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The Spirit of the Swamp
The green water was thick as pea soup, and almost looked solid. The almost lifeless swamp was humid and moist, as usual. There were logs, almost stuck in the water as if it had been glued to the surface, and there were trees, towering over the swamp, reflectionless. They had no leaves, and what branches they had were drowning in the green water. Above them, was a thick orange fog, floating and hazy.
It was absolutely silent. Nothing could be heard anywhere, save the mosquitoes. If anything lived here, it was most definitely mosquitos. There were no land animals, and it was hard enough to tell whether there was any land at all, a boat would be the only way to travel here. And as if to wake up the prehistoric setting, the loud roar of a gas run engine, shook the water.
Aboard the small canoe with the old 1974 Mercury Boating engine, crouched Luke Davis, photographer for National Geographic, and behind him, was a native man by the name of Advika, or Addy, as Luke prefered to call him.
Addy was the only person that Luke could find to take him out onto the swamp, some had said that the water would flood the boat, causing mosquitoes to swarm them. Others said it was to risky, but the surprising majority of locals near the swamp pleaded not to come because of someone or something named Abbot. Luke had asked Addy about this “Abbot” but all he had done was shrug and say “He’s spirit of swamp.” Luke, had no idea what that meant.
He crouched on the narrow canoe, cradling his camera, trying to keep it dry from the humid environment and possibility of dropping it in. After a quick wipe of the lenses, he stuck it into his carrier, and turned his attention to the water. He thought he saw something almost bulbous peaking out at him. He blinked a few times, and cleared his glasses, as a precaution. He waited for a few seconds: no, there wasn’t anything. He had turned pale at the thought of something lurking under him. But it was nothing. Nothing at all.
Luke sat back and made himself comfortable with what room he had, and pulled out a sketchbook; “7:30, Wednesday. I’ve finally arrived. The surroundings are humid and have an almost toxic effect on your head. I believe I’ve started hallucinating objects and animals. That would make another interesting report too but Addy says that the lodge where David Hogan lives shouldn’t be more than an hour. This place also make for a very interesting photoshoot model, but I feel that I would drop my camera, should we lurch in any direction.” Luke placed his notebook on his lap, thoughtfully, and stuck the eraser of his pencil in his lips. “I can’t help expecting Kermit the frog to be sitting on one of these logs, singing “Rainbow Connection”.” And with his final, written remark, he closed his notebook, and pushed it into his back pocket.
Out of nowhere, the engine began rumbling and sputtering up the green water. Addy, turned around and muttered something under his breathe. Luke doubted it to be friendly. Addy turned around and said to Luke, “Engine is clogged. Take five minute to remove, five minute to fix, five minute to put back.” Luke nodded back. “Need any help?” Addy shook his head. “Nothing you could do.” Luke rolled his eyes, and was suddenly awoken with the bulbous shape again. It was moving… Luke almost fell off the opposite end of the canoe. “Hey, umm, Advika? Addy? Hey.. umm.. Know anything about roundish white things going up and down in the water?” Addy said nothing for a moment then responded. “Only bubble.” Luke choked on his own breathe. This was definitely not a bubble.
Something sunk down inside him and the form sunk beneath the surface again. “What the bloody heck is that…” he thought to himself, keeping himself from using harsher language. The boat rocked a bit. Addy turned around. “Stop moving. Make harder.” Luke turned around to explain it wasn’t him but then the boat rocked even harder. This time, Addy saw it wasn’t Luke. He imediatly grabbed the wrench he was using to fix his motor and stirred the water for a little. Luke saw bubbles circling around his side, and to the side where Addy was bent over. “Hey, Addy, I’d mo-” Addy stopped him. “Shh. You disturb the creature.”
The bubbles turned the corner of the back of the boat, and began swirling to Addy.
“OOKAY, ADDY, Time to go!” said Luke, pulling him back as the snout of a perfectly white alligator snout shot up like a bullet through the eerie green water. Addy, stood, jaw hanging wide as a beach ball, and muttered to himself. “Abbot.”
Luke reached for his pocket knife, safely tucked in his shirt pocket. It would hardly do any good if they were thrown into the green water, but he still felt safer, clasping the silver shine of its metallic handle. There was no contact to the outside world, and their engine was broken, and just to put a cherry a top of that, there was a legendary alligator lurking beneath the solid green surface.
“Addy, How far is Mr. Hogan’s lodge from here?!”
“Not far, not far! 5 minute or so!”
Luke looked around. There was almost no time to fix the engine, the nearest tree was at least twenty feet away… and there was a savagely pale alligator beneath them. They were stuck. Luke’s mind was racing. “What supplies do we have?” A camera, tool box, broken engine, and his note book. How could they signal for help? It was too humid to start a fire, and besides, the were in a wooden boat… but if they could light a torch, and fend off the alligator… there was a slim chance that it would even work. Luke didn’t know about the creatures, he just took pictures. Addy on the other hand, knew the creatures, knew the area… Knew his engine! The pull string igniter should cause a spark, which ignites the gas and oil mixture that powers the engine. If they used the spare can of gasoline, and used the pull string to ignite it, it could cause an explosion, in which the gasoline was attached to the spark, then thrown off the boat, causing it to ignite, then they would use the canoe as a barrier to the explosion, killing the ghastly gator, and making it home free to Mr. Hogan’s house. This would have to be perfectly timed, and could risk one of them… Exploding. Luke thought, “It was that or being eaten by a Gator.”
Luke told Addy the plan; he thought it wouldn't work, but was worth a shot anyways. They ripped the top of the engine off, revealing the starter. Addy, was somehow, able to rip it out, still intact, and connect it to the red gasoline container. The bomb was ready. Now, they need perfect timing, and whatever luck they could get.
Luke held onto the pull string, as Addy held the gasoline. Abbot circled the canoe for a few seconds before lurching out again. It was now, that the most dangerous event ever to hit the swamp would take place. Addy threw the gasoline bottle, and Luke held firmly onto the starter. The pressure began to pull harder, and right as Luke heard as small “click” he let go, flipping the raft over, sheilding both Addy and Luke. The water shook horrendously, causing what felt like a rainstorm of green water upon the top, or would it be bottom, of the canoe. The had successfully made a bomb. Luke smiled for a split second, but then was reminded of the alligator, was he really dead?
It wasn't the best idea to wait and find out. Luke and Addy heaved the canoe back to its rightful position, giving each other relieved looks. They waited… the water rocked violently… But no bubbles... No bulbous bumps...nothing. They had done it! The white tail, gleaming in the sun for the very last time, sunk to the very bottom of the green murky swamp. They, once again looked at each other, then laughed remarkably loud, hearty laughs.
The desk of Jason Warner was cluttered with previous issues from his company, National Geographic. It was Saturday, and he had only meant to stop by his office for a minute or two to get his coffee mug, but he stopped at the door of his office; there was a sticky note stuck to it, with a scribbled message on it that read:
“That’s the last time I'm going to a swamp. - Luke Davis
P.s.- ask me about it later“