Two men sat in an old, rusted delivery truck with the words Helmsman's Fishery painted on the side. "Why do we have to wait in this shitbox?" complained one of the men, a rat with a constantly angry face plastered on him. "Because, you idiot, this is an unassuming shitbox," hissed the other in the van, a jackal missing most of his left ear known as Renso. The rat nodded slowly and looked out the window and across the street. Across the street from the van was a large brick building. The building was St. Mary's School for Young Women. The fenced in schoolyard was empty this early in the day and waves of heat could be seen wafting in the air. Inside the van, the rat tugged at the overcoat he wore and looked to Renso, who was currently busying himself watching two waitresses at a cafe down the road. "Ren, can I at least open the window? I'm dying in here." The jackal didn't like getting distracted from his view and snarled to his partner. "No, you can't open the window. Now shut up and do not speak again until you see the target, got it?" The rat opened his mouth to speak but snapped it shut when he met with the barrel of a pistol across the jaw. The rat rubbed his face, lip curling slightly as he looked back out the window. Renso resumed looking at the two waitresses. Minutes seemed to drag on indefinitely in the heat but it wasn't long before a large, black town car rolled around a corner and pulled in front of the school. "Hey, hey Renso!" The rat yelped as he hit the jackal on the shoulder. Renso looked out the rat's window, "Good. Let's move." he said. The rat was hesitant, "But doesn't Frank work for O'Donnell?" Renso shot a glance to the rat, "You want to end up like the two guys in that car over there?" The rat looked out the window and then to the pistol in Renso's hand, "No." Renso nodded slowly, "Good choice. Let's move." He said and slipped out of the van.
Renso and his partner walked from the van across the street, towards the black car. Renso noted the two moose sitting in the front seat, definitely O'Donnell's muscle. He walked to the driver's side while the rat took the passenger's. Renso smiled and gave a quick rap on the window. The window slowly rolled down, the moose behind the wheel laughed to the man next to him, "Look, it's a couple of Holmburg's scavengers. So what're you two doing here?" Renso kept a smile on his face as he brought his pistol up, "Killing you." The two shots were muffled by the thick walls and bulletproofed glass in the windows. Renso looked around the car to the rat, "Get the truck and pull over here." The rat nodded, ran across the street, and pulled the truck over. The two bodies were thrown into the back of the van. "I'll take care of the rest of this, you dispose of the truck." Renso said. The rat nodded and took off. Renso looked at his watch, fifteen minutes before the girl would be out. He slid into the car and lit a cigarette, his eyes never leaving the school.
Fifteen minutes passed and a mass of uniformed children began to file out of the school. At the head was a young doe. Her name was Portia, she was about twelve years old and although she didn't know it, her father was the head of one of the most powerful crime syndicates in the country. She walked from the school amongst her friends and separated from them when she noticed the black car her father always sent to pick her up. She gave a quick wave as her friends parted to walk down the street to their own houses and jumped into the car. Her nose wrinkled as she smelled the cigarette smoked by Renso in the front seat. "My dad doesn't let any of his friends smoke in his cars." She said. Renso turned around in his seat, letting a puff of smoke escape his clenched teeth. He leveled his pistol at the girl "I aint one of your daddy's friends now aren't I, princess?"
It was a quiet day at the Malinois Detective Agency. Brick Malinois was busy shuffling through police reports in an effort to track down an identity for the one-eared Jackal wanted for the murder of a boxer a week back. He knew that the jackal had connections with Frank Holmburg; everyone knew that, they just weren't talking. Brick rubbed his eyes and looked out the window to give them a bit of the actual sunlight coming in through the window. When he turned back around he saw a shadow filling the frosted glass on his doorway. Brick stood and walked to the door to open it. On the other side was a very large moose. Brick back pedaled and reached for his gun. The moose held up his hand and said, "No need to draw your iron, pooch. Just take a look out that window." Brick looked out his window to the street below. There was a long black sedan sitting along the road, two deer in expensive looking suits stood next to the car. "I see you brought your whole herd with you this time," Brick smirked as he let go of the handle of his gun. "Well big guy, lead the way," said Brick as he walked to the door. The moose shook his head and turned aside, "No. After you," he said. Brick complied and walked ahead. The two headed out onto the sidewalk. As they stepped towards the car, one of the deer opened the door and let Brick in. The moose climbed in after him. The car pulled out into the street and moved along with traffic.
