PORTLAND, OREGON; PRESENT DAY...
"Got a female, about twenty; patrons complained about subject disrupting a private party at Janet's Booth Bar and Grill. Why don't you send over a twenty in case subject's still around."
"Any update on that sighting?"
Silence...Some static popped over the speaker to Sammuel Harpel's laptop speaker as he listened in to the Portland Police Department's live radio scanner feed from his small apartment near downtown Portland.
"One-one," repeated the other officer over the radio; the slightest touch of impatience heard in her voice.
"Yeah, one-one, here...I've got two civilians here who said they spotted something following them while they were hiking through Forest Park...I'm over at Northwest Industrial with them now. Civilians are in vehicle with me out of precaution."
"Copy that...sending over a twenty to St. Helen's Road."
"One hundred, on that."
The static, droning of Portland police officers over the online radio broadcast went on while Sammuel responded to a phone call from his girlfriend. Being so engrossed in the radio scan, Sammuel was actually startled by his smartphone's vibrations. Sammuel fumbled for his phone out of his front pants pocket to answer.
"You heard that," Trisha Mohr asked him excitedly; her high voice shot through the smartphone's speaker. "That's three, now, Sammy...three calls about something spotted by people in Forest Park in the past five months!"
"And so far the cops have said absolutely nothing about it whenever we or the media ask them about it," Sammuel responded with as much force as Trisha. "I don't know about you, Trish, but that sounds like a cover-up in my books!"
For a time, neither said anything while they both listened to the Portland police scanner. "I say we go over," she said suddenly.
By that time, Sammuel's eyes had gone over to his laptop, which had a map on the monitor of the city of Portland. But he snapped them to attention after Trisha's last comment. "You mean tonight?"
"Hella yeah! Sammy, we've been tracking this for basically half a year now. Summer will be over if we keep waiting! And this time we have a third sighting! And you know what they say about three's..."
"Yeah, when you have a situation at least three times, you have a pattern!"
Trisha was still living with her parents, so Sammuel had to take that into consideration of any plans about the two of them going out; before twelve in the morning! But Trisha had already thought that out.
"Hey, I'll just tell my folks I got a call from work and they needed someone to close for them after one of their grill people walked out. They'll believe that! I suppose I better make sure to put our gear out in my car before I tell them."
Sammuel was now back at his seat, in front of the laptop; scrolling around the map with a partial view of downtown Portland and a swath of Forest Park. "You realize it'll be tricky staying connected to the net out there...none of this will matter if we can't post it online for the world to see!"
"Even if we get to a point where we can't stay connected to the net," she said as she gathered some hiking gear, "so long as we record it all, it'll be on our devices. We can always upload to the net later, when we get back in town."
Even though Trisha could not see Sammuel over her smartphone, he was nodding at her point. "Ok, I'm about to head out...where did you want to meet?"
She took a few seconds to think. "Let's just park by the La Quinta hotel out there. Just in case things go south, at least a large group of people won't be that far from the woods."
FOREST PARK; TUALATIN MOUNTAINS. SEVERAL MILES WEST OF DOWNTOWN PORTLAND. 1:42 AM...
It had been days since Sammuel and Trisha had seen each other. They gave each other a long kiss and hug at the edge of the forest upon seeing each another. They had been in a relationship for about a year and developed a strong bond, just after meeting during an outdoors party put on by one of Trisha's friends over a year ago. Since then, they had hiked the Tualatin Mountains a few times--their idea of a night out!
On a couple of those occasions, they ran across several splintered trees, remains of animals so mutilated that one would have thought them aliens, and--most interesting of all--vignettes made out of a few pebbles; nothing else! The tiny stones were either piled into a tiny pyramid or some crude geometric. Usually, they were found atop a fallen tree or a slab of rock...it was those collection of pebbles, in light of the other findings, that convinced Trisha and Sammuel that there was something out in those mountains that was not typical of animal forest species.
