Nessie Lives! By Ken David Stewart
John Richards awoke with a thunderous scream. He sat straight up in bed and started to shiver, partly from fright and partly because his new Homer Simpson pajamas were soaked from a cold sweat. John shakily got out of bed and opened the blinds of his bedroom window as if he was on auto pilot. As bright sunlight shone through the glass, John could see a beautiful red cardinal perched on the window ledge. This was certainly a welcome sight in contrast to what he had just seen in his nightmare.
The night terrors were back. John had not had any for almost two weeks and he thought was done with them. What was this? Post traumatic stress disorder or night terrors? What would his psychiatrist, Dr. Janey, come up with as a diagnosis? John had already been diagnosed as having recurrent unipolar depression. The depressive symptoms had already lessened since John had broken out of his writer’s block and started writing his new novel about his adventures searching for Ogopogo this summer.
John had been experiencing nightmares where he was getting attacked by lake monsters for over two months.
Episode One Hundred Eighty-Eight (Conclusion):
The Harbor Patrol arrived and managed to transport the maimed diver to the closest hospital but unfortunately, the man died at the hospital. By this time Bobby O’Conner had found out about the aborted mission to capture a live Ogopogo. Before conducting his interviews with the key participants the veteran reporter decided that he would do the right thing and would inform William Everett, the head of the Fisheries Department and Sheriff George Anderson of the day’s events. Bobby figured that if he didn’t the Harbor Patrol surely would and he wanted to say on good terms with the authorities.
The major leaders of the expeditions collectively agreed to call a halt to their investigations. On talking it over at an undisclosed meeting sight, Blake Riley, Jack Kimberly, Dr. Lionel Hardy and Winston Standfield came to the conclusion that it was too dangerous to continue their mission to capture a live Ogopogo. They all felt that the human cost was too high to proceed any further at this point. They also knew that they would have to wait to find out if criminal charges were to be brought against any of the expeditions’ participants. They agreed that their mission was not a complete failure. A preponderance of new research data had been collected and the photographic and video evidence all pointed to the proof of Ogopogo’s existence.
John and Susan Richards decided to go out for coffee to discuss how recent events were going to effect their relationship. They both concluded that they should end their separation and give their marriage another chance. The decision on where to live was settled at a Richards family meeting. Ryan and Monique shared that they wanted to continue living in Kelowna as they both wanted to pursue their academic studies at The University of British Columbia. Stephanie informed her family that she too, wished to reside permanently on Kelowna as she wanted to continue her relationship with Garry Hardy.
Wally Standfield and Garry Hardy both decided that they would return to The Kelowna Mental Health Center to complete their therapeutic programs. Upon graduation, Winston Standfield suggested that the two young men should live with him.
As for the Ogopogo family, legislation was passed that ruled that any future research projects that involved either searching for or attempting to capture the creatures would be declared illegal.
Chapter One Hundred Eighty-Six:
After suiting up for his dive John Richards descended into the depths of Lake Okanagan. He travelled a long way down before he saw anything. John was both startled and grossed out to see a dismembered bloody arm drifting towards him. Common sense told John that he should head back to the lake’s surface. He dismissed the thought as he felt that if it was possible to save the two diver’s lives he should make that attempt. He drifted down quite a distance further when the underwater caverns of Rattlesnake Island came into view.
John could see an adult size Ogopogo coming out of one of the cavern’s openings. The creature was carrying one of the divers between his jaws. John could see the stump of the diver’s missing arm. The Ogopogo stared at John and for some unknown reason released the injured diver from its mouth. It proceeded to turn around and swim away from John and the diver. John knew that this was his opportunity to rescue the diver. He called to the ship from the communication device in his helmet.
“Does anyone up their copy?”
“Yes, we copy,” Blake answered.
“I’ve found one of the divers and he is seriously injured. If I can get him to the surface there may still be a chance that we can save his life I’m going to grab a hold of him and I need you guys to bring us up immediately. I also spotted an Ogopogo. He is gone now and may have disappeared into one of the cavern openings. I don’t know how much time I’ve got until the creature reappears.”
“Don’t worry John we are bringing you up as we speak,” answered Blake.
Chapter One Hundred Eighty-Five:
After lunch Blake Riley had a serious chat with Jack Kimberley and Dr. Lionel Hardy.
