Episode 3 – Unusual Evidence

“Daddy!” Britney exclaims. “Don’t keep us in suspense.”

Noel laughs and shakes his head. “Well, honestly, it was one of the stranger events I’ve encountered. There were these huge smelly things that looked like turds on the County Courthouse steps…three-feet thick at least.”

Britney starts giggling. “Turds? Seriously? It was a practical joke, right?”

Noel looks at us seriously. “Here’s the thing. We had the vet check them, and they weren’t from any animal he’d ever seen. They were well-formed…like giant horse turds. He was mystified.”

Suddenly, past memories pop into my head. “Were they filled with animal bones and hard as rocks?”

“Yes, exactly, Arne. How did you know? Have you seen them before?”

“Only once, during a long trek in the mountains. They’re from an Ogre.”

They all stare at me, unsure whether to laugh or what.

“Arne, come on,” Noel says, “that’s fairy tale stuff.”

I’m a little insulted. “Am I fairy-tale stuff?”

He smiles. “Valid point, but it seems pretty far out. How could I explain it to my superiors…that Pikeville is suddenly the realm of Elves and Ogres? They’ll want my head checked. Wait a minute…there have been Abominable Snowman sightings. Maybe I could approach it from that angle.”

At times, Humans frustrate the hell out of me! “Look,” I tell them, “Abominable Snowmen are Ogres. For some reason, Humans think they’re big snow monkeys, but they’re not at all. They look nothing like monkeys, except they’re hairy and walk upright. From everything I’ve heard, they have grotesques faces with big noses and bulging eyes. Elfin legends claim they evolved from Neanderthals, but stole such vast quantities of food, they were driven into remote recesses.

The Knights stare at me open-mouthed….the night’s suddenly eerie and threatening with sleet clattering against the panes.

“Are you trying to scare us?” Britney asks.

“Not at all. I wish it was that simple, but my father spoke of them. He said, when there were heavy early snows, and harbingers of prolonged Winter, the Ogres leave their caves and roam the countryside hunting and foraging.They have a sixth sense attuning them to nature’s clues…early bird migrations, thickness of animal coats, timing of hibernation, squirrel food stores…even the depth of fish in ponds…innumerable such things. If the signs portend hundred-year cold, they’ve been known to attack Elf homes and remote farms, and hang bodies outside their caves. Have you guys seen any long-range forecasts? Is a harsh Winter predicted?”

Noel chuckles nervously. “Actually, yes. Because of the volcanic activity in Asia, they say the air is filled with ash that will reduce average temperatures five to ten degrees, so the Highway Department has ordered larger quantities of sand and salt than usual.”

“Have you seen any footprints?”

Noel shakes his head. “Honestly, Arne, we haven’t looked. Everybody considered it a hoax, and now, unfortunately, the sleet and snow are obliterating everything.”

Britney looks agitated. “Daddy, maybe you should warn everyone there’s a large bear wandering near town…warn them to use extra caution and stay indoors.”

Noel nods. “That’s a great idea, sweetie. At least everyone will be alert…and I’ll call the station and make sure everyone’s on the lookout for anything suspicious, noises, tracks, whatever.” He rushes into the hall and pulls on his coat. “This is one time I don’t mind the media being camped nearby.”

“Dress warmly,” Mrs. K exclaims. “It’s a terrible night. Wear your hat and scarf!”

We run to the hall as Noel charges into the storm. “Hey!” He’s yelling. “Wake up, you guys! I have important news!”

We peer out the window. A few reporters dribble out, but within five minutes, there are twenty or thirty clamoring for attention, each worrying about getting scooped by the other.

Snow’s started…coming down heavy…wet bushes and pavement are slowly changing from dark to monochromatic white.

“It looks s-o-o-o slippery out there,” Mrs. K says, and immediately we feel the privacy of the storm, as if the outside world has receded behind a curtain.

To be continued….Read next episode!