Fredrick sat at the bar, a beer bottle in his paw. "Where is that damn cat?" Fredrick
muttered under his breath. As if on cue, his feline compatriot appeared from around the corner
and threw a bunch of papers onto the bar in front of the German Shepherd.
"This is what we've got, mostly sighting reports, however we do have one addition that
we don't usually get." The cat informed his companion.
The cat pulled a square folded piece of paper out of his jacket pocket and placed it on top
of the stack of papers. "Photographs." The cat's whiskers twitched in excitement.
The German Shepherd picked up the paper and unfolded it. The "photos" were dark and
blurry, though the shape of something was discernible in the foreground, it wasn't clear what it
Fredrick gave an annoyed sigh at his feline companion before fixing the black furred cat
with a frustrated look. "It's good to see that you’re so enthusiastic," The dog's voice was little
more than a frustrated growl, "however, these photos aren't worth a whole lot. I mean this could
be a non-sentient wolf instead of the hellhounds that we're supposed to be looking for."
Alex's whiskers twitched at this comment. "Listen, I was assured by the dog who took
these photos that they were real."
Fredrick shook his head before fixing his companion in his vision. "Listen Alex, you
were probably tricked by a local who is either: 1) insane, or 2) is trying to make money off of
doctored photos, or both"
"Insane, am I?" A raspy voice said from behind the German Shepherd. "Are you trying to
get yourself into a fight, buddy?"
Fredrick turned around and noticed a male merle Australian Shepherd glaring at him.
"I'm sure he doesn't mean it like that, Mr. Williams." Alex said, trying to get his friend
out of the tricky situation he found himself in.
"The name's Cody."
Alex nodded in acknowledgement. "Right, Cody how about you tell him what you told
"Yes," Fredrick stated, trying to get out of the corner he found himself backed into,
"please tell me the story behind these photos."
The merle continued to hold his hard stare for a couple more seconds before giving a sigh
and easing his expression. "It was a couple of nights ago, I was getting the sheep in for the night,
when I heard this noise that sounded like a drunk dog that was trying to howl at anything that
might resemble the full moon." He began to chuckle at his own comment. "Anyway, I just
thought it best to ignore it. However, no sooner had I heard the howl then I noticed this large
pitch black creature with glowing eyes walking not even 10 feet in front of me."
"So, I'm guessing you already had the camera on you when you saw this creature."
"Yes, I did."
"Care to tell me why?"
"Insurance. Found one of the sheep dead in the field earlier that day, I just hadn't put the
camera back. Good thing too."
"Anything else you can tell me about this creature?"
“Nothing else I’m afraid.” Cody stated before standing up from the bar, “How ‘bout you
two come by the house later today, I already gave the address to the cat. If he still remembers it.”
“I remember it.” Alex responded with a nod.
It had been a few hours since the talk with the herder and the German Shepherd and cat
found themselves both right outside of the Australian Shepherd’s house.
"I still think this guy is trying to play us." Fredrick said to his companion as he closed the
"What makes you say that?"
"The fact that certain elements of his story are a little too 'lucky.’ I am just concerned
were going to be wasting our time out here."
Alex shrugged, "Still, it would give us both something to do instead of sitting in bars and
getting drunk." He said eyeing his companion.
"What do you mean by that? It takes me forever to get drunk and I have never once seen
you put a single bottle of any kind of alcohol to your mouth. Plus, if I got drunk around you, you
would know." Said Fredrick, “Just do me a favor though, don’t ask questions that will make our
"What do you mean by-" but Alex was cut off by the sound of the doors to the house
creaking open and shutting.
"I see you two finally decided to show up." Cody Williams called from the porch of the
house, "I was beginning to wonder if you would ever get out here."
Fredrick was about to make a comment about how far out in the middle of nowhere the
herder lived, but he decided to keep his muzzle shut. "If this man is crazy, you don't want to
anger him." The German Shepherd's mind seemed to tell him.
"I apologize sir, the directions on the GPS were a little bit confusing at times. I have been
trying to have us get a new one." Alex said.
"Anyway, are you going to come up here or not?" The Australian Shepherd said, rolling
his eyes in frustration.
Fredrick and Alex walked up to the porch and took a seat in a couple of lawn chairs.
"So Cody, do you live here by yourself?" Alex asked, earning a glare from Fredrick.
"Yep, wife's dead and my kids have all moved away." Cody said.
