Once in a Lifetime – Chapter 13

Louise guided the other two to her special hideout, where her entire adventure began. 

It was a clearing in the woods, the size of a small home, marked most notably by an abandoned wooden tool shack with a missing door. Inside were a few sizable sticks and a wooden training sword. 

The front of the shack had two stumps near it, and beyond that were taller stumps, etched with numerous scratches.

“I used to come out here regularly. I needed to practice my sword skills! That was until all the cryptid stuff happened. Nobody still knows about it, so I’m sure we’re gonna be safe here!”
Davis glanced at the shack, and around the area. Nothing but the trees and thicket of the forest.

“Are you sure nobody will bump into us here? Or nothing else?”
She scoffed. “Who ELSE goes into the woods near the end of the day?”
He shrugged, brain still clouded with exhaustion.

“Monsters? Like monster spiders? Let’s just, not stay here long. I want to get some food and rest.”

The shapeshifter perked up. “Royalty Burgers?”
“That’s too far away. I was gonna just-”
He realized who he was conversing with.
“Oh uh… Maybe? They could deliver or something, I don’t know. You could always go somewhere else.”
Louise marched over and sat down on one of the stumps, and Davis sat across from her. The cryptid sat right next to him. 

“All right, so what’s goin on with you? Why didn’t you just scurry away and never bug us again?”

“I can imitate well, but I cannot be a bug. They are too small of a size, even for my abilities.”

Davis snorted, Louise glaring at her.

“Let me put it in simple terms. Why do you need help from us?”
Her face turned fearful.

“It was not me who wanted to hunt you. I was forced to by a Master.”
Louise rolled her eyes. “Suuuure.”
She smiled. “I am happy you understand!”
“That was sarcasm.”
“Louise, just, let her speak. Please, uh… Do you have a name?”
She stared blankly. “Like Louise? No. Do I need one?”
“Uh I think? I mean it would help with-”
Louise cleared her throat. “Name talk isn’t explaining anything.”
“Oh, right. So, who was your Master?”

“I do not know who . A long time ago, I was captured by several men. I do not understand why. I stayed far away from their territory. I made sure not to hurt others, and they still hunted me. They caught me by surprise, and forced me to fall asleep.”

“You think that was P.A.I.N?” Louise asked Davis.

He shrugged. “Could there be other monster hunters out there? I mean we know Kirino.” He turned back to the shapeshifter.

“Please, continue.”

“After a long time, I woke up, trapped in a box made of metal. All there was inside was a small pool of water I could drink. There was no food in there, but I could smell a lot of it. I could also smell several new smells, ones of creatures I did not recognize.”
Louise raised an eyebrow. “By couldn’t recognize, you mean cryptids, right? You smelled other cryptids?”

She cocked her head. “Am I a cryptid? If you mean other creatures like me, yes. They all have a similar scent. Food like deers and cow smell similar to grass, dirt, and other parts of their surroundings. Others do not. They smell like an imitation of food.”

“Maybe it could have been a P.A.I.N. holding facility?” Davis questioned.

Louise shook her head. “P.A.I.N is all about studying cryptids I thought? Why release one after capturing, even for just, killing us? Wait, now that I think about it, wouldn’t it be easier for them to arrest us if they figured out our identities or something? I know I’m tough but if they told my mom I did a crime, I’d be kinda powerless there…”
“May I keep going?” The cryptid interjected.
Davis nodded.
“Days without food passed, until they dropped a figure made of straw into my room. A voice spoke, telling me to destroy it. I refused. I was shocked. I destroyed the figure. Then, they dropped in food; It was a dead cow. Days passed, and this pattern continued. The figures became tougher to destroy each time. Sometimes they moved around, sometimes they were placed into cars. Other times, they were live humans. My instincts told me that I should not harm the humans, but if I did not follow him, my master would have killed me. It became more difficult when the humans were armed, and attacked me. Some days, I had to destroy only one target out of a group. This continued for a long time. Days ago, they showed a photo of you two, and a photo of the building you went to every morning. He ordered me to kill you, allowing me to leave my cage to do so. I knew the consequences if I failed. If he found me before, hiding was an unlikely option too. I had to kill and return to him.”

