Disclaimer: Gaston Leroux owns all the Phantom Of The Opera characters, not me. And the "Hunter's Guild" is a little homage to "Buffy: The Vampire Slayer". Now on to the story!

Erik: The Vampire Hunter

Episode 1: Beginnings

By: Elektra

Darkness. It was the one thing they both shared. Him… and them. Neither could understand it. Perhaps they were never meant to. How could a mere human kill such a quarry so easily. So efficiently? How could a mere human go unnoticed by them? Their senses were heightened – sight, smell, sound.

So were his.

For reasons he could not fathom, he was just like them – save for the fact he did not eat pretty girls for supper, like the ones before him were about to do.

He stood silently, unemotionally, merely watching. Waiting as he brushed his bangs out of his eyes… glowing yellow eyes that bared a striking resemblance to the creatures he was forever hunting.

He looked at the scene before him again, allowing his long suppressed rage to give him strength. He needed an outlet, after all.

Two males were surveying their prey – a young woman who looked rather frightened to be there. She feared the worst thing that could happen to a woman… but there were things MUCH worse then what she could envision.

He glided out from the shadows silently, placing himself behind the two males, then reached into his black velvet duster and pulled out two lovely pieces of wood he had whittled down into sharp points.

They were gone before they could turn around.

Ravelle College

He watched the Dean of Arts, Antoinette Giry, eagerly as the older woman showed two new students around campus. He recognized the strawberry blond as the Dean's daughter, Meg. The brunette, he had been told, was Christine Daaé. She had been found by the Dean purely by accident when the lady attended her daughter, Meg's, talent show in High School.

Christine was a unique talent - both a dancer and singer, and she was soon offered a scholarship at the prestigious school. From what he understood, she had been living off her meager inheritance with a foster family, working part-time as a waitress, and was currently setting up arrangements in the Ravelle dormitories.

"Now the Arts building closes at nine-pm every night. We have a lot of expensive instruments and equipment so we cannot afford to leave the doors unlocked at all hours," Dean Giry explained to the brunette.

"Tell her the truth, Mama," Meg Giry, who had accompanied the two on this tour, spoke up, "Tell her about the ghost that haunts the building after dark," she winked at Christine, who smiled in return.

His ears perked up. The ghost. Yes, that was a good story. He even chuckled at it himself. Surely that was what he was, no? A ghost that haunted a College campus, and followed lovely young girls as they took their tours.

And how lovely this Christine was. Slender, and petite, with bright blue eyes and dark curly hair that contrasted against her fair complexion. Dean Giry had spoken of her in excitement of her discovery – yes, the older lady knew more then she would tell about the ghost - and she had raised his interest, though he was quite sure that was not her intention. Miss Daaé was pretty… but so what? There were a lot of pretty girls studying the arts.

"Megan Giry! Stop making up tall tales!" The older Giry scolded, bringing his attention back to their silly conversation.

"What tall tales?" Meg replied innocently, "Other students claim to hear music in the middle of the night … and sometimes they hear a man singing,"

"Enough, Meg!" Dean Giry snapped.

"It's ok. I like hearing ghost stories," Christine replied with a smile.

"Well, just keep in mind, that's ALL they are!" the Dean replied. She took a deep breath, "Now ladies, I have a meeting to attend. Meg, perhaps you can show your friend the rest of the campus?"

Meg nodded, "Will do, Mama," she said, then took Christine's hand and headed off.

Dean Giry looked around nervously, looking for any signs of his black shadow lurking about, "Just silly stories … that's all. They know nothing," she said to no one in particular, though he knew he was the intended recipient, "Just stories,"

Stories were such fun sometimes though. Perhaps he would have to remind everyone again that there WAS indeed a ghost that haunted Ravelle College.

Jane and Finch - Homeless camp

The others tried to ignore the screams from Jenny and Jason's tent. The little boy was currently cowering outside as he heard his older sister crying and pleading. THEY had kicked him out, and wouldn't let him back in. They had already killed two of his camp friends - he had seen it. And now, he feared they'd do the same to his sibling.

A fellow squatter came up and put an arm around him, allowing the little boy to bury his frightened self in her comforting embrace, "Someone will get them, honey..." she said softly, but Jason wondered if there was any human who could stop creatures like these.

