By Tereshky 
2 parts
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• Latest update: 9 November. Next update: 23 November. (Submissions welcome.)

• Latest from BRK: “Pool party”, Parts 1‑2.

Part 1

Hollyville, Alabama was a rural farming community of around 650 people. It was the kind of place where the local news was the gossip at the grocery store and everyone knew everybody. It was usually so quiet that the one paid cop normally had little to do, which was just as well since he had just turned sixty in May. But things changed in the fall of 1995, people were going missing, there were three so far. Wild rumors began to spread, people were claiming to see strange things in the surrounding swamps and woods just after dark.

Of course, Sam Spencer didn’t believe any of these stories. He was an investigator working for the State of Alabama who had been sent to investigate what was happening. He believed in facts and hard evidence and right now the evidence was bizarre enough without every yokel clouding it up with their half-imagined encounters with creatures hiding out in the woods.

He’d examined the other crime scenes. The local high school football coach had vanished, his station wagon was found in several pieces, as if it had been blown apart but there was no evidence of a fire or explosion. There was also no sign of a body. Then later, a parsonage was discovered with its door ripped off the hinges, and the priest who lived there was nowhere to be found. Finally a high school student had vanished without a trace on his walk home from practice. In two of the cases, the victims were described as agitated and acting strangely before their disappearance.

He was thinking all of these things over from the passenger seat of a deputy sheriff’s cruiser. The evening was getting dark and they were heading out into the surrounding county to respond to a domestic dispute between Tom Cole (a local farmer) and his wife Lisa. Dike Bailey, the Sheriff’s deputy, was driving down an old two-lane road in between alternating stretches of woods and corn fields. The mists were drifting up from nearby swamps and a damp fog was setting in.

“You know, Dike, I know I told you I was here to help but I think my time would be better spent searching for traces of that boy who disappeared last week,” said Sam. “I think domestic disputes are best handled by the local authority.”

“Now you said you wanted to be involved if anything unusual was goin’ on no matter how unimportant it seemed,” said Dike. “Now I’m telling you this is strange.”

“Tell me again what happened.”

“Well…” Dike began. “Tom and Lisa are usually the gentlest most lovin’ people you’d ever come across. They go to church every Sunday and always greet you nice like in the streets but today Lisa called me in an awful state. She was cryin’, she said around noon Tom had got mad for no reason, started breakin’ things and shouting and then bolted out the back door. He hasn’t been back since and none of the boys can find him.”

“The boys?” Sam asked.

“They hire a handful of farm hands to help out at the farm, ever since their own kids grew up and moved out. None of them seen him since he left. Although one of them said they spotted someone moving around in the corn. Wasn’t wearin’ Tom’s hat though.”

“That’d be why we don’t identify people by hats.” Sam sighed. “They’re pretty easy to remove.”

“Tom’s always wearin’ that hat except to sleep or church.”

“Well, for the moment we’ll use Occam’s razor and assume that was him. Where do you think he’d go if he wanted to get away from people?”

“Occam’s what?” The deputy said scratching his head.

“It’s just way of… watch out!” Sam shouted as something massive jumped out of the woods right in front of them. They slammed on the breaks to avoid hitting it and the car swerved around a few times before coming to a stop.

“What the hell was that?” the deputy shouted, jumping out of the car.

“Maybe you should take a moment to think about that question before you jump out after it…” Sam thought to himself. Whatever it was, it was gone now.

“It looked like a person!”

“It was too big to be a person. It towered over the car.”

“Well, what else but a person do you know that runs like that?” Dike shouted.

“I’ve never seen a person move that fast,” said Sam although he had to admit, it did look like one. “They’d have to be 9 feet tall. You have any Amazonians living in your county?”

“Any what?” Dike said scratching his head again.

“Never mind.”

“Maybe it was just a trick of the fog”, said Dike. Sometimes it makes you think you see things that aint there.”

Sam was bending over the spot where whatever it was had jumped onto the road from the dense trees. “I don’t think fog leaves footprints,” he said, shining his flashlight down on what seemed to be the biggest muddy footprint he’d ever seen. It definitely looked human.

Shining the beam around he found what he was looking for. “And that’s where our mystery headed,” he added, pointing to a large gap in the rows of corn. They were trampled to the ground.

“You think that thing’s responsible for all the missin’ people?” Dike said.

“What I think…” Sam replied slowly, “is that we should get back in the car. We can come back in the morning with more people.”

The two drove on to their destination. The Cole farm covered about fifty acres. The farmhouse where Tom and his wife lived sat at the end of a long gravel drive. A few barns, sheds, and living quarters for farm hands enclosed the main yard. They walked inside and found the matron of the house flanked by two strong men in their twenties.

