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  1. #1
    Hunting Addicts (with Optimus Prime)

    Hunting Addicts (with Optimus Prime)

    It's almost Halloween. I love Halloween. It's the one time of the year people admit they wear masks. Like me. I always wear a mask. I have to. People would not like it if they saw my true self. The few that have didn't live to tell the tale.

    We all wear masks. We pretend we're different things to different people. It's just most people won't admit it. They pretend their perfect husband. The perfect mother. The perfect whatever the hell they are supposed to be.

    Like this guy. Look at him. He's gotta be about forty five. Acting like a damn college kid. Getting high and then trying to cop a feel off of some poor barmaid. Poor girl doesn't get paid enough to deal with that guy's mid life crisis. I bet his wife would be pissed at him. And I'm sure he's a f*cking hypocrite. I bet if he found one of his kids getting high off of super glue in their room, he'd beat their ass. But no. Not him. He can do whatever he wants.

    People like him are what's wrong with society.

    That's why this city needs me. I help clean it up.

    The city is a better place because of me.

    I better text Robin, tell her it's going to be a late night out at the office tonight.

    She'll understand. She knows I work hard.

    I have to. I have to make sure the city is a good place for her and our family.

  2. #2
    Renee Washington

    "Got any special plans for tonight?"

    Olivia Barker asked Renee Washington as they left the cafe. They had had lunch together. Today was Renee's thirtieth birthday and Olivia had taken her to the cafe for lunch. It would be surprising to most people looking at them that they were friends. Olivia was in her early twenties with jet black hair and wore goth clothes. She had on bright red lipstick that looked even brighter against her pale skin. She had tattoos and piercings. Renee had her long dark brown hair tied back in a ponytail. She wasn't wearing any makeup and was dressed in a tee shirt and jeans. They might have seemed like an unlucky pair but Olivia was Renee's sponsor. Renee was an alcoholic and Olivia saved her life. Renee nodded her head but Olivia could tell Renee wasn't too thrilled about it.

    "I'm having dinner with my mom and Laurence."

    Renee replied and Olivia made a face. Nancy, Renee's mother, didn't understand Renee's demons. She hadn't been very supportive of her daughter at all. Renee sighed.

    "It's my birthday, I kinda have to see her."

    Nancy would never let her hear the end of it if Renee didn't come. Olivia said and replied.

    "I understand, just...I'm only a phone call away."

    "I know."

    Renee replied with a smile, she also knew Olivia was afraid of her seeing Nancy. She might say something to set her off. Renee was stronger then before, she could do this. Put in a few hours with her mom and Laurence. It would be okay, she thought. She gave Olivia a hug and thanked her for the lunch and the birthday wishes. And the wonder scarf she had given her for a birthday present. Later that day, Renee wondered if she should have told Nancy she wasn't feeling well. Although it was Renee's birthday, she had had no say where they went. Nancy took her to fancy restaurant that served alcohol. The old her never would have resisted getting a drink, the problem was, Renee couldn't stop at one. Olivia would be proud, she was sticking to drinking soda.

    "So, Renee, you got a boyfriend yet?"

    Nancy asked and Renee almost choked on her food.

    "Excuse me?"

    Renee stuttered and Laurence shot his wife a look. Nancy seemed unfazed by their reactions.

    "You're thirty now, you are at risk of being an old maid."

    "I can't be an old maid, I was married."

    Renee shot back. It wasn't her fault she wasn't anymore. Her husband, Aaron, had served in the Army. On his second tour of duty, he had been killed in Iraq. Laurence tried, in vain, to change the subject but that never worked with Nancy.

    "Yes, and Aaron was a good man, but it's been three years."

    "There's no time limit on grief, Nancy."

    Laurence tried to interject but Nancy ignored him, as usual.

    "Aaron would want her to be happy."

    Nancy replied and Renee knew that was true. He always told her that if he died, he'd want her to find love again. She just never imagined there would come a day where she wouldn't sharing her life with him.

    "Plus, I need a grandchild."

