I usually have great stories. Growing up, I was one of those kids who would tag a little fib onto every story. Dramatic details,
blown out of proportion, but entertaining enough for other kids to think I was both weird and cool. This encouraged my passion
for recreation and mischief. I’d often investigate supposedly haunted houses around the neighborhoods. I Quoted all the incantations there were for dark, bathroom vanities and I’d call out to twig snaps in dense trees. This was great for my street cred back

then, made me look confident and somehow knowledgeable.
Anyway, this went on for a few years. As I got older, I began to refine my take on my adventures and thrills. What used to be
walky talky crusades, evening bridge explorations and fruit snack fueled bike adventures; turned into night runs with pepper
spray, car payments and back to back night shifts. Although my antics had softened, and owning a car expanded so many reaches, I still yearned for that edge of mystery and cover of night.

I worked a part time gig at a local java house/minimart combo. I was on their night staff so I’d often be one of the last to close up
shop. There was something different about people at night. There’s a change in each and every person when the sun goes down.
I loved the “people watching” that the job came with. Old ladies buying lonely food late at night, young men drunkenly asking
about who’s dared to drink straight from the slurpee spout. Kids riding their bikes with pockets full of change. These specimens
were entertaining in their own average, ordinary way. The real treat was when you spotted someone totally out of the norm. A
pretty girl with expensive shoes buying Neosporin, or a quite youth perusing risqué magazines and caffeine pills.

Although such customers brought me the mystery I enjoyed, Night in itself was the thing I looked forward to most. I’d turn off
the lights, lock up with out skipping a beat, and head home on foot. I’d been an avid runner all through high school, but now in
my senior year, I had really made the commitment to make nationals in our cross country team. Colleges would be looking for
dedication and adventure. They liked their share of goody two shoes, but edge is what they longed for. Edge that I had. I was
fast, clean and a team player.

My house was only 2.3 miles away from the shop, so I enjoyed the brisk, but short run home. Sometimes I could make it in about
12 minutes. Other days I’d take my time and make the run last. Sometimes I’d go different ways, switch up my pace or stop and
say hi to a neighbor. The ones that were awake anyway. The shop closed at 11:00pm, so most of my runs were quiet, uninterrupted and peaceful. I never ran with a light, unless the conditions permitted so. I loved the secrecy of night, the comfort of cover that darkness provided so freely. The smell of cool air, the sounds of crickets and the occasional wildlife call.

I would often take a short cut through my old elementary schools field and track. The school had been closed for about 5 years. I
had been one of the last classes to endure it’s failing AC and crumbling carpets. The school offered a great view of our small
town, set at the bottom of a large gorge with a small creek near by. The hills rolled beyond it’s back playground. Vineyards here,
orchards there, and the sun shone warmly against it’s smooth tops mid day.

Kids had hacked away at law enforcements attempts to keep the interior locked up. They mostly believed the building to be
haunted. Thrill seekers chasing long tale ghosts and students of past. The last day the school was open, a boy in 3rd grade named
Edmond Grahams had been killed in a freak plumbing accident. The schools gym room had burst a pipe and Edmond had been
helping Coach Coaster put jump ropes away. He got caught in the freak flash flood and drowned in one of the restroom stalls.
The school had already been due for a remodel, but after the tragedy everyone abandoned the classrooms and attempted to
move forward after accident. The school was never reopened and the community opted to build a brand-new school just down
the creek.

Most kids avoided the place now. They were afraid to even walk past its derelict shell. This meant it was the perfect place to find
my peace of mind and seek refuge in it’s seclusion. I’d often run the track a few laps and head home. Sometimes I’d gaze up at
the stars on what remained of the rusted chain link swings. That playground had served me many a good time. Hangouts with
friends, races against proud boys and shelter from rainstorms on boring days. Sometimes I would still walk the halls. There had
been an old art room with a kiln that required a double door for ventilation. A few friends and I had been able to work the left
doorknob loose with a few well timed twists. This left the right side of the door securely in place, so to most, the building seemed
to be locked tight. Id stand on top of the tallest slide and peer over to see my families chimney. The school laid right between my
house and the mini mart. So I had many opportunities to visit my child hood memories.

