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Teeth in the Dark[]

Deylan Creek, Vermont

Deputy Sheriff, Andrew Stosack, drove down a dirt road that was lined with looming trees on both sides. It was early afternoon, and the sky was cloudy. Stosack was on his way to the homestead of an old farmer named Devon Shelly. No one had seen Shelly for about a week, and he hadn’t left town because the old man always made sure to ask someone to tend his animals for him. As far as Stosack knew, Shelly hadn't asked anyone.

Stosack pulled up just outside of Shelly’s house and exited the patrol car. The house was completely dark inside, and the living room window was wide open. Shelly always made sure to keep his house locked up tight when he left town. Stosack narrowed his eyes, something wasn’t right at all.

Stosack trodded up to the front door, knocked loudly, and said:

“Shelly?! It’s Deputy Sheriff Andrew Stosack! Is everything alright?!”

No answer came. The house stayed silent. Stosack tried the knob, but the door didn’t budge. He looked over at the open window, walked up to it, took hold of the sill, and pulled himself into the pitch-black living room. He narrowed his eyes, trying to adjust them to the darkness and then he reached out and felt his hand touch the wall. He used the wall to guide himself, and then his fingers brushed against the light switch. He flicked it and the light washed away the darkness.

Stosack scanned the living room. Nothing looked unusual or out of place. He left the living room and approached the stairs. He gazed up into the blackness at the top of them.

“Shelly?! Are you up there?!” He hollered. Again, the old farmer did not reply.

Anxiety swarmed into Stosack’s mind. He ascended the stairs, entered the hallway, and turned on the hallway light. He slowly approached Shelly’s bedroom door, paused for a moment, and then put his ear up against it. He heard nothing on the other side. No breathing, no snoring. Just nothing. He grabbed the doorknob, turned it, and inched the door open a bit. The bedroom was completely dark, and there was a horrible smell wafting from within it. Stosack soon recognized it as the smell of dried blood.

“Oh god…” He whispered.

Stosack covered his nose with his sleeve and flicked the light switch. Shelly wasn't there, but there was a massive bloodstain on his bed. He could not see any signs of a struggle. But there was a trail of blood on the floor that led to the window, which was wide open.

Stosack grabbed his radio and contacted the office. Town Sheriff, Michael Brent, swiftly arrived and brought two deputies with him.

“It was a black bear. It had to be. It must’ve smelt food, and clambered in through the living room window. Then it wandered up the stairs, found its way into Shelly’s room, and killed him when he startled it.” Said Brent as he examined the bloodstained bed.

“Kinda strange for the bear to take Shelly’s body though.” Stosack mused.

Brent replied, “Winter’s on its way, Stosack. Bears won’t be wasting good meat.”

Brent stood up and glanced over at the window, then looked down at the trail of dried blood on the floor.

“We’d better search the homestead and the surrounding woods for his body. Or what’s left of it.” He said.

Brent amassed a team of 10 officers, they scoured Shelly’s homestead and the edges of the woodland that bordered it. Shelly’s body was not found. Only a torn bit of cloth, believed to have once been a part of Shelly’s pyjama top, was found stuck to a bush.


One Week Later

It was evening. Stosack and another deputy named Jacob Reese patrolled along a dirt road outside the town. They were on the lookout for a local poacher named Wallace Quale, who had been sighted in the area. He was a man that had been a thorn in the side of Deylan Creek's Sheriff's Department for many years.

Stosack looked up at the twilight sky through the windshield. The moon was big, spherical, and had a reddish-orange colour.

“You’ve been kind of quiet lately Stosack. Why?” Reese said from the passenger seat.

“The whole thing with Farmer Shelly has just been bothering me a bit.” Stosack replied.

“Yeah, it’s scary as hell to think about ain’t it? A big bear, climbing in through your window and attacking you in your bedroom. It’s just freaky.” Replied Reese.

“Something doesn't add up about it though, Reese. A bear would’ve completely ransacked the place, and what it would’ve done to Shelly would’ve been very messy. But everything looked normal, I didn't see any signs of a struggle. It was like nothing had happened at all. The bloodstain was the only thing there.”

Reese looked over at Stosack, with a cocked eyebrow.

“So you think it wasn’t a bear that killed him?” He questioned.

