Many people that come to my town love it, mostly because no crime has taken place here for years. Now, you would think that in a little rundown town in Alabama, we would have such a close community that no known crime would take place at all. You see, I'm from a town where everybody knows everybody. The farmer knows the store owner, the store owner knows the kids, etc. But lately we've been getting a lot more newcomers. People from big cities and towns where you're more likely to hate your neighbors than to actually know them. Not that there's anything wrong with people from big cities. I'm just saying.

We didn't really have a problem with them after they came out of their shell. However, the more people came, the more trouble followed. Some men were into the gang life. They would come over here to try and escape from all the trouble they had gotten into. And , of course, we welcomed them and treated them like family; a southern tradition that we plan to keep. We really didn't have an issue until one man in particular started to look suspicious.

He was a good friend of my father and helped tend to our animals in exchange for money. He would tell me stories about all the places he had gone and all the trouble he got into. He made me promise to never get into as much trouble as he did. I complied. We would spend hours a day just chatting while we did our chores. I really felt like he was part of the family. His name was Arnold. Arnold was a very smart guy, despite his looks. He has several tattoos and piercings on his body. He even showed me a spot on his arm where a bullet hit him. I tried not to stare at his tattoos, but one in particular stood out to me. It looked like a tiger attacking a goat.

I assumed it was just a prison tattoo. After all, Arnold had been to prison twice. I thought nothing of it. After all, he was such a nice guy that you'd never imagine him getting into any kind of trouble with the law. Not back then you wouldn't, anyway.

One day, I was out in town, and I saw Arnold arguing with Mr. Hensley. Mr. Hensley owned my favorite convenience store. My Dad would take me there every other week to buy groceries. He'd always get me candy after we were done shopping. And Mr. Hensley would ask me a question relating to what I was learning about in school. He was a very smart and fair old man. Everybody loved him. So, why would Arnold be arguing with him? Arnold wasn't one to pick a fight or even argue. But, now he was starting to get...weird.

He barely ever talks to me anymore, he mutters to himself, and he doesn't even complete all of his work. My Dad told me to keep my distance, because he was afraid Arnold might have been on drugs or something. It hurt me to think that Arnold was spiraling downward again. He told me about his battle with drug addiction and how he had to go into rehab. I thought he was clean. But I guess not. It was the same thing every day.

Until one day after breakfast. I realized something. Arnold hadn't shown up to work yet. He'd never been late, ever! So, I decided to wait. I waited almost all day, but he never came. Dad tried calling him, but no one answered. That wasn't the end of it, though. Late the next night I was watching the news.

A story came on about a child abduction not far from my town. They said that a man dressed in black grabbed the child and began to run off with it. The mother caught up to the man, and started attacking him. She fought and fought until she was knocked out. Now believe me, down here most of these "soccer moms" are tough as hell. It would've taken a lot of force to knock that woman out. So either this man was super strong, or got super lucky. The newscaster also said that the man ran into the woods with the child and stayed there, based on the evidence. What they said next was absolutely terrifying. They claimed that the next day the child returned home safely, with the assistance of the police which was wonderful. But then they said that the man's body was found mutilated beyond comprehension.

There was no way the child could have done that. At first, they thought a serial killer was to blame, but further investigation pointed to a mauling by an animal. Nothing seemed to make sense. If it were an animal, it would have killed the man and the child. But the child was unharmed. Saliva samples taken from the scene indicate that it was a human. However, DNA samples from the scratch marks indicate that of an animal. The most disturbing part is, both DNA samples match. Which means, this was no mere dog or bear, or even a human and animal team...this was far more sinister. A few days later, news about the child abductor came on.

They said that the man responsible was none other than Arnold Percy Hergo. My heart sunk. Why would such a nice man do something like that? I was pretty upset for the next few days. My grades started slipping, and I became more irritable. Even if he started doing drugs again, he was still my friend. I could have gotten him help. But now it's too late. I didn't want to talk to anyone about it, even if my Mom said it would make me feel better. I just wanted to slump around all day.

