Chapter One Hundred Fourteen
Blake Riley had finished speaking with Dean Anderson and Dr. Hardy. He had impressed upon them the necessity of getting out on the lake as soon as possible. Blake informed the two men that given all the recent publicity, they were likely to not be the only expedition searching for Ogopogo. He had also phoned John Richards to make sure that he and his son Ryan were ready to go. His last call was to Daniel to make sure that Peter Marks and his crew of professional divers would be joining them at the specified lake front location.
Within an hour all of Blake Riley’s crew had arrived and reported for duty. Although this expedition was supposed to be a university research exploration, it was clear who was really in charge. Blake Riley could not have succeeded in accumulating his considerable wealth unless he knew how to lead others. Blake knew instinctively how to take charge.
The university crew was the first to arrive at the lake front. This group of students including Ryan and Monique were already very excited. Dean Sanderson and Dr. Lionel Hardy were probably as filled with nervous energy as the young people were. The two men of academia were well aware that they were about to embark on a journey that could make history.
Not long after the university crew had arrived Peter Marks and his trained professional investigative unit arrived.
John Richards was the last to arrive, being somewhat delayed and upset by his recent telephone conversation with his ex-wife, Susan.
Blake Riley instructed the groups and individuals to board his cabin cruiser. To say that his boat was luxurious would be grossly understating the obvious. All that boarded the vessel were now talking about the beauty and functionality of Blake’s boat.
Once all were aboard Blake asked everyone to assemble on the main deck. With a huge smile on his face, Blake Riley began addressing all that were assembled on his craft.
“Ladies and gentlemen. We are about to embark on an expedition that is going to make history. In a few short minutes we will start heading out to the area surrounding Rattlesnake Island. As our two esteemed university professors are well aware, this is the location where the most sightings of Ogopogo have been reported. Some cryptozoologists believe that Ogopogo’s lair is to be found somewhere in the underwater caverns beneath Rattlesnake Island. As is the case with most, if not all of you, I am expecting at least one close encounter with this legendary lake creature. I am expecting that we will return with indisputable evidence of the reality of the existence of this exotic animal.”
Chapter One Hundred Four:
Not all the wanna -be Ogopogo hunters had given up after Sheriff George Anderson and William Everett had read the riot act to the crowd at the town commons. Two ex -cons were on parole after serving lengthy sentences for armed robbery in Montreal, Quebec. They had already broken their parole by leaving the province.
Their names were Jean-Luc LaFrance and Jean- Guy Larose. As they both shared the same first name they called each other Luc and Guy respectively. Both men were in their mid -thirties.
Luc had long black hair worn in a pony-tail. With his gold earring and dark complexion he resembled a pirate which in fact, he was. As he was handsome enough to be a movie star he didn’t have any problems attracting the opposite sex. His partner Guy had short blonde hair. He had a stocky build that was offset by an easily perceptible limp that was apparent whenever he started to walk. He wore a red lumberjack coat over a Metallica tee shirt even in hot weather. Guy had suffered a severe leg injury from a motorcycle accident that he had in his teenage years.
Both men returned to their cheap, rather seedy motel. On the way to their room they stopped at a vending machine to buy some potato chips and soft drinks. Luc bought a bag of Old Dutch barbeque chips and a Doctor Pepper. Guy decided upon a bag of salt and vinegar chips and a Mountain Dew for his liquid refreshment. It was a very hot afternoon and the two criminals were happy to get to room number six which was an air conditioned unit.
Luc opened up the door and the two men both stretched out on their separate beds.
“It smells kind of stuffy in here,” Guy complained.
“Yeah, I noticed, but if we open the windows we won’t get the full benefit of the air conditioning,” Luc said.
Guy nodded his head in reluctant agreement.
“So what are we going to do now, Luc? About our plans to capture Ogopogo I mean?” Guy asked.
“There is no need to change our plans. Did the sheriff’s speech scare you?” Luc said, apparently challenging Guy’s manhood.
“Not really,” Guy replied sounding somewhat annoyed by Luc’s question.
“Good,” Luc replied. “We’re not the type of guys that get scared real easy. After all, we breached our parole already. What do we care if the sheriff arrests us? I don’t mind it in jail, do you?”
