Black Cat
by Jay JayCee

Mike signaled to Casey that he was going to break in the door. He kicked it in and the two detectives burst into the room, guns drawn. Casey went toward the kitchen as Mike headed for the bedrooms.
"The kitchen is clear."
"I don't think he's here, Case."
"The doorman said he was still here."
"Maybe there is a back way out?" It wasn't a statement, but a question.
Casey paused in front of the hall closet and glanced over at Mike. He silently nodded and pointed his gun at the closet, waiting for Casey to open the door. As she stepped forward a floorboard creaked. Mike's eyes widened in horror as a barrage of gunfire exploded, splintering the closet door. Instinctively, Mike hit the deck.

Six months earlier...

She was standing in Captain Robinson's office. Mike didn't want to go in there. The whole idea of having a woman partner made him nervous. Although he knew that female detectives were priceless in sex crimes, he still worried that things might become, well, complicated. From inside the captain's office her sunny laugh rang out, making her red curls dance. Resolving that he would have to keep his hands to himself, Mike braced himself, clenched his jaw, and went in. His new partner turned to him and smiled. It was a nervous smile, but an honest one. Mike surprised himself by smiling back.
Reggie Robinson introduced them to each other, "Casey McCallister, meet Mike Logan."
"Hi," said Mike extending his hand.
She grasped his hand firmly, "Hi, yourself."
Mike let out a small laugh. He liked his partner already.

The present

Their suspect had avoided Mike's lunge and slipped out the front door. Mike crawled over to his fallen partner. "Casey?" Nervously he checked her pulse. "Thank God," he mumbled when he found it. Blood was streaming down her cheek from the gash on her forehead. "Hold on, Casey," he pleaded as he reached for the phone.
After he called for the ambulance he crawled back to Casey's unconscious body. He ripped open her blouse, exposing the body armor that she was thankfully wearing. A bullet had entered her shoulder and another one had pierced her abdomen. Mike pressed his handkerchief against the wound on her head, trying to slow the bleeding. "Not again," he begged, "This can't be happening again."

Six months earlier...

Mike twirled his spaghetti around his fork and stuffed it in his mouth. With his mouth full he asked, "So your Dad was a cop?
Casey nodded, "In Chicago, where I grew up. He was a homicide detective. Just like you."
"How did you...?"
"I did my homework." She smiled at Mike impishly. Then she looked down at her plate. "So why did you leave?"
"Well if you did your homework, then you know about my suspension."
"For punching a councilman. I know. But why the transfer to sex crimes?"
"Before my suspension, a man, if you can call him that, from my past finally got his for molesting just about every kid in my neighborhood. He was a priest." Casey's eyes widened in surprise. "He even put the moves on me when I was a kid."
"How on earth did you get around the statute of limitations?"
"McCoy tried him for conspiracy."
"Conspiracy with who?"
Stuffing another fork full of spaghetti into his mouth he answered, "The Roman Catholic Church."
"Holy Mary, mother of God."
Mike laughed, "The Church was un-indicted."
Casey shook her head in shock. "McCoy got a conviction?"
Mike nodded, "If I can put even one guy like Father Joe away..."
"It's worth it." Casey smiled at her new partner.
"What about you, Casey? I, uh, didn't do my homework."
"I started out in Vice. Undercover, mostly. I got really sick of dressing up like a prostitute. So, I asked for a transfer. Here I am."

The present...

Mike rubbed his eyes as he waited for news in the hallway of the hospital. A feeling of deja vu engulfed him. Captain Robinson galloped down the hallway toward his distraught detective. "Mike? Any news?"
"No, nothing."
"She's a tough cookie, Mike," he said reassuringly.
"Yeah," Mike sighed. "Has anyone picked up Walters?"
"Not yet."
"Damn it Cap!" Mike exploded, "He shot a cop! Why is everyone just sitting on their collective asses?"
Reggie shot back, "I'm going to ignore your attitude, Logan, considering the circumstances."
"Sorry," breathed Mike. He let his head fall back against the wall, with a sigh.
"Walters will get picked up, Mike."
Mike nodded distractedly.
"Has anyone called McCallister's family?" asked Reggie.
"They're on their way."