When summer came around and there was no school, I pretty much had nothing exciting to do anyway. Despite having quite a lot of chores to do, I managed to find solitude. Much to the dislike of my parents, I became a shut-in. They tried their best to get me outside, yet I never really complied. However, in a matter of days I gradually started getting better. I was adventuring again in the rolling pastures and forests of my Alabaman town, and I forgot all about being depressed. I could never forget Arnold, though. I still cried for him at night and prayed that he was in Heaven. Even my less than forgiving Dad prayed for him. He told me how glad he was that it wasn't me that got kidnapped. My mother agreed. All seemed to be in perfect balance after that.

Until one night, that is. You see, there's a reason no crime has happened here in decades. And I was unfortunate enough to experience it first hand.

The kids in my neighborhood are relatively good kids. They mind their parents and pray like they should. However, as they got older, they began to get into trouble much more often. Being as mature as I was, I stayed away from them so that I wouldn't get hurt.

The boys would tease me and try to get me back into their little clique. Naturally, I just ignored them and got on with my life. They stopped bothering me eventually, and started bothering the girl across the street. At first, it was just mild insults. Then, it escalated into threats. Threats became harassment. I couldn't stand to watch it happen.

I had to do something. So one day, I saw the boys harassing her from my window. I took my pocket knife, and headed out the door. My heart was racing, yet I tried to show no fear. It was late in the afternoon, and my Dad was tending to the farm animals. No witnesses were there to see anything. If I were to hurt one of them, they would have no excuse. "Hey," I shouted, "let her go!". The two boys looked at each other, then at me. They laughed heartily. The tallest boy walked up to me slowly.

"What if we don't?" he asked slyly. I pulled out my pocket knife.

"Or I'll kill you!" I threatened. He cackled insanely. I showed no facial expression whatsoever. The bigger child grabbed my shirt collar and pulled me in close to his face.

"Listen, this is none of your business, shorty! Why don't you go on home and-"

Without thinking, I stabbed him in the arm. He screamed and cried in agony. His friend grabbed the arm of the frightened girl, and ran towards the forest. I ran after him. I looked back to make sure that the second boy wasn't following me. Much to my surprise, he was running in the opposite direction of me.

"One down," I thought with a smile on my face.

The other boy was much faster than I was. I couldn't catch up even if I tried my hardest. The girl was screaming for help, much to the annoyance of the boy. Finally, we came to a halt. We were huffing from lack of breath. Sweat dripped down my forehead vigorously as I thought of something to say. The sun was setting, and I really didn't want to be in these woods in the dark. The older boy then abruptly turned the girl around, and tied her hands together with some rope that he had in his pocket. The young girl cried and pleaded for him to stop. My courage took hold of me, and I charged at the large child. He kicked me and knocked me down forcefully. He then proceeded to quickly tie up the begging girl's legs so that she couldn't run. The fall had knocked the wind out of me. Panicking, I jolted up, and flung my knife at the kid. I missed squarely and hit a tree.

"Pathetic!" he said, and chuckled proudly. He started removing the girl's clothes as she squirmed desperately and sobbed. "Shut up!" he shouted intently. I gained my footing, and lunged toward the larger kid. At this point I was just blindly swinging and thrashing at him. He grunted with frustration as he became distracted more by me than the girl. The forest was bathed in the evening darkness, as the sun was slowly creeping under the horizon. In no time neither of us could see past our own noses. He was landing violent punches and kicks, while I could hardly even brush him with my fist. I couldn't let him hurt this girl! I couldn't give in. Even if I was getting beat to a pulp, I wasn't giving up until I won. Finally, I flung my body forward with all my strength, and knocked him to the forest floor.

This was my chance! I landed several punches to his surprised face. He seemed too off guard to fight back. That's when I heard the most terrifying sound. It still haunts me to this very day. It was right when the boy had gained back his dominance. He kicked me as hard as he could in between the legs. I screamed out in pain. He then kicked me in the head which sent me flying back. My spine hit a large rock, and I shouted loudly. The tall child then turned over to the girl. She was still bound and weeping. By now the forest was completely dark and I started to worry.

The large boy removed all of her clothes, and began to rape her. Every time I tried to move, a sharp pain was shot through my body. This left me paralyzed. I couldn't see anything, and could only hear the awful screeching of the young girl. She was in immense pain, and I was more furious than ever.

