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.
Chapter One Hundred Thirty
About thirty minutes later Blake saw another ship about one hundred metres away. What he saw was Winston Stanfield’s cabin cruiser. Winston’s crew which now included Stephanie and Susan Richards, was also headed in the direction of Squally Point. As the vessel got closer Blake realized that he did not recognize any of the crew on the approaching vessel.
Blake quickly called over Jack and Lionel. “I think we may now be encountering another vessel and crew with the same objectives as ours. Handing pairs of binoculars to Jack and Lionel he asked, “Do you men recognize any one aboard that ship?”
“Yes, I’m fairly sure who one of the crew may be. It is a well- known and controversial marine biologist who up until recently worked for The Department of Fisheries. His name is Dr. Winston Standfield,” Lionel said. You are quite right Blake, in your assumption that the vessel behind us is also searching for Ogopogo.”
Chapter One Hundred Thirty-One:
After Dr. Marsha Mitchell finished her autopsies on the two deceased criminals, Luc and Guy and the corpse of Michael O’Grady she called George Anderson.
“The wounds that I have found on all men were consistent with an attack by an unknown marine apex predator. The damage to their bodies is very much the same as those suffered by the late Ida Rhodes.”
“I was afraid that you were going to say that,” Sheriff George Anderson said with a long drawn out sigh.
“What are you going to do, Sheriff?” the medical examiner asked.
“My choices are now very limited. The creature that perpetrated these atrocities must be destroyed,” George Anderson replied.
Chapter One Hundred Thirty-Two:
While Blake, Jack and Lionel were all getting acquainted telling each other stories about their interest in Ogopogo, Monique called Ryan Richards over to an unoccupied place on the lower deck.
“What’s up, Monique?” Ryan asked.
“Something is bothering me. We need to have a heart to heart conversation.”
“Okay. What about?”
“About us Ryan. About our relationship. I’ve enjoyed being with you so much this summer.”
“That’s a good thing. Isn’t it? I feel the same way about you,” Ryan said.
“I’m glad to hear that, but we are both going to have to make some hard decisions before the end of the summer. What are your plans for the fall?”
“The original plan was to go back to Winnipeg to live with my mom until next summer,” Ryan answered.
“So does that mean that you want to break up with me at the end of the summer? Or does it mean that you want to make our relationship a long distance one until next summer?” Monique inquired.
“Neither option really appeals to me. I love you and I couldn’t stand to have only a phone and email relationship until next summer,” Ryan said. “So, what are your plans for the fall?”
“I feel the same we you do. I’m in love with you too and I wouldn’t want to have to settle for a long distance relationship for most of the year,” Monique said.
“So what should we do?” Ryan asked.
“It means that we both need to stay here when the summer is over. Another option would be for you to move to Montreal permanently or for me to move to Winnipeg.”
“My preference would be that we both decide to live in Kelowna permanently. Of course, it’s going to be very hard news for our parents to accept,” Ryan said.
“I know our parents are very likely to be upset about our plans for the fall, but it is never easy for parents to let their children go and allow them to grow up,” Monique said.
“That’s true, but we are both adults now and have the right to make our own decisions,” Ryan said.
Chapter One Hundred Twenty-Nine
“Jack, I want you to invite your whole crew aboard The Viper. This boat has more than enough room. I want them all to join us for lunch with drinks to follow,” Blake said.
“It sound like you want us to stay for awhile,” Jack said.
‘Who knows you may get to see another live Ogopogo. One of their species has bumped and jarred our boat three times. We think that it is upset that we have the replica aboard our vessel. We were just attempting to throw the model back in the lake when our boat suffered another strong blow from beneath the surface. I hope that Ogopogo is satisfied that we got its message. It has to be one powerful creature to push this boat around.”
“I have a new proposition for you, Jack. One that is going to more than make up for how I betrayed you in the past. After my fling with Debra ended I found out how it feels to be used and betrayed. It made me think about what had happened to you. You may not believe me, and I wouldn’t blame you if you don’t. My philosophy of life has changed. I used to think that it was a dog eat dog world and that everybody had to look out for number one.
