Hi! This is my third attempt at starting an actual story, so I'm asking everyone to make sure that I don't lose interest in this story too. That doesn't mean reviews saying, "Great story! Update!" 'cause that just doesn't help. Heck, I'd probably be better off with no reviews 'cause people demanding more like that without commenting on the actual story just annoys me and helps to make me abandon the story. Just a little note though, I'll stay interested if there's something important in the chapter and as long as it isn't all just filler, so suggestions as to what will happen are perfectly welcome.

Victims of the Grim
Chapter 1
Claws
By Nodjmet

A blood-curling scream echoed through the halls of the mansion. Rosemary glanced up from her novel in shock as the owner of the scream burst into the dusty library. "Miss Featherstone!" the maid gasped. "Miss Featherstone, your… your fiancée!"

"What about Richard?" Rosemary sighed. God, I hate that man. Damn these stupid business deals.

"He's dead."

At this, the young woman froze. Her brown eyes were wide behind her circle-framed glasses, and her body became adamant within two seconds. However, thoughts appeared then quickly dissipated in her mind. Yes! I don't have to marry that asshole! He didn't deserve to be killed, though.

If I really were an evil person, I'd be throwing a party by now. Sadly, I have morals. Wait, but how did he die?

"Oh," was all that was uttered from her thin pale lips before she asked, "How did he die? Let me see."

"Should I call the police?" the maid asked timidly.

"You mean you haven't already?!" Rosemary exclaimed as she jumped to her feet. "Lead me to his body, but first get me my foil. If you meet anyone on the way, tell them to call the police, and if not, call them yourself."

The middle-aged woman instantly rushed to do as her employer had ordered. Rosemary collapsed into the armchair she had previously occupied, rubbing her temples in circular motions. I'm only twenty years old and my fiancée has died two weeks before the wedding, she thought. Subconsciously, she added the problem to her list of burdens after removing the one about her engagement. Well, this certainly makes life interesting.


"Hurry up! This was a professional assassin, people! We don't know anything about this killer except that it's female with dark clothes and red hair!"

Damon seized his gun and threw on his bulletproof vest. "Elan! Ya ready?" he called to a man around thirty with light brown hair.

"Yeah, let's go. Oh, and… I'm driving."

The younger man glared at his partner and willed him to die. Fortunately for the older police officer, it didn't work.


Kim frowned. "This is an unusual kill," she reported through her walkie talkie, "No bullets, no knife, or dagger marks. To sum it all up, no modern weapon that would shed blood."

"But I heard that there's a puddle of blood around him," the chief responded.

"More like an ocean," Kim murmured, "But like I said, there's no modern wounds on him. However, there are traditional kinds."

"Like what?"

"Like claw marks," she answered, "Like an animal attacked him."

"Then it's simple," the chief tried to reason, "the killer came with a dog, or something, and let it loose in the guy's room."

"No," the blond detective shot her boss down, "these claws are not from a dog or any domestic animal that I know of. We'll have to check with an animal expert."

"Damn. I hate animals."


She waited on the roof next door. Stupid humans, she thought as she watched the little people enter and exit the home of her deceased victim. It never occurs to them to look up or listen to their instincts. They're just moths being drawn to my flame, my lovely, tortuous flame. God, I hate it when I use well-known quotes like that.

The assassin stood slowly, her small feet carefully balanced to prevent a plummet to certain death. Her face was unmasked and she was dressed casually in a black tank top, loose black pants, and surprisingly enough, white sneakers. Her dark hair was loose and framed her short, unmarred face to hang down to her shoulder blades and her bangs ended just above her eyelashes. She looked down upon the frantic people below her disdainfully before she bounded across the building and away from her crime scene.

She landed on all fours at the front of the genetic engineering school. Silently, she stole inside and made her way to the principal's office. She soundlessly slipped through the light wooden door and stood before a dark mahogany desk with the back of a cushioned chair behind it. The room was small, unadorned, and only held chairs, shelves, and the desk as furniture. Books of student and teacher records, grades, and textbooks filled the light colored shelves and papers were stacked neatly at the upper right corner of the desk. Across the top sat cups of pens, pencils, and a notebook leaned against the flat screen monitor of the computer, which sat before a keyboard and mouse.

