Adonis By Acherontia Styx (Ktarra)

as originally posted on http://furrag.com/story/158/

Chapter One-Awake

Adonis lay still on the bed, eyes still closed, not willing to open them unless the memories he held were more than just the thing of nightmare. As recollection flooded back his heart sunk, knowing the memories that filled his head were true. He sighed deeply, opening his eyes to face another day. The first thing he saw was the muzzle, inches away from his own. He felt his fur twitch in the airflow from the nostrils, the slow, steady breathing betraying the deep sleep the wolf was in. Adonis shifted himself on the mattress, extricating himself from the wolf’s nocturnal embrace. He rose slowly, wincing at the stiffness in his joints. He twitched aside the dirty curtains and sat back on the mattress, hoping the creaking of the old springs wouldn’t awaken his partner.

Adonis looked out over the city from the cheap high-rise apartment, blinking blearily. It could have the middle of the night or just before dawn, Adonis had no idea. Lately the days seemed to flow together, time not seeming to matter anymore. There was, as always, low clouds hanging over the city, dousing it in its seemingly endless flow of rain. Neon signs in a dozen languages flashed messages at him, the only light that overrode their garish flicker the occasional spear of lightning that punctured the clouds. From his vantage point Adonis could not even see the masses scurrying beneath the clouds of mist that wreathed the street. Adonis did not even now how the clouds of mist and steam could survive the never-ending drizzle, but somehow it did, it defied logic. But then again, so did most things in the city these days.

In his youth, the city had seemed so much brighter, thought Adonis, so much cleaner. It had not held the never-ending rain and mist that clung to its streets, either. It had either been sunny, or had rained hard and been over with, not like the pathetic drizzle that hung about the streets, skulking like a whipped dog. Had everything really changed in so few years? Or had the rot always been here, had he just not seen it through a child’s eyes? Well, he certainly saw the rot now, whatever street he walked down, whatever face he looked into, he saw the rot. The city was sick, the sickness a cancer so swollen it was impossible to remove. The merciful thing to be would be to kill such a cancerous beast, to end its pitiful suffering. But how can you end the suffering of a city?

“Morning lover.” Came a murmur from behind Adonis, jerking him from his reverie.

He took a deep breath and forced a smile, turning his head away from the sight of the ill city to look behind. He saw the wolf had awoken from his slumber, staring blearily up from the mattress at Adonis. The wolf’s name was Leon Kennedy, and as he had said, he indeed was Adonis’ partner. Adonis disliked the term ‘lover’, feeling it was only inches away from ‘whore’.

“Morning Lee” Adonis said, the forced cheerfulness in his voice all too obvious. It was not that he did not love the wolf, he loved him more then he could say. Without Leon in his life Adonis knew he would fall apart, and felt the wolf was closer than just a lover, more a kindred spirit, and a friend who understood before he even opened his mouth. It was just that Leon worried when Adonis was despondent, and the wolf’s worry was something Adonis could do without. The pink light from a neon sign outside the window shone onto Leon’s thick grey fur, casting odd shadows off of his broad shoulders and muscular chest. Some tiny part at the very back of Adonis’ brain wished he could such muscle tone as the young wolf, but concerns at how he looked were the very last problem in his life right now.

“How was work?” Adonis asked. The grey-furred wolf was a shift manager at a local nightclub, his stature and usual carefree grin attracting him a lot of horny girls that sadly he had to slate off onto the lesser, more straight staff.

“The usual. We ran out of Besk halfway through the night, and there were a couple of fights, but we stopped them pretty quick.” Leon said wearily.

“Put any guys out?” Adonis asked vaguely, staring out over the rooftops again.

“Only one. The bouncers got the rest. Tua’ta broke some poor guys shoulder when he tossed him onto the street.” Leon yawned. “You got work?” He asked.

“In an hour. I’m gonna shower, then walk there.” Adonis said, rising stiffly.

“Not going to take the tube?”

“And risk getting stuck in the tunnel again? No thanks.” Adonis said, padding softly out of the bedroom into the adjoining bathroom. The tiles originally would have been white, but over years the buildup of mould, fungus and soap had turned them an interesting shade of grey. Just like the rest of the city, Adonis mused as he turned the shower tap and listened to the noisy gurgle of the old copper pipes in the walls. Buildup of mould and scum over the years, the general misty atmosphere, the smell of wet dog, yeah, his bathroom would well be a metaphor for the city. Adonis wiped a paw across the mirror, surveying his reflection as though looking at a stranger. Muzzle, fur, black nose, whiskers, ears…they all seemed familiar but Adonis found it hard to link them in a cohesive image. Fox…that’s right, Adonis was a red fox, his bushy black tail waving languorously in the air behind him. As he had thought before, he was definitely no Leon, his fur ragged and without the shine Leon’s seemed to have. He was much more lean then Leon, thin but not to the point of boniness. Scar tissue showed through the fur here and there, memories of a violent life. The bags beneath the eyes, the lack of shine to the fur, it was no wonder that many mistook Adonis for a beast of forty seasons or more; in fact he was only twenty-eight, two years older then Leon, but aesthetically they were decades apart. His job weighed heavily on him, the doctor had told Adonis. He needed to not work so hard, to take a vacation, to get a hobby, but Adonis was as capable of this as he was sprouting wings. He couldn’t just leave his job, not with the city in the state it was now.

Adonis slipped his boxers off of his slim waist, using one footpaw to send the boxers sailing into the laundry hamper. He climbed slowly into the shower, wincing in the hot spray. He leant heavily on the shower wall, letting the water soak him right to his skin. He turned and pressed his forehead to the shower wall, letting the water soak his tail and back. One stray paw brushed his sheath and bought forth unbidden memories of the wolf lying in the next room, images committed to Adonis’ brain forever. That was the pity of the two of them working so much, they never seemed to have time to spend together anymore. However, as Adonis thought of this he felt something else brush his sheath, the paw this time taking grip. And both of Adonis’ paws were resting on the shower wall…

Adonis felt Leon’s muzzle rest on his right shoulder and turned his head slightly to lock eyes with the wolf. Neither of them needed to say anything, they both knew exactly how they felt. Leon’s paw began stroking up and down Adonis’ sheath, coaxing his shaft out as Adonis began to slowly grind his hips back, enjoying the feel of Leon’s semi tickle the underside of his tail. He raised a paw and held the side of Leon’s muzzle, the wolf’s heavy breathing loud in his ears. Adonis’ own breath rasped hard in his throat, his cock thickening and growing under Leon’s well-practiced paw. Adonis turned and took Leon’s muzzle in his own, their tongues snaking together as they embraced tightly.

Leon’s paw strayed down Adonis’ back and to the base of his tail, spreading his paw and slowly rubbing the tender part just under the tail. Adonis broke the kiss with a low moan, the pleasure sparking through his body. Damn this wolf, he certainly knew Adonis’ pleasure points by heart. Adonis felt his shaft fully erect now, the glisten of precum on its tip lost in the water’s spray. Leon’s claw probed Adonis’ ring gently, the water providing an adequate lubricant as the wolf sent a claw deep into his lover.

Leon and Adonis broke their kiss, Leon looking down and Adonis’ eyes following suit. The big wolf’s eyes were fixed on his cock, his tongue lolling from exertion. He looked back to Adonis and nodded, hunger in his eyes and the sharp glint of his fangs clear in his lolling jaw. Adonis understood, the shower in this apartment being the place of many such encounters before, and braced his back against the wall tiles, sliding down to a sitting position, his red cock throbbing in its need to be spent. Leon straddled Adonis hips and locked gazes with him once more, the pleasured pain apparent as he lowered himself onto the member. Adonis groaned in ecstasy, the feeling of the wolf’s tight muscles clenching around his cock like heaven.

The wolf raised and lowered himself slowly at first, speeding up and spearing deeper and deeper as the orgasm grew in him. Adonis’ breath came hard and fast, eyes fixed on the closed-eye look of concentration that Leon always got when he came close. A growling started up in the big wolf’s throat and he plunged himself right to the knot again and again, in fast smooth strokes that made Adonis arch his spine. He wouldn’t be able to last much more of this, he thought as the pleasure racked his body.

Leon bared his teeth and began to grunt as his orgasm neared, pounding harder and harder on Adonis’ swollen cock. Adonis could no longer hold on and gave in to the crushing waves of sweet orgasm, cumming as Leon was impaled to almost the cock’s full length, not wishing to tie for only a shower quickie. Adonis cock went as rigid as a steel bar and shot stream after stream of fiery cum into the Wolf’s anus.

The feeling of Adonis’ sperm filling him was too much for the wolf, who gave in to his orgasm too, the growl in his throat widening to a full-throated howl, his claws scrabbling on the tiles, scoring lines as his cock spurted all over himself and Adonis, the milky strands being washed away by the still-surging showerhead

Leon slowed to a halt, Adonis milking the last of his cum from his dick and transferring the sweet cum to his mouth to taste. He dismounted and Adonis sunk onto the shower floor, the Wolf sliding down to sit beside him.

“Give me a sec,” Adonis gasped, out of breath, “I’ll repay you now,”

“Don’t worry about it.” Leon said, grinning. “That was all for you. I wanted you to start work on a good note, okay?”

“Thanks, Leon.” Adonis said, grinning ruefully.

“Don’t be thanking me yet, Mr. Red fox.” Leon said glancing at his sports watch. “I’ve made you late. You’ll have to take the tube now. Sorry.”

“It was worth it.” Adonis said, beginning to rise. Leon stopped him though, looking him in the eyes, all trace of jest gone now.

“Please, Adonis, be careful out there.” He said

“I will.” Adonis replied, the sudden weight of work crashing back and extinguishing his post-coital glow. Oh well, back to the grinding stone. He and Leon kissed passionately, holding each other tightly beneath the showers hot spray.

“I love you.” Leon whispered as they broke the kiss

“I love you too.” Adonis said.

Chapter Two-Work

Adonis buttoned the top of his black chinos, brushing the dirt off them. His fur was still damp and stuck out a bit, but he ignored it as he pulled on his white tank top. Over this he buckled his cross-chest bandolier, checking the safety on his gun before sliding it into his holster. He pulled his brown waterproof jacket from the closet and slung it over his shoulders, not bothering to close the zip. He checked that he had his badge in his inside pocket, before turning and striding from the room, stopping to kiss Leon one more time before he left. He mad sure the door was locked before he turned and made for the stairs. There was no point in testing the elevator, it had not worked since he and Leon had moved in two years ago.

The stairwells were thick with graffiti and the occasional vagrant, and Adonis chose his steps carefully lest his footpaws stray into some unpleasant pile of waste. As he passed doors to other people’s lives, Adonis wondered how many he could bust for breaking the law if he busted in right now, gun blazing. Probably at least one per room, but the crimes of the common people weren’t the concern of detective inspector Adonis Solari. No, he focused on the big guys. The problem was that so many of the poor saw people get off on much worse crimes, so they figured a little crime themselves was perfectly justified. Because they were helping their family, they’d earned it, because the crime wasn’t really hurting anyone, was it? They all found ways to justify their crimes, to help them sleep, and say that they are a good citizen. Pah. A good citizen, Adonis doubted if there was one in the entire city. They’d need four precincts just to clean the criminals out of this building, and there were thousands like them in the city

What they needed to do was to set examples, that crime was not right, no matter what justification the guilty could think of. The police needed to tackle the big criminals, not throw innocent beasts in jail. A bobcat industrialist embezzles millions from a partner company and bankrupts it, putting millions out of work, and his smug ass walked free in thirty-five minutes. A rabbit smoked a joint and was tossed in general lockup for two years, getting gang-raped by pit-bulls till he hung himself. He was only sixteen. It just wasn’t right.

Adonis had been with the police in this city for two years no, and in that time he had seen big-time criminals saunter past the cops, free, while relatively innocent beasts went to jail for trying to live like those above them. A life of crime. Well, Adonis was determined that it wasn’t going to happen again. He was sure he worked out the straight cops from the crooked ones, and made it known that he was not going to be swayed by bribes, especially not from smarmy criminals.

There was one criminal that he was determined to catch, be it inside the law or not. James Cutter, a coyote with a penchant for violence. His rich father had gotten him out of trouble more then once, his golf buddies changing warrant dates or scaring key witnesses away. Adonis was going to put him away, silver spoon or no. So far Cutter had lived up to his name, killing two cheetahs and a leopard, skinning the latter and mutilating the former beyond recognition. All three victims were found to have been violated before and after death. The thing was, one of the cheetahs was only twelve. Adonis’ stomach still turned at the memory of the crime scene.

