The big city violent crimes detective in charge of the rural case was an older fellow who did not believe in any superstitions. Experience and his no-nonsense attitude got him far in his line of work...
But even he could tell something was very different with this case.
He walked up to the local station, binder in hand, and opened the door. He was greeted by a nervous sergeant, mid thirties probably, who appeared to be wringing his hands and sweating nervously. Was it because of him, or something else? He decided to pay no attention to it now, and greeted the sergeant.
"H-hello, Detective! Sorry you had to be brought in but... we had nowhere else to turn," the Sergeant said, motioning the Detective past the desk and back to the interview rooms.
"It's no trouble, Sergeant. I have no other cases at the moment and yours interested me. What again did the patrolman stumble across?" the detective asked kindly, calming the nervous sergeant.
"Oh, ah, well. On record the officer was making his rounds when he noticed a restricted gate open. He got out of his car and walked in, finding this young woman wandering aimlessly near the edge of the woods, covered in blood. She told him that there were two dead guys further in, and... well... he found them. What was left of them, anyway," he responded.
"I saw the on-site reports. Bodies mutilated almost beyond recognition, removed limbs, multiple lacerations, near decapitation with one victim, one victim ripped in half from the waist down, yet no lost organs. How is the girl anyway?" the Detective continued, still reading through the binder as they reached a door marked 'Observation Room 1'.
"Still in the interview rooms. I was able to keep her here so you could question her. She probably won't make much sense though. Claims the woods monster saved her. Just ask her if you don't know. I only know parts of the story," the Sergeant responded, opening the interview room door for the Detective, who nodded in thanks.
"She's all yours, Detective," he said, before closing the door behind him.
The Detective walked in, noticing the woman. She looked about 19, maybe 20. She seemed to be nervous, looking down and the floor, grasping her hands together and flinching when he looked at her. He walked over to the desk the woman was sitting at. Flipping through the binder as he sat down.
"So then, Claire. My name is Detective Benjamin Hickling of the violent crimes unit. You were there when the two victims were killed?" he asked.
The woman looked up at him, before frowning.
"Those men were anything but victims. Do you want to know how I got these cuts? Sick bastards tried to kidnap me," she growled out.
"Okay then. So what happened after you were taken?" Ben asked, slightly raising an eyebrow. He had not been made aware of this detail.
"The two assholes dragged me kicking and screaming into the cattail woods. They must have been drunk, off their minds, new in town, or just plain stupid to pick that place to take me," she said, a slight smirk.
"And why is that?" he asked, leaning in.
"The rumors, the myths, the stories. The Savior," she said with a smirk.
"The Savior? Who is that?" he questioned, intrigued as to how this tied in.
"More like what. Do you want to know why we have so few crimes? The Savior is why. This is how the story goes..."
About 250 years ago, a family lived out in those woods. The kindest, most caring people you could ever hope to meet. Their son was just as innocent, and even the wild animals knew it was safe to be near them. Then... they came.
A group of outlaws came through, 20 strong at least. They stole everything that wasn't nailed down, then they came back and took that stuff top. They decided to take over the house of the family and make it their camp. The family was not happy to take them in but put up with them anyway. To keep the outlaws from returning to town, the wife fed them great meals, and the husband fixed their gear to pristine conditions. Then one day, the group decided to leave, but the drunkard leader wanted to pay them back for their generosity... by burning down their house with them inside and throwing their child into pot of melted iron and other various poisonous plants and animals. By the time the police had noticed the smoke and arrived there, the house was blazing, and the bandits yelling. Not in joy, but in pain. The child, now warped beyond recognition by the pot, tore them limb from limb as the fire blazed behind him. When all the bandits were dead, the beastly child turned to the police. He stood about 5 feet tall, rippling with muscle, covered in a metallic fur and with back legs like a cat, or a dog. A long barbed tail snaked from his spine, and long metal spikes flowed out from his back, shining in the fire's glow. His face looked animalistic with big sharp teeth, and his nails had grown out into long sharp claws and with a growling voice proclaimed; "All who enter these woods with peaceful intentions shall be allowed to pass. But any with intentions to hurt these woods, or any living being without reason shall face my wrath!" Then he ran into the woods, never to be seen again, but for a few years until crime stopped almost completely, many dead criminals could be found in the woods, with warnings carved into their bodies.
"And you believe this?" Ben asked, leaning back in his chair.