“Well gentlemen, we all know for sure now that Ogopogo is alive and well in Lake Okanagan. To be more precise we know that there is a family of Ogopogos in the lake. We all are aware that the most likely spot for the creatures’ lair is in the deep caverns below Rattlesnake Island.”
“You are right about that Blake. Aboriginal people have long believed that Ogopogo’s home base is Rattlesnake Island,” Lionel confirmed.
“So how are we going to get to these underwater caverns?” Jack asked.
“We are not going to get to them but my divers will. I’m going to send them both into the lake in a few minutes,” Blake replied.
Within ten minutes two of Blake’s specially trained divers were descending in Lake Okanagan. The divers found that their visibility was relatively good on their way down. The water was a translucent green color and they spotted many varieties of colorful fish.
As they neared the bottom of the lake, the divers suddenly lost a great deal of their visibility. Something very large had stirred up the sediment on the bottom of the lake. All the divers could now see was clouds of dust. One of the divers alerted Captain Marks that they couldn’t see anything down below.
“I want you two men to come back to the surface immediately. We have lost sight of you guys on our monitor. All we can see is clouds of sediment. It’s too dangerous to stay down there any longer,” Peter said.
Peter Marks called over Blake Riley, Lionel and Jack. By this time the two divers were not responding on their audio devices.
“Our divers are in serious trouble. I’ve lost both video and audio communication with them.”
Blake asked Peter. “Do we have anyone else who can dive underwater?”
John Richards had heard the whole conversation. “I can dive under water,” he said. “It was part of my training during my stint in the navy.”
“Would you be willing to go below surface and look for my two divers? I’m getting very worried about them. They should be back up at the surface by now,” Blake said.
“I’ll do it. I’ll try to find the two divers,” John said.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Lionel asked. “This is extremely risky. We don’t know what the two divers encountered down there,” Lionel said, trying to talk John out of risking his own life for the sake of the two divers.
“I’m willing to take the risk. I didn’t know if I could be of any use to you people on this expedition. Now I found a way I can.”
Ryan and Monique both ran up to John. Ryan said, “Dad please don’t do this. Those two divers are probably dead by now. It’s not worth the risk.”
Chapter One Hundred Twenty-Four
Susan Richards felt both shocked and honored by Winston Standfield’s invitation to join him on his expedition. She feared for Stephanie’s safety, but also realized just how much being on this this expedition meant to Stephanie. Susan also could not help but notice the attraction growing between her daughter and Garry Hardy. She knew that if she denied this expedition to Stephanie, her daughter would probably hold a grudge for the rest of her life. Let’s face it, this scientific expedition was an opportunity to make history.
Susan had to admit that she, too, was getting excited by this once in a life time chance to be a part of something that could turn out to be really significant.
It was getting late but Susan was still continuing her conversation with Winston. She was asking him detailed questions about Ogopogo and about his methodology in his search for Ogopogo.
“The pictures and videos that we took turned out very well. The video taken with the camcorder is a bit shaky because of my combination of excitement and fear when I saw Ogopogo. I am sure that these photos and videos will be very important in establishing Ogopogo’s existence. However, my goals go beyond just having photographic and video evidence. I want to find out what kind of animal Ogopogo is. I want to know if he is a previously unknown, undiscovered creature, or if Ogopogo is an evolved version of a previously known prehistoric animal. The marine biologist inside me needs to know the answers to these questions,” Winston said.
“How do you plan to determine this?” Susan said, starting to feel sleepy.
“Susan, I can see that you’re getting very drowsy and you’ve had a long day. I have another spare room in my cottage for you and Stephanie. I will show both of you to your rooms so that you can have a good night’s rest,” Winston said.
“Thank you, Winston. I greatly appreciate this.”
Chapter One Hundred Twenty-Two:
Blake Riley’s boat took another bump from underneath the vessel. This time it was powerful enough to shake the whole ship.
“What the heck was that?” Blake said, turning in the direction of the ship’s captain, Peter Marks.
“Well, it isn’t a submersible. My guess is that it’s a very large living creature,” Peter answered.
“Such as Ogopogo?” Blake asked.
“It’s possible sir. I am not aware of another creature in Lake Okanagan that could give your ship a jar like that,” Peter stated.
