Cryptid Quest: Shadow Under the Lake

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Chapter 8: Intersection

Rick left the fish market in a day dream of the fame he’ll receive once he discovered the Bish Bash Monster. He imagined news reporters tearing down his door to get an interview with him. He’d be awarded numerous prizes in science and adventure (if there were any awards for adventure). But most importantly, all the bragging right he had over Caroline, who’d be too embarrassed to ever doubt him again.

It was then that Rick bumped into Caroline, who was also in a trance, only she was brainstorming her plan of attack for uncovering the submarine. She broke out of her trance once she spotted her project partner.

“There you are!” said Caroline as she marched over to Rick. “I have good news! I have solved the mystery!”

“Oh let me guess, you think it was a bigger rock that sunk the ship?” said Rick in a sarcastic tone.

“No! It was so obvious, I’m surprise I didn’t piece it together in my head sooner! What we are dealing with isn’t anything natural, but man-made!”

“What?” Rick said utterly confused, for he had no idea how the overturning of the boat could have been done by a man.

“It’s simple.” Explained Caroline. “A rival fisherman wanted all the fish to himself, so he needed to eliminate all the competition! Only he couldn’t have done it with normal sabotage means, otherwise the blame could have been fallen on him. So instead, he went for a more elaborate hoax. One so bizarre that no one could suspect him of doing it. Unless, of coarse, they knew the means of how he did it!”

“Okay Nancy Drew.” Rick said in a mocking voice. “So tell me. How did this mythical fisherman do it?”

“Simple…” Said Caroline. “He overturned Dale Freeman’s boat with a self-built submarine!”

Rick just stared at her in shock. Then he burst into laughter. Caroline was not pleased by this response.

“What’s so funny!” yelled Caroline, causing Rick to loosen his laughing.

“What like Scooby Doo?” howled Rick, holding in his gut.

“Yes!” barked Caroline. “How is that any more unbelievable than your insane theories about lake monsters?”

“Because there’s actual evidence that there’s a lake monster here!” yelled Rick, now out of his laughing fit. But Caroline only scoffed at this.

“Evidence? What evidence?” yelled Caroline. “You mean that stupid news story you found? Oh sure! Decades of skeptical and scientific work debunking lake monsters can easily be overturned with a simple news headline from a tabloid newspaper! What on earth was I thinking doubting such an important piece of evidence!”

“It’s not just the news story!” yelled Rick back. “There’s Dale Freeman’s sighting! And his friend’s sighting too! He saw the monster swim into a cave not too far from here! That’s where it lives! I know if we camp out there tonight we’ll be able to find it!”

“Absolutely not!” yelled Caroline. “We are going to sneak into the dock warehouse and find that submarine! And as soon as everyone knows it exists, then this stupid legend will stop. I grantee you once people know the truth, these dumb sightings will stop!”

“Dumb? What’s so dumb about it? Just cause you don’t believe doesn’t give you the right to call people dumb!”

“No! It’s because I have science on my side. And those who deny science should be disregarded as idiots. Like you and that fisherman!”

“You know what?” said Rick, turning his back toward Caroline. “I’d rather be an idiot than a heartless jerk!”

And with that, Rick stormed off towards the beach. Caroline wasn’t about to let Rick have the final word.

“Oh yeah? Well, guess what? You’re on your own for the paper! Cause I’m not going to let my grades sink cause of your idiotic reporting!” yelled Caroline. Rick pretended that he didn’t hear what she said. Caroline then turned away from Rick. She didn’t need his help. She could sneak into the warehouse by herself. In fact, it might be better. He would have just slowed her down.

Caroline was able to find the warehouse in no time. It was situated off to the side of the docks. It was your basic warehouse, though the years have added a layer of rust and dirt on the cover. The lot was big for trucks to dump and fill their stuff at the warehouse. Security was none existent, probably cause it was just a shed filled with fishing material. But to Caroline, it was the lair of her submarine.

She first checked to see if the coast was clear. Then she maneuvered through the parking lot, making sure no one saw her. Upon reaching the building, she ducked behind one of the windows. She peeked through the window to see if anyone was inside, though it was too dark to see anything.

Suddenly, the sound of a door swinging open caused Caroline to jump. Thankfully, there was a palette of boxes near her, allowing her to have perfect cover. She ducked behind it, and from the corner of the building, saw the two fisherman from before walking off the lot. They were talking about something, but Caroline couldn’t make out what. Then Caroline had an idea. What if the door wasn’t locked? After all, there wasn’t any guards, there wasn’t any security cameras, so why would there be a lock at the door? It was a gamble, but she was willing to take it.

