Title: By the Blade

Disclaimer: The majority of these characters do not belong to me, but rather to Fox.

Rating: Who knows?

Summary: Women are being murdered throughout the city in a string of gruesome mutilations. As each one is identified by their bones, a murderous story unfolds.

A/N: I have the writer's version of itchy feet, these days. I cannot seem to stay settled on one story, and when this chapter is posted, I'll have four unfinished works, and I apologise for the arsing around, but at the moment, my inspiration is leaping all over the place. Sorry.


Jerry Ambrose carried a Glock 17 everywhere he went.

He'd been taught that, when possible and with anonymity in mind, he should use it infrequently, but if his life was in danger, to use it with impunity. Since acquiring the weapon, he'd grown accustomed to its weight against his hip.

Tonight, he held it in his hand, and the smell of sulphur hung stiflingly in the air. On the ground, the freshly fallen snow was stained crimson with Belinda Giles' blood. She was not supposed to die like this. He wasn't even sure if she was supposed to die at all.

He was merely a messenger. His job was to find the women, lure them into his car and take them where they were supposed to go. The addresses were always different, and he was paid a massive amount of money to charter beautiful women around the city. He generally didn't mind.

Occasionally, like tonight, they turned on him like rabid dogs, and he was forced to shoot. He'd done it four times in the past year, which was small potatoes, really.

Jerry had seen the woman's ID in her purse, nestled next to a box of Trojan. He'd picked her up in the seediest part of the city and he knew by her red fishnet stockings, mini skirt and six inch heels that she worked the streets. Few people would miss her.

He touched her side with the tip of his boot, and she rolled over easily, her arms sprawled through the snow; a corpse making a snow angel. He located the bullet that had passed right through her body, and tucked it into his pocket. Belinda's enormous green eyes stared unseeingly at the clouds, bulging still with unshed snow.

He almost felt sad. It was only four weeks until Christmas. Maybe the prostitute had kids, and she whored around to earn money for her children. He'd seen it happen. The amount of call girls doubled during the season, and he had no way to be certain that the woman at his feet wasn't one of the desperate no-hopers searching in vain for a way to look after their kids.

He sniffed the icy air into his lungs and swallowed. There was no time to wonder about the dead woman's life. Five thousand dollars lay in the balance, depending on whether he found tonight's required element; leggy redheaded woman. Belinda had fitted the bill perfectly – if only she hadn't struggled.

Jerry straightened his jacket and turned towards his car, snagging her ID from the purse again and tossing it into the harbour. It landed with a splash and sank to the bed below. No one would care enough to go diving for it. She was a whore, and the police department had enough on their hands with serious people to worry about the underbellies of society.

Turning on the heat inside his car, he rubbed his frostbitten hands together and then reversed his vehicle. It was already midnight. He only had until one thirty.


Jeffersonian Institute,


"What are we working on?" Temperance Brennan asked, stepping into the restricted lab. She looked tired, and when questioned by her assistant, she vaguely revealed that she'd been working most of the night on her book. Zach didn't voice his opinion that she worked too much.

"Have you spoke to Booth this morning?" He asked, instead. Brennan rose a tapered cinnamon eyebrow towards the skylights above their heads.

"Should I have?" Zach half nodded.

"This is one of his," he said, gesturing to the bloody stained sheet that covered the remains. "He just left." Brennan peeled the cover back, and was silently thankful that she hadn't eaten, yet. She had a strong stomach. Stronger than most people she knew, but the remains depicted a horror scene.

"Good God," she whispered, glancing upwards to her assistant. "Booth brought this in?" Brennan thought of her partner, called in so early to such a appalling incident. Zach nodded silently. "Did he give you any details?" She wondered why Zach had arrived to early.

"He said he would explain later, but they needed an ID on the body as soon as possible." Brennan stared down at the bloody remains, the deep gouging wounds along her chest and her legs. She noted significant mutilation and the lack of skin. The woman, and she knew it was a woman from a cursory glance at the pelvis, had been stripped of the majority of her flesh and what was left was the bloody bones. Around her ankles, scarlet soaked rope held the fleshiest parts of her legs together. Whoever had murdered her had not untied her to skin her.

Brennan swallowed, lifting her eyes to Zach again. "It's not a very nice sight, first thing in the morning, is it?" He commented, wincing as he spoke. Brennan blinked.

"It certainly is not," she agreed. But, work wasn't always pleasant and it was her job, and Zach's to determine, as requested by Booth, who the woman was. And the fact alone that the FBI agent was not there to greet her was proof of it's importance. He had somewhere else he needed to be, and she didn't doubt his urgent departure was related to the woman on the gurney. "So, Zach, where would you like to start?"

The young assistant straightened his back, as if in preparation, and squared his shoulders. "I think we should untie her, Dr Brennan," he said. "Then we should clean her bones." Brennan knew that, after the preliminaries were completed, the hardest part of her job began. And since there was much examination of the remains to be done, she knew her day would be a long one.

"I need a vacation," she murmured, pulling a pair of gloves unto her hands.

"We all know how your vacations turn out," Zach commented, already working on the bloody bindings. Brennan smiled a little.

"Yeah," she agreed. "Maybe someone should leave me in Fiji for a few weeks, huh?" She caught the smirk on Zach's face, and was glad to have someone who was perpetually on her wave length working along aside her.

"You'd probably still find bones to examine. Uh, Dr Brennan," he held up the loosened rope in one hand, and the broken remains of Jane Doe's foot in the other. "Someone broke her ankles," he said.

It was definitely going to be a long day.