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Long in the Tooth

Rumors about dark creatures staling folks in the night had plagued Shadow Ridge since Cal was a little boy. He never put much stock in that sort of talk, and he still didn’t.

The holes in his neck did make him wonder, though. More than anything, they made him scared, and mad.

When Janie woke up screaming in the dark on Monday, he was sure she was just having a bad dream. There was no one outside her cabin window, he told her.

Still, Sara insisted they bring the girl to bed with them.

Then, on Tuesday night, Cal slept in Janie’s bed, while his daughter snuggled up to her mother again.

“Just to make sure,” Cal had told Janie. Just to prove a point, more like.

So when he woke up Wednesday morning with blood on his sheets and a couple of puncture wounds in his neck, Cal buttoned up his collar tight and high-tailed it to the sheriff’s office.

Someone was messing around his house, and he wanted the law to do something about it.

“So, you say someone broke into your place last night, Cal?” Sheriff Hank Rivers was as old as the hills and had been at his job longer than anyone could remember. He moved his lower jaw back and forth. He looked like he was concentrating on something … counting, maybe.

“That’s right, Sheriff.”

“Do you have any proof?” Rivers leaned forward, piercing Cal with coal-black eyes. It felt like a challenge.

Cal moved the hard white rock between his thumb and forefinger. It was still gooey with the blood from his neck. He flushed under Rivers’ stare.

“Well, I guess not, Sheriff.”

Hank grinned, tonguing the hole where his missing canine had been.

“You let me know if anything turns up, you hear?”

Published inFlash Fiction

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