The steamy morning air hung thickly throughout the forest in the early hours just after the sun's rays had started breaking though the canopy of foliage.
Most of the woodland creatures were still nestled in their various dens, borrows, and shelters, so there was an eerie lack of the usual din of the forest.
Sach lumbered up to where Lieutenant Hopper stood beside a pile of leaves at the foot of a majestic, old oak tree, a few other officers from the Forest Police loped around collecting data.
Despite his size, Sach was able to come right up behind them unnoticed until he grunted to clear his throat, sending the younger officers skittering away to the closest log or stump to hide behind.
Lt. Hopper only gave a small start as he turned to look up at Sach.
"Ack! I don't know how you can be so quiet with those big feet of yours, Detective." The stout little police lieutenant exclaimed. "Get back out here, you scared little rabbits, you're supposed to be officers!" he shouted to the hidden others, causing them to leap out and back to their duties faster than they had hid.
Lt. Hopper craned his neck to look up at the giant Sach, then back down to the unmoving figure lying on the leafy forest ground.
"One of the boys found her on his way in this morning, though why he was taking the scenic route I'm not quite sure of." Hopper explained as he looked over to one of the young officers, who quickly made himself look busy.
"In any case," he went on, "Looks like her neck was broken quite violently." He knelt down to lift the big, leaf-filled branch that was covering most of the carcass from the sight of any passerby.
Underneath lay a young doe, her head turned almost completely around. Her dark eyes stared lifelessly up at Sach; he recognized her right away.
He knelt down beside the tiny police rabbit to get a closer look.
"She couldn't have done that by just falling on her own." Hopper stated as his nose wrinkled from some scent in the air. "Big, articulated hands would have had to have done that, don't you think?"
Sach traced his large fingers along the doe's neck where the skin was twisted, then regarded his own hand before looking over to see Hopper inspecting his big hand as well. He took his hand away to run his fingers over his furry chin as he thought.
"There doesn't seem to be any tracks save for the victims." Hopper continued after a few moments of uneasy silence. "They come in from the south there, and suggest a frantic prancing, like she was trying to get away from something."
Sach looked to were Hopper motioned and saw several broken branches on several different shrubs, some quite a few foot-spans away from each other. She had been taking wild leaps, possibly trying to lose something off her trail.
"We called you down because the only thing we've found is this." Hopper said as Sach turned back to see he was holding out one of Sach's own birch bark business cards. "She was carrying it with her. Did you know her, detective?"
Sach looked at the card, which simply read, 'Sasquatch: Bigfoot Private Detective Agency'. It had been only two days earlier that the pretty, young doe visited him at his tree-top office in mid-forest.
She had been scared, terrified of something that she said was after her. Sach saw in her deep brown eyes that she was indeed afraid; afraid for her life. Yet, she had no real details for him to work with; she had just kept describing a dread presence that she could not get away from.
He had told her that there was not much he could do about a foreboding feeling; he mostly dealt with missing cubs or hunter attack cases. She said she was desperate and could pay him, but all he could do was give her his card and tell her to contact him if she got anything concrete for him to work with; a tuft of hair or track for him to sniff out.
The only thought he had in the back of his mind at the time was a thought that was always there, wherever Sach went, so he had paid it little attention at the time; now it came to the forefront and weighed down heavily with guilt.
"Well, detective?" Hopper's strangely gravelly voice brought Sach back from his thoughts, "did you know the victim?"
Before he could say, one of the officers came bounding over to them excitedly, carrying something between his bucked teeth.
Skidding to a halt as Hopper stepped up to stop the eager rabbit from crashing into the dead deer, he dropped the white piece of fur from his mouth into the lieutenant's paw.
"I found this scraped up on the bark of an elm back there, sir!" he exclaimed breathlessly. "I don't think it came from the victim cause it's a different shade than hers!"
"Okay, okay, calm down, son." Hopper tried to quiet the officer down with a pad on the back. "Very good, now go see if you can find any more over there. I'll look at this. Good work."
The young officer nodded proudly and bounced away back where he had come from as Hopper turned the strands of white hair over to look at them.
Sach bent down further to take a closer look as well. They were defiantly not from the doe; hers were a soft, cream ecru, while this was an almost translucent white.
"What do you make of these, Sach?" Hopper asked as he sniffed the hairs with a sudden expression of disgust on his furry face. "Urg, smells worse than a bear in spring!"
There was no need for Sach to take a closer smell; he had caught the scent before the officer had left them. The scent, much like the thought always lurking in the back of his mind, was forever with him.
A distant howl came, like a whisper on the wind, causing Sach to stand and look northward.
"What is it, detective?" Hopper asked sincerely.
His old enemy had returned it would seem.
Staring off into the thick maze of the dark forest of the north, Sasquatch growled softly, and responded in a hushed voice, "Wendigo."