Chapter One Hundred Eighty-Seven:
Susan Richards started to panic as she watched John dive into the lake. It was at that moment that she realized how much she still loved her husband. When she saw what had frightened her mother, Stephanie ran to Susan and threw her arms around her.
“Why is Dad going into the lake? The two divers haven’t come up yet,” Stephanie said sobbing.
Winston Standfield walked towards the mother and daughter.
“I think that your husband has more courage and integrity than you give him credit for,” Winston said.
“That’s right,” said Garry Hardy as he joined the group. “Your dad is a very brave man. He’s probably gone down to look for the other divers. Something must have happened to them.”
Stephanie hugged Garry and Susan clung to Winston as they waited for John to return to the surface of the lake. Within fifteen minutes they saw John Richards rise out of the water carrying one of the divers.
“Thank God John’s alive!” cried Susan. “Winston, take Stephanie and me to John. We have to make sure that he’s alright.”
Within a few minutes Winston’s boat pulled up to Blake’s and Susan, Stephanie and Wally climbed aboard the Viper.
Susan was the first one to run up to John. “John, are you okay?”
“Yes, I’m fine, but the diver is not. The creature must have bit off his arm and the man has lost a lot of blood,” John answered.
The diver was lying down on the deck of the Viper. Blake and Jack Kimberley had applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.
“We have to get this man to a hospital as soon as possible,” Lionel Hardy said. “We need to find out what happened to the other diver.”
“I didn’t see the other diver when I was down there,” John said.
Although the surviving diver was very weak, he still managed to talk.
“Troy is dead. One of the creatures ripped his body in half.”
“That’s horrible,” Blake said. “Let’s get this ship to shore so that we can get this man to the hospital. Someone call the Harbor Patrol and see if they can get this man some medical attention.”
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 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–Eight:
As Jack boarded The Viper, Blake brought Jack a rum and coke. He pointed to the large water soaked replica of Ogopogo trapped in the net. “I see that you snagged the big prize,” Jack said with a wide grin on his face.
“Yeah, it’s a beauty of a model,” Blake replied with a laugh. “I would sure like to meet the guy who put together that masterpiece.”
“That could be a problem,” Jack said.
“How so? Do you know the artist?”
“His name was Mike O’Grady,” Jack said.
“That name sounds very familiar. I think I knew a kid in school who went by that name,” Blake said.
Jack burst out laughing.
“Oh, come on. It can’t be the same guy,” Blake said.
“Do you remember who won first prize at the science fair in grade eleven?” Jack asked.
“Now I see the connection. Mike was the kid who built that small model of Ogopogo. It was a beauty. I remember that Mike spent weeks working on that model. So you’re telling me that Mike O’Grady designed and built the life sized model on the deck of my ship? Why would he build a full size replica and what was it doing on the lake?”
“I arranged the whole thing,” Jack said. “I paid Mike O’Grady to design and build the life sized model.”
“I was going to use the model to get back at you,” Jack said.
“What have you got against me?” asked Blake.
“Are you that obtuse, Blake? You mean to say that you don’t remember what you did to me?”
“No. I don’t remember what I did to you.”
“You quit our business partnership and took up with some sleazy married woman,” Jack answered angrily.
“She, somehow, talked you into leaving our business to become partners with her in her start-up enterprise. The worst part was that you left me entirely out of the loop concerning your new plans. I only found out about what you had done through one of our former business associates.”
“I can appreciate what you’re saying, Jack, but you are missing something here. In our previous business venture you and I were on the same page for a long time. Then, as time went by, our business ideas were starting to diverge to the point that we couldn’t agree on lunch. I didn’t see any rational reason why you and I should remain business partners. That’s why I jumped ship. I admit that I should have let you know of my change of plans in advance.”
“So why can’t I talk to Mike O’Grady?” Blake asked, changing the subject.
“Because he’s dead,” Jack answered.
“How did he die?” Blake asked.
“He had most of his right arm torn off by a junior size Ogopogo. Poor Mike died on the operating room table. I don’t think that Mike was in good enough shape to survive the surgery,” Jack answered.
“Are we talking about a real Ogopogo now?”
“Yes, it was a real Ogopogo, all right. The only thing was that this one was likely not a full grown member of the species. The little one decided that it would check out the full scale replica that we threw in the lake. Mike was taking pictures when he got too close to the railing of the boat. The creature grabbed his right arm and tore it right off. Mike was bleeding profusely all over the ship’s deck,” Jack said.
“Were you able to save the pictures that Mike took?”
“Yes, the pictures were very clear and sharp. I had them analyzed by a mutual friend of ours, Cam McDougall.”
“Wasn’t he the guy who had his own photography business?”
“Yes, that’s him.”
“Were you able to capture the small Ogopogo?”
“No, we had to rush Mike to the hospital,” Jack replied.
“Look Jack. I admit it. I did screw you around on our last business enterprise. I should have taken the time to try to work out our differences before I joined another company. And I should have told you about it. I’m sincerely sorry. It was just that Debra Lang had my head all screwed around. I allowed lust to over- take my rational mind,” Blake said.
“It didn’t take long for my relationship with Debra to blow up in my face. It took me awhile to realize that she was just using me both personally and professionally. The last straw was when I found out that she was still seeing her husband, Roman and was trying to reconcile with him. After I confronted her, our whole relationship, both personal and business, collapsed,”
Blake was trying hard to come up with a good story that would appease Jack’s wounded ego. Blake had even thought of a way to make it up to him.
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 Twenty-Three:
Dr. Marsha Mitchell was in her office trying to catch up on some of her files when she heard her phone ring.
“Hello. Dr. Mitchell. This is Sheriff George Anderson. I’m calling to give you a heads up that you will soon be getting three more clients. I received a call from one of the surgeons at the hospital, Dr. Phillip Garvey. He told me that his first patient had died on the operating table. He was a man named Mike O’Grady. Mike had most of his right arm torn off by an unknown animal in Lake Okanagan. By the time his crew got him to the hospital it was too late. The poor man had lost a great deal of blood and was in very poor health prior to his injury. The doctor said that Mr. O’Grady died of from a massive heart attack while he was on the operating table.”
“That’s horrible. What happened to the other two men?” Marsha asked.
“They were DOA when they got to the hospital. These two men were criminals who stole an old couple’s boat, but they didn’t need to die in such a horrible manner. They were enjoying a couple of beers on the main deck when they were suddenly knocked off their boat by a very large green tail. The Harbor Patrol divers found the two bodies of the criminals. They were mauled very badly. One man’s leg was torn off above the knee and the other guy’s torso was almost torn in two,” Sheriff Anderson stated.
“One of the divers got a good look at the animal that caused the destruction. All he could tell me, on the record, was that the animal was an unidentifiable marine predator. Off the record, he told me he was sure that it was Ogopogo.”
“This sounds very similar to the Ida Rhodes case,” Dr. Mitchell observed.
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.”