Jessica closed the file. Over a dozen missing persons cases, and still no solid leads. From the very first ones in mid-to-late 2006, and now this guy who left a note on his computer talking about running away to join his "family". Still, it matches up with some of the reports. People start to go insane and claim to grow antlers, their face changes… weird shit. She was trying to think of any possible connections between the cases when she got a radio call, saying they had just arrested a man suspected of being connected to the missing persons. Finally, she thought, a decent lead.

Jessica didn't have much time before the interrogation, so she skimmed the guy's report. Apparently, he had been seen around some of the more recent crime scenes, but the cops never got a chance to really question him. He would show up, look around for a couple minutes, then leave. He didn't really arouse suspicion until cops arrived at the house of the most recent case, and he was standing outside. One of the cops recognized him, and brought him in. Other than that, nothing is known about him. He had no ID, nor did he have a record. A real John Doe.

When she opened the door to the interrogation room, the man was standing, facing the wall, hands calmly in his pockets. "You ok there, Mr. …?" Jessica said, trying to get any form of identification from the man.

"Yes. I'm fine," he said, turning to reveal his face, "perfectly fine."

Jessica looked all over his face, but nothing stood out. Clean-shaven, short hair, medium build, round face, average height. Absolutely nothing distinguishable. "Well then, want to take a seat then, sir?" she said, motioning towards the chair in front of him.

"Don't mind if I do," he said, sliding it out and sitting down in a very calm manner, "and please, call me John."

"Well then, John," Jessica said as she also took a seat, "mind telling me what you were doing at…" She flipped open the file again for reference. " Mr. Martinson's house? And while you're at it, explain why you were at apparently every other missing person's house."

John looked at Jessica directly into her eyes. Not with a look of hatred, passion, or even sorrow. Just an eerily calming look. "Yes, Jessica. I would very much mind telling you why," he said, never breaking eye contact.

"I don't remember me telling you my name, John," she said sternly, being careful not to show any intimidation.

"Maybe you did, maybe you didn't," John said, "but at least now you know that I'm not an average witness so don't try to talk to me like I am one." Jessica was very unnerved; she had gotten a bad vibe from this guy the moment she walked in, and now she was certain this guy wasn't natural. She couldn't let that show, though. Not if she wanted to get anywhere.

"You listen to me, jackass," she said through clenched teeth, "I don't give a fuck if you're an 'average witness' or not. The point stands, you were at these missing person's houses, and we need to know why, so we can decide whether to lock your psychotic ass up or to let you walk. Now tell me, why were you at their houses?"

"Let me give you some background before I answer," he said. She figured if it led to answer, she would allow it.

"Fine," she sighed, "go ahead."

"Animals have a lot of untapped potential. They're clearly more vicious, and some have incredibly deadly poisons. But what do they do with it? They use it to kill prey, never knowing that if they wanted to, they could control us. Well- not in the state they're in now, they couldn't. But, what if they had increased mobility? What if they were bigger? What if they could increase numbers quickly and with minimal effort? Then, they could take us over. But first, those animals must exist. And that's what I've been perfecting.

"I needed something that could move around quickly and over varied terrain, so I took an elk. Next, I needed something that had a very potent poison, so I took a black widow. Then, I needed something that could tear flesh apart, so I took a hawk. I was able to make a very strong creature that none could match, and that first creature I released into the wild. You remember that kid that was found mauled in the forest? My son's handiwork, I'm afraid. He was too... violent. He didn't focus on changing the boy, just on killing him. So I killed my son, and made a couple adjustments. Remember that man's wife who went missing? My second child's handiwork, and I'm quite proud of that. But this time, he wasn't able to change the victim, and it wasn't quite as agile as I needed it to be. I needed something that had the power to influence people, and was quick and nimble. So I took a human.


Eyewitness sketch

"I made a couple more adjustments and sent my third son out into the world, sometime during 2008. Now, when did the first reports come in of these missing people leaving notes saying their bodies were changing...?" John said, trailing off with a hint of smugness.

Jessica was certainly freaked out now. She had no idea whether to believe this man, or to stop listening. She decided she would find out definitively whether he was spouting nonsense (albeit eerily coincidental nonsense), or worse, telling the truth. "Tell me this then, you crazy fucking scientist," Jessica said, trying again to establish herself as the one in charge, "if you made these creatures, describe them. And no general statements, either. Be specific." She had him now. There's no way he could have seen the research papers they were able to recover, nor could he have seen a sketch done by an eyewitness. She had him.

"Well, if I had to guess," he started, "these creatures would be about eight feet tall, and their antlers would take up maybe a foot and a half of that height. They're covered in a thick brown fur but their face is hairless. Their mouths are beak-shaped but they still have horrendously sharp teeth. They have fingers, but their nails are outgrown and sharp. Their organs, through a mishap, are permanently burned, but it doesn't affect their function. They can run at a high-speed of 30 miles-per-hour. And, most importantly, they're the most vicious things you will ever meet."

Jessica was shaky, and fumbled over her hands to find the research papers and drawing. She looked up at John with the recognizable look of terror. "So, in response to your earlier question about why I was at the houses..." John said, brandishing his rows of sharp teeth and allowing his long, sharp nails to be shown, "I was hoping I could check up on my children." Jessica didn't know what to do at this point. There were too many similarities for this to be a coincidence, there was something else going on here. Before she could make any decisions, John jumped out of his chair and stared directly at her, with a sick, horrific smile. He pounced at her, shoving his arms out in front of him. Jessica jumped out the way and took her gun out, quickly unloading a whole magazine into his chest.

Her partners rushed into the room to try and help, but they found that "John" was already dead. They picked him up to carry him out, and noticed two small bumps forming on his head, some slight fur from under the sleeve of his shirt, and a fresh bite-mark on the back of his neck.

Jessica stayed in the room for a while after they left, with a slight sense of accomplishment, but an overwhelming fear coming from the knowledge that Mr. Martinson's case wouldn't be the last.