Body of Evidence Edit
Officer Hutchinson swept over the brutality with dispassion and diligence. With every picture he took, with every swab of the blood, he told himself he was a servant of justice. He was a part of the team that was going to put that asshole away for life. For the past three years, detective Chuck Chalmers mentored and inspired him to whatever minor greatness he’d achieved.
As he looked over the chalk outlines, he knew there was something he was missing. That’s why he’s the junior detective. He looked to his mentor. “Officer Chalmers, there’s something here I’m not seeing.”
The senior officer glances back from his cell phone. “If you think you’re missing something, it’s your mind telling you that you can’t accept the simplest answer.” He didn’t even stop hammering the keypad while he spoke. “Now get back to the picture-taking, Hutchinson.”
“Officer Chalmers, are you alright? You haven’t been yourself lately,” Hutchinson said, concerned. He didn’t even get an answer. Hutchinson shrugged and snapped a few more shots from another angle.
(originally released April 22)
Caveat Emptor Edit
Paul desperately roamed the alleys looking for a vendor with what he needed. Booth after booth blurred by, each one having something similar but not the same. He twisted a handkerchief over and over again in his hands, his fingers working it and tying it into knots as his eyes darted over each stall.
As he wandered down one alleyway a shrill scream filled the air, sending a sharp ring through Paul’s ears. He turned to see an old woman with the sweatshirt lying on the ground, her eyes glazed over and her skin ashen. A man rose from crouching near her body and surreptitiously closed a small vial as he walked away. The crowd parted around him for a moment before descending upon the body, hoping to find something of worth on it.
Struck by sudden greed, Paul fought his way through the scavengers. A quick glance gave him what he was after: the dirty sweatshirt the woman had tried to force on him yesterday. He snatched it and turned to disappear into the crowd. Finally he had his prize; the tattered piece of clothing was worthless yesterday, but it was suddenly worth a great deal more…
(originally released April 21)
Dead To Me Edit
Cloning represents a very clear, powerful, and immediate example in which we are in danger of turning procreation into manufacture. - Leon Kass
(originally released April 28)
Empty Space Edit
Jason Webber’s story is a tragedy. Victim of the bizarre Sendack Case. Orphaned by the mysterious murder of his parents. Lost his home to fire. Now he’s in state care, surrounded by kids whose futures likely lie in running the streets. His caseworker tries desperately not to let him slip away, but he won’t talk to her, or to anyone. Yet the boys in the home gather around him, protecting him as he obsessively draws scene after scene of violence and sadness. Each of his drawings has a space left noticeably blank.
What do they mean?
What won’t he draw?
(originally released April 16)
Frankenstein's Mobster Edit
The apartment still reeks of burning carpet and melted plastic, even a year after the fire. People don’t go in there any more, not since the Andropov boy snuck in on a dare and came out sick. No one will buy the building, and so it squats on its corner lot, decaying, rotting like a corpse left in the sun.
No one goes there any more, and people cross the street rather than pass under its yawning windows—and yet, sometimes, if you glance at the right window at the right time of day, you might just catch a glimpse of an old man, sallow and sunken-cheeked, in a once white lab coat marred with soot and scorch marks. He’s only there for a moment, and if you blink you might think you imagined him.
There’s something in his face though. Like he’s keeping watch for something. Something he’s absolutely terrified of.
(originally released April 13)
Getting Her Back Edit
Everyone’s read the reports, seen her picture on the evening news, beautiful blue eyes and pageant-queen smile. Emily Gillen is dead. The police finally tracked down the woman responsible for the brutal torture and murder of several local children; she died resisting arrest.
But that’s not the end of the story. A hatred as virulent as Emily’s doesn’t end with the final beat of a heart.
It goes on. And so do the murders.
When someone close to you vanishes, what do you do? How do you hunt a dead woman?