One particular evening I was closing up the shop when I noticed someone standing just outside the front door. I stared through the
tinted windows, waiting for what would definitely be the last customer of the evening, to come in and loiter. As I watched the dark
outline, I realized they seemed to be quite featureless. A tall, hunched silhouette like that of someone wearing one of those middle
-eastern burkas. I sensed something off from their lack of movement, but obvious gaze. From the position of the shape, I was definitely the one who was being observed. My nerves tingled and the nape of my neck prickled with goosebumps. Deciding to change

the ominous feeling that had encompassed the setting, I moved towards the register, where if I needed to, I would enforce the
bear mace my bosses had stashed just below the licorice tubs.
There was a revolver with rubber bullets as well, but I wouldn't opt for it if I thought I could handle the perp. In most cases, I’m
pretty good at talking my way out of a tough situation. In this case, I felt creeped out more than fearful. Something about their
blatant starring made me un-easy more so than afraid.

As soon as I moved, the shape effortlessly glided out of view and the window was once again empty. I peered out the window,
looking for said customer and didn't see anyone around. Deciding to call it a night 15 minutes early, I locked the doors first, making
sure that I was the last one to enter for the night. I cleaned up the coffee stations, moped the floor and took out the trash. I figured
tonight was as good a night as any to keep the bear mace handy. The dumpsters were just around the back of the store at the base
of a steep incline. The hill rose above the trash bins for about one fourth of a mile before you reached a small water reservoir. I
lifted the first lid and threw in 2 trash bags. As I was about to lift the third bag, I heard a clattering of rocks. I looked up towards the
reservoir and could see a spray of dust trailing down the side of the hill, followed by a few orange sized rocks. They tumbled heartily down the hill, hitting the pavement and coming to a stop. I scanned the hill for any signs of wildlife. I couldn't find anything rummaging the slope. I’d probably spooked one of the many raccoons that frequented our trash. I quickly tossed the last bag into the
trash, closed the lid and went back to lock up for the night.

I turned off the last of the lights, grabbed my phone and keys and headed for the door. After locking the door, I went to put in my
head phones when I noticed something. I paused, listening to the air around me. Not a sound. The lack of crickets, frogs, wind and
traffic struck me as odd. Was it ever this quite before? Had I really spent 2 years working this same shift, and never heard silence
before? My shoulders shivered and I nervously giggled at my own paranoia. Still, I glanced around. Nothing seemed out of place.
Maybe that creeper from earlier had unhinged me more than I’d cared to notice. The night was markedly still, absolutely windless,
moonless and free of clutter. Aside from a single butterfly looping around my stomach gracefully, It was a beautiful night.
I put my my left head phone in and tucked the other into my hoodie. I selected a play list of modest mouse, journey and classical.
Music always helped keep my pace lively. The more aggressive the song, the harder I ran. Then a piece by Vivaldi would come on
and I’d loosen up a bit and bring the sprint back to a casual speed.

I stretched a couple good times, tightened my shoes and off I went. Running in the dark is a different experience all together than
running in the light of day. There, in the cold, crisp air, running was more agile. You have to take in your surroundings. Pay attention to all the gleams of light, distances of obstacles and depths of shadows. Testing both your lightness of foot and keenness of

The darkness of night hides aggression, masking the endurance of an all out sprint in a cloak of black secrecy. You just feel more
capable of letting go. You’re really able to be in the moment all together. Using these heightened senses, opens your lungs and
frees your feet of contemplation. Each step is a trusted step into the dark and unknown. You can easily trip or collide with an object
if you’re not fully connected to your surroundings. I always kept one ear on the music and the other on the world around me. Listening for cars, pedestrians, animals and what ever else you might come across on a night run.
I ran about 12 blocks when I first noticed the sound. A light clicking somewhere out in the distance pulled me from the lulling of
Bruce Springsteen.
“CLICK, click”
The sound was quick and growing. This first one seemed further away than the second one, even though they were mere milliseconds apart. Instinctively this reminded me of an insect. Like the humming of a mosquito as it nears your cheek for a quick sip. I
swatted the air with my right hand, warding off what ever pest might be seeking the warmth of my coursing blood. I changed the
song on my headphone cord. This time a pop song came on and I doubled my pace. Leaving what ever bugs might take advantage
of a slower speed, in the dust of my heels.

