Chapter 3: They're Not the Only Ones
"You know my date, Mark? Well, he's a lycanthrope." - Bra Briefs
Next on the list was a murderer. A female murderer. Joanna had written next to her name and her address that old boyfriends had a tendency to show up mutilated. In the very worst way.
She had been one of the newly dead, only about ten years. Her sister lived in Eastern Capital.
Bra couldn't join me that afternoon because she had a date after work. I curiously awaited his arrival at her house because it's always amusing to see Vegeta-ojisan's reaction. He didn't disappoint me.
"Konichi-wa, sir. My name is Mark," This boy bowed and everything.
Mark was tall with dark hair and dark eyes. I think he had some Mexican ancestry. Vegeta was already annoyed that he had to look up to him.
"I'm Bra's Tousan," he told the boy. "I guess you can come inside to wait."
He chose the seat next to me on the couch. I didn't blame him, Vegeta-ojisan's intimidating.
He leaned forward and stared at Mark, an intense look on his face. "So, what do you do?"
"I go to college, sir."
"I see. What do you plan on doing then?"
"I don't know," Now Marky boy looked sheepish. "I haven't decided on a major."
Then Vegeta dropped all pretense of a kind father. "Now listen here and listen good." Mark audibly gulped. "If you hurt my daughter in any way, physically or emotionally, I will break every bone in your body. Do you have that?"
Mark's frightened gaze went from the muscles in Veggie's arms to the muscles in his legs. In the spandex, it wasn't hard to see that they were huge. "Yes sir."
"Good," He smiled slowly and evilly. "We have an understanding."
"I'm ready!" Bra said as she entered the room. Then she froze. "Papa, did you scare him?"
Vegeta shook his head. "Of course not. Right boy?"
Mark shook his head frantically. "No Bra, not at all."
She wasn't convinced. "Papa! You always scare everyone I ever date! Why do you do that?"
When he failed to answer, I did it for him. "Because it's fun." And it was.
He nodded at me. "Pan has it right."
Bra sighed and motioned for her date to follow. "Let's go Mark. I know you don't like my Papa." She looked over her shoulder at Vegeta. "I'll tell Kaasan when she gets home."
That wiped the smirk right off of his face.
I stood up too. "Well, I have things to do. Be seeing you Veggie-ojisan."
"Stop calling me that." It was an automatic response. He knew that the chances of it actually happening were close to nil.
I smirked. "Sure I will."
Martha's house was in the middle of nowhere. Okay, so I was exaggerating a little. But it was accurate. The neighbors were close enough to walk to within a day's time but far away enough that if you screamed for help, they sure as Hell wouldn't hear you. Or a good-sized explosion for that matter.
Let's just hope Martha never required immediate assistance.
The way her home was designed reflected her own style. It was white with pale pink trim and matching white and pink flowers in front of the windows. It even had a brightly painted white picket-fence surrounding it! It just screamed traditional American. I wonder if that was where she was from.
When she opened the door, my question was answered. Martha was blond-haired and blue-eyed with just a little rosiness to her cheeks and just a little pudginess to her body. As she led me to the kitchen for a seat, I noticed the smell of a freshly baked apple pie.
"Would you like something to drink?" She asked kindly. "I'm afraid all that I can offer you is iced tea, milk, and coffee."
I smiled. "It's okay. Tea will be fine."
As she poured my drink, I brought up the reason why I was here. "So you're Susan's human sister?"
She nodded as she set my drink onto the white kitchen table. "I'm the oldest."
"I see. So, when was the last time you saw her... alive?"
"The first or the second time?"
"Well," she pursed her lips, "it was right before she went to feed that night. I think it was around ten o'clock."
I took notes like a good little detective and asked another question. "So, that's what she told you she was going to do or was that what you assumed?"
She looked down briefly before she answered. "She had just risen only about thirty minutes before so I guess I assumed it."
"How long was she gone before you began to worry?"
Again, she pursed her lips. It was a sign of thought. "About four hours. Usually it only takes her one."
Another notation. "Did you call the police?"
Now she turned away. "No but you understand that I couldn't. The police aren't supposed to know about them..."