    Renee glared at her mother. She would have had a grandchild, if Renee hadn't miscarried two weeks after she got the news of Aaron's death. Those two things and her mother's attitude to it all...It started a down spiral that had only ended when Renee had lost her job as a doctor, her home, and had been in her car with a gun on her lap. She almost pulled her trigger but she remembered her late father had told her if one commits suicide, they couldn't get into heaven. The idea of never seeing Aaron, her father, and her unborn child in the after life is all that stopped her that night. The next day she went to an AA meeting and met Olivia. It was work but she was getting her life back. She even had a job again. Thanks to Nolan Ryder. He was the Chief Medical Examiner and had had an opening. He had given her the job. She was sure it was probably because they were friends, but it still felt good to have job. Being told she needed to give her mother a grandchild...She couldn't handle that tonight. Renee threw her napkin on her plate and stood up.

    "Thank you for dinner, I'm not feeling well all the sudden. I need to call it an evening."

    Renee said curtly and walked away, ignoring Nancy and Laurence's pleads for her to stop. She decided she'd let them pay, after all, it was her birthday. One that had been pretty good until Nancy Hoover had to make her opinion known. Renee had come with her mom and stepfather and had to walk home or hail a taxi. Walking seemed like a better option, she could clear her mind.

    Renee was walking when she saw her. A woman that looked so similar to her from a distance, she could have been her twin. The same age, the same build, she even had her hair cut the same way. The difference was that this stranger had what Renee should. A husband, a kid...A kid that would be the same age as her baby...Renee stopped and watched them a moment, they were taking their toddler into the toy store. He was so excited and his parents looked so happy...She felt tears come to her eyes and she touched her stomach. 'That should be me and Aaron...We...' She kept walking, trying to get the happy little family out of her mind but she couldn't...All she could think of was that she was thirty years old now and a widow. A mother to an angel baby. She had no husband, no child...She didn't even have her dream job of being a doctor anymore. She only had her job because she had been friends with Doctor Ryder for years.

    Renee knew she should call Olivia or stop herself from entering the liquor store but she couldn't. All she could think was that she was a loser and how much pain she was in. She wanted her family, why did that woman get a family, when Renee didn't have hers? Before she realized it, she was back in her apartment, sitting on the floor in front of her coffee table. On it was her favorite picture of Aaron. Taken at a football game before he had left before his first tour of duty. It had been such a fun day...She poured whiskey into two shot glasses. One was in front of Aaron's picture.

    "Happy f*cking birthday to me."

    She said and toasted Aaron's picture. She downed the drink, her throat feeling on fire, but she didn't stop. Renee could never stop at just one drink. She downed the entire bottle and threw over a year of sobriety down the drain.

  3. #3
    Caleb Osmond

    Caleb Osmond groaned as he tried to fall to sleep. It was hard to get comfortable. And the cars were so damn loud. At least, that's what he told himself. He knew the real problem was that he had spent over two years using pain killers for everything. To numb the lingering pain he had from being shot. To fall asleep. To drown out the world. To forget the fact he could have died. He was six months clean, though. Harry, his partner, made sure of that.

    Harry Jacobs was like an older brother to him. About seven years older then Caleb, he had taken him under his wing when Caleb was promoted to a homicide detective. One of the youngest promotions ever in the history of their precinct. It had been a huge deal. He had great potential. Until that asshole, Kyle Masters, had shot him. He and Harry had been tracking Kyle for months, suspected of him killing two women and abducting a third. Kyle had been like a dog being cornered. Harry went to save the woman and Caleb went after Kyle. Kyle shot him in the chest and Harry then shot him dead.

    Caleb could have been dead too. He was told he was lucky. A few inches over to his heart and he would have been dead. He didn't feel lucky after surgery. Surgery had been a bitch and physical therapy had been just as bad. They had given him pain killers to deal with his pain. Very strong pain killers. He didn't realize, until Harry caught him trying to take some Oxy from a recent drug bust, how much he had needed them. It hadn't been the first time he had taken some either. Just the first time he had been caught.

    His family didn't know. No one else in the precinct knew. Only he and Harry knew. That night Harry made him go to a NA meeting. He had been clean ever since. Harry didn't give him any other option. He would only protect Caleb once. If he f*cked up again, then he'd report it to the captain.

    Caleb didn't want to lose his job or have his family know. He had a good family. Parents that had been married for almost forty years. A sister, who was married and had a kid of her own. They were all proud of him. He had followed in dad's footsteps becoming a cop. He didn't want to disappoint them. Which he would, he was sure of that. He knew his parents looked down on people who had them. Saying that no one forced a needle into someone's arm. Perhaps not, but he could also see now why people did it. Some people needed it to keep the demons at bay.