“Get Dr.Hardy for me. I think he’s below the main deck checking the sonar readings,” Blake said to Keesha, one of the university students.
Keesha didn’t have to go far as Lionel was already making his way to the main deck.
“Dr. Hardy, something very large has hit the boat twice already,” Blake said.
“I’m aware of that. That’s why I ran up the stairs to the main deck. The sonar readings I was getting suggested a very large object indeed, perhaps as large as fifty feet long,” Lionel said.
“Could it be Ogopogo?” Blake asked.
“I would hazard a guess that it is,” Lionel answered solemnly.
“Why does it want to attack our boat? I thought that Ogopogo is not an aggressive animal,” Blake said.
“At the present time we don’t have very much evidence concerning the creature’s aggression, one way or the other. There has been the odd report by a swimmer or a water skier in Lake Okanagan that claims that Ogopogo was pursuing them,” Lionel answered.
A third hit now struck the boat strong enough to allow some water to spray onto the main deck.
“Why is the creature doing this? What does it want with us?” Blake asked.
Ryan Richards walked towards Blake and Lionel.
“I have a theory,” Ryan said. The Ogopogo that is attacking the ship probably saw us capture the replica with our large fishing nets.”
By this time Kyle Winter had also stepped up to join in the discussion.
“Ryan’s right. Ogopogo likely thinks that we will try to capture him too. The creature is probably unaware that the replica wasn’t a real Ogopogo.”
“You guys could be right. My concern is how many bumps my ship can take before the creature causes some serious damage,” Blake said.
A voice was heard a few feet away. It was John Richards. “I’m worried about that too, but I’m also afraid that Ogopogo may try to climb aboard to rescue the replica.”
“So what should we do?” Blake asked, who was now looking anxious.
“My suggestion is that we throw the replica back into the lake,” John said.
“I agree. That makes sense to me. Maybe if Ogopogo thinks that we’ve set his friend free, he will leave us alone,” Lionel said.
Peter Marks was now set to take charge again. He grabbed a megaphone and said, “I need all hands on deck. We’re going to need lots of muscle power to lift the replica up and throw it back in the lake.”
Chapter One Hundred Twenty-One:
Cam McDougall didn’t waste any time getting to work on the photos and videos that Jack had provided. He called Jack over to have a look at some of the photos.
“Jack, these pictures you have are incredible. Considering that they were taken at night they show remarkable clarity and detail. I just have one question for you. Two, actually.” Cam said.
“Go ahead. Ask.”
“First question. Who took these photos and videos?”
“An old friend from my high school days, Mike O’Grady,” Jack replied.
“Would it be possible for me to meet him?”
“Unfortunately not. Mike passed away yesterday at the hospital. Mike got too close to the young Ogopogo and it tore his right arm off. Mike died in the operating room while he was being treated.”
“That’s terrible. His camera work was amazing.”
“We’ll miss him. That’s for sure,” Jack said sadly.
“Here’s my other question. Just an observation, but the smaller animal definitely appears to be an animate object, but something doesn’t look quite right with the larger creature. This is even more apparent on your videos. The little one appears to be moving around in a very life- like manner, but the adult creature looks stilted. The junior Ogopogo looks very much alive and appears to want to play with the larger one. The little one may think that the larger animal is its mother. The adult size creature doesn’t appear to be moving on its own. It looks like it only moves when the little one pushes on it,” Cam observed.
“The reason for that is that the adult size Ogopogo isn’t real. It’s made out of wood. Mike O’Grady designed, built and painted the replica of Ogopogo,” Jack explained.
“From what you have told me, this Mike O’Grady was a genius. Did he make a lot of money from his work?” Cam asked.
“Unfortunately not. Mike was getting older and suffered from numerous health challenges. He lived off his government disability cheque. He also made a little spending money by repairing other people’s computers. Mike died in poverty,” Jack said.
“Life is just not fair. That man should have died as a wealthy man,” Cam said.
“As brilliant as Mike’s work is, there’s going to be one major problem. It won’t take the experts long to figure out that one of the Ogopogos is a fake. That will start them wondering if the little one is real. People are going to suspect that all these photos and videos are a hoax,” Cam stated.
“The irony is that I originally planned for the replica to be a hoax played on Blake Riley. Then the real junior Ogopogo showed up and ruined all my plans to humiliate and disgrace Blake Riley,” Jack said.