To my not so many faithful reviewers... you're going to hate me after this chapter.

Victims of the Grim
Chapter 5
By Nodjmet

Rosemary, Lina, Lucy, Viktor, and four other people stared at the very end of the island in the kitchen. "Um…Kassia, honey?" Lucy reached out a tentative hand. "Don't you want to use a fork?"

The girl that was being addressed raised her head. Small, crumpled pieces of pancake slid off her pale, stuffed cheeks and landed all over her plate and the table. "Mm?" she made a muffled sound to show that the maid had her full, well, almost full attention.

"Fork?" Lucy repeated again, holding up the silver utensil and waving it in front of the other. Kassia's eyes followed the fork suspiciously.

"Lucy, she's already finished her breakfast," Rosemary cut in, "I don't think she'll need the fork."

The maid looked in between their guest and her employer, shrugged, then resumed eating. Rosemary and Kassia made eye contact for a short moment in which Rosemary smiled before continuing to eat her food as well. She kept on chewing the entire time, she realized to her great amusement. Who would have thought that the wary girl suffering from malnutrition could be so eager to eat something so simple as a pancake? Oh right, she probably hasn't eaten very well lately.

Conversation was eventually started up by one of the occupants at the table and soon everyone was engaged except for Rosemary and Kassia. The employees knew that Rosemary would speak when she wanted to, so none bothered her while she was eating. Kassia, well, even though she was a guest, she was still a kid. She wouldn't understand or care about what they were talking about.

"Kassia?" Rosemary asked as soon as she had finished and joined the girl at her side. "Would you like me to show you around the house? You're probably not so used to such a big place like this."

She nodded. Actually, I think your house is kinda small compared to the university, she thought sarcastically.

"Alright, come with me."

"Why are we here again?" Kim asked crossly as Elan proceeded to press the button on the intercom.

"Because Miss Featherstone is a suspect and may know more than what she let on," Damon answered. "Besides, even if she doesn't, Richard Prendergast was her fiancée, right? It's only our duty to keep her informed."

"The first one I'm not so sure about," Kim muttered agitatedly, "but the second reason makes sense."

"Oh come now," Damon tried to talk some sense in his colleague, "Don't be so clouded by your sexist beliefs."

"My sexist beliefs?" she flushed in anger, "What about the chief's?"

"He's my boss," he answered. "Can't speak back to him if I wanna keep my job." He shrugged. "Look, I'm sorry that he doesn't think that women can do some of the jobs here, but look on the bright side," he grinned, "he'll probably keel over and die sometime. After all, he isn't exactly young."

"Hey guys," Elan cut into the conversation, "the maid said that it's ok for us to go in. She also said that they found a kid sneaking around this morning. We should check it out."

The other two nodded and the three entered through large gates into the Featherstone estate.

"Here's the dining room," Rosemary pushed the large doors open. Her lips curled up at the corners as Kassia awed at the sparkling chandelier and the long, rectangular mahogany table with matching cushioned seats.

"Miss Featherstone," an old woman hobbled up to the pair, "The police are back again."

"Show them here," Rosemary decided.

The maid nodded her head and turned. Within ten minutes, she returned leading the three. "Miss Featherstone," Kim nodded her head curtly.

"Officer Everett," Rosemary replied politely, "Karsky, Seglias. To what do I owe this visit?" She unconsciously placed a hand on Kassia's shoulder.

"We thought that you should be updated once in a while," Damon answered as his gaze shifted to the small child at the woman's side. "We went to see your colleague."

"Oh?" Rosemary's attention sharpened. "What did he say?"

"That the claw marks were similar to a jaguar's," Kim said, "but that they looked strangely human as well."

"Do you think it's possible to create a cat-human hybrid?" Elan spoke up.

"Possible?" Rosemary considered. "Yes. In the near future? No."

"I see."

"Miss Rosemary?" Kassia tugged on the woman's sleeve.

Kim's eyes widened in slight curiosity. "You have a child?"

"Now I do," Rosemary responded. "What is it, Kassia?"

"Can I go outside?"

"Sure. If you get lost, just ask one of the maids or butlers. They should already know that you're here." She released the tiny hand and Kassia disappeared behind the enormous doors. She then turned back to her guests and proposed, "Let's go somewhere more comfortable. May I suggest the green room?"

"As long as there's no stairs on the way there," Damon grumbled.

Leopard tore the trainer's vocal cords from his throat and blocked the counterattack. Disgusted, he crushed the man's windpipe and turned away, exiting the steel training room. A smirk touched upon his blood-splattered lips before he wiped it away, smearing more of the thick liquid onto his face.

I'll be the best yet, you just watch Bobcat. I'm looking forward to the day I become your trainer.

"Hey Siamese," Lion greeted the teenager as he plopped himself down next to her. "No job tonight?"

"I don't want to go," was the almost silent reply.