"Richard Prendergast-dead," she announced in a quiet yet clear voice.

"Good kitty," a smooth and deep voice answered. "Leave the gloves on my desk. You're dismissed."

The girl removed her simple black gloves, stroked them lovingly, and placed them on the desk as ordered. She bowed low before exiting as stealthily as she had entered. Cautiously, she stalked towards one of the labs and stood in front of the far wall. "Black Jaguar. 1996."

A test tube emerged from the wall and waited in front of her expectantly, suspended only at her waist height. Understanding, she combed the back of her head with her fingers and inserted the long hairs that were pulled out into the tube. "Begin DNA check," she ordered. The tube melted back into the wall and ten seconds later, a small square shaped opening appeared near the floor.

"DNA approved," a mechanical voice recited, "Insert right foot."

The girl complied, taking her shoe and sock off of her left foot and slipping it through the opening. The machine scanned her foot and stopped at the area right behind her toes, where a tattoo of a black cat stared with its two deadly green eyes. "Welcome, Black Jaguar." At that, the wall parted and allowed her access to a dimly lit hallway. Metal windowless doors with cat flaps at the bottom lined the hall on either side.

Black Jaguar made her way down the melancholy hall and stopped at the end where there was also a door. However, this one lacked the cat flap at the bottom. Black Jaguar reached out confidently and pulled out a removable piece of the door. Like earlier, she inserted her left foot into the space and ten seconds later; there was a small beep. Black Jaguar replaced the panel and the door slid upwards and slid back down after she had entered.

"Hey, BJ!" a boy around seventeen with long shaggy, tannish hair sauntered over to her. "How'd it go?"

"Easily enough," Black Jaguar replied as her face broke into a grin. "Oh, and don't call me BJ please."

"Why not?" a blond teenage girl with bright hazel eyes asked as she approached the two with a drink in her hand. "It's cute."

"Yeah, and it's the only name we know that you'll answer to," the boy put in.

"Uh… how about… oh, I don't know," the younger girl let the sarcasm drip from her voice even with her grin still in place, "Black Jaguar?"

"Oh, but it's not cute enough!" the older girl exclaimed and pinched her young friend's cheeks as she set her drink down on a nearby table.

"Oh, stop it Siamese!" Black Jaguar argued half-heartedly, "I'm eight!"

"Mmm… but you look five or six," the boy put in. Siamese giggled at Black Jaguar's pout.

"Oh stop it, Lion," she batted him while still giggling. "You torture her too much."

"Yeah!" Black Jaguar put in, sounding very much like a young and innocent child.

"But she does!" Lion argued.

"Hey!"

The three snapped their head towards another boy but with curly orange hair and somewhere in the age range between Siamese and Black Jaguar. He leaned back against the homemade cushions made of patches of cloth placed on the hard wooden bench and had his arms spread over the back. His head was turned around as far as his neck would allow, and his bright light brown eyes glinted with mischief.

"Are you guys gonna stand there and talk or are ya gonna watch the movie?" he asked, smirking.

"Well, let's see!" Black Jaguar jumped over the back of the "couch" to sit next to the boy and therefore see which movie he had snagged. "What's it about, Tiger?" she inquired as the other two joined them.

"The Matrix?" Siamese raised an elegant and fine arched eyebrow. "We've seen it five times!"

"Yes, but you see," Tiger fell into his "funny mode", "I still don't get it. Not only that, but Black Jaguar has always run away after the opening."

"Hey! It's scary!" the youngest of the four defended.

"BJ…" Lion started.

Black Jaguar was, of course, the one to interrupt him with the usual, "Don't call me BJ!"