"After twenty-four hours you could have reported her missing like a regular person. I doubt the cops could tell the difference."
Martha mutely nodded, still not looking at me. I wrote down a few more notes then stood. "If there isn't anything else you want to tell me..."
She hesitated as if she was debating something with herself. Then she sighed.
"No. There's nothing else."
I didn't have much time to wonder if she had told me everything important because I arrived at the same time Bra did. Veggie-ojisan was no where to be found but Bulma-san was making something in the kitchen. I grabbed an apple from the bowl and took a seat.
"So, how'd it go?" I asked a worried looking Bra.
"Fine, but..." She sat down.
She looked at her mother from the corner of her eye and then shook her head. I understood, it was for our ears only.
Bulma-san excused herself from the room a few minutes later as if she sensed something was going on. I tossed my apple core into the trash can and leaned forward on my elbows expectantly. "Well?"
"Pan-chan!" She exhaled deeply and closed her eyes. "Vampires aren't the only people dying."
That made me sit up straight. "What are you talking about Bra?"
"You know my date, Mark?" I nodded. "Well, he's a lycanthrope."
I blinked. "This may sound stupid, but what's a lycanthrope?"
"It's from the words lykos which means wolf and anthropos which means human being."
I interrupted her right there. "The short version, if it's not too much trouble."
A small smile appeared on her face. "Okay. A lycanthrope is a shapeshifter. They are both stronger and faster than a regular human. Being one is sort of an incurable disease. You can get it from attacks, from scratches; things like that. Mark told me that the different types of lycanthropy are contagious in different ways."
"How many types are there?"
"Well there are wolves, leopards, tigers, rats-"
My mouth dropped open. "Rats?!"
"I thought it was weird too. I mean, who would want to be a wererat?"
"And he's a werewolf?"
She nodded. "But he's really nice and almost as strong as me!" We shared a smile at that one.
Then I thought of something. "If he's that strong, how come he was terrified of Veggie-ojisan?"
She spoke in a solemn voice. "Even the strongest men are afraid of my Papa." Then we burst into laughter just as he walked in.
"What's so funny?" Vegeta asked.
It was too much. We looked at each other and laughed again.
He shook his head, grabbed and orange and left, mumbling something about 'insane onnas'.
"Anyway, back to what I was saying." Bra sobered almost instantly. I followed her lead. "Mark said that there are also lots of werewolves dying from his pack."
"Pack?" It seemed that everything that came out of her mouth today confused me more.
"Yeah. Werewolves have packs like real wolves. They have alphas, or dominants, just like the real ones too."
"Is he an alpha?"
"Iie. He's pretty low in the structure," She admitted. "But here's the difference in the murders, these lycanthropes are nice people."
"Excuse me?!" I couldn't believe it.
She nodded. "No axe murderers and thieves this time around. Only social workers and elementary school teachers. Those type of people."
I asked one question. "Why?"
Bra shrugged. "No one can answer that except the killer, or killers as the case may be."
I had an idea. "How about this, I try to help all of the vampires and you help the lycanthropes. That way we can get twice as much done in a shorter amount of time."
She extended her hand. "And we report the findings. *All* of the findings."
I grasped her hand in agreement. Although... "I should be stressing that to you. But only things that are relevant to the case, okay?" Blushing, she shook my hand.
We ended our discussion just as Trunks entered the room. He looked at each of us for a long moment, before he took the chair between us. "What's going on?"
Bra glared at him. "This is none of your business Old Man."
"Old Man?!" Trunks' eyes widened. "Do I look old to you, oneesan? I'm just as cute as I was twenty years ago!"
"I rest my case. You're over thirty. That's old."
I covered my hand with my mouth, unsuccessfully trying to smother my laughter. He pouted for a full minute while we made fun of him.
"Now Goten," Bra smiled at this, "is just barely thirty. That means he's still pretty young."
Trunks rolled his eyes. "You're only saying that because you still like him."
"Of course I like him! He's my friend and he's over here every single day!"
"You know that's not the way I meant!"
I frowned and shook my head. "Please don't talk about Goten-ojisan that way. It's disturbing."