Stosack paused for a moment and then replied, “I don’t know, Reese. If it was a bear, then it was a very smart one.”

The radio stuttered and a woman’s voice came through.

“Stosack, Reese, a couple just called in. They've said that there's a shady-looking guy creeping outside their cabin. It's close to your area, so it might be Quale.” The voice said.

"We're on it." Said Stosack.

"Hopefully, we might actually catch him this time." Reese replied.

The cabin was large and old-looking. Only one of the windows was lit, the rest were completely dark. Stosack and Reese exited the patrol car and marched up onto the porch, and Reese knocked twice on the front door.

“It’s the police.” He announced.

They received no answer, so Reese knocked again, and much more loudly this time. Still, the door did not open.

“Should we go in?” Wreese asked.

“Yeah. I don't like the look of this. ” Stosack said before he grabbed the door handle and swung the door open.

The foyer was unlit, but the living room was. It was very quiet, the only sound was the fireplace crackling in the living room. The deputies crept down the foyer and entered the living room. It was empty. The kitchen was to their left and a pungent smell of fresh blood was permeating out of it.

Stosack reached for his revolver and withdrew it. Then he turned to Reese.

“Cover me.” He said.

Stosack slowly crept into the kitchen, and then he turned on the light. Laying behind the dining table was the body of a man. His leg had been snapped, and his throat was wide open. The wound was too jagged and messy to have been made with a knife. Blood stained the man’s gray sweater, pooled around his head, and dripped out of his gaping mouth.

“Oh my god.” Stosack said, stepping back a little.

Reese’s eyes widened when they laid upon the body of the man, and the deputy put a hand over his mouth.

“What… What the fuck. Did Quale do this?” He said.

“The bastard must be on some kind of drug. Reese, stay here and call for backup. I’m going to try and find this guy’s spouse. If you see Quale, shoot him on sight.”

Stosack went to the stairs and hurried up them. The second floor was dark, and when he flicked the switch, the ceiling light did not illuminate. Stosack reached down to his belt and retrieved a small pocket torch. He switched it on and shined it into the hallway. The ceiling light had been destroyed, and there was a bloodstain on the carpet. On the door to his right, there was a massive, bloody handprint. It was far too large to have been made by Quale.

Readying his revolver, Stosack opened the door and shined the flashlight into the room. It was a small bedroom and in the middle of the floor, there laid the body of a woman. She was on her side and had her back to him. There were three, huge claw marks gouged into her back.

Stosack approached, leaned down, and was about to check for a pulse, but he soon saw that her throat had been ripped open too.

Reese’s voice came from his radio.

“Stosack, Backup is on the way. I need to tell you something too. Quale isn’t here.”

“What?” Stosack enquired.

“I’ve just been told that a hunter found his body. It was in a gully not too far from here. The hunter said that he looked like he’d been mauled by something.” Reese explained.

Stosack heard a loud creak behind him, and he swiftly turned around.

“Stosack? Are you there?” Reese asked, but his words went unheard.

The door directly across the hall was open. Something was crouching in the room, silently eyeing him. Stosack shined his torch into the room, but the torchlight did not reach far. But the creature’s eyes started to glow a vibrant green as the torchlight reflected off them. The eyes were about two feet above the floor. Then they rose, and when they stopped, they were at least two meters above the floor.

Stosack gasped and fired a shot. The creature darted out of sight with immense speed, and the bullet hit the door frame and sent shards of wood flying off in different directions.

Stosack rushed to the door, slammed it shut, and then locked it.

“Stosack?! What’s wrong?! I heard a gunshot!” Reese’s voice shouted from the radio, and Stosack grabbed it.

“Reese, get out of the cabin now!”

“Why?!” Reese responded.

“There’s some kind of predator in here! It's big and fast! Get out of the cabin and wait for backup!”

“What about you, Stosack?”

“Don’t worry about me! Just get the hell out!”

Stosack dropped his radio, and then he moved a dressing table in front of the door. Then backed away from the door, and moved over to the window. He looked through the glass, down at the ground below. It was a big drop. If he landed wrong, he would end up with a broken limb.

