***Warning: This story may contain violence, blood/gore (to a certain degree), language (dashes or stars will be used), angst (again, to a certain degree), hints/mentions of sex (although none is done within these stories), and more. You don’t have to read the story if you’re not okay with this content.***
It was yet another bleak evening in Montana, and dusk was slowly starting to set in. As the moon rises higher and higher, a black car drives through traffic after traffic, avoiding any unwanted eyes by blending into the darking day.
The person that was driving the vehicle was Damoni Alles, a detective of the Montana Murder Investigators, or MMI. She has chosen to work night shifts after her previous job as a 24-hour ER doctor always drove her nuts. But even though she knew she was jumping from the fire to the flame, she was willing to help her state, no matter how risky it was.
Parking up at the police station, she exited her car and entered the station, immediately walking up to her boss’s office before knocking on the door, sighing.
Her boss, Jeff Harris, opened the door, looking at her. “Evening, Detective Alles!” He greeted, smiling. “How have you been?”
“Fine, boss.” Damoni replied. “Now let’s get to business, sir. It’s quicker to get it done now than never get it done at all.”
Jeff nodded in response, slowly walking over to his desk and sitting down. “There’s been a new murderer around Billings.” He began, his happy face suddenly disappearing into more of a fearful one. “People call them the ‘Animal Skin Killer’ for wearing many kinds of animal skins. Nobody can find them because they’re always wearing a different animal skin. Not only that, but they also gut all of their victims as they slowly bleed to death. They’ve killed 17 people already, and there’s no witnesses to give us clues.”
Damoni felt chills shock her spine as Jeff spoke of the new killer, gulping. “I will do my best, sir.” She said, trying to hide the fear in her voice. “Will you give me a partner?”
“Yes, yes I will.” Jeff replied. “You’ll be paired up with Fae Morn, a detective with over 17 years of experience. That way this entire case will most likely go a whole lot smoother…hopefully.”
Damoni nodded in response, then left the station. The moment she walked out of it, Fae Morn was next to her own car, smiling right at her.
“Hey, new partner!” Fae spoke, walking up to Damoni and shaking her hand. “It’s a pleasure to finally meet and work with you!”
Damoni just smiled back, shaking Fae’s hand. “It’s nice to meet you too, Fae.” She replied. “Now can we get something to eat before we get to work? I’m thirsty for some strange reason.”
Fae smiled more in agreement. “Why don’t we head to Dickson’s Diner? It’s the quickest way to get something to drink.” She suggested, still smiling.
Damoni nodded, then she and Fae walked into their different cars. Driving to Dickson’s Diner, they both noticed that the diner was empty, so they both parked next to each other before entering, catching the look of a paled man with indigo hair, dark brown eyes and was wearing a black apron, surprised by his appearance.
The man smiled at them, his smile wide and his eyes tinted with flame-like red colors. “Welcome, ladies.” He spoke, greeting them. “I’m Aegis Panaima, and I’m both the manager and a waiter for this diner. Now, what can I get both of you to drink?”
“I’m Damoni Alles, and this is my friend, Far Morn.” Damoni introduced herself and Fae, looking at Aegis curiously. “I’ll take a beer.”
“Me too!” Fae chimed in. “It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Panaima!”
Aegis smiled even more than he should be at this statement, turning his full attention from Damoni to Fae. “Please, call me Aegis, Fae.” He said, then walked over to the other side of the counter, grabbing two freshly cold beers for both Fae and Damoni. Setting them on the bar, he kept an eye on both of the women as he slowly began to mop, his face completely emotionless.
Fae reached out to grab the beer, but suddenly got a call. “Oh, it’s an important call!” She chirped, looking at Damoni. “I have to go! Bye!” She then finally grabbed the beer and headed out the door, answering the call
Damoni shrugged it off, then took a sip of her beer as she sat down on the barstool, then looked at Aegis. “Do you know anything that’s very..interesting or suspicious…about The Animal Skin Killer?” She asked, not wanting to waste precious time while a murderer was roaming freely around here.
Aegis looked at Damoni, unfazed. “No, detective, I haven’t heard anything interesting about that murderer at all.” He responded calmly, his emotionless eyes glowing. “In fact, I’ve never even heard of that until a few weeks ago.”
Damoni shot up as she stared at Aegis, shocked. “Wait, you know that I’m a detective?!” She questioned, confused. “But…how?”
“It’s called the news, my dear Damoni.” Aegis quietly hissed aloud, his throat slightly rattling from the hiss. “Everyone knows about you. Hell, even The Animal Skin Killer probably knows you like they know the back of their hands. Besides, it’s not the very first time such strange supernatural entities….have appeared around the town of Billings and have had investigators like yourself come in the light to save the day.”
