Chapter One Hundred Nineteen
After the Harbor Patrol watched 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, Jayson 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, Jayson 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 Jayson came back to the surface.
As he rose to the surface of the lake Jayson 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. Jayson noted that the eyes belonged to an enormous, serpentine shaped animal. Fortunately, after having a good look at Jayson, the menacing animal turned around in the water and swam in the opposite direction. Jayson rose very quickly to the surface. His partner, Craig Hartley, helped pull Jayson out of the water and into the boat.
“So, what did you see down there. You look kind of shaken up,” Craig noted.
“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,” Craig answered with trembling in his voice.
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.
Mike O’Grady was moving between his cameras and camcorders in an almost agile manner. Jack and some of the crew could hardly keep from laughing out loud as they watched their three hundred pound visual technician dance athletically 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?” said Jack who was drinking a beer and had been joking happily with one of the lighting technicians. When he turned to look to his right, Jack dropped his bottle of beer on the deck of his cabin cruiser.
“I don’t believe it! What is that thing? It’s trying to jump on the back of Mike’s model,” said Jack.
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,” said Jack 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?” said 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,” said one of the muscular men.
“Who knows? The little guy might think it’s found its mother,” said Jack.
Chapter One Hundred Sixteen:
“Plan A goes into action as soon as we get the model loaded on the truck in the wee hours tomorrow morning. After we get our wooden friend into the truck we’re going to take it out to a very secluded part of the lake. The place I have in mind has a lot of trees, bushes and other vegetation surrounding it. Due to the early hour of the day it will be very dark and it is doubtful that anyone will see us unloading our treasure from the truck. Just in case, however, we will keep a close lookout for any potential bystanders.
I will hire a couple of guys I know that have powerful portable lighting devices and know how to use them. I will also take along some high grade flashlights so that we don’t stumble on our way to the path to the lake,” said Jack.
“So you’re planning to take some pictures of my replica in the lake?” asked Mike.
“Yes, but not only clear, crisp photos. I want to shoot some video of a high quality also. I know that you have some high end video equipment in your apartment, Mike. You are going to be our official photographer and camera man,” answered Jack.
“Don’t worry. You will be handsomely rewarded for your efforts.”
“I’m very willing to help you with this project, Jack but with my health challenges and mobility issues I don’t know how I’m going to be able to get down to the shore of the lake,” said Mike with a feeling of embarrassment and shame that only the disabled know.
“I’m always a step ahead of you Mike. You are this project’s artist and audio visual technician, but I am the project manager. I’ve thought of everything. I hired four huge body builder guys I recruited at a local fitness club. If worst comes to worst, these men can carry you down to the lake. I’m also bringing along a very sturdy wheel chair I bought at a medical supply store. With the help of my four strong men we may be able to get you down to the lake front by means of the wheel chair,” said Jack.
“I have to hand it to you, Jack. You are a brilliant planner and tactician,” said Mike who was greatly in awe of his friend’s skill set.
“You sure must want to make a fool of Blake Riley. You aren’t sparing any effort or expense to make your little scam work,” said Mike.
“You are one hundred percent right about that,” said Jack.
Chapter One Hundred Twelve:
After the straight to the point speeches by Sheriff George Anderson and William Everett, there wasn’t too much for Elaine Tanner to say to the audience. After Elaine’s brief speech, the crowd started to disperse. Elaine and the other organizers had set up both a literature table and a refreshment booth covered by a bright yellow canopy. As it was very warm this afternoon several participants in the demonstration made their way over to the refreshment stand to buy themselves a soft drink.
Garry Phelge was one of the first people to buy himself a coke that was poured into a plastic cup by one of the volunteers. He turned around rather quickly and bumped into Stephanie Richards who was standing just a couple of feet behind Garry. Stephanie was deep in thought and was not watching out for Garry. When Stephanie and Garry collided with each other, some of Garry’s soft drink splashed on Stephanie’s tee shirt.
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” said Garry as he started to blush. I’ll get you a towel to dry yourself off.”
Garry would have dried off Stephanie’s shirt himself but most of his drink had spilled on Stephanie’s chest and modesty and decency were what was called for in this situation.
Garry was able to borrow a towel from one of the volunteers and handed it to Stephanie.
“Well, seeing that I kind of wrecked your tee shirt, the least that I can do is buy you a new tee shirt and pay for your soft drink. What kind of pop would you like?”
“You don’t need to buy me a new tee-shirt, man, but I would like an Orange Crush to drink,” answered Stephanie. Even though Garry’s clothes appeared to be rumpled, Stephanie found herself to be very attracted to the young man. She had always appreciated males that demonstrated good manners as Garry did.
“Did you come with anyone?” asked Garry.
“No, I just came on my own to see what all the excitement was about. Plus I wanted to get away from my Aunt Meg’s house for a while. I’m having kind of a rough day.”