While deep in thought, Adonis’ feet had carried him to the tube station and onto a train bound for central. Adonis hung onto an overhead rail as the train jerked into life, praying it wouldn’t die in the tunnels again. The carriage was full of tired-looking businessbeasts, so Adonis guessed it must be just before dawn. Good, the station will be nearly empty and the coffee will be fresh.

His head jerked up at the sight of the door at the end of the carriage opening, and he cocked an eyebrow as several harassed-looking rats in suits came through. Adonis caught a glimpse of the next carriage and swore angrily. He pushed past the commuters, one paw straying to the handle of his gun. He opened the door and stepped through to the next carriage, analyzing the situation. Everybeast who had not already fled was still in their seats, watching the scene before them unfold with horrified fascination, none of them moving a muscle.

In the aisle a tall, skinny ermine with dirty fur was grabbing an old ladies arm, pulling at her urgently, threatening her with a flick knife in his other paw.

“Gimme the godsdamn money bitch, or I’ll gut you!” He hissed angrily, and Adonis moved swiftly, pulling the gun from his holster and leveling it at the ermine.

“Police, drop the knife!” He barked, drawing a bead on the ermine’s thigh. He could put him out without killing him, he hoped. The ermine looked up like a possum caught in the headlights of a car, and Adonis swore again. That skinny, emaciated frame, the bags under the eyes, the bloodshot whites to the eyes themselves, the ermine was a heroin addict.

“Come on buddy, you don’t want to do this and neither do I.” Adonis said desperately, and the ermine hesitated, breathing fast. The tension in the subway car had sprung up several notches, and the air was thick and hot from the fetid tunnels.

Adonis could see what would happen next. The desperate, drug-crazed ermine would grab the old lady and make her a hostage, starting a long and painful negotiation that would probably get some innocent bystander killed. Why couldn’t these damn ermine just stick to pot? All the pot junkies do is sit in a room and giggle, maybe eat a couple big bags of chips, but they never kill anyone. Dammit…he’d have to put the ermine out as soon as he made a move.

As if hearing Adonis’ thoughts the ermine appeared to relax, and Adonis lowered his gun slightly, breathing a sigh of relief. Suddenly the heroin-addict lunged at Adonis, teeth bared and blade flashing.

Adonis squeezed the trigger calmly, once, twice, putting two rounds into the crazed beasts’ skull. Blood splattered and the ermine’s body fell past Adonis, who turned his head away in disgust. Just then the train slowed to a halt at central and Adonis looked around him at the terrified and in some cases, blood-splattered passengers. He gaped for a moment but could think of nothing to say, walking off the train as fast his shaking legs would carry him.

Chapter 3-Abductions

In the station, Adonis was vaguely aware of people rushing past him away from the train, the conductor included, but he didn’t care. He set his gaze forward and took a few deep breaths, steadying his trembling legs as the adrenaline coursed through his veins. He flashed his badge to a couple of beat cops and told them that there was a body on the train, then kept walking before they could ask any more questions. Only those two would ask questions, Adonis thought. Those higher-up would just see another crack addict dead, so what. There were millions of addicts in the city, more than the police had bullets for. Why deal with the source of the problem, those who were shipping the drugs, when they could just deal with those whose minds and bodies were destroyed by the drugs. It just didn’t make any sense

Adonis found himself at his precinct and made his way slowly inside, moving past his office towards the coffee machine. He tapped a paw against the glass jug and found its bitter black contents still piping hot, and he poured some of the coffee into a paper cup.

He turned and walked back towards his office, blowing on the coffee as he went. He paused by the door looking back across the office. Cops and detectives scurried abut the low-roofed room, shifting papers and prisoners between desks and cells. In the middle of the room, however, something caught his eye.

An angry-looking badger was barking out orders at two smaller beasts, a female rabbit and a male panther. The female was dressed smartly as detectives were supposed to, black trousers and a thick white turtleneck, a black jacket over the top. Her name was Jill, and she was one of the detectives assigned to Adonis to help him with the Cutter case, as was the male.

The male, on the other paw, was dressed much less formally, the tight black t-shirt and old blue jeans an obvious affront to the shirt-and-tie wearing badger. His name was Carlos, and despite his lax attitude towards hi appearance he was one of the best young detectives Adonis knew. Adonis sighed and crossed the floor quickly, listening in on the one-sided conversation as he walked.

“Carlos, if I wanted your opinion, I’d ask for it.” The badger snapped. “Now I want you take the twin homicide up on east, and Jill I want you to go over the evidence from the Jameson file.”

“Ay, Chief Irons, no disrespect or anything, but me and Jill are already on a case. You know, the Cutter one.” Carlos said, holding up two paws defensively.

“Cutter? I couldn’t give a fuzzy rat’s ass for the Cutter case,” Chief Irons snarled, but Adonis cut him off.

“But I could, chief.” He said levelly, and the badger wheeled on him, hesitating when he saw the look in the fox’s eyes.

“Well, I was just trying to be efficient with what resources we have.” He said huffily, drawing himself up to his full height.

“Much appreciated, chief,” Adonis said, stepping aside and motioning Jill and Carlos into his office, “But in the future, don’t mess with my team in the middle of an investigation.”
The badger grumbled something but Adonis just turned his back on him, aware that the room had become silent as the police watched the showdown between Irons and Adonis.

There was no secret about the tension between the chief and the detective, who had rubbed each other’s fur the wrong way since the day Adonis had joined the force. The fox had dealt with it by having as little to do with the badger as possible, but there were times when contact was inevitable, which usually meant a showdown between the two.

Adonis shut the door to his office behind him and slumped down in his office chair, taking another sip of his coffee.

“Thanks for the save, Adonis. I can’t believe Irons.” Jill said angrily, tossing her head in consternation.

“Believe it, baby” Carlos said, leaning back on the edge of Adonis’ desk, paws in his jeans pockets and a toothpick hanging out one edge of his maw. He certainly played the part of the sexy detective, thought Adonis vacantly, staring out into the space above his desk.

“Huh?” He said, realizing Carlos had said something to him.

“On your face, boss…you got a little something…” He said awkwardly and his paw flew to the spot, coming away with a dark, sticky red liquid on it.

“Oh, that…” Adonis said, shifting his hips to get more comfortable in his seat. “I had a run-in with a heroin addict on the tube. Had to put him down for good.”

“Shit ay, boss, you’re busting ass before you even get to work in the morning!” The panther said, losing his cool composure as he looked at Adonis with something like respect in his eyes. The poor fool still thought he could make a difference just with his gun, Adonis thought sadly. He’ll learn soon enough.

“So what do we have today?” Adonis asked, brushing the rest of the stray blood from his fur.

“Results back from the lab on the leopard killing. DNA matches; it was Cutter all right.” Jill said, tossing a file on Adonis’ desk.

“That’s a big surprise.” Adonis muttered sarcastically. “No clues?”

“Yeah, a ton of them.” Jill said, yawning. “They all scream ‘Cutter, it was Cutter”, but we don’t know where the bastard is do we?” Adonis swore; Jill was right. Whenever they came near jackal he just slipped through their paws. Probably helped out by his rich little buddies, he thought angrily.

“Big guy,” He said, addressing Carlos “What about you then?”

“We’ve got another abduction. Little lioness, about eight years old, snatched from her grandfather.” He said grimly.

“You think its Cutter’s next victim?” Adonis said, rubbing his temples. He dreaded thinking what that maniac would do to such a small child. The dim fluorescent lights flickered overhead and the smell of the mould in the wall filed Adonis’ sensitive nostrils as he thought

“I think it’s a little girl who just got kidnapped.” Carlos said firmly.

That’s how Adonis found himself in a tidy living room with Carlos and Jill, looking down at an old lion with his head in his paws.

“So, Mr….” Adonis began, as Jill began to surreptitiously check the room.

“Fletcher. Jils Fletcher.” The old lion said miserably, raising his head to reveal puffy eyes from weeping. His whiskers drooped with age, his straggly mane soaked and hanging limply from being out in the rain.

“Mr. Fletcher, can you tell us what happened to your granddaughter?” He asked, signaling Carlos, who flipped open his notebook and began to scribble notes.

“I…I took Maria to the marketplace to get some groceries last night. I turn my back for two seconds to pay for fish I turn back and she is gone!” He said, sobbing brokenly.

“Is this her?” Jill asked, holding up a picture of a girl astride the old mans shoulders.

“Yes, it is.”

“She is very pretty.” Jill said, replacing the photo.

“Aye, she will grow to be a heartbreaker, just like her mother.” The old lion said, sniffing. The three detectives paused for a second, Carlos’ pen hesitating. Yes, Adonis thought, we all hope she will grow to be like her mother, we hope she will grow at all

“What happened to her parents?” Adonis asked, breaking the silence

“Killed in a car crash when she was four, so I took her in. She has lived with me here ever since”

“Do you, the child or her parents have any enemies that might do this to her?” Jill asked.

“She was just a little girl!” The lion said, sobbing, “Who would want to hurt her?

“Alright, but what about her parents? Or you?” Adonis asked

“No, I can’t think of anyone.”

“What makes you think she was kidnapped?” Jill said suddenly

“I asked the shopkeepers, and one of them told me she was picked up by a jackal.”

“A…a jackal?” Adonis asked, his ears suddenly full of a curious ringing. Carlos’ pen had stopped again, and he was looking up with his jaw half open. His eyes flicked and met with Adonis’, who nodded almost imperceptibly.

“Yes…in a white suit, designer shoes, very odd in this neighborhood.” The lion said. Adonis thanked the man and the three of them saw themselves out, leaving the lion to weep disconsolately.

“What do you think?” Carlos said as he unlocked the door to his car.

“I think we better find this girl fast.” Jill said, opening her door. As he three climbed in and Carlos pushed the keys into the ignition the radio squawked to life.

“Officer down, repeat we have officer down in an alley off of the 8th street end of High” The announcer said calmly, and the three of them exchanged glances.

“That’s two streets over.” Jill said quietly.

“Let’s go” Adonis said resignedly and Carlos gunned the engine into life.

Chapter Four-Blood

Adonis glanced down at the floor of the alleyway, sighing as a coroner snapped a photo of the body lying face-down in a pool of blood. He wore the blue-grey uniform of a beat cop, the front of which was stained with blood. One paw was still clutched to his throat where a wide slash had opened up his windpipe. He was a wolf, and only a constable, having only been on the force for two months according to his partner. In this light he looked almost like Leon, and Adonis shuddered, turning away from the body. A Dalmatian was rolling caution tape over the end of the alleyway, on the other side of which was a gaggle of various reporters. Coroners darted here and there and Jill and Carlos were taking statements from eyewitnesses. Gods, Adonis thought, it wasn’t even noon yet. Jill approached, flicking her notebook closed.

“Eyewitnesses say the constable was alerted to a jackal in the alleyway with a lioness cub. The constable drew his arm and approached the jackal, alerting him and telling him to raise his hands. He did, the constable approached, and our friend turned and slit his throat with a box knife.” She said, shaking her head.

“Leaving the poor young constable to choke to death on his own blood.” Adonis said, looking vacantly around the alleyway. Why did he never feel like he got enough sleep, and why did he always wake up hung over, even without drinking? He sighed heavily, pinching the bridge of his nose.

“Don’t bother.” He said to a coroner bagging the box knife that had ended the constable’s life. “It was Cutter, alright. Any idea where he went?”

“Apparently he grabbed the girl and disappeared down the alley.” Carlos said, cricking his neck as he walked up to them, hands on hips. “In this area the alleyways are like a fucking maze. There’s no way we can track him. He could have come out on fifteen different streets.”

The panther was right, Adonis thought. The jackal was long gone, slipping out of their grasp yet again.

“Who’s gonna break the news to his folks?” Carlos said wretchedly, voicing what was on all their minds.

