Sorry, folks, but I am derailing the story for this week. I've been trying to get my characters to cooperate with me, but sometimes they just go off and don't leave a note for me. So, while I hunt them down and get another installment of their goblin problem out of them, I'd like to share a little taste of what François used to do for fun before Charlotte found him.
It's also a bit of a jab at Bigfoot researchers. I mean, come on guys, really? You take this stuff way too seriously. Give it a rest, before something terrible happens to you.
“Damnit, Bob, watch where you’re pointing that thing.”
Cliff and Bob Ferrier were the up and coming new stars in the world of Bigfoot hunting. To date, they had captured well over one hundred pieces of evidence in the search for the elusive beast, ranging from blurry videos and shaky heat signatures to odd sounds caught on static filled tapes. They admitted freely that it wasn’t the best, but people seemed to love their down home charm and full heartedly bought into their wildly woven stories and hyped up evidence.
The brothers were normally to be found along the borders between Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas which was prime Bigfoot territory; today, however, they had been called down deep into the swamp lands in southern Louisiana to investigate some strange noises and markings.
“What if it’s something like the skunk ape in Florida?” Bob questioned his older brother intently. “If we can link the two, we’ll have it made.”
Cliff gave a non-committal grunt. He was checking their equipment over before they headed into the swamps and Bob was, as usual, goofing around. Cliff wanted this to be the one, their big break into the budding field of Bigfoot research. If they could get some good recordings then they might even get a shot at a TV show.
It was just starting to turn dusk when their guide showed up. He introduced himself as Vergil Thibodaux and explained why they had been sent for.
“There’s always been disappearings in these parts;” the man drawled, “folks go into the swamp but they don’t come back. I’d never actually believed it until a friend of mine was taken a couple of years ago. Y’see there’s this supposedly haunted house in the middle of the swamp and I dared him to go find it. I don’t know if he found it or not, because I never saw him again.”
“And you think that there is a Bigfoot down here that is responsible for the missing people?” Cliff was trying to be diplomatic, but he hadn’t bargained for some backwater loony.
“I don’t know what is in there, but a lot of people have heard it and seen the marks it leaves as it drags its prey back into the swamp.”
After more speculating on Vergil’s part, they finally started their trek into the marshy edge of the swamplands. Their guide led them around the more treacherous areas to a relatively solid patch of clear land that stretched out before the tree line. Vergil indicated that this was where his friend disappeared and where a number of the markings had been found.
Cliff and Bob set up their equipment and waited for a sign. Both brothers walked around the large clearing, Bob occasionally stumbling over an uneven patch of earth or stepping in a watery hole. Cliff kept a steady eye on the trees with his thermal camera, watching for any sign of life.
The night wore on and after a few hours a thick fog began to creep out of the forest. It rolled heavily along the ground, never getting more than waist high. Cliff was on the verge of calling it a night when he heard a low, throaty grumble emanating from just beyond the tree line. He scanned the forest with the camera while trying to get his brother to start the recorder. Behind him, Vergil said a quiet prayer.
The noise grew louder and Cliff couldn’t help but shake with excitement. This was it, the proof they’d come after. The air reverberated with each monstrous sound; this was definitely something large and strange. Cliff’s hands were already shaking slightly with anticipation, so when the camera picked up a heat signal where there hadn’t been one a second before he nearly dropped it. Quickly he lined the shot up again and breathed a short sigh of relief when he saw that there was still something there.
The more he stared, though, the more confused he became. Whatever this was, it wasn’t shaped like he thought a Bigfoot should be; it was more like a scarecrow had suddenly appeared from underneath the fog. Cliff motioned for Bob to turn on the night vision cameras and slowly the two walked closer to whatever was standing there.
Cliff had to admit that he felt a great weight of disappointment when the night vision cameras revealed a tall, lanky man standing under the dim moonlight. The noises had stopped when the man had appeared and Cliff was afraid that he was pulling some kind of hoax on them.
“Hey, mister. Watcha doing out here?” Vergil yelled.
“Bonsoir, mes amis.” The man let out a lyrical little chuckle. “It is a night, très jolie, is it not?” In the stunned silence that followed the strange greeting, the intrepid hunters heard again the throaty growl of something large and menacing in the fog.
“Have you seen anything, sir?” Cliff questioned the man who was now staring at the sliver of moon, his expression unreadable. “Do you know what’s making that sound?”
“Is it a Bigfoot?” Bob shouted.
“A…bigfoot?” the man lowered his eyes and leveled a surprisingly lazy gaze at them.
“Yeah, y’know, a big man-like monster.” Vergil’s voice cracked at the end of his statement. This man was spooking him.
“Ah, you mean the Rougarou. I ‘ave heard the good people talk of this beast.”
“So, that is what’s making the noises?” Cliff felt that the conversation was getting tedious.
“Non.” The man laughed and smiled in much the same way that a shark might smile. “ No, that was Marguerite.”
Vergil had already started to back away from the obviously crazy man when he was stopped cold in his steps by the sound of something heavy dragging over the ground nearby. Cliff and Bob tried to track the sound using the cameras, but could detect nothing. Vergil turned and ran, leaving the brothers alone in the fog with the lanky lunatic and whatever was making the increasingly closer dragging sound.
“Ah, bonne fille, come to François! I ‘ave dinner for you.”
As morning dawned, the fog sank back into the forest leaving no sign that anyone had been in the clearing the night before.