Reading,Writing, Aging and D epression
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-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 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-Five:
Bobby O’Connor decided to call Sheriff George Anderson. He believes that there is now less animosity between him and the sheriff. Bobby imagines that because of his cooperation during the recent demonstration he may have won him some brownie points with Sheriff George Anderson.
“Hello Sheriff. This is Bobby O’Connor. I want to thank you for allowing me to report on the demonstration in the town commons.”
“No problem, Bobby. I was glad to have you spread the word about my speech to the crowd. For the most part it has been successful in keeping the Ogopogo hunters off the lake,” the sheriff said.
“You said ‘for the most part’. Have there been any violators of your warnings?”
“I can’t say for sure, but I suspect that there has,” the sheriff answered.
“It has recently come to my attention that a man was attacked by a marine predator. The witnesses claim it was just a large fish, perhaps a sturgeon, but I have serious problems with their stories. I am not aware of any large fish such as a sturgeon that could cause this type of injury,” Sheriff Anderson said.
“What kind of injury are we talking about, specifically?” Bobby inquired.
“A very severe one. Most of the victim’s right arm was amputated.”
“You mean torn right off?”
“Could I speak with the victim? Has his condition stabilized enough that I could talk to him?”
“No, he’s dead,” the sheriff replied. “The man was in very poor health prior to the injury. He had a major heart attack while he was in the hospital.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Bobby said.
“What do you think really caused the man’s injury?”
“I don’t know, but our medical examiner, Dr. Marsha Mitchell, will be looking into it,” George replied.
“Have there been any other similar incidents of late?”
“Yes. Dr. Mitchell is looking into another recent incident. Two criminals who had stolen a couple’s boat were reportedly knocked off the boat by a creature with a large green tail.”
“What kind of animal knocked them into the lake?”
“The Harbor Patrol saw the whole incident. Two of their divers went into the lake to look for the two men. What they found was two badly mangled bodies. One man’s torso was almost ripped in half.”
“What kind of animal could have done this?”
“We don’t know. One of the divers reported seeing a very strange, menacing creature that correlates with people’s reported sightings of Ogopogo,” the sheriff said.
“How do you intend to follow up on these incidents?” Bobby inquired.
“I have asked Dr. Marsha Mitchel to call me as soon as she has any more information about what could have attacked the victims. After that I’m going to take my law enforcement staff along to find Ogopogo,” the sheriff said.
“Wow! So you really believe that Ogopogo attacked the victims?”
“What else could it be?”
“When you go out to look for Ogopogo, could you take me along?” Bobby asked.
“I don’t see why not. I’d just have to get it cleared by the Harbor Patrol,” the sheriff said.
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.