At first, they tried telling a few of their family and friends, but often the comeback--and valid, the couple would admit--would be, 'How do you know the pebbles weren't just some other hikers leaving "bread crumbs" for themselves in the forest?' Or, 'You guys are just being brainwashed by all those paranormal shows and movies.' Even with the video footage that Sammuel and Trisha provided via their smartphones, none within their circle believed them...
So that was when the couple got deeper into their new-found mission in life. Over the past few months, they both had invested money in some high-tech wildlife monitoring cameras and sensors! When asked by a local radio show out of Portland during an interview about their search, they both made sure not to use the names Sasquatch, Yeti, or Momo...it was the interviewer that brought up the name, Bigfoot.
Trisha and Sammuel were just one team out of a several that existed in the Portland area that were on the hunt for Bigfoot. They were still new to the practice, and they were young, so no one among the older organizations really took them seriously. But the Bigfoot community did listen to the Protect Against the Real Anomalies--Search organization: PARA-Search.
"What the hell are you doing here," Trisha exclaimed after she and Sammuel ran across the media-slick, world-renowned paranormal hunting group. Their temporary camp-site was awash in lights from the television production equipment and two of their team members were recording just as the young couple walked into their videoing.
There were seven in their crew, their ages running from about that of Sammuel and Trisha to the oldest at a mere thirty-five years old. They wore mostly black uniforms--dark slacks with polos; although some in the group wore jackets. All, of course, with the organization's logo printed on their uniforms. And just like any other world-wide paranormal organization, their hunting equipment was top of the line!
"Alright, cut, Ben..." The tallest of the group, and leader, Richard Hessl impatiently blew out a sigh and turned to see Trisha and Sammuel standing about fifteen yards away from them in the forest; their equipment looking more like they were about to take music lessons!
Richard started, but then caught himself. Others in the group looked at him, also noticing the same thing. "Hey, aren't you that couple that was on that community radio station a few weeks ago?"
Admittedly, it was hard for Sammuel and Trisha to be entirely angry at them after that.
"Yeah," Sammuel spoke up. "But, like you said, that was a few weeks ago. I'm surprised you even know about that!"
Richard, easily seen with all the lights among the crew, smiled. "We like to take time to do a lot of research before we start filming at a locale..." He placed a hand to his chest; pointed to the respective person he began to name off. "I'm Richard Hessl...my crew, Beatrice Crowe, Pam Alter, Tom Zeimmer, Al Port...and behind the cameras are Chris Hapshaw and Ben Arrow!"
All of them, as Richard ticked off the names, either nodded toward the young couple, or gave some quick wave and a smile. Sammuel, the friendlier of the couple, introduced himself and Trisha, and her behalf. She still did not like the fact that one of those know-it-all, Hollywood-types paranormal group was in the woods, now, and she and Sammuel would have to compete against them to find whatever it was they all believed was out there! The PARA-Search crew had a pretty good idea of this, given Trisha's less-than hospitable demeanor.
"So...any good vibes tonight," Richard asked after an awkward silence.
Sammuel shrugged. "Just decided to check it out tonight." He glanced at Trisha. He knew she did not want him to carry on too long with them.
Richard gave a quick face. "Oh...truth be told, we were just listening in on the cops' radio scanner and got a lead!" The whole crew softly laughed.
The private irony was not lost on the couple. Even Trisha shared some teeth! But Sammuel gave a knowing look at her, and even his hospitality had a limit...they had to get moving before PARA-Search did!
"Hey, listen," Sammuel finally said, "we better let you guys get back to work."
Sammuel gave a friendly wave while they both started to go off in another direction before Pam, one of the main co-hosts on the team, called out to them. Trisha and Sammuel were surprised to see such a concerned look on her face.
"We probably shouldn't tell you this," she gave a somewhat rebuking look toward Richard as she said this; then looked back at the couple, "but I couldn't live with myself if we didn't give you a heads up...there's word from some of the locals that one of Portland's top Bigfoot hunters got killed tonight!"
"What," both Sammuel and Trisha called out. Their attention was now fully on the team.
"What was his name," Sammuel asked. "The Hunters are pretty much a tight group around here."
