Copyright © 2018
All Rights Reserved
Tylor Kranyak
Author of Legacy of Krazatan
Dogfights Pt. 1
     Jake and Sarah drove down the Manhattan street in the dead of night. They caught a tip about a dogfighting ring being held in one of the warehouses down by the pier. Usually the higher-ups sent in full units to take these places down, but this one was small-time, and they didn’t want to risk scaring off one of the fight runners before they could get into the building. The Group had been chasing after these dogfighting rings for a few months now, trying to find out who was in charge and put a stop to them. The last thing they needed was another hitch to set them back again.
     Jake glanced over at the dark-skinned woman sitting in the passenger seat and texting someone on her phone. “Can you give your phone a break for ten minutes? We’re on a job right now, in case you forgot.”
     “I’m just texting my boyfriend. Might as well let him know I’ll be home late tonight, or I’ll have to hear him complain about it tomorrow.”
     “You had all day to tell him and you’re just getting around to it now?”
     She rolled her eyes and stuffed the phone back into her pocket. “There, the phone’s gone. Happy now?”
     “Ecstatic,” Jake said, then, in a slightly less annoyed tone, asked, “How was your date last night?”
     Sarah smirked. “It was great, thanks for asking. We went to the Van Holst Steakhouse, and I had some of the best gazelle meat I’ve eaten in years. Best part, he paid for everything. I think I might just keep this one.”
     “Isn’t that what you said about the last guy you dated? If I remember correctly, you dropped him on his ass after a month.”
     She shrugged. “What can I say? I’m a very picky woman. It takes a lot for someone to keep me interested.” Her smirk turned smug when she added, “Why do you care, though? It’s not like you’re going to get any. You already had your chance.”
     Jake rolled his eyes. Sarah could get on anyone’s nerves, it was a wonder most of the men she dated didn’t run out on her before she had the chance to dump them herself. She was definitely attractive, though, with emerald-green eyes, long black hair, and smooth dark skin from her African descent. While she always managed to push all of Jake’s buttons, she was still one of the best partners he’s had in years. Jake didn’t usually like working with her kind, but somehow they managed to get along better than most of the other teams in The Group, which had come as a great surprise to many of Sarah’s ex-partners.
     Wanting to steer the subject away from his partner’s love life, and wondering what had possessed him to ask about it in the first place, Jake said, “I can’t stand gazelle, it’s too stringy for my liking. I’ll take a lean buck any day.”
     “Of course you would, Hillbilly. It’s all your kind eats.”
     “Not true.” Jake gave Sarah a dark stare that usually gave other people chills. It only managed to annoy the woman, which was why he did it anyway. “We’ve been known to hunt mountain lions whenever they wander too far into our territory.”
     She rolled her eyes again. “Are we there yet? I’d like to get some sleep before the sun comes up.”
     “It’s just another block away,” he told her.
     “Why are they sending us out to rescue these mutts in the first place? It’s not like anyone’s going to miss them, most of them are strays anyway.”
     “You know why, Sarah. Sooner or later they’re gonna get bored of the small fry, and when that happens they’ll start coming after the purebred sport. We need to stop this before it gets out of hand.”
     “Yeah, yeah, whatever. As long as The Group keeps signing my paycheques I couldn’t care less what assignments they put me on.”
     “Here we are,” Jake said as they pulled up to the sidewalk across from the warehouse. He was immediately on edge when he noticed there wasn’t a single vehicle parked anywhere near the building. “This isn’t right. There’s supposed to be a fight tonight.”
     “Maybe they caught wind of us again?” Sarah suggested.
     Jake said nothing as he turned off the ignition and got out of the car, his partner following him soon after. They didn’t bother to hide themselves as they crossed the street and pushed through the loose chain-link fence, there was no one around to catch them anyway. They found a locked side-door, though it didn’t take Jake long to pick the lock. The scent of blood filled his nostrils the moment the door opened, and he knew for certain they were too late. Neither of them spoke as they followed the scent down the narrow corridor. When they made it to the source they were presented with a sight they had witnessed several times before, but that didn’t make it any less gruesome.
     The fighting pit was filled with the lifeless bodies of men and women, some of them still human, others in their shifted forms. The most striking of them was the polar bear-lion hybrid in the very center of the ring, with his massive white body, huge mane around his neck, and sabre-toothed fangs protruding out of his mouth farther than the rest of his teeth. A lot of the bodies were missing limbs, others had their chests ripped open by bullet holes. More than likely their captors had set them all loose on each other in the pit then shot whoever was left standing. None of them had been given a peaceful end.
     In a low voice, Jake muttered, “Shit…”
     “The boss isn’t going to like this,” Sarah pointed out.
     “You think I don’t know that?” Surveying the damage a little longer, Jake asked, “Who keeps tipping ‘em off? No one outside The Group knows about our plans.”
     “Think maybe we got a rat?”
     “If we do, there’s gonna be hell to pay.” Jake rubbed the bridge of his nose as drowsiness started to creep up on him. “There’s nothing we can do here. Call it in, Sarah.”
     Sarah started to reach for her phone when a noise caused them both to pause. It sounded like someone was hurryingly banging drawers and shuffling papers. It came from somewhere beyond another corridor on the far side of the pit, probably an office or something considering the noise. Lifting his nose, Jake scented the air and caught the lingering smell of full humans coming from that direction past all the blood and gore.
     A dark smile crept across Jake’s face. “Well, well, looks like we weren’t too late after all.” He turned to see his partner smiling, too. Her eyes were already starting to change from their usual deep green to a violently bright yellow. “Remember, we need at least one of ‘em alive,” he reminded her.
     “The boss won’t care what condition they’re in as long as they can talk,” Sarah said as long, sharp feline claws grew out of her fingertips.
     “Fair enough,” Jake said before letting his own thick canine fangs slide past his gums. Together they made their away across the pit and into the corridor, toward the full humans.