Chapter 1

Caution: This Suspense Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Fa/Fa, Consensual, NonConsensual, Reluctant, Lesbian, Heterosexual, Hermaphrodite, Mystery, FemaleDom, Rough, Interracial, Oriental Female, First, Safe Sex, Oral Sex, .

Desc: Suspense Sex Story: Chapter 1 - At 26, Emma Drake is Baltimore's newest and youngest homicide detective. When a group of terrorists begin murdering cops, Emma's life becomes at risk. To make matters worse, her rampant sexual addiction threatens to expose her further, creating a web of intrigue that may lead her to a fatal conclusion.

Emma felt his eyes trained up and down her body as she filled out her paperwork in the lobby. 'It was curious' she thought. The police station was busy enough this morning—plenty of spectacles in downtown Baltimore to divert his attention. She quickly stole a glance at him while she wrote. He was halfway across the bustling large room. By her observation, he was older than her—maybe twice her age of 26. His grave face had gentle snowings of gray in his closely shaven beard. He had a dark complexion, possibly of South Asian decent. And yes, he was indeed still staring at her, burning a hole in the young woman's small body.

She began to squirm. She hated the prying attention that began to heat her skin. She leaned on the desk where she sat, attempting to cover her bare arms with her long wavy locks of chestnut hair. She also regretted wearing the cropped pants that exposed her athletic and toned calves. As not to be completely conspicuous, Emma slowly pulled one leg off the floor and shielded the flesh under her shirt. She forgot—of course, about the gentleman, the now very confused gentleman, that was sitting from across the desk instructing her paperwork. She looked at him and shrugged with wide almond eyes and gently returned her leg to dangle off the hard plastic chair once again.

"I need to see your work visa again, Miss Drake." The clerk's request broke the awkward silence, of which Emma quietly complied. As she pulled the document from her wallet, she could tell that mysterious set of eyes were on the move. The man was staggering a casual walk towards the area where she was sitting, occasionally pretending to be distracted by a stack of paper, or another person in the lobby.

"Pardon me!" she snapped, shouting across the room. "But is there any particular reason why you've been trying to stare a hole in me?!?"

"Oh. You're British..." The man walked up to her and replied with a relaxed certainty as he folded his arms. "You see, from over there you looked Moroccan."

"I know there's no way you could have known..." Emma trailed off, breaking eye contact. The man smiled slightly and opened his mouth. Upon hearing a syllable, the agitated girl interrupted. " ... That it's none of your fucking business 'what' I am and 'where' I'm from."

"She looks mixed to me..." the man from across the desk, an older black man commented.

Emma felt cornered, and grew hostile as her heart furiously pumped boiling blood through her veins. "My statement was not exclusive to him, you paper-pushing fuck," she whispered menacingly across the desk. The man smiled and recoiled, which seemed to anger Emma all the more. She stood and turned to confront her stalker whom she had to still look up to, even though she now standing "And what about YOUR genealogical background? Shouldn't you be answering tech support for my internet right about now?"

The man raised his eyebrow at the verbal assault, but other than that, the racial epithet did not elicit a response. Breathing slowly, shards of professionalism began to cool Emma's body. "Since my ethnicity seems to be a such a point of interest..." she began slowly "my parents are a British-born musician of Ghanaian decent and a while American expatriate college professor. I am also a Scorpio and enjoy putting idiots in their place. Anything else?"

The man that loomed over her laughed. "Detective Emma Drake, I think that we will eventually make a functional team."

Emma sighed heavily, lowering her head to rub her temples. "So you are a police officer, then?"

"And your partner, I'm afraid. Anwar Shah at your service." He extended his hand to the deflated girl before looking over her shoulder to the man at the desk. "Follow me, Detective. Thank you, Jack. I'll take it from here."

Anwar Shah was a big man. Broad chest and burly, he was two of Emma—maybe three. The comparison made her feel small. She was Alice walking down the hallway in Wonderland, shrinking before the eyes of everyone that passed by.

"So you have an accent, too..." she tried to break the ice after a few minutes of silence. "Do they always pair the foreign kids together?"

"I read that you were coming and requested you. And I really think we will make a good team ... when I'm not running tech support, of course."

The sting of regret punched Emma in the stomach. "Look, I'm sorry about what I said before. It was a long flight and ... I'm really not racist."

