suko says, but then her eyes light up when she sees Cassandra reach around her purse. “May the eternal wolf be praised. You are a great friend.” Cassandra hands her a BLT of her own, and Suko wastes no time in tearing through the wrapper to get to the sandwich.
“Hey, we all need a little help here and there. Especially when your husband is so busy with his code that he can’t help out all the time.”
“You know, I swear, sometimes I want to tell him and that stupid code off. But his money put me through school, so I guess all that programming pays off.”
“For sure. It also pays for those little trips that you all keep going on. Tell me again, how was Reve?” Suko blushes at the mention of the name.
“Girl, you know exactly how Reve went. I wouldn’t be surprised if he put another one in me.” They laugh together, and then Suko asks a question that Cassandra wasn’t quite ready for. “So, how was your outing last night? I know you said you were just meeting a friend, but I don’t know how many friends I get dressed up in a black spaghetti strap for with top shelf perfume.
“What?” she feigns innocents. “How else are you supposed to go see your friends.” Cassandra gives a sly grin.
“Depends on how good the friend is.” Suko returns.
“Let’s just say he’s the type of friend to meet me at Azure Towers.”
“Well, if that’s the kind of friend he is, then I would say you dressed correctly.” She laughs, and they both slide back to their desk. She does toss out over the wall. “But I would like the details.” Cassandra lets out a low laugh after that.
“It was to die for.” She says, going back to work and listening to her friend’s sounds of approval. But she wondered when would be the next time she could go out like she had. She was just getting warmed up and had a long list to work through. But she knew that she had to be smart about it. If she killed too fast, it would bring about too much suspension, but she couldn’t wait to sink her fangs in her next victim.
They were all scum to her. Every one of them. Lying, cheating beast that needed to be put down and the hurt they caused stopped. There was a lot of work to get done, but she was up to the task.
Feeling a small pulse come from her purse, she can’t help but put a smile on her face. Turning from her desk, she takes her handbag to the restroom and nearly sprints to a stall. Locking herself in, she pulls the small cell phone out and looks over the notification. Sliding the phone open, she sees that the club owner this time. The names didn’t matter to her. They would never. Learning their names would be a waste of her time, as she didn’t expect to get to know them, most of them didn’t know her and didn’t care to. They only wanted what they thought they were getting from the person she bought the phone from. But they wouldn’t find it with her. They would only find a swift death.
“I need you tonight. How’s about Le Chateau, at eleven?” the text read. Her body pulsed with the opportunity, but her mind was fending off those thoughts. ‘It’s too soon’ and ‘we don’t want to get caught’ were a few that raced through her mind. They were drowned out, however, by the fact that Le chateau was nearly twenty miles or so from Azure Towers. The distance is too great. No one would look for her there. She typed away, eager to send the message. Careful not to slip as she had to remember what she had learned from studying the previous owner’s texts.
“Be ready for me. I will give you what you seek.” She responds. Only after a few seconds, he sent her back a heart and thumbs up. It was settled. Cassandra was going out again tonight.