My Cousin Cathy challenged me with a picture prompt. Tell me what you think of my story and tell me what you would have written instead in the comments.
The proof was there. I pointed it out but nobody would believe me. They claimed I’d made the footprints and I was just trying to rile them. I am many things, but I’ve never been a prankster like that, and at the time I wasn’t sure what hurt worst: that they didn’t believe me or that they didn’t know me as well as I had thought.
I’d seen the creature walking in long strides through the forest. The movement and the brown colored fur caught my attention immediately and froze my forward steps. When I focused in, I caught the features of a distinct face rather than snout and my jaw dropped. I’d wanted to call out then but had been so filled with awe and terror that I couldn’t find the air to push from my lungs. Perhaps that is how it has gone hidden for so long – those who see it are struck dumb by its size, power, and beauty and that allows it to escape before it can be witnessed by others as well.
It smirked at me. It was a definite twist of the lips upward in a rueful smile, and that’s what finally broke my trance. My feet stumbled backward first, caught off guard by the emotional expression, hinting at playful intelligence and humor, and that terrified me more than its presence. So, my steps falteringly lurched backward until I ran against a tree. Luckily, I didn’t hard enough to do any damage, but, unfortunately, it was a loud enough knock that the beast decided to vacate the area more quickly.
Bounding forward in giant strides, longer than before, it disappeared quickly. Unsure why or how, but knowing, I guess, that I didn’t want the experience to end, I gave chase. As I dashed forward, slapping away long hanging branches, I called out to the others, “Bigfoot! Bigfoot! You guys! Hey, you guys! Bigfoot!” I didn’t wait for any responses.
It moved so quietly I couldn’t follow it by sound. It moved so quickly it was well beyond my ability to keep up with its pace. I managed to catch glimpses of its fur as it moved further and further away, and then I saw it duck into the small ravine and I lost sight of it altogether. When I got to there, the wet footprints where it had first entered the water glistened on the stone steps lining the middle of the creek. I wanted to follow, but by then I could hear the crashing behind me of my friends getting close.
Grunting and panting from the excursion, they all hunched down and peered around me to see where I was frantically pointing. Then with scoffs and shakes of their heads they turned around and made their way back to our camp. Not a single one of them believed me. Perhaps that isn’t fair. Perhaps, it is more that they were afraid to believe me. I’m not sure. Not that it matters anymore.
It was the stones, arranged so aesthetically down the middle, which made me linger long after the others had left. Who had placed them there? Where did they lead? Thinking back over the trail map, I didn’t remember seeing the small stream anywhere near our camp. Perhaps it was too small for the makers of the map to want to include, but that didn’t ring true in my heart.
I carefully lowered myself down to the first stone I could reach and stepped from stone to stone until I came to this archway. If you’ve found this note, that means I haven’t come back through yet. I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t know what I will have found on the other side or if you should follow me in or not. But, I suspect if you are here, then you are like me and will need to know what’s on the other side, where the creature went, and what comes next.
I wish you safe travel and good luck wherever your path leads you, and perhaps I’ll see you on the other side.