Several years earlier

"Now that's a good trick," Charles spoke as he held his daughter's hand and glanced at the skeleton faced teenager handcuffed at the police desk, "Perhaps he and his friends were up to some Halloween mischief and were caught," he frowned, "Serves you right!" he scolded the strange boy. He did, however, give the child credit for his frightening face makeup. It looked alarmingly real.

The little brunette's father had brought her to the police precinct to report his car vandalized - he would not leave his child home alone.

The man quickly went to the closest officer and told his tale - not only had the car been spray painted, but it had also been egged, and … well… had other rather unpleasant things thrown at it. Some that smelled quite horrible.

What was worse is that his prized violin had been stolen out of the trunk only minutes before he was to head to work – a rather high-end restaurant that liked to boast live music. This, more then anything else, was the biggest problem. He made a living on that violin. And while insurance would cover it, it would take some time to find another that was just right. By then, the restaurant managers would find another violinist to take his place.

The bright-eyed girl wandered slowly over to the boy as her father busied himself filling out papers, careful to keep a safe enough distance. There was something about him, though that pulled at the little girl's curiousity "Are you ok?" she asked the boy. He slowly looked over to her, their eyes meeting for only a moment before he turned away.

"Aren't you scared of me?" the boy asked harshly, "Don't you have something cruel to say? Everyone else does!"

"Daddy says your face is a good trick," she replied innocently, "I like tricks! Can you do any others? Like… make yourself look pretty instead of scary?"

The boy frowned with his perfect mouth – the only normal thing on his face – "If I could, don't you think I would have DONE it?" he snapped angrily.

The little girl jumped back, but then bravely took another step towards him again, "How old are you?" she asked hesitantly.

"Go away," he turned from her, and the little girl was quite sure she had heard a quiet sob.

"Are you sad?" she asked. He didn't answer, "When I'M sad, I always talk to my daddy. He's real good at making me feel better. Maybe he can help you too," The boy was unresponsive. She continued studying his odd face, her curiousity growing, "Where are your mommy and daddy?" she said as she put a little hand on his shoulder.

The boy shrugged her hand off, "Who the hell knows? Leave me alone!"

"Chrissy! Get away from him!" Her father snapped as he quickly came up to his daughter. The curly-haired brunette ran to his side and grasped his hand, "We're done here," he told her, then glanced once more at the handcuffed boy, and headed out.

Ravelle College – Ladies Dormitory: Present Day

Christine let out a shout as she shot up in bed.

"Chrissy?" Came a voice nearby. A lamp quickly flicked on beside Christine to reveal her dorm mate sitting on the bed across from her, looking quite annoyed.

"Meg? I'm sorry, did I wake you?" Christine asked.

"No. I was purposely sitting up staring at you," she responded with light sarcasm, and Christine smiled, "Can't you be a little quieter when having erotic dreams?"

Christine laughed, "TRUST me, I was NOT having an erotic dream! Would have been nice though..."

"What? Dreaming of some hot jock?" Meg joked, "That's always nice,"

"I've had my fill of hot jocks, I don't want to dream of one," Christine frowned, "Or do you forget how one of them completely blew me off after six months?" she turned on her back and stared at the ceiling, her voice growing softer, "I'm sorry for waking you, Meg. Let's just go back to sleep," Christine said. Meg nodded, and the two wished each other good night as they lay back down.

Ravelle College Campus – 30 minutes later

Christine's restless walking had led her to the Arts building. She hadn't been able to sleep since that strange childhood memory had come to her and had wanted a breath of fresh air. It was still warm out, and she hadn't bothered to change out of her pajamas. She hadn't been expecting her restless feet to take her this far away from Residence.

Too late now.

She was about to turn around and head back when a sound stopped her in her tracks.

Was someone playing the violin?

Tell her about the ghost that haunts the building after dark…

Meg's story came back to her. Christine swallowed hard and mentally scolded herself for believing such childishness as she followed the sound with a new curiousity. She stopped a few feet from the strings room on the first floor and saw the window slightly ajar. She slowly went up to it … and heard the singing.

It was a voice that words couldn't describe. Was it a ghost? An angel? She didn't know. All she knew is that the voice was male, and that she had to close her eyes and savour it.

The voice drew her. Called to her.

She had to answer.

Christine parted her lips, and joined the silky angelic voice with her own soprano. She must have surprised the voice, for it halted before continuing on a moment later.

