Shivering despite layers of jumpers and a thermal jacket, Tod trudged on through the snow drift. Each step was a struggle, as if he was having to push holes through the world just so he could keep moving. But it would be worth it. The snow was deep enough, the conditions bleak enough to draw out his prey.
This was the day he would finally photograph sasquatch, and prove Angleby’s magic monkey shaman theory was crap.
Despite the cold he became giddy with excitement as he saw another set of ape-like paw prints. Just like before, three long strides and then nothing. How did it do that, hiding most of its trail so perfectly? Why then did it leave these tracks at all?
Just one more mystery whose unravelling would make him famous. Let Angleby laugh at him then.
Excitement turned to alarm as the snow gave way beneath him and he went tumbling into a ditch and landed with a crack.
Rolling over, he realised with alarm that he’d broken his camera. The lens was smashed and the casing split open, letting in the same icy water that now seeping into his cloths. Cursing and sneezing, he staggered to his feet and pulled out his phone.
“No signal,” the screen announced. Who cared about signal? What mattered was…
Yes, the phone camera was working. He might still manage this.
Stuffing the phone back in his pocket, Tod tried to climb out of the ditch. But the sides were slippery and steep. Every time he tried to grip them he just brought more snow down upon himself.
The snow covering him was melting, little by little soaking through his clothes. He shivered. His arms and legs were going numb. The sky was turning an ominous grey.
This was bad. His teeth chattered, toes tingled with pain. He looked up, hoping to see something he could grab hold of.
Then he saw it. A magnificent beast, seven feet high and with long fur hanging around its wise, gentle face.
Sasquatch was looking down at him.
Tod’s heart raced. He didn’t want to look away, didn’t want to miss a moment of this. With cold-deadened fingers he fumbled the phone from his pocket. But as he held it up a wave of dizziness overcame him.
He fell back in the ditch.
The edges of his vision grew dark and the cold crept further in, but he couldn’t bring himself to care. He was just too sleepy.
The snow crunched beside him, and he was lifted by a coarsely furred arm. The warmth and the earthy smell of the sasquatch’s body revived him just enough to look up as it reached out with its other arm. Tod knew he must be hallucinating, because the creature seemed to fold the snow-scattered landscape around itself, revealing something else beyond. Then it took three long strides and suddenly they were surrounded by warmth and sunlight.
The sasquatch lowered Tod onto a beach of soft sand, peeled open his wet jacket and let the warmth in. Slowly, Tod felt warmth and life return to his body.
With it came an awareness of how terribly close to death he had come.
“Thank you.” He looked up at the sasquatch, which grunted and nodded its head.
Something cold and hard still sat in Tod’s hand. He lifted the phone and pointed the camera at the sasquatch. It covered its head with its arms, wailing in distress, but made no move to leave him.
Tod lowered the phone. Who cared about reputation compared with what this magnificent creature had done for him? It wasn’t like he could prove Angleby’s magic ape theory wrong. Not honestly, after what he’d seen.
He rose and put an arm around the sasquatch.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “Didn’t mean to upset you. Could we maybe have a selfie, here on the beach, just for me?”
The sasquatch nodded, smiled and pointed a finger at itself.
“You want a copy too?” Tod shrugged. “OK then.”
It wasn’t like he could share the picture with anyone else. Sasquatch on a beach – who’d ever believe that?
Today’s story was inspired by a random tangent during an editorial conversation, in which we managed to get from the future of prison transport to “a holographic sasquatch that folds space with his squatch fingers,” and hearing about the several feet of snow that hit parts of the US this week. And to think I was excited at the thin layer of cold white stuff you can see making my garden pretty in the picture.
Got an idea for a Flash Friday story? Tell me and I’ll add it to my list. Or you could go read more of these stories, though not all of them feature sasquatch.
And if you enjoyed this story then please share it – words are meant to read, they get antsy if we don’t share them around.