“We came as soon as we could. How ya holdin’ up?” said the deputy as he shook everyone’s hand.

“Who’s that?” one of the men asked, pointing at Sam.

“Kyle, this is Sam Spencer, he’s a detective from Montgomery, he’s come down to help us out for a bit,” said Dike.

“I don’t see why we need no deputy from the city snoopin’ around in our business out here,” Kyle shot back. “Ain’t you seen we been through enough?”

“Now that’s enough outta you sir,” the deputy said reproachfully. Then he began talking to the farmer’s wife about what had happened.

“Ma’am, I’m sorry to hear about what happened with your husband. Did he seem anxious about anything before today?” Lisa looked to the deputy who nodded for her to answer.

“Well… no… other than the weather. But he was always frettin’ about that.”

“So it was only today that he was acting strangely?”

“Well… yes… it was right after he dropped Adam off at the school,” she replied.

“Adam? I thought your kids were grown ma’am?” Sam raised an eyebrow.

“Well, yes, but we hire a boy from in town to help out in the mornings. Hard worker, barely stops from the time he gets here at 6 until he’s gotta leave for school. Rides out here on his bike every morning, rain or shine.” said Lisa. “Handsome fella, just showed up in town a few years ago. Said his parents ran off to Mexico without him. I tell ya there are devils in this world…. Anyway, we like to help him out and we can always use an extra pair of hands. Tom’s taken to tossing his bike in the truck and drivin’ him to school so he’s not late.”

“Did anything happen to make him agitated while he was out?” Sam asked.

“Well… the truck came back mighty beat up,” she replied. “He said he’d hit a puddle and slid off the road and hit a tree.”

“And… when he came back he began to act strangely?” Sam asked.

“Strange is a mild word for how he was actin’. I don’t know the man who came back to this house, you hear? He said things you only hear in fowl parts, Mr. Spencer. It got worse throughout the day until I told him to get out of here until he could civilize himself.” She shook her head. “That’s when he began tearin’ up. I had to lock myself in a room. You should have seen the mess he made. The boys cleaned it up. I figured when he didn’t come home for dinner it was time to call the sheriff. Something is not right with him.”

Sam thought for a moment, perhaps there was something to this beyond a simple domestic dispute. Then suddenly another man burst into the room. “There’s a light on in back shed!”

“I take it that means something?” Sam asked.

The man stopped until deputy Bailey explained who he was. Finally he continued, “Well yeah, ain’t nobody supposed to be back there. I was just gonna get Kyle and Todd to go check it out.”

“Dike and I’ll go with you. You two stay with Mrs. Cole. Likely as not, it’s just your husband,” he added, turning back to her.

“Who else would it be?” Kyle asked.

“I’d rather not speculate,” he said, thinking of the creature he’d seen on the road a few miles from where they were. Would something like that bother to turn on a light?

The three of them made their way to the back of the yard just to the point where the corn fields began. Sure there was a shed with a light shining from an open door. As they approached it, they could hear someone groaning inside, as if they were in pain.

“Sounds like Tom,” said the farm hand, quickening his pace.

“Don’t you get out ahead of us. Even if it is him, we don’t know how we’ll find him,” the deputy chided.

They drew nearer to the sheds and the groans grew louder. They approached the shed from the side and as they walked around to the open door they saw him. In the back of the shed huddled in the floor was man covered in mud. “Tom!!” shouted the farm hand.

But the man just looked at them and growled. All of his clothes had been tossed away. “Does he look bigger to you?” Dike asked in an undertone. Whoever it was had an enormous build and even crumpled on the ground as he was, he was clearly over 6’ 5’’.

“Maybe that ain’t Tom…” said the field hand, backing away as whoever was huddled on the floor began to slowly crawl toward them.

Sam noticed that his muscles appeared to be flexing in an odd manner, rhythmically convulsing and then swelling again until they were larger than before. Whoever it was, they were getting bigger. His biceps were bulging under the mud and sweat as he grew taller and stronger.

“The door!” Sam shouted as he jumped out of the shed and slammed the door. “Can we brace it?”

The field hand darted into the dark and came back with a couple of shovels and shoved them through the door handles to the shed. “That oughta hold ‘im.”

Sam wasn’t so sure. “Get back!”

Suddenly an arm went through the wall, ripping massive planks from the side of the shed. The all pointed their flashlights at the hole. The creature had grown much larger. He was crashing around inside the shed making it shudder and quake until he had knocked enough supports off that it collapsed around him.

