Interloper - Cover


by Jon Fenton

Copyright© 2024 by Jon Fenton

Fantasy Story: A state police team's search for a missing person leads to an encounter with a bizarre creature. one that not only can play mind games but has the power to manipulate.

Tags: Shapeshifters   Horror   Spiritual   Mystery  

Dispatcher Bridget calls over the radio about a missing person in the Trailhead region. I sigh, realizing how long tonight’s shift would be.

“Radio, this is Trooper Westfall. I’m at Trailhead, just off Glenard Road. Checking the area for the subject, Lucas Chase, now.”

In the rearview mirror, Officer Gonzalez is behind me as a backup. We’re fresh off I-25, which led to a dirt road where our subject was last seen.

Turning on my brights, I pull ahead cautiously, as my only light is from the stars and moon. It’s a clear night in late September. The road lasts a few miles before hitting a dead end. I pull off to the side of the road, and Gonzalez does the same. Shutting off the engine of my patrol cruiser, I step out.

Pulling out my flashlight, I meet him. He pulls out his county-issued phone and shows me a picture of our subject. “He doesn’t look like much of a hunter to me,” Gonzalez says.

I shake my head. “His family says he doesn’t hunt. They aren’t sure what he was doing out here.”

Gonzalez nods as he pockets the photo. “He could’ve been taking a friggin walk for all we know.”

“I saw the report. His ex-wife reported him missing after he failed to pick up their little girl from daycare this afternoon.”

Gonzalez shook his head mournfully. “I know where this is going.”

I head towards the start of the forest, which consists mainly of conifer trees, and head inside before turning to Gonzalez, who hasn’t budged. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.”

He sighs. “Alright, you’re the vet.”

Shining my flashlight ahead, I see a small clearing with a deer path, and I start to follow it.

“In this line of work, you gotta be ready for anything, rookie.”

“If you say so,” he says.

“I know so. You’ll see.”

The trail continues for a few miles. The deeper we get, the darker the forest becomes. The flashlights are our eyes now. Eventually, we reach a fork in the path and stop to see where to go. Pulling up a map on my phone, I take note of a backroad about a mile from here.

Turning to Gonzalez, I say. “There’s another dirt road up ahead that runs off Glenard called Elm Road. Let’s go left and see what we find.”

He salutes me, making me roll my eyes before moving ahead. “You’re the boss,” he says.

I detect some snark in his tone and reach for a quick comeback. “You know it. How about you buy me a beer when we’re off duty.”

“Sorry, don’t drink.”

I turn to him and squint. “Really! Never?”

He shakes his head. “Just didn’t grow up around it, I guess.”

I pat him on the back, saying, “I see. But drink the toast at Sam’s wedding, or else.”

He didn’t respond, but I don’t think he took offense to what I’d said. Not much more was said until we reached Elm Road, where we found an abandoned maroon Voyager from the late nineties.

“Wow, look at this antique,” Gonzalez says. “It must be from when you were a kid.”

“Save the ageism for later; we’ve got a job to do,” I say. “Have dispatch run this license plate. It might belong to Lucas.”

There’s a tiny water-related building here and a streetlight allowing us to see inside the car a little bit. All I can see inside are a few articles of clothing.

The dispatcher gives him a 10-4, and then we asked for a response. Gonzalez moves to the vehicle to inspect the inside. We don’t need a search warrant for abandoned cars in a suspicious location like this. He tries all the doors, but unfortunately, they’re all locked. With our flashlights shining inside, I can see better. Inside is a pair of jeans and a shirt with black stars. Also, there’s some trash we’ll need to dig through later, including a book, but I can’t tell what the title is as it doesn’t have a cover.

Dispatcher Bridgette radioed back to us a few minutes later, letting us know the car belonged to Lucas Chase. The cadaver unit radioed me later, letting me know they were coming. I asked them to bring a slim jim before they hit the woods.

They all show up a bit later. Sgt. Sheridan, our K-9 officer, takes Lucas’s shirt and lets Hodge, the department’s German Shepard, take off deeper into the Colorado wilderness. There are a few other officers I don’t know so well who join us for the search.

A few hours into the search, we still found nothing. It feels like we climbed three mountains, but we’ve traveled about four miles, covering many smaller hills. We eventually reach a clearing with a lake and a mountain range in the background, which we pass without a second look. It leads to the other side of the conifer forest; Hodge picks up pace and takes us all for a sprint. It lasts about five hundred feet before he stops for seemingly no reason.

Gonzalez turns to me and says, “Geez, what was this guy looking for out here, aliens?”

“Don’t laugh; it might be true,” I say. “When we were back at Elm Road, I thought the guy had only come out for a bike ride. I believe we can rule that out.”