Brick was staring eye to eye with one of the most powerful men in the city, Harold O'Donnell. He looked the elk up and down, stopping when he noticed that O'Donnell lacked antlers, there were only short stubs capped with gold covers on his head. "I couldn't help but notice you staring at my antlers, or more specifically, the lack of them," said O'Donnell with a grin. "It shows how little your kind knows about my traditions. Antlers tend to get in the way of the various buildings and vehicles available to us, so we have them snubbed early and capped with a screw. We just attach a set of false ones if we feel like having them," he continued. Brick just nodded slowly, "Ok, that explains that but unless you suddenly felt the need to be an ambassador for your species all of a sudden I doubt that's the reason I'm here." "Now you see that's why you're the detective and I'm a simple florist. You're very perceptive. The reason I came is because I'm in need of your services,' O'Donnell replied. Brick looked skeptical, "What services do you need? I'm not one of your lackeys." O'Donnell shook his head, "My youngest daughter, Portia, was kidnapped. You and I both know I cannot go to the police about this issue. I want you to find out where she is, and more importantly who took her. I know your rates and I'm willing to pay you triple. I know how being in my employ will make you look and I am willing to compensate." Brick looked to the ground; he didn't want to work for a man like O'Donnell. His whole life revolved around fighting people like O'Donnell. On the other hand, this was one hell of a paycheck and a little girl's life was on the line. Brick looked up slowly and said, "I'll do it." A smile spread on O'Donnell's face, "I thank you," he said. Brick looked at the elk, the look in the crime boss' eyes were sincere. "I need some info on the girl first," said Brick in a monotone. "She's the youngest, twelve, and she looks like her mother," O'Donnell said. The moose sitting next to O'Donnell thrust a photograph of the girl into Brick's hand. O'Donnell continued, "She was supposed to be picked up from her academy by my men, none of them returned." Brick looked up from the photograph, "Suppose she was taken by your men?" "My men would never dare betray me," O'Donnell said, fire flashing in his eyes. Brick nodded, "I'll see what I can do." O'Donnell flashed a signal to the driver of the sedan. The car pulled alongside the road and the door opened. Brick climbed out of the car. O'Donnell looked sternly to Brick from the car, "God speed, Detective Malinois," he said and pulled away.
Brick was let out in front of his agency with only a photograph for information. He looked at the picture; it was the girl standing in front of a brick building. He could make out a sign behind the girl in the picture. It read "St. Mary's Scho…" The rest of the sign was cut off but Brick could make out the rest in his mind. "So, she goes to that girl's prep school; on the north side no less. I'll check there first," he thought as he climbed into his car and pulled into the street. If he had any place that could give him some clues, it would be there.
Brick stood out in front of the school. His back was toward the building. He had already checked the gate, it was locked. Brick spied the outdoor restaurant just across the street. He figured that if anyone saw anything it would be people there. A quick jog across the street and he was knocking on the door. A young feline answered the door, she was snapping at a wad of gum stuffed in her mouth. "Sorry, big guy. We're closed for the day," she said. "I'm not here for the food. I need some answers. See, a little girl was kidnapped earlier today. It's suspected she was taken from that school across the way. You see anything strange today?" said Brick with a caring smile. The cat's eyes widened, "That's awful. Who would take a kid, just like that? But no, officer, I didn't see anything out of the ordinary," she said. Brick nodded and looked back outside, "Maybe someone else in there saw anything?" he asked. "Hey Trixi!" the cat called over her shoulder, "Anything weird happen today?" A dull "No" came from the back of the restaurant. The cat went to repeat the answer to Brick but he nodded that he heard. "Thank you for your help, miss," Brick said as he stepped back. The cat looked out of the door as he walked away. "Hey, Trixi, those delivery guys are gone finally!" she called. Brick stopped in his tracks, he spun on heel and almost ran back to the girl. "Delivery truck? How long was it here?" he asked. "All day. It's been showing up every morning for the past week though, so we didn't think anything of it. You don't think…," she said, trailing off as she thought about what had happened. "Yes, I do think," Brick replied, "Now what was on that van?" he looked the young woman straight in the eye as he spoke. "Umm, it was Horman? Hedrick? Helmsman? Helmsman, it was Helmsman!" she nearly jump in excitement when she grabbed the name. Brick's mind flashed, "I know that name," he thought. He pictured it in his mind. Walking along warehouses, the names painted on their rusted sides, one was Helmsman's Fishery. "Holmberg," he growled. The waitress looked up at him, "Umm, officer? You're hurting me." Brick realized he had grabbed the girl's arms and was squeezing her while he was thinking. He let go quickly and stepped back. "Thank you for your help. You may have saved a little girl today," he said as he ran off to his car, almost being hit crossing the street. He nearly dove into his car and flew down the road.