"I do now. I saw him. He saved me from them. He swooped down from a tree and ripped them apart," she responded with complete honesty.
"Could you draw what he looked like?" he asked, handing her a piece of paper and a pen.
"Sure, just give me a minute," she responded, taking the pen and immediately beginning to draw.
"While you draw, I'm going to get a cup of coffee. Do you want anything?" he asked as he got up and headed to the door.
"Water, please," Claire asked, without looking up from her drawing.
"So what do you think of this, Sergeant?" Ben asked as he waited for the coffee machine to finish a new batch.
"I honestly don't know, Sir, but the rest of the town seems to think the Savior did it," the sergeant said, nursing his fresh cup of coffee.
"You have released the details already?!" he looked up, shocked.
"No sir. This is a small town, news spreads quickly and almost everyone here knows the myth," the Sergeant quickly replied.
"Okay. Any panicking?" he asked, pouring his coffee.
"No sir. Everyone believes that because they did not enter the woods to harm, they are safe," he replied.
"And are they?" Ben asked, taking the first sip of his coffee, before grabbing a bottle of water.
"I don't know, sir. I don't know."
"Here you go Claire, some water. Did you finish drawing?" Ben asked, as he sat back down.
"Thanks, and almost. Just. One. Last. Detail. Done! Here you go," she said, handing the drawing over and taking the bottle.
"So this is what you saw? Are you sure?" he questioned.
"Yes. Completely sure," she responded, once again with complete honesty.
"Okay then, thank you for your time, Ma'am," Ben said, as he got up and left, mulling over the picture.
Ben was still awake around midnight, sitting on his bed and staring at the picture in his hotel room. It looked sort of like if a cat could walk upright, but with a slight hunch. There were tiny spikes almost everywhere on its body, but the largest were a foot long on the spine. Ben rubbed his eyes and sighed. He just had to pick the murder case where the main suspect was some sort of monster man didn't he. Claire was clean, only evidence against her could have been some of their skin found under her fingernails but that was from where she had scratched at them, proven by some scratches along the arms, so who else could it be? He sat on his bed for a while longer before putting on his uniform, grabbing a high powered torch, and loading his gun. He might as well look through the woods for some kind of clue.
Ben swore for as for the tenth time that night he had stumbled on a branch. The forest wasn't particularly dark and spooky like most 'scary' woods. It was actually quite easy to see the moon through the trees and he could still spot some very dim lights from the town. The only reason he kept tripping was because he was preoccupied thinking about the case. If the monster had really killed them, how on earth was he going to explain this? If there was no monster, then what was his next lead? He had barely started and was already grasping at straws. He kept going for an hour before reaching a cave opening, about seven feet high and three feet wide. He unclipped the strap of his gun holster and continued into the cave, his right hand lingering on the .38 special. He reached the back of the cave about 150 feet in and was about to turn back when he heard a gruff voice.
"It's not nice to barge into other people's homes," the voice said.
Ben swore under his breath and spun around gun slightly out of the holster and torch pointed right at the voice. When he recognised whose voice it was, he stumbled and fell back against the wall, gun coming out of the holster. It was aimed straight at the Savior.
The drawings really did it no justice. It was about seven feet tall. The metallic fur slightly swayed in the wind blowing through the cave. The spines softly rattled in the breeze, barely making a noise. The tail swished back and forth just above the ground. Its head, shaped somewhat like a cat's, was lowered down to where Ben's eye level would have been when he was standing. Two navy blue eyes stared down at him. Its claws were held low.
"Don't come any closer! I'm warning you!" Ben yelled, pulling back the hammer.
"If you try to kill me, I will kill you. Put the gun down, and I will let you go. What do you say?" the Savior asked.
Ben and the Savior stared each other down for a few hours before either of them made a move...
A week later and the causes of deaths were listed as unknown. Ben was sitting in his office, staring at the drawing of the Savior. The town had lost no other citizens and the case was dropped. He'd heard all kinds of crap about evil monsters lurking in woods. How the hell did he end up finding a 'friendly' one? The thought that one could be friendly actually seemed to be scarier. It meant that monsters could have any type of nature. He looked at the gun on his desk and sighed. He was glad he had chosen to holster the gun. The Savior had looked at him, almost reading his adrenalin filled mind, before slinking out of the cave quietly. Ben had rushed out a few seconds later, but it was as if the Savior was never there. He looked back at the drawing and shuddered, before slipped the drawing into his pocket, never forgetting that encounter.