I fell into a deep depression after the break up with Debra Lang. It got so bad that I went to see a well -known therapist. She helped me to see some things about myself that I didn’t want to look at. I was really full of self- pity. Suddenly, it dawned on me that I was as much to blame for what happened as Debra was. The most frightening epiphany for me was the discovery that I didn’t have any friends. I had people I paid to work for me, but I was just their employer. I came to realize that I needed some real friends. In order to do this, I would need to mend a few fences,” Blake said.
“That was quite the speech, Blake. You know, I almost believe you. Can a leopard really change its spots?”
“I believe it can. That’s why I want to make it up to you. I’ve always liked you and you are the closest thing to a friend I ever had,” Blake replied.
“Okay Blake. You’ve got me interested. You said something about a proposition. What is it?”
“I want us to be partners again, Jack. Only this time we are not going into the new project to make money. Our objective will now be to be to make history. We will be on the cutting edge of scientific discovery. I don’t know how much money we’ll make, but we are sure to be famous. I can see us ending up with book deals and movie rights offers,” Blake said.
As Blake was making his pitch to Jack, Dr. Lionel Hardy arrived from the lower deck where he had finished lunch with his students.
Blake introduced Lionel to Jack.
“I’m trying to talk Jack into becoming a partner with us on this expedition. I was just explaining to him the great opportunity for scientific discovery we have before us. Jack’s skill set would make him a valuable addition to our project,” Blake said.
“That may be true, but so far all we’ve managed to accomplish is to capture a very well designed replica of Ogopogo,” Lionel pointed out.
Jack and Blake both laughed.
“This is a sort of inside joke, but Jack played a key role in helping us discover the fake Ogopogo. It’s a long story but I will fill you in on the details later, Lionel,” Blake said.
“What am I going to do about my crew if I agree to join forces with you and Dr. Hardy. With all the personnel on your crew we certainly won’t need the members of my crew,” Jack said.
“You are absolutely right,” Blake said. “Your crew will no longer be needed. Although I would like to keep your paramedic. However, to make their disappointment easier to bear, I will reward each one of them with a five thousand dollar severance cheque.”
“I believe that that kind of offer will go a long way to easing their angst,” Jack said.
“Lionel, I haven’t had the opportunity to tell you this yet, but Jack has obtained some amazing photo and video footage of a smaller version of Ogopogo,” Blake said.
Chapter One Hundred Twenty-Seven:
Jack’s crew definitely had trepidations about his plan to capture a live Ogopogo, but Jack didn’t give his crew time for any more questions. The boat was headed for Squally Point.
As they got closer to Squally Point and Rattlesnake Island Jack’s crew spotted a very large cabin cruiser in the distance. As soon as Jack Kimberley was alerted he picked up a pair of binoculars and had a look for himself. He could see two things. One was the large lettering on the boat that spelled out the name Viper. Jack recalled that when he and Blake Riley were still business partners, Blake would take Jack for cruises on his largest cabin cruiser called The Viper.
The second thing Jack saw was members of Blake’s crew attempting to get the replica off The Viper and into the lake. Blake’s crew were unable to do this as the men felt a severe blow to the boat that caused them to lose their balance. After that last hard bump, Ogopogo seemed to lose his interest in The Viper and left Blake’s vessel alone. Jack ordered his ship’s captain to speed up the vessel and head in the direction of the Viper. It occurred to Jack that he now had another chance to make a fool out of Blake Riley. All he needed was a few close up photos of Blake examining the replica and discovering that it was a fake Ogopogo.
As Jack’s boat approached the Viper, Blake picked up a set of binoculars. When he got the lens properly focused and scanned the deck of the boat he could see that Jack Kimberley was aboard the vessel. He remembered that Jack’s largest boat was named The Dream Catcher. Blake could read the lettering on the side of the ship.
Jack had reciprocated by taking Blake on a few cruises on his boat back in the good old days. Blake ordered his ship’s captain, Peter Marks, to slowly move The Viper closer to The Dream Catcher.
As the two boats met at the closest distance that they safely could, Blake called out to Jack, “Fancy meeting you out here my old friend.”
“I’m not that old and I’m not your friend. It seems that a new woman in your life and a business screw-job ended that,” Jack said bitterly.
“While we’re both out here on the lake, why don’t you come aboard for a drink and we’ll talk this out, just like the good old days,” Blake said.
“I just might do that. I have some questions to ask you and I could use a good stiff drink about now,” Jack said.