"Anyone help you out here?" Alex pressed.
"Brother sometimes comes out here to help me out. Not so much anymore, he's getting
too old for it."
Alex was about to ask another question before he felt Fredrick's paw on his shoulder.
"Excuse us for a second." Fredrick said as he stood up from the chair and pulled Alex up
with him. He led the cat down the path that separated the car from the house and spun him
around with his paws on the cat’s shoulders. “What did I say about not angering our contact?”
“I’m not ‘angering him.’ He is answering the questions without any resistance.”
“I have had to work with people like this in the past. If you keep asking him personal
questions, like you have been, eventually he is going to get pissed off. Do you understand?”
Alex just nodded.
“Good, now let me ask the questions.” The German Shepherd stated before turning back
toward the porch.
“How did your guys’ little chat go?” Cody asked as the two companions stepped up onto
the porch and reclaimed their seats.
“It was fine.” Fredrick stated bluntly, “Now, you mentioned sheep being killed by this
creature. Have you seen anything previous to you taking those photos, or after, that could be
signs of this creature?”
The herder seemed to think hard about this for a couple of seconds before looking
Fredrick in the eyes, something that made the German Shepherd nervous. “Yes, as a matter of
fact I have.” Cody stood up from his chair, not taking his eyes away from the two. “Follow me.”
He led them around to the back of the house. Fredrick felt every hair on his body stand
straight up at the situation he found himself and Alex in. He felt that at any second he might need
to punch the herder’s lights out if he tried to do anything to either one of them. This was only
magnified by the fact the back of the house appeared to have been rotting and seemed like it was
on the verge of collapse.
Cody walked another few steps before stopping next to a bare patch of ground. “Here we
are,” He said to the cat and German Shepherd, “Look at this.” He pointed to the bare spot on the
ground and gave a smirk that sent a shiver down Alex and Fredrick’s spines.
Fredrick approached the spot, and what he saw made his blood run cold. There on the
ground was a single indentation that seemed to have been pressed into the ground with an almost
excessive amount of force. The indentation vaguely resembled a dog’s paw pads. The most
notable element to it though was that it looked like the soil was burned pitch black, like it had
been branded into the ground with a hot iron.
“Holy shit.” Fredrick muttered under his breath. He looked over towards the old herder,
careful to avoid eye contact so as not to inadvertently insult him. “How long has this been here?”
“Found it this morning before I met up with your cat friend.” Cody said with a shrug,
“Could have been there when I saw the creature, before I saw it, or after. Hell if I know.”
“The ground doesn’t look like it has been disturbed for all that long. When again did you
see this creature?”
“Two nights ago.” Cody said after a great deal of thought.
Fredrick gave a curt nod and turned behind him towards where he thought his feline
companion was. “Alex, come take a …” He started to say before noticing that Alex had
vanished. “Alex!” The German Shepherd shouted, “Where are you?”
There was only thick silence in response.
Still only silence.
Fredrick breathed in through his nose in an attempt to pick up Alex’s scent. He caught it
as it seemed to waft from the edge of the nearby woods.
“What does that cat think he’s doing?” Fredrick said as he placed a paw on his leg and
lifted himself off of the ground. “It seems that Alex has wandered into the woods, I better go find
him, and I would suggest you stay here sir.”
The Australian Shepherd pulled an expression that seemed to mix suspicion and anger.
“Fine.” He said between gritted teeth.
Fredrick picked up on a tone that Cody had to his voice that seemed to say that he had
little intention to follow that order. Fredrick gave a nod before turning and walking in the
direction of Alex’s scent, figuring that the tone was little cause for worry. He had no intention of
staying in the woods for long anyway.
The woods was not far away from the house and within two minutes he found himself
surrounded by trees.
There was only the noise of the forest for a couple of minutes before Alex’s familiar
nasally voice replied, “I’m over here.”
Fredrick’s ears swiveled in the direction of the voice and turned in the same direction.
There, standing behind one of the trees, was Alex. The cat’s face seemed to lack any emotions,
and his eyes gave a hint that he was trying to keep himself from entering some kind of panic
“Alex, are you okay?”
It was at this moment that the cat’s eyes dilated and the unusual emotionlessness
expression turned to one of panic. “Fred, get behind something, quick.” The German Shepherd’s
ear barely heard the cat say, “Preferably somewhere over in this direction.”
