Snippet the last, THE HUNT.

Finally got this done. Sat down to write it all out, too (I knew what was happening, right from the start).


surprise here.

Inside was — I don’t know, pottery stuff. I recognized a kiln, and tables with clay on it, and boxes of stuff. I’m no expert in any of that, though. Really, I knew it was a pottery station or whatever because Jimmy had said it was, earlier. You see what you expect to see.

There was a corpse on the ground, too. I stopped Jimmy’s movement forward with one arm. “Hold up,” I told him. “Mary?”

“Not a corpse,” she sniffed. “Obviously that’s a revenant. Completely guttered, though. It barely has enough juice left to keep from collapsing.”

I flicked a look at her. “That makes no sense, Mary. You’d need a month of constant use to drain a revenant that far –”

Four days, actually,“ a voice interrupted us. It was wheezy, with the faint clicking you associate with bones hung in the wind. “It helps if you’re using the husk for something.

05/28/2023 Snippet, THE HUNT.

Clearing the house!


It was just getting to dusk, and the power was out, but it wasn’t dark enough yet for my night vision to be helpful. I had to rely on my hearing, listening for the creaks and bumps that subconsciously tell you the difference between an empty house, and a house with somebody hiding in it. I’m not quite good enough to hear heartbeats, unless I’m right next to somebody, and even then I’m not sure if I’m just imagining it. It didn’t matter, though: what we were hunting down didn’t have a heartbeat anymore.

“Why aren’t we burning the house down?” Mary murmured, like she always does. She never means it, though. Sort of.

“Paperwork,” I reminded her. “Besides, maybe we can get this one to talk.” I flicked a look at Jimmy, but he wasn’t reacting. Thanks to the hormones, the deputy right now only cared about inhuman monsters, and killing them. It’s nature’s way of keeping the inhuman monsters in check, and it works; it also uses up people, because Mother Nature is a bitch. If I had known things were going to get this bad, this quick, I would have left Jimmy in his car, or possibly back at the station.

05/26/2023 Snippet, THE HUNT

Getting some work in before the weekend really starts.


Behind me, Mary was standing guard on the door. I could hear her breathing, which would have told me things were serious if I hadn’t already known. She’s got an amazing sense of smell, but to use it she needs a lot of air going through, and it’s hard not to notice that. If she was smelling something that justified making a potential scene…

“One more in the house,” she told me. “Maybe the other two are in the shed. Somebody spilled a ton of compost in there recently.” She flicked eyes over at Jimmy. “Can you get him moving?”

“Yeah,” I replied, ignoring her tone. Mary was just being very focused, that’s all. “Deputy! JIMMY! Look at me.” That got his attention, which was very good news. “Here’s the short version. Monsters exist, a really bad one just ate the people living here, now they’re monsters too. We have to put the ones down here, right now, and fast. Got me?”

I got a jerky nod, which was fine. Jimmy had a lot of hormones going through his system right now, including a few medical science wasn’t familiar with. Luckily, those hormones were the monster-killing ones. “Great. Reload while we move. The longer they survive, the tougher they get. Two-and-one might not knock down the next one.”

05/25/2023 Snippet, THE HUNT.

I really need to finish this up.


“Don’t throw up!” I yelled in the sudden silence, stepping forward and restraining myself from giving Jimmy a good shake. Cold of me, but we didn’t have time for any moral revulsion, or shame. “This isn’t over! Watch!”

Fortunately, the same unexpected reflexes that let Jimmy put three bullets in a teenager also made him pay attention as Rafe started pulling itself to its feet. Luckily — and unluckily — this was one of the ones that bled viscous black fluid when shot. You don’t need to explain black blood, really. People figure out right away that it’s a sign that some really heinous shit is going down.

Now I did start moving; I could feel Jimmy’s on my back as I pulled out a Bowie knife and buried it in a precise spot on Rafe’s husk, all in one smooth motion. I could also feel the unexpected resistance to the thrust, which was bad, bad, bad. Rafe the human couldn’t have been taken that long ago, but this husk felt far stronger than it should have been. That was a surprise, and surprises in my line of work are never nice ones. At least the husk collapsed properly into carbon dust, once the blade disrupted the framework that was keeping it coherent even in the absence of life force. So things weren’t hopeless, just pretty bad.

05/22/2023 Snippet, THE HUNT.

So, yeah, this isn’t a normal investigation.


I had picked the Garcia house because I was absolutely sure that the target knew the area by now, and that it had been obsessively thinking about this night for the last decade. Mary and I also had to assume that our target knew that there’d be an immediate reaction from the federal government, although we had a potential ace up our sleeve there. It was for certain that we couldn’t count on it making stupid mistakes, although arguably making a break for it when the wind turbine blew would qualify as one. I was trusting my gut when it told me that the target would right away go somewhere indoors that had people, and this was the best prospect.

My gut call looked more like a guess as we parked in the Garcias’ driveway. Nothing looked off; it was a two story wooden house on one side of the extra-wide driveway, with a prefabricated garage on the other. There were two cars and a pickup truck parked on the grass leading up to the garage, all looking fairly new, and the whole place was kept up. “They don’t seem to be hurting for money,” I said to Jimmy as we both got out of our cars.

“They’re not,” Jimmy replied. “Adrian does a bunch of business with Lockheed, over in Johnstown. I don’t know exactly what, but it’s probably industrial. He’s got a machine shop in town. Rafe would totally bring him something that looks like a computer.”

“Got it,” I replied, noting uneasily that Mary had her blank face on.

05/21/2023 Snippet, THE HUNT.

I was working on the other thing, and I may get back to the other thing, but I did 1.2K words of this thing in one setting and I’m not done for the day. I can take a hint.


The guy sent over by the county’s sheriff’s office was stiff as he showed us around the wreckage. We get two types of local cops in this thing of ours: whipped dogs who act like us being there is their fault; and junkyard dogs who think we’re going to try to blame them for what happened. I like the junkyard dogs better, honestly. There’s only two things a whipped dog is good for, and one of them is getting out of my way.

This one was named Jimmy Weathers, and he had definitely started off bristling. He’d been on the scene for an hour before Mary and I showed up, and been barely polite to us when we got there. I wanted to think it was because he didn’t like being out of his bed, or just at the beck and call of Feds, but I knew better.

“Can’t say I know why you still have me out here, Agent Koshi,” he ventured after the three of us had walked the site. “This isn’t really a job for the Cambria County Sheriff’s Office. I don’t think anybody’s gonna walk off with the pieces.”

I looked around, noting unhappily that it was getting to be late afternoon. He had a point; these big wind turbines don’t shred themselves often; but when they do, you end up with crap everywhere. There just wasn’t anything worth stealing, at least to the unobservant eye.

“Deputy Weathers, I know that you’ve been stuck out here for a while, and I’m sorry about that.” Which I was, but not for the reasons he thought.