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.
John, Stephanie and Ryan hungrily ate the burgers that Meg barbecued. They all had time to catch up on what had transpired in each other’s lives since the last time they were altogether. After lunch everybody went for a nap.
Ryan was so exhausted after the long car trip that he slept for two hours. When he arose it was close to 4:00 PM. Ryan pulled a Rockstar Energy drink out of his back pack along with his mp3 player. While he drank the Rockstar, Ryan listened to Led Zeppelin’s, The Song Remains the Same. This had always been his favorite album by Led Zeppelin. His favorite track was the live version of Stairway to Heaven.
When he felt fully awake again, he headed downstairs to Aunt Meg’s living room. The others were all watching an episode of X-Factor that Meg had recorded. It was one of those episodes where the judges were auditioning potential contestants and some of the performances were horrible. Ryan wasn’t that interested in watching the show. He told the others that he was going out for a jog and would probably do some exploring.
A couple of minutes into his jog, Ryan turned around to see a very attractive young woman wearing a B. C. Lions jersey. She asked Ryan if he minded having some company on his jog.
Ryan told her that he would be delighted as he was just vacationing in Kelowna and really didn’t know anyone besides his family and relatives.
“Let’s stop for a few minutes and talk,” the attractive, young female jogger suggested. “We should introduce ourselves. My name is Monique Painchaud. I’m from Montreal, Quebec.””
Ryan stopped running and extended his hand, “Pleased to meet you. I’m Ryan Richards from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Obviously you speak English, Monique.”
“That’s right. I’m fluently bilingual in both French and English. I have just been in Kelowna for a week. My mother lives in Kelowna and I spend the summer months with her. During the winter months I attend university and live with my dad in Montreal,” Monique said.
“I hate to be so blunt, but are you married or do you have a boyfriend?” Ryan asked.
“Neither,” Monique replied. “How about you?”
“The same. I’m a free agent right now,” Ryan said.
“Free agent, eh,” Monique laughed. “You must be interested in sports.”
“I am. I played both hockey and football at my high school. I just graduated this year.”
“What are you going to do in the fall?” Monique asked.
“I’ve applied at The University of Manitoba and intend on trying out for both their football and hockey teams.”
“What area of studies do you want to major in?” Monique asked.
“Education. I’m signing up for the four year Bachelor of Education degree.”
“So you want to be a teacher?”
“That’s plan B. I’d rather be a professional athlete,” Ryan said.
“You’d make a lot more money. That’s for sure.”
“What do you study at university, Monique?”
“I’ll be starting my third year at The Faculty of Education.”
“Ah, so we’re looking at two future teachers here,” Ryan said.
“Hey, Ryan, there’s a diner about a mile from here. Do you want to stop there for lunch?”
“That sounds like a plan to me.”
Ryan and Monique jogged very well together as they were both in excellent physical condition. After about five minutes had elapsed, Monique glanced to her right to take a look at Lake Okanagan. About fifty meters away she saw a large object moving in the water. It appeared to be black in color and had a cylindrical shape. To Monique, it looked like a living creature. She knew it was not a boat.
Monique stopped jogging abruptly and turned to Ryan. “Stop Ryan. What’s that in the lake?”
Ryan stopped running and turned his head to look toward the lake. “I’m not sure, but it definitely looks like some kind of animal.”
“Look it’s moving in undulations and looks like some kind of whale,” Monique observed.
“As far as I know there aren’t any whales in Lake Okanagan. At least any that look like that,” Ryan said.
Ryan had a pair of powerful binoculars in his back pack. He took them out and got a close up view of the creature in the water. Ryan felt chills when he saw the animal’s head surface. “I know what it is now,” he said in a shaky voice.
“What is it?” Monique asked.
“It’s Ogopogo. The First Nations people called it the lake demon.”
“You mean it’s the real live version of the toy things they sell to tourists in the local stores?” Monique asked.
“It has to be. I’ve never seen a fish or other animal that looks like that creature in the lake. Do you have a camera, Monique?”
