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!)

Detective London is tracking Kelli Rocha (wanted for assault) as a large German Shepherd, but her partner Detective Dale ends up on the wrong side of a crosswalk, and when London sees Kelli getting away, she decides not to wait –Kelli runs and London pursues.

I skipped nothing.



She wasnt so caught up in the chase to lose her mind, however, so when she reached a corner that dead-ended into an alley, she paused, sniffing the air.


Judging from the density of the scent, Kelli stood right around the corner, hidden from sight.


Officer Fowler had said Kelli was prone to violence, and this was the time she was most likely to deploy itwhen she was out of other options.


Since Dale still hadnt caught up with her, the Shifted German Shepherd howled, and waited. A moment later, her ears pricked up at the sound of Dales feet hitting the pavement a short distance away, growing closer. Back up was almost there.


She heard scuffling from inside the alley, and listened, wondering if there was an escape route–an open door, or a fire escape would be easy pickings for a woman whod swung down from a balcony.

The noises stopped.


*      *       *        *

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. Frank Fisher says:

    Very nice descriptions 😀 My thought after the noises stopped was that the woman managed to escape. Hope I’m wrong. I think you have a typo with “her ears pricked up the sound of Dale’s feet hitting the pavement”. Did you mean “her ears picked up”? Good snippet!

    • caitlinstern says:

      Your thoughts are quite similar to London’s. After all, Kelli is pretty resourceful.

      I do have a typo there, thanks–but it’s a missing word. “Prick up” is used to describe the way animals like dogs will swivel their ears towards a source of sound. Which is part of why some of them hear so much better than we do, with our non-adjustable ears. 🙂

  2. Dynamite eight, Caitlin. I was caught up in the scene from the first sentence and left wondering what happens next.

  3. I feel like I’m right there watching all of this and I want to help. Liked the way Kelli used scent to figure out where the person was waiting to ambush her. Excellent excerpt!

  4. maggiewells68 says:

    I love your description of her using her senses. It really brings us into her shifted world. Good job!

  5. Sarah Cass says:

    Oooh intriguing descriptions. I wonder if Kelli is more than she seems…or perhaps has friends with special magic of their own. Nice details

    • caitlinstern says:

      If Kelli were a Shifter, she would have changed by now, I think.

      But she is very athletic, and determined. I certainly wouldn’t climb off a second-story balcony–I’d break a bone for sure.

  6. Great scene that ramps up the tension. I like the way you included the heightened sense of smell that dogs possess.

  7. I still think she needs a gps tracker on her collar and some kind of button she can push or bite to signal she needs backup.

    • caitlinstern says:

      She isn’t wearing a collar, though possibly something could be fitted to her badge-and-chain combo.

      I thought about loading her down with the usual sort of police tools, but it would all have to be able to adjust to multiple shapes, or it would slow her down considerably in Shifting.

  8. Sarah W says:

    I wonder if Kelli has escaped, or if something happened to her. Either way, I expect London might be in hot water?

    • caitlinstern says:

      ‘I don’t know what happened to my suspect! Suddenly all that was left was this suspicious pool of blood!’

      Something like that wouldn’t go over well.

      Yep, London’s already broken some rules–with good intentions, but those don’t always count for much.

  9. Gemma Parkes says:

    Great use of senses and tension. Love the last line!

  10. historysleuth1 says:

    OOOooo….I’m thinking someone else got there first! Agree with everyone, great tension in that scene.
    The Murders of Polly Frisch

    • caitlinstern says:

      So many possibilities–always a fun thing to write.

      All London has is a little information, after all–Kelli went that way and didn’t come out the same direction. That alley smells of a lot of things, like people throwing garbage in dumpsters, or taking smoke breaks out back.

  11. Millie Burns says:

    I love it…glad she’s able to rein in her canine chase down desires. The noises stopping has me wondering if her perp is gone, or is there and dead. Hmm, interesting. Our canine detective should be able to detect another human’s scent though.

    • caitlinstern says:

      There’s a lot of smells in that alley, so maybe she would–and maybe she wouldn’t.

      Especially if someone entered the alley from a back door, farther from the opening. I’m not saying that’s what happened–just that it could have. 😉

  12. Carrie-Anne says:

    She’s showing a lot of restraint when she could easily just lunge and take down the criminal!

    • caitlinstern says:

      London doesn’t know if Kelli is armed. Also, from what I know of police work–still more research to do–she could get in a lot of trouble for ‘excessive use of force.’

      I’d be tempted to bite first and ask questions later, myself! 😉

  13. Karen Michelle Nutt says:

    Wonderful imagery! I was caught up in the scene and wanted to know more. Love shifter tales by the way. 🙂

  14. Harliqueen says:

    Another great snippet 😀

  15. asfenichel says:

    Great perspective from the shifted dog. I enjoyed this eight. Best of luck.

  16. Evelyn Jules says:

    Sniffing the air, howling, ears perking up…you really do well with all the details making this as realistic as possible! Great job, Caitlin!

  17. Fantastic tension. And that last line… Don’t leave us hanging! Great snippet.

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