“Does that look like quicksand to you?” Benny said, feeling the pull of two conflicting reflexes. On one hand, common sense told him to continue running as fast as possible away from the Sasquatch crashing through the woods behind him. But part of him wanted to slow his approach to the damp swatch unfolding beyond the edge of the woods that he, Kaysee, Pep, and the Sasquatch were emerging from.
“There would have to be,” shouted Pep, “some nearby water source,” in between breaths, “to saturate the grainy soil.” Benny and Kaysee noted that, even now, he talked like a librarian. “The falls are too far away, and there’s never been any evidence of an underground lake or river reported.”
Pep was catching up to her now, “I know you think you’re being sassy, but, yes, there has been quite a bit of evidence reported. Never substantiated.”
“Until now,” said Benny.
A rasping, harmonic yawp reinserted the immediate, mobile concern back into their minds. When the trio first encountered the Gigantopithecus canadensis, just 10 minutes ago, it was because Benny had stumbled upon a litter of sleeping young. His presence came across as a threat to the 8-foot tall parent returning from foraging.
Benny has been retracing the path of the town founders, along with Pep, a semi-retired Librarian at the Yak Mouth Falls Public Library, and Kaysee, owner of the Shape Shack . Benny had been eagerly marching ahead, which Kaysee remarked as stupid and Pep had kindly described as brashness common to teenage boys. Though, technically not a refutation of Kaysee’s appraisal.
She had, one might argue, been proven correct. Benny’s excitement at spotting a clearing had caused him to miss the matted down grass that a keener eye would have recognized as a nest and whose size was alarming. Instead, Benny had paused to consult his map. Really, it was his laminated copy of the fragile, aged map that Pep deemed too delicate for field use. In stopping to reorient himself, he presented an apparent threat looming over two, young, sleeping sasquatch whose matted, light brown fur blended in perfectly with the tamped down grass, especially to distracted teenagers.
“It seems like we need to go kind of this way,” he said, closing one eye and holding an arm straight out towards a gap between two young trees.
Kaysee and Pep stepped out of the shade of the woods. A noise like a bear shouting made them stagger sideways. Benny crouched and spun as though a gun had been fired behind him. The full-grown mother sasquatch stood, arms wide showing her massive wingspan, with a look of intensity on her face.
He bolted in the direction he had been pointing, the opposite direction from the sasquatch.
Pep reached out for Kaysee’s wrist. He raised both of their arms in the air. “Get big! Make some noise!” He spoke to her, but directed his words at the angry mother to their right.
Kaysee followed his lead, staying near him, hoping they could trick the animal into thinking they were larger and more dangerous than they were.
“Side step this way,” Kaysee shouted with as much baritone in her voice as she could manage. “We’ll face it and walk towards where Benny went.”
With halting steps, they moved laterally around the border of the clearing, arms raised above their heads, like two undulating X’s. It seemed to work. The sasquatch made no sudden movements. She seemed to be waiting for them to tip their hand. As the pair arced around the perimeter, the sasquatch mother stepped cautiously to her pups who were stirring. Kaysee let out an uneasy moan when she noticed the smaller sasquatch.
Those steps were more than Pep and Kaysee could handle. They ran through the trees.
They picked and darted their way through the trees, Pep urging Kaysee to not hold up for him and her silently refusing to get more than a few paces ahead.
That is how they came to be entering a second clearing. Benny pointed and asked, “Does that look like quicksand to you?” They continued, scared by the back-and-forth threat of quicksand and bigfoot sightings.
“We outran it,” said Kaysee, not believing as she said it.
“It may not be quicksand, but it’s a definite bog,” said Pep appraising the gray glistening mud scattered with fallen trees.
“We gotta go,” said Kaysee. “Come on.”
She hopped onto a wide horizontal trunk, and in a fluid motion set to running along it. When she reached the end she bounded to the next, then the next, never losing her footing.
Benny and Pep gaped at her, not quite believing what they had just seen. She snapped them out of their stunned silence with her motivational, personal trainer voice. Benny clamored onto the log, bumping his shin.
“You gotta do this,” Kaysee said confidently.
Benny believed her. Then he jumped to the second log and immediately felt the slick moss under the soles of his shoes and was less certain.
While Benny made his way across, Pep, understanding that a high school boy struggling surely meant that he could not risk the shortcut, took off at a run around the perimeter of the bog with the compact, efficient stride of a fit septuagenarian. He focused on his arcing route, occasionally checking Benny’s progress and trying not to think about why neither of them could afford a misstep.
Pep reached her a moment before Benny. After hopping down from the branches of the last tree, Benny turned to look for the sasquatch, ready to take off running again.
It was not there, though, he could hear its heavy footsteps and occasional grunts. When it emerged from the shadows of the woods, they saw why they had been able to outrun it. Clinging to its enormous frame were the baby sasquatch that Benny had almost walked into.
“Why’d she bring her kids to chase us down?” Benny said with a tremble of fear and confusion.
“Perhaps to teach them to hunt,” offered Pep.
The sasquatch easily stepped onto the same fallen tree that Kaysee and Benny had used, and in far fewer steps had reached the middle of the bog.
“Wait. She’s not coming for us.”
The sasquatch had stopped on a wide trunk, deposited her young, and then turned to face the way they had all come from.
The sound of more movement drifted to them from the trees along with a much more familiar growl. Two large wolves slinked from around a tree.
The three at the edge of the soggy expanse stared with gaunt, petrified faces. Kaysee knew in that instant outrunning wolves, no matter how dense the forest may become, was hopeless. But the movement between her and the wolves caught her attention. The sasquatch looked at her and Pep and Benny with an almost imploring look.
“Back onto the logs,” she whispered while barely moving her mouth.
“No, no,” said Pep thinly.
“Back onto the logs,” Kaysee repeated with a kernel of confidence. Those things won’t hurt us. Not while the wolves are here.
Benny climbed back onto the tree without question, then reached back for Pep’s hand while Kaysee guided him with a hand on his shoulder.
The sasquatch returned its attention back to the wolves whose growls became snarls tinged with anger. It replied with a sharp, booming yell that seemed to fill up the entire outdoors.
WILL OUR ADVENTUROUS TRIO ESCAPE THEIR LUPINE PURSUERS? HOW MANY MORE MEMBERS ARE THERE IN THIS BIGFOOT FAMILY? TUNE IN NEXT TIME FOR THE THRILLING CONCLUSION TO THIS CHAPTER OF THE Chronicles of Yak Mouth Falls.