Progress, progress, progress.
I certainly hope you are enjoying reading these little snippets of my newest book as much as I am in sharing them with you. I appreciate the feedback and will likely share one more chapter before I put the book to the publisher soon.
For now here is…
Chapter 4 – Monsters
“Oh, my…” Josh was in utter shock. What he saw defied any fishing experience he had or even heard of. Vern was holding a stringer in the air with both hands and attached were three enormous trout. Not sixteen inches, not eighteen, but Josh was guessing twenty-two or twenty-three inches, maybe more. He couldn’t take his eyes off of them, as he mechanically reeling in the line. “What in the…”
“That’s what I am talking about, Man! It took me all morning to land these three, but it wasn’t nothing like what you are doing right now.” Vern looked at his fish again. “These are Brook Trout.”
“What!?” Josh expostulated. “That is not even possible.”
“Man…” Vern was quiet for a second. “I checked them out more than twice; they are Brook Trout.” He set them back in the water and started over toward Josh. “Now let’s see the alligator you snagged.”
Just about them the slack went out of his line and the pole dipped.
“Here we go again!” Josh braced himself for another dive.
“Nah, he’s done.” Vern pointed back to his stringer. “All three of those made a run, a dive and then they were done. They didn’t even flop when I netted them. It’s like they were all done in.”
Sure enough, the bend came out of the rod and Josh reeled rapidly, the line now moving toward him in the water. He started walking toward Vern’s gear. “Get the net.”
“Sure thing, Man.” Vern ran and grab the net, enormously small and unprepared for this unexpected task. Josh made his way toward the gentler slope of the bank.
About that time Josh’s pole nearly leapt from his hands and the ten-pound-test line was pushed to the limit and then slackened up as an enormous fish shot out of the water, kicking and shaking the lure, in it’s jaw.
A shot of adrenaline pulsed into Josh’s veins as he saw the fish. It was gigantic!
“The net!” Josh screamed and Vern rushed forward as Josh, expertly took advantage of the airborne fish’s inertia and swung him toward the bank. The monster plunged back into the water a mere three feet from the shoreline. “Get him!”
Vern reached the net as far as he could, but couldn’t get the entire fish inside. “He won’t go!”
“Just lift up and pull.”
They pulled together and all three landed on the shore; the boys on their backsides and the fish with his head and gills in the net on the ground. The monstrous creature gave one twitch with its tail and then was still except for its pumping gills.
“They’re monsters, Man, monsters!” Vern shook his head as he rinsed out the fish.
“Yeah, I know.” Josh had already finished and was sitting in a sunny spot still drying out as he watched Vern, yet his gaze completely unfocused.
“No, Man, I mean they are monsters! Something ain’t right.” Vern turned and looked at Josh. “Think about it man, a thirty-six inch Brook Trout! It’s not normal. I wouldn’t even believe it was possible if I hadn’t seen it myself. It’s got me trippin’ Man!”
“I am with you Vern.” Josh paused for a moment. “You know what has me more worried?”
Vern turned to look at his friend, not sure he was hearing him right. What could have him more worried? What could possibly be a bigger thing on his mind at this point? “What, Man?”
“The name is Josh, Vern.” He knew it would make any difference, but everyone once in a while he tried.
“I know, Man, I know. Now what was you going to say?”
Josh ignored the linking verb confusion and let the name issue go. “The pool.”
“Yeah, that hole was deep, Vern. It wasn’t natural.” Josh leaned forward and rocked up on his toes as he squatted close to the ground. “You got an eight to ten foot wide creek, but then you have a thirty foot-wide pool that is close to forty feet deep!”
“Yeah…” Vern wasn’t seeing the significance of it.
“Listen, Vern, I hooked that fish downstream, way downstream. Maybe even a hundred yards or so. As soon as I hooked it, I mean the instant, it went upstream.”
Vern put the third fish in his bag and stood with his hands dripping looking at Josh with a confused look on his face that indicated he was following Josh now. “I see what you are getting at.”
“It ran upstream for one hundred yards and then when it got to that pool it stopped. I mean it didn’t move another foot upstream.”
“Yeah, then it dove down.”
Vern’s face had a strange look about it. Something clicked in his mind. “Like it was home; where it came from.”
“Exactly!” Josh stood up and walked toward Vern. “Listen, if I caught that fish downstream and in shallow water then I have one question.”
“Shoot man!” Vern was all ears.
“What is down there at the bottom?”
Vern was caught completely off guard, having never given thought to that aspect of their small adventure. “Ah Man! That’s too much!” He shook like he had a sudden chill. “Dude, that’s creepy.” He looked at Josh’s fish again. “I don’t even know if I want to find out.”
“Wow, I don’t know, Man.” Vern shook his head, attempting to throw off the chill that had run up and down his spine at the thought.
“Something is down there.” Josh’s face lit up with an idea. “Vern! Did you bring any goggles?”
“Swimming goggles?” Vern’s voice went into falsetto. “Get away from me Man!” He pushed Josh in the chest with both hands. “You are creepin’ me out. Ain’t no way you are going to dive down there. I won’t let you. I tie you up, Man.” His faced reflected his true horror at the thought.
“So…did you bring your goggles?”
“Man, I ain’t saying one way or the other.”
“You did.” Josh said triumphantly.
“So help me…” Vern look around and then yanked a good size limb off of a pine tree and broke it in half with a crack, taking the short, stout end and pointing it straight at Josh. Several squirrels broke out in protest at the sound, as if they were protecting their favorite tree. “I’ll beat you senseless with this stick if you even think about it.”
“Too late, I’ve already thought about it. I am going to try it.”
Vern came after Josh with a lunge, the stick retracted behind his head, poised to strike. Josh jumped to the side and lost his balance. “Hey!” Vern had already swung, narrowly missing Josh’s shoulder and struck a thick bush beside him, filling the air with a burst of dust and pollen and raining leaves down. Momentarily the club was hung up in the clinging fingers of the branches. Josh scrambled back to his feet as Vern yanked on the weapon, trying to free it. He rushed forward and gripped his friend’s arm.
“Stop! Are you trying to kill me?” Vern halted for the moment and looked at Josh. There was genuine fear in his eyes. Then Vern started yanking again on the bludgeon.
“If I have to…” He spoke in his horror-induced voice. “You ain’t right…you are crazy!”
Josh couldn’t help it. He started to laugh. He was certain that once Vern got the stick loose he would go after him again, but he still couldn’t help it. The irony of it got the best of him. Here was Vern, with a wild look in his eyes his voice unrecognizable altered, swinging a freshly acquired club at his best friend and he was staring at him accusing him of being crazy. He kept laughing.
“What so funny, Man?”
“You better stop laughing…” Vern cocked his head to the side and looked toward his cackling friend from the corners of his eyes.
This only made Josh laugh harder. “I can’t.” He let go of Vern’s arm and fell against the bush that held the club, dislodging it and simultaneously become quite entangled himself.
Vern raised the freed club, but stopped short, staring at Josh. He was shaking now, tears coming to the corner of his eyes, his breath momentarily occupied in preparation of another peal of laughter.
Vern still couldn’t see what was so funny, but knew he couldn’t really hit his buddy… at least not while he was laughing. He let go of the club and it fell to the ground behind him. Then reaching out his hand he grasped Josh’s.
“Get out of the bush, Man!” He said and yanked.
Thanks for reading and have a great day!!!