“I’m tellin’ you Sam. It was Bigfoot!” The man decked out in camo held up his arms, puffed out his chest and took long loping steps down the center of Marcy’s diner.
“Walked like this and was eight feet tall.” His comrades in hunting camo looked at each other and burst into loud guffaws. One of them pulled the ranting man back into his seat.
“I’m serious. It was Bigfoot. You have to believe me!” Another of his hunting buddies reached over and patted him on the back, “You were only lost for an hour John. You shouldn’t be crazy yet. Wait! You were loony before you went into the woods.” This was followed by another round of laughter, this time everyone in the small diner joined in.
Everyone but the burly lumberjack seated in the back corner. No one noticed his annoyed and frustrated expression, probably due to the full gray beard masking his features. The room quieted down and Theo finished his steak and fries in relative silence. Throwing a couple bucks on the table, he sauntered out of the diner with every eye following his exit.
It was pretty normal for him. The mass of his six-foot, seven-inch, three hundred pound muscled body drew stares everywhere he went. Everywhere other than the mountain settlement. That was why he and his kin stayed on the mountain and only rarely ventured into town.
The only reason he was here today was because of his wife’s love for coffee, sugar, and flowery soaps. Theo also filled orders for some of the other families and stocked up on provisions that they as a community couldn’t make. Hopefully his old white Chevy could make the trip fully loaded up the mountain again. Crossing his fingers and praying, he turned the key. The gunky old engine sputtered in defiance twice and then roared to life. “Yeah baby, let’s get home to mama.”
The sun was setting and he wanted to get back before full dark. Driving along the curving mountain road he thought again about the excited man at the diner. Theo could easily guess who got him that way. His youngest son, Seth. A problem he would have to deal with when he got back to the settlement.
Seth had been warned repeatedly about hunting too close to town and now they had a sighting to deal with. Some people brushed it off as shadows and kept quiet but that hunter had not and it could bring suspicion to the settlement.
Not to mention those idiotic Sasquatch hunters. They were harmless really, standing out in the woods at dark, banging on trees, and howling like monkeys. The group was the butt of many jokes circulating the settlement. But if they were to get concrete evidence. Word would spread and their home would be swarmed with humans looking to spot a Bigfoot. Leaving no room for them to hunt and run.
“What the hell!” he shouted as he jerked the wheel to the left and barely missed running over a body sprawled in the right lane. Theo drove onto the road’s shoulder and slammed on the brakes. He sprinted around his truck to see if the person was still alive and needed help.
“Oh, you poor girl,” he said softly when he saw the tiny stature of the woman. She was covered in road rash on her right side and her left cheek and eye were swollen horribly. Theo spoke in a clear and loud voice, “Are you awake honey? I’m going to take you to the hospital.”
Her eyes fluttered and she spoke with a great amount of pain in her voice, “No… I can’t go to the hospital…”
She panted,” please…I can’t. I’ll be okay. Just need sleep…
Theo gathered her small body in his arms and carried her to the truck. He paused for a second when he noticed her scent was not human. It was similar to his kind but more feral. “What are you?” he asked but she had passed out again. He made it up the mountain in record time for his old Chevy.
When the truck rumbled into the settlement Ruby came out of their cabin wiping her hands dry on faded jeans. She walked toward the truck to give him his customary welcome home kiss, but broke into a run when she saw he had a passenger. “What happened? Who’s this?”
“I found her on the road. I think she’s been hit.” Theo hurried to the other side to open the passenger door, “Can you clean up Seth’s room? I need to put her somewhere to rest.”
Ruby nodded and rushed off to make Seth’s room ready for company. The settlement formed a large semicircle of log cabins so that people had their own space but were close enough that everyone knew everyone else’s business. Theo’s closest friend and neighbor, Scott came out of his double story cabin. He had a larger home than most due to his six boys and one baby girl.
“Hey what’s going on?” He walked swiftly to Theo’s side.
“I found her on the road pretty beat up. Tell me what you make of her scent.” He held the girl and Scott leaned over taking a long breath in.
“It’s like ours…but different.” Theo continued on into the house with Scott on his heals.
“I was thinking the same thing. She told me she couldn’t go to the hospital and I wasn’t about to leave her on the side of the road. So here she is.”
Scott ran a rough hand through his silvered brown curls. “Damn lucky you found her then.”
Ruby hollered from the back of the cabin, “Rooms ready. So stop yakking and bring the poor girl in here already.”
As Theo lay her upon the bed she stirred and reached out to Ruby, “Momma! Momma?…. ” she rocked in her sleep.
Ruby rubbed her uninjured shoulder and hushed her,” Shh, shh, Momma’s here. Quiet now. Go back to sleep.” She gestured for the men to leave the room. They gladly complied. Neither of them knew what to do for the woman.
Shortly after Theo, Scott, and a few other community members finished emptying his fully loaded truck, Ruby came out to sit on the porch. With her favorite mug of hot tea in hand, she sighed and plopped down on the porch swing next to her husband.
“The evil that exists in this world never ceases to amaze me. That poor woman was tied and beaten, even before she was hit on the road.”
Theo let out a long sigh, “was she…violated you think?”
Ruby shook her head slowly and shoulder length chestnut curls bounced. “I’m fairly sure she is untouched in that regard, but that is about the only good news. She has a broken left cheek bone, collar-bone, and numerous skin abrasions. That is on top of the extensive bruising from a beating that probably took place a couple of days ago. It will take a human months to fully recuperate.”
Theo held her hand and looked into her eyes, “Are you up to the task or should I go ahead and take her into town to the hospital.”
“Come on Theo, you know me better than that. She stays. She was running from something or someone and I don’t want to be the one responsible for her getting caught. It may be a quicker recovery time then we thought because I’m not even sure if she’s human, did you notice that she smells somewhat wildling?”
Wrapping his arm around Ruby’s shoulders, he pulled her against him. “I did and I’m not sure why. Wildlings have visited from other areas and their scent hasn’t been that different.”
“Maybe she is… something else.”, Ruby said and sipped her tea.
“What else is there?”
Looking into her husbands eyes, she shrugged and gave her best guess.
More to come??…
I wrote this a while back and failed to follow through. One of my many starts with no finish. I’m hoping posting it here will pressure me into doing something with it. Let me know what you think, is it a dud? I’m sweating a bit at the label of ‘Series’ I put on it.