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Rated: E · Short Story · Folklore · #1921956
This is for the Short Shots Folklore Contest for March of 2013.
Grandfather's Tall Tale

         “You ready?” I called impatiently.

         “Almost.” Ty replied tossing a few power bars into his backpack.

        I sighed in resignation. Ty and I both had light brown hair, and blue eyes, but had opposite personalities. I am 17 and have always been punctual while Ty, who is 12, is always late. We were going camping, and you would think Ty would be in a hurry to get going.

        "Come on!”  I demanded irritably. “Will you please hurry?”

        “Okay, okay. Don’t be such a grump Logan, you’re not the boss of me until we leave the house, I’ll be finished in a minute.” After what seemed    like forever he was finally ready.

        “I hope we see a bear or a cougar before our trip’s over,” I remarked enthusiastically as we drove down the road.  “That would be awesome.”

        “No kidding, we might even spot Bigfoot.” Ty said eagerly.

        I rolled my eyes. “We’re not going to see Bigfoot. You know as well as I do that they don’t exist. That’s just a tall tale somebody made up.”

        “We don’t know for sure,” Ty said stubbornly. “Just because there isn’t any real proof that they exist doesn’t mean they don’t!”

        “As far as I’m concerned they don’t. I’ll believe there are Bigfoot when I see one.”

        “Well, Grandpa says Bigfoot do exist, so when we see a Bigfoot you have to do my chores for a week. If we don’t, I’ll do yours.”

        I laughed and shook my head mockingly. “Grandpa and his tall tales. He’s just playing you. I’ll win that bet hands down. You’re not going to like  doing my chores for a week.”

        “I won’t have to.” Ty responded obstinately. “We’re going to see a Bigfoot, I just know it.”

        “Let’s just agree to disagree and change the subject. We’re missing a lot of scenery while we argue. Maybe even a Bigfoot.” I added teasingly.

         “I thought we were going to change the subject.” Ty objected.

         “Oh, yeah. Sorry. I bet we see lots of animals though.”

         “And flowers.” Ty added. “Look at the Indian paintbrush and the daisies, Logan. The wind makes them look like they’re dancing.”

         “And they have an audience of yellow buttercups doing the wave.” I agreed humorously. “We’re almost to the waterfall. Should we stop?”

         “Yeah, I want to take a couple pictures.”

         The double waterfall was even more beautiful than I remembered. White water cascaded over the rock ledge, splitting into two as it circumvented a huge gray boulder. The twin torrents continued their journey separately until they joined just before hammering the pool below and spraying a fountain of water over the moss covered boulders.

        “Hey Logan, I’m ready when you are,” Ty called.

“Okay! “Let’s go!”

        The tires screamed as I left the turnout and sped onto the main road. “Big Lake here we come!” I shouted enthusiastically. We had both lapsed into silence and were admiring the scenery when Ty suddenly yelled.

         “Bear in the road!”

         I slammed on the brakes and turned the wheel sharply to the left, causing us to go into a 360 degree spin before shuddering to a stop. The big black bear stood on two feet and snorted as he surveyed us. Apparently satisfied he dropped onto all fours and sauntered off the road.

         “Well, we saw our bear,” I acknowledged, “I guess maybe I should slow down a bit though.

         “Yeah,” agreed Ty. “I don’t want to meet any more animals that way.”

         I cautiously looked to the side of the road where the bear had disappeared before putting the car in gear and continuing our journey. “Hey Ty, did you get any pictures?” I queried jokingly.

         “No. I didn’t.” Ty growled. “I was too busy being scared.”

         “Maybe it was a Bigfoot in disguise.” I suggested.

         “Very funny.”

        Arriving at Big Lake we quickly set up camp. We would stay here for our first night, then hike in to Secret Lake and stay there two nights.

        “I get to start the fire!” Ty announced searching the camp for kindling and firewood.

        “Okay by me, I’ll get more wood for tonight.”

        When I returned with an armful of wood Ty had the fire going. I added more wood and we roasted hot dogs and made s’mores, then sat by the fire admiring the tongues of red, yellow, and orange dancing in the evening dusk. That’s when Ty brought up what I considered to be ‘Grandfather’s Tall Tale’ again.

        “So if Bigfoot don’t exist, then how do you explain all the footprints that have been found? And why would Grandpa insist he spent part of a month with them? I don’t think Grandpa lies.”

        “I don’t think so either, he just gets mixed up. He probably had a dream about living with Bigfoot and thought it was real. Haven’t you ever had a dream that seemed real until you woke up?”

        “Well yeah, but I never thought they were real for very long, and Grandpa’s been telling stories about Bigfoot for years.”

        “Okay, let’s talk about the footprints. Father showed me what a double bear track looks like and explained that the bear had stepped just right so that the double print was about sixteen inches long, and looked like the footprints of Bigfoot.”

        “So why only one footprint each time? And there are tons of pictures of Bigfoot.”

        “It’s been proven that most tracks and pictures of Bigfoot are a hoax. People make a lot of money creating and selling Bigfoot tracks and photos.”

        “Well, I still believe what Grandpa says. People only contradict Bigfoot believers because they can’t find any way to prove that Bigfoot don’t exist.”

        I groaned and changed the subject. “We need to drown the fire pretty soon and go to bed. I’m tired.”