A rat in an overcoat stepped out from inside a warehouse on 42nd street. He had just finished informing his boss about his success in kidnapping the girl. His permanent sneer had a twisted smile of content on it as he sauntered his way from the door. He knew Renso would keep the girl under wraps until he got back from the docks. He only made it a few yard before being thrown bodily into the side of the warehouse. He was being held against the building and off the ground. Looking up at him was an angry face, and angry canine face, Brick Malinois' face. "Fuck!" the rat swore as he was pushed up. "The girl," the detective growled, "where is the girl?" "I…I don't know about any girl," stammered the rat. Brick moved his hands from the rats lapel to his throat. The rat gasped, "Alright, alright." Brick let go and the rat dropped to the ground. "You son of a bitch. You could've killed me," coughed the rat. Brick slammed the rat back into the wall. "Damn right I'm a son of a bitch. I can pop you right here and I won't care. So you best speak up and keep it straight." The rat looked up at Brick, "You think you can put the screws to me, shamus? I'm not going to crack that easy," he said, a sick smile on his face. Brick snarled and drew his magnum; he set the barrel under the rats left eye. "You're going to sing, sing it clean and straight, savvy?" The rat's eye swung down to look at the barrel. "I'm not going to flinch to no heater. You'll need to get harder than that, dog breath," he sneered. Brick reeled the gun back and whipped the rat. "You bastard! You hit my face!" the rat yelled. "A pretty boy, huh?" Brick snorted. He drove his knee into the rat's side and knocked him to the ground. Brick kneeled on the rat's stomach and railed him with the barrel of his gun. A cut opened under the rat's left eye. "You aren't getting a word from me. Not for what you did to my face," the rat muttered, each word wanting to kill. Brick set the barrel next to the rats face, alongside his muzzle. "Now this is what I'm going to do if you don't start spilling your guts. I'm going to fire my little heater here. The steel won't kill you; just drive itself along that precious little face of yours. Now do you really want that?" Brick said coolly. "You got me, you got me. Just don't shoot. It was Julian Campano's boys. He's tired of the peace between his family and the gang's under O'Donnell. You want the girl yourself? Find Campano," said the rat. Brick got off of the rat. "That wasn't so tough now, was it?" he said with a smile. Brick ran to his car, leaving the rat on the ground. The rat clambered to his feet. Now that he had spilled to the cop he had to get to Renso before anyone else did. He ran to the van parked behind the warehouse and sped off.
Renso was hiding out with the girl in a shack buried in the old scrap yard on the south side of town. He was sitting in a chair behind a cheap wood desk, a shotgun in his hands. The girl was bound in a chair across the room from him, a sock tied around her muzzle. The rat burst in through the door. "We need to get the girl out of here. We need to dump her off with Campano's goons now," he yelled frantically. Renso cocked an eyebrow, "Now why would we need to rush the schedule?" he asked tonelessly. The rat fidgeted in place, playing with his hands. "Malinois is on our tail. He pressed me; I didn't tell him we had the girl though. He thins it was all Campano. So we only need to hurry," the rat sputtered. Renso nodded slowly, taking in and understanding the rat's plea. Then he raised the shotgun and fired through the rat's chest. The loud shot and seeing the rat's body slump against the door elicited a surprise yelp from the girl. Renso looked to her and smiled, it was an empty, heartless one though. "Everything is going to be alright, princess. The stupid man is all gone now," he said, speaking like a father trying to comfort their child. Renso walked around the desk, hoisted the girl over his shoulder and carried her out of the shack. He walked past the van the rat drove and the town car he stole earlier to an old pick up truck. He tossed the girl in the back and covered her with a tarp. "Now you be a good little girl and don't stand up in there," he said, patting the cover. The jackal jumped into the cab and kicked the old engine to life. Dirt and rocks were spit into the air as he sped from the scene.
Two men were playing cards when the door to their tenement was kicked in. One of the men, a stoat in a striped suit, drew a pistol. "Put the heat down. I brought the girl," called the one-eared jackal standing in the doorway, the girl in his arms. Renso stepped into the build and dumped the girl on the table. "What the hell are you doing here already," asked the other man, a weasel in blue overalls and a torn white shirt. "The schedule has been moved up. I bring the girl, you bring the cash. That was the deal. So cough it up," Renso barked, he knew the detective was not far behind. "Yeah, yeah, just get the girl into the back room and we'll discuss the deal," replied the stoat. The Weasel scooped the girl up and carried her out of the room. The stoat sat and Renso sat across. "Let's settle this," said Renso, leaning forward.
Brick drove through the crowded tenements on the south side of the Brandt City. He had gotten a good lead from Marty that Campano's lackeys used an old tenement among the slums as a safe house. Brick pulled up down the street from the house in question and walked the rest of the way. He ducked around the rusted heap of a truck in front of the building. He could hear voices coming from inside the tenement house. "Good, now that that's settled I'm getting out of here. I have business to take care of. My employer thanks you for your cooperation," said a voice from inside. The door began to open and Brick ducked down the alley between the building and its neighbor. Brick watched as a jackal walked from the building and to the truck. Brick noticed the jackal was missing an ear. "So he's involved with this too. And if he's involved, so is Holmberg. What can he be up to now," though Brick. He pulled his revolver from his coat but did not fire. He let the jackal drive away. "No," muttered Brick, "Killing him now would alert whoever is in that building. And whoever that is has the girl." Brick knew he would catch up with the jackal later, now he had to save the girl. With his gun at the ready he walked to the door and knocked.