"Look, point is," Lion continued, "You've faced real life situations and have killed almost as many people as Siamese has, and that's saying a lot. You've also been a professional assassin and have been doing all the jobs successfully since you were, what? Five? Yet you're afraid of a movie."

"Of course!" Black Jaguar exclaimed, "Nothing's scary except in the mind. When the stuff actually happens, there's just so much adrenaline that I don't feel the fear."

"Nice logic for you age, Black Jaguar," Siamese noted calmly and clapped for a short while before she ceased and pulled out a DVD from underneath one of the unevenly stitched cushions. "Luckily, I got this… Lord of the Rings, Return of the King."

Black Jaguar squealed in delight and squeezed the older girl around the neck, unintentionally cutting off her breathing. "You finally got it!" she cheered, oblivious to the fact that Siamese was beginning to turn red from the lack of oxygen, "Yay! Let's watch it! Please? Please?" She finally released her victim and turned to face the boys with classic puppy dog eyes as Siamese gasped the much-needed air into her deprived lungs.

"Fine," both boys grumbled in resignation. Somebody had yet to resist Black Jaguar's puppy dog eyes and neither males wanted to deal with her tears and Siamese's wrath. They both sighed. Girls complicate things so much.


"And then, I opened the door and… and…" the maid burst into tears and began to sob, "h-h-he w-was…"

"Shhh… calm down," Kim patted the witness's shoulder encouragingly. "And then what happened?"

The maid blew her nose with an offered tissue and continued to stutter out her story, "Well, I-I s-s-screamed a-and w-w-w-went to f-find M-M-Miss F-Featherstone."

"Ok," Kim patted the traumatized woman one last time. "You can go. Thank you." After the maid left, Kim looked up at the new presence. "Hello Elan. How'd the chase go?"

"Couldn't find her," he sighed, removing his square glasses to rub his eyes. "Damon thinks we're dealing with a kid here."

"A kid?" Kim asked incredulously. "Seriously, a guy just died! Not only that, but he was engaged and the businessman's only son for Christ's sake! How could a kid be able to kill him?!"

"That's what I said to him," Elan sighed, "but you know him. 'Children make the best killers if you train them at the right age.'"

"Yeah!" his partner decided to supply his knowledge, "Scorpio's children. When they're real little, the organization takes 'em and isolates them, making them totally emotionless! To top it all off, they get a scorpion tattoo on their chests and are international pro assassins!"

Elan smacked Damon's head firmly and scolded, "Stop reading that trash! You just quoted that book!"

"Pet shop of Horrors, volume 7, chapter 2," he answered.

This guy's crazy, Elan mourned, He's even got a bibliography! Why can't he be that serious about his job? Why? He inwardly whined.


"Give me an update on the evidence, Officer Everett," the chief leaned forward on his desk.

"Well, sir," she sighed, "we found very… interesting results."

"Let's hear it then."

"Like I reported before, there were claw marks all over the man, especially his chest and back," she reported, "I believe that the killer probably had an animal with her."

"How do you know it's a woman?"

"Three reasons, actually," Kim pulled some plastic bags out of a bigger black bag. "See here?" she indicated one, "Long hair. I know that a lot of guys have long hair now a days, but the majority is still the female population.

"This one," she picked up the second bag, "is a piece of women's clothing. I could tell by the material's texture."

"Very clever." The chief nodded.

"Thank you. Now, the last reason is the fact that there was an animal. Think about it, have you ever heard of a man who killed using a pet? No offense, sir, but you men have too much pride."

"Well, pride is a good thing!" was the chief's attempt of a come back.

"Yes, we all know it is," Kim rolled her eyes at her boss. Luckily, he didn't notice.

"Ok, I'm appointing you, and officers Karsky and Seglias to be in charge of this case." The chief began to pace his office. "Like I said earlier, this woman's a pro, so be careful. Any plans so far?"

"Yes," Kim stood to leave, "We're going to find an animal specialist to help us study the claw marks."

"Sounds good to me," the chief approved.