Heavy footsteps came from the other side of the door. Breaths followed them. They were gutturally bestial, yet they also possessed a strange, human quality. Stosack fired two shots, and he heard the beast’s feet stampede away just as the gun went off and the bullets tore through the wood. Now he only had three bullets left.

For a few seconds, there was only silence. Only Stosack’s rapid, terrified breaths. Only the darkness, only the sparse beams of cold moonlight that tore through the darkness. Only the beast’s heavy breaths from the darkness beyond the gutted door. Stosack’s entire body was shaking, his pale, gooseflesh-ridden skin was completely drenched and drowning in sweat.

The door rattled violently, and Stosack yelled and fired three shots. His revolver was now empty.

Stosack went to reload it, but the top half of the door exploded as an enormous fist punched through it. In the darkness beyond the hole, a face appeared. The face looked human, yet at the same time, it didn’t. The skin was of a dark-ruddy complexion. The eyes were large, juniper green, and quite like those of a cat’s. The features of the face were very sharp. The eyebrows were thick. The chin was nonexistent. The nose was flat, and the nostrils were wide. The jaws were long, and the lips were thin and devoid of colour.

The beast’s lips split open. Enormous canines, slick with saliva and blood, glinted in the moonlight. Stosack darted towards the window, and he heard the dressing table collapse to the floor. He unlatched the window, but the beast’s sharp nails dug into his shoulders and pulled him back, its arms machine-like in strength.

Reese saw three patrol cars appear from the trees, their beacons washing the surrounding area in red and blue. Five deputies poured out of them, alongside Sheriff Brent. They were all brandishing rifles.

“Reese, are you alright? Where’s Stosack?” He said.

“He’s still inside,” Reese replied.

“What the hell happened?”

“There’s some kind of animal in there. It killed the couple, and its got Stosack holed up in a room upstairs. I’ve heard a couple of gunshots, but he still hasn’t come out.” Said Reese.

Brent turned to the deputies. His eyes were grim.

“Alright, let’s move in.”

Reese and Brent led the way. The second floor stunk of blood, both old and fresh. Brent ordered the three deputies to check the room on the left. He and Reese checked the room on the right. The door looked like it had been smashed open, and a dressing table was on the floor. There was a spray of blood on the wall and a broken window. A body lay on the floor, but it wasn't Stosack's.

“Oh no.” said Brent, he approached the window and peered out of it.

He saw an enormous man walking towards the treeline. He was wearing what looked like animal hides, like a caveman. He had something slung over his shoulder, but Brent couldn’t make out what it was due to the darkness.

“Hey!” Brent shouted.

The man turned and looked at Brent, and Brent felt an instant chill climb up his spine, and he took a step back. The instinctual voice, in a primal corner of his mind, told him well enough that something was wrong. Something wasn’t right about that man. Something wasn’t right at all. Brent glanced over the blood spray on the wall, and then he looked over at the object that was slung over the… thing’s shoulder.

Brent took aim, and as soon as the thing saw the gun, it hightailed towards the treeline and then vanished into the moon-soaked underbrush. Brent wanted to give chase, but that primal voice in his mind told him not to. That it would be a bad idea to give chase. That the thing was in its element out there, in the night.

Stosack was gone. There was nothing he could do now.

Brent turned to Reese. The young deputy’s face was white, his eyes were anxious and Brent noticed that his hands were shaking too.

“Nothing we can do now, son.” He said, hesitantly.

When the day broke, the cabin was cordoned off and the bodies were removed. For several days, the surrounding woods were searched. But like Farmer Shelly, Stosack’s body was never found. The whole incident was eventually blamed on a rabid bear. Brent knew the truth, but he didn’t want to tell it because he didn’t want to cause mass panic. He didn’t want to believe it himself. Reese retired from the force not long after that night and moved out of Deylan Creek. Last Brent heard the ex-deputy was living in Bennington.

Five months passed without incident, and things returned to normalcy in the little town of Deylan Creek. That night was now just a memory, a horrible one, but it was now in the past. Sheriff Brent was in his living room, sitting on his recliner. He was watching a documentary about prehistoric Australia. One section of the documentary focused on a peculiar animal, a predator, named Thylacoleo carnifex. The “Marsupial Lion”. What surprised Brent, however, was that the animal was a relative of the Koala, Wombat, Kangaroo, and Possums. Unlike its herbivorous and omnivorous relatives, the Thylacoleo had evolved solely for carnivory and preyed on its relatives.