In the voice, she could hear a swirl of emotions - sadness, loneliness, desperation, tenderness, gentleness... and a darkness that searched for light. She closed her eyes and offered that light in a beautiful golden wave of music, her spirit soaring towards the voice that so enraptured her. Everything seemed to fade save for her and him - two very different sounds blending into one beautiful harmony that very few had ever heard.

The voice stopped singing once his aria was over, and Christine came back to herself, feeling a strange fulfillment the likes of which she had never felt before. She had to see the voice. Had to know his face.

Christine turned to the window and saw a tall man clad in shadows inside the room. She climbed through, staring at him with reverence. "You sound like an angel."

The man lowered his violin and studied her, "Was that you singing with me just now?" he asked, his speaking voice as alluring as his singing voice.

"Yes!" Christine replied excitedly, "Are you a student here. Or a teacher perhaps?" she asked as she walked into the room. She couldn't really tell his age in the darkness.

"Neither…" he answered. He was silent for a moment, then, "Thank you for the song, but you can leave now. I prefer to be alone,"

Christine slowly stepped towards him, still trying to be polite, "I have more right to be here then YOU do, sir," she replied, "If you're neither a student nor teacher, I'd like to know what you're doing in the Arts building,"

He turned to her, "What I do here is no-one's business but my own,"

"And those who hear you in here every night," she insisted, getting a little annoyed at his arrogance, "Should I tell campus security that someone is trespassing on the grounds?"

He studied her a moment, surprised at her gumption, then chuckled softly, "Should they come looking for me, they won't find me. I'm merely a ghost, after all," he replied.

Christine eyed him suspiciously, "You seem pretty solid for a ghost,"

"I'm a special ghost," he answered.

"Special, hmmm?" she replied with a frown, "Let's just see HOW special," She slid her fingers along the wall and found the overhead lights, flicking them on quickly.

The so-called ghost spun away from her, his black velvet duster billowing out behind him as he brought a hand up to cover his eyes from the sudden assault of fluorescent lights, "Damnit! Are you trying to BLIND me, girl!"

Christine shrunk back for a moment, unsure what to make of him. The man before her stood tall and lean; disheveled raven hair framing a black leather mask. A mask that only exposed his mouth and chin. His choice of dress was suspicious, to say the least - black from head to toe: trousers that fit like a second skin, boots, fingerless gloves, and a t-shirt.

"Don't you have any colour in your wardrobe?" Christine hadn't meant to ask that aloud.

He adjusted to the light and turned to her, taking in her white cotton lounge pants and matching cami, "You are in no position to be giving me fashion tips!"

Christine looked down at herself, and suddenly felt very self-conscious in the skimpy sleep fabric, "Um... maybe I will leave you to your darkness," she said, "But if you care to know, my name is Christine. Christine Daaé," she pushed her embarrassment aside and held a hand out.

His strange amber eyes met hers for a moment. With a resigned sigh, he took her hand in his own, "Erik," he replied, giving the girl not so much a handshake, but a small squeeze before he let go, "And I respectfully ask that you tell NO ONE I was here, Miss Daaé…"

"Christine, please. And I respectfully ask that you tell no one I was talking to a strange man wearing nothing but my PJs,"

"And bunny slippers," he added, bringing her attention down to her feet.

"Well... damn..." she muttered, now quite sure she was blushing profusely.

"I believe we have a deal, Christine," he replied with a gentlemanly bow. The way he said her name was smooth as silk, as if tasting her name on his tongue.

"Thank you... Erik," she replied softly.

With a curt nod, Erik turned to the open window, and slipped out of the building with a catlike grace.

"WAIT!" Christine shouted out as she ran up to the window and shoved her head out, "You didn't tell me your LAST name!" There was no answer, though Christine could have sworn she saw his dark shadow climb up a tree… right above three girls who were sneaking about campus - dressed properly, at least - no doubt trying to hunt down their local ghost.

Christine froze as a deep cold laugh echoed throughout the grounds, sending the sneaky girls running back to Residence, squealing in terror.

Dean Giry's office - the next morning

"Your newest protégé is a curious girl, Antoinette," Erik spoke as he sat in the chair before Dean Giry's desk, "She was wandering about campus at 2 am and caught me in the Arts building,"

"I'm sorry, Erik. If I had known she'd go wandering-" Antoinette began.

"No matter," he waved away her concern with a flick of his graceful hand, "She has a lovely voice," he said. "You choose your students well,"

"You heard her?" Giry asked.