Everything was quiet for a moment and then the pile of rubble began to move and what emerged was an 8-foot behemoth. His massive pecs must have weighed as much as a person and he was still growing. His eyes reflected the glow of the flashlight like a cat and he was coming towards them. His shoulders broadening and biceps swelling as he walked.

The creature started making its way toward the field hand, its giant dick swaying between its legs. Sam pulled out his gun and started firing away. The deputy followed suit. The creature let out an awful howl and bolted into the corn field.

“Jesus, what was that thing?” Sam shouted.

“I… don’t know. Couldn’t’ve been Tom… could it?”

Sam only muttered to himself, “What the hell is going on in this county?”

Part 2

“So when is the animal control guy going to get here?” Sam groused into his phone.

“I filled out the papers on Tuesday, he should be in Hollyville today,” said Jerry Williams, Sam’s superintendent back in Montgomery. “For the life of me I hope this plan of yours works. Otherwise you’ll make a laughingstock of us both. I’m still sitting on your report until you get more evidence.”

“I’ve got plenty of evidence,” Sam said in exasperation. “I took everyone’s statement about what happened on the Cole farm. There were three eyewitnesses, two of them law enforcement, including myself, who saw whatever that creature was grow and tear down the shack. I’ve also found 12 other people who will confirm they’ve seen similar creatures in and around the woods. There’s also the cast I took of the footprints. What more do you need to send backup?”

“Look, you know I think you’re the best man for this sort of job and I definitely think you’ve got enough together that I’m convinced there’s something strange going on down there,” Superintendent Williams replied. “But farmers turning into monsters… that’s the sort of thing that could get us both tossed out of the SBI if it turns out this is some kind of a hoax.”

“I’m not saying what we saw was Tom Cole,” said Sam. “He was too muddy to visually ID. I only have a farm hand’s word that those grunts and snarls sounded like him. But whatever it was DID grow into a monster. It wasn’t a trick of the lights. You know I’m not a crackpot.”

“That’s why I’m sending you the animal guy but you’ve got to give me more. A picture… or something… before I can give you any more resources. And can you do it quick? I’ve had five people ask me what you’ve been doing down there for the past three weeks and I’m running out of things to say!”

“Look, I’ll get you something soon.” Sam said. “These… things… are hanging around the Sheriff’s department lately.”

“You’ve seen them?”

“No, but I’ve seen signs that they were here,” said Sam. “There are more footprints and I’ve seen a bunch of broken branches on the property. That’s where I am now. The past few nights they tell me the dogs wouldn’t stop barking. When they show up again tonight, I’ll be ready for them. I’ll call you in the morning with something new,” he finished, hanging up the phone.

He sat at the desk in the guest office provided for him and thought for a minute. He’d been busy for the past two weeks rounding up every shred of evidence he could and interviewing anyone who had seen any sign of these creatures. He had the sightings plotted out on the map. They tended to concentrate around certain areas at certain times.

They had been seen in the woods around the high school before that kid on the football team and his coach had disappeared. Then there were several sightings on the highway near Tom Cole’s farm before he disappeared. And if he wasn’t mistaken Tom had run into one before he changed. He’d looked over Tom’s truck and had several problems with his story that he’d run into a tree. First of all, the grill appeared to be ripped off the front, not smashed in from an impact and the driver side door looked like it was forced open.

He also couldn’t find a spot where Tom would have skidded off the road or any sign of a tree with damage from a truck. “No… you met one of our friends all right… but was it you who drove back…”

Suddenly the door opened. “Sir, the Sheriff wants to see you.”

He was surprised to see a boy, couldn’t have been older than 16. He looked like he could be in movies. “What’s your name?” Sam asked.

“Adam sir,” he replied shyly.

“The Adam from the Cole farm?” This had to be him. Everyone had described him as handsome and that was the first thing that jumped into your mind when you looked at him.

“I mean, they hired me for a about six months until…” Adam stammered.

“I’ve been wanting to talk to you about the morning of Tom’s… disappearance,” Sam said, careful not to divulge too much. “But what are you doing here?”

“Well, umm…”

“‘Cause I hired him. Why do you think he’s here?” the Sheriff walked in. Sheriff Thomas Lydell was a broad-shouldered man with a rather substantial gut. “Go on back to the files now,” he said patting the boy on the shoulder.

“I thought I said I wanted to talk to him and you said he wasn’t available!” Sam said.

“Well, ain’t available to you. The boy’s had a hard enough life without you prying into it.”

“He’s a potential witness to what happened to the farmer!” Sam shouted.

