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Crossing the Line

An old beaten down Buick rolled down a city street and pulled up slowly in front of a three story building. The street flashed red and blue, lighted up in the night by police cars. A man carefully got out of the car, avoiding a nearby puddle. He wore a big trench coat and didn't have an umbrella with him even though it was raining heavily. The man ran across the sidewalk to the entrance of the building and made his way inside.

"Are you a resident, sir?" Asked a uniformed cop before the man could even say a word.

"I'm afraid not."

"Then I can't allow you inside, sir. The whole second floor is a crime scene."

"I'm Danny Cross. Here to see seargent Wardell," Said the man and fished out an ID out of his pocket. He put it right in front of the cop's face.

"Outside consultant?"

"That's right. I consult in certain cases when the department needs my help. Now let me through."

The office let him through and Cross made his way up the old staircase to the second floor. It wasn't hard to guess where the crime took place. The door to the apartment were broken into and slightly overweight man stood in front. He looked like a cop from a mile off. It was the looks. Cop's suit, cop's shoes, cop's demeanor.

"Wardell, I presume?"

The man turned his attention to Cross, "You the consultant?"

"Yeah, that would be me."

"My predecessor, Briggs, he told me lots about you," Wardell said. "I just hope you're as good as he said. Now, follow me."

The two men went into the apartment, through the little hallway and into the living room. A blood covered dog lied tied up on the couch.

"Victim's dog," Said Wardell and pointed at him. "Someone ought to come soon for him. Other than messing up the crime scene trying he did no harm. He's been good with everyone."

Wardell watched the dog for a moment, probably pitying the poor animal, "Come, the body is here." He turned to his left and went to the bedroom that was connected to the living room. There was a body on the bed.

Cross stopped dead in his tracks. He cocked his head, bit his lip. The body was mutilated. Chunks of flesh scattered around the room. Blood covering the ceiling and the walls. Big, deep gashes across the woman's body. Her leg completely severed from her body. The face now unrecognizable.

"I did what Briggs told me to do. If I ever had a crime that was hard to explain, impossible even. I call you. Anything strange happens and I call you."

Cross nodded politely, "Thank you. How many people touched the body?"

"I tried to keep it to a minimum," Wardell said and leaned against a nearby wall. "What could do this? A wolf, a bear? But...no wolves or bears in an apartment in the middle of the city."

Cross knelt next to the body. He leaned over and sniffed the blood, ran his hands over the gashes and continued to inspect. Out of his pocket he produced a small vial. Cross took a tiny but of see-through liquid from inside one of the wounds. He pulled out a small bag of yellow powder from another pocket and put it in the vial. It only took a few seconds for the liquid to turn red.

"You're thinking in the right direction. Not a wolf though, or a bear. It's a werewolf," Said Cross and stood up again.

"Excuse me?"

"A werewolf." Cross paused for a second, looking around the room. "No time to explain. Just trust me. Who called it in?"

"Ummm...the neighbors. One of them broke the door, had a gun with him too. They heard screaming. Came in to find this."

"Broke the door in you said?"

"Correct."

"That means it was locked. Which means the killer left and locked up behind him, or he left through the window." He turned and glanced at the bedroom window, "It's closed. Either someone closed it later...or he did. There wasn't enough time to escape. if the neighbors came right in...he just couldn't have."

Cross continued scanning the room, the living room. Clicking his tongue every now and again. And then he froze, "Is there a dog's bowl in the apartment?"

Wardell was taken aback by the question, he took a second to compose himself before answering, "No. Why?"

"No dog's bowl, no dog food I presume, no dog's bed, no toys. And still there is a dog," Cross looked at Wardell, then back at the dog still lying on the couch. "Don't you find that odd? How did the killer escape, Sergent?"

"Where are you going with this?"

"He never did."

Cross reached for the inside of his trench coat. His reflexes were astonishingly fast. He turned on his heel, now facing the dog, but the dog wasn't lying anymore. The dog pounced across the room. His hand now pulling out a gun, Cross was ready. The dog howled like a wolf. His teeth grew in a matter of seconds. His legs bulked up and became hairier. The claws on his feet extending and extending. The dog grew twice the size, in mid-air. In just a second he transformed into a human sized, hairy creature.