“You two take the evidence back to the office. I’ll go and see them.” Adonis muttered wearily

“You sure you want too?” Jill said

“Of course not. Now piss off before I lose my nerve.” Carlos laughed weakly and he and Jill turned and left Adonis in the alleyway, staring at the dead body that was looking more and more like Leon with every passing second

****

Three hours later, Adonis found himself wandering back to the police station, mind buzzing from what had happened. He had arrived at the home of the young constable and broken the news to the family in their dining room. Their faces when he told them the news would come back to haunt him for a long time, that was for sure. The mother had broken down into tears, sobbing brokenly, and the father had just sat there blankly as if the information ad turned his brain off. The constable’s younger brother, though, had gripped the table edge till the wood splintered in his paw. After offering his consolations to the family he had explained about Cutter to the family, saying that he had been trying to protect a little girl when he had fallen. He had promised to bring their sons killer to justice, his insides on fire at the empty comforts he gave this family. He could see it in their eyes, see their pain, and he felt it as if it was his own. He began to wonder what it would be like to lose someone he loved…like Leon. No, he mustn’t think such thoughts; he must just set his focus on the job at hand. After what seemed an age he made a lame excuse and left their home. He elected to just walk, not call for a taxi or risk taking the tube again. He needed to clear his head, to get his thoughts in order, but all he could see in his head was the picture Jill hand found on the mantel, showing the smiling Maria that Cutter had somewhere, doing unthinkable things to her.

He found himself back at the precinct at three o clock; he could not believe just how much time he had lost. He found himself completely exhausted as he slumped into his office chair. He looked blearily across his desktop and saw the file from the alley killing that Jill and Carlos had left for him. He could not even summon the energy to reach across and grab it, so instead sat back and closed is eyes, trying to straighten his thoughts.

Where could Cutter have that girl? There were a million warehouses, apartments, derelict shopping malls and complexes where he could be hiding the girl. Adonis hoped like anything else he wouldn’t find another cut-up corpse in a dumpster somewhere, especially not such a small girl.

He heard the door to his office click and his paw flew to his holster, eyes jerking open. Carlos stopped in the doorway, hands up jokingly.

“Don’t shoot, hombre!” He said, and Adonis gave a sigh, pulling himself up in his seat.
“How’d the family take it?”

“Not well.” Adonis said, rubbing his eye

“Ah.” Carlos said, sitting down in the chair facing the desk. “You alright?”

“I’ll survive” Adonis said, leaning heavily on his desk. The paper cup he had left was still half-full, the contents now stone-cold. He didn’t care though, and swilled the bitter mix down his throat

“I can get you a warm cup if you like…” Carlos said, looking on in disgust.

“No thanks.”

“I’ve known you for a while boss, but I’ve never really got to know you. You work really hard. Too hard sometimes, I reckon. Everything outside work alright for you?”

“Work is my life, Carlos, and it should be yours too. People are relying on us. We slip, they die.” Adonis said, pulling the file towards him and opening it.

“It can’t be your whole life. It’d wear you down, you wouldn’t be able to survive. Come on, a guy your age must have a wife and some kids.” Adonis froze and looked up from the paperwork, searching Carlos’ eyes for some hint he was joking.

“Carlos, I’m twenty-eight.” Adonis said slowly.

“Really?” He asked, leaving him speechless for a moment. “I thought you were like fif…” Carlos froze mid sentence, trailing off. Adonis shook his head and looked back to the paperwork. It was all familiar, but he had to do something to occupy his mind.
“Well…you got someone?”

“Yes, Carlos, I do.” Adonis said softly, mind’s eye flashing to the images of Leon his head held, his throat tightening momentarily.

“Well…I mean…if you ever want to bring this someone out, me and my girl would be happy to take y’all out, and we could have a night on the town.”

“The hours this job demands don’t leave much time for socializing, Carlos, but thanks anyway.” Adonis said.

“Cos…you know…I heard you were…y’know…” Carlos said hesitantly

“This conversation has gone far enough, Carlos.” Adonis growled, silencing the panther. Silence reigned for a few seconds before Carlos cleared his throat loudly.

“I mean, I’m cool with that and all, I’m not trying to…” Carlos said, and Adonis’ paw flew to his holster again.

“I will shoot you if you do not shut up.” He said very deliberately, and Carlos laughed nervously. Just then Jill entered, waving a courier pack.

“Boys, we have contact.” She said grimly, opening the plastic case and emptying the case onto the table. A video tape and a small metal case spilled onto the hardwood top.

“Where the hell are we gonna find a video player?” Carlos said, turning the tape over in his paws.

“I have one in my office, Carlos.” Adonis said in a measured tone. “Video technology isn’t that old.” Carlos grinned and handed him the tape meekly. Adonis turned and slid the tape into the player, turning on the television and pulling the remote from a drawer. He pressed the play button and the screen went black, all three detectives leaning towards the screen. Suddenly an image sprang to life, showing the little lioness that Cutter had taken. She was bound and gagged, her eyes wide and fearful.

“Ten fingers, ten toes, two ears, two lips, thirty-two fangs and one nose.” Said a voice off-camera, then the shot blurred as the camera was swung around. The screen showed now the muzzle of James Cutter, grinning the hungry grin only carnivores could give.
“So many extremities that can be removed without killing a beast. And then, there are all the bones we can break, all the other…avenues I can explore. Such a young beast, should be interesting. A clean slate, some might say.” He chuckled and Adonis snarled angrily, slamming a clenched paw onto his desk. “I want to play a game, Detective Adonis.”

“He knows you?” Jill asked, but Adonis waved her into silence

“Of course he does. He’s not an idiot, he could pay almost any cop in the station for the name of the detective heading his case.”

“No clues, no ransom, no deals. I just want to see how long it will take you to find the girl. Every three hours that pass by without you finding her, one more extremity goes bye-bye. You don’t believe me? Look in the case. Ciao for now, detective.” The screen turned black again and Adonis pressed the stop button, setting the remote down slowly. Three sets of eyes watched intently, three pairs of lungs held their breaths as Adonis’ shaking paw opened the metal case.

“Oh gods…” Jill murmured. Carlos retched and coughed suddenly, but all that Adonis could do was stare. There, in the case, nestled on a pile of blood-soaked cotton balls, was a tawny-furred little finger, about the size of one belonging to an eight-year old girl.

Chapter Five-Games and Deals

Adonis closed his eyes as he replaced the lid on the metal case, pushing it away from him. He tried to fight the sick feeling in his stomach, the bile that threatened to rise in his throat. That son of a bitch really did…cut that little girl. He took a few deep breaths to steady his paws and looked up, suppressing the rage in his chest as he did.

“It’s all just games for him. We have to find this Maria” He said, his voice sounding strange and distant to him. Jill nodded, looking as sick as he felt, but Carlos was breathing hard and fast, head in his paws.

“By the fur, Carlos, what the hell has gotten into you?” Adonis asked, two paws on his desk to steady himself. The panther raised his head from his paws, revealing tear-matted fur and red eyes.

“My girl…she’s been pregnant about seven months…” He said, gulping breath as his words rushed out in a jumble. “She went to the doc and they told her it was gonna be a little girl…just like her…” He said, pointing a trembling finger at the metal case on the desk. Adonis sighed, trying to blink the weariness out of his eyes.

“Go home, Carlos, that’s an order. Spend some time with her, and get your mind off the case for a while.” He said, hoping his voice purveyed some amount of kindness.

“Thanks, boss.” The Panther said miserably, scrubbing a paw across his eyes. “Sorry.” He mumbled as he rose to his feet.

“Its fine, Carlos, just be back here at ten tomorrow.” Adonis said, and the panther left the room.

“I thought he’d be used to seeing dead bodies by now.” Jill said, taking Carlos’ place in the chair. “I mean, he was fine in the alleyway.”

“He’s fine with bodies, Jill, he’s just not used to seeing little girls cut into little pieces, and I don’t think he’s used to the fact he’s going to be a father.” Adonis said, a slightly admonishing tone in his voice. “I’m not used to seeing girls treated like that either, and I hope I never am.”

“Sorry, Adonis, I didn’t think…” Jill began, but Adonis just shook his head.

“That’s alright Jill, jus think in the future. Now, I want you to run this finger down to the lab, see if we can draw anything off it that might help us.” He said, siding the metal case towards Jill, his spine crawling as he thought off its contents.

“And then what?” Jill asked, rising and gingerly taking up the case.

“I want you to go home, too. Get some rest and be back here at ten tomorrow.” He said.

“Are you sure?” She asked.

“What’s happened to this place?” Adonis laughed, his insides twisting as the picture from the mantle kept flashing in his head. “When I was detective, I would have jumped at any chance to go home early! Now I have to force you to leave!”

“Okay sir, I’ll see you tomorrow.” Jill said smiling and going to the door. She paused in the middle of the room and Adonis looked up questioningly

“Are you going to get some sleep before then, boss?” She asked timidly.

“I’ll see what happens, Jill. Now go home.” Adonis said, grinning wearily.

“You can’t protect the whole city, you know.” She said softly, looking at him with something like pity in her eyes.

“Yes, but I should be able to protect one little girl.” Adonis said gruffly, and Jill nodded sadly, leaving with barely a sound.

Adonis went back to the file on his desk from the lab about the alley incident, carefully scanning every single document over and over, trying to find some link that would tell him where on earth Cutter was holed up. Nothing, not a single clue that even hinted what area of the city he could be in.

Adonis scanned the map of the city, red pins marking where Cutter’s victims were taken and found. They were all miles apart, on opposite sides of the city, one in a warehouse, one in a dumpster, one in a river. There was no pattern to indicate where Cutter could be acting from; he had to have a safe house somewhere private and out of the way where he could cut up his victims, but there were billions of places he could be.

Adonis glanced up at the clock and swore. How had time passed so quickly? It was already nine o’clock. What day was it? Saturday? If so, Leon would just be readying himself for work. Argh, Adonis thought, shaking his head, his mind was wandering. Focus! Six hours had passed…the girl had lost two more fingers.

He let his office and crossed to the coffee machine, gulping down a cup of the wretched coffee that had been stewing all day, then following with another. He filled a third and went back to his office, feeling slightly more energized now. He turned his chair towards the television and turned it on, watching Cutter’s tape over and over. There must be a clue there. Cutter wanted him to find him, there had to be some signal that he just couldn’t see. He searched the screen, watching it frame by frame for…something. He didn’t know what. He saw part of a neon sign through a window, but that meant nothing. There was not enough to identify the sign, and there were thousands of such signs in the city.

The tape gave away nothing, gods dammit! Cutter could be in a basement, or on the top floor. Maybe there was something in his words, some puzzle. Adonis copied down every single word onto a notepad and sat there staring at the words, willing them to give up their owner’s location, but there was nothing. He turned the sound right up on the tape and closed his eyes, listening for some background noise that would reveal Cutter’s location.

He was grasping at straws and he knew it, but there was little else he could do. Every second that passed drew Maria one second closer to another cutting. He heard a knock at the door and jerked upright, turning off the tape and calling out for the knocker to enter.

An officer walked on, just finishing his shift by the looks of things, hat under his arm.

“There’s someone here to see you, Inspector.” He said. Adonis looked at the clock. Gods…it was two a.m. already. Had he really spent all that time watching that tape? That’s one more finger…and one more hour till she loses the next one. Adonis thought grimly. Who could be visiting at this time of the morning? He ran a paw through his headfur and motioned to the officer to allow the visitor in.

After a few moments wait, in sauntered a tall, well-dressed jackal. Adonis stiffened in his chair; Cutter? He wouldn’t dare walk in so brazenly, would he? No, this wasn’t Cutter, he was older, but he carried himself with the same arrogance. He looked around Adonis’ office disdainfully, a slight sneer marring his features.

“Can I help you?” Adonis asked, trying to remain civil.

“Ah, yes.” The jackal laughed, revealing more than one gold tooth. “You must be the inspector, Adonis, right?” Adonis nodded slowly, sizing up the jackal

“And you are?”

“Well, I’m Julian Cutter.” He said, flashing his gold teeth again.

“The industrialist?” Adonis said, trying hard to keep the snarl from his voice.

“You know of me?” He said, looking surprised.

“I was one of the cops on the barricade at the riot at your smelting plant four years ago.” Adonis said coldly. The jackal had lain off hundreds of workers, destroying lives and families, when he had moved his plant to a third world country so he could get cheap labor.

“Ah yes, I remember. I trust everything went alright?” The jackal said. Adonis raised an eyebrow in disbelief.

“No, in fact it didn’t. I took a broken bottle in the thigh and couldn’t walk for three months.” Adonis snarled, unable to hide his contempt. Right, so you are an asshole, but why are you here?

“I understand that you are currently leading an investigation into a few…discrepancies my son has made.” He said, changing tack suddenly.

