Chapter 3: The Encounter
This is what Dale Freeman told Rick. Dale and his fishing partner, Chuck Morris, had planned to do some night fishing. They took their boat, the SS Wolffish, out to a spot near the old marina. They thought that would be the perfect spot for some night fishing. What lead the two to take on the task was a shortage of fish that had ravaged the fishing industry in Bridgetown.
It was Dale’s idea to do some fishing at night, thinking that they would have better luck catching some nocturnal species. They were armed with fish finders, nets, and some fishing poles.
The set off around 8:00pm, and made their way to the old marina around 8:15pm. There they tried their luck at some net fishing. Though the fish finder didn’t detect anything, they still tried their luck at net fishing. They threw their massive net over the side of the boat and swam around the area, hoping something would get caught in it.
The Bridgetown Environmental Clean Up Agency would have been proud of all the junk they pulled up, but nothing to sell to hungry buyers. They tried again at another location, this time Pine Tree Island, named cause on a single pine tree sticking out on the top of the island. Like before, they tossed their net overboard and swam around the island. All they pulled up was seaweed and junk. There was a single fish in the bundle.
They tried their luck at a sand bank near the loading docks, and they caught nothing. They went over to the old Railroad trestle could be seen through the tree line, but to no luck. They tried every plausible fishing spot they could think of, but alas, they found nothing.
It was around midnight that they decided to try the old marina one last time before calling it quits. They sailed over and casted their line. At first, they thought they got something, cause something heavy was pulling on the net. They pulled up the net with all their strength, but much to their disappointment, the heavy object was a truck tire.
“Damn, another catch-less night.” Said Chuck, disappointed.
“Face it Chuck.” Said Dale, looking over to his tired comrade. “There is no fish! The fish drought is real! Let’s just go home.”
But then they were caught off guard by the sudden beep. They looked over to their main navigation, where their fish finder was situated. They ran inside, and to their shock and glee, there was a massive blob on the fish finder.
“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch!” said Chuck with skip to his step. “The fish finder just picked up something! Something huge!”
Dale wasn’t sure what Chuck meant by that. Chuck had more experience with the fish finder than him. All he saw was a bunch of colors and waves. But Dale was sure there was a large school of fish underneath them.
“Holy mackerel!” said Chuck, awing over the fish finder. “Look at the size of that school! Told you this night fishing thing was worth it! All we have to do is scoop them up and we’ll be good for a week! Come on, before we loose them!”
But before Chuck could spring away from the dashboard, Dale stopped him and pointed out something.
“Wait a minute… We sailed all over the lake, how on earth did we miss it?” questioned Dale, but Chuck wasn’t interested, he wanted to head to the outside of the boat and get the nets ready.
“I don’t know, but if we get moving we can reel them in before one o’clock!” chirped Chuck, but Dale wasn’t paying any attention to him. Instead, Dale had heard a massive splash coming from behind. He turned off to the moonlight lake, wondering what could have made such a sound.
“Hey Chuck! You might want to take a look at this!” called Dale, causing his older friend to walk out of the navigation room.
“What is it Dale?” asked Chuck, “What do you see out there? Is it the school?”
“No…” mumbled Dale, trying to look through the dark of the night. Though his eyes had to adjust to the darkness, he could make out what could have made the sound. There, floating in the middle of the lake was a massive shape. It was barely visible, but could be made out thanks to the moonlight reflecting off its oily surface.
Chuck could make it out at first, and Dale had to point it out to him. As soon as Chuck saw it, he began to worry that the fish finder simply mistook a rock or another truck tire. But then it moved. Now Chuck was confused.
“What is that?” he said, trying to make out the form of the thing.
Before Dale could even respond, the massive shape bolted toward the boat. With the force of a semi-truck, the creature crashed into the boat, tossing the two men off their feet. The momentum was so strong, the boat tipped over and capsized. Dale and Chuck fell into the water, as well as all their equipment.
Thankfully, they managed to resurface, though they were stranded in total darkness, surrounded by a hostile animal.
“Dale!” screamed Chuck, frantically looking around for his buddy. He let out a sigh of relief once he saw Dale holding onto the capsized boat for dear life. Dale was out of his wits, the sudden shock of the attack had given him a panic attack.
“Are you okay?” asked Chuck as he swam over to him. “Can you hear me? Are you hurt?”
“I’m fine…” muttered Dale, though shivering from the cold water of the lake. “Do you see land?”
Chuck swam around and looked for any sigh of land. Surely it wasn’t too far, as they were close to the marina. But the night, as well as their state of panic, blinded them, casting only a sphere of black around them. All this on top of the unknown shape potentially scouting the area for them. All the men could do was scream for help, hoping that someone in ear shot would hear them.
Sadly, it wouldn’t be until sunrise, at around 6:00am, that someone would find them. They managed to stay afloat by holding onto the capsize boat all night. But they were cold, exhausted, and mentally drained. As soon as they were pulled out of the water by a friend’s fishing vessel and returned to dry land, they were transported to the Bridgetown Hospital. There they were treated for hypothermia, and though they weren’t in good shape, they managed to survive.
But they had one more hurdle to go through, that being the press. As soon as word got out that two fishermen were attacked on Bish Bash Lake by an unknown creature, news reporters from Bridgetown Times, Strange Isn’t It and other tabloid papers came barging into the hospital looking for Dale and Chuck. The doctors couldn’t keep them away, and many of them were able to get into their room, where they’d berate them with questions about the incident.
Chuck Morris didn’t want to bring up the lake monster. But unfortunately, Freeman had already brought it up when the reporters interviewed him. After that, the conversation shifted from their ship over turning to their monster sighting.
Some of them were curious and asked permission first before interviewing, but others were rude. One such reporter seemed to think the two men had made up the story, and tried to get them too “confess” to the lie. Though not all of them were as vile as that one, most didn’t seem to believe them men when they told them that they were attacked by a large, unknown creature.
Ironically, many of these papers decided not to run with the story, fearing that publishing something about lake monster would make them look looney. If they did, they made sure to add a paragraph or two about how implausible it was for there to be a lake monster in Bish Bash Lake. Some would go as far as ti depict Dale and Chuck as incompetent, in order to make it seem like the event was an accident instead of an attack.
Their treatment only got worse when they returned to their job after they made a full recovery. Those who visited the marina instantly recognized the fishermen and started harassing them with heckles and border line insults. Even their fellow fisherman mocked them. Only a few of them stood by Chuck and Dale, but even then, they didn’t believe they saw a lake monster.
This was all too much for Dale Freeman to handle, and that following day, he quit his job as a fishermen. He decided to stay as a dock hand, but he vowed he was never going back on the water again. Chuck, on the other hand, decided to quit all together. Though he insisted it was because of the fish shortage, he couldn’t hide his anxiety of the night when brought up. It was clear that whatever happened to them effected both of them in a similar way.
But despite the questioning, the insults and their fears, Dale and Chuck did not back down. They vouched, even in the face of skeptics, that what they saw was not natural in the lake. Was it a monster?
“Well, what else would you call it?” said Dale as he finished up his interview with Rick.
“But that’s all you saw? A hump above the water?” asked Rick. “Not a long neck or a head or anything like that?”
Dale simply shook his head and said, “I wouldn’t say its the same thing as the Loch Ness Monster, but no fish out here could have done what it did. I’m telling you, you’re on the right track kid. Whatever this thing is… It’s not a normal animal.”