“What’s making it so rough? Oh, by the way. I guess that I should introduce myself. My name is Garry Phelge.”
“And I’m Stephanie Richards. To answer your question it’s been a difficult day for me because I wanted to go on a research expedition to look for Ogopogo. My dad, my brother and his girlfriend are all going but Dean Sanderson said they won’t have room for me. I’m really bummed out about it.”
Garry started to pull the tab off of Stephanie’s Orange Crush can and poured it into a plastic cup for her.
“I’m also going on an expedition to look for Ogopogo. In fact, we started on our first trip on the lake yesterday. My friend Wally and his Uncle Winston took a boat ride out around Squally Point and Rattlesnake Island. It was awesome. We got a real close up look at Ogopogo and were able to take some pictures and to capture the creature on video,” said Garry.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” said Stephanie. You actually saw Ogopogo and took pictures of it?”
“Every word is the truth,” answered Garry removing his Vancouver Canucks baseball cap. “Winston said that we had done enough work for one day and was concerned about our safety so he turned his cabin cruiser around and we rode back to his house.”
“What did the creature look like? Close up I mean?” asked Stephanie.
“It was like something from a horror movie. In fact I had a nightmare about Ogopogo last night,” said Garry.
“How would you describe it?” asked Stephanie.
“Well, we only got a good look at its head and neck. Its neck was very long, thick and muscular with at least the width of a telephone pole. It was a dark greenish color with a horse shaped head and a beautiful mane of emerald green hair running along the back of its neck. It had large yellow eyes. The expression on its face was very ferocious,” answered Garry stopping to take a sip of what was left of his Coke.
“Why don’t I take you to see Winston Standfield. I’m sure he would let you join our expedition,” said Garry.
“I would love to!” said Stephanie almost knocking over her Orange Crush.
On Tuesday morning the university students led by Kyle Winter were seated outside Dean Sanderson’s office. Ryan and Monique arrived a few minutes later. They were directed to take a seat and wait for Dean Sanderson to call them. Dr. Phelge was already in Dean Sanderson’s office seated in the red leather chair.
“I’m eager to meet your students Lionel. I’ve probably seen most of them in the cafeteria at one time or another. I’d like to hear what their ideas are,” said Dean Sanderson.
“I think that you will be pleasantly surprised Edward. They are a very intelligent and creative group of young people,” said Lionel.
“As I told you earlier they will be accompanied by two summer vacationers who would also like to be part of the project.”
“All right. Let’s get the young people in here and hear what they have to say,” said Dean Sanderson.
As the group of young people entered Dean Sanderson’s office he directed them to have a seat on a long maroon sofa.
“I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about you people from Dr. Phelge. I’ll first ask Kyle to explain how you guys came up with the idea for your research project,” said Dr. Sanderson.
“Well, to tell you the truth sir, we were sitting in the university cafeteria discussing how boring the articles are in the student’s university newspaper,” answered Kyle.
Dean Sanderson burst out laughing after hearing Ryan say this.
“I’m glad it was a student and not me that said it. I’ve read the student’s newspaper so I know what you’re talking about. I understand that you have recruited two extra people who are visiting form out of province,” said Dean Sanderson.
“Yes, that would be Ryan and Monique. They are here for their summer vacations and have shared some very interesting information about the Ogopogo,” said Ryan.
“Well, I’d be very happy if they shared this information with Dr. Phelge and myself. What about it, Monique?” said Dean Sanderson.
“Ryan and I had just met as we were going on a jog on a trail near Lake Okanagon. We’d just run a short distance when I turned to my right and saw something unusual on the lake. I saw a large black hump that was undulating on the water,” answered Monique.
“Then I stopped to have a look. It appeared to be a large creature of some sort but I’d never seen anything like it on the lake before. Two fishermen also saw it albeit from a much greater distance. The object submerged after a few minutes.”
“It was definitely Ogopogo you saw,” said Dr. Phelge barely able to conceal his excitement.
“I managed to take two pictures of the creature,” added Monique.
“Can we see the pictures?” asked Dean Sanderson.
“We don’t have them now,” said Ryan. “We lent them to the reporter, Bobby O’Conner. He’s taking them to a photography expert to get them analyzed.”
“Get them back immediately,” said Dr. Phelge. “Try to get a written report from the expert that analyzed the photos as well.”
“As you people know Dr. Phelge is taking a year’s sabbatical leave. He has been an excellent teacher and researcher for this university and we wanted to reward him with a year free of his teaching duties. During this time Lionel has told me that he wants to do an intensive research project about The Ogopogo,” said Dean Sanderson.
“I’m hoping to write a series of articles and perhaps a book on my research,” explained Dr. Phelge.
“We are also hoping to write some great articles about our research on Ogopogo for the university newspaper,” said Kyle.