Brent thought back to that night. Then he sat back in his recliner and pondered.


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Vngel W (talk) 17:37, 2 November 2022 (UTC)[]

(1) INITIAL COMMENTS:

So, I divided my review in four part. The first part of my review is to address any grammar areas. Please see inside the [ ] for corrections. Afterwards, I left my thoughts on the story itself and any additional feedback.


--------------- *************** ---------------



Deputy Sheriff [*Remove ,] Andrew Stosack [*Remove ,] drove down a dirt road that was lined with looming trees on both sides. It was early afternoon, and the sky was cloudy. Stosack was on his way to the homestead of an old farmer named Devon Shelly. No one had seen Shelly for about a week, and he hadn’t left town because the old man always made sure to ask someone to tend his animals for him. As far as Stosack knew, Shelly hadn't asked anyone.

Stosack pulled up just outside of Shelly’s house and exited the patrol car. The house was completely dark inside, and the living room window was wide open. Shelly always made sure to keep his house locked up tight when he left town. Stosack narrowed his eyes, something wasn’t right at all.

Stosack trodded up to the front door, knocked loudly, and said:

“Shelly?! It’s Deputy Sheriff Andrew Stosack! Is everything alright?!”

No answer came. The house stayed silent. Stosack tried the knob, but the door didn’t budge. He looked over at the open window, walked up to it, took hold of the sill, and pulled himself into the pitch-black living room. He narrowed his eyes, trying to adjust them to the darkness and then he reached out and felt his hand touch the wall. He used the wall to guide himself, and then his fingers brushed against the light switch. He flicked it and the light washed away the darkness.

Stosack scanned the living room. Nothing looked unusual or out of place. He left the living room and approached the stairs. He gazed up into the blackness at the top of them.

“Shelly?! Are you up there?!” [he] hollered. Again, the old farmer did not reply.

Anxiety swarmed into Stosack’s mind. He ascended the stairs, entered the hallway, and turned on the hallway light. He slowly approached Shelly’s bedroom door, paused for a moment, and then put his ear up against it. He heard nothing on the other side. No breathing, no snoring. Just nothing. He grabbed the doorknob, turned it, and inched the door open a bit. The bedroom was completely dark, and there was a horrible smell wafting from within it. Stosack soon recognized it as the smell of dried blood.

“Oh [God]…” [he] whispered.

Stosack covered his nose with his sleeve and flicked the light switch. Shelly wasn't there, but there was a massive bloodstain on his bed. He could not see any signs of a struggle. But there was a trail of blood on the floor that led to the window, which was wide open.

Stosack grabbed his radio and contacted the office. Town Sheriff, Michael Brent, swiftly arrived and brought two deputies with him.

{Comment for below: Since you're introducing two additional characters, you want to establish early on in the dialogue who is speaking. For that, I moved up the dialogue tag} “It was a black bear[, " said Brent as he examined the bloodstained bed, "] It had to be. It must’ve smelt food, and clambered in through the living room window. Then it wandered up the stairs, found its way into Shelly’s room, and killed him when he startled it.”

“Kinda strange for the bear to take Shelly’s body though[,]” Stosack mused.

Brent replied, “Winter’s on its way, Stosack. Bears won’t be wasting good meat.”

Brent stood up and glanced over at the window, then looked down at the trail of dried blood on the floor.

“We’d better search the homestead [, he said, "] and the surrounding woods for his body. Or what’s left of it.”

Brent amassed a team of 10 officers[;] they scoured Shelly’s homestead and the edges of the woodland that bordered it. Shelly’s body was not found. Only a torn bit of cloth, believed to have once been a part of Shelly’s pyjama top, was found stuck to a bush.


One Week Later

It was evening. Stosack and another deputy named Jacob Reese patrolled along a dirt road outside the town. They were on the lookout for a local poacher named Wallace Quale, who had been sighted in the area. He was a man that had been a thorn in the side of Deylan Creek's Sheriff's Department for many years.

Stosack looked up at the twilight sky through the windshield. The moon was big, spherical, and had a reddish-orange colour.

“You’ve been kind of quiet lately Stosack. Why?” Reese said from the passenger seat.