“He gave a statement to us, he didn’t see anything. End of story,” said the Sheriff. “Now, I wanted to see you because I don’t have anybody to spare tonight to just hang around here and wait for Big Foot to show up.”

“We talked about this in advance!” Sam said turning red.

“Well, I changed my mind,” the Sheriff said. “I’m gonna send the two deputies I was gonna stick here to patrol Route 24 for drunks. I’m gettin’ sick of all this nonsense. You’re scaring everybody in this county for no good reason.”

“Do you not care that these creatures are going to be lurking outside of these very walls after dark?” Sam asked.

“They ain’t no creatures! I don’t know what you saw but all these stories you’ve gotten people to spill out are just a bunch of hogwash,” Sheriff Lydell laughed. “Why, I remember a few years back half the county was convinced there was a witch living out in the swamp. We got 13 calls over that nonsense!”

“We’re not talking about fairy tales, Sheriff,” Sam replied hotly. “These creatures have gathered at least twice before and both times people went missing.”

“Good! Hopefully next time it’s you!” the sheriff shouted as he thundered out of the room.

It was 11:15 p.m. Sam was sitting in his car across the street from the sheriff’s department. Dike Bailey was sitting in a patrol car 100 feet away. He was defying direct orders to stake out the station with Sam but he knew what he had seen on the farm wasn’t a hallucination. The two of them had left the station around five and returned at 9 after the sun had set. They were far enough away that no one would see them watching the place.

The surrounding woods were so quiet you could hear yourself breathe. Everything was so dark they could barely make out the outline of the building but they didn’t dare to shine a light. Dike was sipping on a cup of coffee when he jumped two feet to see Sam suddenly standing by his window. “You’re gonna give me a heart attack!”

“I thought I saw somebody moving over there,” Sam said. “Is anybody left at the station?”

“Sheriff packed up and left when we did,” Dike said. “Everyone else is either home or out on patrol.”

“I know there’s someone moving around over there.” Sam repeated.

“I guess we better go check it out, but I don’t mind tellin’ you the thought of bumping around in the dark with those… those things wandering about don’t make me happy.”

“I saw a shadow pass in front of a window,” Sam said. “I don’t think it’s one of them. Grab a flashlight but don’t turn it on until I say so.” The two of them crept as quietly as they could across the road and into the station yard. Sam made his way toward where the shadows had been heading as best as he could figure.

They walked a little further, they could hear movement now. Then slowly they began to make out some movement up ahead. Suddenly, someone ran past them in the dark. Sam’s flashlight clicked on and Dike’s was soon to follow. “What’s that?” But whoever it was, they were quick and there was no sign of them. Their beams began to search in all directions.

Up ahead, in the direction the mystery man had been running from, there appeared to be a large mass of movement and when they shined their lights directly on it they realized it was two enormous behemoths standing over something. Their massive arms were toying with something on the ground. They turned and stared back at the light with their glowing eyes and started moving in their direction. Without warning Dike whipped out his pistol and opened fire.

“No, Dike!” Sam shouted, but it was too late. There was a deep wailing sound and the two creatures took off. Sam had pulled out a funny looking gun in the dark and took aim but the creatures were gone before he could fire.

“They were comin’ at us!” Dike shouted.

“I needed to drop one of them for evidence.” Sam groaned in frustration. Then he noticed something on the ground beneath where the creatures had stooped. They walked over to the spot and gasped. There was the sheriff’s naked body.

It was nearly one o’clock at night before Lydell woke up and found himself locked in one of the station’s three jail cells. “What the hell?” he said to himself.

“Evening Sheriff!” Sam said, walking over to the bars. “Nice to see you awake. You’ll find your clothes neatly folded in the corner in there.”

“Sam Spencer, you betta’ let me outta’ this cage or I’ll…”

“I don’t think so, Sheriff,” Sam said. “You’ve been in contact with those creatures. I wouldn’t be sure what I was letting out. But if you’d like to regain some of your dignity you can start by putting your pants on.” He was a little shocked to see the sheriff was in much better shape than he remembered. He also tried to ignore his dangling endowment. But the man made no movement toward his clothes.

“You’ve got no right to keep me in here!” the sheriff bellowed.

“I’ve got plenty of cause,” Sam said with a smirk. “Besides reasons I just described, you were out here naked on county property with another individual. I think I can hold you for at least one night on that.”

“It was those things, they tore the clothes off me!” the sheriff shouted.

“They did a pretty neat job of it then. We found your uniform neatly draped over a holly branch, right next to someone else’s clothes. Another man I believe unless you’re into the butch type of broad. No sign of a struggle.” Sam paused. “No sir, I’d say you were out there willingly. No wonder you didn’t want us to stake out the station tonight. Now why don’t you put your pants on and we can talk.”