“A few discrepancies? You mean kidnapping, mutilation, rape, murder, necrophilia, pedophilia and a few other –philias I can’t think of right now?” Adonis said, jaw slack in disbelief. He could see where this was going, but he wasn’t willing to believe the man would actually go there.

“Well, when you put it like that, it sounds so much worse.”

“You mean the truth?”

“Look, inspector, we are both men of the world. We both know what it is like to make mistakes.”

“What, like ‘Whoops, I slipped and raped an eight-year old?'” Adonis barked

“I know my son has made mistakes, but when you look at it in the long run, he has only done this city a favor. He has removed vagrants from the streets, lowering crime. He is acting in this city’s best interests, as you and I do.”

“Why don’t you act in the city’s best interests and cut your balls off so you won’t have any more ‘helpers’ like your son?” Adonis spat angrily, and the jackal sighed.

“I can see that you are quite agitated, so I will cut right to the chase. If I were to say, slip a little something into your pocket, as I am well capable of doing, I’m sure you could find it in you to drop these little…investigations, hmm?”

“Are you bribing me, to let your son away with his crimes?” Adonis breathed, lip twitching in fury.

“Let’s just call it a donation, to one of our city’s finest, shall we?”

“I’m going to pretend I didn’t just hear that, Mr. Cutter, and I suggest you leave my office right now.” Adonis growled. Like a light flicking off, Cuter lost his good humor, face turning into a savage snarl

“No court will trial my son, detective, no witnesses would dare stand against him!”

“I will.” Adonis said quietly.

“That’s right detective, protect all the little homeless waifs you can, let them grow up to be criminals and crack addicts, like those you deal with on the streets every day. My son does more police work than you do!” The jackal snarled, turning on his heel and storming from the office. Adonis took a few deep breaths and steadied himself. Attacking the man would just make any court more sympathetic towards the son, especially with loaded juries. Lawyers would claim any prosecution of Cutter Jr. was part of a vendetta, and letting that bastard walk free was something Adonis wasn’t going to risk.

Let the father mouth off now, let hear him talk when his son’s dancing the hemp fandango, Adonis thought savagely.

He went back to the video, but there was nothing new to him. It was all the same. Cutter had made damn sure there wasn’t any way he could be traced. The lab report found traces of some expensive fur shampoo on the knife that had obviously come from Cutter, but that didn’t tell them where he was. Adonis took all the points of the investigation and wrote them down on a scrap of paper, trying to find some link to them, but it was useless. Cutter was too careful, too meticulous. He knew he should probably go home, get some rest, but then he thought of the little girl Cutter had somewhere. If she doesn’t rest, neither do I, Adonis thought, biting closed on a yawn. His office door swung open and a young vixen walked in, smiling at him.

“Here are those results from the lab you asked for, inspector.” She said, laying them on his desk. He thanked her and flicked open the brown folder, staring at the papers within and waiting for his eyes to focus. As they did, he found himself unsurprised at what the notes held. No prints, nothing under the claw, no chemical buildup or residue that might offer some clue as to where the little lioness was.

He sat back in the chair, feeling defeated. Cutter was just too good, too thorough. He stared at the water-stained ceiling panels for what seemed an age, trying to think of…something. Anything he had missed. Some clue as to where, or why. Well, he knew why, it was because Cutter was a bastard. He didn’t need the psych analysis to explain that to him. He turned the video back on and swiveled to watch the screen, watching the terrified Maria.

Some time later Adonis must have decided he had had enough and left the station, for he found himself walking down the deserted street towards his apartment. He felt like he was viewing the world from anther body, like he was disconnected from everything happening around him. He reached his apartment building and found himself at the door to his apartment. He must have climbed the stairs without knowing it. Or maybe the elevator had finally been fixed. It didn’t matter either way. The girl was dying somewhere, every second that passed another finger lost. Then it would be toes, then…gods, he couldn’t believe Cutter was actually doing this.

He fumbled with his keys in the lock and stumbled inside, kicking the door closed behind him. He had just enough presence of mind to turn and put the deadlock on. You could never be too careful, not in this city. He shrugged off his jacket, letting it slide onto the floor, hanging his bandolier over the doorknob to the bathroom. He walked slowly into the bedroom, where Leon was lying on the bed watching the small television, wearing a light-blue muscle tee and loose white cotton boxers.

“Hey ‘don, how was work?” Leon asked, turning off the television and pulling himself up.

“Uh…long.” Adonis said simply. Leon didn’t need to know what was going on. He was just a bartender, not a cop “What about you?”

“Same here. I only just got home. I figured you’d left already.” Leon said, eyes widening as he thought further. “Have you only just got home from yesterday?”

“Yeah. It was a long night.”

“Gods Adonis, you can’t keep doing this to yourself!” Leon said as Adonis dropped onto the bed beside him. Leon rolled over and wrapped his arms around him, kissing him softly. “You’ll burn out if you don’t take care of yourself. I want you to have a nice long sleep before you go back to work tomorrow, okay?”

“What’s the time?” Adonis murmured, trying to keep his eyes open

“It’s seven o ‘clock.”

“Not tomorrow. Three hours. Gotta be there at ten.”

“What? Why?” Leon said, eyes full of concern for his lover

“Chief’s forcing me to work till this case is over.” Adonis said. It was a lie, but a lie to protect Leon.

“What’s the case?” Leon asked slowly. Adonis hesitated, scratching at his chest fur.

“Drug deal.” He said finally.

“Oh.” Leon said, but he didn’t sound convinced. There was an awkward silence between them, growing by the moment.

“I love you Leon, more than life itself. You know that.” Adonis said softly, rubbing a paw against Leon’s cheek.

“I do, Adonis, but I wish you’d be more honest with me. There shouldn’t be any secrets between us, but I know when you’re hiding something.”

“I never could hide anything from you.”

“No, you’re just a terrible liar.” Adonis laughed sadly.

“Are you sure you want to know?” He said, suddenly serious

“If it’s upsetting you, Adonis, of course I do.” Leon said, shifting his position on the bed to cross his legs and lean back on the wall, his lover’s head in his lap. Adonis took a deep breath and told him everything, from the heroin addict on the train to the little girl Maria, that Cutter was torturing somewhere. When he finished Leon did look remarkably pale through his fur, but he just swallowed heavily.

“Adonis, you killing yourself by not sleeping is not going to help this little girl. You need to sleep. You look awful.”

“I can’t sleep. She’s out there somewhere, in pain, that fucker Cutter drooling over her… I’ll go back at ten, and please don’t try and stop me.” Leon looked down at Adonis, pain in his eyes, but he nodded and kissed Adonis on the brow.

“Alright, I will.” He said finally, then tilting his head on an angle. “When was the last time you ate?”

“Um…” Adonis said, rubbing his forehead as he tried to concentrate. “When de we last eat together?”

“Two days ago…oh gods Adonis, you can’t survive on coffee and insomnia!” Leon said. “I’ll go fix you some breakfast, alright? If you’re going back in three hours I need to get some food into you.” Leon leaned down and locked lips firmly with Adonis, their tongues dancing passionately. Despite his fatigue, Adonis felt a familiar stirring deep within, but before he could act on it Leon softly broke the kiss. He smiled sadly and removed himself from the bed, jumping off of the bed and walking into the kitchen. Adonis watched him go, his tight little rump moving smoothly inside his boxers.

Gods, he really was lucky to have Leon. How he put up with Adonis was beyond him; sometimes he could barely stand himself. He heard bacon sizzle as it hit a hot pan in the next room, and the smell filled the air, setting Adonis’ mouth drooling. Leon deep voice filled the air as he began to sing while he cooked; his perfect lips formed the words to some old crooner’s song, and Adonis sat up in bed. Leon’s singing voice…there was something to it, something that reached down in Adonis’ body and grabbed at his heart. It was like hearing angels, like the only beautiful thing in the city.

Adonis rose from the bed and crossed to the doorway into the kitchen, poking his head around the doorway. He saw Leon with his back to him, flipping bacon in the pan, still singing away, oblivious that Adonis was up and about. He watched Leon’s muscles strain against the fabric of the tee, his bushy tail poking through the hole in his shorts behind him. Gods, he really was beautiful…

Adonis made up his mind and crossed the floor quietly, sneaking up behind the wolf and slipping a paw between his legs, raising it towards his crotch.

“Be firm, be fair, on your guard, take…ooo!” He said, stopping in the middle of his song and drawing in breath sharply as his Adonis’ paw ran lovingly over his crotch.

“Hello Adonis…still awake, are we?”

“Always for you, my sweet.” Adonis murmured, turning Leon around and locking lips with him. They both tilted their heads, making the kiss deeper and deeper. Adonis ran a paw down the front of Leon’s chest, sliding it up his shirt, running a paw through his thick, deep fur. His claws raked across his chest and Leon moaned deeply, the sound flowing into Adonis. He responded by breaking the kiss and pulling the wolf’s shirt off, admiring his well-formed muscles, and his growing erection as well.

He wasn’t the only one who was growing hard; Adonis could feel his cock growing out of his sheath, its tip staining his pants with precum as it pressed against them.

“Don’, Don’, wait…” Leon said.

“What?” Adonis said, pulling back. Leon turned and pulled the bacon off of the heat, winking at Adonis.

“Don’t want to burn your breakfast, do I?” He asked and Adonis laughed, kissing him again. He used his free paw to slide Leon’s boxer shorts down to the ground, leaving a trail of kisses as he tracked down toward his throbbing red shaft. He wrapped his lips around the cock, slurping hungrily as he took the fat length in his jaws. Leon lay his paws on Adonis’ head and groaned happily, bucking his hips and forcing his cock deeper down Adonis’ throat. Adonis used a free paw to work the wolf’s slippery shaft, swallowing the wolfs precum as he howled with pleasure. Leon stopped Adonis and pulled him up, gasping for breath.

“Not without you, Adonis” He growled happily, turning and raising his tail to Adonis, revealing his tight little ring between his perfectly formed cheeks. Adonis pulled off his clothes, dropping on his knee and plunging his tongue into Leon’s ring piece. Leon gripped the edge of the range and threw back his head, laughing wildly in pleasure.

“You sure know how to show a wolf a good time, Adonis…” Leon moaned, panting between his words.

“You haven’t seen anything yet” Adonis said, confident that Leon’s ring was sufficiently lubricated. He rose and took firm grip of Leon’s hips, pushing his cock into his ring in one long, smooth movement, Leon growled wildly, gritting his teeth and tossed his head, so Adonis stopped to check he was ok. Leon nodded furiously, tongue lolling just as Adonis’ was. Adonis began to pump away steadily, driving his cock straight and true. He leant forward and bit down on Leon’s neck, who whimpered in pleasure, stiffening his back, which in turn sent contractions grasping Adonis’ cock like nothing he had ever felt before.

Leon began to quiver as his pent-up orgasm threatened to overflow, and he just managed to growl one word

“Tie!” He grunted desperately, eyes savage and hungry. Adonis needed no second bidding and slowly worked his swollen knot into his lovers ass, the sensation sending shivers through his whole body. He could feel his orgasm building in him and thrust harder and faster, his gaping mouth issuing a series of horny grunts as he came close.

Leon was there, however, and blew his load all over the kitchen cupboards, shaking uncontrollably, biting his lip and slamming his fist into the bench top as he moaned one name:

“Adonisss!” He cried, drawing out the s as his whole body contracted. It was too much for Adonis, who began to send a torrent of cum into his lover’s bowels. He arched his back and forced his cock even deeper, spurting as though his life depended on it, his orgasm seeming to last for hours and hours.

The two of them finally sunk wearily to the kitchen floor, stroking each other’s fur and feeling the hot, furry press of their two bodies lying together. Their breaths returned as they waited for Adonis’ cock to shrink to the point where he could withdraw it from Leon.

He did so a few minutes later, cum spurting out after he did so. Leon grinned at him and started to suck his cock clean, his deft tongue like heaven. Adonis returned the favor and licked his lover’s cock and fur clean, relishing the taste of their love together. When they were finally both sure they had cleaned each other thoroughly, they locked lips in a slow, deep kiss.

“I love you, Leon, more than I could ever express, I just hope you know it. I’m sorry I lied to you…” Adonis began when they finally parted lips, the taste of Leon’s and his own cum mixing in his mouth like sweet ambrosia, but Leon cut him off.