“It’s not too bad. After all, you get a room over your head, there’s no rent to pay and our meals are all paid for by The Department of Corrections,” Guy said. Both men laughed out loud.
“What’s the plan for tomorrow morning, Luc?”
“The plan starts right after midnight. That’s when we’re going to steal a boat. Around noon today while you were at the liquor store I took a little stroll down to the lake front. I saw an old retired couple probably in their mid -sixties. The old guy might even be seventy. By the looks of their Lexus and their new fishing boat I figured these old people are pretty well off. They must be loaded and the old lady probably has some very expensive jewellery on the boat. I figure a couple that old will probably go to bed early. When we arrive on the scene we should easily be able to overpower them and tie them both to their beds. After we take care of that nasty piece of business, we go down to their dock and use the boat to search for Ogopogo,” Luc said.
“Where are we going to get the equipment, Luc?”
“That’s not going to be a problem my friend. While I was casing out their boat, the old couple must have gone into town for lunch. I used the time to check out their gear. Let me tell you, Guy. These people came prepared. Judging by the equipment they brought along, I would hazard a guess that they planned to hunt for Ogopogo themselves. I mean these guys have expensive camera equipment, a huge net, harpoons and a small freezer that I would guess is filled with bait to lure Ogopogo. Once we get their boat we’re all set.”
“So, say we manage to steal the boat tonight and see Ogopogo. What are we going to do? Try to kill it?” Guy asked.
“Kill it? What for? Think, Guy. What would be the point in that? We are entrepreneurs, you and I.”
“So what are we going to do?” Guy asked.
“We’re going to capture Ogopogo alive in the big net. We’ll secure the net to the back of the boat and take off with our treasure,” Luc answered.
“We find ourselves a nice secluded spot and we hide Ogopogo. Then we contact the Head of The Fisheries Department and tell them we want two million dollars for our catch. We tell him that if we don’t get the money in a few hours we’re leaving the province and will sell Ogopogo to the highest bidder.”
“The highest bidder might just be that crazy entrepreneur, Blake Riley, that I keep reading about in the paper.” Guy said.
“Now you are starting to use tour brain, my friend,” Luc replied. Luc was starting to think that Guy was smarter than he gave him credit for.
Winston was just bringing lunch up to the deck. It wasn’t difficult for him to see the excitement on the faces of Wally and Garry.
“Did I miss something while I was getting lunch prepared?” Winston asked.
Winston carefully placed the food on a table on the main deck.
“That’s the understatement of the year,” Wally replied.
“We saw Ogopogo!” Garry exclaimed.
Winston was so excited that he almost knocked over the tray with the chili and fries on it.
“What! You actually saw the beast? How far away was it?”
“I’d estimate seventy-five to one hundred meters from our boat,” Wally answered, shivering a little from a strong gust of wind.
“That’s right. At first we saw a long row of birds on the surface and then they quickly flew away. Then we saw the humps rise out of the water,” Garry added.
“What that means is that the creature is not far from our boat. I need you guys to keep your eyes focused on the lake while I go downstairs to get some cameras and camcorders. You guys can put your chili into the buns while you are keeping a look out for the creature,” Winston said as he ran down the deck stairs.
Just as Winston reached the lower deck the long grey neck of Ogopogo rose about ten feet from the boat. Garry was frozen in his spot as he was mesmerized by his close encounter with the lake demon. The creature’s head resembled that of a horse. It had a beautiful dark green mane. The beast’s eyes were large and its mouth kept opening and closing. Ogopogo had a very angry countenance as it stared back at Garry. The young man let out a loud scream.
Startled by Garry’s voice, Wally turned around and also saw the creature. As he was in the process of making himself a chili burger, he dropped his paper plate and spilled his lunch all over his beige cargo pants.
Winston also heard Garry’s scream and ran up the deck stairs with two cameras and a camcorder. He gave one camera to each of the boys and told them to start taking pictures. With shaking hands Winston set up and adjusted the camcorder to its optimal settings and then started shooting a video of the creatures head and neck.
