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, Dale following.

I skipped over London stopping at a corner to wait for the light to change, and hearing her partner shouting to get through the crowd on the sidewalk.


The light changed, and London trotted across the street, the stink of hot metal, oil, and asphalt filling her nose. She reached the safety of the concrete just before the light changed, but with her partner stuck on the wrong side of the traffic.

Her ears drooped as she considered—should she wait and risk losing Kelli, or go on and trust that Dale would catch up?

The responsible thing to do would be to wait, she thought, just as she saw her partner make a ‘stay’ hand motion from across the road.

‘Stay,’ as if she was a dog! A soft growl escaped her, and she turned to look at the path ahead, the small hill she stood on giving her a better view than usual. Down the street, she spotted a woman fitting Kelli Rocha’s description.

If that was Kelli, she was getting away.

*      *       *        *

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.

34 responses »

  1. Terrific eight. And a touch of humor a story needs with the comment, ‘as if she was a dog’!

    • caitlinstern says:

      I can’t imagine people who can take other forms would be happy being treated as if they were an actual animal.

      And the more experienced someone is with animal training, the harder it might be to ignore those trainer instincts. Like Dale, who was only trying to help…

  2. Gemma Parkes says:

    She’s going to go after her alone i think, she doesn’t seem the type to wait for him! Great 8 well described.

    • caitlinstern says:

      London was thinking about waiting. Really.

      But you know how, when someone gives you some rather smug advice about something you planned to do, and it makes you a little angry? And you don’t want to do the smart thing anymore?

      London knows about that really well.

  3. maggiewells68 says:

    I love they way you describe her conflict. She knows she has to take off or she’s going to lose Kelli. The indignation at being told to stay would have been enough to send me off like a shot. 🙂

  4. Sarah W says:

    I love London’s frustration—and I can anticipate her partner’s, too.

    This continues excellent, Caitlin!

  5. Frank Fisher says:

    Nice descriptions and I could sense that conflict. I particularly liked the hot metal, oil and asphalt description.

  6. I like the way you used London’s canine sense of smell in the scene. LOVE the premise of this story, and I’m looking forward to more excerpts.

    • caitlinstern says:

      They have quite the nose on them, our canine companions. The world must be a very different place for them.

      Thanks! If you haven’t read all the older excerpts, they should all be tagged Four Feet and a Badge for your finding convenience.

  7. Loved the snippet and especially her reaction being told to Stay! Really a fascinating story and I enjoy the way you’ve thought out all the details…

  8. Carrie-Anne says:

    I love the line “as if she was a dog.” I hope she gets back on the trail as soon as possible.

  9. ED Martin says:

    I would’ve done the same thing. I like her justification in disobeying – “as if she was a dog!”

  10. There’s a communication problem here–she can’t tell her partner she can actually see the one she’s tracking.

    • caitlinstern says:

      Yep, this is why they need to be a little closer to each other–or just more experienced at communicating.

      And bad communication makes learning each other’s minds much harder.

  11. Cara Bristol says:

    I think this is the first dog shifter story I’ve run across. Enjoyed the snippet. Liked the touch of humor.

    • caitlinstern says:

      Technically, she can Shift to a variety of animals–there’s just not a lot of practical reasons to do something else. At least I couldn’t come up with a good excuse. 😉

  12. Harliqueen says:

    Great excerpt, this story sounds very original 🙂

    • caitlinstern says:


      If I could pick a supernatural ability, shape-shifting might be it, depending on the downsides. I’d not be pleased with being naked in public, for sure.

  13. Uh oh. Looks like “stay” isn’t in her near future. Nice tension development, Caitlin. 🙂

  14. Stay? Oh no she didn’t! Great snippet.

  15. She totally need to go for it. And I agree with Karen what the hell was that “stay” sign for.

    • caitlinstern says:

      In Dale’s defense, it’s difficult to shout across a street of cars. On the other hand, she’s having some problems adjusting to her new partner–hence the poorly chosen gesture.

  16. Millie Burns says:

    I think the stay command, just made it so she won’t…and rightly so. Go get your suspect!!!!

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