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 tracks Kelli Rocha (wanted for assault) as a large German Shepherd, her partner Detective Dale catching up shortly after Kelli is cornered in an alley, and though Kelli pulls a knife, she eventually surrenders and is taken away with two other officers in a squad car.

I skipped over Kelli getting put into the back of the squad car, and some chat between the officers.



As soon as they were alone, Dale turned to really look at her partner for the first time since she’d entered the alley. Not a quick glance, but a searching stare. London’s German Shepherd Shift, which Dale had seen before, was a dark version of black-and-tan, with the black saddle bleeding across the neck and part of the way down the legs.

At first, Dale had been worried that she could confuse her partner with the other Narcotics dogs, but that wasn’t likely based on size alone.

For a real dog, that stare would have been a challenge, but London simply gazed back, waiting as Dale studied her.

“You might as well change behind the dumpster; it’s the most private we’re going to get around here.” Dale waved her hand at the metal box, her nose wrinkled in distaste. Even she could smell the foul odors wafting from the plastic trash bags.


*      *       *        *

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.

23 responses »

  1. evelynjules says:

    Love the stare down and how it’s interpreted as something much more than a challenge. Great excerpt, Caitlin!

  2. Gemma Parkes says:

    Great description of the ‘London’ look!

    • caitlinstern says:

      It’s amazing how many details go into a story–like deciding if a Shifter becomes an all-black, black-and-tan, red-and-black, sable, etc. I didn’t know there were so many options until I started researching! 🙂

  3. burnsmillie says:

    I sure do enjoy London. She’s fast becoming a favorite character to me. Nice eight today. But I hope London just shifts in the middle of the alley, why hide behind a dumpster? She’s a proud shifter!

  4. Exceptional snippet. your description of the dog, London, is spot on.

    • caitlinstern says:

      I did a little research–they’re gorgeous dogs, and far more varied in coat color than I realized. But I decided to stick with the ‘classic’ color, as it were.

  5. alexissduran says:

    I get the feeling Dale isn’t too comfortable working with a shapeshifter. I’m looking forward to learning more about this world. Very interesting story!

    • caitlinstern says:

      Dale has never had a Shifter partner before–or spent much time around them. And they haven’t been working together long, so they’re still adjusting.

      And, you know, not everyone can handle being around random naked people.

  6. Seems to me that if non-shifters are bothered by shifters having to go through a nude phase when changing, a sheet with a hole for the head to poke out of would be standard equipment for shifter partners.

    • caitlinstern says:

      That would be an option… Though I don’t think London would let Dale do that to her!

      Also, like in the real world, some people are more okay with public nudity than others. 😉

  7. Such an interesting story and I really enjoy the perspective of a detective being the K9 unit too. Another great 8!

    • caitlinstern says:

      Thanks! I can only imagine the kinds of things you could do with a dog that’s actually a dog-shaped person. I think they’d be a great asset, hence the story.

  8. Sarah W says:

    I think I remember you mentioning this before, but does Dale have a set of clothes for London? I

  9. Intriguing characters and world. I love the dynamic between them. Great 8.

  10. Carrie-Anne says:

    As a dog lover, I loved the attention to the markings and coloring in the first paragraph. Ever since I was about eight years old, I’ve been able to recognize most dog breeds on sight because of things like that.

    • caitlinstern says:

      While I was posting these snippets, I realized I hardly have any description of London-as-dog. So that’s something that needs to change.

      Though I think most people have a good mental image of a German Shepherd–which is one of the reasons why I picked the breed instead of, say, a Belgian Malinois.

  11. That’s the thing with shifting…gotta shift back…naked 😉 Love the tension here.

    • caitlinstern says:

      Unless you belong to one of those magical kinds of shapeshifters, who can clothe themselves. But I decided to be *slightly* more realistic than that.

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