Rosemary lay in bed, wondering what would happen. Richard's parents and her own had been rivals since grade school. To go even further back, their families had run rival businesses for five generations. To finally settle things, they had decided to marry their two children off together and hold a truce. Unfortunately, Richard had been murdered in a Featherstone house, so it was no doubt that his family would indict her family of hiring a hit man to kill him.

I wish, Rosemary inwardly scoffed. I don't know if this is for the best or for the worst.


"Lunch! I want you out and in the Gym in five minutes!"

Black Jaguar rubbed her eyes before she crawled towards her door, where a tray of food lay at the bottom and the cat flap swung back and forth from the hand that had just retreated. Quickly, she swallowed the cold canned soup and made to open the door. Her eyebrows knitted together when she realized that the door was still locked.

Shoot! She forced herself not to curse, even mentally. He did it again! I hope I don't get beaten too badly.


Black Jaguar jumped back to avoid the whip only to be whacked in the back by a metal pole.

"Stand still, you insolent brat!" The man with the whip shouted angrily, "You were late today! Receive your punishment and be done with, already!"

"Are you really worthy of the name, "Black Jaguar"?!" the woman with daggers demanded. "You're nothing like one! We should have named you Baby Persian or something like that! You're no better than a fat, lazy, domestic, tamed cat! You're not the wild cat that we've been training you to be for years! Even the three year olds are more vicious than you!" At the insult, the girl's eyes narrowed dangerously.

The training rooms were soundproof, not a single decibel escaping them. The smooth walls were cold, hard steel, making a hard impact whenever a body was thrown against them. From the outside, the concealed door and outer layer of the wall appeared only to be the same green plaster of a regular college school gymnasium, but inside of the deadly room, everything glinted with fearful malice. Another reason for the smooth texture was the simple task of cleaning the blood off was made much easier. As the wall seemed to magically part, a tiny figure could be seen, hunched over with one arm still in the follow through motion and jutting out behind with a shining red dagger clutched in the hand.


Damon sipped his coffee and clicked the search button. "Hey, I think I found someone very convenient," he announced to his colleagues who were staring at his computer screen intently within three seconds.

"What is it?" Elan practically demanded.

"Oh God," Kim breathed, "We can't do her!"

"Why not?" Damon questioned. "She's also a witness and knows the guy. She's also seen the claw marks for real, so I don't see why not."

"The reason is," Kim tried to hold her temper in, "that she's Rosemary Featherstone! The woman who was engaged to the victim!"

"Hey guys!" Elan suddenly appeared, causing the other two to wonder when he had left. "I got a warrant from the chief! Let's go."

"Uh… dude?" Damon pointed behind his partner, "You might wanta run."

"Huh?"

"ELAAAN!" Kim screamed, holding a chair up and looking every bit the part of the menacing PMSing woman.

"AAAAAH!" came Elan's terrified high-pitched scream as he was "brutally attacked by a crazy woman."


"Siamese!" Black Jaguar burst into the room to find only Lion, Tiger, and another boy with slightly wavy brown hair. "Oh. Hi Leopard, Tiger, Lion," she greeted. "Where's Siamese?"

The three boys exchanged uncomfortable glances before Tiger rose. "I have a job to do," he announced, "The body's supposed to be found at dawn. See ya later."

As soon as the metal door had slid down behind him, Black Jaguar whirled around and stared at the remaining two. "Where is Siamese and what did they do to her?" she ground out.

Leopard and Lion's eyes darted around the room, trying to look anywhere but at the tense female in front of them. Finally, Lion's voice rasped, "BJ…"

"Don't!" she commanded, "Don't "BJ" me. They took her didn't they? Was it to the pound? To be mated?" her voice became loud and hysterical, "What did they do to her?" As the last question was uttered, Black Jaguar shook Lion's shirt.

He looked down at the girl he treated like a sister and only made eye contact for a split second. Instead of answering, he turned his head away.

Two pairs of warm arms enclosed her from all sides, the front from Lion, the back from Leopard, as she heard the younger male whisper her worst fear, "She was taken to the lab."