    His chest hurt and he took some Tylenol. Over the counter shit was all Harry approved him to take. It didn't do shit for someone who was used to the 'good' stuff.


    When morning came, Caleb knew he'd need some coffee to make it through the day. He hadn't slept very well. He got dressed and got a call. He sounded as tired as he felt.


    He answered and it was Harry on the other end.

    "Didn't sleep worth a shit did you?"

    "Nope, because Tylenol doesn't do shit for me."

    Caleb replied.

    "Good, it's not supposed to. We'll get you the biggest coffee in the damn city on our way to the wharf."

    "And what's waiting for me at the wharf? Scarlett Johansson?"

    Harry laughed as Caleb pretended to sound hopeful.

    "Only in your dreams, kid."

    "My mom always said to never stop dreaming."

    Caleb replied back but got serious when Harry said a dead body had been found by some teenagers that were trying to play hooky from school.

    "...Bet they wish they had went to school now."

    Caleb said and Harry agreed with him.

    "Oh, I'm sure. I'll be at your place in 10."

    Harry always drove. He preferred it that way. The one time Caleb tried to drive, back when they first became partners, Harry was terrible. He took being a back street driver to a new level. So, Caleb let him drive from now on. It saved both from going crazy with each other. Caleb was waiting for Harry when he pulled up to his building. Caleb got in and thought what a fun way to start the day. Getting right to work before he even had some caffeine.

  4. #4
    Renee Washington

    Renee woke up with a terrible headache. She groaned as she sat up on her living room floor. One toast had led to her drinking that whole bottle of Jack Daniels by herself and she had passed out on the floor. When she realized what she had done, she got sick. She had been doing so good and now she was back to Day One. She was a failure and Olivia would be so upset. She called Olivia in tears. She expected Olivia to call her horrible things, to tell her she was awful for falling off the wagon. Instead, Olivia understood. People slipped, they were human, and they made mistakes. All you could do when you fell was to pick yourself back up. Olivia told her that sometimes you took a few steps backwards to go forward again. It would all be okay.

    Renee planned to go to an AA meeting. She was cleaning herself up when her phone rang. She saw it was Dr Ryder. He had needed her to report the Wharf. A dead body had been reported. She got dressed quickly and headed to morgue to grab a van. Poor Nolan, she thought. He was backed up with cases. She wondered if he had made a mistake accepting the
    Chief Medical Examiner position. The last Chief had left the office in shambles. There were backlogs of cases, some dating back almost three years. It was a giant mess that was going to take Nolan months to sort out. And that didn't even include all the new cases they were getting. Everyone, but Nolan and very pregnant ME named Clara Lang, had been fired right before she got her job. Which meant she and Nolan were doing the work of a much larger staff. Especially since Clara would need be going on maternity leave very soon.

    When Renee arrived at the scene, she grabbed her bag and flashed her identification to the officer guarding the scene. She didn't have her training done to be a doctor yet. But she could do preliminary exams and assist in autopsies. She began to examine Mister Gabriel Lopez. At least that's what his driver's license said his name was. He showed no obvious signs of trauma. She didn't see any visible gun shot wounds, stab marks, or even a terrible beating. His arms showed some track marks, the tale tell signs of a drug user. Her mind immediately went to drug overdose.

  5. #5
    Caleb Osmond

    Caleb was just finishing up his large coffee when he and Harry pulled up to the crime scene. The uniformed cops had it roped off but there were some people trying to get a peak and a few reporters there already.

    "Damn vultures."

    Harry grumbled, he had never like journalists. He felt they made his job harder. Trying to get an exclusive scoop. He wished there was a law to keep them a thousand feet from his crime scenes. Caleb smirked at his partner.

    "Given this happened at the Wharf, they'll scatter away once they find out it's just an O.D."

    The Wharf was known for being a popular hang out for drug users and from time to time to someone would overdose there. The captain always liked to play it safe and send out homicide cops to reported deaths, just to make sure it wasn't a homicide. But this city was small enough that homicides were far and few between. When one did happen, it was big news. Caleb assumed it would be a standard death and they would just pass long paperwork to the proper department. That's what usually happened. Harry shook his head.