Six months ago...

"Harry Coogan, open up, it's the police." Mike opened the door by slamming his shoulder into it. As the door swung open Casey and Mike saw their suspect climb out the window and flee down the fire escape.
"Go around the front!" exclaimed Casey as she climbed out the window in pursuit.
"Casey..." Mike began to protest. It was too late. Casey was already halfway down the fire escape. Mike ran down the stairs and around the building expecting to head off Coogan. Instead, he ran into a winded Casey McCallister, towing a handcuffed suspect.
"You caught him?" Mike asked in surprise.
"Don't ask so surprised, Mike. I can take care of myself."
"No kidding," smiled Mike. "You never cease to amaze me, McCallister."

The present...

Mike's partner managed a small smile from her hospital bed. "Hi Mike."
"The, uh, the doctor said you are going to be okay."
"Thanks to the vest. It stopped the bullets before they could do much damage."
"Your head?"
Casey reached up to touch the bandage on her head. "It just grazed me."
Mike took a deep breath and let it out.
"I'm fine, Mike," reassured Casey. Mike didn't feel better. Something was nagging at him.

The next day...

"Maybe I am cursed, Liz."
"Do you really believe that Mike?" Elizabeth Olivet leaned toward Mike in anticipation of his response.
"I don't know." Mike was lost in thought. Feelings of guilt enveloped him. "Three partners getting shot. What are the odds, Doc?"
"Casey did not get shot because of a curse."
"First Max, then Phil..."
"And you blame yourself?"
Mike simply shrugged a response.

That night...

"Hold on Casey! Phil! Officer down! Officer down! Marie? Marieeee!" Mike woke up screaming. Sweat dampened his sheets. He knew what he had to do.

Three months ago...

"Your partner died in the line of duty?" demanded Casey.
Mike looked up at his partner who was standing over his desk.
Softly, she asked, "Why didn't you tell me?"
She sat down at her desk which faced Mike's. Mike looked down at his desk and shrugged. "It never came up." He looked up to meet Casey's gaze. "Max was killed because of a leak in the grand jury. I wasn't there. I was on the phone with his wife when it happened."
"I'm sorry, Mike." Genuine concern for her partner's feelings was etched on her face.
"So do you know about Phil, too?"
Slowly, Casey nodded her head.
"So now you know, I'm jinxed."
Casey smiled, "I don't believe in jinxes, Mike."
"Just to be on the safe side, I'd wear a vest, everywhere, if I were you."
"I am not wearing a vest on my date, tonight, Logan."
"Fine," deadpan, he added, "but don't forget your handcuffs."
Casey threw her pencil at her partner, a wide smile played across his face and he laughed heartily at her expense.

One week later...

Mike rose from his couch to answer the doorbell. He swung open the door to reveal Casey.
"What the hell do you think you are doing, Mike?"
Mike turned his back to her and walked back into his living room. "I'm watching television."
"That's not what I meant and you know it. You can't leave the force, Mike."
"Casey, I'm not going to watch another partner go down. Besides, it's too late."
"Actually, Cap hasn't turned in your letter of resignation. Central thinks you have the flu. You're using up your sick days. It's not too late, Mike."
"Do you like getting shot, Casey?"
"The chances of it happening again are astronomical."
"So are the chances of three of my partners getting shot. Three!"
"Mike, what happened to Max was not your fault. What happened to Phil..."
"Casey, please, don't do this."
"I did not get shot because of a damned jinx, Logan! You are being ridiculous! And irrational!"
Mike responded by rubbing his brow in frustration.
She stepped closer to him. "Mike, if you leave the force, men like Father Joe, will go unpunished. You won't be able to help their victims. Is that what you want? You came to sex crimes for a reason. Has that reason changed?"
"Are you trying to manipulate me, Casey?"
"Is it working?" Mike smiled a response. "I'll see you Monday morning, Mike." There was no room for argument. Casey turned her back to him and headed out the door.
"Monday," whispered Mike as he watched his partner leave.

Case Closed

whaddya think?