Damoni stared at Aegis, starting to feel a strange atmosphere around him. “Interesting..” She whispered under her breath, then sighed, sitting back down. “If you know how these supernatural things happen, then why aren’t you a detective yourself?” She commented, smiling devilishly.
“Because unlike you, I don’t get myself involved in the artwork of the horns.” Aegis replied calmly, his stare looking right into Damoni’s hidden expression as he slowly leaned against the counter, his height inches above hers. “And from what I can tell, you’re scared that The Animal Skin Killer will kill you, Fae and everyone that you like or love, aren’t you, dear Damoni?”
Damoni froze, the same chills from earlier sparking up and down her spine. She stayed silent, her teal-colored eyes widening. “I-..I—I-.” She stopped, unable to answer, her spine still shivering.
“That’s what I thought.” Aegis spoke as he looked at the clock, humming to himself. “Now I suggest that you get going, because it’s closing time.” He said, then leaned into Damoni’s ear, whispering to her. “And by the way—just between you and me—those who search for the past will have no future, no matter how many times they try to undo the mistakes that they made.”
Damoni nodded subconsciously, getting up and heading out of the diner without even thinking about grabbing the beer, her face filled with a mixture of confusion and fear. She then got in her car and began to drive her way home, the familiar strange atmosphere disappearing from the air as if it was nothing more than an illusion.
What did Aegis mean by when he said “artwork of the horns”? She thought, gripping the steering wheel tightly. And why was his voice so..calm, but yet his words were as sharp as a knife? How does he know what I truly feel?…I can’t tell anyone else about this, otherwise I’ll be dragging them into unnecessary situations. But for now, I need to focus on The Animal Skin Killer. Aegis can wait…
After a few long minutes, she finally made it into her driveway. Parking her car there and exiting it, she looked to find something she wasn’t ready to see..
It was a man lying on his back, dead, all of his organs pulled out of him completely. He was just laying there, the blood fouling the air as its smell grew thicker in the air.
Damoni stared at the body, disturbed. She walked closer to it and pulled out her phone, taking pictures of it. Looking around again, she then noticed a trail of bloody and gigantic paw prints, now even more confused than before.
I should definitely follow those paw prints. She thought, smirking. Then Jeff will finally know what this killer looks like in one of its disguises!
Following the paw prints, she ran deep into a small alleyway, soft footsteps echoing from afar. The rich and sickening smell of blood filled the air even more as she continued to follow the trail. What it led her to, though, was nothing more than a disturbing and quiet unexpectedly shocking sight..
It was a strange human wearing a real life tiger skin, the fur of the hide covered in the crimson liquid. Oddly enough, there was no zipper to be found on the hide, which meant that the stranger’s identity would be hidden no matter what.
Damoni watched as the human-acting tiger turned around to face her, their eyes too realistic for her to comprehend. Slowly, she pulled out her phone, but then was immediately grabbed at by the stranger, her phone falling right out of her hand and slamming onto the ground, shattering in the process.
No you don’t! She yelled in her mind, grabbing the gun from its holster and pointing it at the stranger, trying to hide the fear in her expression. “Who are you?” She questioned in a loud yell, staring at them. “What did you just do?!”
The stranger only stared in response, silent. They then yanked the gun out of Damoni’s grip, studying it. Looking behind them, they suddenly disappeared into nothing, leaving no other evidence of their existence behind.
Damoni stared at nothingness, still in shock. Her mind began to race as she stood back up, grabbing what was left of her broken phone before looking behind her to see Fae running towards her, slightly surprised by this.
“Damoni, are you okay?!” Fae asked worriedly as she ran to her partner. “A neighbor of yours contacted us. They said that you found a dead body and was trying to follow a trail.”
Damoni subconsciously nodded, looking at Fae with a fearful expression. “The Animal Skin Killer is real.” She said, her voice slightly and quietly creaking. “I saw them. I couldn’t get a picture of them, but I saw them. They broke my phone and took my gun, then just…vanished into thin air..”
Suddenly, a cop that was behind the two detectives unexpectedly walked up to them, humming. It was Peter Adler, an officer with the MMI and Damoni’s best friend. “Interesting.” He muttered, crossing both of his arms. “Sounds like we’re dealing with the same type of supernatural stuff that New York City’s dealing with…”
“Then what do we do?” Damoni asked.
Peter paused, thinking, then finally spoke. “I’ll contact my friend Todd Anderson, who’s a 12-year experienced officer of the NYCPD.” He said. “He’s been dealing with these kinds of strange things since he was a young teenager. Meanwhile, you girls should call Dr. Everett Wattson to investigate the bodies of the dead victims. He’ll be your best option for this type of murder case.”
Damoni nodded, then slowly got up and walked away from the alleyway with Fae, both of their faces blank as an unused sheet of paper.
I have to find this murderer. She thought. But for now, I must go back to when it first began…
•••To be Continued…•••Add to favorites