“Look over here,” Sarg says a short distance away.

Gonzalez and I jog over, surprised that no one noticed this earlier. “What cave is this?” I ask.

Sgt. Sheridan pokes at his phone, researching it. After a few minutes, he gives up. “I’m not sure; it’s not listed on any map.”

Meanwhile, Hodge starts going crazy, barking his head off and pulling away from Sarg towards the small entrance.

Sarg nods. “We should go inside.” So we do.

We made our way around with all our flashlights. The dark rock formations eventually give way to lighter shades of stalagmites.

As we go on, the path grows narrower until it gives way to a vast opening. Here, Hodge stops and eventually lies down. Sarg tries to get him to move, but the old guy won’t budge.

Sarg shrugs. “Looks like the trail went cold,” he says.

I scan the atrium with my flashlight. Many stalagmites dangled tauntingly from the ceiling, which appeared several hundred feet high. I hope we don’t stay here longer than we should, but Hodge brought us all this way.

“We can’t just turn back now. He has to be around here somewhere,” I say. My flashlight caught a narrow opening just south of where we all stood. “There’s an opening right over there. Maybe one of us can check it out.”

The Sarg raises his eyebrows at me. “Alright, sounds like you’re volunteering then?”

I sigh and then turn my attention to Gonzalez. “Why can’t he do it? He’s younger and thinner than me.”

Gonzalez, who had his hands in his pocket, takes them out and then raises his shoulders. “I’m too tall. It looks like it’s you, Ava. Besides, I’m no thinner than you. You’re in great shape for being nearly thirty. And look at those biceps.”

“I agree,” Sarge chimes in.

By now, I’m annoyed enough to give both of them dirty looks. “That’s enough, gentleman.”

Gonzalez chuckles. “Sorry, Ava.”

I turn sideways, then edge inside the crevice, squeezing further towards the opening before hearing a scratching noise.

“What’s that,” I say.

“I heard it,” Gonzalez confirms. “Must be something on the other side.”

“Be Careful,” Sarg says. “We can’t see a thing beyond that gap.” He shines his flashlight inside the gap, but it’s useless.

Then, I hear a noise like a cross between a bird chirping and a rattlesnake. I now had second thoughts about wedging myself in this gap. In this state, I was utterly vulnerable to whatever was on the other side, but I squeezed harder and harder until I was just at the edge of the opening.

“Just a little more,” I say. Something moves on the other side, making the same noise as before, but now it sounds closer. “Hand me your flashlight, Sarg.”

He hands it over, and I point it at the dark side, but I see nothing but cave rock at first. Quickly, I squeeze through the gap. I noticed a pit just beyond, luckily stopping myself before falling in. To my right is a ledge extending beyond the cliff.

“Hello, is someone there?” A voice calls out.

I shine Sarge’s flashlight around before responding. “This is Trooper Ava Westphall. Identify yourself.”

Just to the right of me, where the cliff extends, I see another opening and another light flashing around. “Lucas Chase.”

“Okay, Lucas, listen to me closely. Come out to where I am. Make sure I can see your hands.”

I can hear Lucas sobbing from where I’m standing. “I can’t”

“Yes, you can. Just step on the edge and keep your stomach flat against the wall. I’m right here within arm’s reach. I can help you across. I have a light.”

“I’ll try,” he says. Soon after, he comes into view, shakily making his way onto the edge, keeping his midsection flat as I instructed.

“Just a little further. “You’re doing great,” I say.

When he reaches out close enough, I grab his hand. Our eyes meet. He looks petrified.

“It’s in there,” he says as I put away the flashlight and pull him to safety.

“I think I heard it while I was inside that gap. What is it?”

“I don’t know.”

“Let’s get going. Once we’re on the other side, it won’t be able to get us.”

Once again, I turn sideways at the gap and make my way through with Lucas following. Slowly, we both make our way further inside the gap. Then, the chirping returns.

“Oh my God, it’s right beside us,” Lucas says shakily.

“Hurry,” I order him.

“It’s pulling me.” He says before he starts to scream and struggle.

“Hang on,” I say, pulling him towards me.

“You’re hurting me,” he shouts as if in agony.

“Shoot it, guys,” I cried but got no response. “Are you guys there.” Still nothing. I look over to the opening where all the other troopers were before. They all had lights on before, but now it’s pitch dark. Did they all leave me here alone? Why would they do something like that? It’s a direct violation of our force’s protocol.

I return my attention to Lucas. I wish I could shine my flashlight, but I can’t reach below my waist due to the size of the lower half of the crack.

Then Lucas gives a tormented scream, and Everything goes quiet.

“Lucas, are you ok?” No response. “Lucas.”

