Claws

Welcome fans and new readers! I'm excited to write another crime story, they are strangely addictive and after reading a few recently, I was reminded of their greatness. The Bleach cast have done enough police work so now its Black Cat characters. As this is in the vein of 'Clown' you should be warned: This story contains excessive violence and gore. Enjoy!

One

Sven Volfied woke up with a start. His phone was going off like his ex-wife. With an irate groan he rose from his slumber and leaned across the mattress to pick up the cordless phone. He pressed the answer button and waited for the obligatory greeting of the caller.

None came, rather an angry rant from the chief.

"Sven! Where are you?"

"I was asleep sir. Unlike you I'm not immune to fatigue." Sven joked.

"Cut the shit Volfied! We've got trouble!" The Chief never really liked joking around on the job. It ticked him off; maybe that was why Sven always opened with a joke.

Sven sighed. Trouble could only mean one thing. "Another body?"

"Yes! Get your ass down to Clearview Avenue and do your job!" The Chief hung up.

Sven was still awaiting his greeting but decided to clear that thought from his head. He had work to do which meant his lazy, half-hearted work ethic would have to be knocked up a notch for the day. Homicide was always a tough job. Aside from having to stomach some of the cruellest of executions there was the unsolved cases that nagged at your mind every day. Then there was the clean-up. No matter what anyone says, scrubbing guts off a tarmac road is even worse than it sounds.

Even though it was a slow depressing ride into insanity, Sven wouldn't change it for anything in the world...Well almost anything. Winning the lottery, retiring and sleeping day in and day out with a beautiful woman on each arm...That was heaven.

There was no time for breakfast. One of the definite downsides of the job. He could wake up in the middle of the night and investigate a crime scene, but missing his early morning bacon and eggs...It was heresy!

He stumbled over to a closet and took out a white suit with matching pants. Next he put on his eye patch. When he was fully dressed he went to the front door, his silver briefcase already there. A white had rested on a rack by the door and he snatched it up while heading out.

The car was unlocked. The locks were busted a few weeks ago but he had never bothered to get it fixed. Sven sank into the driver's seat, sighing contentedly as he found the right spot. He pressed down on the accelerator pedal and frowned when the car didn't move. At first he thought there was no gas, but he soon caught out the fact he had never started up the engine.

"Dammit! This is what happens when I don't get enough sleep." He murmured to himself. After a self applied slap to the face he started the car up properly. The loud rumble of the engine woke him up and he rolled down the road. On the way to the crime scene he drove past a diner, his stomach rumbling as if on cue.

He found the spot easily. The marked cars formed a road block and there were a dozen or so people standing around outside an alley.

Sven parked on the side of the road and stepped out. The bright morning sun almost blinded him so he tipped his hat to cover his eyes and then approached the officers.

A man with straight brown hair greeted him. "Hey Sven, sleep well?"

Sven rubbed the dark bags under his eyes. "You already know the answer Jenos." After another drawn out sigh he got into the work mood and extended a hand, waiting for a report or a high five, whichever they had.

Jenos handed a stack of papers to his partner. "We found an ID in her wallet. Name is Alicia Callister. Lives downtown, worked at the take-away pizza shop just a block away. She's only 17."

Sven nodded. "Right, so there's a girl. Why did you call me?"

"Well, she's been murdered of course." Jenos replied.

Sven smiled grimly. "I had a hunch. Alright let's take a look." He flipped through the series of photographs taken of the corpse. He couldn't help but wince at some of the injuries.

"She was walking home from work. Called her mother only a few minutes after her shift. She never came home or answered her phone. A patrol went out and we found here lying in the alley. It's a nasty piece of work this time."

"Tell me about it." Sven concurred. "This guy really doesn't like pizza."

Jenos scowled. "Now isn't the time for jokes Sven. Some poor girl got killed by a vicious psychopath."

"How can you be sure it was a psychopath?" Sven queried.

"Well..." Jenos began. "The injuries. They are tell-tale signs of a grade A nut-job."

"True, but maybe someone want's us to think that. Maybe this guy is smart."

"If he's that manipulative then he's still a psychopath!" Jenos snapped.

Sven ignored his partner and went off on his own course. "I want to see the body. Tell forensics to step aside for a sec." He ducked under the yellow tape and passed around a corner to where three men were squatting over the corpse. They stepped aside when Sven approached and watched him as he bent down to study the body.

Sven ran a gloved finger down the girl's throat which was bruised. Black and blue markings wrapped around her pale neck. "She was strangled, bare handed from the looks of it."