“So you were really doing this all because of food?” Louise scoffed. “You’re as dumb as a trained dog! We’re surrounded by food. There’s deer in the woods, and lots of stuff thrown out in the garbage too. Even wild dogs know that!”

“There is little food in the woods. All the deer are gone. Birds are not enough. Anything involving humans has too much risk. There were others like me. They tried to hide among and steal from Humans. Every single one was found out, and I never saw them again. Deer don’t do that. If they are eaten, the deer do not gather together to fight their predator.”

Louise stared, arms crossed with a stern look.

“So just give you a good hamburger and you break your training just like that?”

“The burgers are very good, very filling. They taste better than deer too. It may be risky, but hiding among humans may be my only choice. It is the only way I know how to avoid my master, and his predator.”

“Predator? Another cryptid you mean?”
“Yes. Humans called it Scarecrow. I only know its scent, but learned of its threat from others. It was made to hunt down my kind, and I smelled its scent when in my cage.”

Davis shook his head. “This still seems so elaborate. Somebody, other than P.A.I.N or the government, wants me and Louise dead. If they’re gonna use illegal means, why not just hire a hitman or something?”
“Maybe whoever knows about us is aware it’ll take more than bullets to take me down!”
“Still… Something doesn’t feel right…”
“I want to improve my hiding. I am asking for you to help me hide with humans better. If I do so, maybe I can avoid Scarecrow. Perhaps my master will think I’m dead.”

Staring at her desperate face, Davis opened his mouth.

“Yes, we-”
Louise put her hand in front of Davis. “Hold on, what’s in it for us? You try to kill us then ask for our help? That’s not fair.”
The cryptid cocked her head.

“It’s like, we keep you hidden well from this scarecrow, and you do something for us as well. Like… Think like for the burger stuff. You give them money, they give you a burger. You can do something for us, and we help you hide.”

“What can I do for you then?”
“Well, you can shapeshift, that’s handy, but there’s something more I think you can do. A long story short, Davis and I have to hunt other cryptids and stuff, to keep our home safe. There was this one big one called a Wendigo that was really tall, had a deer skull, big claws and teeth. They’re big and scary like that.”
Her eyes lit up. “I know of that cryptid. Many of them died because they attacked humans, and were exterminated in turn.”
Louise’s eyes beamed. “So you get what I mean! You say cryptids have a specific scent to them, right? How about this: we keep you hidden from your master, and you in turn can help sniff out more cryptids for us to hunt, and help us hunt as well. Does that sound fine?” 

She nodded. “I agree. I do enjoy hunting, so I know I can help you there well. Thank you for helping me.”

Louise smiled, pumping her fist to herself. Davis stared sheepishly. “We don’t need to force her to help us.”
“Well, now things work out better, right? Hopefully you can get an extra bed when the two of us have to crash at your place together.”

His sheepishness turned to annoyance. “Oh, that’s how it’s gonna be, huh? Why can’t she stay at your shack?”

“‘Normal humans’ that she wants to pretend to be like don’t live in the middle of the woods. YOU got a nice empty house. I got my parents to worry about enough… WAIT A SECOND, MY PARENTS!”
She took out her phone, quickly dialing her mom, running away.
“Look, I gotta get back. I got chores and stuff and my mom is probably PISSED I didn’t tell her I’d be gone for so long! Just take care of the cryptid please!”

Davis watched as she stumbled into the thicket, sprinting towards civilization. He turned back to the cryptid, who was staring as well.

“I’ve seen other people talk into those things to talk with others over a long distance. How do they work?”
“Those are called cell phones, and uh… I don’t really know. Something about invisible waves?” He shook his head. “Anyways, I’m still hungry. Let me show you where I live, since you gotta be somewhere safe.”