"I've been called worst by better, Ms. Drake." He assured, continuing his brisk walking pace. "The rumor was that you've got quite the temper. I wanted to se how true that rumor was and you did not disappoint." He concluded by taking a large step and stopped in front of Emma who was forced to back into a wall before a door marked "Homicide Division." She slunk her shoulders and tipped her head upwards to gaze into her partner's eyes.

"26 years old..." he continued. " ... And the youngest detective in Interpol history. I know you're smart, Emma. You're probably smarter than me. But I will not tolerate a hothead in my division. Start trouble with this squad and I'll snap you back to passing out parking tickets to tourists in the Inner Harbor."

"Yes, Detective Shah." Emma mewed, looking as if she had just been scolded.

"Actually, it's Sergeant."

"I'm sorry. Sergeant Shah". She winced again. This was getting better by the minute.

"Relax, Drake. I've already forgotten about 10 minutes ago. It's best you forget as well. You'll need all of your focus to survive this tour. I'm afraid you've come aboard at a bad time."

"Why is that, sir?"

"Haven't you heard? Someone is killing detectives in this city."

"Can I help you?" the college financial aid advisor droned in a rote and mundane tone across the crowded administration building. A petite Asian girl cordially approached the counter.

"Hi, my name is Mindy Hsu. I think there's a problem with one of my scholarships. The girl pulled a pink colored document from a pocket of the oversized sweatshirt she wore.

Without a response, the man struck a few keys of the computer in front of him, seemingly with great effort. "Well, Miss Hoo..."

"Actually, it's Hsu. Pronounced with an 'S'" she happily corrected, confident that the simple misspelling was the cause of her problem. It wouldn't have been the first time.

"Well, however you say it, you're last scholarship didn't cover housing. We require all freshmen to live on campus for their first year so—"

"I'm—I'm sorry." She interrupted, voice still soft. "But there still must be a mistake. I'm a senior." Mindy's smile began to erode. "I just transferred here." Which she was beginning to think was a mistake.

"That's good, Ms..." the bureaucrat stifled himself into correctness. "Ms. Hsu." He gathered himself to force further professionalism. "You have the option of waiving the housing option. Would you like to do so?" his calm words disarmed her. She gave an uncomfortable half-smile.

"What are you going to do, Mindy?"

The pressing question was the focal point of lunchtime in the college cafeteria, as the two friends sat at a small table and shared a sandwich.

"I don't know, Lori. I only found out I was homeless an hour ago."

"Well, feel free to stay with me in the dorm until you get on your feet." Her curly haired, ginger friend offered whilst sucking her milk through a straw. "Now, I just feel bad for making you transfer here with me."

"I didn't do it just for you." Mindy sounded agitated. She didn't like the idea of being a follower. "They have a good graduate program for Psychologists here."

"Well, still..." paused Lori, until a spark of mischief suddenly smirked across her face. "We should get drunk tonight!"

Mindy placed down her sandwich triangle, perplexed. "Why?"

"Because you have a problem that you can't immediately solve."

The frustrated girl shrugged. "It's not going to be solved any faster getting plastered. Beside, that sounds a lot like alcoholism." Mindy waived her finger at her friend playfully. "You're a bad psychologist, Lori."

"But I'm a good friend. So plan on going out tonight." Lori declared as she stood. The smile she wore faded upon observing Mindy's current attire, frumpy sweat suit and hair quickly pulled back in a ponytail. "We're going to have to do something about the way you look."

"Mindy seemed only dismissive at first, them after glancing over her outfit, become annoyed. "What's wrong with what I'm wearing?"

Lori shook her head. "We don't have time for me to answer that question in its entirety. I've gotta go, Mindy. We'll make you over tonight!"

Mindy sighed. "I don't think anyone is having the day I'm having."

"Home sweet home..." Emma said to herself as she settled into her new desk, poking and prodding around the sides and drawers of the cold, wood-grained structure. It was representative of the room. The area was cold. The harsh autumn had started to pass through the building's thin windows. The drab gray tinted walls seemed to display the very essence of winter, and it was too early in September for the administration to turn on the heat. A chill raced up and down the bare skin on Emma's arms and neck. To make matters embarrassingly worse, she could feel her hardened nipples push against the abrasive fabric of her bra. The sensation sent sparks down her spine. Her face became flush and her body trembled as she let the cool breeze engulf her most sensitive parts. She leaned back on the chair and closed her eyes.

"Drake, this is Chris Wright. I'm sure his partner is around here somewhere..."

Anwar's booming voice snapped her from the euphoric trance. By grace, Chris Wright had not bothered to look up from his newspaper and only gave a halfhearted wave in Emma's direction, a wave that she caught only the end of anyway.

