“A leech?” Doyle scoffed. “Are you kidding me with this? Leeches are boogeymen, meant to frighten kids. Fairy tales!”

“Officer Doyle, I can promise you that they are very real. Rare, but not unheard of. A colleague of mine shared sketches of a leech victim he had encountered a few years ago. Apparently it took the Peace there a whole three weeks to track the creature down,” Andy replied, sounding hurt. “Besides, it matches their usual hunting method, at least according to the stories. A leech needs to drain the life force out of its victims in order to survive, extracting all of their chi. They do that by pressing their hands against one of the collection points in the body, like the chest, and the extraction leaves a burn at the extraction point. And because the body has been drained of its life energy it would appear to be far more degraded than it otherwise would. It all adds up.”

Doyle stood up and spat. “Let me know if you come up with any real theories, I’m going to see if we’ve got any witnesses.”

“Well argued, Andy,” Davies nodded, ignoring his partner, “but leech or no, I’m not sure it helps us actually catch the guy. Aren’t they pretty much supposed to look human?”

“If I remember my lore right, yes,” Andy replied, shaking his head, “though I may need to do some research. In the meantime you’ll need to rely on Officer Doyle’s old fashioned peace work, I’m afraid.”

Davies nodded and started off after his partner. He caught up with him in the inn’s lobby, after asking some questions on the way down. When Doyle saw him he nodded and sauntered over.

“There’s a monk over there that says he was staying here last night, was doing some outreach work at that party too. He remembers our victim staying late. He also remembers seeing another man coming down from the roof well after sundown. He’s working with our sketch artists to give us a picture. As much as I don’t want to say it, he said the guy looked pale, thin. Kind of decrepit.”

“Still certain it wasn’t a leech?” Davies asked.

“The idea is preposterous, but stranger things have happened. We’ll just have to wait and see what turns up.”

“Denid Peace! Open up!” Doyle shouted as he pounded on a door on the third floor of a west side tenement. It had been two long days of following up on leads, searching for the face in the sketch, and everything had led them here, to this door.

“No one home, Doyle,” Davies grimaced.

“We’ll see about that,” Doyle grunted back. He took a step back and kicked in the door, his nightstick ready in his hand as they both rushed in. “Neddy Chalmers, you are under arrest for the murder of Harry Kilt.”

To Doyle’s satisfaction the apartment wasn’t actually empty at all, but it was certainly surprising. The place had no furniture, no personal effects. It may as well have been unoccupied. The man they were after, the man they had identified as Neddy Chalmers, was sitting alone on the floor, facing the door. He was looking down at the floor, long greasy, scraggly hair covering his face. Suddenly he threw his head back and began yelling at them, a low guttural howl. And they saw his face, a face that looked like death.

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