Cross the Crick was never put on a map, but everyone in our town knew it. Secreted between two small hills, the small pond sadly got the runoff from the cow pastures and fertilized crops. It was polluted, but nevertheless beautiful. You could catch a two headed tadpole or a four legged frog if you were lucky.
My cousin Hank usually took me with him; even though I was a girl. We were both twelve and liked hunting the creeks beds and Prarie for wild things that only children find interesting.
One spring afternoon I decided that the day was perfect for fishing. Hank wasn’t home, so I dug up worms from mom’s garden, gathered my fishing supplies and walked alone down the half mile of dirt road to Cross the Crick. I’ll admit, it was a little scary being out of town all by myself. Not only was there the possibility of strangers, but there were snakes in their spring slough that could bite, coyotes or packs of wild dogs. I kept my eyes and ears open and walked on.
Setting up my spot in the shade, I thew out a worm. The sweet, fresh grass scented the wind that cooled me while I watched the prarie dogs on the hill. They jumped and barked, giving me lots of entertainment. Such busybodies.
After about a half hour my line started goin for a walk. Ever so slowly, it moved towards the center of the pond. Which was probably only twelve feet at its deepest. I’d swam in it one summer, but Mom put a stop to it by saying I was going to grow a third nipple. I didn’t realy want the two I already had, so I quit.
I pulled on the line harder and it felt like I was stuck to the bottom. But the dang thing was still going out. Using all my young muscles and luckily some very thick fishing string, I got whatever I had caught to come closer. Pulling and reeling in the line over and over, I finally saw a head pop to the surface.
It was a snapping turtle, looking very cantankerous. My hook was embedded in the outer flare of his shell. I planned to get the mean bugger to shore and remove the hook but I also wanted to keep all my fingers. I searched the embankment for a stick to use.
Stick in hand, I walked towards the grimy backed turtle and saw a small creature pulling on its leg. It was the color of a tadpole and was only about six inches tall. It had arms and legs like a person but webbed hands and feet like a frog.
I screamed and scrambled backwards. “What the heck!”
The creature paid no mind to me but continued to try and pull the turtle back towards the water. I calmed my heartbeat and snuck up to the strange duo. I squatted down, which elicited a hiss from the snapping turtle. Leaning in, I stared.
The smooth, green fleshed thing looked up at me with round iridescent eyes. It tilted it’s golfball sized head, took in a great breath and sprayed my eyes with a yellow goo. Again, I backed away screaming. The goo burned horribly and I got very tired, too tired. I had to lay down. Just for a second…Sleep.
The second my eyes closed I popped up off the ground feeling lighter than ever. I felt great!
I jumped around a bit, but then heard a voice.
“Ya, you come over here. I don’t know what you’re thinking but you better let my friend go. He didn’t do nothing to you, hey.”
I rubbed my eyes, it almost seemed like it was the frog thing talking. “What?”
“I said, he’s no good for your soup anyhow. Too old. Go find a young fish or one of them stupid cows.” It stood with its hands on its hips.
I looked around to see if maybe someone else was around. I got the shock of my life when I turned around and saw a body lying on the bank behind me. My body.
I yelled, “Help!” and rushed over..to..me?
More, maybe to come…