"Aren't you tired, Ms. Drake?" Anwar added. "Didn't your plane land only a few hour ago?"

"Yes, but I wanted to check in with Captain Leech before settling in."

Detective Wright finally raised his head from his reading. His interest was suddenly peaked. "Where are YOU from?" he inquired, smiling at the new girl.

Anwar smiled and nodded, as he had anticipated that reaction. "Ms. Drake joins us after 2 years at Interpol in London, this another 2 in Brussels. Ah—there's Rachel Miller now. She's Chris' partner as I said.

Emma studied Chris' statuesque face, topped with waves of sandy brown hair that made him look more like a model than a cop. She detailed the 5 o'clock shadow with her eyes as she smiled back at him. Rachel, an athletically built platinum blonde wearing plain-clothes street wear descended to stand in between her partner to formally introduce herself. Still, Emma could sense Chris' eyes still undressing her. Her body began to warm up she noticed that her nipples were not as erect that they once were. After a few discrete hair tosses, she graze the thin fabric covering her chest and the reversed the effect.

"You've met most of the people you'll be initially working with, Emma. You should relax this weekend. We'll get into it on Monday."

"What about the Captain?" Emma broke from her flirting to be professional again.

"Captain Leech has been temporarily reassigned. Two detectives in our precinct have been murdered in as many months. I'd suspect Internal Affairs to take over soon if they don't think we can protect our own people."

"Or manage ourselves..." Rachel added, sneeringly. "Why else would they send in a hotshot from Interpol?"

Emma frowned. "I'm sorry dear. I didn't move across an ocean because someone told me to ... nor would I. Sergeant Shah just told me about the bloody murders today, so don't even start with on me about how too inexperienced, or too young, or too smart I am. I don't need to hear it from—"

Rachel chuckled, obnoxiously. "Darling, nobody ever said you were 'too smart'."

Her co-worker's nonchalant attitude was quickly shortening Emma's fuse. The young woman stood and took a step in from of Rachel. "Maybe you'd like to step outside and say that again." Emma said, knowing she shouldn't.

"My. My." Anwar said, stepping between them. "I do believe that's the quickest turnaround time for anyone to disobey my orders." He nudged Emma back by pushing her shoulder. "Take a walk, Drake. See you Monday."

"I still need to tell the acting commanding officer that I'm here, sir." She insisted, sounding a bit pouty. She was being scolded again, this time publicly, and she needed to save face.

"You just did, Emma." Anwar stated with finality before giving her a wink. "Have a good weekend."

Looking down, Emma slowly backed away from the clump of detectives. "Yes, sir. Thank you, sir." She whispered almost inaudibly. Then she added, addressing the group. "Nice to meet you all. This has truly been one of the most enlightening and embarrassing first days of work in recent memory."

"This is stupid." A freshly dressed Mindy declared, holding her foot in her hands as steadily as possible. "Who even looks at toes anyway?"

"Just paint your fucking nails already." Lori shouted from across the dorm. "This is exactly why you don't have a boyfriend."

"You know I have a boyfriend..." Mindy tried to concentrate on her pinky.

"Huh ... Bobby." Lori mused combing through her hair wearing only a towel. "He's still in San Diego, right?"

Mindy nodded. "He's thinking of taking a teaching position in the high school we attended.

"That's cool..." Lori tried to affirm with earnest, but she still sounded uninterested. "He's boring, you know that, right?"

"Mmhmm." Confirmed Mindy, finally finishing the candy red glossy on her tiny feet. She looked up at her friend and continued. "But so am I. So our relationship is pretty tranquil."

"Tranquilizing ... that IS a good word for the situation, isn't it?" Lori ripped the towel from her body and tossed it on the floor. Her voluptuous breasts swayed as she turned her back to Mindy to stuff her double D cleavage into a small baby doll shirt. Mindy felt tingles of envy as she surveyed her friend's body, wishing she had more to her chest than her pert A-cups, though she knew she couldn't be "too" jealous. Both of their bodies were products of vigorous softball training (the sport in which they met)—toned thighs and legs. Abdominal muscles, flat and tight. Now that her mind on the subject, Mindy quickly stole away to the bathroom while Lori finished dressing. Standing in front of the mirror, she lifted her shirt, revealing her trimmed 6-pack. Mindy smiled as she admired the body she worked so hard at maintaining. Though normally humble, this was the one piece of vanity she would always afford herself—before Lori began to pound on the door.