(originally released April 15)
Good for the Soul Edit
The neon signs flicker on, one after the other, advertising cheap beer. They wink to each other like oversized, gaudy fireflies, and then they stay lit, beckoning the people in from the outside.
In the basement of the bar, a rat wanders into the gap between worlds. Water rises around it, and it vanishes, consumed by the river.
Behind the bar, a woman runs her fingers over a series of carvings in the wood. They are already becoming worn and smooth. Tomorrow night, she will deepen them with a special knife. The carvings remind the spirit of the river of its bargain. They remind the spirit of the building of its job. They remind the pack that runs the bar of the importance of its territory.
She tenses. The spirit of the building is behind her. She shuts her eyes tight, and for a moment, gives in to the urge it creates in her. “Sometimes I think about eating someone,” she whispers. “Changing, chasing someone down, and eating him in an alley.”
“I know,” says the spirit. “I won’t tell.”
A wolf wearing the form of a man flips the “Closed” sign around. Shy’s Kill is open for business.
(originally released April 23)
Host of the Clutter Edit
Mallory couldn’t recall how she’d ended up in the middle of the woods, but she was becoming used to finding herself in strange locations with no memory of how she’d arrived. She was a little more annoyed than usual about it, though. She had been in the shelter, looking for the tape. It was important. If they found it, they would learn about the Clutter, and then they would come after her.
Undoubtedly, it was the Clutter that had brought her here. They were always with her, comforting Mallory through her sickness. Mallory hadn’t felt quite right for months now, and every day she felt increasingly drained from her illness. She was lucky to have them. One of the Clutter, a burly, ginger tomcat she had loving named Britches, weaved in and out of Mallory’s bony, arthritic legs as she shuffled stiffly forward. Weak sunlight filtered through the leaves, dappling the corpse sprawled on the forest floor. The body was covered in hundreds of scratches, and chunks of flesh had been playfully ripped away by dozens of small feline jaws.
“Not again!” Mallory exclaimed with the same bemused exasperation of a cat owner discovering a dead mouse carcass gift on the stoop. “Whatever shall I do with all of you?”
All around her, the Clutter moved through the trees: cats of every color, long haired and short, purring so loudly that Mallory could feel it reverberate through her tired bones.
(originally published April 9)
Meeting the Frostbite Girl Edit
The first thing he notices when he takes her hand is just how cold she is. Not merely chilly, but unnaturally cold, like a statue cut from Arctic ice. He shudders noticeably. She offers a sad half-smile.
“I’m sorry about that, but I want you to know what you’re dealing with, here, so that there are no misunderstandings.” He nods once in reply. She slowly withdraws her hand, but her posture remains tense as she continues. “As agreed, I’ve brought one of the files for you; something that I think you can use. I make no guarantees, though.”
He accepts the parcel from her and opens it, right there, on the booth’s battered old Formica tabletop. He sets aside the CD in its case and instead concentrates on the printed pages and the photos, marveling at the details. After a long moment, he looks back up, warm hazel eyes meeting glacial blue ones, and asks, “Why are you doing this, really?”
She sighs softly. “Because a good man dared to care about me even when he knew it was a stupid thing to do. He braved a terrible fate in order to save me from what I deserved. He made me feel warm, even if only for a little while, and you have no idea how much that means to me. I just want to try to help finish the work he left behind.”
The hunter nods once more as she starts to walk away, only to pause a few paces off and glance back over her shoulder. “Whatever you might accomplish with that file, remember that it’s because of Bryan.”
He notices, as the diner’s door closes behind her, that things do feel a little warmer now and he wonders if it’s due to more than just her leaving.
(originally published April 14)
Mother of All Wrong Turns Edit
It happens to everyone, or so Lou told himself.
Every day in this city, someone takes a wrong turn on a walk he’s taken a hundred times. Sooner or later, everyone is bound to take the wrong short cut between the wrong two Chinese restaurants and end up lost.