“The whole thing with Farmer Shelly has just been bothering me a bit[,]” Stosack replied.

“Yeah, it’s scary as hell to think about[,] ain’t it? [" replied Reese, "]A big bear, climbing in through your window and attacking you in your bedroom. It’s just freaky.”

“Something doesn't add up about it though, Reese. A bear would’ve completely ransacked the place, and what it would’ve done to Shelly would’ve been very messy. But everything looked normal, I didn't see any signs of a struggle. It was like nothing had happened at all. The bloodstain was the only thing there.”

Reese looked over at Stosack, with a cocked eyebrow.

“So you think it wasn’t a bear that killed him?” [he] questioned.

Stosack paused for a moment and then replied, “I don’t know, Reese. If it was a bear, then it was a very smart one.”

The radio stuttered and a woman’s voice came through.

“Stosack, Reese, a couple just called in. They've said that there's a shady-looking guy creeping outside their cabin. It's close to your area, so it might be Quale[,]” the voice said.

"We're on it[,]" said Stosack.

"Hopefully, we might actually catch him this time[,]" Reese replied.

The cabin was large and old-looking. Only one of the windows was lit, the rest were completely dark. Stosack and Reese exited the patrol car and marched up onto the porch, and Reese knocked twice on the front door.

“It’s the police,” [he] announced.

They received no answer, so Reese knocked again, [louder] this time. Still, the door did not open.

“Should we go in?” Wreese asked.

“Yeah. I don't like the look of this,” Stosack said before he grabbed the door handle and swung the door open.

The foyer was unlit, but the living room was. It was very quiet, the only sound was the fireplace crackling in the living room. The deputies crept down the foyer and entered the living room. It was empty. The kitchen was to their left and a pungent smell of fresh blood was permeating out of it.

Stosack reached for his revolver and withdrew it. Then he turned to Reese.

“Cover me[,]” [he] said.

Stosack slowly crept into the kitchen, and then he turned on the light. Laying behind the dining table was the body of a man. His leg had been snapped, and his throat was wide open. The wound was too jagged and messy to have been made with a knife. Blood stained the man’s gray sweater, pooled around his head, and dripped out of his gaping mouth.

“Oh my [God,]” Stosack said, stepping back a little.

Reese’s eyes widened when they laid upon the body of the man, and the deputy put a hand over his mouth.

“What… What the fuck. Did Quale do this?” [he] said.

“The bastard must be on some kind of drug. Reese, stay here and call for backup. I’m going to try and find this guy’s spouse. If you see Quale, shoot him on sight.”

Stosack went to the stairs and hurried up them. The second floor was dark, and when he flicked the switch, the ceiling light did not illuminate. Stosack reached down to his belt and retrieved a small pocket torch. He switched it on and shined it into the hallway. The ceiling light had been destroyed, and there was a bloodstain on the carpet. On the door to his right, there was a massive, bloody handprint. It was far too large to have been made by Quale.

Readying his revolver, Stosack opened the door and shined the flashlight into the room. It was a small bedroom and in the middle of the floor, there laid the body of a woman. She was on her side and had her back to him. There were three, huge claw marks gouged into her back.

Stosack approached, leaned down, and was about to check for a pulse, but he soon saw that her throat had been ripped open too.

Reese’s voice came from his radio.

“Stosack, [backup] is on the way. I need to tell you something too. Quale isn’t here.”

“What?” Stosack enquired.

“I’ve just been told that a hunter found his body. It was in a gully not too far from here. The hunter said that he looked like he’d been mauled by something[,]” Reese explained.

Stosack heard a loud creak behind him, and he swiftly turned around.

“Stosack? Are you there?” Reese asked, but his words went unheard.

The door directly across the hall was open. Something was crouching in the room, silently eyeing him. Stosack shined his torch into the room, but the torchlight did not reach far. But the creature’s eyes started to glow a vibrant green as the torchlight reflected off them. The eyes were about two feet above the floor. Then they rose, and when they stopped, they were at least two meters above the floor.

Stosack gasped and fired a shot. The creature darted out of sight with immense speed, and the bullet hit the door frame and sent shards of wood flying off in different directions.

Stosack rushed to the door, slammed it shut, and then locked it.