Emma kicked the bathroom door open.

She was livid and even that was an understatement. She was going to strike at the next object she saw, living or not. It was a soap dispenser. Her punch cracked the clear cover, shards of plastic flying off into a nearby sink. She paced in front of a stall; her speed gradually slowing as the skin on her hand began to burn and her knuckles began to swell. Then dizziness came, and Emma closed her eyes and leaned against a stall door, heart rate slowly dropping. She took a step inside the stall and closed the door after her. Hovering over the toilet, she clumsily fumbled and unbuckled her pants and quickly slid her hand inside. She massaged the hot mass between her legs ... each spark of euphoric friction bringing balance to her equilibrium.

Emma closed her eyes again and tilted her head back. A slight groan escaped her gaping mouth. Each firm stroke flooded her brain with more pleasure—and for the first time all day, she felt relaxed. Then she was interrupted.

"Drake? You in here?" Rachel's voice echoed in the empty bathroom.

Emma adjusted herself and zipped up her pants, disheveled, and exited the stall. She stood directed in front of the tall woman. "What do you want?"

"I ... I'm sorry about what I said out there, Emma." She said, breaking eye contact. "I was being a bitch."

Emma walked over to the sink to wash her hands, dismissive. "Did the Sergeant send you in here?'

"He may have suggested that I apologize. Trust me, I just got it worse from him once you left if it makes you feel any better."

"Yes, it does actually." Emma replied, matter-of-factly, smiling. She extended her hand to which Rachel accepted. "He intimidates me." Continued Emma, speaking of her new partner. "Even in the lobby when I didn't know who he was..."

Rachel walked over and leaned on the wall near the broken soap machine. "Look, I'm a devil's advocate, Emma. I question authority, I buck the system, and I fuck the system ... I can't say we won't be at each other's throats again."

"Duly noted." Said Emma as she picked up a towel. "So ... what's the story with your partner?"

"Chris?" Rachel tried to sound surprised Emma was asking. It didn't work.

"Yes. The one that was eye fucking me when I was talking to the Sergeant."

Rachel laughed and folded her arms. "Why are you asking? You interested?"

"Maybe..." Emma's voice trailed off as she threw away the damp towel. Rachel propped herself on the sink fixture while Emma began to primp in front of the mirror, still creating the guise this had been a 'normal' bathroom break.

"He's married..." Rachel added with a mischievous smile. "Still interested?"

In response, Emma smiled and wiggled her tiny button nose at her colleague. "Sure, why not? If he's fine with it so am I. Have you two ever... ?"

Rachel laughed again, "Oh, no. We are strictly professional partners."

"Why not? Into girls?" Emma smirked, body drifting slowly toward where Rachel was sitting.

"You wish..." Rachel grinned, leaning in the approach until she was close enough to smell Emma's perfume.

The young Brit's heart raced playfully and she shook her head, almost whispering, "It doesn't matter to me."

"I see that glassy look in your eye, Emma. You want to fuck me right now." Rachel leaned in even closer. Emma could feel Rachel's cool breath expiring on her lips now. She struggled desperately to control her breathing, forcing just enough air through her mouth so that she wouldn't pass out. She let her face linger in front Rachel's long enough for their lips to graze. She was not at all prepared when Rachel pushed her away. Emma lost her breath as she was forced into the tile wall behind her.

"You're a home wrecking slut." Rachel proclaimed in between breathy pants, jumping down from her seat. With a swagger of superiority she strolled toward the exit. "See you on Monday."

Emma forced a dry, painful swallow down her throat as she heard the door close. She resumed looking at herself in the mirror. She had broken a sweat and her face was bright red. "Oh, dear." She commented as she blinked her watery eyes. "That could have gone better." She wiped away the hair that had stuck to her brow and stared into the sink for what seemed like minutes. "I'll need to execute my project sooner than I thought." She whispered to herself, gazing into the sink. "God, I hope this doesn't get me arrested."

"It should be a crime to look as hot as you do with a frown on your face."

Mindy always hated crowds. The Bay Lounge where Lori had dragged her was no exception to that rule. The dark bar area was poorly illuminated by small neon lights. The glaring contrasts between dusk and unnatural light caused Mindy to squint. In Lori's defense, Mindy's low-cut top and skinny jean outfit was garnishing a quite a few admirers. The two had managed to find a corner table for two in the overcrowded and loud establishment, sardine-packed with co-eds.

"Still..." Mindy reminded, in between sipping on a pink-colored cocktail. "What's going to happen to me when they find someone else to share your room with you?"

