Texas creature story of a group of hunters running into an unexpected monster during a deer hunt. Written by Mark Sims.
“It’s gonna be day break by the time we get there if you don’t stop driving like an old lady,” said Vaughn as the Chevy 4X4 made its way through the thick brush that had overgrown the old dirt trail. “I hope you don’t plan on getting any deer today, takin’ your own sweet time like this. You come from Pasadena boy? Cuz you sure are drivin’ like that little old lady in that Beatle song.” He turned toward the passenger window and spit out a long sticky stream of tobacco juice, and then he started to sing, “He was a white trash sissy from Pasadena, go sissy, go sissy, go sissy go!”
Ray took a swing at him with his right arm from behind the wheel as Vaughn twisted away enough to cushion the impact. Stevie, who sat between the two of them, caught most of the impact on his chest by way of Ray’s elbow. “Knock it off, y’all!” Stevie cried. “I’ll beat the tar outta both of you if you don’t quit this crap right now. You ain’t stopped since we left the farm, you freakin’ morons. Anyway, Einstien, the Beatles didn’t sing that song! It were somebody else.”
“Who?” Asked Vaughn.
“I don’t know who it were, but I do know it weren’t no Beatles.” He answered.
“Yeah Vaughn,” Ray added, “You don’t know nothin’, so why don’t you just shut up.”
Thick mesquite branches swiped at the truck as they passed through like the big cloth wheels in an automated car wash. Some branches reached in through the passenger window and knocked Vaughn’s camouflage hat off. He caught it before it reached his lap and he put it back on.
“I’ll shut up when you learn how to drive,” Vaughn said.
“I’m gonna mess both ya’ll up if you don’t cut it out,” Stevie threatened, “We still got two hours till daylight and we’re almost there. There’s Noose Watson’s gate right up ahead. Get out and open it.”
Vaughn hopped out of the truck, undid the combination lock and held it open for the truck to pass through before closing it and relocking it behind him. He got back into the truck and they headed across an open pasture and parked on the other side. They all got out and grabbed their rifles, jackets, snacks and water bottles, then they walked through the woods to the tree stand. They all climbed up the wooden ladder and settled down to wait for deer.
Noose Watson’s tree stand was built onto a great big oak tree at about 12 feet up the trunk. The tree was on the edge of a clearing that was 50 yards across, give or take. In the middle of the clearing stood a deer feeder like a big, rusty, neck-less giraffe that pooped out a measure of corn every day at sunrise in response to a battery operated timer. The deer knew the sound of that feeder and were quite faithful about being out there every single morning. It was pretty much like shooting fish in a barrel. All that the hunter had to do was wait and be silent.
All the ribbing and horseplay had stopped. A gentle breeze blew across the clearing directly into their faces. They were very pleased to be down wind from the game. There should be no trouble at all. But then again, this was Gun Town.
Shaggy Watson was Noose Watson’s younger brother. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War and suffered from PTSD. In addition to psychological damage, he had earned a Purple Heart having taken some shrapnel in the chest and throat, which severely damaged his vocal chords rendering him mute. He survived off of a meager disability check and his skills as an outdoorsman. He stood at six foot five inches and weighed over two hundred and fifty pounds, but his long shaggy beard and wild mane of hair made him look even bigger. Earlier that morning he had made his way from his trailer house, across Noose Johnson’s pasture, past the feeder and down to the river to check on some trotlines he had left in the area.
The two -mile trek was easy for him with his long strides and familiarity to walking everywhere. He easily found his first trotline in the dim moonlight and pulled it in to shore much to the dismay of a six pound catfish and a small mud turtle. He hung the catfish by the gills on a broken tree limb and killed the turtle so he wouldn’t have it wasting his bait anymore. He left the turtle where it lay and walked up stream to check his other two lines. He returned a little while later with three more catfish and reached for the one he had left in the tree. Unfortunately he didn’t notice the skunk that was eagerly munching on the turtle he had dropped. The skunk noticed him, however, and released a liberal amount of spray right on target. Shaggy gasped and coughed from the surprise attack then he slipped and fell on the muddy riverbank, losing the three catfish in the churning water. He stood up, slipped and fell again, and tried to get away as the skunk dosed him once again and disappeared into the underbrush. The stench was unbearable and he tried rolling around in the mud for some olfactory relief. It didn’t help much. He gained his composure and retrieved the remaining catfish from the tree. He was soaking wet, covered in mud and reeking like a skunk. He was angry as a grizzly bear when he started home at a quick pace swinging the catfish in rhythm to his long, rapid strides. He spooked a group of deer on his way back and they ran panicked across the clearing where the feeder was.
The three hunters sat silently in the tree stand watching the woods on the other side of the clearing. The feeder was due to go off any minute now and they were as alert as bobcats waiting for a kill. Ray shifted uncomfortably in his position and looked at his watch. Suddenly they heard some movement from the woods across the clearing and all three raised their rifles to get a better look through the scopes. Sunlight was just beginning to break the horizon. Two huge bucks and three does broke rapidly from the tree line and shot across the clearing behind the feeder. They soon disappeared back into the thick cover of the trees.
“What the heck?” Ray muttered.
“Something spooked ‘em,” Vaughn whispered.
“Shh. There’s still another one.” Stevie had seen some movement back in the trees where the deer had come from.
They were not prepared for what they saw emerging at a trot through the clearing. The thing they saw in the dim glow of early sunrise stood nearly seven feet tall at their estimation. Its entire body was ruddy reddish brown and hair covered its eerily human looking face. It carried a large catfish in one hand and made huge strides across the clearing. In a matter of seconds it disappeared into the brush near the place the deer had disappeared. A few seconds later, a nauseous skunky smell was brought to them on the light breeze. They all froze and stared in disbelief.
“I’m going home,” was all Ray could say after a brief moment of absolute silence.
They could hear the thing crashing through the brush and getting farther away.
“What was that thing?” Stevie said aloud without even realizing he had said anything.
“You know darn well what that was,” Ray said, “I’m getting’ outta here.”
“You think that was Bigfoot?” Vaughn asked.
“Well, it weren’t no gorilla!” Stevie yelped.
They were all shaken up from the sight and before long they were all in the truck with the windows up and the doors locked with no recollection of ever climbing down the ladder.
The truck quickly bounded and bounced down the old dirt track and the three hunters were absolutely speechless. Vaughn had no problem with the way Ray was driving as branches exploded on the grill and bumper. Finally they made it back to town and that was when Ray broke the silence saying, “The Beach Boys.”
“What?” Vaughn and Stevie chorused.
“That’s who sang that old lady Pasadena song you was singin’ earlier. The Beach Boys.”
Nobody said another word or rolled down a window until they had made it safely back to the farm.