"Gomen nasai Pan-chan," Bra smiled. But Trunks didn't apologize. I had to get him back somehow. Ah!
"Hey Trunks!" He looked at me. I made an invisible microphone and held it under my mouth. "How does it feel being thirty-one and still living with your parents?" I moved my hand over to him. He pushed it away and then blushed.
"You got me, okay? It's sad."
"You're damn right it is. I mean, I plan on moving out as soon as I become eighteen. Or a job, which ever comes first."
I looked at my watch and realized that the sun had set twenty minutes ago. I checked outside to be sure. "I have to go and, um, do something important."
Bra hugged me. "Don't do anything stupid."
Things really started to pick up once I got to the third victim. She was one of the old ones, I'm talking three hundred years, and her friend lived in an apartment right here in Satan City.
Janine was a vampire too. Brunette and green eyed, she was constantly smiling. At first I thought that she was up to something, but she was just that good-natured.
"I know what Lisa did was often pretty awful," she admitted once I was seated in her *very* small apartment, "She was a master thief you know. But she never robbed banks simply because they're only open during the day. She liked the added excitement of eluding the cops. Once a vampire gets arrested by the police, we will probably die since there is a window in each cell."
"Were there people who wanted her dead?"
She nodded. "Oh sure. Lots! Do you want the current list?"
I raised my eyebrow. "There's a list?"
Janine reached beside the couch and began to rifle through some papers. "Almost every week there is at least one threat. Most of the time they're from other thieves who hate her because she's better than they are. I took to writing down everything just to document it." She finally found what she was looking for and handed it to me. It was neatly written and even double-spaced. Five pages thick.
"Kami!" I held it in my hands and just stared at it. How could one person have this many people trying to kill her?
"No one ever even came close to succeeding." Janine went on to tell me. "Our powers are far greater than a human's. Speed, strength; everything. If it came down to it, she could have simply just rolled their minds."
I smiled and shook her hand. "Thank you, Janine. You may have brought this case almost to a close."
She smiled as well and nodded. "Just doing what I can."
I looked over the list that night extensively and instantly got rid of over half the names. There were certain attributes you just had to possess to kill vampires and most of those criminals didn't have what it takes. Powers didn't hurt either.
Hacking into computers is a little skill I picked up and it never really was useful until I had to find out the background info for these people in the police databanks. Out of a list of five-hundred names, only twenty showed any promise. They were the criminals of the worst kind: other hackers, the Mafia, drug lords, etc. I was lucky that I didn't get caught.
"Bra!" I got her attention just as she was walking down the hallway from her room. I was working in mine from my laptop. She looked up.
"Did you want something?"
"Come here." I showed her the list. "These are the people that show promise. I just wanted to tell you that I'll be gone for quite some time tonight."
"Pan," She sat down on the bed. "I think we're at the point where we need to tell our parents."
"Oh no," I shook my head. "My tousan would *not* understand. Kaasan, maybe. Besides, he didn't believe me the first time!"
"You can try again. How about we tell my Papa and Kaasan first?"
That was a good idea. Vegeta and Bulma were cool parents. I wonder if we should tell my Ojiisan? He's the coolest adult I know.
"No Goku-san," Bra amazes me with the way she always knows what I'm thinking. "I know you love him but..."
"He's not the shiniest penny in the fountain."
She looked relieved that she didn't have to say it. "Right!"
"But he's not the dullest either."
She shook her head. "Of course not."
I sighed. "But we won't tell him."
As it turned out, Vegeta-ojisan was sparring with Trunks in the gravity room. We brought Bulma-san with us and all had a meeting inside. Vegeta was not the least bit happy at being interrupted.
"Trunks, get out." Bra ordered him.
He stood there, arms folded, with a stubborn look on his face. "I will not."
"Leave boy," Vegeta said calmly. Trunks practically ran out of the chamber. Anyway, I took a seat on the floor and immediately looked to Bra so that she could explain. These were her parents after all.
It took ten minutes. A completely wasted ten minutes. After she was finished, neither one of them believed her.
At least I had Kaasan on *my* side.