Supernatural Fiction posted March 2, 2021 Chapters:  ...52 53 -54- 55... 

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The Curse/A Novel of the Breedline series

A chapter in the book THE CURSE

Blood Money

by scongrove

Thanks for taking the time to read my chapter. It's new, so if you catch mistakes or typos, please let me know. Stay safe & enjoy!
Manuel groaned when his alarm went off with the most annoying sound. He stretched over toward the nightstand and quickly silenced it. His head felt like he’d been on a bender from hell. And not because he’d been drinking. He’d been up most the night, along with his partner, working a homicide case.
A few hours after Detectives’ Manuel Sanchez and Frank Perkins discovered the Summit Behavioral Institute’s connection with an illegal research operation—along with the Breedline Covenant’s help—they apprehended most of the staff who were involved. That is… the ones they found alive. And fortunately, during the raid, they recovered the patients, along with Judge Weaver’s granddaughter, who had been abducted and used as guinea pigs, mixing their DNA with animals for the sole purpose of science.

While the detectives interrogated a physician at the institute, he willingly gave up one of his colleagues, Dr. Leonard Manos, who was hired by A&E pharmaceuticals and another unknown facility outside of Berkeley to do the unethical research. But before the detectives got the opportunity to arrest Dr. Manos and haul his ass into the precinct for questioning, a body was discovered in a burning vehicle that was parked outside a nightclub, registered in the physician’s name.  

By the time they arrived at the crime scene, the area was surrounded by police cruisers and blocked off with yellow tape. Finally, when the fire was extinguished and the scene was safe to enter, the Coroner went in and did her thing. Soon after, the victim’s charred remains were taken to the crime lab for identification. Although evidence was destroyed in the fire, it was undeniably a hired hit. Apparently, someone was afraid Dr. Manos would divulge discriminating evidence against the unknown facility that was involved with A&E pharmaceuticals and the Summit Behavioral Institute. 
During his time as a homicide detective, Manuel found that investigating murders was nothing out of the ordinary. It was just part of the job. And he’d seen his share of dead bodies over the last thirty years. Some of them gruesome and in unimaginable conditions. But this… this kind of death was overkill. The bastard who was responsible was nothing but a spineless coward, hiding behind a big corporation with a disposable income... Blood-money.   

As Manuel pulled himself upright, he hung his legs off the bed. Before he got to his feet, the smell of smoke and burned metal invaded his senses. He sniffed at the t-shirt he’d wore underneath the button-down collar from last night and instantly recoiled in reaction to the unpleasant smell. With one swift motion, he grabbed the hem of his shirt, yanked it over his head and tossed it to the floor. It landed on top of his miniature French bulldog, who was sleeping on a padded crate next to his bed. When the dog let out a yelp, he said, “Opps… sorry ol’ girl.” 

Finally, as he pushed himself upright, the room tilted a little. He closed his eyes until he felt steady on his feet. As soon as he lifted his lids, his phone went off.   
“For crying out loud,” he grumbled. “What now.”

He retrieved his phone off the nightstand and instantly recognized the number on the caller ID. Then, he exhaled a breath and swiped to answer. “This better be important.”

“Well… good morning to you too, Detective,” Frank said on the other end. “Sounds like you’re in a mood.”

“Hell, Perkins,” Manuel barked into the phone. “I’ve been up half the damn night.” He glanced at the alarm clock. “I’m going on two hours of sleep.”

“I hear ya, partner. I’m already on my second cup of coffee.”

“So, what’s the urgency?” Manuel said around a yawn.   

“I may have a lead on this Joseph Harris guy.”

Manuel straightened his shoulders. “What kind of lead?”

“I did some digging into the department’s crime reports. There was an arrest record on a Joe Harris back in 2001. He was sentenced to twenty years for beating his wife to death. And according to the file, they had a five-year-old son named Joseph.”

“You think this is our guy?”

“I know it is,” Frank said. “He was placed in foster care and then landed in the Summit Behavioral Institute just like Roman said.”

“We already know all this, so how is it going to help us track him down?”

 “Hold up, Detective,” Frank said. “I’m getting to that part. You remember Officer Katie Mendoza?”