I was 1 block from the turn to the old elementary school, or keeping straight to head home. I noticed a group of teens outside
the main street arcade. I could make out Suzy Kitchner’s long blonde hair and decided I’d take the school route and miss passing
the grouped youths. Suzy’s father was my dads boss. So I was obligated to be nice to her, Even though her regarded for others
was abysmal at best. Suzy associated wealth with deafness. The poorer you were, the less you could hear. The richer you were,
the more she’d loosen her lips. I came from a middle class family. We didn’t live in luxury, but we didn't want for much either. I
was raised by a 1960’s hippie and a 1950’s school teacher. Good working class people who instilled me with empathy,
knowledge and passion. I wasn’t about to jeopardize my soul for the sake of being seen at Suzy’s lunch table.

I quickly turned the corner and padded off to the school parking lot. For a minute I thought I heard someone call after me, but
decided it was best to keep my head down and commit to a hard pace to follow. I sprinted the 4 blocks to the school.
The school was very dark, I could barely make out the bright yellow parking lines that ran the edge of the track. Why was the
parking lot light off? In 4 years of running this same route, I’d never seen the lights not on after dusk. I slowed my pace and approached the lamp post. I glanced at the ground and found a spray broken glass. It looked like some kids had thrown some
stones and abandoned the mess. Just then I felt a trickle of glass on my head and shoulders. I stepped back a few feet and
looked up to the light fixture. I didn't see anything at first. My eyes were adjusting to the sky, I thought I caught a glimpse of
what looked like a bird flying near some pine tree tops across the track field. I rubbed my eyes and squinted to try and make out
the shape. I couldn't locate the figure again. I hadn’t even been sure I’d seen the shape to begin with. I chalked the encounter up
to one of the many barn owls we had in the area. I pressed on, determined to get at least a solid mile in at the track. Owls or no

I used my cell phone light to illuminate the fence that surrounded the track field. After the school closed, my brother and I had
found a sizeable slit cut in the fence. We used this to find our way in and out of the field and art room entrance. I was a bit bigger than when we were kids, so I found myself awkwardly shimmying through the twisted metal. Once through, I found the field
almost darker than the other side of the fence I had just come from. At the time, this brought a sense of wonder. The secrecy
and thrill of darkness all around me.

I retied one of my laces that had been pulled loose by one of the fence spines. I stretched my shoulders and started around the
track. The track brought back so many memories of being a kid. Field days, school events, public picnics and learning to ride
bikes along side countless other kids. Running here came with the comfort of familiarity. I had been around this field so many
times in my life, I’d committed every inch of it to memory.

The end of the track closest to the school had a long jump pit and a goal post. The far end of the track had the second goal post
and behind it were large strategically placed boulders for kids to climb on. These boulders were round, smooth rocks with a reddish cream color. They were definitely not the kind of basalt rocks we had in the area. More like the rocks you’d see in Arizona or
California. As a kid I thought they even smelled different. It’s strange how used to our surrounding we can get. So familiar to
what we know that even the smell of the earth around us let’s us in on any secrets.

I was on my third lap around the field when I was just about to pass the boulders. I’d had my head phones in on my left side, the
side closest to the boulders when I caught movement out of my left eye. I stopped running and looked towards the rocks. I took
out my earphone and listened. I couldn’t see anything. I didn't hear anything. What had caught my eye was no where to be
found. I looked around the rocks, across the field. Nothing out of place. I took in the oblong, oval rocks for a minute longer. Two
larger boulders about 5 feet tall were placed in the middle. Three smaller boulders to their left and two medium ones tightly
packed to their right. Although the solemn statues exuded an eerie stillness, I pushed the feeling of unease back and started
around the track once again.