"Oh, God." Lori chugged the last of her drink. "Not this shit again."

Mindy was hurt by her friend's disdain and broke eye contact. "I'm sorry if my personal problems are too taxing for you, Lori."

"Hello!?! You're living with me, Mindy! I'm always going to take care of you." Lori grabbed for her best friend's hand, giving it a squeeze. "We'll talk about in the morning okay?"

Mindy was about to nod and agree before she heard a voice looming over her.

"Has anyone told either of you that you're cute when you're pensive?" A fair skinned woman of average height spoke to the couple. "May I buy a round?"

"It's really just Mindy here that's pensive, actually." Lori corrected.

"Oh, that's a shame!" the woman smiled slightly. "Exactly why are you so stoic in such a jovial establishment?"

Mindy shook her head. "Just college growing pains. It's nothing to complain about."

Lori threw her hands up dramatically. "NOW, you don't want to complain."

The woman reached into her jacket and handed a few bills to Lori. "Here we go, deary. Why don't you grab us three of whatever you'd like." The two friends exchanged a few awkward glares before the redhead began making her trek to the bar. The woman then extended her hand to the now lone woman at the table. "Emma Drake of London, at your service. May I sit with you?"

The meek girl nodded. "Mindy Hsu ... of San Diego?" she said, smiling. "Sorry. Significantly less impressive than London, I know."

Emma laughed. "That's depends on your perspective. I've never been to San Diego." She paused a moment to study Mindy's face, eyes inadvertently drifting to her Asian girl's cleavage. "Who knows? It could be a great adventure."

"Maybe." Mindy smiled, finally finishing her first drink.

"So, Hsu is Chinese but Mindy isn't so much. Were you born here?"

Usually, Mindy would find this kind of talk intrusive. She couldn't figure out however, why she was so comfortable telling a stranger about her life. Was it because she was a foreigner? A woman? The alcohol? Either way, she went on. "My father is Chinese and moved to California in the 1970s. He married my mother who is American."

"Oooo!" Emma cooed. "Biracial. A girl after my own heart." she shot a glance at the bar to gauge Lori's status. It wouldn't be long until she would be back. "So, Mindy Hsu of San Diego. I'm going to cut to the chase. I like you."

Mindy nodded, smiled and was about to say "Thank you." Before she realized what Emma had just said.

"Are you a virgin?" Emma asked. The blunt question punched Mindy in the stomach, though she managed to eek out a 'yes.'

"Well, that complicates things." Emma said to herself, but aloud. She seemed to mull it over very quickly however and resumed the questioning. "Is your hymen still intact?"

"I'm sorry, Emma. I think I have to go." Mindy stood up. "Thanks for the drink."

"No. Wait, Mindy." The woman reached out for her shoulder. "This was your table. I'll leave. But I want to tell you one more thing before I go. I'm a homicide detective here in Baltimore City. I think you are very special and I want to offer you an internship."

Mindy couldn't believe what she was hearing. "Okay... 'Detective'. Even if did believe you, which I don't. I'm still a psychology major. I don't know the first thing about criminal justice."

"Oh no, dear. The internship is not to be a police officer." She paused and pondered her next foolish words. "Its to be my girlfriend." Mindy unconsciously clutched her chest. She wasn't drunk enough to have to conversation with anyone, much less a stranger in a bar. Emma continued "Well, it sounds more complicated than it is. You'd work and live out of my apartment rent-free, plus I'd give you a weekly stipend to cover all your expenses. But as you can imagine there are some stipulations..." she extended for the girls hand again, only to have Mindy step cautiously out of arm's length. The detective sighed before continuing. She knew the pitch would get worse from here. "I'd fuck you—a lot. In every orifice, every day, and I'm not going to lie and say it will be romantic."

"You're looking for a sex slave then?" confirmed Mindy, still outside of Emma's grasp.

"Nothing so barbaric." She assured. "You could always say 'no'. And I wouldn't ever try to rape you. Of course, I could always terminate the internship if I find myself unhappy. So could you for that matter." The two women shared an uneasy silence covered by cacophony of the drunks they were surrounded by. Both were still standing, neither daring to move.

"I'm a really good detective, Mindy" Emma resumed, nervously shuffling her hands. "And I help a lot of people. But I have a few 'needs'. If I don't address them, I lose focus. If I lose focus, I could die, or someone else could die. It's an important job you'd have, really."

