The workbench under the window was strewn with bits of duct tape, and stuck to the tape thick patches of the monkey’s reddish-brown hair. Plump drops of blood glittered on the bench, on the wall and on the broken shards of glass still in the window opening.
“Well this is grisly,” said Mrs. Twinny, before she could stop herself. Bobby sobbed. “Come here. It’ll be okay.”
A noisy truck came to a stop in the driveway just as the three were leaving the barn. A tall, mustachioed man got out and in deep voice announced, “Animal Control here.… Are you Mrs. Twinny? Here for a monkey.”
His shiny black boots crunched the gravel as he walked toward them. He furrowed his brow at the sight of the shotgun in the older woman’s hand and the boy’s tears. “Everything all right here?” he said. Addressing, Bobby he asked in lowered voice, “Son?”
Bobby smiled and nodded. He yelled at Rex to quit barking.
“Oh, don’t mind this.” She lifted the shotgun and let it fall back to her thigh. “The monkey’s gone. We don’t know what―”
“A bear took it!” Bobby excitedly interrupted. He’d run to the side of the man and was now walking with him to where his grandmother stood near the open barn door. He felt safe because the uniformed man carried a gun in a black holster on his belt.
The officer stepped one foot back which allowed the yard light to shine ahead of Mrs. Twinny. Dark clouds covered the sun making it seem later in the day than it actually was.
“Please,” he said and indicated with a raised hand that she enter the barn first. Bobby, Rex close at his heels, raced ahead of them both.
“Bobby, get back here!” Embarrassed, Mrs. Twinny simply shook her head and said, “Boys!”
“Oh, what’s happened to the little thing?” Bobby said while he forced back a sob. Without success, he exploded in a combination sneeze and sob, startling both his grandmother and the officer. With one hand over her heart, Mrs. Twinny, having found a secure niche to stand the shotgun, reached behind the officer and flicked on the overhead light.
The man squinted from the sudden glaring light and simply said, “Hmm.” He cleared his throat and asked, “You guys home when this happened?”
“We haven’t gone anywhere. So I guess that’s right,” said Bobby, fighting tears. He glanced up at his grandmother, knowing full well the polite thing would have been to allow her to reply.
“Come here, young man!” his grandmother ordered, “you’re walking on blood and glass.”
“Nothing’s missing except the animal you called about,… right?” the officer asked. Bobby nodded. “You don’t think this is a break-in, then?” he continued. Mrs. Twinny shook her head no. “I’m going to look around outside.”
“We’ll go to the house,” Mrs. Twinny said, retrieving her shotgun and ushering her grandson along. “You can find us there when you’re done.” Bobby sneezed. “We’ve both got col …” She let her voice trail off, knowing the cold information was not important to the man’s business.
Under the broken window, the officer pointed the wide beam of his flashlight. Several overlapping footprints were in evidence. In a start, he realized these were bare (without shoes) footprints. And they were very large. He ran a hand through his thinning hair, breathed out a puff of air and just knew this was going to get him ribbed something awful back at his office.
Just two things could make these prints, someone playing a hoax or a real live Bigfoot. He searched the area in all directions, but found no other prints. It was getting darker. He knocked on the screen door of the porch.
“You two by yourselves out here?” He stood just inside the door on the screened porch. He cleared his throat and said, “I found tracks―”
“Were they bear or cougar?” Bobby interrupted, while excitedly shifting his weight in a dance from one foot to the other.
“Couldn’t tell,” the officer said, as he twisted his hat in his hands. All three suddenly jumped in a start. A piercing animal scream split the air from the thickly wooded east hills. “Cougar, I guess,” he answered their unasked questions of the scream.
Bobby stood with both arms wound around his grandmother’s thick waist. “Sh. It’s okay,” she said, jiggling his shoulders with her pudgy clasped hands.
“I hate to see you two by yourself out here. Can you go into town for the night?”
“Yeah, Grandma, let’s go.” The eight-year-old turned his tear-filled eyes on the officer and asked, “Will you wait for us?”
It was almost dark now. The yard light atop the pole lit up the driveway and space between the barn and house. Mrs. Twinny’s old truck took a few tries turning the key before it fired to coughing life.
There was no moon this night. A light rain fell. The windshield wipers swooshed, back and forth as the pair followed the Animal Control truck’s red rear lights down the winding road.
Rex huddled obediently in the corner of the truck bed. Mrs. Twinny would not let him ride up front with them.
Bobby had cheered up, since he’d been promised he could call his mom and dad in Louisiana when they settled in at the motel.
He glanced over at the spot where he’d found the monkey when they passed it. “A lot can sure happen in a few days, huh Grandma?”
He glanced over at the spot where he’d found the monkey when they passed it.
Bobby and his grandmother stayed at the motel until his parents were expected back. And today was that day.
Mr. Apple walked with a cane and a limp. But it didn’t hurt his happy disposition. He reminded Bobby that he’d helped at least five families clean up their yards of fallen trees, limbs and storm debris before the tree limb fell on him. “Hurricanes are fearsome and can be destructive.” He thumped his cast with his cane to make his point. “And I do mean destructive!” He bellowed out a laugh that made them all jump and Rex bark. “Let’s get on home. What’s this about you wanting a monkey for a little sister?”
“Ah, did Grandma tell you that?”
“Yes she did. I’ll tell you a little secret; we are,” he jutted his chin at Bobby’s mother and continued, “we are working out the details for a little sister, right now. Should be here by early fall.”
“A monkey would have been all right,” Bobby sniffed. Mr. Apple looked at Mrs. Apple. They exploded in happy laughter.
Another surprise awaited the family at home. The truck and car crunched to a stop in the gravel below the yard light. The door of the screened porch hung ajar.
“Stay here, all of you!” Mr. Apple ordered. He hobbled onto the porch and flipped on the lights as he limped cautiously through the house. “It’s okay,” he called to them.
But it wasn’t okay. No one was in the house but the inside was wrecked: big patches of black mud matted the carpets; the plastic milk jug was dimpled like a golf ball and its contents spilled in puddles on the clear plastic refrigerator shelves; and crispy cereal flakes were strewn crushed and thick on the kitchen floor.
“Oh!” sang out Mrs. Ida May Twinny, “we must have forgotten to lock the door.”
I do hope you enjoyed this bigfoot story for children. Next Monday we will begin publishing the children's bigfoot book, Eye of the Beast. ... Linda Newton-Perry