With how often he was trekking out into the woods, Davis was starting to enjoy the precarious location of his home. No matter how dangerous things got, food, bed, warmth, and relative safety was pretty close by. He unlocked the back door and motioned for the shapeshifter to enter.
She slowly walked in, glancing around the living room. She was eying the couch, the TV, and other appliances as Davis walked to the kitchen, pulling open the freezer.
With the clunk of the door, she whipped her head towards the noise. She observed from a distance as he pulled a frozen burrito out of the fridge. She crept closer, and he glanced at the approaching cryptid.

“You want a burrito?” He held out the frozen food.
She snatched it from his hand and bit into it, her teeth cracking through the ice. She chewed with a disgusted expression on her face, and she swallowed. 

“Why is this so cold? It has no flavor either. I thought more of your food would be like the burgers.”
“You’re supposed to uh… warm them up first. They’ll taste better that way too. Just uh, put it here.”
He held out a plate, and she placed it alongside an intact burrito. He put it into a microwave, powering it on.

“This thing is a microwave. It’ll warm it up in no time.”

The food slowly rotated on the turntable, and she pushed past him to stare. Over the minute it was in there, she saw the small bits of ice melt away.

“How does it do that?”

“Something about microwave radiation. I really don’t know how it works other than it does.”
“You don’t know much about these objects you use, don’t you.”
“Not like I NEED to know. As long as they work.”
She continued to stare at the food. “So what happens if this stops working? I have seen other devices like cars stop working. Do you throw them out like those cars?”

“Well, probably. Maybe I could call somebody like a technician. They’re people who know how a lot of electronics work, and they could fix it. Though it might cost less to buy a new one.”

She still stared at the microwave, focused on understanding how the so-called microwave radiation worked. “Maybe I can find a technician and he can answer my questions.”

“Yeah, I don’t think they’d answer too much for free unless they’re like, really friendly.” Davis leaned against the counter, staring up at the ceiling.

“So…. about a name.”

“I mean if you’re going to stick with us, I’d prefer to not call you cryptid or shapeshifter or something. Especially since that might make you stand out too much in public.”
“That is fine, I would like to stand in. How do you get a name?”
“Typically our parents name us but… Do you even have parents?”
“Those who birthed me? I do not know where they are. Will I have to find them to get a proper name?”
He shook his head. “No no, we can still decide on something. I think it should mean something that’s like, cool. Or something that’ll fit how you are.”
“How can a word be cold?”
“No, I mean like, something when you hear a name it makes somebody go ‘oh wow that’s a neat name’.”
“But I thought I was to not draw attention to myself?”
“Well a name won’t draw THAT much attention, but like… It SHOULD matter. Let me think of something…”
He furrowed his brow and rubbed the bridge of his nose. 

“I guess… What things do you like? We could start there.”
“Food. Especially Royalty Burgers. I want to go there again. There is a thrill to hunting too, but it has been forever since I have been able to hunt an animal for a meal.”
“I mean, figures you’d like hunting. What do you hunt? Or like, animals you like hunting the most.”
“I can hunt any animal. Cows are tasty, but are with humans, so too risky. Deer are the most common but I am greatly excited by changing and adapting to surprise or pursue prey.

“Royalty burgers, hunting…”
He rubbed his forehead.

“Why not Queen?”
She turned away from the food, staring at him. “Queen?”
“You like royalty burgers. Queen is royalty. Plus with your shapeshifting you’re probably some kinda apex predator to whatever you hunt and stuff. Apex, royalty, yeah? It sounds cool too.”
“Queen…” She mused to herself. “I will accept that name. I hope others don’t find it too cool. Too much attention causes problems.”

“Nah, Queen is really cool. People will like that in a good way, not an ‘attracts hunters’ kinda way. Plus you look pretty mysterious too. That just adds on to the cool factor.”
She looked at her all black fit, black hoodie over her head, red-and-blue camo shirt and black boots. “This will attract good attention?”

“I mean from a distance, but people will know you’re too cool for others, so they won’t really approach you.”

“I see… There is a lot more to being ‘cool’ I need to observe and understand.”
The microwave began beeping, and Queen leapt away, vaulting over the counter and hiding behind the couch.
“Oh uh, the food is ready.”