    "The famous Osmond gut already speaking?"

    "You know it."

    Caleb replied and Harry smirked as they reached the police tape.

    "Too bad your gut won't give me winning lottery numbers."

    "If it could, I'd be in the Bahamas with Scarlett."

    Caleb replied with a smirk of his own. They both flashed their badges and entered the crime scene.

    "Joe, what do you know?"

    Harry asked a veteran cop that was the first one the scene. He told them that a few teenagers found the body near the shore line. Like it had been washed out to sea but came back. Probably some junkie who had overdosed himself too close the sea.

    "....ME's already here."

    He said pointing to Renee, who was examining the body.

    "She's new."

    Caleb said, not recognizing her. And Joe nodded his head.

    "Yeah, Dr Ryder just hired her."

    The detectives nodded their heads and walked over to her.

    "Hey, Doc. I'm Detective Jacobs and this is my partner, Detective Osmond. What can you tell us?"

    Harry asked Renee.

  6. #6
    Renee Washington

    Renee had just started to examine the body when the detectives approached her.

    "Hello, Detectives, I'm Doctor Washington. It is a shame we could not have met under better circumstances."

    She said as she began to examine the body. She found the man's wallet in his back jean's pocket and handed it to Caleb, who was closer to her. The driver's license said the man's name was Gabriel Lopez. She saw no obvious signs of trauma. She didn't see any visible gun shot wounds, stab marks, or even a terrible beating. His arms showed some track marks, the tale tell signs of a drug user. She took his liver temperature and told Caleb and Harry.

    "The victim died about six hours ago. I'll have the lab run a tox screen and see if his habits may have contributed to him meeting his maker."

  7. #7
    Caleb Osmond

    "I agree."

    Caleb replied to Renee as they were introduced and Harry nodded his head. Caleb couldn't help but notice the doctor was an attractive woman. Caleb had a good eye for that, but now was not the time nor the place. They were professionals and there was a dead body on their hands. He put latex gloves on as she handed him the victim's wallet. Wanting to make sure not to get his own fingerprints on it.

    "Gabriel Lopez, forty five."

    He said, reading the victim's driver's license. Odd, though. The address listed on the license was more then an hour walk to the Wharf.

    "We should ask Joe if they found his car."

    Caleb said, he doubted Lopez would have walked here and the buses stop running well before the estimated time of death Renee gave. Harry agreed, they needed to figure out how the victim got here. Although, it was possible he had come with a buddy and they had gotten high. Lopez overdosed and the friend ran off. Not wanting to get in trouble.

    "Let us know the results as soon as possible."

    Harry told Renee, definitely wanting to know if an overdose had caused the man's death. Especially when Caleb looked through the wallet and saw he had hundred dollars cash and credit cards still in it. That ruled out a mugging gone wrong.

  8. #8
    Renee Washington

    Little much could be tell about what happened to Gabriel Lopez here. From her prelim exam, everything was pointing towards an overdose. There were no signs of an attack, although given how close to the shore he had been, the tide could have washed some evidence away. On the other hand, the man seemed to be in good enough shape, he would have been able to fight off an attacker. There were no wounds on him to suggest there had been one. Plus, there were the tell tale track marks on his arms. A user, who probably had too much. Out here, alone, in the dark. He wouldn't have had anyone to call for help. She packed up her bag and stood up.

    It was her job to figure out how Lopez died. It was Caleb and Harry's job to figure out the why. She nodded her head to Harry.

    "Of course. I'll get him back to the morgue now and call you once I know more."

    The morgue assistant, Doug, came. He helped her put the victim on the stretcher and wheel him into the van.

  9. #9
    Caleb Osmond

    "Thanks, talk to you soon."

    Caleb told Renee as he and her assistant loaded the victim up. He whistled at Harry.

    "Damn, I didn't realize they had hired some cute morgue gremlins."

    'Morgue gremlin' was the nickname that he and Harry had for the people who worked at the morgue. It was all in good humor, though. They had respect for their colleagues' jobs and appreciated the help they gave them in solving cases. It was just after seeing some horrible things on a daily basis, they definitely needed to joke around a little bit. Both men had no doubt the 'gremlins' had nicknames for cops too. Harry smirked at his younger partner.