At that moment, a loud noise echoed through the forest. It was the cry of some unknown creature. The boy stopped attacking nude girl, and listened fearfully. I sat up slowly. I could hear rustling in the woods. My heart pounded in my ears. Something was getting closer to us.

The frightened boy stared at the black woods until the rustling stopped. He laughed, and looked back to the girl. She started crying again as he continued defiling her. I was red with rage. I couldn't just sit back and watch this poor girl get raped! Ignoring the pain, I stood up slowly and stumbled over to them.

I lifted my leg eagerly. I was going to kick this bastard in the back of the neck, when a sudden flash of something crossed in front of my eyes. All I heard was a blood curdling scream. I saw the boy lying several feet away from his last position. The girl started hyperventilating. I knelt down to comfort her, when another animal-like cry was let out.

The next thing I know, the boy's body is flying backward into a tree. Then, I see a large figure with blades for fingers and spikes running down its back. It looked back at me. Its eyes glowed like the headlights of a car. I gaped at the creature's massive tail and animal-like ears.

Its mouth was curled back into a smile with two rows of incredibly sharp teeth. It looked like a human with monster claws, teeth, eyes, ears, and tail. The thing was slightly bent over and stood on its hind legs, its arms dangling outward and drenched with blood. This monster was attacking the boy! I almost had a panic attack, but I couldn't manage to scream.

After staring at me for a straight five minutes, it then turned back to the older boy. It dug its sharp claws into his chest. The boy was screaming, but the blood pouring from his mouth made it sound as though he were gargling water. He gurgled and choked on his blood as the creature snapped his bones and pierced his flesh. The awful squishing and squelching sound his flesh made when it was torn into made me want to vomit. I started retching and turned my head away from the hideous scene. For at least ten minutes, the creature continued pulling out organs and entrails. It didn't seem interested in eating him. However, I heard a sickening gulping noise. The creature had eaten something off of the mutilated boy's body. I was too disgusted to find out. When it finally finished rummaging through the now dead child's body, I heard it slowly make its way over to me. I froze and held the girl tightly. What did it want with me? Was it going to kill me like it did the older boy. I stared at the enormous animal with wide eyes. It looked straight into my gaze and locked my stare. I wanted to ask it what it wanted with me, but all that escaped my lips was, "W-w-w...".

It stared into my eyes with that same sharp expression. The ghastly smile that plagues my dreams. I felt something behind me, but I didn't dare break gaze with this thing. I realized that it was the monster's giant tail. It had curled around the girl and I. The thing sat down in front of us. Closing its eyes, then laying down like a tired child. I suddenly realized how worn out I was, and the monster didn't seem so much like a monster anymore. It was more like a guardian. I drifted off slowly, realizing that whatever this thing was, it wasn't going to harm us. I nodded off to sleep like I was in my mother's arms. The girl did the same.

I suddenly snapped awake. I gasped for oxygen as I arose from my bed. Was it all a dream? I said to myself quietly. I shook my head. No. No, it couldn't have been a dream. It was too real! And those pains; I can still feel them. I abruptly heard my Dad calling me from downstairs. I sighed and leaped out of bed. As I neared the kitchen, I saw the young lady from the other night sitting at our table. She was smiling and motioned for me to come over. Now I KNOW this wasn't a dream! She thanked me for saving her from the older boy. I grinned shyly.

I never was good at talking to girls. My father told me everything that happened. He said that the police concluded that the boy was killed by a dog. And that it was just a misfortune that I happened to be there. The DNA was that of an animal according to the police. Even though there were still some traces of human DNA in the bite marks, they assumed that it was just that of the dog's previous victim. I released a relieved sigh. I wasn't to be held guilty of this child's murder. One question still remained though, what was that creature?

I stayed up later than usual that night. Even though my body was at ease, my mind wasn't. I still wanted to know desperately what that thing was. I picked up my laptop and went to Google. I searched for monsters and was brought to a "Monster Identifier" site. Normally, wouldn't believe in this kind of crap. However, I had nowhere else to turn. I typed in the key words in the search box: Claws, teeth, smile, spikes, tail, guardian, bright eyes. Then an answer key popped up. I answered the questions as follows:

  • Kills its victims-Yes
  • Eats victims-No.
  • Has talons or claws-Yes.
  • Has human-like features-Yes.
  • Leaves bodies-Yes.
  • Kills for sport-No.
  • Kills for protection purposes-Yes.