She crawled out as he pulled the plate. She felt the heat of the burrito slightly, blowing on it a few times, before taking a bite.

“This… It tastes good. But there’s no meat…” She looked upset, continuing to take bite after bite. She stared at Davis, who had only taken one bite out of his.

“That wasn’t enough… I’m still very hungry.”
Staring at his, he shrugged. Louise wasn’t here to launch any sandwich attacks. He offered it to her. She quickly took it, gobbling it down.

“They are so small, but strangely filling… I still prefer the burgers.”
“I mean if it’s meat you want, there are some burritos that mix in the meat.”
Her eyes widened. “Burgers are similar to the burritos if I think about it. Mixing some plants with the beef for new flavors… Could you show me the meat burritos?”
Davis yawned. “Look, I’m sorry but I really need to sleep. Louise and I did a lot and all that fighting, and it’s got me way too tired…”
Queen stared for a moment before nodding. “Perhaps I can rest too, and save my energy. Then, I will eat a lot to make up for tonight.” 

“Sure sure… You can sleep on the couch there. Sorry if it’s not too comfortable-”
She leapt onto the couch, pleased feeling her body sink into the plush of the cushions. She stretched out, smiling.

“This will be very nice. Thank you.”
Davis rubbed his eyes, and hobbled to his bedroom. 

“Sleep well Queen!” 

He leapt into bed, burrowing himself in all his blankets. As sleep began to overtake him, his phone buzzed.

It was a message from Louise.

So, assuming the cryptid didn’t backstab you yet?

He sighed, opening the message.

Her name is Queen. And no, she’s just fine.

He put the phone down and closed his eyes.

Another ping from his phone.

Well, hopefully she doesn’t get ya in your sleep! I’ll be over tomorrow morning

Davis groaned to himself. For once, paranoia didn’t take over his mind. The cryptid already had a myriad of opportunities to take him out. He was confident she wouldn’t break his trust.





Queen was standing over Davis, shaking him.

“Davis. Davis, wake up. Your partner is here. Please come out of your cocoon.”

He groaned, turning on his phone. The clock read 10am as a pounding on the door shook the house.
“IM COMING.” He screamed in annoyance. A muffled voice screamed back.


He grumbled to himself as he walked over to the front door, flinging it open. It was Louise, dressed in an athletic outfit and with a small backpack slung over her shoulder.
She was wearing black track pants, a purple sweatband, a red sports tee with a bizarre alien figure printed on it. The figure itself looked like a gremlin, with a circular head, bug-like eyes, bat-like ears, and arms that looked like sporks.

“I was thinking last night, and it’s safe to assume your power is tied to your endurance. So, with some free time, we should work on just any sort of exercise to get your body’s endurance built up more!”
Davis returned a look of dread.
“No, I can’t… Im…” He shook his arm half-heartedly. “I still feel sore from yesterday. You’re not supposed to exercise when sore, right? Plus I also got allergies, and I didn’t get a good night’s rest too. I’ve been too stressed.”
Louise crossed her arms. “Uh-huh.”
Queen peeked from behind him. 

“Ah, so you didn’t betray Davis last night… I still have my eye on you cryptid.”
“My name is Queen.” She replied with a neutral tone.

“You know, she reminds me. What happens if we run into another cryptid like Queen, and snatches me away? You couldn’t even keep up with her for a block before she got out of sight!”
Davis bit his lip. “Yeah, but… Can’t we exercise a bit later? Just not today?”
“She is correct. Not all humans are as fast as me, but I know some are capable. If you can become like that, it would help your survival if you are going to hunt more cryptids.”

“All right, I get it! Fine, I’ll do your exercise stuff.”
“That’s the spirit! Now get dressed into something fitting!”

“But I’m already dressed and ready to go.”
“You’ll be drenched in sweat even faster if you exercise in that. Just… Take off the jacket, put on some better shoes, less baggy pants too.”
He looked away slightly. “I don’t have any clothes like that… None that fits my style…”

“Is your style important Davis?” Queen questioned. 

