Extention (Leonard #2)

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

EXTENSION
(LEONARD #2)
EQUUS21

PART 1: AND SO WE CONTINUE….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PART 2: MORE PIECES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PART 4: DESCENT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PART 5: DEAR LEONARD

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

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

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

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

End.

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