"Oh come on," he said, "it's not like you've got a choice. Besides, you get off easy. Just a few sharp objects to the neck and they're dead." He sighed. "I always get the messy jobs."

"I get off easy?" she whispered fiercely. "I get off easy? Do you even know what it's like?" she rose along with her voice and glared at her stunned companion. "No, of course you don't. You're a guy. You wouldn't know." Her voice fell to a whisper once more as she turned her head away. An awkward silence fell between the two.

"Are you happy that BJ's gone?" Lion asked suddenly. "Without her, you have no one to protect and your wall falls. Are you happy that you don't have to pretend?"

"There's Leopard…" Siamese answered, "and Tiger. I can protect them."

"No, you can't," he replied, "They had other lives too. BJ's the only one who didn't. Well… me too, but I got a glimpse." He stared at the back of Siamese's head. "You don't have to lie to us, you know."

"I know," she replied. "I know I don't have to, but it's not the kind of thing a person can talk about easily… or listen to comfortable."

"Well then, it's a good thing we're not really people," he grinned.

As the light was extinguished, a pair of pearly fangs and glowing slit pupils remained.

Black Jaguar stared at her reflection in Rosemary's full-length mirror. It's no big deal, she decided. Nonetheless, she reminded herself, the Victims never underestimate their enemies. She smirked. That's one reason why we're so successful. She frowned as her thoughts drifted to one particular officer downstairs but her attention quickly shifted and a hand moved up cautiously to her cheek. Red?

"Kassia?" Lucy stood in the doorframe. "I thought you wanted to go outside. Oh, you got sunburned!" She set the clean bed sheets on the corner of the bed and kneeled to examine the girl's face, neck, shoulders, and arms. "Oh, you got burned pretty badly," she observed. "Come, let's find some salve to put on those." She reached for the girl's hand.

Kassia drew back with a hiss. She had heard of these salves from Siamese, and she wasn't about to become a weakling. If she were going to heal, it would be through her own immune system.


"I'm uh…" she scrabbled for an excuse, "allergic to um… salves and sun block."

"Really?" Lucy's face showed neither surprise nor suspicion. "That's a shame. Do you have to go through this every summer?"

Kassia nodded.

"Then why is your skin so pale? One would have thought that it'd be darker. It's like you've never been exposed to the sun before."

Kassia's head snapped up. "Mommy usually wouldn't let me go outside," she answered. It doesn't really matter if she figures it out or not. I'll have to kill her eventually.

"Now that," Lucy's face contorted into a surprisingly serious expression, "isn't a good enough excuse… Victim."

Black Jaguar stared up at the woman impassively. "Oh, so you're a Savior," she replied evenly. "I've never met a Savior. I've heard you're slow… care to test it out?" She silently slipped on her deadly black gloves.

"Just to prove you wrong," Lucy agreed, pulling two daggers out from their sheaths strapped around her thighs. "After all, I believe humans say that the cat always runs from the dog."

"Humans are mislead," Black Jaguar answered. "It's the cat that kills the dog."

(To all those dog lovers reading this, I actually do like dogs, but this is an important plot twist that I came up with on the spot)

"Breeders, pet shop owners, and dog owners are all mourning the loss of greyhounds around the Boston area. Police are baffled as to how only this breed has been brutally attacked and slaughtered. Marks on the animals show strange similarities to the marks found on Richard Prendergast's body when he too was brutally murdered last Wednesday…."

Are you confused? Do you hate me yet? I'll put up a chapter summary when I finish chapter six and send it off to my beta. For the mean time, here's a preview for a short story that popped up into my head. It's actually a combonation of my ideas and other people's. I haven't actually hand written more than two pages, so note that this preview will probably be inaccurate.

"It's kind of a shame."


"That nothing's organic anymore except humans."

In a time where everything is extinct...

"You're a computer?"

"Only in the upper half of my body. I was born with ankceric and..."

"...the only way you would survive would be a computer implant," Katya finished.

...and attempts at renewal are futile...

"I should have died. Overpopulation was already a problem before I was born."

"If you should have died, I shouldn't have been created. Dogs had been dead for years. I'm just a cheap replacement, but we must have survived for some kind of purpose in this forsaken world."

...time is starting to run out...

"What do you mean it broke down?" Brian exclaimed.

"Exactly what you just repeated," Tim replied calmly. "The O2 producing machine broke down."

"But without it..." He trailed off.

"That's why we need you to repair it."

"By when?"

"24 hours."

...for a race that never should have been dominant...

"Are you sure? How can you do this?"

"We're dying, Brian. If we're not going to do something, those political bastards are going to go down in history as great leaders thanks to all the propaganda they've scraped together. What do you choose?" Re stared at him passionately as Katya turned her hopeful eyes towards him.

"I don't have a choice."

...two people hold all the hope for the future.

"It's not death I fear. It's rebirth."

"I know, but there's nothing we can do about it. All we can do now is wait. Wait and hope. What's your wish? Besides pure world."

"Stay with me. Always."