The Vigilante
Part One: Justice for all?

Author's Note: The places mentioned in this story are used for plot line movement only. No connection is intended between any actual places and this story.

The cold Chicago winter night wind slapped me and i started shivering involuntarily. The light rags I had on would not help me tonight. I was prowling around, avoiding the police, looking for something, that resembled a warm spot or food. I did not have any real luck today. I thought of shifting to something with more fur, but that would make me an instant target. The crackdown on weres, especially on anything that bore a resemblance to a tigerean was brutal since the Tagging Act of 1963. As I started trudging to a shelter nearby, I starting thinking again on just how I got here.

I'll start at the beginning. I am a weretiger. Specifically, half Tigerean and half human. I could bore you with the details of my youth, but that would make you fall asleep. Let's just let it rest rest as a 'normal' childhood, at least normal for a Tigerean half breed. The Real story starts when I was about 49 in human years, which places my internal age at around 26. Tigereans and were- creatures age slower then humans. Anyway, I was alone in the world, as my mother was murdered several years ago, and I had drifted from place to place. My father was quite dead, having watched my mother kill him in self defense when he lost it and tried to kill her when I was 20.

I was lost in Chicago, looking for something to eat, starving really. When you don't have a home and your clothes look terrible, people tend to avoid you. I heard a noise that snapped me out of my depressed reverie. I carefully and quietly approached the scene. An elderly lady was being mugged by two mean looking bikers. I don't quite remember what happened next, except that the two men were dead, the elderly lady had passed out, and my front claws were dripping with blood. I quickly checked the lady out. She was alive, and nothing was broken. She had fainted from the apparent site of my appearance. I made her a bit more comfortable, and proceeded to go through what was left of the two muggers. On the fat one, I found keys, a large wad of cash, and a pistol. The skinny one had more cash, which I stuffed into the lady's purse. Looking around, I spotted a motorcycle sitting unattended. Probably stolen, but what's possession of stolen property when you are up for double homicide? Noticing that the keys were for the bike, I hopped on and drove off.

As I drove off, fear started to grip my heart. What if I was seen? I got on the tollway and drove north. I had a human relative who would still talk to me, and he also happened to live nearby. I made my way up to where his house was, and was surprised that he was still there after the ten years or so. I made it up there just after daybreak. I was taking my time, and damn near scared the hell out of my half-brother when I showed up on his doorstop. He knew that I was a bit of a drifter, but he was kind enough to let my stay for a bit. I bought some stuff that I knew I'd need, checked on the gear that he was storing for me, and headed north again. I holed up in a hotel near Milwaukee, and while I was there a note found me which scared the holy hell out of me. It read:

I found about what you did, and I can help by making your new ride legal, among other things.
Meet me in Mitchell Park by Layton and Pierce at midnight tonight. I have a proposition for you.
P.S. the muggers were wanted for two other murders apiece. Good job. The old lady turned out O.K..

Now I was both puzzled and scared. If someone had seen me, why didnt they call the cops? I figured I'd go and find out. the worst thing that could happen is that I have to kill someone else.

Midnight came around. I was waiting nervously in the shadows by a street light on the corner, when a quiet voice spoke almost in my ear.

"I've been waiting here for 15 minutes. I take it that you got my note?"
I spun around, claws sliding out in half surprise. Two yellow eyes stared back at me, and the voice attached to those eyes started to chuckle. "My, you are a skitterish one. First time breaking the law?"
"Not in a public place like that. How in the hell did you sneak up on me like that?"
"Carefully, of course. I pride myself for being able to get almost anywhere quietly. Now, for the bike. The fat one had stolen it. The insurance company already wrote it off, and labeled the vin on the bike as salvage. I can give you the title to the bike, if you'd like." He dropped an envelope on the ground in front of me. "Consider it your first paycheck for removing the world of two evil men. And I have other people you can hunt down, if you'd like." I slowly reached down and picked up the envelope. Opening it, I saw the title for the bike, along with a money order. "What's the money order for?"

"Oh, my boss has.. issues handing out cash. Here's the terms. Get yourself to Madison. Rent a P.O. box under the name of John Edward, and get a hotel. There is a rapist in Madison that the police can not, or will not, catch. I want you to catch him and turn him into the police. He must be caught alive. The reward for doing this is $5,000. Do you accept?"

I thought about this for a minute. Should I do it, become a vigilante, wanted and hunted by the law, but doing good? Or should I say forget it, and walk away? I looked at the envelope again. the title to the bike, with my real name on it. this man knew more about me that I thought. I look at the the money order. It was for $5,000, and again in my real name.

"I cannot wait too much longer. Do you, or Do you not?"
"A question. How did you know my real name? and I do accept the offer."

The eyes blinked. " I know much about you. I will tell you later. Get to Madison. Your future awaits."

Next to "An Imperfect Union."
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