Desert Ghouls Picture
Reference sheet for characters from my latest stories
The First Cold Winter is WarmestThe snowflakes were numerous as grains of wind-blown sand. They dimmed the sunset and brought a freezing, premature nightfall. Bundled humans hurried past the lure of shop windows aglow with inviting warmth, toys, and tasty smells. A ribbon-clad tree towered over all from the place of honor cleared for it in the town square.
Hidden amongst rubbish in an alley where he could search for food unseen, Yerv was too miserable to enjoy it. He buried his hands in his coat sleeves and tried to thaw them against his arms. He shivered and watched his breath form clouds in front of his muzzle. The unnatural sight gave him a different kind of chill. Though his kin assured him this was a normal byproduct of harsh northern winters, it still gave him the creeps.
When feeling returned to his fingers he dipped his hand into a pocket and read the imprints left on the coins he had collected. None of their stories were very interesting (all had traded human hands in exchange for work and been lost on the s
A Ghoulish DilemmaDetective Travis Hade regretted his timing the moment he dipped his pen into the inkwell. Thunderous knocks threatened to bust his office door off its hinges, and he jumped high enough to bang his knee on his desk. The inkwell toppled on its side. It rolled, trailing an oily stain, and fell off the desk with a petite smashing sound. Travis leapt from his chair and ran to the door.
Like an impatient bear, Sergeant Kaighn wouldn’t let up until his demands were answered. Travis threw open the door and looked up at the sergeant’s broad face. “What can I help you with, Sir?” he said.
The sergeant grinned. “You take care of that crazy wag?” he said.
Travis grimaced. He spun around and pulled the papers away from the spreading pool of ink. “Just a moment,” he said, fumbling for his pen. He dipped it into the spill and signed his name on the report. “Yes, Sir,” he said. “Mr. Loupinacci has paid the fine, and I advised Mrs. Weath
Background texture made using my own stock photo
I like using different mythological species to explore social issues. What would it be like to be highly intelligent but more or less treated like vermin? The ghouls understand how humans and other species view them, and they just get on with life without expecting anything to change. Detective Travis Hade is more unsettled by these norms than they are, and he suspects they could hold hidden potential for helping humanity.
Natural Habitat: Deserts and hot semi-arid regions. They can adapt to most climates where they follow humans and settle new territories. They dig underground dens or live in caves or abandoned buildings.
Senses: Strong sense of smell and hearing. Good night vision but poor color vision.
Diet: Natural diet includes bugs, rodents, reptiles, birds, carrion, and desert fruits. In human settlements they specialize in hunting rats and small domestic animals, and scavenging garbage. Rotten meat is a delicacy, and human corpses are considered the most delicious. They will dig them up in graveyards, but are too timid to threaten living humans.
Intelligence: Equal to that of humans, but their use of technology is limited to making simple clothing and tools.
Reproduction: They mate for life and fiercely protect mates and offspring. Females only have one child at a time. The child takes 10 years to mature, but may stay with the parents for as long as 15. During this time the child’s scent and the emotional bond the mother has with it suppress hormones that bring the next heat cycle.
Mortality: Often live to around 200 years old. Low susceptibility to illness. Most deaths caused by starvation, accident, or predators. Family of the dead show their respects by eating the corpse and “keeping their loved one with them.”
Social Behavior: Rarely violent with one another. Disputes are usually settled with aggressive displays and shrill, horrifying sounds.
Enemies: Natural enemies include lions and other large desert predators. Humans who view them as vermin often shoot, trap, or poison them. Other sentient species such as werewolves may drive them from their territories. In the cities packs of delinquent werewolves often chase or kill them for fun, since they are intelligent but not protected by law.
Supernatural Abilities: Psychic imprint read through skin contact. Only works on objects a person has laid claim to. Individuals mark territory by claiming prominent rocks or other landmarks on the border. The imprint reveals the identity of the last few people to own the object, as well as emotions and memories connected with how they came to possess it. Males use an imprinted object to complete a courtship ritual- the female will be impressed with a gift that she can sense was obtained through cleverness or bravery.