“Stosack?! What’s wrong?! I heard a gunshot!” Reese’s voice shouted from the radio, and Stosack grabbed it.

“Reese, get out of the cabin now!”

“Why?!” Reese responded.

“There’s some kind of predator in here! It's big and fast! Get out of the cabin and wait for backup!”

“What about you, Stosack?”

“Don’t worry about me! Just get the hell out!”

Stosack dropped his radio, and then he moved a dressing table in front of the door. Then backed away from the door, and moved over to the window. He looked through the glass, down at the ground below. It was a big drop. If he landed wrong, he would end up with a broken limb.

Heavy footsteps came from the other side of the door. Breaths followed them. They were gutturally bestial, yet they also possessed a strange, human quality. Stosack fired two shots, and he heard the beast’s feet stampede away just as the gun went off and the bullets tore through the wood. Now he only had three bullets left.

For a few seconds, there was only silence. Only Stosack’s rapid, terrified breaths. Only the darkness, only the sparse beams of cold moonlight that tore through the darkness. Only the beast’s heavy breaths from the darkness beyond the gutted door. Stosack’s entire body was shaking, his pale, gooseflesh-ridden skin was completely drenched and drowning in sweat.

The door rattled violently, and Stosack yelled and fired three shots. His revolver was now empty.

Stosack went to reload it, but the top half of the door exploded as an enormous fist punched through it. In the darkness beyond the hole, a face appeared. The face looked human, yet at the same time, it didn’t. The skin was of a dark-ruddy complexion. The eyes were large, juniper green, and quite like those of a cat’s. The features of the face were very sharp. The eyebrows were thick. The chin was nonexistent. The nose was flat, and the nostrils were wide. The jaws were long, and the lips were thin and devoid of colour.

The beast’s lips split open. Enormous canines, slick with saliva and blood, glinted in the moonlight. Stosack darted towards the window, and he heard the dressing table collapse to the floor. He unlatched the window, but the beast’s sharp nails dug into his shoulders and pulled him back, its arms machine-like in strength.

Reese saw three patrol cars appear from the trees, their beacons washing the surrounding area in red and blue. Five deputies poured out of them, alongside Sheriff Brent. They were all brandishing rifles.

“Reese, are you alright? Where’s Stosack?” [he] said.

“He’s still inside,” Reese replied.

“What the hell happened?”

“There’s some kind of animal in there. It killed the couple, and its got Stosack holed up in a room upstairs. I’ve heard a couple of gunshots, but he still hasn’t come out[,]” said Reese.

Brent turned to the deputies. His eyes were grim.

“Alright, let’s move in.”

Reese and Brent led the way. The second floor stunk of blood, both old and fresh. Brent ordered the three deputies to check the room on the left. He and Reese checked the room on the right. The door looked like it had been smashed open, and a dressing table was on the floor. There was a spray of blood on the wall and a broken window. A body lay on the floor, but it wasn't Stosack's.

“Oh no[,]” said Brent, he approached the window and peered out of it.

He saw an enormous man walking towards the treeline. He was wearing what looked like animal hides, like a caveman. He had something slung over his shoulder, but Brent couldn’t make out what it was due to the darkness.

“Hey!” Brent shouted.

The man turned and looked at Brent, and Brent felt an instant chill climb up his spine, and he took a step back. The instinctual voice, in a primal corner of his mind, told him well enough that something was wrong. Something wasn’t right about that man. Something wasn’t right at all. Brent glanced over the blood spray on the wall, and then he looked over at the object that was slung over the… thing’s shoulder.

Brent took aim, and as soon as the thing saw the gun, it hightailed towards the treeline and then vanished into the moon-soaked underbrush. Brent wanted to give chase, but that primal voice in his mind told him not to. That it would be a bad idea to give chase. That the thing was in its element out there, in the night.

Stosack was gone. There was nothing he could do now.

Brent turned to Reese. The young deputy’s face was white, his eyes were anxious and Brent noticed that his hands were shaking too.

“Nothing we can do now, son[,” he] said, hesitantly.

