A/N: For this year's annual horror short for Halloween, I decided to write up the prologue for the novel I am working on. It will eventually be expanded but for now, its just a scary short story. Hope you all enjoy!

Creature

The cold crisp air gently brushed Tracy's cheeks as she stuttered down her dark neighborhood road. Most sober people wondering about at this time in Fairbanks, Alaska would likely freeze but her body had felt so numb she hardly noticed the chill.

Tracy slapped her hand against her bare arm and huffed. She had left her jacket at Jason's house. He was her classmate, who's parents were out of town. Naturally, he seized the opportunity to through a party filled with underage drinkers.

At the sensation of a gentle tingle on her right thigh, Tracy reached her hand in her pocket and realized her phone was buzzing. She squinted her eyes and saw the name of her boyfriend Jeff flash on the screen. Tracy brushed her long blonde hair behind her shoulders and answered it, taking her a couple tries to swipe the bar to answer.

"Hello, Jeff?"

"Hey Trace, where'd you go?" Jeff asked with a chuckle.

Tracy ran her fingers through her hair. "I, um… I'm trying to get back home."

"I was going to drive you back, remember?" Jeff said sounding exasperated.

"Oh… right," Tracy mumbled.

Jeff huffed and said, "Just wait there, I'll come get you. Where are you again?"

Tracy glanced up at the street sign and squinted her eyes. "Sunny Hill Ave. I'm just… right on the corner."

"Okay, I'm coming to get you," Jeff said. "Be there in five."

After he hung up the phone, Tracy noticed her legs begin to feel heavier by the second. Wanting to rest, she slowly walked towards the forest just outside her neighborhood. She assumed Jeff would call her again when he was close.

Once she reached the outer edge of the forest, Tracy leaned against a tree and closed her eyes. She enjoyed the stillness of surrounding sounds. The only thing that would be better was if she were at home in bed.

At snap of a stick, Tracy opened her eyes. She thought she saw the lower leaves of a nearby tree bristle. Squinting her eyes, she tried to focus them on that particular area.

"Hello?" Tracy called out uncertainly. "Is, uh… anyone there?"

As she toured towards that tree, Tracy glanced down at her faint shadow from the moonlight. Her eyes widened as they moved past her imprint to another much larger figure. This shadow appeared three times the size of her own in the shape of a dog.

Tracy gasped and shot her head up but saw nothing but trees. She placed her hand on the one tree she walked up to and noticed the branch felt gooey. Her eyes slowly fell down to that hand. Dripping on her fingers was blood but who's blood?

Hearing another stick crack, Tracy whirled her head around and saw a dark figure dash through the trees. Its form was similar to the shadow she saw of the large dog.

Without wasting another moment, Tracy ran. Unfortunately, she would up deeper in the forest. She paused to catch her breath and tried to clear her mind. She glanced behind her shoulder and did not see the creature. When Tracy turned her head back, she saw another figure of a man, wearing a plaid shirt and a hat, leaning against a nearby tree.

Panting heavily, Tracy slowly stepped towards him. "Excuse me… Sir? Sir… I, um… I need help. I think I got lost and… uh, there's something in this forest… some kind of creature. Sir?"

When he did not respond, Tracy gently tapped his arm. His flesh felt stiff to her fingers.

"Sir?"

This time Tracy pulled his arm and his entire body tumbled to the ground. His face was ghost white, his jaw popped open. Across his chest were several claw marks filled with dried up blood.

Tracy screamed and ran. She heard a thumping behind her. As she continued to scamper, she felt her phone buzz.

"Jeff!" Tracy slammed the phone against her ear. "Jeff, I need help!"

"Tracy, where are you?" Jeff demanded. "I'm on Sunny Hill and don't see you anywhere."

"I'm in the forest!" Tracy stammered. "Jeff, there's something after me! Please, I need help!"

"Slow down, Tracy. I'm sure there's nothing there," he said, calmly. "Now, I'm parked right outside the forest. You'll see my headlights. Just walk towards the light."

Tracy saw a fainted pair of lights in the distance. She tried to run in that direction, but then heard a growl behind her.

"Tracy, what was that?" Jeff asked, sounding more panicked.

"It's here," she breathed out, slowly turning around.

There it stood, a giant black-haired wolf just slightly larger than a stallion. Tracy screamed and stuttered backwards, slamming her back into a tree trunk. The last thing she remembered seeing before the beast's teeth sank into her neck was its bright green eyes.

The End...