Chapter One Hundred Twenty-Six:
Jack Kimberley was in a hurry to get his crew back on Lake Okanagan. He had hired Cam McDougall to replace the late Mike O’Grady as the crew’s audio-visual technician. Jack had the whole crew assemble on the main deck of his boat as he was ready to start giving out instructions.
“Thank you all for agreeing to join the second phase of our project. The pictures and video footage that Mike O’Grady took were awesome. We all owe a great debt to Mike for all that he contributed to our project. He will be sorely missed, but sometimes people have to take great risks to achieve great goals.
But our mission is not over. I have been made aware that some people are not going to take Mike’s photos and video’s seriously. They will figure out that one of the subjects of our film is a man-made replica of Ogopogo. They will probably be astounded at how real the smaller Ogopogo looks, but the average viewer may still suspect a hoax. This has all been pointed out to me by our new audio-video technician, Cam McDougall. Cam will be assuming Mike O’Grady’s duties on phase two of our search for Ogopogo. I will now ask Cam to say a few words to you.”
“Jack is right,” said Cam. “The previously taken photos and videos are not likely to be taken seriously. We must provide a higher level of proof of the existence of Ogopogo.”
“How are we going to do that?” Brian Kelley, the crew’s paramedic asked .
“We were able to film the junior version of Ogopogo. Now we need to capture one of them alive. I say ‘one of them’ as it is very possible that we are looking at a whole family of Ogopogos and that there could easily be more of the smaller variety in Lake Okanagan,” Jack answered.
“I think that we can all agree that it will be much easier to capture a junior size Ogopogo. I have brought along the largest and heaviest fishing net that is available. The plan will be to attract a small Ogopogo to come close enough to my boat so that we can capture it in the net.”
“What if we attract an adult size Ogopogo instead?” Brian asked.
“If a large creature comes near our boat and attempts to attack, we will probably have to kill it. Don’t worry, I have lots of artillery aboard,” Jack replied
Blake Riley’s file sharing business could pretty much run itself. He was now in a financial position to be able to afford a business manager and several employees. This left Blake with a lot of free time to pursue his own interests.
He read books voraciously. Recently he was reading numerous books on cryptozoology. His readings led him to videos on the paranormal that were of great interest to Blake.
Blake had become quite the student of The Roswell Incident that allegedly occurred in New Mexico in 1947. He had read the literature both for and against the reality of The Roswell Incident and had come to an unshakeable belief that a space ship that originated from outside the earth had crashed in New Mexico.
Official government explanations of a weather balloon did not make much sense to Blake. Why would the US military send in its troops to gather up the broken pieces of a weather balloon? Why would the air force threaten residents that if they ever told what they saw, they would be killed?
Blake even believed the stories about alien bodies being found at one of the crash sites.
Blake also believed in the existence of Bigfoot. One of his business associates had told him about a close encounter he had with Bigfoot when he was on a camping trip in Oregon. Every time Blake ran into this man he would ask him to describe his encounter in more detail. Blake found that his business associate was becoming more and more reticent to talk about the incident. Any time that he did tell his story of the encounter he would get choked up and his voice would crack.
The type of cryptozoology that Blake found the the most interesting were the reports of lake monsters and sea serpents. He had studied the case of The Loch Ness Monster in great detail. Blake had even taken two trips to Scotland to look for the beast. Although he didn’t see the mysterious animal he had a chance to talk to a few of the local residents who claimed to have seen it. Blake was over joyed when he learned that Canada had at least three potential cousins of The Loch Ness Monster. These were Champ from Lake Champlain, Manipogo from Manitoba and Ogopogo from British Columbia.
John Richards had another reason for looking forward to the trip to Kelowna. Since he was a young boy John had a strong interest in cryptozoology, the study of unknown species. Stories about Bigfoot and The Loch Ness Monster had always enthralled John. This all started when he was eight years old when his grandmother showed him a ceramic ashtray with a carving of a large serpent on it. John’s Grandma told him that the creature’s name was Ogopogo and that it lived in Lake Okanagan in British Columbia. She also told John a story about a childhood friend of hers that had a close encounter with Ogopogo. Her friend had reportedly watched Ogopogo come out of the lake and start eating chickens that her parents raised on their farm.