Erik nodded, "Would you believe her voice blended almost perfectly with my own? It was the first time anyone had ever sung with me, Antoinette. I was amazed! It's as if... we meshed in some strange unexplainable way,"

"Well, I know nothing about your strange duet," Giry replied, "But please don't hold her curiousity against her,"

"Oh, I hold nothing against her," he brushed an invisible speck of dust off his trousers, "Though I must admit, she intrigues me. The girl had the gall to give me a hard time about being there. Quite gutsy, if you ask me."

His voice then grew curious, "But when I looked into her eyes, she seemed lost somehow. She approached me as if I were someone to have casual conversation with, even after she had figured out I had no earthly right to be there. It was rather naïve of her to believe that I meant her no harm," he leaned forward, his voice growing low, "Had I been one of THEM, Antoinette, she would not have taken another breath. Not all dark creatures are as civilized as myself,"

"You are civilized, Erik?" Giry asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Well, as civilized as a ghost can be," he offered lightly.

"Then I suggest our resident ghost stay away from Christine Daaé. She is not one of your injured strays," Antoinette warned.

"AH! That reminds me – Isis is expecting kittens. I was wondering if you or your daughter would care for one once they are strong enough,"

"Animals are not allowed in the dorms, Erik," Giry said.

He shrugged gracefully, "I pay little attention to the rules," he was silent for a moment. He knew what he would say next could very well get him into trouble, but Giry should know, regardless, "I told the girl my name,"

She pursed her thin lips in disapproval, "Have you become a fool in your old age, Erik?" she asked.

"Thirty is 'old' now?" Erik asked with a smile, he then took a deep breath, "But you're right, I should have disappeared when I heard her sing, but she rooted me. I was captivated. I had to join her. I couldn't just ignore it. I wanted... NEEDED... to see to whom that sweet voice belonged," he studied his lap, "I acted like a MAN, Antoinette, and in that sense, I suppose I WAS a fool,"

A pause, then, "And did she react to you as a WOMAN?" Giry asked.

Erik chuckled at that, "I doubt it, but... I did seem to make her blush,"

Giry nodded, "She is only nineteen. A mysterious stranger would, of course, make her blush,"

Erik seemed unconvinced, "If you say so. Now what assignment has the Hunter's Guild presented me with today?" he asked.

Giry unlocked a drawer in her desk, handing him a piece of paper, "Squatters," she said, "Two of them at Jane and Finch,"

"Only two?" he asked, "I'll be back in time for supper,"

A knock at the door interrupted their conversation.

Erik folded the paper and placed it in the right pocket of his duster. He gave Giry a curt bow, then headed to the other side of the room. He climbed atop a chair and slid out the grate in the ceiling, pulling himself up and into the air ducts before sliding the grate back into place.

Jane and Finch - that night

Erik ran onward, jumping over the various cowering forms of those he was trying to protect. He raced after his quarry like a man possessed. From the left inner pocket of his duster, he pulled out a coiled length of rope and whipped it forward, catching the creature before him tight around the neck. With one quick tug, the monster stumbled to the ground, which allowed Erik to impale It with a graceful swing of his arm.

The second one was hiding.

Erik stood still for a moment, listening. Waiting. Sensing.

He heard the snap of a twig, and pitched his stake towards the sound. There was barely a shriek before the weapon did its damage.

Erik paused to catch his breath before retrieving his weapon. He was quite aware of eyes on him. The eyes of every single squatter before him. After seeing what they had invited into their camp, it was no wonder they now looked upon Erik with fear. There had been two murders the previous night, how were they to know HE would not be the cause of a third?

He looked at the beggars and bag ladies before him. He probably couldn't trust them to keep quiet about what they had seen, but there was nothing to be done about it. In a place like this, everyone saw everything, and no one believed a word of it.

Erik felt a tug on his duster, and looked down to see a boy, no more than eight years old, staring up at him, "They hurt my sister last night. Can you help her?" Erik pocketed his rope and stake, then crouched down to meet the boy at eye level, quite certain that he and his sister were runaways.

He could relate to that.

"May I see your sister?" he asked, hoping against hope that he would not have to do the inevitable. The boy nodded, and lead Erik over to a makeshift tent where a girl lay buried in blankets. "Miss?" he asked, "I need to see you," She sat up and looked at the strange masked man before her, quickly cowering in the corner of the tent and hugging the blankets tight. This girl could be no more than fourteen. "How did they hurt you?" Erik asked as he reached a hand towards her.

