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Chapter 9: "Alpha Taxonomy"

When he returned to Olympia, Smith went to the coroner's office instead of his own, encountering Dixie Thompson as she was readying to leave her desk for the day. He explained his newfound interest in the difficult and troubling contents of her body locker. She ogled him lengthwise: “Now you too?” she pried. “Shit.”

“They have come up with one of Detective Thompson's wolf ladies down in Olympia. They found it in the belly of a Great White Shark at the Port of Olympia Marine Terminal,” he elaborated. “So, yes, now, me, too — and the Olympia P.D. May I look at our collection?” They walked back to the body locker.

“By the way, I need you to authorize the release of Santos' body. Her people want her back so they can plant her,” Dixie said. “Anyway, we've got quite an array of these creatures collecting in here." She began to uncover the four wolf lady corpses brought in after Detective Rick Thompson's Saturday night fight in the parking lot of the local Tacoma Davey Jones Lickers womens banked track roller derby headquarters. There were also seven regular human bodies on which she pulled back the sheets for Smith, whom were also bagged at the Saturday night fiasco at the Lickers' warehouse lot, in south Tacoma off I-5. These seven were a testament to what the creatures were capable of doing to people. They had all been mauled and bled out.

Coroner Thompson also showed him the woman whom was killed at the local Squeezebox nightclub along with a pizza delivery guy and some other unidentified male victim in a suit on October 11 – on the same night, nearly two weeks prior, when dozens of other strippers were killed at nightclubs up and down the West Coast. The unidentified man's body had been stolen from the morgue, and so had the local stripper's, though the girl's corpse had found its way back to the morgue as a wolf beast — ironically accompanied by the two main suspects in her original demise — Keri Anders and Louis Ho. Ho's and Anders' bodies were good examples of what these wolf women were capable of in bed.

Dixie pointed at the creatures bagged the previous weekend: “As you see, two are headless — courtesy of a 12 gauge. All of their hands and feet are bound, though we haven't had any of them come back from the dead from of this location. Yet. The girl's corpse was stolen before she reanimated. But it's been happening otherwhere. One of the things woke up during her own autopsy last week, and gobbled up an assistant coroner in Oakland. But we have had some unexpected coming and going and returning in here. And, Saturday night, the night most of these were bagged, there was a cadaver exodus en masse involving the October 11 victims, followed by public mayhem at their local nightclubs. And see these uniforms?"

She pointed: "These bloody furrballs were originally members of the Chino Wheeled Beavers derby team, who all originally drowned, inside their team ambulance, in San Francisco Bay last week, only to disappear like free donuts from the Alameda County Coroners Office. It was one of them who killed the Alameda coroner staffer. It was their ambulance that we burned at our tow lot on Monday. The ones who aren't in here are still loose.”

He looked at the names on the jerseys of the four wolf women: Rolling Pinny. Lightning Pelt. Plasma Hat. The Milkmaid.

“Detective Thompson is joining me in the morning at the Thurston County Coroner's Office to brief OPD and look at their specimen. I'd like for you to come too,” Smith pressed. “To give your scientific opinion. They also have another axe murder victim down there, which is the original reason I was in Olympia. She was raped and suffered multiple axe blows. Our contact at OPD is David Wallace.”

She agreed, though she gave the same caveat as her ex-husband, regarding her ability to serve as a witness to these creatures and events in contrast with an inability to give a firm explanation about why any of this was happening or what it meant.

Smith looked over the room full of monsters and their victims for about 15 more minutes. He photographed them all before she covered the bodies back up. He filled out the form to authorize Santos' body to be released from evidence, before which he took one last look at Santos and her head wound. He photographed the body, again — since it was an important piece of evidence in his case, and he was releasing it. The Pierce County Sheriff's Office was still supplying deputies with shotguns for the coroners office, in light of the unpredictable activity that had been going on at morgues recently, and Smith and Thompson nodded to them as they left the building.

Thursday evening is a pretty auspicious night among the university crowd, the detective thought, so he drove to Kelly Sammys. It was thick with thinkers and drinkers, and the same bartender he had talked with previously took his order for a burger and soda.

“Tina's funeral is Saturday,” Smith mentioned.

“Yep. I expect it to be a who's whom of scene people,” answered the bartender. “It will probably be a wake and it will probably begin and end right here at Kelly Sammys.”
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