“Yeah, it’s like, remember how I talked about looking cool and mysterious? My outfit is all about showing how cool I am.”
“We’re going for a jog, not to impress people. If you’re afraid of people seeing you as uncool, I doubt anyone would recognize you without all…” She waved her hands around his giant jacket. “That.”

He groaned, heading to his bedroom and closing the door.
“You might wanna change clothes too, Queen. A hoodie is going to get you sweaty.”
“I am perfectly fine. These aren’t clothes, it is my skin. This look simply helped me blend in among those around Royalty Burgers at night.”
Louise squinted, staring at the hoodie. She reached out her hand, touching the material.

It was coarse.
She recoiled. “Oh, that’s… a weird feeling.”

“As long as nobody touches me, nobody will notice. It is fine.”
Moments later, Davis returned. He had changed into a cleaner, but still incredibly wrinkled white t-shirt. His baggy pants were replaced with wrinkly sweatpants, and boots replaced with old sneakers.
He was also still wearing his jacket, hood over his head.

“Is that seriously all you have… Why am I even asking? ANYWAYS, we’re gonna start with a jog to my house! Simply try to keep up, and if you need water, I got some!”

The jog was brief, only around ten minutes. Louise kept a good, consistent pace, and Queen kept alongside her, observing and mimicking the girl’s form.
Davis was trailing behind by several yards. The first minute of the jog, he was barely able to keep up. Now his jog had degraded into a fast walk. His lungs were burning, a feeling he was accustomed to, and his legs were pretty shaky. Halfway through, Louise slowed down to a walk just so she wouldn’t leave him in the dust.

Davis repeated the pattern of jogging for a minute, and then slowing down to a power walk for two, all the way until they reached Louise’s home. 

The yard and sidewalk had a fair amount of autumn leaves scattered all around. Waiting in the driveway was a man. His face was defined, but looked aged, eyes baggy from a lot of late night work. He was wearing slacks and a blue button up shirt. He was holding a rake in one hand, the other holding an empty bin.

He waved to the group.

“Nice to see you with others Louise! But that’s still not an excuse to skip out on your work at home. I know it’s fun-”
Louise waved back. “No, don’t worry dad! I have a bit of help, we can get all the yardwork done!”
Amidst panting, Davis looked up. “Wait, Louise, I thought you said we were going to exercise?”

“Endurance.” She responded. “If jogging is a bit too much for you, we gotta start with something simple: Yardwork. It gets you active, it shouldn’t be too exhausting to pull weeds and rake. Plus, you help me out at the same time! Your home looks well kept, don’t you do yardwork too?”
He looked at the ground. “Usually my family just hires landscapers to do that every other week…”



“AUGH, I’m just burning up here! Can I get more water please?”
Davis had finished raking all the leaves off the driveway and was working on pulling weeds. His face was flushed red, sweaty hair sticking to his forehead. He sat with his back against the garage door, wiping sweat from his face.
Louise was halfway through raking her front yard, she dropped her rake and hurried over to her friend. Queen was simply watching them the entire time. Pulling a water bottle out, she tossed it to him.

“I told you, if you take off that jacket you wouldn’t get so hot so fast. The air is nice and cool!”
He looked away, seeming nervous.

“I don’t want to mess up my style…”

“Well, you’re on your own here to finish weeding the driveway. Just take it off, come on, it’ll make stuff easier.”
He sucked in a bunch of air, and sighed.
He took off his jacket, awkwardly sliding it onto the floor.

The final mystery of Davis was revealed to Louise.
His body was very unimpressive.
His arms were very thin. Not unhealthy, but thinner than Louise’s. They had slight muscle tone, but again, nothing very outstanding.

Without his hood and jacket, his hair was revealed to be long, stretching down to his shoulder blades. 

He looked away in shame as Louise scanned him.

Queen scooted on over to see the un-jacketed Davis. 

“I think I understand now. Being ‘cool’ means hiding your true looks underneath clothing, to seem more different than others. I see why you wanted me to look cool.”