    "Geez, Caleb, after all this talk about Scarlett Johanasson, I didn't realize you had a thing for Doug."

    "Shut the f*ck up."

    Caleb replied, punching Harry in the arm. They had a good partnership. They were friends and had each other's backs. They also were good at working together to solve a mystery. Gabriel Lopez presented a mystery for the two men. First thing, though, after they had searched around the wharf, was to notify his family. There wasn't much to find at the Wharf, the water had washed away any clues there might had been. They had no idea how Gabriel got there, unless he had either walked or gotten a ride.

    Notifications were never fun. Harry and Caleb both agreed it was the worst part of any day on the job. But it was a necessary evil. Although they were surprised that it seemed that Maria Lopez was waiting for them.

    "Mrs Lopez, I'm Detective Osmond, this is my partner, Detective Jacobs-"

    Caleb started, when Maria interrupted them.

    "Oh, wow. I didn't expect the police to send anyone so fast."

    "Excuse me?"

    Caleb said, a little confused.

    "Well, I just got off the phone with the station."

    "About what?"

    Harry asked and she replied.

    "My husband, he didn't come home last night. It's not like him."

    Harry and Caleb exchanged a look.

    "May we come in?"

    Caleb asked and Maria let them in. And they had to sadly inform them that her husband had been found dead.

    "...Are you sure?"

    Maria asked, shocked at the news.


    Caleb said and told her as much as he could given they had just opened their investigation. Maria began to cry and asked.


    "We aren't hundred percent sure yet-"

    Harry started and Maria interrupted him.

    "Was it drugs? Oh, God...It was, wasn't it?"

    "Your husband had a history of drug abuse?"

    Caleb asked and Maria nodded her head.

    "He did but...He went to NA and he was getting clean. But..."

    "You suspected he was using again?"

    Caleb asked and Maria wiped her eyes.

    "Yeah...he....He was trying so but... Once an addict, always an addict they say."

    Harry sadly agreed and during the interview they were able to get out of Maria that she suspected Gabriel had began using when his sponsor called to say he had missed a few meetings and they had money missing out of their bank account that Gabriel couldn't given her a honest answer for. Caleb handed her his card.

    "...If you think of anything else, please, don't hesitate to call."

    "I will."

    Maria said as she walked the detectives out. Talking with the widow seemed to support the addict theory. Although it didn't explain how Lopez got where he had without his car.

  10. #10
    Renee Washington

    When Renee arrived back with the body, she was angry to see that the autopsy room looked like it was done for the night. Doug was the only morgue assistant on duty for the rest of the day and he had taken it upon himself to close up shop early. She had left the victim with Doug to take to the room, while she began to fill out the necessary paperwork. When she entered the room, she had found Doug sitting on the exam table, with his cell phone in hand. Texting away without a care in the world.

    "Get off the table and help me get the victim on it."

    Renee ordered with a glare, Doug looked up at her annoyed.

    "Why? He's already in the freezer. I got everything put away. You can do his autopsy tomorrow morning."

    Doug's cell phone beeped that he had a text and he immediately returned his focus to his phone.

    "No. His death was-"

    "He's still going to be dead tomorrow. What's a few more-"

    Doug had cut her off and that made her even more pissed. She already didn't like the man and that fact he was sitting there texting away, it really set her off. If she wouldn't have lost her job, she probably would have just punched him in his little punk face. Renee grabbed the damn phone out his hand.

    "Hey! That's mine!"

    "You can have it back once Mister Lopez has had his autopsy."

    Renee replied with a glare and pocketed his phone in her lab coat. He glared back at her and for a moment just sat there like the asshole he was on the table.

    "Don't make me get Doctor Ryder."

    Renee warned, feeling like she was threatening a child. He grumbled as he hopped off the table.


    He muttered under his breath but Renee still heard him. 'F*cking idiot,' Robin replied back in her mind. She wanted to call Doug that to his face but she had to stay professional. Of course, she would be letting Nolan know that she thought he needed to fire Doug's ass. After much grumbling and bitching from Doug, Renee was finally able to begin the autopsy on Gabriel Lopez. She planned to tell their respective boss exactly of what she thought of their assistant as well.

    As she promised, as soon as she had the victim sewn back up and the more private parts of his body covered up with a sheet, Renee called the detectives to meet her in the autopsy room.

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