"Yes, though that did not kill her. She was savagely beaten. The extent of the injuries suggests that she was bludgeoned to death. The strangulation occurred either before or after she was dead."

"Well, somebody has a nasty little habit. You said she was beaten, any idea what was used?"

"No. All we know is that a heavy object shattered her cranium and caused the back of her head to cave in. There is severe damage to her brain, the most likely cause of death." the forensic read aloud from a note pad.

Sven stared at the impact site. Something heavy had hit pretty damn hard to crack her skull and go through to crush her brain. Brain matter had spilled out through the ragged hole. His eyes then followed along down to her naked torso. An incision was made below her sternum and ran down to her pelvic region. Her innards were on clear display. Sven stared into the hole and frowned.

"The heart...I think it's missing."

The nearest forensic took a closer look and nodded to the others. "He's right."

The lead forensic chuckled. "Sorry we missed that. We've only just started so we haven't checked out everything yet."

"No problem." Sven murmured. "Rolled her over yet?"

"No."

"Tell me when you do. There's something suspicious about this. The killer stole the heart...It must be symbolic to him. Excuse me." Sven returned to Jenos' side. "Hey, did this girl have any boyfriends recently?"

Jenos looked down at a profile. "Not that we know of. We'll be interviewing the parents soon, I'll ask then."

"Great. It turns out her heart was removed. This means there is something to do with hearts. I'm guessing it's a jealous ex-boyfriend who's out for revenge. Still...How could a kid pull off such a clean incision? It was almost as if a doctor had taken out the heart and then someone else did the rest..."

"You think there were two killers?"

"Maybe. If someone was so skilled with a knife then why would they do something so messy like bash her head in? It makes no sense." Sven scratched his chin. "Well, I've done what I could. I've got some sleep to catch up on."

"What?" Jenos gasped. "You just got a close up look of a dead body and you still want to go to sleep? What is wrong with you?"

"I'm a cop. Surely you've crossed that line where every dead body looks the same. I've been in this job long enough to be desensitized to the worst..." Sven bowed his head. "You're lucky. You got to keep your humanity."

Jenos frowned. "Hey, I didn't mean to upset you-"

Sven raised a hand and walked off to his car. "If anything interesting turns up don't call me for about six hours." With that he hopped into his small compact and drove off.


The phone rang. Sven dragged himself over to the phone and inadvertently read the time on his digital alarm clock. He had only been asleep for three hours.

"Dammit!" He picked up the phone and snarled. "This better be good!"

Jenos' sarcasm dripped through the receiver. "We're in homicide. When is anything ever good?"

"True, just hurry up and spill it!"

"Somebody needs their juice." Jenos commented wryly.

"You're one wrong move away from having your ass kicked! What's the situation, or did you just call me just to get a laugh?"

"Fine." Jenos' tone was ice cold. It was such a drastic change that Sven's heart stopped before he even knew the problem. "The forensics have taken the body to the morgue. They've discovered something you need to see. I've already sent you the photos."

Sven put the phone down and brought his laptop over to the bedside table. While it loaded up Sven took the liberty to investigate. "So, any word about the boyfriend yet?"

Jenos sighed. "The mother wouldn't stop crying. We couldn't get her to say anything. We gave up pretty quick. We'll try again later. So anyway, have you got the photos yet?"

Sven hummed as he clicked away at the touch pad. He stabbed his password into the computer and brought up the files. They were pictures of the body. One was just a picture of her from the front. It showed nothing new, but the picture of her back...

"I see." Sven said coldly. "It's a message."

"My heart is broken, so I shall take another." Jenos read aloud. "You know what that means. You were right about the ex-boyfriend. He's definitely involved in this."

"But what about the incisions? They were too precise for some wild teen. I'm not entirely sold on this one..." Sven studied the message, ignoring the words but rather observing the skill in the carvings. Each character had been expertly carved into the girl's back, no blood or mess.

"Maybe he had help?" Jenos suggested. "It could have been a gang."

Sven thought silently for a moment. "As of now, the ex is certainly a suspect. But there is more to this than just a love-lost young boy. We should find the kid and bring him in for questioning. He may just slip up and reveal who helped him."

"Right! I'll check through the records. Oh and Sven?"

"Yeah?"

"Sleep well!" Jenos hung up.

Sven chuckled lightly as he put the phone down. "That son of a bitch. If he wasn't my friend..." Rather than dwell on the thought, Sven relapsed back into his much needed slumber.

Please review, your comments are what drives me to write more.