Only Lou didn’t know of any wrong turn anyone could take off Broad Street that ends up in a burnt out expanse the size of a pair of football fields. When he looked behind him, he could see one of the Chinese restaurants and the street he’d been walking down. When he looked ahead, he was looking at the crater of some tragic explosion. Past it, he could see the hazy outline of South Street, but only barely. To his left, where the subway entrance should have been was a hut, a building not much taller than twenty feet.
He walked closer, against his better judgment. The hut appeared to be pulsing or breathing. One step closer and he could see it was pulsing because it was made entirely out of skin—the skins of people all grown together, but still alive.
He screamed, and the skinless things that belonged there came to the sound, like bees to honey.
(originally published April 20)
Mother to Monsters Edit
A monster in the womb. A frantic 911 call. A dead body. But that’s just the start. What begins as a call from a damsel in distress leads to violence, horror and perhaps a monstrous conspiracy about to bear gruesome fruit.
(originally published April 17)
Mr. Thélème Edit
Corpses litter the scene, the only survivor an old Frenchman with a bleak sense of humor who will not explain what happened.
Can the hunters trust him? And if they can, should they?
(originally published April 27)
No Escape Edit
We’d spent weeks trailing him, certain he held the key to recovering the lost operative. We had it all planned out – the ambush, the capture and the interrogation. It wouldn’t be pretty, but time was short and we had to get Emma back. Little did we know that when we finally sprung our trap, we would be the ones held captive – trapped in a situation none of us could have anticipated. We were lost in a hostile and alien place where the rules of reality no longer applied and all our careful preparations went out the window. Our myriad priorities coalesced into a single, vital goal – to get back to the world we called home.
The tables had turned. The man we’d planned to take captive – whom we’d spied on, tracked and attacked – was now our captor. Worse yet, he was also our only potential ally, the only one who could help us find our way out of this place. No matter how unlikely it was that we could convince him to aid us in freeing ourselves, we had to try. The other alternative was unthinkable: that we might be trapped in this place forever.
(originally published April 29)
“This might be my last report, but it’s gonna be a career maker. I’m going right into the den of the monsters, I’m going to record them on their home turf. It’s a great night for the media; it’s a great night for…” The recording ends.
Indie newspaper reporter Eddie Ford vanished without a trace. He’s been following The Razorkids, an underground band with reputation for mystery and untrackable whereabouts that may very well be the death of him. Tonight is the last night of their weeklong tour; after tonight they’ll be gone, and any leads on Eddie’s mysterious disappearance hit the road with their tour van.
Will the cell find Eddie? If they find him, will they be too late?
(originally released April 8)
Serpent's Tooth Edit
A hunter cell seeking crucial information finds a broker of secrets who can give them what they need in return for an act of symbolic destruction. But will the hunters realize they have stumbled into an ancient conflict between spirits? And will their new contact use them as pawns in his game?
(originally released April 24)
The Man with the Gray Beard Edit
There are moments in any hunter’s life when she misses the important details and loses the bigger picture. There are moments in any hunter’s life where the detail that she missed, no matter how small, will result in her failure or even her death.
For the lucky few hunters, there is the Man with the Gray Beard. He’s been called a hundred names: Our Deepthroat, the Mole, the Insider. Most often, though, he’s just the Man with the Gray Beard.
Who is he and what does he do? Very few people know for sure. What’s known about him is passed around like an urban legend among hunters on the Vigil. It’s said sometimes when a detail has been missed, when lives are on the line, the Man will show up in a black suit with a manila folder or a duffle bag with that missing piece inside.
He’s saved a lot, so they say. Others say those missing pieces aren’t always helpful; sometimes they lead the hunter in a direction she isn’t ready for. Sometimes that manila folder leads to death. But why?
(originally published April 10)
Background Information Edit
Each individual SAS was released on its own between April 7, 2009 and April 29, 2009 and can be purchased a la carte from DriveThrurRPG, thought the entire bundle comes at a significant discount.
Memorable Quotes Edit
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