The hissing chirps return, sounding much closer. Then, I can hear it right next to the gap where I’m still standing. I start to cry as I leave to the other side. I’m rushing, but I can feel whatever this is getting closer. Finally, I can feel a slimy, soft, leathery touch on my arm. It grips me when I clear the gap and fall onto the other side. As I shine Sarg’s flashlight on the ground, I catch a glimpse of this creature’s eyes. They glow a shade of light red but are large and featureless; its skin is rough and has a yellowish tint, with pointy ears.

Pulling out my service pistol, I aim for the head and fire, but I must’ve missed.

The whole thing becomes too much for me. I feel the cave start spinning, too weak to stand up. When the thing touched me a moment ago, it must’ve done something, but what is beyond me?

For a time, I lay, unable to move. I can hear the creature communicating to me using ESP, but I pay little attention to its words due to the shock of being in this state. I feel like I’m in a dream, but I’m conscious as if I’m in a trance.

Everything returned to normal. The creature’s hissing and chirping were clearly on the other side of the gap. Slowly, I stood up, backed away, and bolted towards the mouth of the cave.

When I got far enough away, I stopped to catch my breath, listening at the mouth of the cave for the creature. It seemed it either didn’t follow me or couldn’t. Once my heart rate returned to normal, I take out my radio.

“This is Trooper Westphal. Where the hell did you guys go.”

It took a few minutes for me to get a response. “This is Gonzalez; where are you, Ava?”

Making my way through the forest, I soon see the clearing ahead. “I’m back here. Almost at the clearing.”

He responds shortly after that. “We’re back at the deer paths. Want us to wait for you?”

Taking my finger off the radio, I shake my head and sigh. “Why? It’s not like you guys just left me for dead. And what about Lucas? We can’t just leave him in the cave. He might still be alive.”

Gonzalez responds immediately. “We thought you were right behind us. Sorry about that. Lucas is with us.”

“Sure, you are. Listen, I’ve got a long way to go. I’ll deal with you guys later. Just go on without me. Is Lucas okay?”

“Yeah, he’s fine.”

Once I returned to my patrol vehicle, I slammed the door and kept to myself for most of the night. Most of which is uneventful. I saw both Gonzalez and Sarg back at the station but avoided them. Sarg avoided me too, so the feelings were mutual, while Gonzalez, someone I considered a close friend until the incident at the cave tonight, keeps trying to speak with me, but each time he does, I turn the other way, giving him the cold shoulder. I might give him a chance to explain himself tomorrow, but as of now, I won’t speak with him unless it’s work-related, and of course, if he needs my help in the field, I already have my sword duty to do so.

Why would Sarg or the other officers with me tonight want to cover up this incident? What do they have to hide? And more importantly, what was that thing? I’ve never seen or heard anything like it before. For now, I must keep this to myself.

Later, I looked at Sarge’s report on our search for Lucas Chase. In it, he has nothing about finding the man and claims that when Hodge’s scent of the man went dead, we all left and returned to our patrols. I plan on sticking with that since the truth about finding such a bizarre creature might hurt my credibility, especially without physical evidence. And regarding Lucas Chase, I didn’t see him again that night. I thought he was a goner, but he must’ve escaped that thing without me knowing. It’s just best to leave it be for now. I can revisit the place later and keep from questioning my sanity.

I’m content to sleep until two before being woken up by my phone’s ringtone. When I picked up the phone, the contact, Enrique Gonzalez, appears on the screen. I answer it and we greet each other.

“Hopefully, I’m not waking you up,” he says.

I sigh. “I needed to be up anyway,” I say. “Just tell me what you want.”

He clears his throat. “Listen, I’m sorry about last night.”

“You’re sorry,” I say with agitation. “Sorry about leaving me for dead. Oh, I’ll buy that. Goodbye!”

Before I can hang up, he stops me. “Please just give me a chance to explain. It’s not what you think.”

There’s a moment of silence before I answer him. “Go ahead, but make it brief. I just woke up.”

“I better come over and explain it. You never know who might be listening.”

I give a slight laugh. “The NSA, we’ve both seen it in real-time. Oh, and if you guys are listening, go to hell!”

Gonzalez chuckles. “Be over in a sinch.”

While I wait for him, I hop in the shower, brew a pot of coffee, and put on some eggs for us to have when he comes. He sounds like he’s still a friend, and honestly, I’m curious about why Sarg reported last night’s incident the way he did.

After he arrives, we exchange our pleasantries before we sit and enjoy what’s breakfast for both of us.

Before biting, he smiles and says, “You poison this?”

I roll my eyes. “Very funny, so let’s make this quick, shall we? Just tell me why Sarg acted like he did.”