“No NO!” Davis yelled back. “Being cool just means you’re being cool! It’s my style, it’s what makes me look best to others!”

Louise shrugged. “Well, yeah it looks cooler than you now, but that’s because a blank t-shirt and sweatpants kinda sucks and looks bland. Plus, with a bit more exercise and muscle on those bones, you can make any outfit look cool!” She stared at his hair for a few moments. “Though right now, I think you shouldn’t have your hair like… Dangling around when doing work. Need something more practical.”
She bolted into her house, and returned moments level with a baseball cap.

“Just put this on and tuck your hair through the back. That’ll keep it organized and out of the way. Now, let’s get back to work!”

Soaked in sweat, Davis fell back onto the cleanly raked yard. His face was flushed red, his hair felt damp, heaving with every breath. He was happy he took his jacket off. Feeling the cool autumn air definitely helped his rate of work. If only it didn’t come at the cost of looking uncool.
Louise crashed down next to him, sweaty, but not nearly as winded. Queen did so as well.

“Feeling a good burn, huh? Just gotta keep with some physical tasks like this every day and you’ll start feeling stronger!”
“Please…” He wheezed. “I don’t wanna do your chores every day.”
“No, no worry about that. Though we’re going to do a jog to and from school every day, along with some light exercise after. When we have free time, at least.”
Queen sat up suddenly, staring at the front door. Louise’s mother emerged, carrying a platter of sandwiches and glasses of apple juice.

“Another friend already Louise? You sure you aren’t telling me about everyone you’re meeting?” She said teasingly. She placed the tray down not too far from the group. Queen stared inquisitively at the sandwiches and drinks.
“You like turkey, right?” She said to the pale-looking girl.

She froze for a few seconds, before nodding.

“What’s your name, by the way? Louise didn’t mention she was bringing a third friend along.”

“My name is Queen.” She said in a dull tone.

She chuckled, turning to Louise. “Now you’re making friends with royalty too? Hiding these  friends because you don’t want me asking for any money from them?”
“I do not have money.” Queen responded. “He gives me it.” She pointed at Davis.

His face scrunched up in embarrassment. “Queen uh… Please don’t say that.”
“Was what I said not cool?”
He nodded. “Yyyyup.”
“I gotta get some more work done today honey. If you three need anything, I’ll be inside.”
Queen leaned over to Davis, whispering. “She can’t really get us anything, right?”
“Yup, she probably just means stuff like food or water.”
The three grabbed a sandwich and began eating. Queen scarfed hers down in seconds, and stared longingly at Davis. He was just chewing his first bite, returning a judging stare.

“No, you can’t have this. I’m really hungry.”
“But the turkey was not filling at all. I didn’t eat much last night either.”
Louise shot a judging gaze at Davis. “You didn’t eat much last night, and I KNOW you missed breakfast too.” She stared at her half-eaten sandwich. “You’re lucky I can’t throw this at you right now…”
He chuckled. “Well, I got an idea.” He ran over to his coat, pulling out a $20 bill, handing it to Queen.

“You take this and go get some burgers for yourself. After that, just lay low or return to my house. Louise and I gotta handle something for the rest of the day.”
She snatched the bill. “Thank you.” She broke into a lightning-fast sprint down the street.

“What do you mean by something for the rest of the day? More cryptid research?”
“Well, remember friday? In history, I missed a bunch of test prep thanks to Queen stalking us. You missed it because you… Didn’t pay attention.”
“Uh… Yeah?”
“I’m not sure how much you are paying attention, but we do have two tests coming up, English on Monday, and History on tuesday. We’re going to sit down and study, make sure we get all our bases covered for this test.”
She dropped her face into her hands. “Oh come onnn… What’s one failed test going to mean? It’s not like the end of the world.”
She felt a strange presence. She turned around, finding her father standing behind her, holding some of the yard equipment. 

She shrank back.