The sheriff made no movement towards his clothes. He just grabbed at the bars. His cock was poking through. “You’re gonna regret this!”

“Now Thomas Lydell… I should think a man of your profession would know better than to make threats in a situation like this.” Sam said. “Pretty sure the law is on my side. Now are you gonna tell me what you were doing out there or change your address to the county jail?”

“I ain’t talking about the law…” The sheriff started to smile. His veins began to bulge. “Some of us out here are gettin’ tired of folks like you pokin’ into our business. We ain’t had a way to stop you, until now.”

Sam noticed that as the sheriff talked his muscles seemed to bulge and what was left of his gut was receding into his abdomen. Sam’s eyes grew wide, suddenly realizing what was happening. “You met those things on purpose?”

“You city detectives think you’re sooo clever…” The last traces of flabby skin vanished around the sheriff’s toned physique. His pecs bounced and started to inflate, pushing his nipples down. “You ain’t… got… a clue!” he said, struggling to talk and stand as his entire body entered into a state of flux. His ripped thighs were swelling so much that the gap between his legs disappeared. “I beat ya to it…”

“How did they do this to you? How does the corruption spread?” Sam demanded.

The sheriff laughed. “Corruption! Ha! This is… the future!” His traps were engulfing his neck as he grew taller. His cock was dangling between his knees. His balls were swelling up beyond the size of his ever-growing fists. His pecs were so swollen than he couldn’t see beneath them. He was passing 7 feet and 400 pounds of raw muscle. He grabbed the bars and began to bend them.

Sam pulled out a gun—not his regular gun but the strange pistol he had pulled out earlier. “Hahaha boy… you think that’s gonna stop me!” The sheriff’s voice was deepening. “These muscles fix any damage you do! Bullets are nothing to us!” He started to growl as he grabbed his cock. “I’m gonna…” His voice trailed off into grunts and snarls. His balls had grown to the size of melons. His body was making sounds from the strain of his growth.

Sam fired. A dart shot out of his gun and stuck into the sheriff’s ballooning left deltoid. But the only response was more growls and noises. He reached 8 feet tall and began to bang on the bars causing the entire room to shudder. Sam reloaded the gun and fired a second shot into his right pec. The sheriff roared and banged on the metal again like a battering ram causing it to bend and crack. His biceps were as big around as a tree trunk. In a few seconds he would be out. Sam reloaded the pistol and took aim again but suddenly the captive behemoth slowed down and started to wobble and make dumb noises that sounded like confusion.

“Whatever clever plan was in that twisted head of yours…” Sam muttered, without lowering his gun, “Seems like that’s all gone now.” He watched the sheriff try to raise his arm for another blow but he threw himself off balance and collapsed on the floor asleep. His body continued to swell even with him unconscious.

“Holy shit…” Dike said, stepping out of the shadows. “How’d you think to use elephant tranquilizers?”

“I hope you got all of that on film or I’ll shoot one into you,” Sam said.

“Yeah, it’s all recorded. I can’t believe it…”

“I figured bullets weren’t much use against them,” Sam said. “I know I fired five rounds into that brute at the farm, not counting what you shot. When I searched everywhere for a body and barely found any blood I realized we needed something new. Bullets seem to hurt, but only like a wasp sting to you and me. Guess we know why now.”

“That’s why you wanted someone from the Montgomery zoo down here so bad,” the deputy said, finally understanding.

They both looked at the creature that had once been the sheriff, strange markings like stripes began to appear on his skin as his body continue to swell with new muscle on the floor of the cell. He was so tall that he barely fit in there anymore. His 24-inch cock fell idly on his right leg.

“So the sheriff’s behind all of this? Any idea on who was with him out there? That wasn’t a giant that ran past us. Thomas didn’t do this alone,” Dike said.

“I was hoping you’d have some insight into that,” said Sam but Dike just shook his head. “Call the deputies in—we may have another one of these guys popping up in town. And wake the Hollyville policeman,” Sam said.

“Stan? I mean, at his age he’s mostly just directing traffic at this point,” Dike said. “The sheriff’s department takes care of most of the crime in the county. Stan just walks around the town and soaks up gossip all day.”

“I know… that’s why I want to talk to him.” Sam said. “After that I want you to take the tape you just made to the SBI. Make sure it gets in the hands of Jerry Williams. He’ll be expecting you.”

“Me? Why don’t you go?”

“I’ve got work to do here. See you when you get back tomorrow,” Sam said, shooting one more tranquilizer dart into the sheriff just to be sure.

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