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Over the next several weeks Detective McCain and several other members of the Atlanta Homicide department picked up a string of unsolved, seemingly random murders that all had one thing in common. They all were more grisly than anything he had ever seen before, and they also all seemed to have a ritualistic aspect to them.

While none were as ‘bare-bones’ as the first murder, none had pleasant or quick deaths.

One had been completely exsanguinated. Another had been de-fleshed and left in a strange pile on the floor. All of them had indecipherable writing left at the scene, written in the victims’ own blood.

Lastly, animal hair was found at almost every crime scene.

McCain was stumped, the whole department had lost interest as crimes continued to pile up and if they were not solved almost immediately, they likely never were.

Sitting at his desk, McCain slowly moved his tooth pick from one tooth to the next looking at each crime scene photo and then the next. He spent hours pouring over it, and still nothing came to mind.

He decided he had done enough for the day, and decided to pack it up. Standing up and putting on his coat, he walked past the front desk and waved to the night duty officer. As he waved, he bumped a patrolman and his paperwork went clattering to the tile floor. The officer immediately apologized and helped the detective gather his work.

“No problem. Thanks for the help..” McCain said and shook the younger man’s hand. As he watched him leave he noticed in a waiting area a local area magazine sitting open on the table.

It was one of those puff pieces on local businesses, and this one was about a rising star in the video game industry. It was none other than the man he saw at the murder scene, and he was holding a large white rodent of some kind?

The next morning, McCain arrived early to the office and began to pull all the information he could on this company, Sugarpig Productions, and its mysterious president.

He was surprised at how little was actually out there. From what McCain could tell, the company and its president literally appeared out of nowhere just a few months before. However, they were already being hailed as a staple of the city. Strange.

Looking up his last known address, McCain found that it was not in a nice part of town. That was also strange, he thought as he stood up from his desk, scraping off two empty coffee cups into the trash.

He was going to go for a little ride.

Taking I-75 south a couple of exits McCain exited the decrepit remnants of the Eisenhower interstate system and began to navigate the confusing labyrinth of post-collapse Atlanta.

There were parts of the city where no one went; no cops, no red cross, nobody. That was one of the areas this address was supposed to be in. McCain had to leave his patrol car at a nearby police station and make the rest of the walk on foot. If he had left his car anywhere else it would have been picked clean in minutes.

The walk was not a short one, but not many people crossed the officers path. As soon as he left his vehicle, shouts of “5-0!,” followed in his wake. This led to most of the residents of this area of town clearing out before he had a look at any of them.

Turning a corner, he came up on the only pristine apartment building anywhere in downtown Atlanta.

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