Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Chapter 19: The Creature Goes for a Stroll!

Boy, has it been a long stretch since we peeked in on Night Of The Java Beast!

It was a beautiful day for a picnic: Clear skies, sunny, and eighty-degrees with just a breath of wind. But the Evans family wasn’t going on a picnic. They were rural people, farmers, real salt-of-the-earth types; and there were chores to be done. No time for dilly-dallying like city folk or tourists. Alas, today might make them reconsider their priorities. After today, they might take time to dally a few dillies, and spend precious time with their loved ones.

Little Molly Evans scattered feed for the hens, and watched as they pecked every kernel from the ground. Would she have stood by so casually, had she known the horror that waited for her just around the corner?

A great, eight-legged thing most closely-resembling a giant octopus lumbered toward the Evans farm. Catching the scent of living creatures, its appetite was stirred, and it began to stalk warily along the small stand of trees at the property’s edge. As it approached the coop, the chickens began to squawk loudly, flopping up and down in their panic. The girl, having not yet seen the creature, was baffled at the birds’ behavior.

"What is the matter with you all?" she asked.

Without warning, the huge thing swept in, tentacles undulating wildly! Molly shrieked and fled to the shelter of the farmhouse. The chickens, however, were not so lucky. Naught but a few feathers remained in the creature’s wake as it headed menacingly for the corral.

The crack of a rifle sounded: once, twice. Ben Evans jacked the shells out of the shotgun and reloaded. By now, he had the beast’s attention. He took more careful aim this time, and both bullets struck the thing’s side--and bounced off! It hissed and charged the man, its arms quavering with rage!

The phone rang. "Sheriff’s office. Yes, this is he. What can I do for you? A what? Octopus? But that’s a water animal–they don’t come up on land. Uh-huh. Now, Annie, are you sure it wasn’t just a big spider you saw? Uh-huh. Well, alright. If you’re sure. Yes, Cal’s here with me. I’ll ask him to come along. We’ll be there pretty soon. G’bye, Annie."

"Eight legs, Sheriff! With suckers all over one side! It ate Ben! That–monster–ate my husband, Sheriff! Swallowed him down with one gulp!"

"And the chickens!" Molly piped up. "It ate up all my pretty chickens! It was gonna eat the horses, too, but Daddy shot it–so it ate up Daddy instead!" Fresh tears rolled from her eyes.

I put my arm around her. "Well, Molly, we’re gonna make sure that this–whatever it was--doesn’t eat up anyone else’s daddy. If this thing is really the way you described it, we’re gonna need a scientist on our side. Dr Hazelwood lives around here, and he’s an expert on mutations in marine biology. I’ll give him a call as soon as we get back to town."

"Oh come now, Cal! You have a single report--one witness! I think we can safely discount the little girl. Children have overactive imaginations. You’ve studied psychology, Cal. People faced with traumatic events often make up fantastic stories as a way for their subconscious minds to deal with what they’ve seen!"

"Then what happened to Evans–and the chickens?"

"I’m sure I don’t know. Maybe a coyote got the chickens, and Evans chased after it into the desert."

"Would that be traumatic enough for them to make up such a story?"

"Maybe. It’s just one of a number of things that might possibly have happened. All I’m saying is, until you have more evidence that it’s more than that–or another sighting–I’m not coming down there. My work is too important to go chasing after every bogey man reported by crackpots or hysterical women! Goodbye." click

"Goodbye, Hazelwood," I grated. "I hope that thing comes to your house, next."

More chapters here.

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