When the day broke, the cabin was cordoned off and the bodies were removed. For several days, the surrounding woods were searched. But like Farmer Shelly, Stosack’s body was never found. The whole incident was eventually blamed on a rabid bear. Brent knew the truth, but he didn’t want to tell it because he didn’t want to cause mass panic. He didn’t want to believe it himself. Reese retired from the force not long after that night and moved out of Deylan Creek. Last Brent heard the ex-deputy was living in Bennington.

Five months passed without incident, and things returned to normalcy in the little town of Deylan Creek. That night was now just a memory, a horrible one, but it was now in the past. Sheriff Brent was in his living room, sitting on his recliner. He was watching a documentary about prehistoric Australia. One section of the documentary focused on a peculiar animal, a predator, named Thylacoleo carnifex. The “Marsupial Lion”. What surprised Brent, however, was that the animal was a relative of the Koala, Wombat, Kangaroo, and Possums. Unlike its herbivorous and omnivorous relatives, the Thylacoleo had evolved solely for carnivory and preyed on its relatives.

Brent thought back to that night. Then he sat back in his recliner and pondered.



--------------- *************** ---------------




(2) STORY FEEDBACK:

Overall, the story is not bad.

To recap it: a small time deputy sheriff, Stosack conducts a health-and-wellness check on a farmer only to be met with a grisly scene with an unusual circumstance: the farmer is missing, blood is found, but the house was not trashed. Fast forward a month: Stosack, now accompanied with another Deputy, Reese respond to a suspicious man at a cabin. All the while, the past month's event still lingers on Stosack's mind -- having been blamed on a wild bear attack -- though he doesn't believe it. The two arrive at the cabin and discover another grisly scene, this time with two more unfortunate victims: a man and woman. While searching the house, Stosack encounters a strange creature and attempts to shoot it but fails dues to the agility of the beast. The story shifts to Reese's perspective who rendezvous outside with the arriving police force. To their horror, they witness a strange figure fleeing the house, shouldering what is perceived to be Stosack.

Thoughts: The story's premise has a mysterious atmosphere that I think plays well for the perspective of law enforcement. I do believe having two separate incidents with a time-gap is a nice way to bridge the mysterious grisly attacks, and to ultimately reveal this entity. I'd even say It's a story that has potential for expansion, which I think is its greatest strength.

My biggest gripes, however, are the narrative and the pacing. The story adheres too much towards "tell" versus a "show". It also breezes through moments that should really take its time to allow the scene to breath. For example, when Stosack is searching the cabin on his own, that should be a high-tension scene.

As the reader, we're experiencing that moment with him. We should feel the uneasiness and terror as he searches alone, and ultimately, encounters this strange creature. For these moments to be captured effectively, you have touch on the various senses. At the moment, you bounce back between ONLY sight and smell, while avoiding the other senses, which does the scene a disservice. Things such a "pounding of his heart" and "shaky breathing" are also examples that can amplify the effect. Essentially, every inch he progresses should put the character (and us) on edge.

See below for an example on section:

(3a) ORGINAL:

Stosack went to the stairs and hurried up them. The second floor was dark, and when he flicked the switch, the ceiling light did not illuminate. Stosack reached down to his belt and retrieved a small pocket torch. He switched it on and shined it into the hallway. The ceiling light had been destroyed, and there was a bloodstain on the carpet. On the door to his right, there was a massive, bloody handprint. It was far too large to have been made by Quale. Readying his revolver, Stosack opened the door and shined the flashlight into the room.



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(3b) REVISED EXAMPLE:

Stosack found the stairs. He paused at the bottom, noting the top. It was dark, the stairs seemingly fading up into an endless void.

"Mrs. Vulpad?!" he called out. "This is Deputy Sheriff Stosack, are you up there?!"

He waited several heartbeats for a reply. Silence.

"Mrs. Vulpad, are you okay up there?!"

Again, silence was returned.

Stosack took in a deep breath and began to ascend. As he climbed, he strained his ear, hoping to catch anything in the air. There was nothing though. No breathing. No movement. Not even the settling of the house. That was odd. There was only one other time when he experienced something like this. His mind fell back to that night on the farm with Mr. Shelly. He recalled how silent it was at the time as well. Even with a farm full of animals, the air was dead, as if sound itself was being nullified.

He reached the top and found himself fully engulfed by the dark, gazing down the hall. He felt a chill run down his back. Somehow, even the dark felt unnatural. He couldn't explain it. Without looking away, he felt around for the switch. He found it and flipped it. Nothing. He tried it a few before times before giving up.

