No. 364

“Did you see that?” asked Officer Kelly Dale as she and her partner sped down the dark forest highway.

Brandon Irwin, who was driving, slowed the cruiser and turned on the spotlight. He turned around and retraced their path back down the road.

“What did you see?” he asked, peering intently into the night.

“Something was moving along the shoulder. It looked human, but it was kind of off, somehow.”

“You haven’t been reading the tourist brochures again, have you?” Irwin asked her. The forest around them was on the edge of an enormous park, and the locals liked to play up Bigfoot sightings.

Dale ignored him, and continued to scan the edge of the woods.

“Look!” she pointed. “There.”

Irwin slammed on the brakes. He couldn’t believe what was loping across the road in the beam of the headlights.

The creature was tall, and had a shaggy brown coat. It turned toward the two police officers and raised its arms.

Dale leapt out her side and braced herself against the open door. “Freeze!” she shouted at the strange animal.

Irwin followed her lead, but whispered through the car at her. “I don’t think it will speak English.”

“I do,” said the beast. It lifted off its head to reveal a teenage boy.

The police officers looked at each other.

“Step to the front of the car,” Irwin ordered.

The boy did as he was told, leaving the costume’s mask in the middle of the street.

Once the officers searched him and found nothing illegal, they began to question him.

“My name’s Mike Harmon. I live around here,” he told them.

“What are you doing so far from town?” Dale asked him.

“And why are you wearing that suit?” Irwin added.

“You’re not going to believe me,” Harmon told them.

“Try us,” said Dale.

“I heard there was a party on the other side of the hill. I wanted to see if I could get in.”

“A party?” said Irwin. “Who has a party out here?”

Harmon looked around suspiciously before he leaned in to whisper his answer. “It’s not a regular party.”

Irwin stepped back and crossed his arms over his chest. “Maybe we’ll have to check it out,” he concluded.

“You’re going to want this,” Harmon said, indicating his furry suit.

 

A short time later, Dale had changed into the Bigfoot getup. “How come I have to wear this again?” she asked Irwin.

“Because we flipped, and you lost.”

“Sweet,” she said. She was not amused. “Tell me where you think this party is,” she told Harmon.

“Like I said,” said the boy. “Just over this hill,” he pointed to his left. “There’s a valley on the far side. It should be close.”

Dale grabbed her radio and a flashlight and headed off into the trees. Struggling against the cumbersome suit, she made her way up the rise to where Harmon had indicated. Upon reaching the top, she dropped to her belly and inched ahead the last few feet.

 

“Irwin,” his radio crackled.

“Dale?” he answered.

“You’re going to want to see this,” she told him.

Irwin turned to Harmon and hustled the boy into the back seat. “Stay here,” he said, slamming the door shut.  Then he rushed up the hill to assist his partner.

She saw him coming and waved her arm for him to stay low, as well.

He crawled up beside her.

“What is it?” he asked, slightly winded from the climb.

“Look,” she pointed.

There, in a clearing in the small valley below, was the strangest gathering of beings Irwin could have imagined.

“Is that a—?” he asked, trailing off.

Dale nodded. “Yup.”

“And a—?”

“Uh huh,” said Dale.

“This has got to go in the brochures,” Irwin gasped.

 

Back at the car, Dale was on the radio back to base, while Irwin stood over a smug Harmon.

“That’s right,” Dale told her dispatcher. “A sasquatch, a fish-man, some kind of Loch-Nessy-looking thing, a giant bird, and what I’m guessing is a chupacabra.”

There was a garbled question from the other end.

“Yes, that’s right,” Dale clarified. “Real ones.”