His paw swung at Cross but missed by inches. He was just a foot away now and still airborne. Preparing to massacre Cross in a moment, but he had the gun pointed squarely at the monster. The gun went off. The creature flew back onto his rear. It whimpered like an injured dog. Cross had it in his aim once again, but the creature was fast. It jumped above him before he could pull the trigger and crashed through the window. The werewolf gracefully slid through the air, across the street and landed onto the other building. In a blink of an eye it ran off into the night.

Cross stood in front of the window, watching the dark night, "I bet you have a lot of questions."

Wardell shook from the horror with a blank look on his face, "I demand some information. What the fuck was that?" He shouted at Cross.

"Knowledge is the most important thing in the world, but...there are some things you don't need to know. This is one of them. "

"But...but..."

"No buts. Now, do exactly as I say. Keep this under the radar, bury the case. It doesn't get out. i get access to all the files, the body and everything I need. I get a check every week. My services aren't free. I'll catch you your monster. Either kill it, or arrest it. It depends. You don't say this to anyone. That's how Briggs and I did business. You do as I say and we won't have any trouble. Understand?"

Sergeant just stared at him for a few seconds, unable to speak, "Yeah. I understand. It can all be done."

"Good," Cross said and rushed out of the room. He was already at the front door and heading into the hallway before he said, "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a werewolf to catch."

Overall



Taking into consideration that you mentioned this was an "early draft" in your author's note, you have a good body of material to work with if you would like to expand this into something more. I think you do an excellent job of pacing. The conclusions drawn are easy to follow. That's great because it means you can have an element of surprise that doesn't feel "random". I think that's especially helpful considering that you are working within the 'crime drama' genre. Or at least, that's the mood I was getting from your work until Cross made his declaration about werewolves. What an interesting turn! I really liked that. 

 

Combining supernatural elements with the crime genre is a good call, something that can be refreshing if done right. It's original depending on how you want to go through with it. In your case, this is about a man solving "unexplainable" incidents with his knowledge of the "unknown". Which is definitely intriguing. As soon as Cross makes his diagnosis, it breeds curiosity about who he is and how does he know? And what else does he know? That curiosity is key to engaging the reader more down the line, if you were to continue this. And I feel like you could, or you have at least left yourself the room to, with the cliffhanger you use at the end. 

You also establish an interesting relationship with Wardell towards the end, when Cross is very strict about how he wants the matter to be handled, and how he expects to be paid. I was thinking the two men would have some sort of camaraderie but perhaps not. I think you should look into how you want to handle their dynamic. Do they resent relying on each other but suck it up? Will they bond eventually later on? Though the dialogue between them is not substantial enough to draw any conclusions, it does hint at some sort of past connection or mutual acquaintance. That guy named Briggs, for example. Who is he? 

 

These are just details that I feel you can expand on, because they happen to be the most interesting. What I do think you could use work on, however, is the writing itself. It's a little choppy and doesn't always flow well. Sometimes it gets redundant. For example, when Cross shoots the werewolf, you wrote: "He whimpered like an injured dog." You're using a simile that actually literally applies! Therefore, it's not effective. The descriptions could be stronger. For example, you give us this description of Wardell:

He looked like a cop from a mile off. It was the looks. Cop's suit, cop's shoes, cop's demeanor.

Why does this fail? You told us absolutely nothing. In the preceding line, you mention that he's overweight, but that's all we know. "Cop's suit, cop's shoes?" What does that mean? It's vague. It's meaningless. It gives the reader no mental image whatsoever. I don't know what a cop's demeanor is supposed to be, and I would rather you slip something in to demonstrate exactly what you mean by this. I would like to know what the man is wearing so that I can make some sort of inference about him based on appearance. 

Again, here:

The body was mutilated. Chunks of flesh scattered around the room. Blood covering the ceiling and the walls. Big, deep gashes across the woman's body. Her leg completely severed from her body. The face now unrecognizable.

This is weak description as well. I think you would benefit a lot from varied sentence structure. Combine long sentences with short ones. It will give your writing personality. This reads like a vague list and is not engaging. You could really take care to describe in a bit more vivid detail the extent of the gore. Also, another tip, trying to avoiding using the same words too often. For example, you say "deep gashes across her body" then the next line "her legs severed from her body". The word 'body' used in two sentences so close together reads awkwardly. Not only that, this paragraph is all fragments. Stylistically, fragments can be great for emphasis or impact, but what you have here is essentially a list in paragraph form. Try to fix that. 

Overall, I like this. Your strength is pacing and having interesting things happen in your story. However, your failure to make your descriptions of those events equally as compelling will be a hindrance to your readers.