This 8 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

An officer asks Detective London to use a piece of cloth to track Kelli Rocha (wanted for assault), she agrees, strips off all her clothes, Shifts to a large German Shepherd, howls to get her partner’s attention, and begins tracking.

I skipped over a bit of description as London starts tracking.


She lost the trail in the scents of other people who had walked over it, and started tracing a zigzag pattern, nose lowered, sniffing furiously, searching for it again.

There! Kelli’s scent, thick with fear sweat, moved into the crowd. London barked twice to alert her partner that she was on the scent, and followed. She could hear Dale swearing, and glanced back to see her partner, backpack slung over a shoulder, jogging after her.

Dale would catch up, since she could easily track London’s movements through the crowd. After all, how many one hundred and forty-five pound German Shepherds were there on the street right now?

London would be glad when Dale joined her, as it was easier to move through the crowd with a partner who could yell at people who didn’t get out of the way.

*      *       *        *

NOTE: I edited “Lily Wasn’t There,” and posted the full text on my blog here. What Happens After is at the very end.

*      *       *        *

Four Feet and a Badge is my NaNoWriMo story.

In 1952, an event moved two and a half million people from one version of the Earth to another, a quarter of them Shifters (able to change their shape). It’s now 2015, and those people have married and had children. The Static (non-Shifters) fit in fine, but the Shifters often have to prove their worth.

Detective Amy London works in Seattle’s Narcotics Section, Shifting to four feet to sniff out drugs and chase down suspects. But she can be a little impulsive–like when she bit her previous partner, earning her a new one, strict, by-the-book Detective Janice Dale.

Dale tries to rein in her partner’s wilder behavior, not always with much success. And a new group of cocaine suppliers is muscling in on the city, and they’re leaving bodies behind. London and Dale will have to work through their differences to bring these dealers down, before the body count rises.

About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

28 responses »

  1. Exciting eight. You captured me right from the start and i felt I was there with London tracking.

  2. Gemma Parkes says:

    I agree, exciting eight, I enjoyed reading from the dog’s point of view!

  3. Frank Fisher says:

    Great job presenting this through the dog’s POV. Sounds like London and Kelli are on to something big. I always enjoy your stories.

  4. Cool. I like this seeing things from the dog’s point of view. Reminds me of Stapledon’s ‘Sirius,’ in a good way. This could be a lot of fun.

    • caitlinstern says:

      I’ve read some nifty books from a dog’s POV–like the Chet and Bernie mysteries by Spencer Quinn. Well done, it’s quite something. I don’t think I’ve heard of Sirius, though. I’ll look it up. 🙂

      Writing an occasionally dog-shaped human is easier, I think.

  5. Excellent excerpt, I really enjoyed having the perspective of a woman-being-a-real-dog. Definitely want to keep reading this one!

  6. burnsmillie says:

    I love that she started the zig-zagging pattern. My sister trains search and rescue dogs, and we hide for her german shepherd sometimes, and this is what they do if the dog doesn’t have the scent. Very realistic.

  7. Carrie-Anne says:

    I love animal POVs and animal main characters. A 145-pound dog in the streets must be some sight.

    • caitlinstern says:

      I’d probably be backing away from a dog that size if I met it on the sidewalk, honestly.

      Though Shifters live in large enough numbers in this story that at least some people know that the ‘big dog’ isn’t really a dog.

  8. Good take on a tracking dog with human intelligence. By the way, in your overall description (not the snippet) “reign” should be “rein,” as in reining a horse.

  9. Sarah W says:

    If a 145 pound shepherd rushed toward me, I think I’d get out of the way without a shouted warning! 🙂

    I agree with the others—very realistic!

    • caitlinstern says:

      Surprisingly, it’s not as big a dog as you might think–she’d stand about 30 inches at the shoulder. Which is pretty big, but not Great Dane/Irish Wolfhound size.

      I’d get out of the way, too–but first you have to be looking in the right direction, and not texting or listening to music or something. 🙂

  10. Yep, life is better and easier for a dog with someone cutting a path for them. Very intriguing book idea, Caitlin. 🙂

  11. This is such a clever idea for a story. I’m liking it! it was a good scene as I ran along with them. Good 8 Caitlin!

  12. I really like the idea of a detective being able to shift into a police dog. It’s a clever idea. Based on the tone of this snippet, I’m guessing the two partners have a difficult time connecting.

    • caitlinstern says:

      They’re a new partnership–and their personalities are making the adjustment period a little exciting.

      And Dale is considerably less comfortable with public nudity than her partner, for which I can’t blame her.

  13. symes4u says:

    So in the future police work has gone to the dogs. But the games afoot!

  14. Evelyn Jules says:

    Again, so loving this story! You really put the reader right in the moment with the actions. Well done, Caitlin! 🙂

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