“Good morning Detective Axler, haven’t seen you last few week.” Lori speaks as soon as I walk into her office.”Hey, I’ve been busy,” not that she’ll think it’s a good excuse to skip mandatory counseling. “I’m sorry, I was working on quite a few homicides the last few weeks.” I answer more professionally so that Lori doesn’t extend my required counseling hours. “I heard. You seem to be handling them quite well.””I still have no leads from the August homicide.””That specific homicide seems to have affected you more than any other.” Lori observes, but she’s not wrong.”It was the worse type of killing I’ve ever seen,” I close my eyes and try to visualize the victim being scared, as some freak stabs and cuts her over and over again. The autopsy indicated that her neck wasn’t sliced until she was already dead. She died of several puncture wounds to the abdomen. This sick bastard bleed her out like an animal and then dropped her body off at a park for everyone to see. Why would someone drop the body in the open? Could be a few reasons, they are trying to inflict fear into the general public, they want to be found, or maybe it’s just a game and they will kill again soon and in a similar way. “And I am still stuck with Dan who has been doing absolutely nothing and keeps telling me that he’s the senior detective and that I need to be doing most of this type of work.””You have brought up Dan a few times in the last couple of sessions, he seems to be getting on your nerves.””No,” I need to be honest with her, maybe if I talk more openly I can get taken out of this program. “Yes.””Tell me more.””He speaks without thinking, he acts without asking, and he clearly dislikes people like me.””Because you are gifted?” Lori asks.”Because I don’t have a dick and I’m not white, and yes probably because of that too.””Why do you think he dislikes the color of your skin?””He keeps a diary on his laptop.””And I take it you read it?””No, but I looked when I noticed he wrote a whole entry about having to be partners with a woman freak who should still be picking cotton in his ancestors fields.” Ops, I probably shouldn’t have said that.”Is this something you have brought up to your supervisor?” Lori asks.”How can I? Hey Spencer, I looked through Dan’s personal computer and here is what he said about me.””Do you feel like he is a threat to you?””I could kick his ass with my eyes closed and hands tied behind my back,” I shoot back. “He is just not a good fit to be my partner, I am learning absolutely nothing from him. Well besides how to be a lazy prick.””You have been making great progress here in the building and I would like your permission to talk to Spencer and recommend that he finds you a new partner. I feel like it will help you move forward with your career and would be best for both sides.””Thank you,” I respond. I didn’t know that a counselor had that power, I thought she is just here to listen and report all the bad things I say or do. But Lori is a kind person. She really seems to care about her job and her patients. Lori has the mentality to help everyone even if they are not asking for her help. *** “The abdomen slashed entirely open, something possibly removed. Throat severed by two cuts,” I pause. “This seems nearly an exact replica of the slaying in August.””Probably a copycat.” Dan states.”No. It’s too similar,” does this guy know anything useful? “No one could find the details of the exact death and all the incisions and cuts that were made.””I was just testing you.” He quickly shoots back and laughs.”Appears so, but why would the killer wait so long between killings?” Usually a serial killer acts quicker, perhaps it’s some kind of pattern. “Holy shit, this is a copycat!””I knew it! It’s not the same killer we witness in August.” Dan changes his mind once more with a confused look on his face.”Get me the autopsy right away, and can you make sure to find out if there is anything removed from the body?” I tell him as I rush to the car. “I got to go make a call.””Wait you’re my ride!” Dan shouts as I shut the door and speed off.”Hey, I am on my way back,” I tell June over the phone. “Can you pull up everything you can find on a killer in London, back in late 1880’s? I can’t recall his name.””1880’s is a long time ago. Care to be a bit more specific?” She asks.”Look for someone who cut people’s throats and took out organs.””Okay. What’s this for?””I think there is a killer copying someone.””Alright, I’m on it.””Thanks. I’ll be there in five minutes,” I hang up the phone and without paying attention race through a red light. Hopefully there isn’t a camera on that one. Boss won’t be happy if I get another ticket.”Detective Axler, come see me before you head out today,” Spencer catches me as I walk into June’s office. “I got something important to discuss with you.””Sure chief.”Shit, I bet Lori told him something. Hopefully I won’t regret trusting her and being so open. As long as she doesn’t tell him I was going through Dan’s personal stuff I should be okay. I’ve already been in trouble for snooping around before and I don’t know how many times Spencer will cover for me.”So, ready to hear about Jack The Ripper?” June asks.”The Ripper?” I ask. “Heck yeah.””He was never caught and they don’t know how many victims this guy had. But there are the Canonical Five.””Who were they?” I ask, while I struggle to sit still. My curiosity building like a cat fixated upon its prey.”All five of the victims were females.” So far both the victims were females in this case too. “Each one had similar wounds.””Let me guess, neck severed and stomach ripped open?””Yes, each kill worse than the previous.” June looks at me and I stare back at her. June’s beauty never changes. I have had a crush on her since I started working here. Her amber eyes are nearly impossible to look away from. Her lips, alluring. “The first body found in the morning of August thirty-first. The victim had the throat severed by two cuts, and the lower part of the abdomen was partly ripped open. The second victim, found on eight of September. She had the same fate but…””The uterus had been removed.” I butt in as I remember studying this case.”Yes, but then it gets interesting.” She continues as I watch her become more and more fascinated by the killer. “On September