"Shit," he said under his breath. He strained his eyes. "Hello?" he called. "Mrs. Vulpad?"

In response, there was an odd shuffling at the other end. Stosack flinched, almost losing his footing off the stairwell. Immediately, he fumbled for his pocket torchlight, reeling it out to turn it on. He braced himself as the beam of light split the dark to reveal... nothing. It was an open narrow hallway. Up against the wall sat a small table topped with a simple flower vase, above it, a large portrait. At the end of the hall, he could make out a single closed door.

"Hello?" he tried again. "Deylan Creek Police."

With still no response, he proceeded forward, pausing halfway to examine the portrait.

It depicted the married couple. Scott Vulpad stood firm, hands in pocket wearing a plaid flannel and overalls. He was a handsome fellow with neatly groomed brown hair. His clean-cut face conceded only a hair smile. Nestled at his shoulder was Maria in a vibrant sundress. She was gorgeous, with locks of golden hair settling at her shoulder. She was leaning close displaying a warm smile. They were a beautiful couple, and good people of Deylan Creek. Stosack found himself grinning in response. It quickly faded though when he thought of Scott downstairs. The gruesome image of his bloodied state summoned a shiver. His death wouldn't be in vain. Whoever did this would burn. He would see to it personally. He only hoped Maria hadn't suffered the same fate.

Stosack turned back to the door, halting at a loud crunch under his boot. The torch revealed shattered glass. His eyes shot up and he noticed that the light bulbs had all been blown out. He navigated the light back along the ground, settling on a dark spot. Immediately, his stomach tightened. He recognized the all too familiar stain. Blood. A trail of it ran across the ground, thickening up to the door.

He drew his revolver and crept forward.

When Stosack reached the door, the light revealed another mark smeared across it. He examined it closer and recoiled. It resembled... a bloody print? His brow furrowed. At least, he thought it did. If it was, it was massive! He held his hand next to it. It was almost twice the size of his own.

What the fuck... he mouthed.

Even odder, he noticed that instead of five fingers, it displayed only three. What the hell had made this? What could? He was torn by his thoughts by a much louder shuffling beyond the door. He quickly readied his gun and swallowed, tossing a glance back towards the stairs. Shit. Was this worth it? He was about to confront whoever, or rather whatever, alone. Was it smart to do so?

It was probably better to just return downstairs, phone in back-up, and have the whole force take it by storm, and blow it back to whatever hell it crawled out of. Yet, what if it escaped in the meantime? If it got loose again, no doubt there would be more killings. Another innocent citizen. God forbid, a child. His heart sunk. Could he live with that? Knowing he could've stopped it?

Stosack shook head. He didn't even know what it was, or if there even was an it. It was probably just some nutcase with a sawblade. He released a deep sigh, fighting to calm his nerves. He needed to focus. After a few seconds, he tightened his hand on his torch and cocked his gun. Internally, he counted to three. At the number, he kicked at the door, nearly knocking it off its hinges, and aimed ahead.



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(4) COMMENTS CONTINUED:

It's not the best example but you can see how you can play with the tension and uneasiness and build up to the moment where he opens the door. Now, I took the liberty of adding some information such as the names of the couple. It's a small town, so it's not far-fetch to believe they would be known by name, and even on a personal level. I also added extra "abilities" to the entity. NOTE: Not saying it has to have this for your story, but I wanted to play more into the tension, so I added it here for effect as an example.

Also, you'll notice that the passage is longer, but it's not about length. Adding details from the character's perspective puts us in their shoes. We learn as they do, and ultimately our fate is tied with theirs, establishing some type of connection.

You don't have to write exactly like this. However, my advice for your story is to focus more on "showing" and taking your time with each scene. At the moment, your story feels rushed in areas and comes off as more of an outline. Practice building the setting. The real important locations should have more details to truly capture the environment and prevent the characters from "floating" in a vague area. It's not easy to accomplish this at first, but with practice it does become so.

Overall, keep writing. Keep improving (I'm always challenging myself) and, of course, have fun with it! I think this story has potential, but it needs to be fleshed out a bit.

Hope this helps!

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