She simply shook her head, eyes wide, "Don't touch me!" she begged. Erik let out a sigh. This wasn't going to be easy, and he had neither the time nor patience to sweet talk her into letting him see her wounds. He grabbed the girl so suddenly that she hadn't been able to scream until he had her in his clutches, "NO! Please! NOT AGAIN!" She continued to struggle, cry, plead, "Please stop!"

"CALM YOURSELF!" Erik snapped angrily, his voice loud and forceful enough to silence her.

The girl closed her eyes and lowered her head. Erik roughly grabbed her chin and forced her head up, ignoring the tears spilling down her cheeks and the way her lower lip trembled in fear of him – but he was used to such reactions. He carefully but firmly tilted her head left and right, focusing on her neck and searching for the telltale signs that he may have to come back and dispose of her as well.

Luckily, he saw nothing.

"Please," her voice was a resigned whisper now, "Don't make it hurt this time,"

Erik studied the girl before him. She was still very much a child… but one look in her eyes told him that she had been thoroughly broken.

"Son of a bitch!" Erik hissed, realizing exactly HOW the monsters had hurt her. He immediately let the girl go, "Forgive me!" he gasped. She quickly retreated to her corner once more, hugging herself and shaking, "I did not want that. I would never-" he stopped, realizing his words were not helping her. He had seen this before. Too many times, in fact. A female used for pleasure by the monsters he had just rid the homeless camp of. It sickened him to the point where he felt physically ill. Even more so had the damage been done by human males.

Erik grabbed his cell phone and looked up his list of numbers. There were several – homeless shelters, children's shelters, women's shelters, with a Guild contact name beside each number. It was a must in this line of work. One never knew whom the monsters would make victims, and such victims would need someone who could understand and help them cope.

He called up the proper number and related the story to Tamara Cohen, a woman he had only met once before. If anyone could tend to these children, she could. He knew nothing about comforting others.

Erik looked at the brother and sister before him as he disconnected his call, "A lady named Tamara will be coming here in an hour to take you and your sister somewhere safe. Somewhere she can get you help,"

"We can't go back home!" the boy cried, eyes fearful, "Mommy will hurt us again! She doesn't like us!"

Erik clenched his jaw. Mommy will hurt us again.

Yes… he knew how well Mommies could hurt their children.

With a deep breath, Erik sat on the ground, "I'll wait until Tamara gets here," he said, "And I will make sure she doesn't take you back to Mommy," he spit the word out as if it were bitter.

The boy sat beside him, staring up at his mask with curiousity, "Why do you wear that?" he asked innocently.

"Apparently I am so good-looking that women faint at the sight of me," Erik replied. It was a convincing enough lie to earn an awed smile from the little boy.

Music Roomthe next day

Christine stood before the piano as the teacher – Professor Carlotta Gudicelli - played. The Professor was testing every student in the class privately today to see their limits and ranges and where they needed the most work. Christine sang an aria from one of her favourite operas, Hannibal. After she was done, Prof. Gudicelli looked at her and smiled, "Wonderful, wonderful… you have quite a range. With more training, you can go far,"

"Thank you, Professor Gudicelli!" Christine smiled in return, and then was dismissed to allow the next student in.

As Christine walked outside the Arts building, her classes done for the day, she spotted a shadow lurking by the music room windows. A shadow no one would have noticed… unless they had seen it before. "Erik!" she shouted out.

The shadow ignored the voice, but he realized who was calling him. None of the students knew his name except, "Christine," he breathed.

Not one who liked to be seen, Erik quickly walked away, silently cursing his curiousity. If only he had not heard her sing. He would never have brought himself out of hiding, never have spied on her vocal class outside in the daylight. What was I thinking?

His personal admonishments were interrupted as Christine called out for him once again, desperately racing to catch up. Erik quickened his pace, not wishing to be caught.

"WAIT! Erik… WAIT!" she raced after him. He could have easily outrun her, but something led him to slow his pace, allowing the petite girl to catch up. "Have you been lurking there all day?" Christine asked somewhat breathless as she finally reached him.

"A few hours," he replied quietly, continuing his long strides.

"Did you hear me sing?" her eagerness was apparent in her voice as she jogged to keep up with him.