Portia O'Donnell was scared. She lay, bound and gagged, on a dirty wooden floor in a backroom of an old tenement in the slums. Her mind raced to comprehend what had happened to her. First she finds a frightening man taking her from school to a junkyard. Then he had tied her up. When she complained about his smoking he tied her stocking around her muzzle. Then that rat came in and yelled, but the scary guy shot him. Now she was here. Alone. She was too frightened to imagine what these two men wanted with her but she was scared all the same. Tears rolled down her face and she wished to be back with her father. She heard the men in the other room stop talking and the door open. At least the guy that took her was gone now. She found that if she rolled she could see the shadows of the people in the other room move around. So that is what she did, watched the movement of the men that now had her. One of the shadows grew as the man approached the room. A knock at the door and the shadow stopped. Portia breathed a sigh of relief. She heard one of the men open the door; it was the other one since the big shadow in her doorway was still there. "Who the fuck are you?" she heard one of the men ask. She didn't hear an answer but heard a loud smacking sound and a crash. The shadow in her doorway moved slightly but a loud booming sound of a gunshot went off and the weasel fell back into the doorway. A pistol was in his hand and his dead eyes staring at Portia. Portia began to cry as she tried to slide away from the body. "Where is the girl?" she heard someone growl. Another loud crack sounded and a few seconds later a new shadow filled her doorway. It was a tall dog in a coat and hat. He stepped over the body of the weasel and knelt down next to her. Portia swung her legs up and kicked him upside his head. He grunted and pushed her legs back down. "Hey kid. I'm here to take you back to your father. Not hurt you," he hissed. He untied the ropes binding her and pulled the sock off her mouth. "Did my daddy send you? Are you one of his friends," She asked. "You could say that, kid. You can call me detective Malinois," said the man. Portia nodded quickly. "Now lets get you out of here and back to your father," said Brick as he helped the girl up and the two walked out of the tenement quickly.
Frank Holmberg walked into an unassuming florist shop on the north side of town. He walked pass the counter and through a door marked "Office". Inside was a large room, well furnished with expensive, important items. Behind the desk sat Harold O'Donnell. The elk waved a hand towards a large plush seat. "Sit," he said. Frank obliged. "As you may have known, my daughter was kidnapped yesterday afternoon. Thanks to your excellent suggestion of using Detective Malinois' services; she was returned to me shaken up but otherwise unharmed," O'Donnell said. Frank nodded slowly. "Now, detective Malinois had some surprising thoughts about the situation. He claims that you had a hand in this and that the jackal with the one ear that kidnapped my girl and killed two of my men works for you. Now I find it hard to believe that my most trusted lieutenant would try to kidnap my own daughter. Am I making a good decision with this trust?" continued O'Donnell. "You can trust me; I have never worked with a one eared jackal before. As you said, it was I that mentioned detective Malinois' service to you in the first place. And if what you told me over the phone, that the girl was found in the hands of Campano goons, than that proves that Julian Campano is tired of this peace you have. I don't advise starting anything to increase heat on our operations but the man did kidnap your own daughter. The decision is up to you," answered Holmberg. O'Donnell leaned back into his chair. "I see your point. I don't know why Malinois would want to blame you but you're free to go," he said with a wave of his hand. Frank rose and stepped towards the door. He stopped before leaving and turned around, "Detective Malinois wants nothing more than to see our operations stopped. His words cannot be trusted," he said before leaving.
Outside, Frank Holmberg stepped into the back seat of his town car and pulled away. Sitting next to him was Renso, a hat held over his missing ear. "What does he suspect?" asked the jackal. "Not a thing. Even with Malinois moving faster than anticipated the plan worked out," answered Frank. Renso nodded in agreement. "One more thing; that bovine that bartends at Das Boothaus, he's been giving out information on me for far too long. You know what to do," continued Holmberg. "Will do," Renso said with a smile, "Will do."
AFTERWORD: The girl was unharmed. Even though I told O'Donnell about that jackal and Holmberg being involved, I don't think he believed me. The last thing this burg needs is for revenge assaults between the two sides. I can do more than just hope these events don't escalate. I can stop Holmberg and that jackal, bring them both down. Those are events for another day. As far as this kidnapping goes; this case is closed.
DET. Bernard Malinois.