My mind went back to the owl. I looked around the sky as I came up on lap 4. I’d started to feel a little out of place by then. I
dedicated to my last lap, before I’d head home. I approached the boulders once again. No movement, no sounds. I was just
about ready to sprint the last half of the track when the hair on my neck pricked. I stopped abruptly. My stomach seemed to
puzzle my surroundings together before my mind had. A sickly urge wrenched in my belly as I took a few steps back to face the
boulders squarely. Two big boulders in the middle. Three to left. One to the right. 1,2,3,4,5,6. Where was the 7th boulder?
Where the two boulders had been tightly packed to the right, there now lay a sizeable gap.

This was no trick of the eye. No miscalculation of space. There had been something in the ghostly gap before. Now, that something had left it’s dark perch. Panic swept over me quickly. Whatever had been there, was definitely gone, and no doubt, was
very aware of my presence. The feeling of eyes upon me swelled immediately. My palms sweated and I’d shivered so violently
that even in the darkness my uncontrollable tremors had to be visible to who or whatever had inflicted them.
My mind jumped from one swirl of action to the other. Sprint for the cut fence and risk the gnarled metal entrapping me, climb the
8 foot fence and hope I was fast enough, or go for the Art room entrance to the school and cut my running time by half. Going back
to the parking lot meant I’d have to run around the school, where as going through the school was a much quicker option. I quickly
decided to make a run for the desolate structure.

I calmed my nerves, tried to tame the jelly like feeling in my knees and ankles. I figured a clear head was my best bet. It’s always
the screaming girl who panics and gives away her position, that the psycho killer finds first. Whoever or what ever had been sitting
there in the dark, black silence, was much bigger than I. Probably faster too. I’d convinced myself that maybe my night stalker had
not noticed my discovery. I forced myself back into an easy, but quick pace. Not looking around too much to seem obvious. I ran
about 90 feet when all hope I’d had dropped into my stomach like a black, heavy stone. A sickly noise rang out about the same
time I saw it.

My brain fizzled with confusion as I realized the sound I’d heard had been my own throaty gasp. The rest of my body shuddered to
a rickety stop. There, in the middle of the track about 30 feet in front of me, was the disappearing boulder. The dark, towering silhouette materialized in the darkness as it sat in silence waiting for me. I couldn’t make out it’s features. The thing was a dark oval
shape about 2 feet wide by 6 feet tall. Taller, thinner and darker than when it had imitated the planted rocks.

I grabbed my chest, feeling my pulse tear at my throat and temples. I was stunned into stillness. My knees shook slightly and I swallowed hard. I had no clue what was happening or what to do. About 10 seconds of pure dark dread passed between us when the
first sound since my weak sob came coldly through the air. The low soft clicking like that of a creaky door being opened painfully
slow, broke the silence. This was the moment I realized the terror of my company. Whatever was making that sound, was unmistakably the clicking bug sound I’d heard much earlier on my run. The sound penetrated deep into my bones. It clanked around my

skeleton with hollow thuds. Not only was the sound terrifying, but completely inhuman. The giant form of looming blackness, was
not something I could talk down, nut check or threaten with the promise of police reports. This was something purely animalistic.
Primal. I played out my life’s journey in my mind, trying to find some bit of wisdom to help me survive this approaching doom. I
scrambled from one thought to the other, run, don’t run, fight, play dead? What was I to do? Not knowing what would happen
next, we just stood there in a dead lock of silence and sweat. I don’t know how, or why, but I managed to interpret it’s hesitation
as act of intellect. Don’t ask me why. To this day I still don’t know what was going through my head. I’d decided to speak. Once
again, I’d hoped this was the moment in life where I was some magical princess or lucky Irish kid who was about to befriend a mystical beast of enchantment. Maybe I was mere moments away from an entrancing connection between human and fabled legend.

