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The scene was horrible, the boy know as Alex Duvall was being lifted from a hole in the earth of one of North Carolina's vast forests. His face was barely recognizable. Most of the skin was removed, along with both eyes. He had a few teeth remaining here and there in his mouth, but most of those were missing too. His clothes were tattered and torn. Unidentifiable claw marks ravaged his body. This case was put to rest from the public in 1894. The creature responsible was never found.
Andria briskly walked up to her 2001 calendar and circled the 25th. She was about 8 and wore her hair in a braided pony tail. Her room was bright and cheery, filled with the pictures and items that the average 8 year old girl would normally own. She dressed up warmly, so that when she went outside the cold winter air wouldn't nip at her skin. The forest was very inviting.
The trees were leafless, so she would have a clear view of home, and the snow (which was rare) was also very inviting. Her parents were still asleep, but she guessed they wouldn't mind, and headed off into the forest. Since, she could see here home in the distance, she ventured out farther than usual. As she walked and played in the snow, she noticed strange prints she had never seen before. A four legged animal, hooves in the back, and a strange setup of long fingers in the front.
She imagined some sort of fantasy creature and eagerly followed the tracks. The tracks went on until poor Andria became lost. She was scared to go any farther, and didn't go any farther until nightfall. She thought that she would be retrieved before nightfall, yet she was terrified. As she followed the tracks, the unbearably cold air bit through her jacket. Finally the tracks came to an end, and she found a large hole in the earth. She heard the sounds of owls hooting and was very terrified by the dim lighting of the forest, so she entered the hole to hunker down for the night.
Come morning, Andria was looking around with bloodshot eyes. She had barely gotten any sleep at all. The hole branched off to a tunnel, one which Andria was much too sensible to follow. Unfortunately, she went down it anyway, and not on her own free will. Andria's parents had long since noticed her absence. Search parties were coving the woods. The tiny boot prints left by little Andria were now covered with the same prints she followed, and they led off in all directions. Some stopped abruptly. The hole that poor Andria decided to stay in was now level dirt, covered with snow like the rest of the ground. Her parents were saddened as Andria had not been recovered after a week of searching.
Andria's parents were not the sort of people to give up, so they hired John Reginald. They read his profile and he had solved almost every case he attended. He was a tracker, and an expert at finding missing persons. He was informed of all the details of Andria and left to search the vast forest. He found the same horrible tracks Andria had followed just a week earlier, oddly though, they were fresh. He followed them to the middle of nowhere, and then they stopped. He walked over and beat upon a tree with frustration.
As he did, he saw scratches on the tree. They looked about the right size for the hideous long claws on the fingers in the tracks. He saw them going up, so up he climbed. He got to the end of a large, sturdy branch where the tracks mysteriously vanished again. He cursed beneath his breath and noticed the same claw marks on a tree nearby. Obviously what he was chasing had wings that could cover short distances. He followed the odd markings to a large hole in the earth. He found a tunnel in it, which he followed. As he was walking, the earth beneath him gave away and he plummeted down.
He fell atop the target of his search, only not as he hoped. He gazed upon Andria's lifeless corpse. Her lips were blue with frostbite. As he was gazing at Andria, something above was gazing at him. He felt a drop of saliva hit the top of his head and looked up to see a grotesque creature snarling down at him. It somewhat resembled an opossum. Its two front legs had long hideous fingers, and its back legs where hooved. The hooves had retractable claws as well, for they were jutting out and gripping the top of the tunnel.
Plus, it was about the size of a lion. He gazed around him and noticed several other corpses, along with several other tunnels. A man with a nametag from New York was lying amidst the filth. New York? That's far away. John looked up in bewilderment at the creature one again; he flipped a knife out of his pocket and threw it at the creature, causing it to fall. He jumped up and hoisted himself back into the upper tunnel and found the hole. His feet pounded the snow covered ground as he made for Andria's parents' house. He could hear the creature in pursuit, rasping heavily as it went. It unfolded it's leathery wings and pounced, but missed by a few feet, as it was a bit farther back.
John finally made it to the house and ran inside. He locked the door with shaking fingers and jumped back, over-turning a vase. Andria's father appeared with a loaded shotgun, demanding to know what the intrusion was for. He then heard the menacing shriek and scratching from the creature outside. After careful planning, John opened the door, and the old man let his shotgun blast seize the creature. It lay there on the porch, blood pouring from numerous holes in its body.
They closed the door and went to get Andria's mother. John broke the bad news and told of his experience. The old woman demanded to see the creature that was responsible for her daughter's death. They approached the door in awkward silence and opened it. Instead of a creature on the porch, a trail of blood led off into the woods.