After about two minutes Ogopogo decided to submerge probably thinking that he’d given enough of himself away for one day. Winston, Wally and Garry all watched the lake’s water bubble and gurgle as the beast submerged. They all got soaked by the water that sprayed up on the deck of their boat.
Winston looked at the two young lads and said, “That’s enough excitement for today boys. I’m going to turn the boat around we’ll head for my place.
William Everett was looking out his office window that overlooked Lake Okanagan. With a look of disgust on his face he turned around to face his assistant, Max Turner.
“Come here, Max, you need to take a look at this.”
Max arose from his chair slowly and carefully. It was one of his bad days when his arthritis was especially painful. He joined William at the front window. “What’s up Will?”
“Look at all the yahoos out there in their speedboats. Most of them have their camcorders and cameras ready. Man, some of them even have weapons with them.”
“What are you going to do, Will?”
“I’m going over to Sheriff Anderson’s office to pay him a visit. This nonsense has to stop,” William said angrily.
Will went out to his car to drive to Sheriff George Anderson’s office.
When William arrived he found a very agitated sheriff talking to his deputy, Bill Rollins.
“I don’t know about you Bill, but I’m going nuts. I’ve been getting phone calls all morning complaining about all the traffic on the lake both on the water and on the surrounding roads,” the sheriff said.
“Same here,” Bill answered. “A lot of the people calling in are really riled up. Some of them are actually yelling at me. They are demanding that we take some action. They don’t feel safe.”
“I can’t say that I blame them. Every idiot that’s out on the lake thinks he’s the almighty hunter who’s going to capture Ogopogo. They are expecting to make a lot of money after they haul in the poor animal.”
Just then Bill Rollins turned around to see William Everett standing outside his office. “Come on in, Will. What can we do for you?”
“I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation. As a matter of fact, that’s the reason I’m here,” Will answered.
“You are referring to the disaster on the lake we’ve got on our hands,” the sheriff said.
“Exactly. What are we going to do about it? Got any ideas,” Will asked.
“The first thing I would suggest is that we get the Harbor Patrol involved. We need to contact them and advise them of the severity of the situation,” George suggested.
“That would be a good start. Secondly, I think we need to have a serious meeting with the local media. We have to get the media on board to help us get the message across to the public that this situation is unacceptable and that law enforcement will take action if this type of behavior continues,” Will said.
Bobby O’Connor was in a daze. He was reliving his recent talk with his editor. A sinking, nauseous feeling had come over him. His reverie was broken when he started to overhear the conversation that Ryan and Monique had just had at the next table. The two fishermen that they were previously talking to had now left the Tim Hortons. Bobby O’Conner overheard the word Ogopogo mentioned. He was listening to Ryan and Monique recap their adventure today.
Bobby moved his chair closer to Ryan and Monique’s table. He extended his hand to Ryan. “I know I don’t know you guys, but I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation. I’m Bobby O’Connor.”
“Yeah, I recognize you from your picture in The Kelowna Daily Courier. You’re the sports reporter,” Ryan said shaking Bobby’s hand.
“That’s me. Can I join you? I’d like to hear more about what happened to you guys today.”
“Ryan and I were jogging along a trail that overlooked Lake Okanagan,” Monique said.
“Monique told me to stop and take a look at the lake. She said that she saw something strange in the water,” Ryan interjected.
“We looked out upon the lake,” Monique continued. “We saw a large black serpent like object moving quickly in our direction.”
“Right. It appeared to move by rapid undulations. It was obviously a living creature of some kind” Ryan said.
“It sounds like the most common descriptions people give of Ogopogo. Do you think it really was Ogopogo you saw?” Bobby asked.
“If it wasn’t, I don’t know what it was. It really shook us up to see it,” Monique said.
“What did the fishermen see?” Bobby asked.
“They saw something that looked like a fast moving log, but they were a lot further away than we were,” Monique replied.
“Yeah, we showed them the photos that Monique took. Unfortunately, the creature doesn’t look very big in the pictures, although in one of them you can see it raise its head and neck,” Ryan said.
The two fishermen were kind of arguing over whether or not our pictures were of Ogopogo,” Monique said. “Henry was skeptical but Harvey believes we really may have photographed Ogopogo.”