thirtieth there were two female bodies found. The first body only had one clear-cut incision, with no mutilations to the abdomen. The second body found with two cuts to the neck, and abdomen slashed completely open and not only the uterus was missing but a kidney was also removed. Her face was pretty brutally mutilated.””Sounds like that night someone interrupted his first kill, so he decided to go out to make another.” I speculate.”Not too much later, on November ninth, the fifth body was discovered.””Was it worse than the first four?” Curiosity drawing me in closed to her.”Yes, her face was hacked away, the throat had not only been cut it was severed down to the spine,” June pauses and takes a sip of her water. Building up more suspense with her pause. “The abdomen almost entirely emptied of its organs.””Damn.””Oh wait that’s not all. The heart was also missing.” She finishes and looks right at me. Or maybe through me.”That’s dark.” I finally manage to speak.”So, do you think the killer you are looking for is copying this Jack?” June asks.”I think so.””I’m curious, want to tell me more about it over a drink?””Heck yeah! Let’s go.” Oops, I get too excited. And I feel my cheeks burning. Thank the gods for my darker skin, otherwise she would see me blushing. “But I have to go talk to Spencer before I can leave.””Sounds good. See you at the bar.” June says as I walk out the door.Well this shitty day might end on a positive note, if I don’t get fired first. Spencer was in his office in his big boss leather chair drinking coffee.”Hey.””Take a seat Valencia,” he motions to the chair. His room lighting is horrible and sitting in his chair he looks like Frank Costello. Except Spencer’s eyes are darker, they are a well of jet black ink, and he can hold a gaze more fearsome than a tiger.”What’s up chief?” I ask as a shiver runs down my spine.”I’ll just get to the point.” Here it goes, well at least packing up my stuff will be easy since I never had time to decorate my office. “I heard some concerning things about Dan so I’m assigning you a new partner.””I’ll pack my stuff … Wait what?””I’m assigning you a new partner.” Spencer repeats himself.”Who?””June.””But isn’t she like me?” I ask.”Yes, she’s also gifted.””Is that even allowed?” There is an old law stating that a person with super abilities would have to be partnered with someone who is not. I guess they feared that if the gifted people started teaming up it would be bad news for the regulars.”I’m the boss,” he states. And I agree that no one would argue with him. “Who is going to tell me what I can and can’t do?””Thank you.””How’s the case?””If my theory is correct there will be two more female bodies at the end of the month.” But I really hope I’m wrong, hopefully I can catch him before then.”How would you know that?””I think he is copying Jack the Ripper. If I don’t catch him I guarantee we will be dealing with two more deaths on the thirtieth.””Well you better bring June up to speed quickly and get going. You have the full support of the entire department.””May I just ask why you assigned me a new partner?””I asked for Dan’s resignation. Let’s just say he’s a privileged prick that won’t ever work for this department again no matter how much influence his father has over the entire agency.” Spencer replies as he motions towards the door. “Now get going I have to make a few calls to ensure no one hires that trash again.”Thank you,” I linger for a few seconds before heading for the door.”Valencia, everything okay?” Lori asks from behind and nearly frightens me to death. “Sorry, didn’t mean to frighten you.””Hey, the day seems to be getting better and I think you are the big reason why.” I smile at her. “Thank you for everything.” “Great to hear.””Thanks. I will come see you next week. I know there is a lot I need to work on.””Have a good evening.” Lori says as she walks to Spencer’s office. “You too.” *** “Hey, you look great.””You as well. When did you have time to change?” I ask.”I have a few outfits at work that I can change into if something like this comes up.” She smiles. “I wasn’t sure what you would like so I got you some red wine.””Perfect,” I smile back at her.”I also got us a vegan appetizer. Wasn’t sure if you ate meat or not?” June is always about simplicity, making things easy, helping those around her to relax and be happy with what they have.”You’re so kind. I actually don’t eat meat.””I’m vegan too.””I can’t believe you’re my new partner.” I blurb out.”Me too!” she sounds as excited as me. “This case is disturbing but very interesting. I am glad to be on board and I’ve already read all the files you had on The Ripper.””The Ripper! That name fits the killer perfectly.””But let’s forget about him for today. Let’s focus on the night ahead,” she smiles. And I can’t help but smile back at her.Hours fly by and the bar becomes too full of drunks as we decide to head out.”Where do you live?” I ask.”Just a few blocks down, on Lombard Street.””Oh how fancy.” Never in my life could I afford my own place on this famously crooked street with hairpin turns and landscaped flowerbeds.”My grandma bought a condo there many years ago, and being her only grandchild she left it to me. I have too many memories there to ever sell it. Would you like to come see it?””Sure,” I try to keep my excitement to a minimum. It’s just past midnight and I’ve had a couple of drinks. Not really sure where the night is leading us, but I am excited to find out. “Lead the way.”June’s home is small but warm and welcoming. I place my coat on a chair and sit down on her couch as she lights a few candles and brings us some more wine. The mood is set and I start to feel Kalila’s, Goddess of Love, presence in the room.June sits down beside me and I look over at her. She slowly leans in and our foreheads touch. Her lips brush mine. Not innocently, like a tease but hot, fiery, passionate and demanding. I want to pull away before I lose myself but I can’t seem to. June’s hand rests below my ear, her thumb caressing my cheek as our breaths mingle. I run my fingers down her back, pulling her closer until there is no space left between us and I can feel the beating of June’s heart against my chest. In this minty moment, my senses are seduced and I can no longer think straight.