Ben, one of the tech helpers in the PARA team, spoke up. "I believe it was a Ted Bishop."
Both Sammuel and Trisha gasped; she up against Sammuel's chest. They both looked away for a few seconds. The PARA team gave glancing, saddened looks at each other.
"What happened to Ted," Sammuel finally said.
Nearly everyone shrugged from the production crew. Richard looked among his subordinates. "One of the locals told me he has a nephew that's a cop and he was one of the officers called to the scene..." At that point, the radiant countenance of Richard had darkened. "Something about a trail of blood that stretched for several meters and they couldn't even find his body. But for the fact that his equipment and backpack were left on site, there would've been no way to even know who the blood belonged to..."
Now, literally, everyone at the campsite was silent and gave worried looks between one another.
"You won't read about it, though," Tom, another of the co-hosts on the televison show, warned. "The best we could guess between all of us is, the cops are still investigating--"
"Or they don't want to scare everyone in the Portland area," Chris, the other technical hand, put in from behind his camera. He had been recording their encounter all that time!
"Chris," Richard admonished, "really? It's one thing when it's our crew, but we don't know how this couple feels about being recorded!"
"No, it's ok," came a softened Trisha. All heads slowly swiveled to her. Given her previous attitude, no one expected such understanding from her. Perhaps it was the news of a local friend's death? "In fact..." She gave a questioning look at Sammuel, then glanced at the PARA crew. "Would you all mind if Sammy and I kind of tagged along...just for tonight?"
Sammuel thought on the news of the long-time Bigfoot hunter, and gave a consenting nod. "If it's alright with you and your crew, Richard?"
Without a second's delay, the crew had already voiced their agreement and waved the couple over to their camping ground. Sammuel and Trisha finally got to shake all of their hands. Chris had never stopped recording, while Ben had hefted his camera and resumed.
After nearly two hours into the combined camps of Trisha and Sammuel with that of the PARA-Search crew, neither group found anything related to a Bigfoot event or a trace. Of course, those of the skeptical persuasion would say, 'What did you expect?' Of course, given that all nine people within the combined Bigfoot party where out in a forest searching for said-creature showed they were not letting such doubters dissuade them.
They decided to rest at a relatively wide-opened area that was much deeper into Forest Park. Richard teamed up with the two tech helps to look at some of the footage they had so far. Sammuel and Trisha were doing the same with their own equipment that they brought with them.
"Hey, everybody," Richard called out after several minutes of quiet observations of their video, "you might want to come and take a look at this!"
Those that were a few yards away met up with the whole group as they all formed a semi-circle around the tech hand crew Ben and his laptop. Again, Chris was recording the whole interaction every step of the way. Including the recording on Ben's laptop.
"Why don't you show them what you got from camera eight, Ben," Richard requested as he stepped back to let others see.
Ben keyed on his laptop's keyboard and brought up an image of fallen tree. It was a close up, Trisha and Sammuel could tell. And within the center of the shot was one of those pebble configurations--this one, the tiny stones were laid out in a perpendicular pattern, with a lot of space in between each of the pebbles.
"Alright," Ben said as he glanced around at the whole crew behind him and the laptop, "you may remember that when we first started tonight's hunt, after Trisha and Sammuel joined us, that I kind of disappeared for a bit? Well, I was going around the Forest looking for some of those little rock formations. As you all know, PARA-Search has those tiny cameras that can be stashed anywhere without being seen--Chris and I have equipment that tracks each camera's location so we can retrieve them later...
"Now, Trisha and Sammuel, you guys are the locals, here. So in that, you two are more the professionals on this point: Do you have an idea on how many of these rock-forms there are in these woods?"
Sammuel and Trisha looked at each other with blank faces; almost surprised that the famed-PARA-Search crew would need their assistance at all! Indeed, all eyes were now on the young couple.
"I've personally counted fourteen," Sammuel spoke up. "I've logged each formation in my electronic notebook."
"But we've also heard from other local Bigfoot hunters that they've seen more at different areas of the Forest we haven't even gone through, yet," Trisha explained. "So...there could be up to more than a hundred of these formations for all we know!"