She sneaked around the corner, making sure to check to see if there wasn’t another fisherman standing on the other side. There wasn’t, so she made her way to the door. And as luck would have it, not only was it not locked, but the door handle didn’t even have a key hole. She had easy access to the warehouse.

She creaked the door a smidge so that she could get a peek inside. The warehouse appeared to be much bigger on the inside, with shelves that reached the ceiling, palettes of unlabeled boxes littering the ground, and a smell of salt water that stain the air. But over by the corner of the room, Caroline spied something of interest. Something big, long and jagged covered in a heavy sheet. It almost appeared submarine shaped.

“That must be it!” thought Caroline, as she made her way to the sheeted object, careful not to nudge into anything or accidentally step on a fishing pole. Caroline studied the object, trying to find a good angle in which to unmask it. The wait was killing her, so she decided just to pull it off regardless. She grabbed hold of the sheet from the bottom, and carefully pulled the sheet off, making sure not to shake the object. Once the sheet was off, Caroline closed her eyes so that she could build the anticipation. Then she opened them. Much to her disappointment, it wasn’t a submarine, but a poorly constructed fishing boat.

That’s when the light came on and a loud booming voice yelled, “Who’s there?”

Caroline was stunned and she quickly turned around. Mush to her shock and horror, there standing in the doorway was Officer Harold Cliffords. Cliffords was known to the kids in town due to him being a DARE spokesman. Caroline was on friendly terms with him due to her volunteer work, but being caught on private property didn’t paint her in a good light.

“Carline?” asked Cliffords, as he walked over to the frightened preteen. “What on earth are you doing here?”

“Okay! I can explain!” pleaded Caroline. “I have reason to believe that somewhere stashed inside this warehouse is a submarine!”

“So?” asked Clifford, not impressed by Caroline’s motivation.

“Well, here’s the thing.” Caroline added. “I think whoever is operating the submarine has been using it to sink boats on Bish Bash Lake! Just a few nights ago, two fishermen were overturned on their boat by something big in the lake!”

“Yes, I know.” Said Cliffords. “My men told me about it. They were the ones who pulled the fishermen out of the lake. But they insist it was an accident.”

“That’s what I thought too! But then I checked out the area where it happened and I couldn’t find anything that would have caused an accident. There were no rocks, no sand dunes. Nothing! So now I’m thinking it wasn’t an accident. That it had to have been deliberate!”

“What’s going on here?” said an unknown voice. Caroline and Officer Cliffords turn to see a group of fisherman standing by the door.

“Pardon me men.” Said Cliffords, tipping his hat. “I was just making my patrols when I saw someone trying to break into your warehouse.”

The men turn to Caroline, who was sweating a storm out of the embarrassment of the situation. It was clear Cliffords was not buying her story.

“I can prove it!” yelled Caroline, running over to one of the fisherman, the one who claimed to have the sub in the first place. “You! You said you had a submarine! Correct?”

The man looked at Caroline in shock, then burst into laughter. This didn’t please Caroline, who was now getting angry.

“What’s so funny?” yelled Caroline.

“Look… I don’t know how you learned about all this, but regardless, you must have misheard what I said.” Said the fisherman. Now Caroline was really confused.

“What are you talking about?” she questioned. “You said you had a submarine and that you and your friend were not allowed to talk about it to Dale and Chuck. The two fishermen who were attacked by the supposed monster!”

“Correct.” Said the fisherman, walking over to a large palette of cardboard boxes. “But over here, behind these boxes, you can see what we really mean.”

Caroline, Cliffords and the fishermen walked over to the area that he was directing toward. It was to Caroline’s horror that she saw what they meant. There was a fold-out table with submarine sandwiches and drinks. That’s what they meant by “sub”.

“But… Why keep this a secret from Dale and Chuck?” asked Caroline, almost quivering.

“Cause this was supposed to be a surprise for them!” answered the fisherman. “As a going away party! With their boat gone and fish scarce in these waters, they decided to retire from fishing. So we got them some food and beverages to celebrate. Subs are their favorite food.”

Caroline’s stomach twisted in on itself. Not only did she fall for an obvious oversight, but she embarrassed herself in front of all these people. The pain was so unbearable, she felt like she was going to vomit.