“Sh.” He said, holding a paw to Adonis’ lips to silence him. “I know. Go back to bed, I’ve got to finish your breakfast so you can get back to work, aye?” Adonis nodded and rose, offering Leon a paw up and kissing him again before they parted, Adonis walking on shaky paws back to the bedroom. He was lucky to have Leon, so lucky. It was like the gods had found everything Adonis was missing in his life and made him incarnate, into a perfect, sweet and beautiful creature that he couldn’t understand why he kept waking up next to.

He lay down on the bed, brushing his naked fur into a tidier position. Leon came through presently, a plate of bacon and scrambled eggs in one paw. He laid it on Adonis’ chest and flopped down with him. He handed Adonis a fork and took one himself, spearing a rasher of bacon. Adonis took a couple of mouthfuls of the scrambled eggs, swallowing them down.

“Scrambled? I thought you liked fried?” Adonis said quizzically

“They’re not for me, they’re for you.” Leon said, chewing heartily on his bacon

“I like fried too.” Adonis said. It was odd…Leon said this food was to keep him awake, but it was making him more tired. He could barely keep his eyes open.

“I thought you could use a change.” Leon said but there was something in his voice. Adonis shot him a glance. Why scrambled and not fried? It was much easier to hide something in scrambled food, wasn’t it?

“Sleeping pills? No fair…” He murmured, the room spinning on its axis around him.

“Sorry Adonis, but you need you sleep.” Leon said sadly, taking the plate off of Adonis so he wouldn’t spill its contents onto the bed sheets.

“The…the case…at ten…” He muttered, trying to shake his head to clear the darkness but finding it quite impossible.

“I’ll ring your office and explain. Sorry Adonis, it was for your own good.”

“Yeah, yeah…” Adonis mumbled, almost unconscious. “Love you…”

“I love you too Adonis, I really do.” Leon said, kissing him on the brow. Then, everything went black

Chapter Five-Cruelty and Despair

When Adonis awoke it was dusk, the sun finding a small path in the clouds to shine though, only accentuating the clouds of pollution hanging over the city. Adonis stared out the window for a few moments, thoughts arranging themselves in his head.

Fuck! He sat upright so fast his head spun, and when his vision returned to normal he found the note on the nightstand.

“Adonis-Sorry I drugged you, but another day on the streets would have put you in the ground. Please forgive me; you can’t help anyone in a coffin. Good luck today, and remember that I love you-Leon, your love everlasting.”

Adonis reread the note a few times, chest tightening. Leon was asking him for forgiveness? What about everything he put the wolf through? Now was not the time for those worries though, and Adonis dressed himself quickly, bolting down the stairs as he was still pulling his jacket on. He caught the tube again and found himself in the same carriage where he had put the ermine out; his blood still stained the floor. To see it there was like a slap in the face- to him it said that the city cared so little about what he did, that they wouldn’t even have some old blind council worker clean up the blood from where he killed someone. Gods, how he hated this city.

He tried not to think of how many hours it had been, what had happened to the girl while he had slept. As he neared the station his heart beat faster and faster at the prospect of finding more parcels from Cutter in his office, but when he got there he found only Leon and Jill, poring over files on his desk.

“What’s the latest?” Adonis asked when the two of them looked up.

“We don’t need to worry about the Maria anymore.” Jill said sadly, shaking her head.

“What? Why?” Adonis asked.

“When we got here this morning, after we heard you weren’t coming in from your…partner” Jill said, and Adonis tried not to blush. “We went over the tape from Cutter.”

“I did that hundreds of times! What did I miss?” Adonis asked, shocked

“It wasn’t you, sir. I missed it too. It was Carlos that spotted it. That neon sign you can see part of? It was the sign to a strip club on the upper east.” Adonis looked at Carlos, who shrugged and grinned sheepishly.

“And?” He asked, dreading what was coming next

“Well…we ordered a SWAT raid. They busted in, popped Cutter one in the thigh, but he got away somehow.”

“And the girl?” Adonis asked.

“As soon as SWAT hit his front door, Cutter slit her throat and ran. There was nothing they could do.” Jill said sadly.

“No…no…NO GODSDAMMIT!” Adonis roared, sweeping all the files off his desk and overturning it. “She was a little girl! He fucking tortured her, raped her, and then killed her! How did he get away?”

“SWAT…SWAT ran into one of his little traps. Pipe bomb above the door way on a timer. Cutter went through and triggered it, two SWAT otters lost the top of their heads.” Carlos said, spitting Cutter’s name like a curse.

Silence reigned in the office for a few moments, both detectives watching Adonis to see what he could do. He sighed, one paw pinching the bridge of his nose, the other on his hip. He should have been there, not asleep!

Yeah, another part of his brain replied, and if you had been there, you know you’d have been in there with SWAT, you’d have been first man after Cutter. You’d have died, too, and Leon would be just getting the news.

I shouldn’t have been asleep!

But you were!

Two men are dead, dammit! Two more to add to list of Cutter’s innocent victims! Two otters, two dobermans, a panther and a little lioness…

Innocent? You said it yourself, no-ones innocent, not in this city.

What about the Maria? The two otters who were just doing their jobs?

You would have just been doing your job, too.

But…

Aren’t you glad it wasn’t you?

That’s not the point…

But aren’t you? Are you not glad that two men died in your place?

…yes.

Adonis shook himself. Gods, he was hearing voices now. In fact, voices weren’t the only thing he was hearing.

“Can…can anyone else hear that?” He asked, cocking an ear at the ceiling. Carlos and Jill looked up too, suddenly focusing on the sound that was growing louder by the second.

“It sounds like a woman…” Carlos said

“Being fucked.” Jill finished bluntly. Indeed, just above them they could hear moaning and giggling, and Carlos just shook his head.

“Some rookie’s got a girl with a fetish for a man in uniform. Don’t worry about it.” He said, chuckling.

“What’s up there?” Adonis asked, mystified as he listened to the woman apparently nearing her climax, quite loudly.

“Just old store rooms.” Jill said, looking back down

“Oh…oh yeah…come on my face, not inside me, I want your seed on my filthy face…” The voice moaned from above, sounding so absurd Adonis just had to laugh.

“I’m glad I’m not the only person who can hear that. I thought I was going craz…” The voice from above cut him off though, changing from ecstatic moaning to horrific screaming.

“What in the hells?” Adonis asked, looking upwards again.

“He’s killing her!” Jill breathed. The three detectives exchanged glances and shot out of the office, pounding up the stairway, guns drawn. Adonis tested the door to the storeroom but it was locked. He kicked the door heavily and the lock broke, the three of them sprinting inside, followed by other cops who had heard the screaming. Adonis ran through a maze of tall stacked, dusty boxes, the sound getting closer and closer until…

Adonis stopped dead, looking at the source of the screaming. A tape deck lay on a dust-covered box, screaming its horrible message. He pressed the off button and looked down to the floor.

“Get coroners up here, pronto.” He said, shaking his head. On the floor lay what was once a young cougar girl, probably quite attractive by the looks of her. Her breasts had been cut away by her assailant…what was he thinking, of course it was Cutter. Who else would do this? Her face was covered with lacerations and she lay on the dusty floor completely naked, but the worst thing of all was on her stomach.

A note bearing his name lay there for all to see, and he gingerly picked it up. He opened it, not surprised at all that the message was written in blood, reading each crimson word carefully.

“Dear Detective Adonis.
I heard you had a run-in with my father. Still after me, I hear. A pity about the girl. Her and I could have had such fun, you know. The girl is for you, though. I made her just the way you like them. Now that you hurt me, it’s much closer to home, of course.
Ciao for now.”

He read the note several times carefully, then handed it to the coroners who had just arrived. He moved outside the room and sat down, mind blank. How could he stop Cutter? There was no way! He was like a god, moving among people like a wraith, handing out retribution here and there. Perhaps Cutter Sr. had been right; perhaps his son was acting for the good of the city. He shook himself. Start thinking like that and you start thinking like Chief Irons and the rest of those crooked bastards. Carlos and Jill left the room and came and sat beside Adonis, not sure of what to say.

“He’s a fucking psychopath. No doubt about it.” Jill said.

“They reckon he carried her up the fire escapes. No alarm on it.” Carlos muttered. Adonis could tell both of his detectives were disheartened, but so was he. And what did Cutter mean, ‘I made her just the way you like them’? Cutter thought he liked woman without breasts? With small breasts? Well, he struck out twice there. Adonis froze. If Cutter could find out who his case detective was, surely he’d go to the effort to find out his weaknesses, how to hurt him. ‘It’s closer to home…’ that was no idle threat!

“Oh shit.” He breathed, springing to his paws and bolting off down the stairs. Jill and Carlos were close behind, Carlos calling out to him.

“What is it boss?” He asked

“I know where Cutter is!” He barked.

“Then let’s get SWAT!” Jill yelled.

“No time! We have to move!” Adonis cried. Jill and Carlos had no choice but to follow, so they all piled into Carlos’ car and set off across town, the siren wailing as they went.
Adonis stared out the window, breathing hard, unable to do anything. Gods, I hope I’m wrong…

When they screeched to a halt outside Adonis’ apartment building he leapt out of the car and thundered up the staircase, drawing his pistol as he went. He skidded to a halt outside his door, but his paw paused on the handle. Carlos and Jill caught up with him, weapons drawn as well.

“What’s wrong?” Carlos asked. Adonis made no reply but leant into the door, listening with all his might. There! Just on the cusp of hearing, a whimper from inside. Alright, this was Cutter they were dealing with…the door’s trapped then. He turned away from the door and bolted another flight of stairs, until he was outside the room directly above his own. Opposite the room there was a fire hose, which he unwound and wrapped around his arm. He kicked the door open heavily, running into a cloud of ganja smoke.

Three dreadlocked lions looked up from their three-way bong in fear, eyes widening at his gun.

“Shit man, ‘tis the fuzz!” One moaned, but Adonis paid them no heed. He ran past them towards the big window in the bedroom. As he ran he squeezed out three shots, shattering the glass. He hit what remained at full tilt, crashing through and out into nothing. He fell for a few seconds, heart stopping as the hose didn’t seem to hold, but then it stopped with a sudden jerk.

Adonis winced…that was a dislocated shoulder, no doubt about it. He didn’t care though, turning himself around to face the building. Finally, some luck! He had stopped just outside his own bedroom window. He could see no-one within and fired off a few rounds, swinging through onto the bed. He unwound the hose from his arm gingerly and held his pistol tightly, steadying his breath before leaving the room.

“Leon?” He called, blinking some blood from his eyes as he crossed to the next room. Blood dripped into his eyes from a glass cuts above his eye, but he couldn’t wipe it away with his lame arm.

“Adonis?” Came the tremulous reply.

“Where’s Cutter?” Adonis barked, going towards the sound

“He’s long gone.” Leon said, laughing weakly. Adonis rounded the corner and gasped in horror-Leon was strapped to a chair facing the door, his back hunched in pain. More than a dozen small knives were embedded in his back, enough to hurt but not too kill; Cutter enjoyed his torture. As Adonis rounded Leon he could see his muzzle was swollen and blackened where Cutter had beaten him, and two more knives were buried in his gut, much deeper this time. Leon had lost a lot of blood, he had to get to a hospital soon or he would…he had to get to a hospital soon, Adonis thought firmly.

“Are you alright?” Adonis asked, returning his gun to his holster.

“Yeah, peachy.” Leon said, his laugh turning into a cough. What had Cutter done to his beautiful wolf? His fur was cut and bloody, his eyes dim with pain…Cutter would pay for this.

“Don’…the trap!” Leon yelled, suddenly terrified. Adonis looked down, eyes bugging as he saw what Leon was referring to. A loaded shotgun was on the floor, angled towards Leon’s muzzle. A string attached the trigger to a series of pulleys that attached to the door. If he had opened it, he would have splattered Leon’s skull himself.

“You’re safe now, no-ones opening that door.” Adonis said reassuringly, stroking Leon’s head.

“Tell that to them!” Leon yelped in terror, and Adonis turned to see the doorknob turning as if in slow-motion. He pushed Leon’s chair to the floor, landing atop it as the shotgun discharged, showering Adonis and Leon in plaster. Adonis looked up and saw Carlos in the doorway, a horrified look on his face.

“Gods dammit Carlos, you over-enthusiastic bastard, did it occur to you there was a reason I didn’t take the door?” Adonis barked at the terrified panther. He looked down and saw Leon had lapsed into unconsciousness. “What are you looking at?” He yelled at Carlos “Radio a fucking ambulance!”