“What’s your name again?” He asked.
“Davis, sir.”
“Davis, I’m glad you appreciate how useful an education is in this day and age. Louise still has a lot to learn, both in class and about life.”
He looked down on his daughter. “Now as for what a failed test means, we’ve got a lot of housework that still needs doing. If you don’t get at least a B, you’re gonna be taking care of all your mother’s work for the next week, got it?”
She grabbed her head. “ARRGGHHHH… Fine fine, I’ll study! You know, I’ll bring back an A to show you it wasn’t that big of a deal.”
He sighed, shaking his head. “I just want you to stick to your current responsibilities Louise. For your future’s sake, try to stay a bit more focused.”
He returned inside, and she turned to Davis, Fuming.

“Did you hear that? We’ve got big enough responsibilities as is.” She huffed, crossing her arms. “Why do we even need to graduate anyways. Aren’t you an engineering genius already? Why can’t you just build and sell nifty contraptions for a living?”

“Ok uh… First of all, like, I don’t wanna do that. Second, the less people know about what I ‘engineer’, the better.” 

It was 7pm, Davis pushed entered his front door, panting. Louise was on the sidewalk, waving.

“I’ll be here tomorrow morning so we can jog to school together! Get a good sleep tonight!”
His entire body ached. Sleep was all he could really think of. He stumbled past the living room catching Queen curled up on the couch again.
Hope she at least got to eat her fill.

His stomach groaned. He shuffled to the pantry, grabbing and munching on a granola bar. He kicked off his shoes, and dove into bed.

His body grew limp, letting sleep overtake his exhausted brain. 




Queen perked up. There was a scent in the air. It was sulfuric. Mixed in were the smells of rotting flesh, and metal powder. It was very distant, but approaching.

She thought about waking up Davis.
No, humans are not meant to be up at this time. Davis is worn from the previous day too.

Perhaps Louise could be of help?
No, her home is populated. It would draw too much attention.

Cryptids avoid large groups. But will Scarecrow follow this too?

She stood up, and fled, slamming the front door.

There must be some crowds, even at this time. I need to hide.

“This town’s got something eff’d up to it, I swear.”
Detective Gold was staring at a sports car, abandoned and crashed into a trench. He was on the road that would lead to the fancy homes in the foothills. 

A 17 year old student supposedly had crashed and died here. According to the police report, he was driving under influence, landed in the trench, and died. Body was so mangled, the parents couldn’t recognize it. The student’s parents had hired Gold, hoping to figure out what really happened. 

They claimed their son had never drank before, and they wanted to know what really happened.

While he couldn’t deny that it was drunk driving, there was definitely something more to it.

The front of the car was flattened, so it was hard to see inside. However, getting a good light and angle, the seats were completely shredded. It could have been an animal that came in after the crash, but the damage was too significant for any small creature to perform. 

Not only that, the rear tires were popped, seemingly punctured, and there were puncture marks dotting the rear bumper and trunk. They were holes the width of roles of duct-tape. 

“Well, at least they were safe. What’s up with teens and coming around here anyways?”

He sat in his car, turning on the engine. He thought about what he had to tell the parents. Maybe there was a chance the kid hit an animal, then swerved into a ditch? But then why was the car torn up like that?

He shook his head. “Maybe a crazy cow or bison attacked it? I heard they sometimes charge cars that are parked. But why lie about the DUI? Police incompetence? I need to visit the station to see that toxicology report.”
Thinking about all those bizarre circumstances made him think back to the few kids he picked up not too long ago.
“What’s up with kids and going out to big fields in the middle of nowhere? Something drawing them out here that leads to these deaths or disappearances?”
He saw headlights approaching from ahead.
It was a military humvee, escorting an armored truck.
He quickly took out his phone, snapping pictures of the license plates.

“Nearest military base is several miles out. None really have roads that connect to this path, unless they go offroad. Possibly connected to disappearances and deaths? Military conspiracy?”
After waiting for a few moments, he shifted into drive, trailing the armored truck. 

“Anything is a lead. Let’s hope this is my break in all these cases.”


One thought on “Once in a Lifetime – Chapter 13

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