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Interlude Seven point Five, Investigating a Monster

The Wanderer wandered down the docks, Port Alexander Times in hand, looking for the spot where Gerald Raconter claimed to have seen the monster. Finding it, he observed the river for a moment, but was dissappointed to find it bereft of monsters.

The Wanderer walked to the shoreline and sighed 'How is the Port Alexander Chamber of Commerce going to exploit this monster if the creature doesn't beach itself periodically' as he walked out into the river disappearing beneath its murky surface.

Under the murky surface the Wanderer looked for signs of a sea-monster. Mostly what he saw was mud and silt.

Deeper, the Wanderer set out looking for any signs of underwater life. Relying on the assumption that anything described as a "monster" must be of sufficient size he kicked off toward the dredged part of the river. With a mind rattling off a stream of queries the Wanderer entertained them all in hopes of finding evidence of a Port Alexander Nessie. Is there any debris on the river floor that may indicate life? Bones of prey dragged off into the depths, it would be highly unusual for a dog to find its way this far out. How about crevices or fissures which could house a large animal? Were there any behavioural oddities like schools of fish avoiding the area? Are there any fish at all?

The Wanderer soon realized the magnitude of his task. The river was wide and deep. Soon he was over fifty feet under water and slogging through the silty bottom. His vision was severely restricted by the sand which the tides and current kept constantly in the water. With this limitation, he would have to fall in a fissure to find it.

Not liking the idea of stumbling into an imaginary leviathan's lair the Wanderer pushed off the bottom to break the surface of the water. Looking around, he paddled off toward the nearest shore. 'Visual confirmation is going to be nearly impossible,' he thought, 'perhaps sonar will produce some results.' Filed away for future reference, the Wanderer decided to inspect the area from the shore as he started off to where the river flowed.

'Ah,' thought the Wanderer,' like a curtain, the tide rises for a performance.' Finding a spot from which to get a good view, the Wanderer stretched out to wait and watch reasoning that with new found boldness this creature, if it existed, could very well choose to venture out even further tonight.

The patience gained traversing interplanetary space stood the Wanderer in good stead as he watched the river. The occassional boat moved up or down the river, most keeping near the banks. Once a larger boat moved upriver keeping to the channel.

In the creeping boredom, the Wanderer filed away whatever markings or registry he could on these ships. While it wasn't unusual for such ships to be in and around the channel all things should be looked at with an inquisitive eye, plus it helped the time pass.

With such instructive pasttimes, the night seemed only a few days short of an eternity long.

As the tide creeped in, the Wanderer waded out into the abyss. The greater depths, he reasoned, gave greater maneuverability for a large aquatic beast and bradishing his high beam light dove under the surface to see what the tide brought in.

Standing in the silt of the channel, the Wanderer looked about him. If there was a monster, it was avoiding him. Suddenly a huge shadow passed overhead! He flinched and looked up, to see the bottom of a barge heading upriver. He realized that all the river traffic he had seen had been relatively shallow draft. He would be surprised if anything came within thirty feet of the bottom of the channel.

With that realization came another. There were some grooves in the silt. They must be fairly recent, since the tides and currents would silt them over otherwise. Then he relaxed again, they didn't look like monster tracks. They looked more like dredge marks or something.

'Tracks are tracks,' he concluded as he set off following the freshly cut grooves to see which ship caused them.

Shortly the marks dissappeared, as if what ever had caused them had suddenly lifted off the ground. (Or conversely, suddenly landed on the ground.) Turning about, he traced them the other way. After another fifty or sixty yards, the ground sloped out to the sea and the trench vanished. It looked as if something had either landed in the silt then moved along it until the ground sloped away from beneath it while it continued on in a line, or, if the direction of travel was the other way, come in and hit the slope, moved along the river floor for a while, then lifted off the ground.

The groove was shallow and rounded, maybe 8 feet across at the widest point and at most a foot or so deep.

Exploration of the disappearing trenches started off in a sweeping circular route that went out about a quarter of a mile from where the tracks vanished.

The trenches did not put in a reappearnece, nor did anything else catch the Wanderer's eye.

'Hmm, must be surface bound,' thought the Wanderer as he kicked to the surface to see what, if anything, was cruising along up there.

Finding nothing to interest him, the Wanderer decided that perhaps he would have better luck interviewing the original reporter.

Waitng for the early evening, post dinner-time, a rap at the door produced an ugly sort of man whose face looked like an unmade bed. A mishapen nose, on puffy cheeks and sagging jowls elicited sympathy nevermind his awkward appearance and slurred speech.

"Excluse me," said the man. "I am Shteven Porter, and I write for the hottesh internet news in Port Aleshander. I'd love to talk to you about the sea monster you saw."

"And I'm glad the legitimate media is taking an interest! What can I tell you?"

Pulling out a well-chewed pencil and severely curled pad of paper, the slovenly "reporter" asked, "Whereabouts did you shee this creature?" What were you doing at the time and were you alone? Did anyone or the creature shee you? we've learned that kinetic activity resonations can often trigger dormancy recoveries in past stories."

"I was on the docks, right around Hoople Street," answered Raconter. "It must have been nearly midnight. I was watching a casino boat heading down river. It was one of the big ones that launch from up near the bridge. It passed me by, and I kept on watching the river, it's peaceful like, late at night."

"And then ..."

"Suddenly, this big eye on the end of stalk rose up out of the water! It looked around, and I ducked behind one of the pilings nearby. It seemed to see what it was looking for, over on the south side of the river, 'cause it stopped looking. I couldnt' see what it was looking at. Then another tentacle came up with a mouth on it. The mouth faced the same way as the eye, and opened wide. It kinda glowed inside. Then it sort of honked, and just sat there mouth open honking for a few minutes. Then the mouth closed and the whole thing dissappeared."

"Was the monster feeding? or did it appear to be looking for a mate? Mating sea monsters would be a real story HAW HAW HAW," guffawed the odd man.

"I couldn't tell. It might have been looking for something with that big eye!"

Handing the man a somewhat clean sheet of paper and pencil, "Can you draw what you saw?"

Raconter quickly sketched the "beast."

"Thank you sir, this will be front page material. If you see the creature again I'd love for you to give me a call and I can come down with a digital camera and have this baby across the world in no time flat. Matt Drudge would give his eyeteeth for a scoop like this!"

Last Updated 19 July 2000