Chapter Six

Adonis sat in the brightly-lit sterilized hallway, head in his paws. A cup of coffee someone had bought him was cooling at his side, the occasional sound of a doctor being paged flowing in through one ear and out the other. How could he have not seen it coming, how could he have let this happen to Leon? The doctors were operating on him now in the next room, where they had been for the last two hours. He glanced up a Carlos sat down beside him, his face ashen.

“Look, boss, about before,” He began wretchedly, but Adonis cut him off.

“Don’t worry Carlos; it’s not your fault. I should have told you not to touch the door.” He said wearily, leaning back against the wall.

“Yeah, but I should have known the door was trapped. I should have thought like you did.”

“Well feeling sorry for ourselves isn’t going to help anything.” Adonis said, grinning weakly. “Cutter’s still out there, and we don’t have a single lead on him.”
“None of his victims match any possible pattern, none of the locations either. All that matches is that they’re all dead.” Carlos said, sighing deeply. “His behavior doesn’t fit any of the psycho profiles so far, either. He’s an enigma.” Carlos lapsed into silence, the two of them staring at the white wall opposite them for lack of anything to say.

“You and Jill don’t have to stick around, you know. You can go home if you like.” Adonis murmured

“And leave you like this?” Carlos asked “Not a chance.”

“Thanks, Carlos, it means a lot.” Adonis said, closing his eyes and letting the disinfectant smell of the hospital fill his nostrils.

“That was your…uh…you know…” Carlos finally asked, breaking the long silence.

“Yes Carlos, Leon is my other half.” Adonis said, trying to hide a smile at the panther’s awkwardness.

“You really…love him, huh?”

“More than I could ever express.”

“Yeah, we could tell.”

“Hmm?”

“The way you were holding him on the ambulance on the way over here.” Carlos said, stretching. “I’ve never seen someone look so utterly horrified as you did when the doctors wheeled him into surgery.” Adonis didn’t say anything opting instead for silence. Just then the double doors from the surgery swung open and a nurse came out, signaling to Adonis.

“Good luck boss. I’ll be here, aye?” Carlos said as Adonis rose, his heart thudding painfully.

“Mister Solari?” The nurse asked, reading his name off of a clipboard. Adonis nodded, unable to find his tongue. “Leon is in a stable condition, thanks to our surgeons.” Adonis nearly fainted, the smile on his face so wide the top of his head was in danger of falling off. “You can see him if you like.” Adonis nodded and followed the nurse, so happy he was almost in tears.

He was led into a small hospital room and the nurse left his side, instructing him to call her once done. Adonis walked slowly around a curtain that was obstructing his view of the bed, stopping stock-still as Leon came into sight. His face was still swollen, but the blood had been washed away, his cuts stitched and bandaged. An IV led into his wrist and various other tubes were stuck in him, but the wolf was just awake, eyes barely open.

“Leon…” was all Adonis managed to say, crossing the space and hugging the wolf as tight as he dared, lest he rupture his stitches.

“Hey don’…” Leon murmured, stroking the fox’s head as he began to weep into his chest fur.

“Gods, I’m so sorry Leon, this is my fault, it’s all my fault.” Adonis said, sobbing uncontrollably “I put you in danger. You nearly died because of me”

“And I didn’t, because of you.” Leon said seriously. “How are your injuries?” Adonis sniffed, scrubbing a paw across his eyes. The doctors had popped his shoulder in and tried to make him wear a sling, but Adonis merely through it away, the pain not bothering him that much. He had required a few stitches for glass cuts, but had only got them to keep himself occupied while he waited or Leon to get out of theatre.

“I’ll live.” He muttered, hugging Leon close again.

“And so will I, thanks to you.” Leon said, kissing Adonis on the brow. Adonis looked up and they kissed softly. “Now go. You’re not going to catch that bastard crying over me, are you?” Adonis shook his head, smiling sadly. The two of them kissed once more and Adonis stroked Leon’s headfur softly, turning and leaving him alone. He met the nurse just outside the room, where she was looking over a clipboard.

“What’s the damage?” Adonis asked, dreading what he’d hear.

“Ninety-seven stitches, a few broken ribs, and a ruptured spleen. He’ll be in hospital for a month, but he’ll be alright eventually. He was in danger of dying at one point, but someone pulled him out just in time.” She said.

“What happened?” Adonis asked, curious.

“He has a rare blood type. We didn’t have any in stock, and he was going to die without it. But someone dropped by and gave enough to save him.” The nurse said, smiling kindly.

“Who?” Adonis asked.

“A young man by the name of…James Cutter.” The nurse said, reading off of the clipboard.

“What?” Adonis asked, frozen in shock. He wouldn’t…he wouldn’t…”

“James Cutter.” The nurse repeated, giving Adonis an odd look and walking away. That son of a bitch…he wanted Adonis to know the only reason Leon was alive was because of him. He wanted him to feel powerless, weak, like nothing. Well it wasn’t going to work. Fire flowed through his veins as he stalked off, destroying the pain and stiffness in his joints. There was no way Cutter was getting away with this…

Cutter’s blood flowed in his veins…

He was still Leon.

Not entirely. He’ll always be there, that glint in his eye, that’ll be Cutter, winking and laughing at you.

He’ll be in prison!

It won’t matter. He’ll be out in spirit, inside Leon, the one way to hurt you, and he knows it.

I still love Leon, nothing could change that!

As long as that jackal bastard is in prison, he’ll be inside Leon.

I love him

You won’t be able to look Leon on the eye, you’ll never be able to kiss his without flinching, never feel his soft touch without feeling Cutter behind it, not while he’s alive.

Not while he’s alive?

Not while he’s alive.

Not while James Cutter is alive.

Adonis was aware he was losing it, but didn’t care at all. He harnessed the insanity, ignoring everything else. Cutter…he couldn’t kill him, he had to go to trial. It had to be done by the rules. It had to, or else everyone would have died in vain. That Cutter was a dog, the lowest being he knew.

He was a dog…

“Oh gods…” Adonis murmured, everything unfolding in front of his eyes. How could he have not seen it? How could he have been so stupid? He flew through the double doors to see Jill and Carlos standing uncertainly, waiting for him to return.

“Is he okay boss?” Carlos asked, worried.

“Both of you, come with me.” Adonis barked, and they fell in behind him, setting off towards the hospital car park.

“What is it, sir? Is Leon alright?” Jill asked, but Leon waved her into silence.

“What is Cutter?” He asked grimly.

“A motherfucker?” Carlos said, not understanding.

“A jackal?” Jill said

“What’s a jackal?”

“A big ugly dog?” Carlos said, confused

“Exactly. Who have been Cutter’s victims?” Adonis said as they entered the elevator to the car park.

“Uh…two cheetahs, a leopard, a wolf, a lion, two otters, a cougar and Leon.” Carlos answered.

“No, the wolf and the otters weren’t like the others. They were quick kills, not mutilated, made in self defense. Leon was done to hurt me; Cutter set the trap for me to kill him himself, when he could have easily done it himself. The real victims were the mutilated ones.” Adonis said grimly.

“So…the victims we need to look at are the cheetahs, the leopard, the lion and the cougar?” Jill asked.

“What do they have in common?” Adonis said as the doors opened to the basement car park.

“They’re all cats…” Jill said.

“Dogs chase cats. He’s acting on old race hatreds.” Carlos said.

“Of course!” Jill said. “Who’s next, then?”

“What hasn’t he killed yet?” Adonis said.

“A panther?” Carlos asked, suddenly scared.

“Not a panther, not yet.” Adonis said, shaking his head.

“What else is there then?” Carlos asked.

“A tiger…” Jill said, eyes widening.

“You don’t get many tigers in this city.” Carlos said as they crossed to his car.

“Except for tonight.” Jill said grimly.

“Exactly.” Adonis said, nodding. Carlos looked from Jill to Adonis, puzzled.

“What the hell are you two talking about?” He asked

“Chiang Kai-Shek.” Jill said.

“Who?” Carlos asked, completely lost.

“Don’t you ever read the papers?” Jill asked, shaking her head. “He’s the mogul who owns all the Avian Hotels. He’s opening a new one in the business district tomorrow, but before he does he’s spending the night in the penthouse suite to check it meets his standards.”

“An old man isn’t really Cutter’s style, is it?” Carlos asked, unlocking his car.

“No, but his twelve year old daughter is.”

“Empty hotel, guards only at the bottom, Cutter has all night to play with her.” Adonis said as they clambered into the car.

“What are we waiting for?” Carlos asked, looking around. “Let’s motor!”

“I hope it’s not too late.” Jill said as the engine roared to life.

“So do I, Jill.” Adonis said, thinking about how that bastard ad played Leon, had almost killed him and then saved him, just to show Adonis how powerful he was. A killing like this, on such a famous individual, would show the whole city how powerful James Cutter was. Adonis wasn’t going to let him, not ever. “So do I.”

Chapter Seven-The End Of The Road

Carlos’ car pulled up in front of the new hotel, the three detectives getting out and approaching the hotel doors. Adonis peered inside the brightly-lit tower but could see no guards. He tested the door but found it locked. Not surprising, really.

“Adonis? You better have a look at this.” Jill said, crouching over something in the bushes beside the door. Two Doberman guards, paws still clutching automatic weapons, their throats opened up by a sharp object.

“Cutter’s inside.” Jill said, exchanging glances with Carlos and Adonis.

“And we aren’t. Carlos?” Adonis said, pulling his gun from his holster. Carlos followed suite and they leveled their weapons at the glass doors, squeezing off a few rounds. The glass erupted into a web-like network of cracks, but didn’t give.

“Reinforced. I was afraid of this.” Adonis muttered, holstering his gun. “Ram it, Carlos.” The panther nodded and took a few steps back, running full-tilt into the glass and ramming it with his shoulder. The glass didn’t budge, and Carlos was thrown onto the pavement, nursing his arm.

“I meant with you car.” Adonis said slowly, looking in disbelief at Carlos.

“Way ahead of you boss” Jill shouted and Adonis turned to see her angling Carlos’ car at the hotel doors. Adonis grabbed Carlos and moved him just before the car crashed through the doorframes, sending glass spilling all over the foyer floor.

“Not my car!” Carlos moaned as Adonis pulled him up and dragged him into the hotel. Carlos rushed to help Jill out of the car, but Adonis went straight for the single glass elevator. Jill and Carlos turned to see Adonis pressing the button for the penthouse.

“Sir, wait!” Jill cried, but the doors closed shut on her protest. Good, Adonis thought as the elevator rose quickly. He was alone, and those two would have to wait for the elevator to come back before they could follow him. Cutter was his.

The elevator slowed to a halt with a dull chime, and the doors slid open slowly. He exited and heard the doors slide shut behind him, the elevator whirring into life as it slid down the shaft to where Carlos and Jill would be waiting. He had to move fast…Adonis found the door to the penthouse wide open and drew his weapons, holding it before him as he entered.

A large armchair was overturned on the floor of the penthouse, and as Adonis neared it he saw a pair of legs in expensive pants leaning over the chair. They belonged to an elderly tiger, multiple stab wounds in his chest and throat. He surveyed the old man, trying to see what his body was telling him. Cutter would have bolted in, stabbing the old man as he rose from his chair, then turning and grabbing the girl. There was no other way off of this floor, so Cutter was still in the suite…

Adonis whirled and leveled his gun at Cutter, snarling as he saw him holding his knife to a terrified little tigresses’ throat.

“Hello, detective Adonis, we finally meet. I did enjoy the company of your friend, Leon, the other day. I trust he is recovered sufficiently? I thought it was rather fitting that I give him my blood, after I took so much of his.” He said, smirking.

“You…let go of the girl, Cutter, she’s innocent.” Adonis said, struggling to hold onto his rising fury. Cutter simply laughed, pressing the blade closer to the struggling girl.

“Adonis, please! Why treat me like a criminal? I’m not like those ones that sleep in their own filth, shooting up heroin in the trash! I’m doing this for the good of the city!”

“Drop the charade, Cutter. I know you’re targeting felines. You’re not on any mission; you’re just a petty, spoilt little racist.” Cutter froze at this, the remark obviously cutting him deep.

“You can arrest me detective, but you and I both know I’ll be back on the streets before you even get home. Maybe I’ll pay Leon another visit. Or maybe I’ll go and find your good friend Carlos’ wife. I hear she’s pregnant.” Cutter said, grinning evilly.