“Yes, I do. I have a digital Samsung in my back pack. I’ll take a picture of it.”
Monique quickly took out her camera and snapped two pictures of the animal. Just after she took the pictures she saw a fishing boat about one hundred meters away. The creature then submerged back into the lake.
“Wow, you took those pictures right on time,” Ryan said. “Let’s have a look how they turned out.”
Ryan and Monique both studied the preview pictures on her camera. The creature appeared to be very small and a great distance away.
“Well, your pictures will never stand as conclusive scientific evidence of the existence of Ogopogo, but at least we know what we saw and have pictures to back it up,” Ryan said.
“Did you believe in Ogopogo before you saw it today?’ Monique asked.
“I did, although this was my first actual sighting of the creature. My dad and I have both been interested in cryptozoology for years.”
“What’s cryptozoology? Monique inquired.
“It’s the study of unknown species like Bigfoot and The Loch Ness Monster.”
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?” Harvey asked.
“It’s hard to say. It was too far away,” Henry replied.
“All I’m saying is that there have been several reported sightings of Ogopogo over the last month,” Harvey said.
“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,” Henry said.
“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,” Harvey said.
“That’s what is known as circumstantial evidence,” Henry said in response.
“Maybe not,” Ryan said turning around in his chair.
“What do you mean, son?” Harvey asked 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 Monique.”
“Pleased to meet you,” Henry said. “But you still haven’t answered our question.”
“Was your fishing boat anywhere near Rattlesnake Island about an hour ago?” Monique asked.
“Yes, it was. How did you know?” Harvey said.
“Monique and I were jogging on a trail near the bank close to Rattlesnake Island. Monique had just taken two pictures of the creature you saw when your boat rounded the corner,” Ryan said.
“How do you know it was a living creature?” Henry asked. He pushed his chair closer to the table.
“Oh, it was a very large, living animal all right,” Ryan said 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,” Monique added.
“Fortunately I had a pair of professional grade binoculars. I got a good close up look when the creature raised its head,” Ryan said.
“You got a look at its head? Can we see those pictures?” Harvey asked.
“Yeah, no problem,” Monique 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.
Infinite Realities Excerpt Five
The first thing that Bill noticed on his new tablet was an orange and red icon that was noticeably larger than the others and was flashing off and on. The icon read ‘Press Here First’ and Bill complied. a A rather soothing male voice began to speak.
“Hello Bill. You are one of the lucky individuals selected by our corporation to try out this amazing advanced technology that has come into your possession. We have only manufactured five models so far. We have selected four other people and yourself to give our amazing product a test run. After a predetermined period of time we will bring all five of you to a top secret location in which you will all provide us with valuable feedback on the efficacy of our product. All of the tablets are somewhat different. We are trying to ascertain which of the tablets will be chosen as the elite model for our first run of production targeted for release to the general public. We want to make sure that we have worked out all the bugs by this time based on the group’s feedback.
You are probably asking yourself, what’s in it for me? As you get more familiar with your tablet the answer will become obvious. Also at the end of our experiment everyone in the focus group will get to keep their devices. The corporation estimates that these tablets will initially have a retail price of ten to fifteen thousand dollars. I know that by now your innate curiosity is sufficiently peaked to give your tablet a test run. I will not be providing you with any instructions or direction as to how to use it. You will have to find this out yourself through the process of trial and error.”
Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Two:
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 goals 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,” said Lionel. You are quite right Blake, in your assumption that the vessel behind us is also searching for Ogopogo.
Chapter One Hundred Fifty- Three:
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,” said Sheriff George Anderson with a long drawn out sigh.
“What are you going to do, Sheriff?” asked the medical examiner.
“My choices are now very limited. The creature that perpetrated these atrocities must be destroyed,” answered George Anderson.
Chapter One Hundred Forty-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 very good. 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?” asked Brian Kelley, the crew’s paramedic.
“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,” answered Jack.
“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?” asked Brian.
“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.”