“So… You want to press charges?” asked Cliffords to the fishermen, who only laughed at this suggestion.

“Press charges? For this? Nah! Let the poor lass go. At the very least we got a good story out of this!”

Tears started to form in Caroline’s eyes, but she quickly wiped them away before anyone could see them. She didn’t want to add even more embarrassment to the situation. She just apologized again and left the warehouse, defeated.

Meanwhile, Rick was preparing to enter the cave. He was armed with a high powered flash light, his camera phone with the flash turned on, and a plastic bag full of uncooked shrimp. He got the shrimp at the local grocery store, which wasn’t too far from the docks. The shrimp was pricey and came in one of those take out tuba-ware containers with lettuce and cocktail sauce. But it was the only sea food like item that was transportable Rick could find in the super market. With the shrimp in one hand and his flashlight in the other, Rick was ready to confront the Bish Bash Monster. The last thing he did was take out his phone and took a selfie of himself in front of the cave’s mouth.

The cave was just as Dale Freeman described it. It was narrow,with rocks on the sides of the cave walls, which allowed Rick to easily walk through the area. Rick took extra care to watch is step, as he didn’t want to slip on a water rock and fall face first into the unknown water. But his main concern was Bishy, so he flip back and forth from checking the walk way and checking the stream that flowed next to it.

The cave was dark, and Rick’s only means of navigation was his flash light. He made sure to keep extra good care of his grip. He also watched his footing, for he didn’t want to slip on some sea weed on a rock and fall into the small bank next to him.

He was about ten minutes into the cave when he saw something floating in the water. The sudden shine of light on the unknown object was enough to cause Rick to jump back, thankfully he didn’t loose his footing. Could it have been the head of the monster? Or perhaps the tip of its tail? Upon closer examination, however, it turned out to be nothing more than a buoy, those things you see floating on the water near docks and such.

“Now that’s strange” thought Rick. “What’s a buoy doing way in here in the caves?”

Did it float on in here by a current of the wind? Well… No. Because looking down at the cave, Rick realized there were a bunch of buoys. They seemed to be connected by something under the water. A rope? Or a net? Rick made his way to the closest one he could examine. He shined his flashlight into the water, and was able to make out a wide but transparent net in between each of the buoys. The net rose out of the water but stopped near the stone path, allowing easy access around it.

So these buoys did not drift in here, they were placed deliberately. But why? The only logical reason for this was to keep something in.

After that thought, Rick then realized that there was something on the other side of the water. Something the net was separating from the rest of the lake. Was it the monster? No… It was a catfish. Several, to be exact. They swam together, clustered and plenty. And they were big too. An arm sized and about a foot wide. Looking around, Rick saw several other buoys floating on the water surfaced.

It was then that he realized he had just stumbled onto a large cavern in the cave, where the flooded section was divided by nets and buoys. Upon a closer look, Rick could see several species of fish swimming around the netted areas. There were salmon, cod, mackerel trout and even an area for lobsters. What were all these animals doing in a single place like this?

Rick thought about it for a moment, and realized what this place was. It was a fish farm. And to Rick’s horror, he also realized what this meant. He was trespassing on someone’s property. And more so, this was property tucked away in the deep cavern of a cave. Whoever set up shop there did not want anyone stumbling upon it.

Rick then looked up. Decorated on the cave wall was a large net, similar to the one holding the fish farms intact, only this one had a massive hole in the middle of it. Rick thought it was strange to hang something like that up. What did it mean?

“Well… Look who it is” said a voice behind Rick. Rick jumped around and flashed his flashlight in the face of the unknown voice. That’s when his stomach dropped down a foot. It was none other than Fisherman Carl, covering his face from the blinding light of the flash light.

“Get that dang thing out of my face!” he yelled, causing Rick to pull the light off him.

“Carl!” yelled Rick, ready to explain himself. “This isn’t what it looks like! Honestly!”

“Nice try, Arbuckle!” laughed the fisherman. “I got you redhanded! This here is my cave! It’s not public property! There ain’t no way you can get out of this one!”

“But… This is public property.” Explained Rick. “We’re still on Bish Bash Lake.”

Carl was just as flabbergasted about this rebuttal as he was with the one Caroline gave him. Still, he kept his hostile manner and got all up in the boy’s face.