“Yeah.” Manuel nodded against the phone. “She was one helluva police officer. Too bad she left the precinct. If I’m not mistaken, didn’t she go off to study psychology or something?”

“Yep. And… she was the first officer at the crime scene when Mr. Harris killed his wife.”

“You think Katie might have some useful information?”

“It’s worth a try,” Frank said. “What do we have to lose?”

“I’m guessing you already know where Katie is, am I right?”

“She’s a therapist at the Jones Therapy Clinic, right here in Berkeley.”
“After I get my shit together,” Manuel said, “I’ll meet you at the precinct in an hour.”

Before Frank got a word out, Manuel abruptly went on to say, “On second thought. Make that two. It’ll take me a while to wash off all the crud from last night. My lungs are probably corroded from all the smoke. And then I’ll need time to consume large amounts of coffee.”

Frank laughed. “Don’t take too long. Remember, we’re supposed to meet up with the Captain later this morning to go over the details he got out of Dr. SeGovia on A&E pharmaceuticals. And going by what information he discovered, along with what Drakon dug up, we’ve got enough evidence to get a search warrant.”

“Yeah,” Manuel said. “And hopefully, we won’t run into what we encountered at the Summit Behavioral Institute. Captain will have a damn stroke if we come up against anything supernatural. The last situation we dealt with ‘bout done him in.” 

“You’re right,” Frank said. “Not to mention all the freakin’ reporters. Can you imagine if this gets leaked out to the press?”

“I don’t even want to think about it.”

“You and me both,” Frank reluctantly said.

“I’ll shoot you a text before I head out.” 

“Sounds good. I’ll see you later, partner.” 
When Manuel ended the call, he briefly shut his eyes. If only I had a few more hours of sleep, then I might feel like a human again.

As soon as he started a fresh pot of coffee, he grabbed a quick shower and shaved. A half hour later, he was dressed and ready for a shitload of caffeine.

In the middle of his second cup, he heard a knock at the door. Ira went into full-blown bark mode and rushed toward the door, her nails clipping across the hardwood floor.

“Who in the hell…”  He groaned as he walked over to the door and put his eye up to the peephole. When he saw the person standing outside his apartment, a smile stretched across his face. Quickly, he flipped the locks and through open the door. Ira barreled between his legs only to melt into a puddle of wagging tail and excited whimpers.  

“Kathryn…” Manuel’s smile broadened. “What a surprise.”

Kathryn bent down and reached out to pet the dog. “Well, hello Ira,” she said, looking up at Manuel with a smile. After a few moments of petting Ira, she stood straight and held out a covered Styrofoam cup. “I heard about the fire.” Her expression grew sympathetic. “I thought maybe you could use a little caffeine to start off your day.”

He eyeballed the cup in her hand. “You mean, you came all the way here just to bring me coffee?”

“Sure.” She shrugged. “Why not?”   
“Wow…” He reached for the coffee and motioned her in. “I feel pretty damn special.”

She laughed a little. “You are special. Isn’t that right, Ira.”

The dog jumped up and down as Kathryn made her way inside.

“Please…” He gestured toward the tiny kitchen. “Make yourself comfortable. I just made a fresh pot if you’d like to join me before I head to the precinct.”
“Thanks. I’d love to.”

While she settled in a chair, he poured her a cup and said, “Would you like cream or sugar?”

She nodded. “Both please.”

It wasn’t long before they fell into conversation, starting with his grueling night and then to her long shift in the ER.

Kathryn was employed at the Bates Hospital, where they’d met for the first time. She’d been the nurse on duty the last time he’d been rushed to the hospital for a gunshot wound. Fortunately for him, it turned out to be just a graze. Although the attraction between them was instantaneously, it was Helen Carrington who had officially hooked them up.

Six months had passed since their first date, but with their busy schedules, it was hard to find free time to spend together. And it didn’t help with Manuel’s standoffish personality. He wasn’t the type to easily share his feelings.

When an awkward silence cropped up between them, Kathryn finally built up the courage to say, “Manuel… how come you’ve never tried to kiss me?”

Manuel’s jaw nearly hit the floor. “Um… I—” His voice cut off and he stiffened in his seat.

“Don’t you find me attractive?”

He finally got his mouth to work and said, “Of course I do. It’s just that… well… I don’t know.” He shrugged. “Would you like me to kiss you?”