Erik paused, then answered, "Yes… unfortunately,"

This caused Christine to do a double take, "Unfortunately?" she repeated, then her face fell as she quickly stepped in front of him, walking backwards to keep him in her sights, "Was I that bad? The professor seemed to like it,"

"Well, Madame Carlotta is getting on in years now, and perhaps she does not hear as well as she used to." Nor sing as well as she used to, he added silently, then gently pushed Christine out of the way as he walked past her.

"Hold on a minute!" Christine snapped angrily as she grabbed hold of his sleeve, forcing him to stop and face her, "Are you insulting my voice?"

He stopped walking and turned to her, seeing nothing less than an artist's righteous indignation in her eyes. "Oh… you have perfect pitch and a sweet sound… but that's about it," he replied, then his tone turned darker, "Let go, Miss Daaé!"

Christine dropped her hand back to her side, "You know, the ghost was nicer!"

Erik suddenly grabbed Christine and dragged her into the shade of the closest tree, pressing her against the trunk, "Did you TELL anyone I was the ghost?"

"No I didn't! And I would appreciate it if you let go of me!" Christine pushed at his chest in an attempt to widen the space between them. She could not help but feel a sudden rush of fear at his behaviour. There was something about him. Something that she knew could be troublesome. Logic told her she would be better off simply walking away and never speaking to him again... but ambition stayed her feet.

He knew music... and she needed that knowledge.

"Don't touch me..." Erik hissed coldly, staring down at her hands. She quicky pulled them back to her sides. If she had been a man who dared lay hands on him, Erik would have dropped her where she stood. But alas, she was only a woman. Half his size at that.

Erik took a deep breath and reigned in his temper, releasing his grip on the girl. "Forgive my paranoia, but there are… reasons for it," he indicated the mask he still wore, then continued before Christine could ask about it, "And when I said unfortunately, it wasn't to mean that your voice was bad, but I was expecting more from you. Your voice was different the other night outside the Arts building. Spirited. Passionate. But today?" he merely shrugged.

Christine furrowed her brow, "My singing wasn't spirited and passionate?" she asked.

He met her eyes, "You have a beautiful instrument, Miss Daaé… but you don't use its full potential. You did it when you sang with me the other night, so why didn't you do it now?" He asked.

"I don't know… I … didn't even realize it, I guess," Christine thought for a moment, then turned back to him, "I don't suppose you could-" she stopped, thinking over what she would ask him. HOW she would ask it.

He cocked his head to the side, "You don't suppose I could… what?"

"Nothing…" she replied, having second thoughts about seeking his help.

"Tell me!" he demanded.

Christine gathered her nerve and spoke, "I was wondering if you could help me. After school maybe? To FEEL what I'm singing, I guess. Or just to give me tips, or something," she looked at him, voice quiet, "I want to sing the way you heard me sing the other night. Maybe it was just a fluke, I don't know. But please, if you can show me how to bring that out again, I'd be very grateful!"

"It's all a matter of calling upon what's inside yourself. It seems you were trying harder to impress your teacher than sing for her," he began to walk away again, but Christine quickly reached out and grabbed his duster.

Erik glared at her hand, and she immediately let go, "Can you help me do that? Help me sing?" she asked hesitantly, knowing it was a little strange expecting a temperamental man she barely knew to tutor her. Desperate times, however, called for desperate measures.

He took a deep breath, and offered a polite bow, "I'm honoured you think so highly of my skills, even if I've never taught a day in my life,"

Christine smiled at that, "You seem like a guy who can do anything he sets his mind to. I'm sure you can teach me!" she said.

He grew dark, serious, "No, Miss Daaé, I'm sure I can't," he answered, then headed on his way.

"WHAT! WAIT!" Christine cried out, "I'll PAY you!" but he was long gone.


Private detective Steven Daniels looked over the daily paper on his desk. It was the usual news – earthquakes, violence… and… something else. Something that caught his attention.

Apparently, there was a small blurb about a vigilante.

A young man had helped a camp of squatters a few nights ago. They had described their masked hero as cat-like, graceful. He appeared out of nowhere, like some avenging angel, riding the camp of two dangerous tenants.

This stirred Daniels' memory of a case he had currently put on hold.

The Detective pressed the intercom on his desk, "Cathy, find me all the files on the Ashton case. Marla Ashton asked me to track down an old classmate of her daughter's,"

"Sir?" his secretary answered, "I thought that was unsolved due to lack of leads,"

The detective smiled, "I may have just found the lead I need!"