The PARA crew glanced at one another with a combination of concern and overwhelmed looks.
"Just a suggestion," Richard said from behind the group, "maybe the locals could start marking the formations; kind of mapping their location. Not trying to come into your town and tell you what to do--"
"No, it's ok," Sammuel said with a nod. "That's actually a great idea."
Ben waited until Richard was done. "As a matter of fact, I ran into so many of these formations that I had to limit how many of our tiny-cams I could use." He playfully looked at Sammuel and Trisha. "Even rock stars have their limits!" The couple chuckled at the comment. "Ok...I am currently recording a total of ten of these formations. I just randomly chose this location."
"I remember seeing that bread crumb," Al, another of the co-hosts, shared as he pointed toward the monitor.
"Yeah, me, too," Ben said. "Only, I don't think these rock formations are bread crumbs, everyone..." Ben typed on the keypad that made the picture go to a split-screen. The new image was that of another pebble vignette. This formation was a simple pyramidal pile that was atop a small rock outcrop.
"Ok, I'm letting both of these shots play in real time and at the same time. That's important. Now, note the time-stamp on both of these images--"
"Two twenty-eight," Beatrice, another co-host, said with a bit of impatience.
"Right. Also, keep in mind, the location of these rocks were about a mile from one another..."
Ben went quiet and let the recording play. The recording captured not just the images but the sounds of the woods as well. Occasionally, birds were heard, but other than that; silence...until some within the group either gasped or shouted to the point that Richard had to tell them to keep their voices down!
"What, what, what...?"
"Dude, I didn't see shit"
"I don't get it!"
Those were some of the comments from those within the group that, obviously, had not seen what the others had. Again, Richard had to quell the others as Ben replayed the scenes.
This time, Ben aided with the pointing of a finger on the laptop's screen. "Now, just keep an eye on this spot..."
The entire group was now silent--without being told by Richard.
"Dude, those twigs just showed up out of nowhere," Tom said; being more excited than alarmed.
"And the time-stamps are accurate," Beatrice added. "I used the clock on my phone to match the time...bloody hell!"
"Are you sure about the time not skipping," Sammuel put to Ben. "I mean, it could've been a two-minute gap and that would've given someone time to just place those branches there."
"At the exact same time, Sammuel," Al contested. "There would have to be two different people standing by with a radio or their cell phones to coordinate when to do that!"
"We've ran across countless time-gaps in our investigations all over the world," Pam now came in; a bit more calm, but her eyes spoke otherwise. "None of the time-gaps match exactly...besides, look at the recording. There are no jerks or motion on them!"
Without saying a word, Ben keyed into the laptop and brought up all ten of the pebble formations he was recording. He did more keying until he got to the time he wanted for every locale. "Again...two twenty-eight AM; this time all ten cameras!"
Again, the recordings played, their time-stamps syncronized, and in each shot--reduced to smaller squares to fit within the monitor's range--there were some type of twig or branch that simply appeared right next to their respective pebble formation! Once again, the team began to get rowdy and Richard struggled to remind them that they were out in the woods. With strange happenings, on top of that!
"Sammy," Trisha said aloud to him, over the others' voices. "Remember...patterns!"
Sammuel's face went blank. Noticing this, Richard got the couple's attention, after finally calming down his crew.
"The twigs..." Sammuel excused himself to Ben as he reached over and pointed on the laptop's screen. "Of all the times Trish and I hiked Forest Park and ran across these rock formations, they've always been nothing but rocks!"
"So, why are branches showing up now ," Pam, catching onto Sammuel's point, questioned. "Could it be something like some kind of countdown, or signal to someone else out in these woods?"
"Yeah, and out of thin air, to boot," Tom reminded.
"Guys," Chris' voice now came in from behind his camera; he spoke even as he recorded, "is it me, or does anyone else think that this doesn't seem like something a creature like Bigfoot would do?"
"Yeah," Al said; now looking around with fear, "I'd say it would be a bit on the sophisticated side for a Bigfoot!"