“Are you sassing me, boy?” screamed the very upset fisherman.

“Listen! I wasn’t going to touch anything! In fact, I didn’t know you were growing a fish farm here!” pleaded Rick. “Please! Just let me go and I promise I’ll never bother you again!”

“Oh sure you will!” said the fisherman, as he got closer to Rick’s face. “And I’m sure you won’t try to come back here and steal some of my fish for one of your weird Bigfoot hunts!”

“What? No!” said Rick. “First of all, that’s not why I came here in the first place!”

“Oh yeah? And why did you come in here?” questioned the very angry fisherman. Rick couldn’t get out of this one with his dignity, so he had to tell him the truth.

“I came in here cause I thought this was the lair of the Bish Bash Lake Monster!” said Rick. Carl was taken aback by this, as if he was just told something he hadn’t heard in years.

“Bish Bash Lake Monster?” he asked. “You mean… Bishy?”

Rick was astonished. Carl knew about the monster. Was Carl all this time a believer just like him? Could he have also seen the monster? After all, Dale said that someone saw the monster swim into Carl’s cave. Maybe Carl had a few run ins with it.

“Yes!” proclaimed Rick. “Bishy! You’ve heard of her?”

“Heard of her!” laughed Carl, placing his hands into his pockets. “Yeah… You could say that!”

That wasn’t the response Rick was expecting. He almost seemed smug about something.

“What do you mean by that?” asked Rick. Carl thought for a moment, but then chuckled under his breath and leaned into Rick.

“You want to know a little secret?” asked the fisherman, causing Rick to nod. “Okay… But you can’t tell anyone! Understood?”

“Right! I won’t! What is it?” asked Rick. “Did you see the monster? Did it show up in this cave?”

After that, Rick gasped, turned to the massive net on the cave wall, and turned back to Carl.

“That net! Did the Bish Bash Lake Monster break into your farm and ate your fish?” he asked.

“Nope!” Said Carl, though he did look up at the net with a hint of uneasiness. “I mean, I don’t know what ate all my catfish, but it wasn’t Bishy.”

“It ate all your catfish?” repeated Rick. Carl nodded and turned to the farm.

“Yep! Ate every single last one of them. Including my prized catch, Big Bertha. But I know for a fact it wasn’t Bishy!”

“Really? Are you sure about that?” asked Rick.

That’s when Carl grinned a massive grin and leaned into Rick. “And you know why I know it wasn’t Bishy? Cause I was the one who made it her up!”

Rick’s jaw dropped. All that he could muster out of his mouth was “What?”.

“That’s right!” bragged Carl. “Back in the 70s, there were all these sightings of different monsters. Bigfoot. Yetis. Some weird bird-monster. The papers went crazy over these stories! So I thought I’d introduce a new monster onto the scene. So I told a bunch of reporters I saw a Loch Ness Monster out on Bish Bash Lake! I read about something similar in the papers a few years back out on Lake Erie. I thought they’d catch my goat but instead they ate it all up!”

Rick couldn’t believe what he was hearing. It couldn’t have been a hoax! It just couldn’t have been! And certainly not a hoax committed by Carl the fisherman!

“But wait!” said Rick. “The original witness’s name was KW Brewster! Not you!”

“Well, shoot kid, I wasn’t going to give them my real name!” laughed the fisherman. “That was the name of an old brewer back when I lived in Weymouth”.

“But… But…” Rick stuttered. “There must have been other people who saw the monster!”

Carl thought for a moment, but then shrugged. “Nope. Sorry. I can’t recalled anyone else coming to the papers with stories of a long-neck monster in Bish Bash Lake. Though I did hear one fella say he saw a fish-man near the sea. But like anyone would fall for something like that!”

Rick felt sick to his stomach. All this time, he had been following a hoax. He felt hurt, betrayed, embarrassed and ashamed. Carl, on the other hand, was having a jolly old laugh.

“Oh boy kid, I needed that.” He said as he patted Rick’s shoulder. “But seriously though, you can’t tell anyone about this. Or the fish farm. You got that? If the other fishermen knew about this… Well… They would not be happy. They’d probably think I was cheating. So you got that?”

All Rick could do was nod. He wasn’t going to come back there any time soon. In fact, he might not be looking for cryptids for a while. He simply turned around and walked back the way he came. The worst thing about this whole ordeal, was that Rick would have to endure the same treatment from Caroline ounce she learned of his failure.

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