After a few more questions, my results were in. One search result appeared, "Die Liebe Krankes Tier".

"That's a long name!" I thought as I scrolled down lower. The name roughly translates to, " The Love Sick Animal". However, people just referred to it as, "Tier". I read more. It originated in the Germanic regions of Europe (being Austria, Germany, Switzerland, etc.). Its appearance has only recently been discovered. The first recorded case was in 1995 in Switzerland, after a serial murderer had kidnapped a young girl. His body was found the next day, mutilated beyond comprehension. All of his entrails were intact, except for his heart. "That must've been what that thing made the gulping noise for," I thought to myself as I read with wide eyes. Every case has involved at least two people. The victims have always turned up alive.

Some believe that Tier can disguise itself as a car, and looks as though one is driving towards you. You wouldn't realize the truth until it was too late. It builds its nest out of the hearts it collects, using saliva as an adhesive. It will swallow the heart, and then regurgitate it. The heart will be sticky enough then.

I was literally dumbfounded. I had just seen this creature only one night ago! I had witnessed it kill a boy. It saved me and that girl. Was this the same thing that killed Arnold? It had to be; there was no other explanation. A sudden feeling of admiration and hate surfaced within me. It had saved my life, yet ruined it as well. I was thinking about killing it. However, reading on the page said that trying to destroy it would prove futile.

Right as I was about to finish reading the article, I heard a tap on my window. I immediately glanced over. I almost screamed, it was Tier! It was standing there just watching me. Like a stalker.

"W-what do you want?" I asked shakily. It cocked its head to one side. It looked like a comical bird turning its head. This told me how threatening It was trying to be. Not very apparently. I stood up from the downstairs couch and walked toward the front door. It greeted me with its usual smile and glazed-over stare. I tried to think of something else to say. "Uh..." I began hesitantly, " are you...D-Die...Liebe...uh...Kran-kes...uh..." Tier cocked its head again slightly in confusion. "Are you Tier?" I finally said in a nervous tone. It closed its eyes and nodded.

It sat down on its knees in order to be eye level with me. "Can you talk?" I asked.

It shrugged, as if to say, " Not really." I nodded.

"Why are you here exactly?". Tier just stared at the ground in silence. It looked disappointed somehow. "Is it because if the crime?" I asked it sullenly. It nodded. "You really don't like crime, do you?" I questioned. It nodded again, pulling its legs to its chest in a fetal position. It started scratching at the dirt with its gigantic claws. I sat down with it. The way Tier looked at the ground when it replied to me told me something. It told me that Tier really didn't like killing people. At that moment, I felt so much guilt. I had wanted to kill this thing that was destined on protecting me. This thing had to kill people that have done wrong.

It was time to make things right. It had to defend the people who have done nothing wrong. Feeling ashamed, I eased my hand toward its clawed hand. "Thank you," I said as I stared into its eyes passionately. Tier wrapped its tail around me again, same as it had done that one night. I found myself falling onto its chest. It hugged me, careful not to stab me with its claws. I looked over to the left side of its chest. There was a hole where its heart should be. Alternatively, there lay just an hollow cavity. I started to cry for this creature. It was suffering every day. People feared and hated it, when it was the only one doing the right thing. I hated every human being at that moment. My Mom, Dad, Friends, Mr.Hensley, even myself! I cried softly into Tier's chest as it embraced me gently. Now, everyday I wonder who the real humans are. The ones that kill for sport, or the ones that kill for a justifiable reason.

ALT Ending (recommended):

It's been 23 years. I haven't seen Tier since that night, and I'm starting to get anxious. My life has withered with the years. I've been waiting for it. I really want to see it again. I would do anything just to catch another glimpse of it. Anything at all. Just to see its ever grinning face. Obsession does crazy things to your head...and...I think I will do something. Yes. I will. The neighbors are expecting a new child soon. A little girl; er name should be Sophia. Just a little longer, then I can see it...The Love-Sick Animal...