"Look," Trisha stated, "I'm no scientist, but to Al's point; aren't we talking about physics at this point! I mean, how the hell could anyone do that, at the same time, at ten different places?"
"And based on what you and Sammuel said," Richard came in, "you two have not seen all the rock formations...if these ten formations altered with the addition of these branches, what about the other formations we don't see?"
"What get's me," now Ben said; his eyes beginning to survey the immediate surroundings, "is, if whomever it is doing all this has that kind of power we just saw in the recordings, wouldn't they have the ability to be here and we not know it?"
Once again, silence from the group. With the exception of the various recordings that Ben let loop over and over from his laptop.
"Folks," Richard finally spoke up, "I don't know what we're dealing with in these woods, but it sure as hell ain't Bigfoot!"
"Richie," Beatrice implored as she pulled at his jacket's sleeve, fear finally manifesting in her voice, "let's just go...I've got a very bad feeling about this one!"
Before Richard could even respond, the majority within the group--including the young couple--voiced their consent with Beatrice!
"You don't have to tell me twice," he said as he nodded in Ben's direction. That was all Ben needed to see to start packing up his equipment. "Oh, Ben; Christopher...just leave the cameras. We go--now!"
MOHRS' RESIDENCE; HAPPY VALLEY, OREGON--SOUTH OF PORTLAND...
Several months had passed since Trisha and her boyfriend, Sammuel, had experienced an extraordinary investigation with PARA-Search. All that recording that Chris Hapshaw had done throughout that night came in handy for the paranormal crew's televison show. When it aired, it was received by critics with high marks and viewers used social media to plaster the Internet with their fandom and love for the show.
Of course, it made Trisha and Sammuel instant stars! Indeed, the reason why Sammuel was not around lately was due to the fact that Richard Hessl had offered both of them a job with PARA-Search! How the couple handled themselves out in the Forest Park woods made an impression with the whole crew. That, and the fact that PARA-Search's marketing division told them that the viewers liked the young couple and they wanted to see more of them...based on viewership's social media postings.
Trisha was at home with her parents this particular day because she needed to move more of her things from her parents' house. With the great job Sammuel and Trisha now had with PARA, they were able to afford to buy their own house. It was not that far from the Mohrs; the town of Beaverton--just South and West of Portland.
"So when is Sammy and the rest of the team coming back from South Africa," Faden Mohr, Trisha's mother, asked as Trisha came back in for another load of boxes to get from her parents' basement. Faden was just finishing up cooking lunch for the two of them. Bruce, Trisha's father was at work, with his computer engineering firm he started years ago. Faden took off from her job as a CPA to help her daughter with packing.
"They're not sure," Trisha said;
grabbing a cookie from a glass jar. She
leaned back against the kitchen counter.
"Rich said they ran into some legal problems with the
"Uh, oh," Faden expressed as she, too, leaned against the counter.
"Not sure what it is...something about Chris placing one of those micro-cameras in a sensitive area of the house!"
They both broke out laughing.
"That Christopher," Faden said as she got off the counter and began to clean up the kitchen.
"Hey, Mom, if it weren't for that Christopher your future son-in-law and I wouldn't be able to move out to Beaverton...he was a genius to ignore Richard and kept on recording that investigation!" Trisha started for the basement.
"Oh, that reminds me, Dear..." Her mother walked out of the kitchen and went into the living room, then came back with a medium-sized parcel. "This came for you."
Trisha took the box from her mother and examined it. "It's a little on the heavy side...a bit of a rattle to it. Hope it's not broken, whatever it is!"
"I looked on the return address--"
"Yeah, I was noticing that...'Forest Park?' That's it? No name or address?"
Trisha went ahead and opened the box as her mother looked on...Trisha froze on the spot.
"Well, what's wrong, Dear?" She walked over to Trisha and looked inside the box. "Ohh, well, that's beautiful! That would make a nice centerpiece for your new house, Dear! All you need to do is find something that would match with pebble stone, twigs, and...Trisha, Dear? Why is one of your team's tiny cameras in here?"