Fredrick was about to ask the cat what he meant, when an angry growl echoed through
the woods. The German Shepherd ran behind a tree that was about 5 feet from his companion’s
After a couple of seconds he peeked out from behind the tree, towards the direction he
had been standing only moments ago. There, not even 50 feet from where he had been standing,
was a huge black furred feral canine, the same creature from Cody’s photographs. The creature
gave off a scent like fire that seemed to permeate the air. As the creature walked across the
ground it made no sound.
At first, Fredrick’s mind tried to reason that the creature must have been a feral wolf, a
poor soul that had not been given the gift of sentiency and instead found itself remaining in its
more wild state. No, Fredrick had seen ferals before, this creature was far to large for one of
them plus a feral made noise with its movements, even when one attempted to be quiet.
“Alex,” Fredrick said just loud enough for his companion to hear, hoping that the creature
would not hear his voice, “Whatever you do, don’t look at the creature’s eyes, you know what
the file on this creature said.”
As the creature began to walk toward their hiding spot, Fredrick found himself forcing
his gaze downward to the creature’s chest, so as to avoid the creature’s eyes.
Fredrick glanced over toward Alex who appeared to have broken out of his trance and
was pawing for something on the ground. The cat grabbed a rock and threw it as far as he could.
The rock loudly hit up against a tree. The creature turned in the direction of the noise and
dashed over towards it.
Fredrick noticed a twitch of Alex’s ears followed by the cat picking himself up off the
ground and making a mad dash for the herder’s house. Fredrick pulled himself up and followed
They had been near the edge of the woods so it wasn’t long before they were able to
make it out of the forest. They saw the same decaying house, however something about it
seemed different. The house, which Fredrick had closely studied earlier, now seemed to have
rotted further. The windows were gone and what little light had been on earlier was now dark.
They ran around the house and jumped up onto the porch, hoping the monster would
avoid the house itself. The porch had also changed from what it had looked like earlier. The
floorboards which, while old, hadn’t been in the state of disrepair that they were.
Fredrick glanced behind the edge of the house and saw the creature pacing along the edge
of the woods. At times it would come near the spot where trees gave way to the clearing that the
house was built on, and when it did it would seem to change look. It took on a much smaller
shape than before and its face turned to one that almost looked familiar to him, though the
change was for only half a second before it walked back into the tree cover and regained its
“Hey, Fred, look at this.” Alex said in a hushed voice.
Fredrick turned to look at the cat, who was pointing to something on one of the posts on
the far side of the porch. The German Shepherd squinted his eyes as he tried to get a better look
at the object.
“It’s a trail camera.” The dog stated in a hushed voice.
“But, why would a trail camera be on the guy’s porch?”
“He mentioned that he had found some of the sheep killed. He probably has them all over
the place to see who or what was doing it.” Fredrick suddenly came to a realization about the
photos. “Alex, do you still have the pictures?”
“Just let me see them, and then watch the woods for me.”
The cat reached into his pocket and pulled out the folded piece of paper. “Here,” He said
as he gave the paper to the German Shepherd, “the picture’s on the inside.”
Fredrick unfolded the paper and looked at the photo, or rather the angle of it. “Just as I
thought, our friend hasn’t been telling us the whole truth.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean the pictures that he claims that he took were actually from the trail cameras. He
didn’t take the photo himself.”
“So, it means that he was hiding something from us. But, what reason would he have for
lying to us about the picture’s origins?” At that moment an image flashed before his mind’s eye.
The form that the monster seemed to change to when it had wandered out of the woods for only a
couple of seconds, entered into the German Shepherd’s mind. “Alex, we need to go, now!”
“What do you mean?”
“Never mind, I’ll explain when we’re on the road.” The German Shepherd ran down the
steps of the porch and made a mad dash for the car, Alex following right behind. They both
opened the car doors on their respective sides and sped off down the road.
Once they got down the road a little ways Fredrick noticed that, the normally talkative
Alex was being oddly quiet.
“You okay Alex?”
Alex was silent for a couple of seconds before giving a response. “Yeah,” he said in a
voice that seemed devoid of any emotion, “It’s just that when we left, I turned my head back to
see the monster along the edge of the woods. It tried to make a dash at us, but the moment it left
the woods, something strange happened.”
“It changed shape. Instead of looking like the monster that it was, it looked like Mr.
Williams. Do you think it has something to do with those woods?”
Fredrick thought over this question for a couple of seconds before giving his response. “I
don’t know Alex, I don’t know.”