“How much bait do we have left?” “Just two horses and an elephant.”

Original Prompt

“Well then we’ll have to make it count Fergus,” shouted Captain Fitchner over the howling of the wind.

Fergus looked at the captain in rapt disbelief. The whole crew was soaked to the bone and this storm didn’t look as it was going to let up anytime soon. The rain was coming down in torrential downpours on the shoulders of the men as they struggled to keep the creaking wooden boat above the water.

“W-with all due respect captain,” stammered Fergus, “Maybe we should turn the boat back to harbor and sa-”

The captain turned his back on the sea, shook his long scraggly hair out of his face and hobbled quickly to come up close to Fergus eyeing him as a fighter would watch for an opponent’s weaknesses before a match.

“Do you mean to mutiny against me boy?” questioned Fitchner with a dangerous quiet.

“No, no, no sir nothing like that,” replied Fergus quickly. “I’m just worried that the beast may take too many men or even the ship before we can bring her down.”

The captain eyed down Fergus one last time with those bulged, crazed eyes of his then gave a quick nod that relieved some of the pressure from Fergus’s shoulders. The captain had believed that someone else was trying to mutiny against him and the man had been put to ‘a noble purpose’ as the captain had put it. Bait to try to catch the monster that dwelt below.

They were almost out of arrows, the lake’s shores were no longer in sight and the monsoon that raged around them threatened to capsize the boat. The animals that they had tied behind them were swimming frantically in the water, aware of the fate destined for them.

The good sized amount of money he had been paid to organize this expedition was definitely not worth it now that he looked at their present situation. As he watched the captain leaning over the edge of the boat in screaming winds and rain scanning the water below that some kinds of crazy people weren’t actually insane. They had stared into the eyes of evil.

The captain was a man possessed with capturing the beast. When Fergus had first heard Fitchner’s story he had to stop himself from laughing out loud at the man. He had met the man in a crowded, smoky bar after having a few pints of very good beer and his story had seemed too tall to be real. But the large sack of gold in his pocket had been proof enough for Fergus, after all, he was a businessman who didn’t put any stock in the supernatural. If some crazy old man wanted to go hunting for monsters and willing to pay Fergus for it who was he to deny him?

Fergus didn’t feel much like laughing now that Fitchner’s story had been proved real with the deaths of multiple crew members and most of the bait they had brought with them.

Broken out of his reverie by the sudden movement of the captain yelling and moving along the boat, Fergus caught only snatches of what Fitchner was saying as the wind stole words from the air, “She’s there… Port side… Moving… bait… “

Then that horrible squealing noise of animals in mortal fear as the horses kicked wildly. The elephant had been pulled under the water by the dark shape and had not resurfaced. It had happened so fast that men were still slipping over the rain soaked boat’s wooden surface to the port side. Arrows nocked and aimed at the water… waiting…

Fergus sent a silent prayer to God that if he would get him out of this alive he would promise to donate half his considerable fortune to the poor. As he made the sign of his cross to seal the prayer a great creaking went up from the boat.

The men loosed their arrows in panic as the boat began to rock back and forth violently. All this time the Captain had been at the helm of the ship laughing like a man who had just won the lottery.

Then, with a sudden lurch the world flipped over on its side and the sky was the lake. Thrashing in shock from terror and snow cold water, Fergus shouted for his men to swim for the shore as he did so himself.

A shouting over the howling of the wind and rain made Fergus turn to look behind him.

Silhouetted by a flash of lightening, The captain was standing on top of the wreckage of his boat and screaming the name of his dead wife over the howling rain and wind. Holding a long spear in his hand with his hair billowing behind him he looked the definition of a champion.

Or maybe he really was crazy.

Either way his time had come to an end when a second flash of lightning showed the great stretched neck of a beast born from the unknown depths of hell.

“NESSIEEEEE!” Screamed the captain in desperation as he jabbed his spear into the creatures yawning mouth. Then he was gone as countless before him.

Many call my great-great-grandfather’s story a myth but I believe that there is evil in this world from the past that still lives among us. Unknown and biding its time. Maybe in a loch somewhere waiting to pull unfortunate souls below its depths.   

 

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