“And we would like to join an expedition with you to search for Ogopogo,” said Ryan.
“I believe that an expedition would be a crucial part of our research on The Lake Demon. That’s what the aboriginal people called the creature. Of course, we would also be looking at any previously written articles and would want to interview people who claim to have seen Ogopogo,” said Dean Sanderson.
“We’ll need to brainstorm everything we’re going to need for this project as well as knowing who can perform each job.” said Dr. Phelge.
“Not to mention the financing for the expedition,” added Dean Sanderson.
“A project like this could cost a fortune, Lionel.”
“I’m well aware of that, Edward. That’s why I think it’s critical that we make up a wish list of all the equipment we would like to have for our expedition. From there we can do some research and get an estimate of how much money we’re looking at,” said Lionel.
“The university will give us some money but I don’t think it will be a lot,” said Dean Sanderson.
“We may be eligible for some government grant money,” said Lionel.
‘We may have to come up with the majority of the expense from private sources,” said Kyle.
“I think you’re right, but where could we find some wealthy private donors?” asked Dean Sanderson.
“I don’t know, but why don’t we put out some ads asking for financial assistance. You never know. There could be a rich eccentric entrepreneur out there somewhere who could be interested in a project like this,” answered Kyle.
“It’s worth a try,” said Ryan. “Kyle could be right about the eccentric private donor just waiting for an opportunity like this.”
“It’s also going to depend on how well we sell the expedition. Someone out there might want the fame or publicity,” said Jasmine.
“That’s what I like about working with young people. They are so creative in generating ideas,” said Lionel.
“Not to mention enthusiasm and a positive attitude,” added Dean Sanderson.
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 Horton’s. 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’Conner.”
“Yeah, I recognize you from your picture in The Kelowna Sun. You’re the sports reporter,” said Ryan shaking Bobby’s hand.
“That’s me. Can I join you? I’d like to hear more about what happened to you guys today.”
“Well, Ryan and I were jogging along a trail that overlooked Lake Okanagan,” said Monique.
“Monique told me to stop and take a look at the lake. There was something strange in the water,” added Ryan.
“We looked out upon the lake,” Monique continued and 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” said Ryan.
“It sounds like the most common descriptions people give of of Ogopogo. Do you think it really was Ogopogo you saw?” asked Bobby.
“If it wasn’t, I don’t know what it was. It really shook us up to see it,” said Monique.
“What did the fishermen see?” asked Bobby.
“They saw something that looked like a fast moving log, but they were a lot further away than we were,” answered Monique.
“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,” added Ryan.
The two fishermen were kind of arguing over whether or not our pictures were of Ogopogo, said Monique. “Henry was skeptical but Harvey believes we really may have photographed Ogopogo.”
About an hour later Ryan and Monique stopped running when they approached a Tim Horton’s coffee shop. When they entered the shop it was quite crowded. They managed to find two empty seats next to two middle aged gentlemen. The two men were engaged in an animated discussion.
“Henry, what do you think that thing was that we saw in the lake?” asked Harvey.
“It’s hard to say. It was too far away,” replied Henry.
‘All I’m saying is that there have been several reported sightings of Ogopogo over the last month,” said Harvey.
“That doesn’t mean anything. A few years ago there were a bunch of ufo sightings over Brazil. Nobody captured any ufos.”
“That doesn’t mean that ufos don’t exist.”
“I suppose not but I’m not going to go around telling people that we saw Ogopogo today,” said Henry.
“I agree that whatever we saw was over one hundred meters away but it appeared to be approaching fast and then it suddenly submerged when our boat came around the corner,” said Harvey.
“That’s what is known as circumstantial evidence,” said Henry in response.
“Maybe not,” said Ryan after taking a sip of his coffee.
“What do you mean, son?” asked Harvey adjusting the blue lumberjack jacket that he wore over his black tee shirt.
“I’m sorry. We should have introduced ourselves. My name is Ryan and my new friend to my left is called Monique.”
“Pleased to meet you,” said Henry. “But you still haven’t answered our question.”
“Was your fishing boat anywhere near Rattlesnake Island about an hour ago?” asked Monique.
“Yes, it was. How did you know?” asked Harvey.
“Monique and I were jogging on a trail near the bank at Rattlesnake Island. Monique had just taken two pictures of the creature you saw when your boat rounded the corner,” said Ryan.
“How do you know it was a creature?” asked Henry. He pushed his chair closer to the table.
“Oh, it was a very large living animal all right,” said Ryan also moving his chair closer to the round table.
“It certainly wasn’t a boat or a log. I managed to take a couple of pictures of it before it submerged,” added Monique.
“Fortunately I had a pair of professional grade binoculars. I got a good close up look when the creature raised its head,” said Ryan.
“You got a look at its head? Can we see those pictures?” asked Harvey.
“Yeah, no problem,” said Monique.