I raised my hands slowly as if to imply a “it’s ok, I wont hurt you” kind of gesture that might comfort a cowering canine or scared
child. I opened my mouth to offer some kind of introduction or truce, but was stopped by an abrupt action I couldn't have been
ready for. The creature charged in a blink of an eye. The Beast quickly scrambled at me like a long limbed orangutan, with lanky
black arms that reached out in front of the beasts body and swung the rest of its great mass behind them. Between the wide eyed
fear and the ever gorwing darkness between us, I was unable to see or even grasp any of it’s features. What used to be 30 feet
between us was now, 20. Haunches. As the beast advanced at a horrific speed, my numbed, motionless eyes could make out a
gaunt, but muscular canine sort of build. Thick and massive haunches lept towards me. 15 feet away. The creatures feet scraped
across the gravel track as its limbs swung and cantered in long, heavy stride. 10 feet away… This time my mind blurred the image.
Panic pulsed against the backs of my eyes. I’d just begun to focus my paralytic gaze on the monsters face, when I glimpsed a flash
of fangs. Any hope I’d had of a clear view vanished with the inability to comprehend the terror that hurled it’s flesh and fang towards me.

As the thing neared, I stood there in utter shock. Locked in a trance of fright. I thought to run, but seeing it move so quickly was
enough to guarantee id be caught. It was but 4 feet away when I made the quickest maneuver of my life. The creatures long arm,
which I could now see had a three clawed finger like appendage at the end, reached out for my should and no doubt, my soul. At
the last second, my whole body dropped in auto pilot as I took a knee. The thought of my older brother at one of his football
games glimmered in an hazy reverie. The creature had expected me to run, just like in my brothers game. The creature toppled
over me with the moment of a semi truck taking a 90 degree turn at max speed. As I hugged my knee, I waited not one second
longer and propelled myself forward in a full out adrenaline fueled sprint towards the school. I didn’t bother to look back. Whether
it had worked or not didn’t matter, I had this one chance to run like hell and try to make it to the safety of the brick and mortar

I was half way to the building when I heard the creature let out a guttural groan of frustration. The sound was further back than I
had expected. The thing probably looked and felt just as embarrassed as the burly young man my brother had surprised. I was 20
feet from the door when I heard another sound. The faint clicking sound the creature had first let out. It was closer than the grunt,
The lock gave way with a jolt and I landed hard against the floor . I kicked the metal shield shut with my right foot and locked the
handle. Within seconds the other side of the door shook ferociously as the creature collided with the cold, sealed passage. The
door creaked and screeched as the beast clawed and pumbled the side of the building. The thing didnt bother to fumble with the
door knob. I found more comfort in this than I thought I would. This thing was definitely aggressive, fast and enraged, but it was
not intelligent. Not some mutated science experiment with human like smarts. An animal. Just an animal. I could handle an animal.
Or at least that’s what adrenaline had convinced me of.

I took my phone from my pocket and dialed my dads cell. He answered on the first ring.
“Help me dad!” I pleaded. “I’m in the old school and being chased by some kind of animal! Help me, it’s going to kill me! help me!
He didn't hesitate for a moment. “I’m getting in the car, don’t hang up!” he yelled.
The room had fallen silent. I was now very aware of how quiet the building was, and how loudly my voice bounced from cold surface to cold surface. I walked to the classroom doorway and opened it out into the main hallway. I hushed my voice “I’m inside the
school. I’m going to go to the front door by the flag pole. Drive right up to the front doors.”
“ok, ok. Don’t go outside until you see my head lights! For gods sake, an animal? Like a dog or cougar?!” he said.
“no, not like that. It’s huge dad.” tears welled in my eyes and my voice cracked. “claws, teeth and it can fly.” I whispered.
“Fly? It can fly? Are you sure? What the hell kind of animal is it?! Maybe it’s rabid? Did it bite you? Are you alright?” he bounced
from one question to the other in an attempt to calm his nerves with as much information as possible.
“No, I’m alright.” I lied. Upon further inspection and the effects of adrenaline wearing off, I had a sizeable gash across my right
shoulder. The thing must have winged me as a took a knee.