“Don’t you touch her, Cutter! If you lay a paw on her…”

“You’ll what? What will you do? Arrest me? Ha, you don’t scare me, I’m above the law and you know it! In ten years, they’ll probably call me a hero!” Cutter said, moving the knife from the girl’s throat as he waved his paw around excitedly. “Can you hear them, Adonis? Chanting my name on the streets? Cutter, Cutter, Cutter, Cutter!” The terrifying thing was that Adonis could hear them. The people of this city would make a genocidal dictator their leader if he had a nice suit and rich friends.

And his blood will be in Leon’s veins, forever. Leon will be him. Cutter knew that was what hurt him the most.

The little tigress, seeing the knife was no longer at her throat, bit down hard on Cutter’s arm, freeing herself. Cutter yelled in pain and grabbed the nape of her neck, holding up the knife to kill the girl. Adonis moved fast, swinging his gun up and squeezing the trigger, the bullet blasting a hole in the jackal’s wrist.

Cutter yelped in pain and dropped his knife, the girl struggling from his grip and running away. Cutter stared in horror at his wrist, and then looked to Adonis, a crazy look in his eyes.

“Alright detective, slap irons on me. Take me away, I surrender!” He said, holding out his wrists. Adonis said nothing, his gun still leveled at Cutter. “Come now detective, lets not play these games,” Cutter said nervously, blood dripping onto the floor from his ruined wrist.

You won’t be able to look Leon on the eye, you’ll never be able to kiss his without flinching, never feel his soft touch without feeling Cutter behind it, not while he’s alive.

“You wouldn’t…” Cutter said, eyes widening in terror at Adonis’ unwavering gun. “You can’t kill a man in cold blood, not someone who’s unarmed you’re a cop!”

Not while he’s alive?

Adonis unclipped his badge from his belt and tossed it behind him, the sound of the cheap copper sliding across the expensive tiles deafening. “Not anymore.”

Not while he’s alive.

Cutter made a leap for his knife, but Adonis tackled him to the floor, striking out with both fists into the jackals face. Again and again he hammered his fists home, blood splattering his white tee.

“‘m unarmed…’m unarmed…” Cutter was saying, over and over, mumbling as Adonis beat him.

“So was Maria! So were the cheetahs, the leopards, the lioness and the cougar!” Adonis yelled, following every word with a fist, the bloodlust taking him over. “And so was Leon!” He roared, using the butt of his gun as a hammer, smashing the jackals skull, his muzzle, his eyes, everything.

He finally halted after what seemed an age, breathing like a bellows. He was exhausted beyond measure, and was about to fall asleep when he heard a sound in the doorway behind him. Adonis whirled and saw Jill and Carlos standing there, looking on in horror. Jill had the little tigress clutched to her, trying to comfort the weeping child. Adonis rose from his grisly task, legs shaking.

“Sir…” Carlos said, eyeing the blood dripping off of Adonis. “Are you…”

“Yes Carlos, I’m fine. It’s over.” Adonis said, gazing at his paws. He found something hard embedded in his knuckle and worked it out with his teeth, the metallic tang of blood in his mouth making him sick. He spat the object into his paw and laughed weakly. It was one of Cutter’s fangs. It wasn’t over, though.

Adonis flipped his gun around in his paw, pointing the barrel at the motionless body on the ground. He squeezed the trigger again and again, until the echoes had died away and the only sound was of the hammer falling on an empty magazine. Now it was over, Adonis thought.

He hadn’t changed anything though. The city was still sick, still ill, still dying of its own cancer. They were on a sinking boat, but no-one was bailing, only lighting fires. The insanity went on and on, and more and more people who didn’t deserve to die did. They weren’t innocent. No-one was. But Adonis could take some small comfort in what he’d done, for ‘the good of the city’, if he could use those words without being sick.

The cats were avenged. The killer was off of the street. The city isn’t safe, not by a long shot, but at least some of the corruption was gone. At least some of the pain had been lessened, the pain of those who lost loved ones to Cutter. The constable, the lioness, the SWAT officers, the hotel Mogul; they weren’t part of Cutter’s plan but they died too. They got in the way. Well, that’d never happen to anyone ever again, Adonis had made sure of that. They were avenged. Their families could sleep.

And maybe Adonis could too.

Epilogue

As the nurse had promised, exactly one month later Leon was out of hospital, eager to catch up on time he had missed with Adonis. There had been many shower encounters and surprises in the kitchen since he had been discharged, and Adonis had to grudgingly admit that he was enjoying himself. He never told him what happened in the hotel, just that he had killed the jackal. He never told him about whose blood had saved him either. Some things were better kept a secret, and since Adonis had not once seen that smarmy glint in Leon’s eye, he took it as a good sign that the bastard was gone. Leon now had some scars to match Adonis’, but hadn’t lost any of his happiness or enthusiasm because of his ordeal with Cutter. Adonis grinned as he watched him sometimes, wishing he could be as happy or bouncy as the wolf.

He doesn’t have your job, though, Adonis would think. Cutter’s death was a big blow to his father, and once details of his son’s actions got out, as well as details of how he had tried to bribe a certain detective to let his son off of the hook, his stocks plummeted. He was given a unanimous vote of no-confidence from his board of directors, and one month later officers who had come to arrest him on charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice found he had hung himself. The Cutters were dead. Adonis knew he should have been overjoyed about the news, but he wasn’t. He just felt…empty.

Carlos’ daughter had turned out to be daughters, and both of them had been delivered happy and healthy. Adonis and Leon had found time to go the baby shower, and while there Carlos announced that he had decided to name one Jill, and the other Maria. Most of the guests didn’t understand the reference, but when Carlos locked eyes with Adonis across the room Adonis just nodded. Carlos was a sweet kid, and he’d make a good detective one day. Adonis just hoped no-one would ever use Carlos’ family against him, like Cutter had used Leon against him.

Jill made detective inspector after the Cutter case, and now took up the office next to Adonis. She was going to be a good detective too; Adonis could see it in her. The city itself kept on running, kept getting more and more corrupt, more people died that didn’t deserve too, more people lived that didn’t deserve too. It wasn’t just this city, either. Anywhere in the world you chose to go you’d find the city, in some form. Adonis found himself thinking sometimes that maybe people like Maria were the lucky ones, those who got to die in a moment of pain, not having to live a life of it.

But then they’d never be able to feel the love that Adonis felt whenever he saw Leon, whenever he felt his lips brush his, whenever he listened to his breath rise and fall as he slept. The love that threatened to overflow whenever Leon held him in his arms, whenever he felt Leon inside of him. The city was an ugly place, a place of death and vile corruption, where Adonis always wondered if he should save his last bullet for himself.

But maybe there were some things worth living for.

When the Cats Away by Raven Venice

I sighed as I sat on the edge of the bed and looked at myself in the mirror. Across from me, the reflection looked just as bored. My partner and I were both lions, though as the submissive in the relationship…well, him and I had our disagreements but most of it was just me trying to be uppity. Naked, I ran a paw through my long head fur, sighing as it was the closet to a mane he would allow me. Honestly though, the submission to that had been…suprisingly enjoyable. And he’d made up for it afterwords. When we’d arrived home, He had made it seem like we were going to bed early, then to my surprise I felt him pull me on top of him. My eyes had widened as I had felt his barbed shaft poking at my tail, squealing in play as a paw wrapped around my muzzle and nose, blocking my airflow as his free paw guided himself into my tailhole. Thankfully he was always gentle without the lube, a must when your partner is barbed and decided not to bother with the protective sheaths yet again. I had struggled in play as I was unable to breath, feeling him rolling his hips, that hard cone sliding deep inside me and probing my prostate. Of course he’d let me breathe every few moments, just enough to make it worse.

Of course soon after that, he sadly had to go. I was going to be in another person’s paws for a week, and I was still waiting for them to arrive. I’d hidden most of the stuff, partially because I was unsure of my partner…partially because I wanted to have some fun with the person. Sah had an interesting personality, and liked to push boundaries…like he was right now, making me wait impatiently for him to arrive. I’d also been warned that he would be bringing a few of his own things…and Min had warned me not to be a problem. I was too stay as open minded as possible while in Sah’s paws. Well, that wasn’t hard. I loved to explore. While I waited I sighed and went to the dresser, foraging around for a bit, I slid a pair of blue panties up my legs, shuddering as the silk glided along my fur before embracing my crotch and buttocks. I fished out a pair of cuffs and a gag before stepping into the open closet. The muzzle slid into place easily, covering the front of my maw and looping up over my nose, it left little room to move my lower jaw. Of course this one had breathing holes built into it…I liked breathplay, but I knew better when playing alone. The cuffs clicked into the special ring we’d installed to the back wall, my paws closing the metal rings snugly down around my wrists, I was now unable to do anything but wait as I felt a small bulge in the panties.

After a while I blinked, slowly opening my eyes as I heard the front door open, mumbling some as I realized I’d fell asleep, a deep voice calling out my name. I grunted and gave a loud moan through the gag, starting to wish I’d provided myself a stimulant to help pass the time as I gave a few wiggles, eyes half closed as the pure white wolf entered the room, smiling as he looked me up and down. I rolled my eyes and gave a few tugs on the cuffs, trying to push a “need to use the bathroom” through the muzzle…not that it really came out like that. Sah chuckled and shook his head as his paw gently caressed the sheath-bulge in my panties. “I speak gag yes…but you will just have to wait…this is too priceless.” I gave a whine and and a glare as he turned and started looking through our dressers, my bladder growing more and more anxious as it had decided to fill. There was no way he was just going to let me piss myself…was he?

Maybe not having shoved a vibrator in my tailside had been a good idea…at least I could hold out a bit longer…maybe out wait him and get a chance to make a bathroom dash. I watched as that snow-white tail wagged behind him, the wolf going through our drawers. “Now if I was the fun stuff where would I be? For that matter…Min didn’t tell me what you were really into…only that I was ok to do anything I wanted as long as it wasn’t going to cause you any physical harm…outside of spankings and related.” I shivered at the thought, my body denying me the ability to hide the fact that I was actually enjoying this teasing talk as the tip of my shaft was now pushing at the panties slightly. I could also feel my golden facial fur burning as I was blushing as he was standing right next to the hiding spot…I’d actually locked a few of my favorite gags and toys in the oversize safe we kept…along with a few outfits. “Hmm…maybe something in the safe?” I grunted, figuring I was safe there…at worst he could try and torture the combination out of me.

Much to my horror and delight he was soon swinging the safe door open and foraging around inside. “Oh yeah…he gave me the combination and told me you’d probably do this…silly Nala.” I yelped behind the gag as he used my female name, hating that Min had nearly forced it on me. While he was foraging around in the safe he muttered a few times to himself before I could hear him laughing. “Oh…Nala likes puppy play…and a full puppy suit…this will be too cute. Seems he wants pictures too.” I only heard half of it as I was too busy focusing on fighting back the urge to start tugging on the cuffs as my bladder won out, the fabric soaking up the first of my piss before it started to dribble down my leg. When my bladder had finally emptied I glowered at the wolf, unbelieving he’d actually let that happen…and secretly enjoying it. Well, if he knew about the puppy gear that my partner had snuck in there, probably after I’d hidden most of the stuff…then that meant he probably knew about the “backyard” we had made in the basement. Grateful to be untied, I knew it was a short lived victory as I was told to stand by the bed. Being as helpful as I could, knowing I wasn’t getting out of this predicament, I let myself be slid into the puppy gear. Of course being the girl in the relationship, we couldn’t have gone with the nice black set…oh no, it had to be the pink set. So now I had pink front canine rubber paws and pink rubber sleeves pinning each leg so I was forced to walk on all fours. Sah grinned and ordered me up on the bed, then to roll over…knowing it wasn’t easy in this position. When I was on the bed I felt the cold steel of a metal tube sliding over my sheath and locking behind my sac followed by a soft click as a tiny heart-padlock was closed, securing it snugly against my sheath and balls.

To make it worse, while I was still on my back, I felt a thicker then normal vibrating egg slide into me, the toy already vibrating as it’s wired controller was tucked into the sleeve binding my right leg. Thankfully he helped me off the bed before leading me to the basement. When we entered I blushed as I looked around, the fake grass covering the entire floor, in one corner was the “puppy box”…a collection of various toys, a few feet away a customized doghouse with feeding and watering bowl nearby. When I was down here I was forced to do my duties in the far corner, where it could be easily cleaned up due to a puppy mat being laid down. It really was highly embarrassing but I never really minded…even if I was forced to do it for another master. I trotted around for a bit, enjoying myself the best I could, even with the vibrator teasing me unendingly…the device would never die, even if left on for a thousand years…so there was no hope for that small mercy.