“Can I see the pictures you took?” Bobby asked.
“Sure,” Monique said handing the photos over to the reporter.
“These pictures are better than I thought,” Bobby said putting his reading glasses on to get a closer look at the photos. “Although the pictures are taken from a fair distance you can tell that there is definitely a strange object in the water that appears to be moving forward. You can tell by the wave patterns surrounding the creature. Do you mind if I borrow your pictures for a day or two? I’d like to get a photography expert to analyze them. I’ve got a friend who does this sort of thing.”
“So you believe that we really saw Qgopogo?” Ryan asked.
“Absolutely. After you’ve been a reporter for a while you can sense who is trust worthy and who is not and you guys are the real deal.”
Bobby O’Connor got up to leave but not before he got the phone numbers where Ryan and Monique could be reached.
Bobby jumped into his black 1997 Pontiac Grand Am and didn’t waste any time getting back to his office at The Kelowna Daily Courier. He sat in his chair and immediately phoned his friend the photography expert.
“What’s happening Bobby?” Mike O’Grady asked, “I haven’t heard from you in a while.”
“I need a big favor Mike. I need you to give me your expert opinion on the authenticity of two photos. I’ll need the photographs enlarged as well,” Bobby added.
“What are the photos of?” Mike asked.
“I’m not certain. That’s why I need you to examine the pictures for me.”
“This sound interesting. I’m home all day today if you want to bring the photos along.”
“I can be at your place within the next hour,” Bobby said.
“I’ll put some coffee on when you get here,” Mike said.
Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Eight:
Mike O’Grady was moving between his cameras and camcorders in an almost athletic manner. Jack and some of the crew could hardly keep from laughing out loud as they watched their three hundred pound visual technician dance acrobatically between his cameras. Mike was breathing heavily and perspiring profusely as he barked out directions to the divers telling them in which direction to move his wooden masterpiece. Mike was so engaged in what he was doing that he didn’t seem to realize that it was very unlikely that the divers could hear him. In an almost trance like state Mike paid meticulous attention to the pictures that he was taking. He wanted the model Ogopogo’s movements to look as life- like as possible.
Under the water, one of the divers was startled by a heavy object bumping into his body with considerable force. He quickly rose to the surface in time to see a very unusual creature come to the surface. One of Jack’s crew called out to him, “Jack, look to your right!”
“What?” Jack said as he was drinking a beer and had been joking happily with one of his lighting technicians. When he turned to look to his right, Jack dropped his bottle of beer on the deck of his cabin cruiser. It shattered in pieces.
“I don’t believe it! What is that thing? It’s trying to jump on the back of Mike’s model,” Jack said, his face registering extreme fright.
The lighting crew turned their lights on high beam in order to get a better look at the phenomenon right before their eyes.
The creature was small in relation to the size of the replica but it looked eerily similar to the model. It was greenish in colour and could be as much as ten feet long. It had a long neck and thick body with visible flippers. It was trying hard to get the model Ogopogo’s attention.
“You can call me crazy, but that animal looks like a much smaller version of Ogopogo,” Jack said, who was now pacing around the boat’s deck and was wildly gesticulating in the direction of the creature. Jack didn’t pay any attention to the shards of his broken beer bottle that he was stepping on.
“Why is it trying to get on top of the model’s back?” asked one of the lighting technicians.
“It’s trying to play with the fake Ogopogo. So far it hasn’t figured out that it’s not real,” one of the muscular crew members answered.
“Who knows? The little guy might think it’s found its mother,” Jack surmised.
Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Nine:
“Move the boats closer!” Jack Kimberley yelled to the two men at the helm. “I want to get as close to this thing as we possibly can. I want Mike to be in a position to get the best possible video footage. Lighting crew, turn up the lights. I want this footage to be as clear as is technically possible.”
Mike O ‘Grady worked his video equipment like a man possessed.
“Jack, do you realize that this is going to be the most credible evidence ever of Ogopogo’s existence?” said Tyrone, on of Jack’s crew members.