I was half way down the hallway, just 50 feet from the front door. Satisfied with my answers, my dad had fallen quiet himself. The
silence of the tiled hallway was thick. The gushing of my own pulse inside my ears gave an element of anatomy to the barren structure. With every pint of blood racing from heart to head, I was sure the building it’s self was alive. As if I might pull open a locker and find it’s own veins pulsing with terror. Thoughts rolled around my head. I tried to find some kind of sanity amidst the frantic episode of peril and pursuit. Alas the only comfort I found was raw emotion.

I started to cry. Sad, heavy sobs of pity and fright fell from my mouth. I had never cried like that before, Let alone in front of my
dad. The creature was starting to take on a whole new light. The broken lamp light, the owl in the distance, the clicking sound and
the vanishing boulder. The horrific creature was playing predator, and I was cast the prey. The beast might have taken me at any
point after I had left the safety of the java shop. The creature had had plenty of opportunities to grasp me in it’s clutches. I trembled uncontrollably with tear and terror. This winged beast of claw and fang was playing a game. Stalking and striking fear as it
pleased. In a way, both enjoying and prolonging it’s chase. The psychological warfare had left me exhausted and scared.
“Honey don’t cry! Don’t cry, it’s going to be ok, I’m almost there! You have to stay calm, stay alert, stay…” the rest of his assurances
were interrupted by a horrendous shattering of glass. The crescendo of bursting window rattled the entire structure. I didn’t need
to pin point the sound. The integrity of my shelter had faltered and now served as a dark tomb, Holding both my assailant and I in
it’s clutches.

The front door was only 20 feet away when the sound rang through the hallways of tile and metal lockers.
“It’s inside! It’s inside!” I half screamed and whispered.
“Get out of there Jess! Get out now! Run for the car! Run to me Jess!”

I dropped the phone and lunged for the front door. The escape bar didn't budge. I frantically tried the other side of the double
doors with the same result. I looked around wildly for any other escape. I looked back down the dark hallway to the far end of the
school. The windows that looked out to the playground shone just enough light for me to see that the hallway was still empty. I
fiddled with the locking mechanism and still nothing happened. Just then My fathers truck came into view at the other end of the
parking lot. His tires squealed as he turned the corner and clipped the sidewalk. He was so close! Not even 200 feet away.
Then, the sound came again. A low clicking. The sounds reverberated off the walls. Lapping over me like a cold thick wave of icey
water. The thing was looking for me. Sending out its call like a twisted game of Marco Polo. The sound was far away, but behind me
no doubt. I turned to see the massive creature perched at the far end of the hall, staring down the long corridor. It was still. Very
still. I’d not had the time to figure this game of cat and mouse, but a thought came to me. Could this beast see me? The clicking
I looked over my shoulder back to the doors. The windows. If I could use the chair to…

Movement came. The creature glided forward about 20 feet, stopped to the right and let out another set of clicks. He was closing
the gap. Getting closer, and finding his way to me. My fathers head lights flared in the window.
I bolted for the chair and picked it up by the back. I swung the chair high over my head as another symphony of clicks rang out closer. The metal legs of the chair broke through the upper pane of the right door with one massive burst of glittering glass. I placed
the chair against the door and thrust myself through the opening. The edges of the tempered glass punctured my hands as I toppled against the hard ground.

The massive beast was right behind me. I turned back to see his large fanged head gnashing down at me. It’s large German shepherd like snout crinkled as it’s lips curled to reveal long, white and viciously pointed canines. It’s ears were massive and sat forward
on it’s head, almost like cat’s ears. They slowly laid back against it’s head as the creature bore it’s teeth. The beasts eyes were by
far it’s most shocking attribute. It’s amber glowing eyes stared longingly into mine, and for a brief moment, I considered them captivating. At first wide and honey like, then adjusting to the beam of head lights, it’s brow narrowed and it’s gaze deepened into a
gaze of pure hatred and malice. The amber darkened and the creatures face contorted with rage. I was in a dead lock gaze with the
beast. I’d dare not look away.