I was allowed to roam for quite a while, and I was a bit confused at how little interaction the wolf was giving…I had assumed I was going to be his toy and used harshly the entire time…yet the worst so far was an egg that wouldn’t turn off. Curiosity finally overwhelmed me and I dug around in the toy box for a bit, moving stuff around with my muzzle until I had a nice canine toy and a tennis-ball-gag laying next to it. I took the canine over first, then went back for the gag, laying them both at Sah’s feet before giving him a playful woof and a heavy wag of my tail. I doubted he knew, and I quickly demonstrated that the floor had certain tiles that would automatically raise and lower so that a “puppy” could “sit” on them and use them, a ring encasing the base of the toy to keep it from moving with me. The gag wasn’t entirely planned on being used at the moment, but afterwords as I gave his sheath a wet lick. He gave a soft moan to that and patted my head, chuckling some as he was still holding a camera. “Hmm I’m not doing a very good dom routine am I? Sorry…I’m a bit of a special interest…which we’ll get into in a bit…but right now I think the puppy wants to play…doesn’t she?” I gave another bark and nod as I waited for my orders. I was soon surprised to find myself playing fetch with the gag for a good 20 minutes before the wolf surprised me, the straps buckling behind my head, followed by a simple order “Sit nala!” I blushed, sitting the best I could in the gear, shuddering as I was pierced by the toy I had placed earlier. “Good girl. Stay.” I whined but nodded, shivering as I was sitting with a knot just outside my tailhole, and the tile was slowly building pressure as it was pushing up…that knot was going to enter me dry…and eventually exiting the same way. Though I was glad to see I was getting one treat as I was finally able to see that pure black shaft emerge from it’s sheath and into a white paw, Sah stroking himself as he stood over me.

Groaning as I was stretched almost painfully around the rubber knot, at the same time the wolf gave a howl as he splattered my face and ball with his sticky seed, a copious amount as it stuck and dribbled down. When he finally caught his breath he looked at me. “Bark once for removal of pup gear, twice for chastity. One or the other.” I groaned, hating choices like this…but chose the suit, wondering what he was going to do next. What I didn’t know was I was about to find out about his “special” interest, as he put the gear in the toy box, along with the dildo and gag, before we headed back upstairs. When we were there he handed me a blindfold and told me to go lay on the living room table. I nodded and laid down, blindfolding myself and waiting. A few minutes later I heard a curious crinkling as he squatted down between my spread legs. “Ass up.” I arched, frowning as I could feel something fluffy sliding underneath me, a paw gently pushing me down on the cushion, the cottony cover coming up over my front. The next sound was impossible to deny, tapes pulling off their covers to pin the diaper in place. The blindfold was then removed and I was allowed to roll to my feet…and got a slap to the paw as my first reaction was to try and take it off. “You already wet your panties like a baby once, we aren’t wasting another pair.” He growled softly, my eyes widening as I heard the order in his voice…and the submissive in me went into obedient mode.

While he cooked dinner I was forced to walk around the kitchen, getting used to the new padding. Of course I was tired and a bit grumpy, but I knew better then to fight him on this one. Gods only knew what else he had up his sleeve…and while it felt weird, it wasn’t entirely unpleasant either. We shared a quick but delicious dinner, followed by a few hours of cuddling in front of the tv. I was starting to have second thoughts about this wolf…he wasn’t really all that bad. We finally moved to the bedroom, a playful grumble as I was secured to the headboards. I soon learned that he had a bladder condition that made it impossible for him to make it an entire night without soaking the bed, the both of us soon crinkling, a swat to my diaper when I tried to scoot away from the wolf when he tried to curl up against me.

I woke up the next morning with a shudder as I could feel that sometime my bladder had decided to take care of itself…but that wasn’t the only thing. I groaned and rattled the cuffs, not wanting to sit in that wet mush or the mess…and to make matters worse the wolf seemed to be half awake and was pushing the wet mush against my chastity device…teasing me more. He finally woke up, rolling over and unlocking the cuffs, he motioned for the shower. “You’ll get used to it…I slipped a bit of laxative into your dinner…you will never know when I do it, only that it happens…and the stuff I use makes it so you don’t get to fight the urge…you just find yourself in a gross wet mush.” I nodded and whimpered as I made my way to the shower. While I was showering he snuck in, dropping a few things on the bathroom counter before leaving, telling me he was going to make coffee and breakfast before we headed out for the day. I blinked, wondering what he meant by that as I finished cleaning up and stepped out.

Grumbling some as I had to fight with my first diaper, I had no idea how to put the silly thing on…but seemed not to buther it too badly before I slipped into a hello kitty skirt, glancing in the mirror and sighing as the frilly edges of the skirt would be lifted if I bent over, exposing the pink crinkling diaper to the world…that wolf was cruel…and I loved humiliation…it was a good mix really. I made my way downstairs, breakfast and coffee waiting for me as I asked him what he meant about going out…not quite liking the grin he gave me as we ate and his refusal to answer my questions. We finally headed out, me handcuffed to a stroller, the skirt riding up to show the front of my already wettened diaper as he pushed me along. I wondered how far we were going to walk, realizing why he was late yesterday…after about 30 minutes we were at the outskirts of town and headed toward a farm. I frowned, wondering what we were doing here as I knew the farmer…a nice genlecolt…if not a bit eccentric. I also knew that he had a few animals on his farm who had been bred to have extremely highly intelligence…and was not the least bit surprised to find a feral dog muzzled, behind him and fully knotted another canine, this one wearing a muzzle leash…standing over them, a horse who had buried his well endowed mass into the knotting and muzzled dog, the horse pulling on the leash so that the leashed canine was forced to nuzzle and lick at the horse’s balls. If that was going on…I didn’t want to think of what was in store for me.

When we stepped inside he smiled and shrugged. “Figured I’d introduce you to my master…yeah, i’m actually a fellow pet.” I blushed but nodded, that having explained quite a bit. I was freed before he had me lay down on a padded table, my wrists secured to my sides and ankles to the table’s back legs before a blindfold was slid over my head, blocking my vision completely. I waited a while, unsure of what was going on, when I heard a faint struggle and a canine yelp of surrender…followed by moans of pleasure. It would seem as though the master was home…that proving to be true when I felt a horse shaft pushed against my chin, sliding down to my nose then back up…a clear indicator of what was expected from me. I opened my maw and began licking the flat tip, moaning softly at the salty pre that was leaking out already…I had always wondered what a horse was like…

He seemed to grow tired of my licking, pushing the tip against my lips before pushing in deeper. I began to tug on the restraints and whimper as I realized that with my head over the side, he could easily deep throat me and I had no defenses, the rubber straps barely giving at all as they held my wrists down. He slid himself closer, my eyes widening behind the blindfold as I felt the hard ring halfway down his shaft push past my lips, the rest of his member disappearing into my throat as he began to thrust in harsh strokes, ignoring my choking as I had to get used to the sudden intrusion, his balls tapping my nose, sweaty musk sticking to the sensitive pores as it soon overwhelmed my senses, if not for the diaper and chastity I would have been rock hard and begging for more. He continued his thrusting pattern before suddenly hilting, pushing as far as he could in and giving a neigh of pleasure as he emptied a load into my throat, sliding out with each throb of his meaty club. I moaned as cum and drool escaped after his cock, dribbling down my nose to drip on the floor under me, the smell somewhat intoxicating. I was afraid of what was to come…there was no way I could take that thing inside any other orifice…and yet I had a sensation he had every plan for that to happen.

“So…little Nala…” I heard the farmer speak as he was removing the straps around my wrists and ankles. “I hear you have a thing for breathplay…I wonder what a bit of breathplay could do about advancing some anal training…” I whimpered and shook my head, not sure I was liking that thought as he helped me off the table.

“Please, Ri…I would love to take that…but you’re so…big…I don’t think it’ll fit.” I whimpered, blushing as he only laughed. “Oh no no…it’ll take a few days before you can take me…I know that…but I have a few pets who are…pretty well endowed and know how to stretch a little girl nice and wide for daddy.” I nodded slowly, wondering what exactly he had in mind for me as I glanced in the corner, blinking as I saw the wolf on his back, hogtied and being…serviced by a husky who was licking at his tailhole, I presumed preparing himself to plunge into the wolf’s tailside. I followed Ri to another room, seeing a full grown lion laying on his stomach, a mask locked over his muzzle, a tube leading away to a machine that was making a low-revving engine sound. “One of my re-inventions…it’s a light vacuum…breath-play lovers absolutely love and hate it…see, it makes it so you can still breathe…but you feel like you can’t, so you get stuck in that perfect stage between suffocating and being able to breathe…all the fun without the risk.” I grunted, wondering what he was going to do to keep me from just pulling it off if he was going to put that thing on me. What I didn’t realize is that the feral lion wasn’t cuffed in place…nor was the donkey plowing into him at the moment. Or that this wasn’t the room for me…it was merely a demonstration as I walked into another room, giving a surprised yelp as I was pounced from behind by a husky, a soft growl and nip at my neck more then message enough as I watched Ri take a pair of cuffs attached to the floor, securing each of my hands to separate rings so they were spaced apart just enough to give me the illusion of being able to move, a solid rubber muzzle sliding into place as the husky dismounted. I turned my head to see what was going on and realized there was a pack in the room, and each of them had various sized sheaths over their members. All of them horse shaped. The biggest was the one who had pinned me in place, I presumed the alpha.

Ri reached past me and flipped a switch on a nearby machine, the rubber mask suddenly tightening around my muzzle and pulling the oxygen away, I soon learned that while I could breathe, it was a struggle and gave a sense of lightheartedness. That was soon the last of my worries as I heard the door close behind me, the first of the canines taking advantage as I felt the horse-shaped sheath sliding into me, the canine getting plenty of pleasure from the sounds of it as I was ravaged…well, so far it wasn’t so bad, my inner walls spread as the tip leaked copious feral canine pre into me, easing the rough passing. As he continued to ride me, I at first tried to struggle in vain, but soon gave in and did what I could to enjoy it. Suddenly the canine let out a soft growl, the entire dildo seeming to stretch in proportion to match what I knew was the canine’s knot, forcing me to spread almost painfully around it as my own shaft twitched underneath me, a mewl of surprise and annoyance going ignored as I received the first thick canine cum ropes inside me, cooling the heat from the frictional ramming.

Little did I know, Ri’s training was done in a single day, going from smallest to largest well before the day was over…and not just once. The canines were well trained, each one stretching me wider and wider with each knotting, and they knew how to keep a person on the edge…between the difficulty breathing and my throbbing aching cock that never was able to quite get off, I was in the room for days, screaming in frustration into the vacuum as they had full rights to me for two full days, only taking breaks for them and I to eat. After the second day I was unable to take it anymore, squealing and pleading for someone to get me off already. Thankfully I wasn’t going to be denied, at least not for long, as Ri came in, untieing me and taking me to the back of his stables, where I was helped onto a table, too tired and horny to resist. My ankles were locked in a spreader bar, my wrists joined by a small chain so that I was forced to lay with my ass up in the air, my head at the edge of the table, I found myself being spit roasted between a patient horse and a horny wolf, uncaring at the time as I took both cocks, whimpering and begging to get off…after each of them had spent a load in their respective holes, they switched places, my feline eyes widening as I found Ri was much bigger then even the biggest of the sheaths, spreading me and pounding deep into me. I could only squeal in suprise and pain, followed by pure delight as I felt a canine maw wrapping around my defenseless member, sucking as his paws stroked the needy member. I had never known what it was like to be pent up this way…and it was glorious as I was nearing orgasm, Ri warning punishment if I came before him…and a reward if Sah could get me off first…and a punishment of his own if he failed. I whimpered, stuck between helping a fellow pet and not being punished as I was right at the edge. A loud neigh behind me answered the question for me a few moments later, a rough thrust into my tailhole followed by thick globs of goo pumping into me pushing me past my limits as I spilled my own seed into the wolf, my balls screaming in pleasure as they emptied their built up contents into that white muzzle…Day 3…What could the next four days have in store for me? What stories would I have for my wonderful mate…and would I be trying to get him involved? Only time could tell at this point…Only time could tell.