Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Beast - Lachelle Redd

Charlie Norman often enjoyed Saturday morning fishing and his wife's sausage sammies. Today he packed his gear as always and before the sun could make her move, he was on his way. Down the quiet roads of the small town, Charlie recounted his younger days and a rowdy teen just out to have fun. His first kiss with Linda Darthing, his first time with her sister Leanne, the old timer smiled as his memories kept him company on the long road ahead. As he passed the sign for the local Phosphate plant, he grew giddy knowing the turn off was up ahead. Making the left turn onto the dirt road, his favorite hole lay deep from the main road and secluded by trees, brush and tall grass. His F-150 bobbed and dipped on the uneven pavement. Charlie used his high beams to check his route and make sure he didn't veer off into a tree. At the back of the winding path, his usual parking spot came into view. He maneuvered his king cab and backed the boat onto the ramp. Jumping from the drivers seat, he made all the arrangements to unhook his Lucille from her resting place. Over the horizon, a pink hue began to lighten the sky. Charlie hurried, he wanted on the water and bait on the line. Grabbing his final provisions, the seasoned angler paddled out into the middle of the lake. Crickets, frogs and owls sang their final night songs as the sun continued to paint the early morning southern sky. Charlie prepped his lines and tossed one off. Keeping his LED light handy, and low lying, he wanted to make sure he didn't hook his own hand.

A slight tug on the line, Charlie pulled back gently and felt a struggle on the other end. Not much effort, he pulled a small catfish. Not being much of a catch, he threw the juvenile back. The next two catches were more or less the same. Old Charlie struck out again and again. He decided to paddle deeper to the other side where thicker foliage started to grow. The sun, peaking over fog and clouds began to warm the earth with her morning smile. Charlie sipped coffee from a thermos as he continued to paddle along. Suddenly he felt a thud and the paddle held tight from something underneath. He pulled the paddle free thinking it was more thicket from below. However, another thud and bump alerted him to something more substantial. Charlie ceased to paddle and readied his line, something of formidable size awaited. Since it wasn't a scrubbing sound, he knew it wasn't gator. His line tossed away, he waited and something gave him a forceful tug. Charlie, a new breath of excitement filling his senses steadied and anchored himself for a battle. Pulling back and forth, the being on the end gave Charlie the fight he so longed for. For thirty minutes man versus nature took hold and finally the angler felt the being quiet in his struggle. He turned the rod handled with haste as he waited for his prize to break the surface. The lake bottom was known to house many caves, and his catch had drug his line deep down into the murky depths. Charlie, still anxious with a thin layer of sweat on his brow could finally see the prize start the break through.

At first, he was unsure of what he had snagged. The being had a mouth of sharp pointed teeth and from the initial gaze seemed to be about fifteen feet in length. Covered in black scales and a large dark, villainous eye, Charlie was sure that he had captured something that no one had ever seen. The fisherman was careful in bringing the beast on board, but in a sudden last ditch effort to live the large torpedo like beast sparked to life and bit down on the man's arm causing a river of pain to explode at the site. Charlie screamed in agony as he fought to open the massive jaws. The body of the massive creature thrashed about as the grip grew tighter and tighter. Blood gushed from the wound as Charlie continued to struggle. His arm filled with pain as the creature locked down further, even more awakened by the fresh pumping blood that filled its mouth and senses. The monster thrashed harder forcing the man overboard and into the bottomless lake. Charlie knew he was in trouble as he struggled to come up for air. The being slipped from his arm as the water and impact from the fall loosened its grip. Charlie clung to the side of the tiny boat, his arm throbbing and his lungs stinging from the intake of water and air. He choked and coughed up the contents of the lake as he attempted to pull himself upward. As he tried pulled his good arm over the edge a sharp pain filled his left leg and then his right. The man, now under attack, knew the creature had brought reinforcements. Feeling his jeans and flesh being torn to shreds as he fought to get in the boat, he screamed as loud as his lungs would allow, but no one would hear. Another attack at his stomach and buttocks alerted him to more of the deadly creatures. Feeling himself being eaten alive, the man kicked and thrashed about, his blood filling the water, inviting more of the treacherous beings. A strong, bump to his chest and Charlie was free of his only life raft. He felt more of the beings attacking as he was sucked down into the murky depths of the lake. Once underneath, his attackers ripped through is throat and other soft tissue. As blood spewed forth, and his last moments of life slipped away, the once happily retired angler thought of his wife and grandchildren as the beasts made him the morning feast.

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