Just then My dad grabbed me by the arms as he hoisted me upward.

The beast broke trance first as it thrashed it’s head from side to side. It writhed back and forth and twisted inside the small, broken
window frame. It howled in fury and violently lashed its talons against the metal door. The horrid chalk board and nails sound with
it’s guttural grunts was a symphony for nightmares.

“Jesus!” my dad exclaimed as we starred disbelievingly at the chomping jowls of teeth and black gums. “What the hell is that

He didn't look away from the creature as he dragged me across the sidewalk and tossed me in the drivers side of the his truck. He
nearly sat on me as he hopped in the cab. He flashed on his high beams and the creature let out an ear piercing shriek. It flailed
against the window frame and tore it’s heavily fur coated shoulders. The beast nearly resembled the shape of a man now. His long
and muscular legs bent back like that of a dogs, but his shoulders, arms and torso were more human than not. It’s long arms scrambled to find leverage. It’s hands revealed 3 long fingers with eagle like talons, and two more fingers were found higher up it’s forearm. The things left wing had partially made its way out of the window. For a second, I thought the creature might just wriggle its
way from the broken pane and continue it’s pursuit. But then something else happened. It’s attempts at escape became more frantic and careless. The creature started to gasp, loose some of its ferocity… The thing, was in a panic. Winded by it’s struggle, The
creatures face took on a look of fright. His fangs whirled frothy drool as it’s head frantically lashed from side to side. It's shoulder
muscles further tore against the glass and blood began to drip down the door. It was trapped.

“Dad.” I said softly. “you need to kill it.”
“what? What do you mean? Right here, now? What’s happening?!” he sounded shocked. After all this, now, he sounded shocked.
“If that thing gets out, it’s going to be someone elses daughter or…” before I could finish the words, my dad threw the gear shift
into reverse. We stalled for a moment after putting about 30 feet between us and the creature. At first We seemed to be fleeing.
Then m dad shifted into drive and peeled the tires in a flash of acceleration. The monstrosities face sputtered one last burst of fang
and drool as the truck popped up the curb and slammed into the beast and the double doors. The truck didn't hesitate one moment. As soon as we hit the doors we were 20 feet down the hall. The engine squealed, or maybe it was the creature. To this day
I’d like to think it was the truck. As much as I’d wanted the creature to perish, I was not a gluten for punishment or one to relish in
the thought of suffering.

The truck came to a dusty halt. The high beams lit the inside of the hallway as dust and debris pelted the roof and hood. We sat
until there was absolutely no noise. The dust cleared and a dark red smear embedded with glass and drywall particles streaked
across the tip of the mangled hood. My dad reached over and firmly squeezed my arm.
“Are you alright?” he asked.
I nodded.
“Don’t you get out of this truck.” he said calmly.

He opened his door slightly. He peered up through the crack in the door, down to the floor and behind the truck. He fully opened
I slowed a bit and nodded back. I peered around the back of the truck, down past the bumper. There were two things I noticed. The
first one, was a large, black, silky leg. The four padded paw resembled a wolfs, but nearly 4 times the size. The leg was muscular,
almost like that of a well toned man. Its pads shone black, curved talons that measured almost 3 inches long. The rest of the leg
past it’s haunches disappeared beneath the truck. Second, I noticed something that to this day, truly put the fear of god in me. The
approaching sound of police sirens dulled in my stupor. I starred mindlessly down at the appendage as tears began to fall down my
cheeks and my lips quivered.

“What’s wrong? What is it Jess?” He slid over clumsily, nearly slipping over debris.
He stared down at the scene and cupped his hand over his mouth. He pressed on his cheeks and jaw as he suppressed a light
groan. Red and blue lights flickered around the hall.

There, around the creatures ankle, was a chain link dog like collar. A rusty tag dangled from the twisted dingy metal. It sparkled in
the flashing beams of red and blue. We both stayed silent. I felt my dads hands pull at my arms. We took a step back as the flashing
lights gleamed across the one singular word, crudely etched into the tag…
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