Mindy folded her arms, blocking Emma's view of her chest. "So, out of all these women here, why are you asking me? I'm not exactly a knockout unless you just have an Asian fetish."

Emma shrugged. "It doesn't matter, do we have a deal?"

The girl forced an uneasy smile and shook her head "I don't even know why I'm still talking to you about this. Emma, I'm sure you're a great person. But I'd really need to think about all this for a while. Like I said, I'm a virgin."

Emma nodded "That's understandable. I'll give you five minutes. Then I'm going to ask that hot redhead friend of yours. She looks like she can take a pounding." The two noticed that Lori was marching through the sea of people with a tray of drinks. "Either way, it was lovely chatting with you, Ms. Mindy Hsu of San Diego."

Lori placed the tray on the table and Emma immediately picked up a glass, smiled at the returning girl, then walked away from the table. "That was kind of awkward..." She commented, watching the woman disappear into the crowd. "What did you guys talk about?"

Mindy remained silent for longer than she planned, a hundred thoughts and feelings left for her to ponder. She picked up her drink and forced a large gulp. "I'll be right back." She told her friend, not bothering to look at Lori.

Without further hesitation, Mindy gave chase. Each drunken co-ed that stumbled in her path speared her with more and more panic. What if she never found her? Mindy began to panic, though she knew that action to illogical. She heaved a great sigh when she found Emma standing by an empty near the bar's exit. With a stoic face, she turned to great the approaching 'applicant'."I need $3,000 or a place to live this semester or I won't be able to graduate." She stated.

Emma nodded "We can take care of both of those issues, if you'd like." She studied Mindy's face, young and soft. Never taking her eyes off her face, she stepped inside of Mindy's bubble, placing her hands on her virgin hips.

Mindy's heart panicked when she felt Emma pull her in. She expected her to stop, but Emma continued pulling until her arms were across Mindy's back. Slightly taller, Emma had to tilt her head to press her lips against Mindy's. Caught off guard by the sensation, Mindy gasped. Emma took advantage and slipped her tongue into the girl's mouth, gently mixing their saliva together.

Mindy fell limp in Emma's arms, allowing the woman to explore her body. A deliciously sick feeling trembled in the pit of her stomach. She felt fireworks. Then she heard fireworks.

The popping sound outside wasn't very loud. Only a quarter of the bar's patrons had even heard it—one of them was Emma. She broke the kiss and stared out the frosted glass door until she could make out that a large group of pedestrians was running by, left to right. She didn't excuse herself from the sensual embrace, but rather just raced to the exit. Mindy looked on as the woman disappeared into the growing crowd outside the establishment.

By then, the entire bar became aware of the growing commotion outside. Mindy returned to Lori's table in a trance. "What's going on out there?" she asked. "Where's your friend?"

Mindy blinked. "I think that was gunfire."

Outside, Emma's quick jog evolved into a full run as she pulled the service revolver from her jacket, while scores of frantic young civilians where fleeing the fray. Like wayward meteors propelled by force, the panicked kids occasionally collided with Emma, slowing her pursuit of the source of the explosions. The chilly autumn air burned in her lungs as she turned the street corner. Some 50 feet away, two dark figures had emerged from a store's entrance. Emma's heart stopped when she clearly saw that the people were armed.

"Police! Put down your weapons!" she screamed, wide-eyed and trembling as she raised her sidearm. The gunmen raised their heads and stepped into the light. The eerie glow of their green eyes paralyzed Emma's feet. They stared her down their long snouts; the one closest to the policewoman lifted his weapon at her while the other began its retreat.

Emma could make out the whiskers on the thing's faces, through the mist and steam from their labored breathing. She was terrified, and lucky to have already locked onto her target. She fired without thinking. The animal fell immediately, just as the other had disappeared into the distance. Now, Emma, sweaty and heaving slowly moved in the check on her quarry. For the first time, the suspect appeared human. Wearing an outfit composed entirely of the color black, he had fallen in front of a well-lit convenience store. She leaned over the body and felt the side of his head, pushing the rubber fox mask to the side. He was dead. The mask's marbled eyes still glowed in the streetlight— unnatural and pale.

Suddenly, she was dizzy. Emma staggered off to the side of the store and threw up. Coughing and hacking, she squatted on the cold pavement. She could hear the emergency sirens echoing down the empty streets. She was thankful to be able to still hear them. Returning to the front of the store, she could see movement inside through the windows—a huddled mass trying to stay out of sight. Taking one last deep breath, she walked in the door, badge in one hand and gun in the other.

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