        “Okay, but I bet you’re going to dream about Bigfoot tonight.” Ty said impishly.

        "No way,” I proclaimed. ”I’m going to dream about all the fish we’re going to catch tomorrow.”

        After an uneventful night we were up at dawn for a quick breakfast. “Hey Ty,” I joked. “I didn’t see any Bigfoot last night.”

        “Yeah, well, Bigfoot are shy and don’t show themselves until they feel like it. We have two more nights before we go home.”

        I laughed. “Take my word for it, there won’t be any Bigfoot tonight. Or tomorrow night.”

        “Just you wait. We’ll see one.”

          We took our time walking in, admiring lichen spattered trees, as well as scolding blue jays, chattering squirrels, and even three deer.  Two hours later we were at Secret Lake. Wild rhododendron were splashed around the lake, adding color to its serene and peaceful beauty.  We quickly set up camp and grabbed our fishing poles. We had decided I would go right and Ty left. We would fish towards each other until we met.

         Later that night we enjoyed a dinner of fried fish and campfire baked potatoes, then sat around drowsily talking about our day. The fire was snapping and popping while sending playful flames of red, orange, and occasionally blue into the night sky. Suddenly a thunderous roar echoed from somewhere across the lake followed by an eerie scream. Ty and I looked at each other and then across the lake. “What on earth was that?”

         “I don’t know. Maybe it’s a Bigfoot letting us know he’s there.” Ty said, only half joking.

         “You and your Bigfoot. I think it must be a cougar. I’ve heard that a cougar’s scream sounds like a woman’s scream. Whatever it is we don’t need to worry. I have Dad’s 22 Magnum.”

         “Well I’m scared of cougars. I think I’d feel better if it was a Bigfoot. A Bigfoot won’t eat us.” Ty asserted.

        “Well neither will a cougar, unless he’s awfully hungry.  There are lots of animals around so he can’t be hungry.”

        I got the pistol out and we sat there for a while longer, but didn’t hear the sound again. “Well, I’m taking the gun and going to bed, you coming?”

        “Yeah. I’m getting sleepy.”

      We put out the fire and crawled into the tent. With the gun at my side I fell asleep quickly, but was startled awake by another thunderous roar that turned into an unnerving whoop before fading away.

        “Now that was a Bigfoot,” Ty proclaimed. “Cougars don’t whoop!”

        “And how would you know?” I demanded.


        I groaned in protest. Soon I heard the even breathing that meant Ty was asleep, but it was a long time before I joined him.

        The next morning Ty and I argued about the roar and whoop we had heard. Ty insisted they had come from a Bigfoot while I dogmatically insisted they didn’t. “We’re getting nowhere.”  I finally proclaimed. “Let’s go on a hike.”

        “How about going to the top of the boulder field?” Ty suggested. “We can see the whole lake from there.”

        “Sounds good to me.” We grabbed our backpacks and began the climb.

        “I bet I beat you to the top,” Ty challenged as he rushed up the last two feet. Suddenly a rock gave way under his feet and sent him tumbling head over heels down the incline to the boulders below.

        “Ty!” I screamed. “Ty!” When I reached my brother he was unconscious.  He had a huge purple lump on his forehead, a long gash on his arm, and a broken leg. I grabbed my water bottle and splashed some on his forehead, then applied pressure to Ty’s arm to stop the bleeding. After a while his eyes opened and he moaned.

        “It’s okay Ty. Everything’s going to be okay.” Ty moaned again and closed his eyes. I tried to carry him but could only go a few feet at a time. At sunset I realized we weren’t going to reach camp by nightfall, and it was getting cold. I sat on a boulder to rest, trying to figure out what to do. Then the thunderous roar and shriek of our noisy neighbor sounded again.  Shrill screams were followed by whooping noises.  Rocks bounced against each other as they gave way to the heavy creature approaching us.

        Chills ran up and down my spine as I realized I had no way to defend Ty, no way to defend either of us. Dad’s gun was in my backpack which was lying on the ground a few feet away. The creature towered above us looking at Ty, then at me. I blocked Ty with my body and stared at what had to be a Bigfoot. He was about 9 feet tall with shaggy brown hair covering his entire body. He bared his teeth in an ominous grimace, then reached for Ty.

      “No!” I yelled. “Leave him alone!”

      He bared his teeth and growled at me, then gently examined Ty before picking him up and motioning for me to follow.

      “This can’t be real,” I mumbled, as I tried to keep up. “There aren’t any Bigfoot.” When we arrived at camp Bigfoot motioned for me to drag Ty’s sleeping bag out of the tent then indicated he wanted it opened. He nodded in approval after it was open then transferred Ty to the bag, watching me closely as I zipped it up.

        “What now?” I asked quizzically. Bigfoot grunted again, picked up our backpacks, handed them to me, and then picked Ty up. I looked at him. “I guess it’s time to go, huh?”

        Bigfoot grunted and cradling Ty in his arms, led me towards Big Lake. I had to run to keep up and when we finally reached Big Lake I was panting so hard that I could barely breathe. Bigfoot waited for me to open the car door, then tenderly laid Ty on the back seat.

        “Thank you.” I said, gazing at Bigfoot. He grunted, then turned and disappeared into the forest.

        “There goes ‘Grandfather’s Tall Tale’,” I murmured to myself as I started the car and headed for the nearest hospital.

1993 words
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