By this time the Ogopogo, junior edition, had taken notice of the two boats. It had probably become cognizant of the fact that the wooden replica was not alive and was therefore not one of its own species. The bright lights and the cameras appeared to have angered the creature. It started moving rapidly in the direction of the two boats. It swam right up to the side of the cabin cruiser and began pounding one of its flippers against it.
With an unbelievable display of courage Mike did not leave his video equipment and kept his camcorder focused right on the creature.
Justin, one of the other crew members, screamed at Mike to stop the filming and to move away from the creature. Unfortunately, Mike was too mesmerized by what was happening to pay any attention to Justin.
Within a matter of seconds the creature raised its long head and neck out of the water. It opened its mouth revealing a menacing set of teeth. It wrapped its mouth around Mike’s right arm and in one swift bite tore it off.
Mike screamed in agony and passed out from the shock of his sudden amputation.
By this time the smaller crew of the speed boat had climbed aboard the cabin cruiser. As Jack and the crew members of both boats rushed to Mike’s side trying to attend to him, the creature suddenly submerged with the greater part of Mike’s arm in its mouth.
What little was left of Mike’s right arm was spouting blood profusely all over the cabin cruiser’s deck. Fortunately, one of the crew members that Jack had hired, Brian Kelly, was a trained paramedic. Thinking ahead, he had brought his medical supply bag on board the boat. Brian immediately took a large bandage out of his bag and expertly applied a tourniquet to the stump of Mike’s arm. He then applied all of the large bandages and gauze that he had available to him.
Brian has successfully stopped the blood from gushing, but he knew that the crew had to get Mike to a hospital quickly if he was going to survive. Mike regained consciousness when Brian started giving him medical assistance, but was now rapidly going into shock.
Brian had now taken charge of the crew and started giving orders. Jack Kimberley was not about to invoke Brian’s authority realizing the severity of the situation.
Brian Kelly began to bark out orders. “We need to immediately get these boats back to shore. You two guys, who were manning the boats, get these boats moving immediately. Time is of the essence if we are going to save Mike’s life. He needs to get to a hospital emergency room as quickly as possible. Jack, do you have any blankets on board your boats?”
“Yes, I do. I think have three large blankets,” Jack answered.
“Good, let’s get them out now. Mike is in shock and we need to keep him as warm as possible,” Brian said. He was no longer acting as a crew member, but as the true medical professional that he was trained to be. Jack’s boat travelled to the lake front at top speed. With Mike’s life being in danger, no one thought of retrieving the replica of Ogopogo. The divers would not have been willing to risk their lives trying to get the model back on the boat. They did not know if Ogopogo was still in close proximity. The replica was to remain floating on the surface of the lake.
Chapter One Hundred Thirty-Nine:
After the Harbor Patrol saw Luc and Guy get swept overboard by Ogopogo’s tail, they quickly put on their diving gear. Both of the officers were trained divers who had plenty of experience rescuing people who had fallen overboard.
The two young divers, Jason Kilmore and Craig Hartley moved their boat to the location where they had spotted blood in the water. They decided that, for now, only one diver would go below the surface of the water to look for the two bodies of the men who had been swept overboard. The first diver, Jason Kilmore reached the one hundred foot level when he saw the mangled bodies of the two criminals. Luc had his left arm torn off and Luc’s body was separated at the torso. As the two men were obviously dead Jason came back to the surface.
As he rose to the surface of the lake Jason felt as if something large was travelling in his direction. He turned around in time to see two large amber eyes staring intently at him. Jason noted that the eyes belonged to a serpentine shaped animal. Fortunately, after having a good look at Jason, the menacing animal turned around in the water and swam in the opposite direction. Jason rose very quickly to the surface. His partner, Craig Hartley, helped pull Jason out of the water and into the boat.
“So, what did you see down there. You look kind of shaken up,” Craig said.
“It was horrible. You wouldn’t believe it. I found the bodies of the two men, all mangled up. I also saw Ogopogo while I was down there,” Jason answered.
The two Harbor Patrol constables decided that they would cast a large net under the water and would haul the bodies of the deceased to the surface. After this action was taken, the two constables headed for the shore. From there they took the two bodies to the medical examiner.