Gonzalez’s face suddenly looked long. “We heard the creature; all of us did. As soon as we did, Sarge signaled that we should leave the cave with him. After that, he didn’t say a word about it.”

I squinted at him. “So, you didn’t call him out on leaving Lucas and me back there for dead.”

“I did. I insisted on it, but when I started to turn back, that bastard pulled his gun on me.”

I shook my head. “Somehow, I’m not surprised. The man was in the military. But I’m not sure that creature is of this world.”

“Did you see it?” Gonzalez asked.

I nodded. “I felt the thing. Its touch felt like a snake’s. I’m almost sure it killed Lucas Chase.”

“Agree. The guy must be a goner.” He paused. “Wanna know what I think?”


“I heard a rumor about a strange entity that lives in these parts. Hikers have reported seeing it in the woods, and cave explorers have, too.”

He took a bite of his breakfast and then continued. “Farmer Hershel lives near where we were. He runs a farm out that way. He sells lots of crops each year. He’s made numerous complaints about this creature to us, but they stopped six months ago. Likely because Sarg always told us to ignore them for some reason.”

“Is that it,” I say. “What about Lucas? Where did he go?”.

“That’s all I know. As far as Lucas goes, I could’ve sworn he was with us, but by the time we got back to our patrol cars, he was gone. I assumed he just went back to his van and went home.” He finished up his eggs and chugged the rest of his coffee. “Listen, gotta go, but I wouldn’t mention any of last night’s business to anyone between you and me. Go with Sarg’s report. It’ll be better for all of us if you do.”

I sit silently for a moment before responding. “I won’t dispute it. But between the both of us, I have my reasons.” I pause for a moment. “Wanna know something? I thought that creature got him, but I assumed I was wrong when you told me he was with you.” I slammed my fist on the table. “Dammit. We failed. To serve and protect. It’s our sworn duty, and I failed.”

I start to sob, and Gonzalez consoles me. “Take it easy; Lucas was with us, as I told you.”

“I heard that thing kill him.”

Gonzalez shakes his head. “No, he was with us. Trust me, I’m not making that up.”

Soon after eating breakfast, we say our goodbyes and hug him before he takes off.

About an hour later, I received a text from Captain Daisy. She told me that Lucas Chase had arrived to pick up his daughter from daycare this afternoon. They were working on arranging a time for him to come down to the station and file a report on what happened.

When I get this news, I’m half relieved he’s alive but more shocked. I was sure that creature killed him, but here he is. So Gonzalez was telling the truth.

She also sent a note a half hour ago asking me to come to her office before I go on duty in a few hours. I give her an okay, though it makes my stomach feel worse thinking about what Lucas may have told her.

Four p.m. arrives faster than I’d like to admit. I go straight to Captain Daisy’s office when I get to the station. Sitting across from her, I assess her expression. She looks serious, which makes my stomach churn.

She’s a short, stocky middle-aged woman with a thick iron face and ginger hair.

“As you may’ve heard,” she says, “Lucas Chase returned safely earlier this afternoon. His ex-wife and daughter are relieved, but he came in and filed a report about what happened last night. He told us he was stuck inside a cave. You were there, correct?”

I clear my throat. “Yes, just like Sarg reported, we went there recovered him from the cave, and then resumed our patrols. Why?”

“Well, that’s the thing. Lucas’s report didn’t match Sarge’s or what you’re saying.” She paused. “Why is that?”

I sit back in my chair and cross my legs. I need to look relaxed and not suspicious. “I’m not sure I can answer that without knowing what he said.”

Daisy momentarily pulls up a report on her desk and glances at it. “He says here that you were helping him but then left him for dead in the cave.” She reads it over some more before continuing. “He then says you took a shot at him. Is that true?”

I shake my head. “He’s lying. He was with us and then left in his van. Just ask them.”

She leans forward and looks me in the eye. “Are you sure that’s how it happened?”

“Absolutely,” I say.

She sits back. “Okay then. I’ll take your word for it. I hope we can make this disappear, but this guy has filed a complaint about you. Someone will be looking into it. Got that.”

I nod. “Got it. Trust me, Sarg has my back.” I wasn’t sure about that last bit, but Sarg had every reason to back me up and call this guy a liar, which is what he is. I shot at the creature, not him.

The night doesn’t bring much action for me. There are a few arrests, as usual.

At midnight, the station received a call about a man peeping into windows in the Dridcar Hills section of the town of Arrough. Gonzalez and I responded to it, and I almost couldn’t believe what followed.

There is more of this story...
The source of this story is SciFi-Stories

To read the complete story you need to be logged in:
Log In or
Register for a Free account (Why register?)

Get No-Registration Temporary Access*

* Allows you 3 stories to read in 24 hours.