“Yes, I would.” Her eyes softened. “I’d like that very much.”

He cocked a brow and said, “Right now?”

“Now is as good a time as any, don’t you think?”

Without as much as a single word, he shot out of his chair like a torpedo. In the blink of an eye, he was upon her. It all happened so fast. It was as though an alien had temporarily taken over his body. When he took her by the arm, pulled her up and against his body, the element of surprise shocked her into complete surrender. Overwhelmed by his boldness, she gasped as he dug his hand into the long strands of her blonde hair and crushed his lips against hers.

He kissed her long and passionate, his tongue going in, so teasing… so demanding.  She shivered at the feel of his warm palm as it slowly traveled down the back of her neck and to the small of her back.

What seemed like an eternity, his kiss ended in a matter of a few minutes when he finally pulled from their embrace and said, “Well… how was that?”

The smile she gave him was radiant. “That was unexpected, but wonderful all the same.” 
He smiled back. “Good, because there’s more where that came from.” 

“Mmm…” She purred. “I’m definitely looking forward to it.”  

To be continued. . .

A reference for terms and cast of characters in this chapter, especially for new readers:

BREEDLINE - A species of humans that have the ability to change from human form into wolf form if they are born an identical twin. They are not like the old legend of the Lycanthropy myth. The Breedline species can shift into their wolf at will. The moon has no power over them. They do not pass their ability to other humans. Although they live among humans, their species is secret. In wolf form, they have super-strength, speed, and heightened senses. Compared to humans, Breedlines have tremendous advantages when it comes to health. Their bodies heal fast and are not subject to illness or diseases. The only thing that slows their healing process is silver. It is their kryptonite. Besides old age, a silver bullet to the brain is the only way to kill a Breedline.
All male Breedlines change into their first wolf at the age of eighteen. Female Breedlines do not go through the change until they make love to their Breedline bonded mate.

BREEDLINE COVENANT - The Breedline species must live within the boundaries of their Covenant. There is one in every state. A council governs its laws and oversees the species population.

BREEDLINE BONDING - The male Breedline spends his life searching for their bonded mate. When two Breedline species experience a bond, they instantly feel a simultaneous, desirable attraction. The bond is for life. It is possible for them to have more than one mate in their lifespan.

ADALWOLF - A species that has the power to shift from their human form into a beautiful creature, twice the size, resembling half man and half wolf. Born with super-strength, they can move from one place to another in supernatural speed. Their eyes take on the appearance of two shimmering diamonds. With the power to regenerate their own cells, an Adalwolf will stop aging at thirty. The moon has no power over them, and they are immune to silver. They can bond with any species.

Detective Manuel Sanchez - He is a homicide detective at the San Francisco Police Department who late discovers he carries the Breedline genetics. His partner is Detective Frank Perkins. His sister is Lailah.

Detective Frank Perkins - He is Manuel Sanchez's partner and discovers the secret world of the Breedline. Born as a human, Frank pledges his loyalty to the Breedline. Fighting alongside his partner, they take an oath to help the Breedline protect the world from corruption and unknown creatures that prey on the innocent.

Captain James Hodge - Unaware of the Breedline species, he is Detectives' Manuel Sanchez and Detective Frank Perkins superior at the San Francisco, California Police Department.

Joseph Parker (a.k.a. Joseph Harris) - He works at the San Francisco Chronicle as a freelance journalist. At age five, an evil entity invaded his body after his father murdered his mother. While his father was sent to prison for his crime, Joseph was placed into several foster families until finally forced into a mental institute after diagnosed with schizophrenia and psychopathic behavior. As time passed and with the evil entity's guidance, Joseph was later released into society.

The Shadow - An evil entity who has possessed Joseph Parker. Its main purpose is to gain access to souls by using its host to kill, consuming human flesh.

Katie Mendoza - She is Joseph's therapist.

Roman Kincaid - He is an Adalwolf trained in military tactics, hired as a special breed of warriors from Brazil.

Drakon Hexus - He is a Breedline species and bonded to Cassie Chamberlain.

Dr. Helen Carrington - She is a Breedline species and a physician at the California Bates Hospital for both Breedlines and humans. She later bonds to Alexander Crest.
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